Pope Gregory the Great 540 - 604 64
Book of Job
1 About Me 8
2 Education
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Page Data
Menu 8:25
Total 3,221 44:45
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Chapters 2,403
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Epistle.

To the Most Devout and Holy Brother, my fellow Bishop Leander, Gregory, the servant of God's servants.

I.  WHEN I knew you long since at Constantinople, my most blessed brother, at the time that I was kept there by the affairs b  of the Apostolical See, and that you had been brought thither by an embassage, with which you were charged, on counts touching the faith of the Wisigoths c, I then detailed in your ears all that displeased me in myself, since for late and long I declined the grace of conversion, and after that I had been inspired with an heavenly affection I thought it better to be still shrouded in the secular habit.  For though I had now disclosed to me what I should seek of the love of things eternal, yet long-established custom had so cast its chains upon me, that I could not change my outward habit: and while my purpose animus still compelled me to engage in the service of this world as it were in semblance only, many influences began to spring up against me from caring for this same world, so that the tie which kept me to it was now no longer in semblance only, but what is more serious, in my own mind.  At length being anxious to avoid all these inconveniences, I sought the haven of the monastery, and having left all that is of the world, as at that time I vainly believed, I came out naked from the shipwreck of human life. For as the vessel that is negligently moored, is very often (when the storm waxes violent) tossed by the water out of its shelter on the safest shore, so under the cloak of the Ecclesiastical office, I found myself d plunged on a sudden in a sea of secular matters, and because I had not held fast the tranquillity of the monastery when in possession, I learnt by losing it, how closely it should have been held.  For whereas the virtue of obedience was set against my own inclination to make me take the charge of ministering at the holy Altar, I was led to undertake that upon the grounds of the Church requiring it sub Ecclesiae colore, which, if it might be done with impunity, I should get quit of by a second time withdrawing myself; and subsequently notwithstanding my unwillingness and reluctance, at the very time when the ministry of the Altar was a heavy weight, the further burden of the Pastoral charge was fastened on me, which I now find so much the more difficulty in bearing, as I feel myself to be unequal to it, and as I cannot take breath in any comfortable assurance in myself.  For because, now that the end of the world is at hand, the times are disturbed by reason of the multiplied evils thereof, and we ourselves, who are supposed to be devoted to the inner mysteries, are thus become involved in outward cares; just as it happened then also when I was brought to the ministry of the Altar, this was brought about for me without my knowledge, viz. that I should receive the mighty charge of the Holy Order, to the end that I might be quartered under less restraint licentious excubarem in an earthly palace, whither indeed I was followed by many of my brethren from the monastery, who were attached to me by a kindred affection germana.  Which happened, I perceive, by Divine dispensation, in order that by their example, as by an anchored cable, I might ever be kept fast to the tranquil shore of prayer, whenever I should be tossed by the ceaseless waves of secular affairs.  For to their society I fled as to the bosom of the safest port from the rolling swell, and from the waves of earthly occupation; and though that office which withdrew me from the monastery had with the point of its employments stabbed me to death as to my former tranquillity of life, yet in their society, by means of the appeals of diligent reading, I was animated with the yearnings of daily renewed compunction.  It was then that it seemed good to those same brethren, you too adding your influence, as you yourself remember, to oblige me by the importunity of their requests to set forth the book of blessed Job; and as far as the Truth should inspire me with powers, to lay open to them those mysteries of such depth; and they made this too an additional burden which their petition laid upon me, that I would not only unravel the words of the history in allegorical senses, but that I would go on to give to the allegorical senses the turn of a moral exercise, with the addition of somewhat yet harder, that I would crown or ‘fortify,’ cingerem the several meanings with testimonies, and that the testimonies, which I brought forward, should they chance to appear involved, should be disentangled by the aid of additional explanation.

II.  At first however, when in this obscure work, which hitherto had been thoroughly treated by none before us, I learnt the extent and character of the task to which I was forced, being overcome and wearied with the mere burthen of hearing of it, I confess that I sank under it.  Yet immediately, when, in a strait between my alarms and my devout aspirations, I lifted up the eyes of my mind to the Bestower of all gifts James 17, waiving my scruples, I fixed my thoughts on this, that what an affection flowing from the hearts of my brethren enjoined upon me, could not certainly be impossible, I despaired, indeed, of being a match for these things, but, stronger for my very despair of myself, I forthwith raised my hopes to Him, by Whom the tongue of the dumb is opened, Who maketh the lips of babes to speak eloquently, Wisd. 10, 2Who has marked the undistinguished and brute brayings of an ass with the intelligible measures of human speech.  What wonder, then, that a simple man should receive understanding from Him, Who whenever He willeth, utters His truth by the mouths of the very beasts of burthen?  Armed then with the strength which this thought supplied, I roused mine own drought to explore so deep a well; and though the life of those, to whom I was compelled to give my interpretation, was far above me, yet I thought it no harm if the leaden pipe should supply streams of water for the service of men.   Whereupon, without further delay, I delivered the former parts of the book, in presence, to the same brethren assembled before me; and because I found my time to be then somewhat more free, in treating of the latter portion I used dictation; and when longer intervals of time were at my disposal, many things being added, a small number omitted, and some few left as they were, all that had been taken down in my presence as I spoke, I arranged in books with amendments.  For when I was giving the last part by dictation, I in like manner carefully considered the style in which I had spoken the first part, so that my business was both with regard to those parts, which I had given orally, by going through them with a careful correction, to bring them up to somewhat like dictation, and with regard to what I had dictated, that it should not greatly differ from the style of colloquial delivery; so that the one being drawn out, and the other contracted, that which unlike modes produced might be formed into a not inconsistent whole.  Though it must be added that the third portion of this work I have so left for the most part as I gave it by word of mouth, because the brethren, drawing me away to other things, would not have this to be corrected with any great degree of exactness.  Pursuing my object of obeying their instructions, which I must confess were sufficiently numerous, now by the work of exposition, now by the flights of contemplation, and now by moral instruction, I have completed this work extending through thirty-five books volumina, and six tomes codicibus, and hence I shall be often found therein to put rather in the background the order of exposition, and to employ myself at greater length upon the wide field of contemplation and of moral instruction.  But yet whosoever is speaking concerning God, must be careful to search out thoroughly whatsoever furnishes moral instruction to his hearers; and should account that to be the right method of ordering his discourse, if, when opportunity for edification requires it, he turn aside for a useful purpose from what he had begun to speak of; for he that treats of sacred writ should follow the way of a river, for if a river, as it flows along its channel, meets with open valleys on its side, into these it immediately turns the course of its current, and when they are copiously supplied, presently it pours itself back into its bed.  Thus unquestionably, thus should it be with everyone that treats of the Divine Word, that if, in discussing: any subject, he chance to find at hand any occasion of seasonable edification, he should, as it were, force the streams of discourse towards the adjacent valley, and, when he has poured forth enough upon its level of instruction, fall back into the channel of discourse which he had proposed to himself.

III.  But be it known that there are some parts, which we go through in a historical exposition, some we trace out in allegory upon an investigation of the typical meaning, some we open in the lessons of moral teaching alone, allegorically conveyed, while there are some few which, with more particular care, we search out in all these ways together, exploring them in a threefold method.  For first, we lay the historical foundations; next, by pursuing the typical sense, we erect a fabric of the mind to be a strong hold of faith; and moreover as the last step, by the grace of moral instruction, we, as it were, clothe the edifice with an overcast of colouring.  Or at least how are the declarations of truth to be accounted of, but as food for the refreshment of the mind?  These being handled with the alternate application of various methods, we serve up the viands of discourse in such sort as to prevent all disgust in the reader, thus invited as our guest, who, upon consideration of the various things presented to him, is to take that which he determines to be the choicest.  Yet it sometimes happens that we neglect to interpret the plain words of the historical account, that we may not be too long in coming to the hidden senses, and sometimes they cannot be understood according to the letter, because when taken superficially, they convey no sort of instruction to the reader, but only engender error; for here, for instance, it is said, Under Whom they are bent who bear the world. Job 9, 13.  Now in the case of one so great, who can be ignorant that he never so fol1ows the vain fictions of the poets, as to fancy the weight of the world to be supported by the labour of the giants.  Again, under the pressure of calamities he exclaims, So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than life. Jov 7,  Now who that is in his right senses could believe that a man of so high praise, who in a word, we know, received from the Judge of that which is within the reward of the virtue of patience, settled amidst his afflictions to finish his life by strangling?  And sometimes even the very literal words forbid its being supposed that perchance they ought to be understood according to the letter.  Thus he says, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Job 3, 3  And a little while afterwards he subjoins, Let darkness seize it, and let it be involved in bitterness.ver. 5 And in cursing the same night he adds, Lo! let that night be solitary.  Assuredly this day of his birth, which rolled itself out in the mere current of time, could never stand fast.  In what way then did he wish it might be involved in darkness?  For having gone by, it no longer was, neither yet, if it had existence in the nature of things, could it ever feelbitterness; it is evident therefore that the words cannot possibly be spoken of a day without feeling, when the wish expressed is that it be struck with a feeling of bitterness; and if the night of his conception had gone by, blended with the other nights, after what fashion would he have it become solitary, which as it could not be arrested from the flight of time, so neither could it be separated from union with the other nights.  Again he says, How long wilt Thou not depart from me, nor let me alone, till I swallow down my spittle. Job 7, Yet he had said a little above, The things which my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. Job 6, 7  Now who does not know that spittle is more easily swallowed than food? it is wholly inconceivable then in what connection he, who tells of his taking food, declares that he cannot swallow his spittle.  Again he says, I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O Thou preserver of men? Job 7, 20  Or more unequivocally, Wouldest Thou destroy me by the iniquities of my youth. Job 13, 26  And yet in another answer he subjoins, My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. Job 27, 6  How then does his heart not condemn him so long as he lives, who by a public avowal testifies that he has been a sinner, for faultiness of practice and acquittal of conscience can never meet together. Yet doubtless whereas the literal words when set against each other cannot be made to agree, they point out some other meaning in themselves which we are to seek for, as if with a kind of utterance they said, Whereas ye see our superficial form to be destructive to us, look for what may be found within us that is in place and consistent with itself. 

IV.  But sometimes, he who neglects to interpret the historical form of words according to the letter, keeps that light of truth concealed which is presented to him, and in laboriously seeking to find in them a further interior meaning, he loses that which he might easily obtain on the outside. Thus the Saint saith, if I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;  . . . if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; Job 316-20 where it is to be observed, that if these words be violently strained to an allegorical signification, we make void all his acts of mercy. For as the word of God, by the mysteries which it contains, exercises the understanding of the wise, so usually by what presents itself on the outside, it nurses the simple-minded.  It presenteth in open day that wherewith the little ones may be fed; it keepeth in secret that whereby men of a loftier range may be held in suspense of admiration.  It is, as it were, a kind of river, if I may so liken it, which is both shallow planus and deep, wherein both the lamb may find a footing, and the elephant float at large.  Therefore as the fitness of each passage requires, the line of interpretation is studiously varied accordingly, in that the true sense of the word of God is found out with so much the greater fidelity, in proportion as it shifts its course through the different kinds of examples as each case may require.

V.  This exposition being such as I have described, I have transmitted to your Blessedness for your inspection, not as being due for its worth's sake, but because I remember that I promised it on your making the request.  In which whatsoever your Holiness may discover that is languid or unpolished, let it be most readily excused in proportion as the circumstance is known that it was said in a state of sickness; for when the body is worn down with sickness, the mind being also affected, our exertions to express ourselves likewise become faint.  For many a year's circuit has gone by since I have been afflicted with frequent pains in the bowels, and the powers of my stomach being broken down, makes me at all times and seasons weakly; and under the influence of fevers, slow, but in constant succession, I draw my breath with difficulty; and when in the midst of these sufferings I ponder with earnest heed, that according to the testimony of Scripture, He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth; Heb. 12, 6 the more I am weighed down by the severity of present afflictions, from my anticipations for eternity, I gather strength to breathe with so much the better assurance.  And perchance it was this that Divine Providence designed, that I a stricken one, should set forth Job stricken, and that by these scourges I should the more perfectly enter into the feelings of one that was scourged.  Yet it will be evident to all that consider the thing aright, that bodily ailment hinders the pursuits wherein I labour, and that with no slight power of opposition in this respect, that, when the powers of the flesh are not strong enough to discharge the office of speech, the mind cannot adequately convey its meaning.  For what is the office of the body saving to be the organ of the mind; and though the musician be ever so skilled in playing cantandi, he cannot put his art in practice unless outward aids accord with himself for that purpose, for we know that the melody canticum which the hand of the proficient bids, is not rightly given back by instruments that are out of order; nor does the wind express his art, if the pipe, gaping with crevices, gives a grating sound.  How much more affected in quality then is a thing like this exposition of mine, wherein the grace of delivery is so dissipated by the broken condition of the instrument, that no contrivance of skill can avail to recover it!  But I beg that in going through the statements of this work, you would not seek the foliage of eloquence therein: for by the sacred oracles the vanity of a barren wordiness is purposely debarred those that treat thereof, in that it is forbidden to plant a grove in the temple of God. And doubtless we are all of us aware, that as often as the overrank crop shews stalks that abound in leaves, the grains of the ears are least filled and swelling.  And hence that art of speaking itself, which is conveyed by rules of worldly training, I have despised to observe; for as the tenor of this Epistle also will tell, I do not escape the collisions of metacism, nor do I avoid the confusion of barbarisms, and I slight the observing of situations and arrangements, and the cases of prepositions; for I account it very far from meet to submit the words of the divine Oracle to the rules of Donatus.  For neither are these observed by any of the translators thereof, in the authoritative auctoritate text of Holy Writ.  Now as my exposition takes its origin from thence, it is plainly meet that this production, like a kind of offspring, should wear the likeness of its mother.  Now it is the new Translation that I comment on; but when a case to be proved requires it, I take now the new and now the old for testimony, that as the Apostolic See, over which I preside by ordinance of God, uses both, the labours of my undertaking may have the support of both.

 
Preface.

Wherein he in few words goes through the particulars, which are to be laid open in the course of the entire work.

1.  IT is often a question with many persons, who should be held for the writer of the Book of the Blessed Job; and some indeed conjecture that Moses was the author of this work, others, some one of the Prophets.  For because it is related in the Book of Genesis Gen.  36, 33 that Jobab sprung from the stock of Esau, and that he succeeded Bale Bela E.V. the son of Beor upon the throne, they have inferred that this Blessed Job lived long before the times of Moses, evidently from ignorance of the manner of Holy Writ, which in the earlier parts is wont to touch slightly upon events that are not to follow till long afterwards, when the object is to proceed without delay to particularize other events with greater exactness.  Whence it happens, that in that case likewise it is mentioned of Jobab, that he was before there arose kings in Israel.  Therefore we clearly see that He never could have lived before the Law, who is marked out as having lived during the time of the Judges of Israel; which being little attended to by some, they suppose that Moses was the writer of his acts, as placing him long before, ut vide licet so that in effect the self-same person who was able to deliver the precepts of the Law for our instruction; should be supposed also to have commended to us examples of virtue derived from the life of a man that was a Gentile.  But some, as has been said, suppose some one of the Prophets to have been the Author of this work, maintaining that no man could have knowledge of those words of God, which have such deep mystery, save he whose mind was raised to things above by the spirit of Prophecy.

2.  But who was the writer, it is very superfluous to enquire; since at any rate the Holy Spirit is confidently believed to have been the Author.  He then Himself wrote them, Who dictated the things that should be written.  He did Himself write them Who both was present as the Inspirer in that Saint's work, and by the mouth of the writer has consigned to us his acts as patterns for our imitation.  If we were reading the words of some great man with his Epistle in our hand, yet were to enquire by what pen they were written, doubtless it would be an absurdity, to know the Author of the Epistle and understand his meaning, and notwithstanding to be curious to know with what sort of pen the words were marked upon the page.  When then we .understand the matter, and are persuaded that the Holy Spirit was its Author, in stirring a question about the author, what else do we than in reading a letter enquire about the pen?

 3.  Yet we may with greater probability suppose that the same blessed Job, who bore the strife of the spiritual conflict, did likewise relate the circumstances of his victory when achieved; nor should it influence us that it is said in the same book, 'Job said,' or, ‘Job bore this or that;' for it is the manner of Holy Scripture for the persons who are writing so to speak of themselves in it, as though they were speaking of others.  Whence it is that Moses says, Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. Numb. 12, 3  Hence John says, that Disciple whom Jesus loved; John 19, 26 hence Luke says, that two of them were walking by the way, Cleophas and another; Luke 24, which other indeed, while he was so carefully silent about him, he shewed to have been no other than himself, as some assert.  The writers then of Holy Writ because they are moved by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, do therein so bear witness of themselves as though of other persons.  Thus the Holy Spirit by the mouth of Moses spake of Moses, the Holy Spirit speaking by John spoke of John.  Paul too intimates that he did not speak from the dictates of his own mind, by saying, Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me. 2 Cor. 13, 3  It is hence that the Angel who is described to have appeared to Moses, is now mentioned as an Angel, now as the Lord; an Angel in truth, in respect of that which was subservient to the external delivery; and the Lord, because He was the Director within, Who supplied the effectual power of speaking.  Therefore as the speaker is inwardly directed, by virtue of his obedience to instructions, he receives the name of Angel, by virtue of his inspiration, that of Lord.  Hence David exclaims, Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. Ps. 78, For it was neither David's law, nor David's people, but he, assuming the character of Him from whom He spoke, speaks with His authority with Whose inspiration he was filled.  This we perceive to be daily practised in the Church, if we regard the thing attentively; for the reader standing in the midst of the people exclaims, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Exod. 3, 6Yet that he is himself God, he says not certainly with truth, nor yet by saying what he does is the line of truth deviated from; for by his voice he first proclaims the sovereignty of Him, Whose minister he is in the office of reading.  Therefore the writers of Holy Writ, because when full of the Holy Spirit they are lifted above their own nature, are as it were put out of themselves, and in this manner they deliver sentiments about themselves, as though about other persons.  In this way Blessed Job also, being under the influence of the Holy Spirit, might have written his own acts, which were, for that matter, gifts of inspiration from above, as though they were not his own; for in so far as it was a human being, who spoke things which were of God, all that he spake belonged to Another, and in so far as the Holy Spirit spake of what is proper to a human being, it was Another that gave utterance to the things that belonged to him.

4.  But we should now leave these points behind us, and hasten forward to consider the particulars of the Sacred History.  Every man, even from this, that he is a man, ought to understand the Author of his being, to Whose will he must submit the more completely, in the same proportion that he reflects that of himself he is nothing; yet we, when created I by Him, neglected to take God into our thoughts.  Precepts were had recourse to: precepts likewise we have refused to obey, Examples are added; these very examples too we decline to follow, which we see were set forth to us by those under the Law; for because God did openly address Himself to particular persons who were placed under the Law, we regard ourselves as unconcerned with those particular precepts, to whom they were not specially addressed; wherefore to confound our shamelessness, a Gentile is handed down to be our example, that as he that is set under the Law disdains to pay obedience to the Law, he may at least be roused by comparing himself with him, who without the Law lived as by law, The Law then was given to one gone astray; but when even under the Law he still strays, he has the testimony of those brought before him, who are without the pale of the Law, that forasmuch as we would not keep to the order of our creation conditionis, we might be admonished of our duty by precepts, and because we scorned to obey the precepts, we might be shamed by examples, not, as we have said, the examples of those who had the restraint of the Law, but of those who had no law to restrain them from sin.

5.  The Divine Providence has compassed us about, and cut off all excuse; all opening to man's equivocating arts is every way closed; a Gentile, one without the Law, is brought forward to confound the iniquity of those that are under the Law; which is well and summarily shewn by the Prophet, when He says, Be thou ashamed, O Zidon, saith the sea; Isai. 23, 4 for in Sidon we have a figure of the stedfastness of those settled upon the foundation of the Law, and in the sea of the life of the Gentiles; accordingly, Be thou ashamed, O Zidon, saith the sea, because the life of those under the Law is convicted by the life of Gentiles, and the conduct of men in a state of religion is put to confusion by the conduct of those living in the world, so long as the first do not, even under vows, observe what they hear enjoined in precepts: the latter by their manner of life keep those ways whereunto they are not in any wise bound by legal enactments.  Now for the authority this book has received, we have the weighty testimony of the sacred page itself, where the Prophet Ezekiel says, that those men alone should have deliverance granted to them., viz.  Noah, Daniel, and Job; nor is it without propriety, that in the midst of Hebrew, lives, that of a righteous Gentile is placed in that authority which commands the reverence of men; because as our Redeemer came to redeem both Jews and Gentiles, so He was willing to be prophesied of by the lips both of Jews and Gentiles, that He might be named by either people utrumque populum, Who was at a future time to suffer for both.

6.  This man then, with all the surpassing powers whereby he was sustained, was known to his own conscience and to God; but had he not been stricken he would never have been the least known to us.  For his virtue had its exercise indeed even in peaceful times, but it was by strokes that the report of; his virtue was stirred up to fragrance: and he, who in repose kept within himself all that he was, when disturbed did scatter; abroad the odour of his fortitude, for all to know.  For as unguents, unless they be stirred, are never smelt far off, and as aromatic scents spread not their fragrance except they be burned, so the Saints in their tribulations make known all the sweetness that they have of their virtues.  Whence it is well said in the Gospel, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. Matt. 17, 20  For unless a grain of mustard seed be bruised, the extent of its virtue is never acknowledged.  For without bruising it is insipid lene, but if it is bruised it becomes hot, and if gives out all those pungent properties that were concealed in it.  Thus every good man, so long as he is not smitten, is regarded as insipid lenis, and of slight account.  But if ever the grinding of persecution crush him, instantly he gives forth all the warmth of his savour, and all that before appeared to be weak or contemptible, is turned into godly fervour, and that which in peaceful times he had been glad to keep from view within his own bosom, he is driven by the force of tribulations to make known; so that the Prophet says with justice, Yet the Lord hath commanded His lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night He hath declared it; Ps 42, p for the lovingkindness of the Lord is commanded in the day time, because the season of rest is perceived by the sense of it cognoscendo, but ‘in the night it is declared,’ because the gift which is received in tranquillity is made manifest in tribulation.

7.  But we ought to search out more particularly why so many strokes fell to the lot of him who maintained without blame such strict guard of the several virtues: for he had humility, as he himself even testifies, If I did despise to be judged in the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me. Job 313  He shewed hospitality, as himself describes, when he says; the stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller. Job 332  He maintained a vigorous exercise of discipline, as his own words shew; The princes refrained talking, and laid their fingers on their mouth. Job 29, 9  With that vigour he yet retained mildness, according to his own confession, where he says, I sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, yet as one that comforteth the mourners.  In almsdeeds he cherished a bountiful spirit, as he himself intimates by saying, If I have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof. Job 3 Whereas then he performed all the precepts of the several virtues, one thing was wanting to him, viz. that when stricken even he should learn to render thanks: it was known that he knew how to serve God when surrounded by blessings, but it was meet that a most searching severity should put it to the test, whether even under the lash he would yet remain constant to his God, for chastisement is the test, whether when let to rest a man really loves.  Him the adversary sought indeed to obtain that he might prove deficient deficeret in godliness, but obtained that he might prove a proficient proficeret therein.  The Lord in loving-kindness permitted that to be done, which the devil in his wickedness required; for when the enemy had got leave to have him with the purpose of destroying him, by his temptations he effected that his merits were augmented.  For it is written, In all this Job sinned not with his lips. Job 22  Yet doubtless there are certain words of his rejoinders, which sound harshly to readers of little experience, for the sayings of the Saints these are unable to understand in the pious sense in which they are spoken, and because they are unskilled to make their own the feelings of the afflicted Saint, therefore it is impossible for them to interpret aright the expressions of grief, for it is a sympathy that lowers itself to his state of suffering, that knows how to estimate aright the meaning of the sufferer.

8.  And so they conclude that blessed Job was a defaulter in his speech, without sufficiently considering, that if they convict the blessed Job's replies, they at the same time bear witness that God's sentence concerning him was untrue.  For the Lord saith to the devil, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Job 8  To Whom the devil presently replies, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Has not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house?  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch him, and see if he hath not blessed Thee to Thy face. v. 9,  The enemy then put forth his strength upon the blessed Job, but in doing this he entered the lists against God, and in this way blessed Job became the intermediate subject of the contest between God and the devil.  Whoever then maintains that the holy man, when in the midst of the strokes, committed sin by the words which he uttered, what else doth he than reproach God, Who had pledged Himself proposuerat for him, with having been the loser?  For the same God was pleased to take upon Himself the cause of the Saint under his trial, Who both extolled him before his afflictions, and on thus extolling allowed him to undergo the trial of those scourges.  If then Job is said to have gone wrong, his advocate is made out to have been foiled: though the gifts vouchsafed him alone testify, that he did not transgress at all: for who does not know that what is due to faults is not reward but chastisement?  He then who merited to receive back double what he had lost, proved by this compensation that there was nought of evil, but only virtue in all that he said, and to this declaration too it is further added, that he is himself the intercessor in behalf of his guilty friends.  For one that is involved in great sins, can never, when burthened with his own, discharge another's score; he then is shewn to be clear in his own case, who could obtain for others their clearance from guilt.  If however it be displeasing to any, that he is himself the relator of his own goodness, let them know that in the midst of so many losses of his substance, amidst so many wounds of the body, amidst so many deaths of his children, with the friends, who had come to comfort him, breaking out into reproaches, he was urged to despair of his life, and he whom such repeated calamities had sorely smitten, was further stricken by the insulting language of the reproachers; for these, that had come to comfort him, while they upbraided him with his unrighteousness as it seemed to them, were driving him quite to give up all hope of himself; whereas then he recalls his good deeds to mind, it is not that he lifts himself up in self applause, but sets anew reformat his mind to hope, when as it were sunk down amid those reproaches and those strokes.  For the mind is smitten with a heavy weapon of despair, when it is both hard pressed with the tribulations of wrath from above, and galled by the reproaches of men's tongues without.  Blessed Job therefore, thus pierced with the darts of so many woes, when he now feared to be brought down by their reproaches, recalled himself to a state of confidence, by the assurance derived from his past life.  He then did not thereby fall into the sin of presumption, because he resisted an inward impulse to despair by the outward expression of his own eulogies, to the end that while he recounted the good things which he had done he might be saved from despairing of the good that he had sought.

9.  But now let us follow out the actual course of his trial.  The enemy, full of rage, and striving to conquer the firm breast of that holy man, set up against him the engines of temptation, spoiled his substance, slew his children, smote his body, instigated his wife, and while he brought his friends to console him, urged, them to the harshest upbraiding.  One friend too was more cruel in his reproaches, he reserved with the last and bitterest invective, that by the frequency of the stroke, if not otherwise, the heart might be reached by that which was ever being repeated with a fresh wound.  For because he saw that he had power in the world, he thought to move him by the loss of his substance, and finding him unshaken, he smote him by the death of his children.  But seeing that from that wound which made him childless he even gained strength to the greater magnifying of God's praise, he asked leave to smite the health of his body.  Seeing moreover that by the pain of the body he could not compass the affecting passionem of the mind, he instigated his wife, for he saw that the city which he desired to storm was too strong; therefore by bringing upon him so many external plagues, he led an army as it were on the outside against him, but, when he kindled the feelings of his wife into words of mischievous persuasion, it was as though he corrupted the hearts of the citizens within; For so from external wars we are instructed how to think of those within.  For an enraged enemy, that holds a city encircled by his surrounding armies, upon perceiving its fortifications to remain unshaken, betakes himself to other methods argumenta of attack, with this object, that he may corrupt the hearts of some of the citizens also within; so that, when he has led on the assailants from without, he may also have cooperators within, and that when the heat of the battle increases outside, the city being left without succour by the treachery of those within, of whose faith no doubt is felt, may become his prey.

10.  And thus a battering ram having been planted on the outside, as it were, he smote the walls of this city with blows many in number, as the several times that he brought tidings of calamities; while on the inside, he, as it were, corrupted the hearts of the citizens, when he set himself to undermine the strong bulwarks of this city by the persuasions of the wife.  In this manner he brought to bear, from without, an hostile assault, from within, baneful counsels, that he might capture the city the sooner, in proportion as he troubled it both from within and from without.  But because there are times when words are more poignant than wounds, he armed himself, as we have said, with the tongues of his friends.  Those indeed that were of graver years, might perchance give the less pain by their words.  The younger is made to take their place, to deal that holy bosom a wound so much the sharper, the meaner was the arm that be impelled to strike blows against it.  Behold the enemy mad to strike down his indomitable strength, how many the darts of temptation that he devised, see, what numberless beleaguering engines he set about him! See how many weapons of assault he let fly, but in all his mind continued undaunted, the city stood unshaken.

11.  It is the aim of enemies, when they come up face to face, to send off some in secret, who may be so much the more free to strike a blow in the flank of the hostile force, in proportion as he that is fighting is more eagerly intent upon the enemy advancing in front.  Job, therefore, being caught in the warfare of this conflict, received the losses which befel him like foes in his front; he took the words of his comforters like enemies on his flank, and in all turning round the shield of his stedfastness, he stood defended at all points, and ever on the watch, parried on all sides the swords directed against him.  By his silence he marks his unconcern for the loss of his substance; the flesh, dead in his children, he bewails with composure; the flesh in his own person stricken, he endures with fortitude; the flesh in his wife suggesting mischievous persuasions, he instructeth with wisdom.  In addition to all this his friends start forth into the bitterness of upbraiding, and coming to appease his grief, increase its force.  Thus all the engines of temptation are turned by this holy man to the augmentation of his virtues; for by the wounds his patience is tried, and by the words his wisdom is exercised.  Every where he meets the enemy with an undaunted mien, for the scourges he overcame by resolution, and the words by reasoning.  But his friends, who came indeed to administer consolation, but who deviate from their purpose even to using terms of reproach, must be thought to have erred more from ignorance than wickedness.  For we must never imagine that so great a man had evil minded friends, but, while they fail to discern the cause of his scourges, they slide into a fault.

12.  For of scourges there are sundry kinds; for there is the scourge whereby the sinner is stricken that he may suffer punishment without withdrawal retractione, another whereby he is smitten, that he may be corrected; another wherewith sometimes a man is smitten, not for the correction of past misdeeds, but for the prevention of future; another which is very often inflicted, whereby neither a past transgression is corrected, nor a future one prevented, but which has this end, that when unexpected deliverance follows the stroke, the power of the Deliverer being known may be the more ardently beloved, and that while the innocent person is bruised by the blow, his patience may serve to increase the gain of his merits; for sometimes the sinner is stricken that he may be punished, without withdrawal, as it is said to Judaea when doomed to destruction, I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one; Jerem. 30, and again, Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable. v. 15  Sometimes the sinner is stricken that he may be amended, as it is said to one in the Gospel, Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee; John 5, for the words of his deliverer indicate that it was past sins which were exacting all the violence of the pain which he had endured, In some cases the person smitten, not for the obliteration of a past offence, but for the avoidance of a future one, which the Apostle Paul openly testifies of himself, saying, And lest I shall be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. 2Cor. 12, 7  For he who says, not ‘that he was exalted,’ but, ‘lest he should be exalted,’ clearly shews that by that stroke it is held in check that it may not take place, and that it is not a fault that has taken place now clearing away.  But sometimes the person is stricken neither for past not yet for future transgression, but that the alone mightiness of the Divine power may be set forth in the cutting short of the striking; whence when it was said unto the Lord concerning the blind man in the Gospel, Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? the Lord answered, saying, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him: John 9, 2.3. in which manifestation what else is done, saving that by that scourge the excellence of his merits is increased, and while there is no past transgression wiped away, the patience may engender a mighty fortitude.  For which reason the same blessed Job is first extolled by the voice of the Judge, and is then given up into the hand of the Tempter, and whereas God, in recompensing him after the scourge, speaks to him in a more familiar manner, it is plainly shewn how much greater he became by the stroke; so then the friends of blessed Job, while they were unable to distinguish the different kinds of strokes, believed him to be stricken for his guiltiness, and while they endeavoured to vindicate the justice of God in smiting him, they were driven to reprove blessed Job of unrighteousness; not knowing in fact that for this reason he was stricken, viz. that the stroke might redound to the praise of God's glory, and not that by those strokes he might be brought to amend the evil, which he had never done; and hence they are the sooner restored to pardon, because they sinned from ignorance rather than from an evil disposition; and their pride the Divine Justice puts down with so much the stronger hand, as It refuses to renew them in Its favour, saving by means of him whom they had despised.  For a high mind is effectually struck down when it is bowed beneath the very person over whom it has exalted itself.

13.  But amongst these marvellous works of Divine Providence it yields us satisfaction to mark, how, for the enlightening the night of this present life, each star in its turn appears in the face of Heaven, until that towards the end of the night the Redeemer of mankind ariseth like the true Morning Star; for the space of night, being enlightened by the stars as they set and rise in their courses, is passed with the heavens in exceeding beauty.  Thus in order that the ray of stars, darting forth at its appointed time, and changed in succession, might reach the darkness of our night, Abel comes to shew us innocency; Enoch, to teach purity of practice; Noah, to win admittance for lessons of endurance in hope and in work; Abraham, to manifest obedience; Isaac, to shew an example of chastity in wedded life; Jacob, to introduce patience in labour; Joseph, for the repaying evil with the favour of a good turn; Moses, for the shewing forth of mildness; Joshua, to form us to confidence against difficulties; Job, to shew patience amid afflictions.  Lo what lustrous stars see we in the sky, that the foot of practice may never stumble as we walk this our night's journey; since for so many Saints as God's Providence set forth to man's cognizance, He, as it were, sent just so many stars into the sky, over the darkness of erring man, till the true Morning Star should rise, Who, being the herald to us of the eternal morning, should outshine the other stars by the radiance of His Divinity.

14.  And all the elect, whilst by their holy living serving as His forerunners, gave promise of Him by prophesying both in deeds and words.  For there never was any Saint who did not appear as His herald in figure; for it was meet that all should display that goodness in themselves whereby both all became good, and which they knew to be for the good of all, and therefore that blessing ought also to be promised without pause which was vouchsafed both to be received without price sine aestimatione and to be kept without end, that all generations might together tell what the end of all should bring to light, in the redemption of which all were partakers.  And therefore it behoved that blessed Job also, who uttered those high mysteries of His Incarnation, should by his life be a sign of Him, Whom by voice he proclaimed, and by all that he underwent should shew forth what were to be His sufferings; and should so much the more truly foretel the mysteries sacramenta of His Passion, as he prophesied then not merely with his lips but also by suffering.  But because our Redeemer has shewn Himself to be one with the Holy Church, which He has taken to Himself; for of Him it is said, Who is the Head of us all; Eph. 4, and of the Church it is written, the Body of Christ, Which is the Church, Col. 24 whosoever in his own person betokens Him, at one time designates Him in respect of the Head, at another of the Body, so as to have not only the voice of the Head, but also of the Body; and hence the Prophet Isaiah, in giving utterance to the words of the same Lord, says, He hath put upon me a mitre like unto a Bride-.  groom, and hath decked me with jewels as a Bride. Isa. 610 Vulg.  Therefore because the same person that in the Head is the Bridegroom, is in the Body the Bride, it follows that when, at times, any thing is spoken from the Head, there must be a turning down by degrees or even at once to the voice of the Body, and again when any thing is said that is of the Body, there must be presently a rising to the voice of the Head.  Accordingly the blessed Job conveys a type of the Redeemer, Who is to come together with His own Body: and his wife who bids him curse, marks the life of the carnal, who having place within the Holy Church with unamended morals, as by their faith they are brought near to the godly, press them the more sorely by their lives, since while they cannot be shunned as being of the faithful, they are endured by the faithful as the greater harm by how much nearer home deterius quanto et interius.

15.  But his friends, who, while acting as his counsellors, at the same time inveigh against him, are an express image of heretics, who under shew of giving counsel, are busied in leading astray; and hence they address the blessed Job as though in behalf of the Lord, but yet the Lord does not commend them, that is, because all heretics, while they try to defend, only offend God.  Whence they are plainly told, and that by the same holy man I desire to reason with God; first shewing that ye are forgers of lies, ye are followers of corrupt doctrines. Job 13, 3.4.   According to which it appears that these by their erroneous notions stood a type of heretics, whom the holy man charges with adhering to a creed cultui of corrupt doctrines.  But every heretic, in this, that he is seen to defend God, is a gainsayer of His troth, according to the testimony of the Psalmist, who says, That Thou mightest still the enemy and the defender Ps. 8, 2. E.V. avenger, for he is an enemy and defender, who so preaches God as thereby to be fighting against Him.

16.  Now that blessed Job maintains the semblance of the Redeemer to come, his very name is a proof.  For Job is, if interpreted, 'grieving;' by which same grief we have set forth, either our Mediator's Passion, or the travails of Holy Church, which is harassed by the manifold toils of this present life.  Moreover by the word which stands for their name his friends mark out the quality of their conduct.  For Eliphas is called in the Latin tongue, ‘contempt of the Lord,’ and what else do heretics, than in entertaining false notions of God contemn Him by their proud conceits.  Baldad is by interpretation ‘Oldness alone.’  And well are all heretics styled, ‘Oldness alone,’ in the things which they speak concerning God, forasmuch as it is with no right purpose but with a longing for temporal honour that they desire to appear as preachers.  For they are moved to speak not by the zeal of the new man, but by the evil principles of the old life.  ‘Sophar’ too is rendered in the Latin language ‘dissipation of the prospect,’ or, ‘one dissipating the prospect.’  For the minds of the faithful lift themselves to the contemplation of things above; but as the words of heretics aim to prevent them in their contemplation of light objects, they do their best to ‘dissipate the prospect.’  Thus in the three names of Job's friends, we have set forth three cases casus of the ruin of heretical minds.  For unless they held God in contempt, they would never entertain false notions concerning Him; and unless they drew along with them a heart of oldness, they would: never err in the understanding of the new life; and unless they marred the contemplations of good things or, of good men, the Supreme judgments would never condemn them with so strict a scrutiny for the guiltiness of their words.  By holding God in contempt, then, they keep themselves in oldness, and by being kept in oldness, they injure the contemplation of right objects See by their erring discourses.

17.  Now because it sometimes happens that heretics being penetrated with the bountiful streams of Divine grace return to the unity of Holy Church, this is well represented in the very reconcilement of his friends.  Yet blessed Job is bidden to intercede for them, because the sacrifices of heretics can never be acceptable to God, unless they be offered in their behalf by the hands of the universal Church, that by her merits they may obtain the recovery of salvation, whom they did strike before by assailing her with the darts of their words; and hence seven sacrifices are recorded to have been offered for them, for whereas in confessing they receive the Spirit of sevenfold grace, they do as it were obtain expiation by seven offerings.  It is hence that in the Apocalypse of John the whole Church is represented by the number of seven Churches Rev. 12.  Hence it is said of wisdom by Solomon, Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn, out her seven pillars. Prov. 9, 1 And thus by the very number of the sacrifices those reconciled heretics set forth what they were before, in that these are not united to the perfection of sevenfold grace, except by returning.

18.  But they are well described as having offered for themselves bulls and rams.  For in the bull is figured the neck of pride, and in the ram, the leading of the flocks that follow.  What then is it to slaughter bulls and rams in their behalf, but to put an end to their proud leading, so that they may think humbly of themselves, and not seduce the hearts of the innocent to follow after them.  For they had started away from the unity of the Church with a swelling neck, and were drawing after them the weak folk like flocks following behind.  Therefore let them come to blessed Job; i.e.  return to the Church; and present bulls and rams to be slaughtered for a sevenfold sacrifice, and that they may be united to the universal Church, let them with the interposition of humility kill all the swelling humour wherewith their proud leadership savoured them.

19.  Now by Heliu, who speaks indeed with a right sense, yet runs down derivatur into foolish words of pride, is set forth a representation of every proud person.  For there are many within the pale of Holy Church, that are too proud to put forward in a right manner the right sentiments, which they profess, and hence he is both rebuked with the words of God's upbraiding, and yet no sacrifices offered in his behalf, in that he is a believer indeed, yet high-minded.  By the truth of his belief he is within, but by the obstacle which his pride presents he is not acceptable.  Him read Hunc ergo, as old ed. and Mss. therefore rebuke reproves, but sacrifice does not restore him, because he is indeed in the faith that he ought to be in, yet the Supreme Justice, charging him with things over and above what need to be, keeps him at a distance.  Hence Heliu is well rendered in the Latin tongue, ‘That my God,’ or, ‘God, the Lord.’  For proud men within Holy Church, though they keep away from God by living proudly, yet acknowledge Him by believing truly.  For what is it for him to say by his name, ‘That my God,’ but to shew forth Him Whom he believed with a public avowal?  Or what is it to say, ‘God the Lord,’ but to accept Him both as God by virtue of His Divinity, and to hold Him For Man by His Incarnation? 

20.  It is well that after the losses of his substance, after the death of his children, after the tortures of his wounds, after the strife and conflict of words, he is raised up again with a double reward, clearly, in that Holy Church, even while yet in this present life, receives a double recompense for the toils she undergoes, since having taken in the Gentiles to the full, at the end of the world she converts to herself the souls of the Jews likewise.  For it is on this account written, Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved. Rom. 125. 26.  And she will afterwards receive a double recompense, in that, when the toils of this present time are over, she rises not alone to the joy of souls, but to a blessed estate of bodies.  And hence the Prophet rightly says, therefore in their land they shall possess the double. Isa. 67  For ‘in the Land of the Living’ the Saints possess the double, because we know they are gladdened with blessedness both of mind and body.  Hence John in the Apocalypse, because it was before the resurrection of bodies that he saw the souls of the Saints crying, beheld how that they had given them a stole to each, saying, And white robes were given, one singulae to every one of them, and it was said, that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Rev. 6,  For before the Resurrection they are said to have received a stole to each, for that as yet they are gifted with blessedness of mind alone; and therefore they will receive each one two, whenever, together with the perfect bliss of souls, they shall be clothed also with incorruptibility of bodies.

21.  Now it is very properly that the affliction indeed of blessed Job is told, but the length of time that he was under the affliction is kept back, for we see the tribulation of Holy Church in this life, but know nothing for how long she is here to undergo bruising and delay; and hence it is spoken by the mouth of Truth, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power. Acts 7  Herein then, that the suffering of blessed Job is told us, we are taught what we are made acquainted withal by experience; and herein, that the length of time that he continued in his suffering is withheld, we are taught what it is we must remain ignorant of.

We have drawn out these words of preface to some length, that by briefly running over it we might in a manner give a view of the whole.  Now then that by long discoursing we have been brought to the commencement of our discourse, we must first settle the root of the historical meaning, that we may afterwards let our minds take their fill of the fruits of the allegorical senses.

 
1 The first verses of the first chapter of the Book of Job are explained first historically, then in an allegorical, and lastly in a moral sense.
1 - 1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. 

1.   Job It is for this reason that we are told where the holy man dwelt, that the meritoriousness of his virtue might be expressed; for who knows not that Uz is a land of the Gentiles?   and the Gentile world came under the dominion of wickedness, in the same proportion that its eyes were shut to the knowledge of its Creator.   Let us be told then where he dwelt, that this circumstance may be reckoned to his praise, that he was good among bad men; for it is no very great praise to be good in company with the good, but to be good with the bad; for as it is a greater offence not to be good among good men, so it is immeasurably high testimony for any one to have shewn himself good even among the wicked.   Hence it is that the same blessed Job bears witness to himself, saying, I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. Job 30, 29  Hence it was that Peter extolled Lot with high commendation, because he found him to be good among a reprobate people; saying, And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; for he was righteous in seeing and hearing so Vulg., dwelling with them who vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds. 2 Pet. 2, 7.8.  Now he evidently could not have been vexed unless he had both heard and witnessed the wicked deeds of his neighbours, and yet he is called righteous both in seeing and in hearing, because their wicked lives affected the ears and eyes of the Saint not with a pleasant sensation, but with the pain of a blow.  Hence it is that Paul says to his disciples, In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine like lights in the world. Phil. 2, 15  Hence it is said to the Angel of the Church of Pergamos, I know thy works,and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is; and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith. Rev. 2, 13  Hence the Holy Church is commended by the voice of the Spouse, where He says to her in the Song of love, As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters. Cant. 2, 2  Well then is the blessed Job described, (by the mention of a gentile land,) as having dwelt among the wicked, that according to the testimony borne by the Spouse, be might be shewn to have grown up a lily among thorns, for which reason it is well subjoined immediately after,

 
1 - 2 And that man was simple so Vulg. and upright  

For there are some in such wise simple as not to know what uprightness is, but these walk wide of the innocence of real simplicity, in proportion as they are far from mounting up to the virtue of uprightness; for while they know not how to take heed to their steps by following uprightness, they can never remain innocent by walking in simplicity.  Hence it is that Paul warns his disciples, and says, But yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. Rom. 16,  Hence again he says, Brethren, be not children in understanding, howbeit in malice be ye children. 1 Cor. 14, 20  Hence Truth enjoins Her disciples by Her own lips, saying, Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Mat. 10,  For in giving them admonition, He needfully joined the two together, so that both the simplicity of the dove might be instructed by the craftiness of the serpent, and again the craftiness of the serpent might be attempered by the simplicity of the dove.  Hence it is that the Holy Spirit has manifested His presence to mankind, not in the form of a dove only, but also in the form of fire.  For by the dove simplicity is indicated, and by fire, zeal.  Therefore He is manifested in a dove, and in fire, because all they, who are full of Him, yield themselves to the mildness of simplicity, in such sort as yet to kindle with a zeal of uprightness against the offences of sinners.  It follows, 

 
1 - 3 And one, that feared God and eschewed evil  

To fear God is never to pass over any good thing, that ought to be done.  Whence it is said by Solomon, Whoso fears God, neglects nothing Eccl. 7, 18, (Vulg.) 19.; but because there are some, who practise some good actions, yet in such wise that they are by no means withheld from certain evil practices; after he is said to have been one that feared God, it is still rightly reported of him that he also eschewed evil; for it is written, Depart from evil, and do good Ps. 37, 27; for indeed those good actions are not acceptable to God, which are stained in His sight by the admixture of evil deeds; and hence it is said by Solomon, He who offendeth in one point, spoileth many good deeds Eccl. 9, 18.  Hence James bears witness, saying, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2,  Hence Paul saith, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump 1 Cor. 5, 6.  So then that it might be shewn us how spotless the blessed Job stood forth in his good actions, it is wisely done that we have it pointed out how far he was removed from evil deeds.   

 
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But it is the custom of narrators, when a wrestling match is woven into the story, first to describe the limbs of the combatants, how broad and strong the chest, how sound, how full their muscles swelled, how the belly below neither clogged by its weight, nor weakened by its shrunken size, that when they have first shewn the limbs to be fit for the combat, they may then at length describe their bold and mighty strokes.  Thus because our athlete was about to combat the devil, the writer of the sacred story, recounting as it were before the exhibition in the arena the spiritual merits in this athlete, describes the members of the soul mentis, saying, And that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil; that when the powerful setting of the limbs is known, from this very strength we may already prognosticate also the victory to follow.  Next comes, 
 
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5.  Ver.  2.  And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.  The heart of the parent is often enticed into avarice by a numerous offspring, for he is the more inflamed with ambition for laying up an inheritance, in proportion as he abounds in the number to inherit it.  In order then that it might be shewn what holiness of mind blessed Job possessed, he is both called righteous, and is said to have been the father of a numerous offspring.  And the same man in the beginning of his book is declared devout in offering sacrifices, and besides he afterwards with his own mouth records himself as ready in giving alms.  Let us then consider with what resolution he shewed himself to be endowed, whom no feelings of affection for so many heirs could ever dispose to be greedy of an inheritance for them.  It proceeds;
 
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5.  Ver.  3.  His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household.  We know that the greater the loss, the greater the grief with which it affects the mind; to shew then how great was his virtue, we are told that it was very much, that he lost with patience; for never without pain do we part with aught, saving that which we hold without fondness; therefore while the greatness of his substance is described, yet soon after he is reported as resigned to the loss of it; thus parting with it without regret, it is plain that he had kept it without regard.  It is also to be noted that in the first instance the riches of his heart are described, and afterwards the wealth of the body; for an abundant store is wont to make the mind so much the more slack to the fear of God, as it obliges it to be occupied with a diversity of cares; for inasmuch as it is dissipated by a multitude of objects, it is prevented standing fast in that which is within.  Which was pointed out by Truth Itself in setting forth the Parable of the sower; He also that received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matt. 13, 22  See how the blessed Job is both said to have great possessions, and a little after is related to be devoutly assiduous in the divine sacrifices. 
 
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Let us then consider how great was the holiness of that man who though thus busied disengaged himself for such assiduous attendance upon God.  Nor had the power of that precept as yet shone out, which bids us leave all things; yet blessed Job already kept the intent of it in his heart, in that he surely had left his substance in intention, which he kept without taking delight in it. 
 
1 - 8 So that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.  Job 3
  Who does not know that the men of the East are very wealthy, accordingly ‘he was the greatest of all the men of the East;’ as though it were expressly said that he was even richer than the rich.   
 
1 - 9 Ver.  4.  And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.  

Greater wealth usually becomes the cause of greater discord between brethren.  O, inestimable praise of a father's training! the father is both declared rich, and the sons at peace together, and while the wealth to be divided among them was there, an undivided affection yet filled the hearts of all.   

 
1 - 10 Ver.  5.  And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent, and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all.  

When it is said, sent and sanctified them, it is openly shewn what strictness he practised with those when present, for whom when absent he was not wanting in concern.  But this circumstance demands our discreet consideration, that, when the days of feasting were past, he has recourse to the purification of a holocaust for each day severally; for the holy man knew that there can scarcely be feasting without offence; he knew that the revelry of feasts must be cleansed away by much purification of sacrifices, and whatever stains the sons had contracted in their own persons at their feasts, the father wiped out by the offering of a sacrifice; for there are certain evils which it is either scarcely possible, or it may be said wholly impossible, to banish from feasting.  Thus almost always voluptuousness is the accompaniment of entertainments; for when the body is relaxed in the delight of refreshment, the heart yields itself to the admission of an empty joy.  Whence it is written, 

 
1 - 11 The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Exod. 32, 6  
Almost always talkativeness is an attendant upon feasts, and when the belly is replenished, the tongue is unloosed; whence the rich man in hell is well described as thirsting for water, in these words, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. Luke 16, 24  He is first said to have fared sumptuously every lay, and then it is recorded that he craved a drop of water upon his tongue; for as we have said, because at feasts talking is wont to give itself full vent, the fault is indicated by the punishment, in that he, whom the Truth had said fared sumptuously every day, was described as most on fire in his tongue.  They that attune the harmony of stringed instruments arrange it with such exceeding skill, that frequently, when one chord is touched, a very different one, placed with many lying between, is made to vibrate, and when this last is sounded, the former, which is attempered to the same tune cantu, rings without the others being struck.  According to which Holy Scripture very often so deals with the several virtues, and vices too, that while by express mention it conveys one thing, it does by its silence bring before us another, for nothing is recorded against the rich man relating to talkativeness, but while the punishment is described as in the tongue, we are shewn, which among others was his greatest offence in his feasting. 
 
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But whereas the seven brethren are described as making feasts, each one in his day, and whereas, when the days of feasting were over, Job is related to have offered seven sacrifices; the account plainly indicates that, in offering a sacrifice on the eighth day, the blessed Job was celebrating the mystery of the Resurrection.  For the day, which is now named ‘The Lord's day,’ is the third from the death of our Redeemer, but in the order of creation it is the eighth, which is also the first in the work of creation, but because, on coming round again, it follows the seventh, it is properly reckoned the eighth; whereas then it is said that he offered sacrifices on the eighth day, it is shewn that he was full of the Spirit of sevenfold grace, and served the Lord for the hope of resurrection.  Hence that Psalm is entitled ‘for the Octave,’ wherein joy for the resurrection is proclaimed, but, that the sons of blessed Job had been forearmed by the discipline of such perfect training, that they neither offended by word nor deed at their feasts, is plainly shewn, in that it is subjoined, 
 
1 - 13
For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed" God in their hearts.  For he had taught them to be perfect in deed and in word, about whose thought alone the father entertained fears.  Now that we should not judge rashly of other men's hearts, we perceive in the words of this Saint, who does not say, ‘that they have cursed God in their hearts,’ but it may be that they have cursed God in, their hearts.  Whence it is well said by Paul, Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; 1 Cor. 4, 5 for whoever deviates from the right line in thought, sins in darkness; we then should be the more backward boldly to condemn the hearts of others, in proportion as we know that we cannot by our own sight throw light into the darkness of another man's thought.  But here al. this we should consider with discrimination, with what severity that father was likely potuit to correct the deeds of his children, who set himself with so much solicitude to purify their hearts.  What do those rulers of the Faithful say to this, who know nothing even of the very overt acts of their disciples?  What are they thinking of in excuse for themselves, who mind not in those committed to them even the wounds of evil actions?  But that his perseverance too in this holy work may be demonstrated, it is well added, 
 
1 - 14
Thus did Job all the days; for it is written, But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  In the sacrifice then, the holiness of his conduct is shewn, and in the entire number of the days of the sacrifice, perseverance in that holy conduct.  These particulars we have gone through cursorily in following out the history.  Now the order of interpretation requires that beginning afresh we should at this point open the secrets of its allegories.   
 
 ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION
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Ver, 1.  There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.  We believe from the history that these things took place, but let us here turn to see in what way they were allegorically fulfilled; for, as we have said, Job is interpreted, ‘a mourner,’ and Uz ‘a counsellor.’  Whom else then does the blessed Job express by his name, saving Him, of Whom the Prophet speaks, saying, Surely He hath borne our griefs? Isa. 53, 4  He dwells in the land of Uz, in that He rules the hearts of a people of wise counsels; for Paul saith, that Christ is the Wisdom of God and the Power of God 1 Cor. 24; and this same Wisdom Herself by the lips of Solomon declareth, I Wisdom dwell with Prudence, and am in the midst of witty inventions. Prov. 8,  So Job is an inhabitant of the land of Uz, because Wisdom, Which underwent the pain of the Passion in our behalf, has made an habitation for Herself in those hearts, which are instinct with the counsels of life.   
 
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And that man was perfect and upright, In uprightness, justice is signified, and in simplicity, mercy or ‘meekness,’ mansuetudo.  We in following out the straight line of justice, generally leave mercy behind; and in aiming to observe mercy, we deviate from the straight line of justice.  Yet the Incarnate Lord maintained simplicity with uprightness; for He neither in shewing mercy parted with the strictness of Justice, nor again in the exactitude of justice did He part with the virtue of mercifulness.  Hence when certain persons, having brought an adulteress before Him, would have tempted Him, in order that He might step into the fault either of unmercifulness or of injustice, He answered both alternatives by saying, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.John 8, 7  He that is without sin among you, gives us the simplicity of mercy, let him first cast a stone at her, gives us the jealous sense of justice.  Whence too the Prophet saith to him, And in Thy Majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness. Ps. 45, 4  For in executing truth, He kept mercy united with justice, so that He neither lost the jealous sense of rectitude in the preponderance of mercy's scale, nor again unsettled the preponderance of mercy by that jealousy of rectitude.   
 
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And one that feared God, and eschewed evil.  It is written of Him, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord hath filled Him; for the Incarnate Lord shewed forth in His own person whatsoever He hath inspired us withal, that what He delivered by precept, He might recommend by example.  So then according to our human nature our Redeemer feared God, for to redeem proud man, He took for man's sake an humble mind.  And His acting likewise is fitly designated hereby, in that the blessed Job is said to eschew evil.  For He Himself eschewed evil, not evil which He came in contact with in the doing, but which upon meeting with it, He rejected; for He forsook the old life after man's method, which He found at His birth, and He stamped upon the character of His followers that new life, which He brought down with Him.  
 
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Ver.  2.  And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters.  What is conveyed to us in the number of seven, saving the sum of perfection?  for to say nothing of the arguments of human reasoning which maintain that it is therefore perfect, because it consists of the first even number, and of the first uneven; of the first that is capable of division, and of the first which is incapable of it; we know most certainly that holy Scripture is wont to put the number seven for perfection, whence also it tells us that on the seventh day the Lord rested from His works; and it is hence too ,that the seventh day was given to man for a rest; i.e.  for a 'Sabbath.'  Hence it is that the year of jubilee, wherein we have a full rest set forth, is accomplished in seven weeks, being completed by the addition of the unit of our uniting together. 
 
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Thus there were born to him seven sons; namely, the Apostles manfully issuing forth to preach; who in putting in practice the precepts of perfection, as it were maintained in their manner of life the courage of the superior sex.  For hence it is that twelve of them were chosen, who should be replenished with the perfection of the sevenfold grace of the Spirit.  As from the number seven we rise to twelve; for seven multiplied in its component parts is extended to twelve; for whether four be taken by three or three by four, seven is changed into twelve, and hence, forasmuch as the holy Apostles were sent to proclaim the holy Trinity in the four quarters of the globe, they were chosen twelve in number, that by their very number they might set forth that perfection, which they proclaimed both by their lips and in their lives.
 
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And three daughters.  What do we understand by the daughters but the weaker multitudes of the faithful, who, though they never adhere with a virtuous resolution to perfection of life, yet cleave with constancy to the belief of the Trinity which has been taught them.  Thus by ‘the seven sons’ is represented the order of the Preachers, and by ‘the three daughters’ the multitude of the hearers.  By ‘the three daughters’ may also be signified the three orders of the faithful, for after mention of the sons the daughters are named, in that succeeding next to the distinguished courage of the Apostles came three divisions of the faithful, in the state of life in the Church; viz. of Pastors, of those following continence, and of the married.  And hence the prophet Ezekiel declares that he heard three men named that were set free; viz.  Noah, and Daniel, and Job Ezek. 14, 14f; for what is signified by Noah who guided the Ark in the waters, but the order or rulers, who, while they govern the people for the fashioning of their lives, are the directors of holy Church amidst the waves of temptation?  What is represented by Daniel, whose marvellous abstinence we have described to us, but the life of the continent, who, while they give up every thing that is of the world, rule with elevated mind over Babylon which lies beneath them?  What is signified by Job but the life of the good that are married, who, while they do deeds of mercy by the good things of the world which they possess, do as it were advance to their heavenly country by the paths of earth?  Therefore because after the holy Apostles there came these three divisions of the faithful, after the sons rightly follows the mention of the three daughters that were born to him.  It proceeds:

 
1 - 21 Ver. 3.  His substance also was three thousand sheep and three thousand camels.
That believing hearers have been gathered from various manners of 1ife, a truth which is first declared generally by the mention of the daughters, the same is afterwards brought before us in detail by the specification of the animals.  For what does he set forth in the seven thousand sheep, but some men's perfect innocency, which comes from the pastures of the Law to the perfect estate of grace?  what again is signified by the three thousand camels, but the crooked defectiveness of the Gentiles coming to the fulness of faith.  Now in Holy Scripture, sometimes the Lord Himself is expressed by the title of a camel, and sometimes the Gentile people.  For the Lord is signified by the name of a camel, as when it is said by that very Lord to the Jews that set themselves against Him, who strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Mat. 23, 24  For a gnat wounds while it whispers, but a camel of free will bends to receive its load.  Thus the Jews strained at a gnat, in that they sought that a seditious robber should be let go, but they swallowed a camel, in that Him, Who had come down of His own accord to take upon Him the burthens of our mortal nature, they strove to overwhelm by their clamours.  Again, the Gentile state is signified by the naming of a camel; and hence Rebecca on going to Isaac is brought on a camel's back, in that the Church, which hastens from the Gentile state to Christ, is found in the crooked and defective behaviour of the old life; and she, when she saw Isaac, descended, in that when the Gentile world knew the Lord, it abandoned its sins, and descending from the height of self-elation sought the lowly walks of humility; and she too in bashfulness covers herself with a veil, in that she is confounded in His presence for her past life.  And hence it is said by the Apostle to these same Gentiles, What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? Rom. 6, 21  Whereas then by the sheep we understand the Hebrews coming to the faith from the pastures of the Law, nothing hinders but that we understand by the camels the Gentile people, crooked in their ways and laden with idolatrous ceremonials.  For because they devised them gods of their own selves whom they should worship, there had grown up as it were out of themselves a load upon their back which they should carry. 
 
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 Furthermore in that they are common animals, it is possible that by camels is represented the life of the Samaritans.  For camels chew the cud, but do not divide the hoof.  So likewise the Samaritans do as it were chew the cud, in that they receive in part the words of the Law, but do not divide the hoof as it were, forasmuch as they despise it in part.  And they bear a grievous burthen upon the mind's pack, in that they weary themselves in whatsoever they do without any hope of eternity.  For they are strangers to faith in the Resurrection, and what can be more grievous or more burthensome than to endure the tribulation of this passing state of existence, and yet never, for relief of mind, to look forward to the joy of our reward; but forasmuch as the Lord, when He appeared in the flesh, both filled the Hebrew people with the grace of perfection, and brought some of the Samaritans to the knowledge of the faith by shewing marvellous works, it might well be said of the shadow which was to express the reality, that he possessed both seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels.  It goes on; 

 
1 - 23 And five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses. 
We have said above that by the number fifty, which is completed by seven weeks and the addition of an unit, rest is signified, and by the number ‘ten’ the sum of perfection is set forth.  Now forasmuch as the perfection of rest is promised to the faithful, by multiplying fifty ten times,  we in this, way arrive at five hundred.  But in sacred Writ, the title of ‘oxen’ sometimes represents the dulness of the foolish sort, and sometimes the life of well doers.  For because the stupidity of the fool is represented by the title of an ox, Solomon says rightly, he goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter. Prov. 7, 22  Again, that the life of every labourer is forth by the title of oxen, the Precepts of the Law are a testimony, which enjoined through Moses; Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. Deut. 25, 4  And this again is declared in plain words; the labourer is worthy of his hire.  Luke 10, 7  By the title of asses, too, we have represented sometimes the inertness of fools, sometimes the unrestrained indulgence of the wanton, sometimes the simplemindedness of the Gentiles; for the inertness of fools is imaged by the designation of asses, as where it is said through Moses, Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. Deut. 22,  As though he said, ‘do not associate fools and wise men together in preaching, lest by means of him who has no power to accomplish the work, you hinder him who has abundant power.’  The unrestrained indulgence of the wanton is likewise set forth by the appellation of asses, as the prophet testifies, where he says, whose flesh is as the flesh if asses. Ezek. 23, 20  Again, by the title of asses is shewn the simplicity of the Gentiles.  Hence when the Lord went up toward Jerusalem, He is related to have sat upon a young ass, for what is it for Him to come to Jerusalem sitting upon an ass, except taking possession of the simple hearts of the Gentiles to conduct them to the vision of peace, by ruling and ordering them?  And this is shewn by one passage, and that a very easy one; in that both the workmen of Judaea are represented by oxen, and the Gentile peoples by an ass, when it is said by the Prophet, The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib. Isa. 3  For who appears as the ox, saving the Jewish people, whose neck was worn by the yoke of the Law?  and who was the ass but the Gentile world, which was found like a brute animal of every deceiver, and was overlaid with whatever deceit he pleased, without resisting by any exercise of reason?  Thus the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, in that both the Hebrews found out the God Whom they worshipped but as yet knew Him not, and the Gentile world received the food of the Law, which it had none of.  That therefore which is spoken above in the designation of the sheep and of the camels, is here repeated below in the oxen and the asses.
 
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Now even before the coming of the Redeemer Judaea possessed oxen, in that she sent out labourers to preach, to whom it is said by the voice of Truth, Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyteand when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Mat. 23,  These were weighed down with the heavy yoke of the Law, because they were burthened with the ordinances of the external letter, to whom it is spoken by the voice of Truth, Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. Mat. 128. 29.  That in the Gospel, therefore, rest is promised to those that labour well, is the same thing as that five hundred yoke of oxen are made mention of in this place; for whereunto does their way lead, who submit their necks to the dominion of our Redeemer, excepting to rest?  And hence we are told of five hundred she asses, forasmuch as the Gentile folk that are called, so long as they desire to attain to rest, gladly bear all the burthens of the commandments; and hence, that this rest should be sought of the Gentiles, Jacob in addressing his sons did mean to signify by the voice of prophecy, saying, Issachar is a strong ass, crouching down between the boundaries Vulg. Terminus, E.V. burthens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and bowed the shoulder to bear. Gen. 49, 14. 15.  For to crouch down between the boundaries is to rest forestalling the end of the world, and to seek nought of those things, which are now going forward amongst men, but to long after the things that shall be at the last; and the strong ass sees the rest and the pleasant land, when the simple Gentile world lifts itself up to the strong effort of good works, and that because it is on its way to the land of life eternal; and it bows the shoulder to bear, in that having beheld the rest above, it submits itself in doing its work even to severe precepts, and whatever littleness of mind represents as hard to bear, the hope of the reward makes this appear to it light and easy.  So because both Judaea and the Gentile world are gathered to eternal rest as a portion of the elect, he is rightly related to have possessed five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses.  The account goes on;

 
1 - 25 And a very great household.

What means it that the number of the animals is first described, while the household is not mentioned till the end, but that the foolish things of the world are first gathered in to the knowledge of the faith, that afterwards the crafty things of the world may also be called?  as Paul bears witness, who says; For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many noble, not many mighty are called; But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. 1 Cor. 26. 27.  For the first beginnings principia of holy Church are reputed to have been without knowledge of letters, plainly for this reason, that in His preachers the Redeemer might manifest to all, that it was not their discourse, but their cause, which had influence with the numbers populos that believed unto life.  It proceeds; 

 
1 - 26 So that this man was the greatest of all the men if the East.

That our Redeemer is styled The East is declared by the testimony of the Prophet, where he says, And lo! the Man whose name is The East. Zech. 6, 12  Vulg. Orients, E.V. the Branch  And thus all that live in this Orient by faith, are rightly called men of the East.  Now because all men are only men, whereas ‘The East’ Himself is both God and Man, it is rightly said, He was the greatest of all the men of the East.  As though it were said in plain words, He surpassed all those that are born to God in faith.  Because it is not by adoption, as others are, but by the Divine Nature that He is exalted, Who though He appeared like to others in His human Nature, yet in His Divine Nature continued above all men without fellow.  

 
1 - 27 Ver.4.  And his sons went and feasted in their houses.

The sons went to feast at their houses, when the Apostles as preachers, in the different regions of the world, served the banquet of virtue to hearers as it were to eaters.  And hence it is said to those very sons concerning the hungering multitude, Give ye them to eat. Mat. 14, 16  And again; And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint by the way Mat. 15, 32; that is, let them by your preaching receive the word of consolation, that they may not by continuing to fast to the food of truth, sink under the labours of this life.  Hence again it is said to the same sons, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. John 6, 27  And how these feasts were set forth is added, whereas it is forthwith subjoined, 

 
1 - 28 Everyone in his day.

 If without any doubt the darkness of ignorance is the night of the soul, the understanding is not improperly styled the day.  And hence Paul says, One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike.  Rom. 14, 5  As, if he had said in plain words; ‘One man understands some things so as that some are left out, and another acquaints himself with all things that are possible to be understood, in such sort as they may be seen.  Thus each son sets forth a feast in his day, in that every holy preacher, according to the measure of the enlightening of his understanding, feeds the minds of his hearers with the entertainments of Truth.  Paul made a feast in his own day, when he said, But she is happier if she so abide according to my judgment. 1 Cor. 7, 40  He bade each to take account of his own day; when he said, Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Rom. 14, 5  It goes on; 

 
1 - 29 And sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

The sons call their sisters to the feast, in that the holy Apostles proclaim to hearers that are weak the joys of the refreshment above, and inasmuch as they see their souls to be starved of the food of truth, they feed them with the feast of God's Word.  And it is well said, to eat and to drink with them.  For holy Scripture is sometimes meat to us, and sometimes drink.  It is meat in the harder parts, in that it is in a certain sense broken in pieces by being explained, and swallowed after chewing; and it is drink in the plainer parts, in that it is imbibed just as it is found.  The Prophet discerned holy Scripture to be meat, which was to be broken in pieces in the explaining, when he said, The young children ask, and no man breaketh it unto them Lam. 4, 4, i.e. the weak ones sought that the stronger declarations of holy Scripture might be crumbled for them by explanation, but he could no where be found who should have explained them.  The Prophet saw that holy Writ was drink, when he said, Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye to the waters. Isa. 55, 1  Had not the plain commandments been drink, Truth would never have cried out with His own lips; If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. John 5, 37  The Prophet saw that there was, as it were, a lack of meat and drink in Judaea, when he declared, And their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Isa. 5, 13  For it belongs to the few to attain a knowledge of the mighty and hidden meanings, but to the multitude it is given to understand the plain sense of the history.  And therefore he declares that the honourable men of Judaea had perished not by thirst, but hunger, in that those who seemed to stand first, by giving themselves wholly to the outward sense, had not wherewithal to feed themselves from the inward parts by sifting their meaning, but forasmuch as when loftier minds fall away from the inward sense, the understanding of the little ones even in the outward meaning is dried up; it is rightly added in this place, And the multitude dried up with thirst.  As if he said in plainer words, ‘whereas the common sort give over taking pains in their own lives, they now no longer seek even the streams of history.’  And they bear witness that they understood both the deep and the plain things contained in divine Writ, who in complaining to the Judge that rejects them, say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence Luke 13, 26; and this they subjoin in plain terms by explaining it; And thou hast taught in our streets.  Therefore because the sacred oracles are broken in the more obscure parts, by the explanation thereof, but in the plainer parts are drunk in just as they are found, it may be truly said, And they sent and called for their three sisters, to eat and to drink with them.  As though it were said in plain terms, they drew every weak one to themselves by the mildness of their persuasions, that both by setting forward great truths contemplatively, they might feed their minds, and by delivering little things historically, they might give them nourishment.  The account proceeds: 

 
1 - 30 Ver.  5.  And it was so, when the days of their feasting V. thus were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all.

‘The days of feasting are gone,’ when the ministrations of preaching are brought to an end; and when the feasts were ended, Job offered an holocaust for his sons, in that our Redeemer besought the Father in behalf of the Apostles, when they returned from preaching.  Now it is rightly said, that he ‘sent and sanctified,’ in that when He bestowed the Holy Spirit Which proceeds from Himself, upon the hearts of His disciples, He cleansed them from whatsoever might be in them of offence, and it is rightly delivered that he rose up early to offer sacrifices; forasmuch as through this His offering up the prayer of His Intercessions in our behalf, he dispelled the night of error, and illumined the darkness of man's mind; that the soul might not be polluted in secret by any defilements of sin contracted from the very grace of preaching; that it might never attribute to itself aught that it does; that it might not, by attributing them to itself, lose all the things it had done.  Hence it is well added, 

 
1 - 31 For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and blessed God in their hearts.

For this blessing God, which means cursing, is the taking glory to one's self from a gift of His hand.  Hence the Lord did well to wash the feet of the holy Apostles after their preaching, doubtless with this view, that He might shew plainly, both that very frequently in doing good the dust of sin is contracted, and that the steps of the speakers are often defiled by the same means whereby the hearts of their hearers are purified.  For it often happens that some in giving words of exhortation, however poorly, are inwardly lifted up, because they are the channel, by which the grace of purification comes down; and while by the word they wash away the deeds of other men, they as it were contract the dust of an ill thought from a good course.  What then was it to wash the disciples' feet after their preaching, but after the gloriousness of preaching to wipe off the dust of our thoughts, and to cleanse the heart's goings from inward pride?  Nor does it hinder the universal knowledge which our Mediator has, that it is said, It may be; for knowing all things, but in His mode of speech taking upon Him our ignorance, and, in taking the same, giving us a lesson, He sometimes speaks as it were with our doubts; as where He says, Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh shall He find faith on the earth? Luke 18, 8  When the feasting then was over, Job offered a sacrifice for his sons, saying, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their heart; in that our Saviour, after He had cleansed His preachers from the evils that beset them even in the midst of the good things which they had done, kept them from temptations.  It goes on, 

 
1 - 32 Thus did Job continually. 
Job does not cease ‘to offer sacrifice continually,’ in that our Redeemer offers a holocaust for us without ceasing, Who without intermission exhibits to the Father His Incarnation in our behalf.  For His very Incarnation is itself the offering for our purification, and while He shews Himself as Man, He is the Intercession that washes out man's misdeeds, and in the mystery of His Humanity He offers a perpetual Sacrifice, even because those things too are eternal which He purifies.
 
MORAL INTERPRETATION.
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Now because in the very opening of our exposition we so made the Lord to be set forth in the person of blessed Job, that we said that both the Head and the Body, i.e. both Christ and His Church, were represented by him; therefore since we have shewn how our Head may be taken to be represented, let us now point out, how His Body, which we are, is set forth; that as we have heard from the history somewhat to admire, and learnt from the Head somewhat to believe, we may now deduce from the Body somewhat to maintain in our lives.  For we should transform within ourselves that we read, that when the mind is moved by hearing, the life may concur to the execution of that which it has heard.  

 
1 - 34 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.
 If ‘Job’ signifies ‘grieving’ and ‘Uz’ ‘a Counsellor,' every elect person is not improperly represented by either name; in that be certainly abides in a mind of wise counsel, who hastens grieving from things present to things eternal.  For there are some that take no heed to their life, and whilst they are seeking transitory objects, and either do not understand those that are eternal, or understanding despise them, they neither feel grief nor know how to entertain counsel, and when they are taking no account of the things above which they have lost, they think, unhappy wretches, that they are in the midst of good things.  For these never raise the eyes of their mind to the light of truth which they were created for, they never bend the keenness of desire to the contemplation of their eternal country, but forsaking themselves amidst those things in which they are cast away, instead of their country they love the exile which is their lot, and rejoice in the darkness which they undergo as if in the brightness of the light.  But, on the contrary, when the minds of the elect perceive that all things transitory are nought, they seek out which be the things for which they were created, and whereas nothing suffices to the satisfying them out of God, thought itself, being wearied in them by the effort of the search, finds rest in the hope and contemplation of its Creator, longs to have a place among the citizens above; and each one of them, while yet in the body an inhabitant of the world, in mind already soars beyond the world, bewails the weariness of exile which he endures, and with the ceaseless incitements of love urges himself on to the country on high.  When then he sees grieving how that that which he lost is eternal, he finds the salutary counsel, to look down upon this temporal scene which he is passing through, and the more the knowledge of that counsel increases, which bids him forsake perishable things, the more is grief augmented that he cannot yet attain to lasting objects.  Hence Solomon well says, He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow Eccles. 18; for he that already knows the high state which he does not as yet enjoy, is the more grieved for the low condition, in which he is yet held.
 
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Job therefore is well said to dwell in the land of Uz, in that the mind of every elect person is kept going grieving in the counsels of knowledge.  We must also observe what absence of grief of mind there is in precipitancy of action.  For they that live without counsel, who give themselves over precipitately to the issue of events, are meanwhile harassed by no grief of reflection.  For he that discreetly settles his mind in the counsels of life, heedfully takes account of himself, exercising circumspection in his every doing, and lest from that which he is doing a sudden and adverse issue should seize him, he first feels at it, gently applying to it the foot of reflection; he takes thought that fear may not withhold him from those things which ought to be done, nor precipitance hurry him into those which ought to be deferred; that evil things may not get the better of him through his desires by an open assault, nor good things work his downfall insidiously by vain glory.  Thus Job dwells in the land of Uz, in that the more the mind of the elect strives to live by following counsel, so much the more is it worn with the grief of so narrow a way.  It goes on; 

 
1 - 36 And that man sincere simplex, E.V. perfect and upright, one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Whoso longs for the eternal country, lives without doubt sincere and upright; I mean, perfect in practice, and right in faith, sincere in the good that he does in this lower state, right in the high truths which he minds in his inner self.  For there are some who in the good actions that they do are not sincere, whereas they look to them not for a reward within but to win favour without.  Hence it is well said by a certain wise man, Woe to the sinner that goeth two ways Ecclus. 2, 12; for the sinner goes two ways, when at the same time that what he sets forth in deed is of God, what he aims at in thought is of the world.
 
1 - 37

Now it is well said, one that feared God and eschewed evil; in that the holy Church of the elect enters indeed upon its paths of simplicity and of uprightness in al. from fear, but finishes them in charity, and it is hers then entirely ‘to depart from evil,’ when she has begun now from the love of God to feel unwillingness to sin.  But whilst she still does good deeds from fear, she has not entirely departed from evil; because she sins even herein, that she would sin if she could have done it without punishment.  So then when Job is said to fear God, it is rightly related that he also ‘departs from evil,’ in that whereas charity follows upon fear, that offence which is left behind in the mind is even trodden under foot in the purpose of the heart.  And forasmuch as each particular vice is stifled by fear, whilst the several virtues spring from charity, it is rightly added,

 
1 - 38 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

For there are seven sons born to us, when by the conception of good intent the seven virtues of the holy Spirit spring up in us.  Thus the Prophet particularizes this inward offspring, when the Spirit renders the mind fruitful, in these words; And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, and the spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill him. Isa. 12  So when by the coming of the Holy Spirit there is engendered in each of us, ‘wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord,’ something like a lasting posterity is begotten in the mind, which preserves the stock of our nobility that is above unto life, for so much the longer as it allies it with the love of eternity.  Yet surely the seven sons have in us three sisters, forasmuch as all that manly work which these virtuous affections virtutum sensus do, they unite with faith, hope, and charity.  For the seven sons never attain the perfection of the number ten, unless all that they do be done in faith, hope, and charity.  But because this store of antecedent virtues is followed by a manifold concern for good works, it is rightly added, 

 
1 - 39 Ver.3.  His substance also was seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels.
For, saving the historical truth, we are at liberty to follow in a spiritual way that which our ears receive in a carnal shape.  Thus we possess seven thousand sheep, when we feed the innocent thoughts within our breast, in a perfect purity of heart, with the food of truth which we have sought after.
 
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And we shall have three thousand camels likewise in our possession, if all that is high and crooked in us be subdued to the order rationi of faith, and when of our own free will, and in our longing after humility, it is made to bow down itself under a knowledge of the Trinity.  For we possess camels, whensoever we put down in humility all the high notions that we entertain.  Surely we are in possession of camels, when we bend our thoughts to sympathy with a brother's weakness, that bearing our burthens by turns, we may by lowering ourselves thereto know how to compassionate the weakness of another man.  By camels, too, which do not cleave the hoof, but chew the cud, may be understood the good stewardships of earthly things, which, in that they have something of the world, and something of God, must needs be represented by a common animal.  For though earthly stewardship may be subservient to our eternal welfare, yet we cannot acquit ourselves of it without inward disquietude.  Therefore because both at the present time the mind is disturbed thereby, and also a reward laid up for ever, like a common animal, it both has something of the Law, and something it has not.  For it does not cleave the hoof, in that the soul does not wholly sever itself from all earthly doings, but yet it ruminates, in that by the right dispensation of temporal things, it gains a hope of heavenly blessings with an assured confidence.  Thus earthly stewardships agree with the law in the head, disagree therewith in the foot; forasmuch as while the objects which they desire to obtain by living righteously are of heaven, the concerns with which they are busied by their performances are of this world.  When then we submit these earthly stewardships to the knowledge of the Trinity, we have camels in possession, as it were, by faith.  The account goes on; 

 
1 - 41 And five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses.

There are yokes of oxen for us in our possession, when the virtues in harmony plough up the hardness of our mind.  We also possess five hundred she asses, when we restrain wanton inclinations, and when whatever of a carnal nature seeks to rise up in us, we curb in the spiritual mastery of the heart.  Or indeed to possess she asses is to govern the simple thoughts within us, which, while they have no power to run in a more refined intelligence, by how much more lowly they walk, bear with so much the more meekness their brother's burthens.  For there are some who not understanding deep things constrain themselves the more humbly to the outward works of duty.  Well then do we understand the simple thoughts by she asses, which are an animal slow indeed, yet devoted to carrying burthens, in that very often when made acquainted with our own ignorance, we bear the more lightly the burthens of others; and whereas we are not elevated as by any special height of wisdom, our mind bends itself in patience to submit to the dulness of another's soul.  Now it is well done, whether it be the yokes of oxen or the she asses, that they are mentioned as five hundred, in that, whether in the case that through prudence we are wise, or in the case that we remain in humble ignorance, so long as we are in search of the rest of eternal peace, we are as it were kept within the number of the Jubilee.  It goes on; 

 
1 - 42 And a very great household,

We possess a very great household, when we restrain our host of thoughts under the mastery of the mind, that they may not by their very number get the better of the soul, nor in disordered array tread under the authority which belongs to our faculty of discernment.  And the multitude of our thoughts is well marked out by the designation of a very great household.  For we know that when the mistress is away the tongues of the handmaids wax clamorous, that they cease from silence, neglect the duties of their allotted task, and disarrange the whole ordered method of their life.  But if the mistress suddenly appear, in a moment their noisy tongues are still, they renew the duties of their several tasks, and return to their own work as though they had never left it.  Thus if reason for a moment leave the house of the mind, as if the mistress were absent, the den of our thoughts redoubles itself, like a bevy of talkative maids.  But so soon as reason has returned to the mind, the confused tumult quiets itself at once, and the maids as it were betake themselves in silence to the task enjoined, whilst the thoughts forthwith submit themselves to their appropriate occasions for usefulness.  We possess, then, a great household, when with righteous authority we rule our innumerable thoughts by a discerning use of reason; and assuredly when we do this wisely, we are aiming to unite ourselves to the Angels by that very exercise of discernment: and hence it is rightly subjoined; 

 
1 - 43 So that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

43.  For we are then rendered great amongst all them of the east, when the cloud of carnal corruption being kept down by the rays of our discernment, we are, as far as the possibility of the thing admits, made the associates of those Spirits, which abide in the eastern light: and hence Paul says, Our conversation is in heaven Phil. 3, 20.  For he that follows after temporal things, which are subject to decay, seeks the west occasum, but whoso fixes his desires upon things above, proves that he dwells in the east.  He then is great not among them of the west but among them of the east, who aims to excel not amid wicked men's scenes of action, who seek low and fleeting things, but amongst the choirs of the citizens above.  It proceeds; 

 
1 - 44 Ver. 4.  And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day.
‘The sons feast in their houses,’ when the several virtues feed the mind after their proper sort; and it is well said, Everyone his day, for each son's day is the shining of each virtue.  Briefly to unfold then these same gifts of sevenfold grace, wisdom has one day, understanding another day, counsel another, fortitude another, knowledge another, piety another, fear another, for it is not the same thing to be wise that it is to understand; for many indeed are wise sapiunt in the things of eternity, but cannot in any sort understand them.  Wisdom therefore gives a feast in its day in that it refreshes the mind with the hope and assurance of eternal things. Understanding spreads a feast in its day, forasmuch as, in that it penetrates the truths heard, refreshing the heart, it lights up its darkness.  Counsel gives a feast in its day, in that while it stays us from acting precipitately, it makes the mind to be full of reason.  Fortitude gives a feast in its day, in that whereas it has no fear of adversity, it sets the viands of confidence before the alarmed soul.  Knowledge prepares a feast in her day, in that in the mind's belly, she overcomes the emptiness of ignorance.  Piety sets forth a feast in its day, in that it satisfies the bowels of the heart with deeds of mercy.  Fear makes a feast in its day, in that whereas it keeps down the mind, that it may not pride itself in the present things, it strengthens it with the meat of hope for the future.
 
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But I see that this point requires searching into in this feasting of the sons, viz. that by turns they feed one another.  For each particular virtue is to the last degree destitute, unless one virtue lends its support to another.  For wisdom is less worth if it lacks understanding, and understanding is wholly useless if it be not based upon wisdom, in that whilst it penetrates the higher mysteries without the counterpoise of wisdom, its own lightness is only lifting it up to meet with the heavier fall.  Counsel is worthless, when the strength of fortitude is lacking thereto, since what it finds out by turning the thing over, from want of strength it never carries on so far as to the perfecting in deed; and fortitude is very much broken down, if it be not supported by counsel, since the greater the power which it perceives itself to have, so much the more miserably does this virtue rush headlong into ruin, without the governance of reason.  Knowledge is nought if it hath not its use for piety; for whereas it neglects to put in practice the good that it knows, it binds itself the more closely to the Judgment: and piety is very useless, if it lacks the discernment of knowledge, in that while there is no knowledge to enlighten it, it knows not the way to shew mercy.  And assuredly unless it has these virtues with it, fear itself rises up to the doing of no good action, forasmuch as while it is agitated about every thing, its own alarms renders it inactive and void of all good works.  Since then by reciprocal ministrations virtue is refreshed by virtue, it is truly said that the sons feast with one another by turns; and as one aids to relieve another, it is as if the numerous offspring to be fed were to prepare a banquet each his day.  It follows; 

 
1 - 46 And sent and called for their three sisters, to eat and to drink with them.
When our virtues invite faith, hope, and charity into every thing they do, they do, as sons employed in labour, call their three sisters to a feast; that faith, hope, and charity may rejoice in the good work, which each virtue provides; and they as it were gain strength from that meat, whilst they are rendered more confident by good works, and whereas after meat they long to imbibe the dew of contemplation, they are as it were from the cup inebriated.
 
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But what is there that we do, in this life, without some stain of defilement, howsoever slight?  For sometimes by the very good things we do we draw near to the worse part, since while they beget much in the mind, they at the same time engender a certain security, and when the mind enjoys security, it unlooses itself in sloth; and sometimes they defile us with some self-elation, and set us so much the lower with God, as they make us bigger in our own eyes.  Hence it is well added, 

Ver.  5.  And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them.

For, when the round of the days of feasting is gone about, to send to his sons and to sanctify them, is after the perception sensum of the virtues to direct the inward intention, and to purify all that we do with the exact sifting of a reexamination, lest things be counted good which are evil, or at least such as are truly good be thought enough when they are imperfect.  For thus it very often happens that the mind is taken in, so that it is deceived either in the quality of what is evil or the quantity of what is good.  But these senses of the virtues are much better ascertained by prayers than by examinings.  For the things which we endeavour to search out more completely in ourselves, we oftener obtain a true insight into by praying than by investigating.  For when the mind is lifted up on high by the kind of machine of compunction, all that may have been presented to it concerning itself, it surveys the more surely by passing judgment upon it beneath its feet.  Hence it is well subjoined, 

 
1 - 48 And rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings, according to the number of them all. 
For we rise up early in the morning, when being penetrated with the light of compunction we leave the night of our human state, and open the eyes of the mind to the beams of the true light, and we offer a burnt offering for each son, when we offer up the sacrifice of prayer for each virtue, lest wisdom may uplift; or understanding, while it runs nimbly, deviate from the right path; or counsel, while it multiplies itself, grow into confusion; that fortitude, while it gives confidence, may not lead to precipitation, lest knowledge, while it knows and yet has no love, may swell the mind; lest piety, while it bends itself out of the right line, may become distorted; and lest fear, while it is unduly alarmed, may plunge one into the pit of despair.  When then we pour out our prayers to the Lord in behalf of each several virtue, that it be free from alloy, what else do we but according to the number of our sons offer a burnt offering holocaustum for each?  for an holocaust is rendered ‘the whole burnt.’ Therefore to pay a ' holocaust' is to light up the whole soul with the fire of compunction, that the heart may burn on the altar of love, and consume the defilements of our thoughts, like the sins of our own offspring,
 
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But none know how to do this saving those, who, before their thoughts proceed to deeds, restrain with anxious circumspection the inward motions of their hearts.  None know how to do this saving they who have learnt to fortify their soul with a manly guard.  Hence Ishbosheth is rightly said to have perished by a sudden death, whom holy Scripture at the same time testifies to have had not a man for his doorkeeper but a woman, in these words; And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon; and they came thither into the midst of the house:, and the portress of the house was fallen asleep, winnowing wheat.  And they came privily into the house fetching ears of wheat, and they smote him in the groin. 2 Sam. 4, 5-7. Vulg.  The portress winnows the wheat, when the wardkeeping of the mind distinguishes and separates the virtues from the vices; but if she falls asleep, she lets in conspirators to her master's destruction, in that when the cautiousness of discernment is at an end, a way is set open for evil spirits to slay the soul.  They enter in and carry off the ears, in that they at once bear off the germs of good thoughts; and they smite in the groin, in that they cut off the virtue of the soul by the delights of the flesh.  For to smite in the groin is to pierce the life of the mind with the delights of the flesh.  But this Ishbosheth would never have perished by such a death, if he had not set a woman at the entrance to his house, i.e. set an easy guard at the way of access to the mind.  For a strong and manly activity should be set over the doors of the heart, such as is never surprised by sleep of neglect, and never deceived by the errors of ignorance; and hence he is rightly named Ishbosheth, who is exposed by a female guard to the swords of his enemies, for Ishbosheth is rendered ‘a man of confusion.’  And he is ‘a man of confusion,’ who is not provided with a strong guard over his mind, in that while he reckons himself to be practising virtues, vices stealing in kill him al. ‘kill his soul’ unawares.  The entrance to the mind then must be fortified with the whole sum of virtue, lest at any time enemies with insidious intent penetrate into it by the opening of heedless thought.  Hence Solomon says, Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life Prov. 4, 23.  It is meet then that we form a most careful estimate of the virtues that we practise, beginning with the original intent, lest the acts which they put forth, even though they be right, may proceed from a bad origin: and hence it is rightly subjoined in this place; 

 
1 - 50 For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.
Our sons curse God in their hearts, when our righteous deeds proceed from unrighteous thoughts; when they put forth good things in public, but in secret devise mischief.  Thus they curse God, when our minds reckon that they get from themselves that which they are.  They curse God when they can understand that it is from Him that they have received their powers, and yet seek their own praise for His gifts.  But be it known that our old enemy proceeds against our good actions in three ways, with this view, namely, that the thing which is done aright before the eyes of men, may be spoiled in the sight of the Judge within.  For sometimes in a good work he pollutes the intention, that all that follows in the doing may come forth impure and unclean, because it is hereby made to rise troubled from its source.  But sometimes he has no power to spoil the intention of a good deed, but he presents himself in the action itself as it were in the pathway; that whereas the person goes forth the more secure in the purpose of his heart, evil being secretly there laid, he may as it were be slain from ambush.  And sometimes he neither corrupts the intention, nor overthrows it in the way, but he ensnares the good deed at the end of the action; and in proportion as he feigns himself to have gone further off, whether from the house of the heart or from the path of the deed, with the greater craftiness he watches to catch the end of the good action; and the more he has put a man off his guard by seeming to retire, so much the more incurably does he at times pierce him with an unexpected wound.
 
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For he defiles the intention in a good work, in that when he sees men's hearts ready to be deceived, he presents to their ambition the breath of passing applause, that wherein they do aright, they may swerve by crookedness in the intention to make the lowest things their aim; and hence under the image of Judaea, it is well said by the Prophet of every soul that is caught in the snare of mal-intention, Her adversaries are the chief Lament. 5.  As though it were said in plain words, ‘when a good work is taken in hand with no good intent, the spirits that are against us have dominion over her from the commencement of the conception, and the more completely possess themselves of her, even that they hold her under their power by the very beginning.'
 
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But when they are unable to corrupt the intention, they conceal snares which they set in the way, that the heart, lifting itself up in that which is done well, may be impelled from one side to do evil; so that what at the outset it had set before itself in one way, it may go through in act far otherwise than it had begun.  For often whilst human praise falls to the lot of a good deed, it alters the mind of the doer, and though not sought after, yet when offered it pleases; and whereas the mind of the well-doer is melted by the delight thereof, it is set loose from all vigorousness of the inward intention.  Often when our sense of justice has begun to act aright, anger joins it from the side; and whereas it troubles the mind out of measure, by the quickness of our sense of uprightness, it wounds all the healthiness of our inward tranquillity.  It often happens that sadness, attaching itself from the side, as it were, becomes the attendant of seriousness of mind, and that every deed which the mind commences with a good intention, this quality overcasts with a veil of sadness, and we are sometimes the slower in driving it away even in that it waits as it were in solemn attendance on the depressed mind.  Often immoderate joy attaches itself to a good deed, and while it calls upon the mind for more mirth than is meet, it discards all the weight of gravity from our good action.  For because the Psalmist had seen that even those that set out well are met by snares on the way, being filled with the prophetic spirit, he rightly delivered it; In this way that I walked they hid it snare for me Ps. 142, 3.  Which Jeremiah well and subtilly insinuates, who, while busied with telling of outward events, points out what things were done inwardly in ourselves, There came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord.  And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went; and it came to pass, as he met them, he said unto them, Come unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.  And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them. Jer. 45-7  For those shave their beard, who remove from them confidence in their own powers.  They rend their clothes, that spare not themselves in tearing in pieces outward appearance.  They come to offer up in the house of the Lord frankincense and gifts, who engage to set forth prayer in union with works in sacrifice to God.  But if in the very path of holy devotion they skill not to keep a wary eye on every side, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah goes forth to meet them; in that assuredly every evil spirit, after the example of its chief, even Satan, begotten in the erring principle of pride, presents itself as a snare to deceive, And it is likewise well said concerning him; weeping all along as he went; forasmuch as in order that he may cut off devout souls by smiting them, he hides himself as it were under the guise of virtue, and whereas he feigns to agree with those that really mourn, being thus with greater security admitted to the interior of the heart, he destroys whatsoever of virtue is there hidden within.  And most often he engages to guide to higher things; and hence he is related to have said, Come unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam; and while he promises greater things he robs us even of the very little that we have; and hence it is rightly said, And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them.  So then he slays in the midst of the city the men that are come to offer gifts to God, in that those souls which are devoted to works of God, unless they watch over themselves with great circumspection, lose their life on the very way, through the enemy intercepting them unawares, as they go bearing the sacrifice of devotion; and from the hands of this enemy there is no escape, unless they speedily hasten back to repentance.  Hence it is fitly added there, But ten men were found among them, that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, of barley, and of oil, and of honey.  So he slew them not.Jer. 48  For the treasure in the field is hope in repentance, which, in that it is not discernible, is kept buried closely in the earth of the heart.  They then that had treasures in the field were saved, in that they who after the fault of their unwariness return to the lamentation of repentance, do not likewise perish when taken captive
 
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But when our old adversary neither deals a blow at the outset of the intention, nor intercepts us in the path of the execution, he sets the more mischievous snares at the end, which he so much the more wickedly besets, as he sees that it is all that is left to him to make a prey of.  Now the Prophet had seen these snares set at the end of his course, when he said, They will mark my heel. Ps. 56, 6  For because the end of the body is in the heel, what is signified thereby but the end of an action?  Whether then it be evil spirits, or all wicked men that follow in the steps of their pride, they ‘mark the heel’ when they aim at spoiling the end of a good action; and hence it is said to that serpent, it shall mark thy head, and thou shalt mark his heel. Gen. 3, 15. Vulg. thus  For to mark the serpent's head is to keep an eye upon the beginnings of his suggestions, and with the hand of needful consideration wholly to eradicate them from the avenues of the heart; yet when he is caught at the commencement, he busies himself to smite the heel, in that though he does not strike the intention with his suggestion at the first, he strives to ensnare at the end.  Now if the heart be once corrupted in the intention, the middle and the end of the action that follows is held in secure possession by the cunning adversary, since he sees that that whole tree bears fruit to himself, which he has poisoned at the root with his baleful tooth.  Therefore because we have to watch with the greatest care, that the mind even in the service of good works be not polluted by a wicked intention, it is rightly said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.  As if it were said in plain words, that is no good work which is performed outwardly, unless the sacrifice of innocency be inwardly offered for it upon the altar of the heart in the presence of God.  The stream of our work then is to be looked through, all we can, if it flows out pure from the well-spring of thought.  With all care must the eye of the heart be guarded from the dust of wickedness, lest that which in action it shews upright to man, be within set awry by the fault of a crooked intention.
 
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We must take heed, then, that our good works be not too few, take heed too that they be not unexamined, lest by doing too few works we be found barren, or by leaving them unexamined we be found foolish; for each several virtue is not really such, if it be not blended with other virtues; and hence it is well said to Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, of good scent, with pure frankincense; of each shall there be a like weight.  And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, well tempered together, and pure. Exod. 30, 34. 35.  For we make a perfume compounded of spices, when we yield a smell upon the altar of good works with the multitude of our virtues; and this is ‘tempered together and pure,’ in that the more we join virtue to virtue, the purer is the incense of good works we set forth.  Hence it is well added, And thou shalt beat them all very small, and put of it before the Tabernacle of the Testimony.  We ‘beat all the spices very small,’ when we pound our good deeds as it were in the mortar of the heart, by an inward sifting, and go over them minutely, to see if they be really and truly good: and thus to reduce the spices to a powder, is to rub fine our virtues by consideration, and to call them back to the utmost exactitude of a secret reviewal; and observe that it is said of that powder, and thou shalt put of it before the Tabernacle of the Testimony: for this reason, in that our good works are then truly pleasing in the sight of our Judge, when the mind bruises them small by a more particular reexamination, and as it were makes a powder of the spices, that the good that is done be not coarse grossum and hard, lest if the close hand of reexamination do not bruise it fine, it scatter not from itself the more refined odour.  For it is hence that the virtue of the Spouse is commended by the voice of the Bridegroom, where it is said, Who is this, that cometh out of the wilderness like a rod of smoke of the perfume of myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? Cant. 3, 6  For holy Church rises up like a rod of smoke from spices, in that by the virtues of her life she duly advances to the uprightness of inward incense, nor lets herself run out into dissipated thought, but restrains herself in the recesses of the heart in the rod of severity: and while she never ceases to reconsider and go over anew the things that she does, she has in the deed myrrh and frankincense, but in the thought she has powder.  Hence it is that it is said again to Moses of those who offer a victim, And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. Lev. 6  For we strip the skin of the victim, when we remove from the eyes of the mind the overcast of virtue; and we ‘cut it in his pieces,’ when we minutely dissect its interior, and contemplate it piecemeal.  We must therefore be careful, that when we overcome our evil habits, we are not overthrown by our good ones running riot, lest they chance to run out loosely, lest being unheeded they be taken captive, lest from error they forsake the path, lest broken down by weariness they lose the meed of past labours.  For the mind ought in all things to keep a wary eye about it, aye and in this very forethought of circumspection to be persevering; and hence it is rightly added, 

 
1 - 55 Thus did Job all the days.
For vain is the good that we do, if it be given over before the end of life, in that it is vain too for him to run fast, who fails before he reaches the goal.  For it is hence that it is said of the reprobate, Woe unto you that have lost patience. Ecclus. 2,  Hence Truth says to His elect, Ye are they that have continued with life in My temptations Luke 22, 28.  Hence Joseph, who is described to have remained righteous among his brethren until the very end, is the only one related to have had ‘a coat reaching to the ancles.’ Gen. 37, 23. Vulg.  For what is a coat that reaches to the ancles but action finished?  For it is as if the extended coat covered the ancle of the body, when well doing covers us in God's sight even to the end of life.  Hence it is that it is enjoined by Moses to offer upon the altar the tail of the sacrifice, namely, that every good action that we begin we may also complete with perseverance to the end.  Therefore what is begun well is to be done every day, that whereas evil is driven away by our opposition, the very victory that goodness gains may be held fast in the hand of constancy.
 
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These things then we have delivered under a threefold sense, that by setting a variety of viands before the delicate fastidienti sense of the soul, we may offer it something to choose by preference.  But this we most earnestly entreat, that he that lifts up his mind to the spiritual signification, do not desist from his reverence for the history.
 
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 Holy Writ is set before the eyes of the mind like a kind of mirror, that we may see our inward face in it; for therein we learn the deformities, therein we learn the beauties that we possess; there we are made sensible what progress we are making, there too how far we are from proficiency.  It relates the deeds of the Saints al. ‘of the strong’, and stirs the hearts of the weak to follow their example, and while it commemorates their victorious deeds, it strengthens our feebleness against the assaults of our vices; and its words have this effect, that the mind is so much the less dismayed amidst conflicts as it sees the triumphs of so many brave men set before it.  Sometimes however it not only informs us of their excellencies, but also makes known their mischances, that both in the victory of brave men we may see what we ought to seize on by imitation, and again in their falls what we ought to stand in fear of.  For, observe how Job is described as rendered greater by temptation, but David by temptation brought to the ground, that both the virtue of our predecessors may cherish our hopes, and the downfall of our predecessors may brace us to the cautiousness of humility, so that whilst we are uplifted by the former to joy, by the latter we may be kept down through fears, and that the hearer's mind, being from the one source imbued with the confidence of hope, and from the other with the humility arising from fear, may neither swell with rash pride, in that it is kept down by alarm, nor be so kept down by fear as to despair, in that it finds support for confident hope in a precedent of virtue.

 
2 - 2 Ver.6.  Now there was a day when sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

 It is interesting to observe the method followed by Holy Writ in delineating, at the commencement of its relations, the qualities and the issues of the particular cases.  For one while by the position of the place, now by the posture of the body, now by the temperature of the air, and now by the character of the time, it marks out what it has coming after concerning the action which is to follow; as by the position of the place Divine Scripture sets forth the merits of the circumstances that follow, and the results of the case, as where it relates of Israel that they could not hear the words of God in the mount Ex. 19, 17, but received the commandments on the plain; doubtless betokening the subsequent weakness of the people who could not mount up to the top, but enfeebled themselves by living carelessly in the lowest things.  By the posture of the body it tells of future events, as where in the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen discloses that he saw Jesus, Who sitteth at the right hand of the Power of God Acts 7, 55, 56, in a standing posture; for standing is the posture of one in the act of rendering aid, and rightly is He discerned standing, Who gives succour in the press of the conflict.  By the temperature of the air, the subsequent event is shewn, as when the Evangelist was telling that none out of Judaea were at that time to prove believers in our Lord's preaching, he prefaced it by saying, and it was winter, for it is written, Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. John 10, 22. Mat. 24, 12.  Therefore he took care to particularize the winter season, to indicate that the frost of wickedness was in the hearers' hearts.  Hence it is that it is beforehand remarked of Peter, when on the point of denying our Lord, that it was cold, and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. John 18,  For he was now inwardly unenlivened by the warmth of Divine love, but to the love of this present life he was warming up, as though his weakness were set boiling by the persecutors' coals.  By the character of the time moreover the issue of the transaction is set forth, as it is related of Judas, who was never to be restored to pardon, that he went out at night to the treachery of his betrayal, where upon his going out, the Evangelist says, And it was night. John 13, 30  Hence too it is declared to the wicked rich man, This night shall thy soul be required of thee; for that soul which is conveyed to darkness, is not recorded as required in the day time, but in the night.  Hence it is that Solomon who received the gift of wisdom, but was not to persevere, is said to have received her in dreams and in the night.  Hence it is that the Angels visit Abraham at midday, but when proposing to punish Sodom, they are recorded to have come thither at eventide, Therefore, because the trial of blessed Job is carried on to victory, it is related to have begun by day, it being said,

 
2 - 3 Now there was a day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

Now who are called the sons of God, saving the elect Angels?  and as we know of them that they wait on the eyes of His Majesty, it is a worthy subject of inquiry, whence they come to present themselves before God.  For it is of these that it is said by the voice of Truth, Their angels do always behold the face of My Father, Which is in heaven? Mat. 18.  Of these the Prophet saith, thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. Dan. 7,  If then they ever behold and ever stand nigh, we must carefully and attentively consider whence they are come, who never go from Him; but since Paul says of them, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation? Heb. in this, that we learn that they are sent, we discover whence they are come.  But see, we add question to question, and as it were while we strive to unloose the loop, we are only fastening a knot.  For how can they either always be in presence, or always behold the face of the Father, of they are sent upon external ministration for our salvation?  Which will however be the sooner believed, if we think of how great subtlety is the angelical nature.  For they never so go forth apart from the vision of God, as to be deprived of the joys of interior contemplation; for if when they went forth they lost the vision of the Creator, they could neither have raised up the fallen, nor announced the truth to those in ignorance; and that fount of light, which by departing they were themselves deprived of, they could in no wise proffer to the blind.  Herein then is the nature of Angels distinguished from the present condition of our own nature, that we are both circumscribed by space, and straitened by the blindness of ignorance; but the spirits of Angels are indeed bounded by space, yet their knowledge extends far above us beyond comparison; for they expand by external and internal knowing, since they contemplate the very source of knowledge itself.  For of those things which are capable of being known, what is there that they know not, who know Him, to Whom all things are known?  So that their knowledge when compared with ours is vastly extended, yet in comparison with the Divine knowledge it is little.  In like manner as their very spirits in comparison indeed with our bodies are spirits, but being compared with the Supreme and Incomprehensible Spirit, they are Body.  Therefore they are both sent from Him, and stand by Him too, since both in that they are circumscribed, they go forth, and in this, that they are also entirely present, they never go away.  Thus they at the same time always behold the Father's face, and yet come to us; because they both go forth to us in a spiritual presence, and yet keep themselves there, whence they had gone out, by virtue of interior contemplation; it may then be said, The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord; inasmuch as they come back thither by a return of the spirit, whence they never depart by any withdrawal of the mind.  

 
2 - 4 And Satan came also among them.
It is a very necessary enquiry, how Satan could be present among the elect Angels, he who had a long time before been damned and banished from their number, as his pride required.  Yet he is well described as having been present among them; for though he lost his blessed estate, yet he did not part with a nature like to theirs, and though his deserts sink him, he is lifted up by the properties of his subtle nature.  And so he is said to have come before God among the sons of God, for Almighty God, with that eye with which He regards all spiritual things, beholds Satan also in the rank of a more subtle nature, as Scripture testifies, when it says, The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good; Prov. 15, 3 but this, viz. that Satan is said to have come before the presence of God, comes under a grave question with us; for it is written, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matt. 5, 8  But Satan, who can never be of a pure heart, how could he have presented himself to see the Lord?
 
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But it is to be observed, that he is said to have come before the Lord, but not that he saw the Lord.  For he came to be seen, and not to see.  He was in the Lord's sight, but the Lord was not in his sight; as when a blind man stands in the sun, he is himself bathed indeed in the rays of light, yet he sees nothing of the light, by which he is brightened.  In like manner then Satan also appeared in the Lord's sight among the Angels.  For the Power of God, which by a look penetrates all objects, beheld the impure spirit, who saw not Him.  For because even those very things which flee from God's face cannot be hidden, in that all things are naked to the view of the Most High, Satan being absent came to Him, Who was present.

 
2 - 6 Ver.  7, And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?

How is it that it is never said to the elect Angels, when they come, 'Whence come ye?' while Satan is questioned whence he comes?  For assuredly we never ask, but what we do not know; but God's not knowing is His condemning.  Whence at the last He will say to some, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Luke 13, 27  In the same way that a man of truth, who disdains to sin by a falsehood, is said not to know how to lie, not in being ignorant if he had the will to lie, but in disdaining to tell a falsehood, from love of truth.  What then is it to say to Satan, Whence comest thou? but to condemn his ways, as though unknown.  The light of truth then knows nought of the darkness, which it reproves; and the paths of Satan, which as a judge it condemns, it is meet that it should inquire after as though in ignorance of them.  Hence it is that it is said to Adam in his sin by his Creator's voice, Adam, where art thou? Gen. 3, 9  For Divine Power was not ignorant to what hiding place His servant had fled after his offence, but for that He saw that he, having fallen in his sin, was now as it were hidden under sin from the eyes of Truth, in that He approves not the darkness of his error, He knows not, as it were, where the sinner is, and both calls him, and asks him, saying, Adam, where art thou?  hereby, that He calls him, He gives a token that He recalls him to repentance; hereby, that He questions him, He plainly intimates that He knows not sinners, that justly deserve to be damned, Accordingly the Lord never calls Satan, but yet He questions him, saying, Whence comest thou?  without doubt because God never recalls the rebel spirit to repentance, but in not knowing his paths of pride, He condemns him; therefore while Satan is examined discutitur concerning his way, the elect Angels have not to be questioned whence they come, since their ways are known to God in so much as they are done of His own moving, and whilst they are subservient to His will alone, they can never be unknown to Him, in so far as, by His approving eye, it is Himself from Whom and before Whom they are done.  It follows, 

 
2 - 7 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

The toilsomeness of labour is wont to be represented by the round of circuitous motion, Accordingly Satan went toiling round about the earth, for he scorned to abide at peace in the height of heaven; and whereas he intimates that he did not fly, but that he walked, he shews the weight of sin, by which he is kept down below.  Walking then up and down, he went to and fro in the earth, for tumbling down from that his soaring in spiritual mightiness, and oppressed by the weight of his own wickedness, he came forth to his round of labour.  For it is for no other reason that it is said of his members also by the Psalmist, The wicked walk on every side; for while they seek not things within, they weary themselves with toiling at things without.  It follows ;

 
2 - 8 Ver.  8.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

8.  This point, viz, that blessed Job is by the voice of God called a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil, having explained above minutely and particularly, we forbear to rehearse what we have said, lest while we go over points that have been already examined, we should be slow in coming to those which have not.  This then requires our discreet consideration, how it is either that the Lord is said to speak to Satan, or that Satan is said to answer the Lord, for we must make out what this speaking means.  For neither by the Lord Who is the supreme and unbounded Spirit, nor by Satan, who is invested with no fleshly nature, is the breath of air inhaled by the bellows of the lungs, after the manner of human beings, so that by the organ of the throat it should be given back in the articulation of the voice; but when the Incomprehensible Nature speaks to an invisible nature, it behoves that our imagination rising above the properties of our corporeal speech should be lifted to the sublime and unknown methods of interior speech.  For we, that we may express outwardly the things which we are inwardly sensible of, deliver these through the organ of the throat, by the sounds of the voice, since to the eyes of others we stand as it were behind the partition of the body, within the secret dwelling place of the mind; but when we desire to make ourselves manifest, we go forth as though through the door of the tongue, that we may shew what kind of persons we are within.  But it is not so with a spiritual nature, which is not a twofold compound of mind and body.  But again we must understand that even when incorporeal nature itself is said to speak, its speech is by no means characterized by one and the same form.  For it is after one method that God speaks to the Angels, and after another that the Angels speak to God; in one manner that God speaks to the souls of Saints, in another that the souls of Saints speak to God; in one way God speaks to the devil, ill another the devil speaks to God.

 
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For because no corporeal obstacle is in the way of a spiritual being, God speaks to the holy Angels in the very act of His revealing to their hearts His inscrutable secrets, that whatsoever they ought to do they may read it in the simple contemplation of truth, and that the very delights of contemplation should be like a kind of vocal precepts, for that is as it were spoken to them as hearers which is inspired into them as beholders.  Whence when God was imparting to their hearts His visitation of vengeance upon the pride of man, He said, Come, let us go down, and there confound their language. Gen. 17  He saith to those who are close about Him, Come, doubtless because this very circumstance of never decreasing from the contemplation of God, is to be always increasing in the contemplation of Him, and never to depart from Him in heart, is as it were to be always coming to Him by a kind of steady motion.  To them He also says, Let us go down, and there confound their language.  The Angels ascend in that they behold their Creator; the Angels descend in that by a strict examination they put down that which exalts itself in unlawful measure.  So then for God to say, Let us go down, and confound their speech, is to exhibit to them in Himself that which would be rightly done, and by the power of interior vision to inspire into their minds, by secret influences, the judgments which are fit to be set forth.
 
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 It is after another manner that the Angels speak to God, as in the Revelation of John also they say, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom; for the voice of the Angels in the praises of God is the very admiration itself of inward contemplation.  To be struck dumb at the marvels of Divine goodness is to utter a voice, for the emotion of the heart excited with a feeling of awe is a mighty utterance of voice to the ears of a Spirit that is not circumscribed.  This voice unfolds itself as it were in distinct words, while it moulds itself in the innumerable modes of admiration.  God then speaks to the Angels when His inner will is revealed to them as the object of their perception; but the Angels speak to the Lord when by means of this, which they contemplate above themselves, they rise to emotions of admiration.
 
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In one way God speaks to the souls of Saints, in another the souls of Saints speak to God; whence too it is again said in the Apocalypse of John, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word if God, and for the testimony which.  they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Rev. 6, 9. 10.  Where in the same place it is added, And white robes were given unto every one of them, and it was said unto them that they should rest for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren that should be killed as they were should be fulfilled; Rev. 6, for what else is it for souls to utter the prayer for vengeance, but to long for the day of final Judgment, and the resurrection of their lifeless bodies?  For their great cry is their great longing; for everyone cries the less, the less he desires; and he utters the louder voice in the ears of an uncircumscribed Spirit in proportion as he more entirely pours himself out in desire of Him, and so the words of souls are their very desires.  For if the desire were not speech, the Prophet would not say, Thine ear hath heard the desire of their heart; Ps. 10, but as the mind which beseeches is usually affected one way and the mind which is besought another, and yet the souls of the Saints so cleave to God in the bosom of their inmost secresy, that in cleaving they find rest, how are those said to beseech, who it appears are in no degree at variance with His interior will?  How are they said to beseech, who, we are assured, are not ignorant, either of God's will or of those things which shall be?  Yet whilst fixed on Himself they are said to beseech any thing of Him, not in desiring aught that is at variance with the will of Him, Whom they behold, but in proportion as they cleave to Him with the greater ardour of mind, they also obtain from Him to beseech that of Him, which they know it is His will to do; so that they drink from Him that which they thirst after from Him.  And in a manner to us incomprehensible as yet, what they hunger for in begging, they are filled withal in foreknowing; and so they would be at variance with their Creator's will, if they did not pray for that which they see to be His will, and they would cleave less closely to Him, if when He is willing to give, they knocked with less lively longing.  These receive the answer spoken from God, Rest yet for a little season, till your fellowservants and your brethren be fulfilled.  To say to those longing souls, rest yet for a little season, is to breathe upon them amid their burning desires, by the very foreknowledge, the soothings of consolation; so that both the voice of the souls is that desire which through love they entertain, and God's address in answer is this, that He reassures them in their desires with the certainty of retribution.  For Him then to answer that they should await the gathering of their brethren to their number, is to infuse into their minds the delays of a glad awaiting, that while they long after the resurrection of the flesh, they may be further gladdened by the accession of their brethren who remain to be gathered to them.
 
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 It is in one way that God speaks to the devil, and in another that the devil speaks to God, For God's speaking to the devil is His rebuking his ways and dealings with the visitation of a secret scrutiny, as it is here said, Whence comest thou?  But the devil's answering Him, is his being unable to conceal any thing from His Omnipotent Majesty; whence he says, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.  For it is as it were for him to say what he had been doing, that he knows that he cannot hide his doings from the eyes of That Being.  But we must understand that, as we learn in this place, God has four ways of speaking to the devil, and the devil has three ways of speaking to God, God speaks to the devil in four modes, for He both reprehends his unjust ways, and urges against him the righteousness of His Saints, and lets him by permission try their innocence, and sometimes stops him that he dare not tempt them, Thus he rebukes his unjust ways, as has been just now said, Whence camnest thou?  He urges against him the righteousness of His own elect, as He saith, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth? Job 8  He allows him by permission to put their innocence to the test, as when He says, All that he hath is in thy power. ver.  And again He prevents him from tempting, when He says, But upon himself put not forth thy hand.  But the devil speaks to God in three ways, either when he communicates to Him his dealing, or when he calumniates the innocence of the elect with false charges, or when he demands the same innocence to put it to trial.  For he communicates his ways who says, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. ver. 7  He calumniates the innocence of the elect, when he says, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about all his house, and about all that he hath on every side? ver. 9, He demands the same innocence to be subjected to trial, when he says, But put forth Thine hand now and touch all that he hath and he will curse Thee to Thy face.  But God's saying, Whence comest thou? is His rebuking by virtue of His own goodness that one's paths of wickedness.  His saying, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth? is His making the elect, by justifying them, such as a rebel angel might envy.  God's saying, All that he hath is in thy power, is, for the probation of the Saints, His letting loose upon them that assault of the wicked one, by the secret exercise of His power.  God's saying, Only upon himself put not forth thine hand, is His restraining him from an excessive assault of temptation, even in giving him permission.  But the devil's saying, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it, signifies His inability to conceal from His unseen eyes the cunning of his wickedness.  The devil's saying, Doth Job fear God for nought? is his complaining against the just within the hiding places of his own thoughts, his envying their gains, and from envy searching out flaws for their condemnation.  The devil's saying, Put forth Thine hand now and touch all that he hath, is his panting with the fever of wickedness to afflict the just.  For in that through envy he longs to tempt the just, he seeks as it were by entreaty to put them to the test.  Now then, as we have briefly described the methods of inward speaking, let us return to the thread of interpretation, which has been slightly interrupted.

 
2 - 13 Ver.  8.  Have thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
 The point has been already discussed in the foregoing discourse, that the devil proposed a contest not with Job but with God, blessed Job being set between them as the subject of the contest; and if we say that Job amid the blows erred in his speech, we assert what it is impious to imagine, that God was the loser in His pledge.  For, lo, here also it is to be remarked, that the devil did not first beg the blessed Job of the Lord, but the Lord commended him to the contempt of the devil; and unless He had known that he would continue in his uprightness, He would not assuredly have undertaken for him.  Nor would He give him up to perish in the temptation, against whom, before the temptation was sent, those firebrands of envy were kindled in the tempter's mind from God's own commendations.
 
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But the old adversary, when he fails to discover any evil of which he might accuse us, seeks to turn our very good points into evil, and being beaten upon works, looks through our words for a subject of accusation; and when he finds not in our words either ground of accusation, he strives to blacken the purpose of the heart, as though our good deeds did not come of a good mind, and ought not on that account to be reckoned good in the eyes of the Judge.  For because he sees the fruit of the tree to be green even in the heat, he seeks as it were to set a worm at its root.  For he says, 

 
2 - 15 Ver.  9, 10.  Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast Thou, not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?  Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in, the land.

As if he said in plain terms, ‘What wonder is it, if he who has received so many blessings upon earth should behave without offence in return for them?  He would then be really innocent, if he continued good in adversity; but why is he to be called great, whose every work has its recompense attending upon him, in all this abundance of good things?’  For the crafty adversary, when he bethinks himself that the holy man had acted well in prosperity, hastens by means of adversity to prove him guilty before the Judge.  Whence it is well said by the voice of the Angel in the Apocalypse, The accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night. Rev. 12, 10  Now holy Scripture is often used to set the day for prosperity, and the night for adversity.  Accordingly he ceases not to accuse us by day and by night; forasmuch as he strives to shew us to be chargeable one while in prosperity, another while in adversity.  In the day he accuses us, when he slanders us that we abuse our good fortune; in the night he accuses us, when he shews that we do not exercise patience in adversity; and therefore because no strokes had as yet touched blessed Job, he was as it were still wholly without that whereof he might be able to accuse him by night, but because in prosperity he had thriven in a great holiness, he pretended that it was in return for his good fortune that he had done well, lying in the crafty assertion, that he did not keep his substance for the profit usum of the Lord, but that he served the Lord for the profit usum of his substance.  For there are some who, to enjoy God, dea1 with this life like stewards, and there are some who to enjoy this life would make use of God by the bye.  When then he describes the gifts of Divine bounty, he thinks to make light of the acts of the resolute doer, that he might impeach addicat the heart of him as though on the score of secret thoughts, whose life he was unable to reprove on the score of works; falsely asserting that whatever outward innocence of life there might be, was in compliance not with the love of God, but with his longing after temporal prosperity.  And so knowing nothing of the powers of blessed Job, and yet being well aware that everyone is most truly tried by adversity, he demands him for trial, that he who throughout the day of prosperity had walked with unfailing foot, at least in the night of adversity might stumble, and by the offence of impatience might be laid low before the eyes of his commender.  Whence he adds,

 
2 - 16 Ver.  11.  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.
When Satan has a desire to tempt the holy man, and yet tells the Lord that He must put forth His hand against him, it is very deserving of notice that even he, who is so especially lifted up against the Maker of all things, never claims to himself the power to strike; for the devil knows well that he is unable to do any thing of himself, for neither in that he is a spirit does he subsist by himself.  Hence it is that in the Gospel, the legion, which was to be cast out of the man, exclaimed, If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine; Mat. 8, 31 for what wonder is it if he, who could not by his own power enter into the swine, had no power without the Creator's hand to touch the holy man's house?
 
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  But we must know that the will of Satan is always evil, but his power is never unjust, for his will he derives from himself, but his power he derives from God.  For what he himself unrighteously desires to do, God does not allow to be done except with justice.  Whence it is well said in the book of Kings, the evil spirit of God came upon Saul. 1 Sam. 18,  You see that one and the same spirit is both called the Lord's spirit and an evil Spirit; the Lord's, that is, by the concession of just power, but evil, by the desire of an unjust will, so that he is not to be dreaded, who has no power but by permission; and, therefore, that Power is the only worthy object of fear, which when It has allowed the enemy to vent his rage, makes even his unjust will serve the purpose of a just judgment.  But he requires that His hand should be put forth a little; they being external things, of which he seeks the hurt.  For Satan even does not consider himself to accomplish much, unless he inflicts a wound in the soul, that by so smiting he may bring one back from that country, from which he lies far removed, laid prostrate by the weapon of his own pride.
 
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But why is it that he says, if he have not blessed Thee to Thy face? so Vulg.  We look, it means, toward that we love, but that we would be quit of, we turn away our face from it.  What then is the face of God, unless the regard of His favour is set before us to be understood?  Accordingly he says, But put forth Thine hand a little Vulg. paullullum, E.V.nowand touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.  As if he had said in plain words, Withdraw the things which Thou hast given him, for if he lose Thy gifts, he will no longer seek the regard of Thy favour, when his temporal good things are taken away.  For if he no longer has the things in which he takes delight, he will despise Thy favour even to cursing Thee.  By which crafty address The Truth Whom he challenges is in no wise overcome; but that is permitted the enemy to his own undoing, which may be reckoned to the faithful servant for the increase of his reward; for which cause it is immediately subjoined,

 
2 - 19 Ver.  12.  Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

We should mark in the Lord's words the dispensations of heavenly pity, how He lets go our enemy, and keeps him in; how He looses, and yet bridles him.  He allows him some things for temptation, but withholds him from others.  All that he hath is in thy hand, only upon himself put not forth thine hand.  His substance He delivers over, but still He protects his person, which notwithstanding after a while He designs to give over to the tempter; yet He does not loose the enemy to every thing at once, lest he should crush His own subject civem by striking him on every side.  For whenever many evils betide the elect, by the wonderful graciousness of the Creator they are dealt out by seasons, that what by coming all together would destroy, may when divided be borne up against.  Hence Paul says, God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor. 10,  Hence David says, Examine me, O Lord, and prove me. Ps. 26, 2  As if he said in plain words, ‘first examine my powers, and then, as I am able to bear, let me undergo temptation.’  But this that is said, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand, is also capable of another sense, viz. that the Lord knew well, indeed, that His soldier was brave, yet chose to divide for him his contests with the enemy, that, though victory should in every case be sure to that staunch warrior, yet that from one conflict first the enemy might return to the Lord defeated, and that then he might grant him another encounter to be again worsted, so that his faithful follower might come forth the more incomparable conqueror, in proportion as the vanquished foe had repaired his forces again for fresh wars with him.  It follows, 

 
2 - 20 So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
What is this, that Satan is said to go forth from the presence of the Lord?  For how is it possible to go forth from Him, Who is every where present?  Whence it is that He says, Do not I fill heaven and earth? Jer. 23, 24  Hence it is written concerning His Spirit, For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world. Wisd. 7 Hence it is that His Wisdom saith, I alone compassed the circuit of heaven. Ecclus. 24, 5  Hence it is that the Lord says again, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Isa. 66, 1 And again it is written of Him, He meteth out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, Is. 40, 12. Vulg. for He abides both within and without the seat, whereon He rules.  By His ‘meting out heaven with a span, and comprehending the earth in a measure,’ He is shewn to be Himself on every side beyond the circuit of all things which He has created.  For that which is enclosed within is from without held in by that which encloseth it.  "By the throne, therefore, whereon He is seated, it is meant that He is within and above; by the ‘measure,’ wherewith , ‘He comprehends,’ He is represented to be beyond and beneath; for whereas the same Being abides within all things, without all things, above all things, beneath all things, He is both above by virtue of His Dominion, and beneath by virtue of His Upholding; without, by His Immensity, and within, by His Subtlety; ruling from on high, holding together from below; encompassing without, penetrating within; not abiding by one part above, by another beneath, or by one part without, and by another part within, but One and the Same, and wholly every where, upholding in ruling, ruling in upholding; penetrating in encompassing, encompassing in penetrating; whence He ruleth from above, thence upholding from beneath, and whence He enfoldeth from without, thence filling up within; ruling on high without disquietude, upholding below without effort; within, penetrating without attenuation, without, encompassing without expansion.  So that He is both lower and higher, without place; He is wider without breadth; He is more subtle without rarity.
 
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Whither then is there any ‘going forth’ from Him, Who being through the bulk of a body no where present, is through a Substance unlimited no where absent?  Still, so long as Satan, kept down by the power of His Majesty, was unable to execute the longing of his wickedness, he, as it were, stood in the presence of the Lord, but he ‘went forth’ from the presence of the Lord, because, being freed from above from the pressure of an inward withholding, he went to the execution of his desire.  He went forth from the presence of the Lord, forasmuch as his evil will, long bound by the fetters of a severe control, did at length proceed to fulfilment.  For, as has been said, whilst that which he desired he had no power to fulfil, in a manner, he ;stood in the presence of the Lord,’ because the Supreme Providence restrained him from the execution of his wickedness, but ‘he went forth from His presence,’ because in receiving the power to tempt, he arrived at the goal, at which his wickedness aimed, It goes on:

 
2 - 22 Ver.  13, 14, 15, And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

We ought to observe what times are suited for temptations; for the devil chose that as the time for tempting, when he found the sons of the blessed Job engaged in feasting; for the adversary does not only cast about what to do, but also when to do it.  Then though he had gotten the power, yet he sought a fitting season to work his overthrow, to this end, that by God's disposal it might be recorded for our benefit, that the delight of full enjoyment is the forerunner of woe.  But we should observe the craft with which the losses that were inflicted by him are themselves related; for it is not said, ‘the oxen have been carried off by the Sabeans,’ but ‘the oxen, which have been carried away, were ploughing,’ with the view doubtless that by mention of the profit of their labour, his cause for sorrow should be increased; for the same reason also LXX. ai yhlei-ai onoi among the Greeks it is not only asses, but asses with young, that are reported to have been taken away, that while such insignificant animals might less hurt the mind of the hearer from their value, they might from their productiveness inflict the sorer wound; and as misfortunes afflict the mind the more in proportion as, being many in number, they are also suddenly announced, the measure of his woes was enlarged even through the junctures at which the tidings arrived.  For it follows,

 
2 - 23 Ver.  16, While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Lest the loss of his property might not stir up sufficient grief at the hearing, he urges his feelings to exceed by the very words of the messengers.  For it is to be remarked how craftily it is said, the fire of God, as though it were said, thou art suffering the visitation of Him, Whom thou desiredst to appease by so many sacrifices: thou art undergoing the wrath of Him, in Whose service thou didst daily weary thyself!  For in signifying that God, Whom he had served, had brought upon him his misfortunes, he mentions a sore point on which he may break forth; to the end that he might recall to mind his past services, and reckoning that he had served in vain, might be lifted up against the injustice of the Author.  For the godly mind, when it finds itself to meet with crosses from the hands of man, finds repose in the consolations of Divine favour; and when it sees the storms of trial gather strength without, then seeking the covert of trust in the Lord, it takes refuge within the haven of the conscience.  But that the cunning adversary might at one and the same moment crush the bold heart of the holy man, both by strokes from man and by despair in God, he both brought tidings at first that the Sabeans had made an irruption, and announced immediately afterwards that the fire of God had fallen from heaven, that he might as it were shut up every avenue of consolation, whereas he shews even Him to be against him, Who might have solaced his spirit amidst his adversities; so that considering himself in his trials to be on every side forsaken, and on every side in a strait, he might burst into reviling with so much the more hardihood as he did it in the greater desperation.  It goes on;

 
2 - 24 Ver.  17.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Lo again, lest any thing should be wanting to his grief for the adversity that came of man, he brings tidings that bands of the Chaldeans had broken in, and lest the calamity that came from above should strike him with too little force, he shews that wrath is repeated in the heavens.  For it follows;

 
2 - 25 Ver. 18, 19.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
He who is not laid low by one wound is in consequence stricken twice and thrice, that at one time or another he may be struck to the very core.  Thus the blow from the Sabeans had been reported, the Divine visitation by fire from heaven had been reported, tidings are brought of the plundering of the camels, by man again, and of the slaughter of his servants, and the fury of God's displeasure is repeated, in that a fierce wind is shewn to have smitten the comers of the house, and to have overwhelmed his children.  For because it is certain that without the Sovereign dictate the elements can never be put in motion, it is covertly implied that He, Who let them be stirred, did Himself stir up the elements against him, though, when Satan has once received the power from the Lord, he is able even to put the elements into commotion to serve his wicked designs.  Nor should it disturb us, if a spirit cast down from on high should have the power to stir the air into storms, seeing that we know doubtless that to those even who are sentenced to the mines fire and water render service to supply their need.  So then he obtained that tidings should be brought of misfortunes; he obtained that they should be many in number; he obtained that they should come suddenly.  Now the first time that he brought bad tidings he inflicted a wound upon his yet peaceful breast, as upon sound members; but when he went on smiting the stricken soul, he dealt wound upon wound, that he might urge him to words of impatience.
 
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But we should observe with what craftiness the ancient foe busied himself to break down the patience of the holy man, not so much by the loss of his substance as by the very order of the announcements.  He, taking pains to announce first the slight disasters, and afterwards the greater ones, last of all brought him intelligence of the death of his sons, lest the father should account the losses of his property of slight importance, if he heard of them when now childless, and lest it should the less disturb him to part with his goods, after he had learnt the death of his children, considering that the inheritance were no more, if he first removed out of the way those who were reserved to inherit it.  So beginning from the least, he announced the worst intelligence last; that while worse disasters were made known to him in succession, every wound might find room for pain within his breast. Take notice of the craft with which so many a weight of ill is announced, both separately and at the same time suddenly, that his grief being increased both of a sudden and in point after point, might not contain itself within the hearer's breast, and that it might so much the more inflame him to utter blasphemy, as the fire, kindled within him by those sudden and multiplied tidings, raged in a narrower space.
 
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Nor do I think that this ought to be lightly passed over, that the sons when they perish were feasting in the house of their elder brother.  For it has been declared above that feasts can scarcely be gone through without transgression.  To speak then of our own concerns and not of theirs, the lesson we ought to learn is, that what the younger ones do for pleasure's sake is checked by the control of the elder, but when the elder are themselves followers of pleasure, then, we may be sure, the reins of license are let loose for the younger; for who would keep himself under the control of authority, when even the very persons, who receive the right of control, freely give themselves to their pleasures?  And so while they are feasting in the house of their elder brother, they perish, for then the enemy gets more effective power against us, when he marks that even those very persons, who are advanced for the keeping of discipline, are abandoned to joviality.  For he is so much the more free and forward to strike, as he sees that they too, who might intercede for our faults, are taken up with pleasure.  But far be it from us to suspect that the sons of so great a man were by devotedness to feasts given up to the gorging of the belly.  But still we know for certain that though a man, by the observance of self control, may not pass the bounds of necessity in eating, yet the animated earnestness of the mind is dulled amidst feasting, and that mind is less apt to reflect in what a conflict of temptations it is placed, which throws off restraint in a sense of security.  In the eldest brother's day then he overwhelmed the sons, for the old foe in compassing the death of the younger, seeks an inlet for their ruin through the carelessness of the elder ones. But as we have marked with what piercing darts the tidings struck him, let us hear how our man of valour stands fast amid the blows, It proceeds; 

 
2 - 28 Ver. 20.  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.
There are some who account it a high degree of philosophical fortitude, if, when corrected by severe discipline, they are insensible to the strokes, and to the pains of those stripes.  And there are some who feel to such excess the infliction of the blows, that under the influence of immediate grief, they even fall into excesses of the tongue.  But whoever strives to maintain true philosophy, must go between either extreme, for the weightiness of true virtue consists not in dulness of heart, as also those limbs are very unhealthy from numbness which cannot feel any pain even when cut.  Again, he deserts his guard over virtue, who feels the pain of chastisement beyond what is necessary; for while the heart is affected with excessive sorrow, it is stirred up to the extent of impatient reviling, and he who ought to have amended his misdeeds by means of the stripes, does his part that his wickedness should be increased by the correction.  Agreeably to which, against the insensibility in the chastised, the words of the Prophet are, Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. Jer. 5, 3  Against the faintheartedness of the chastened the Psalmist hath it, They will never stand fast in adversity; Ps. 140, 10. Vulg. for they would ‘stand fast in adversity,’ if they bore calamities with patience, but so soon as they sink in spirit, when pressed with blows, they as it were lose the firmness of their footing, amidst the miseries inflicted on them.
 
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 Thus because blessed Job observed the rule of the true philosophy, he kept himself from either extreme with the evenness of a marvellous skill, that he might not by being insensible to the pain contemn the strokes, nor again, by feeling the pain immoderately, be hurried madly against the visitation of the Striker.  For when all his substance was lost, all his children gone, he rose up, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.  In that he rent his mantle, in that he shaved his head and fell down upon the ground, he shews, we see, that he has felt the pain of the scourge; but in that it is added that he worshipped, it is plainly shewn that even in the midst of pain, he did not break forth against the decree of the Smiter.  He was not altogether unmoved, lest by his very insensibility he should shew a contempt of God; nor was he completely in commotion, lest by excess of grief he should commit sin.  But because there are two commandments of love, i.e.  the love of God, and of our neighbour; that he might discharge the love of our neighbour, he paid the debt of mourning to his sons; that he might not forego the love of God, he performed the office of prayer amidst his groans.  There are some that use to love God in prosperity, but in adversity to abate their love of Him from whom the stroke comes.  But blessed Job, by that sign which he outwardly shewed in his distress, proved that he acknowledged the correction of his Father, but herein, that he continued humbly worshipping, he shewed that even under pain he did not give over the love of that Father.  Therefore that he might not shew pride by his insensibility, he fell down at the stroke, but that he might not estrange himself from the Striker, he so fell down as to worship.  But it was the practice of ancient times for everyone, who kept up the appearance of his person by encouraging the growth of his hair, to cut it off in seasons of mourning; and, on the other hand that he who in peaceful times kept his hair cut, should in evidencing his distress cherish its growth.  Thus blessed Job is shewn to have preserved his hair in the season of rest, when he is related to have shaven his head for the purpose of mourning, that whereas the hand of the Most High was fallen upon him in all the circumstances of his condition, the altered mien of penance might even by his own act overcloud him.  But such an one, spoiled of his substance, bereft of his children, that rent his mantle, that shaved his head, that fell down upon the ground, let us hear what he says!

 
2 - 30 Ver.  21.  Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.

 Oh!  upon how elevated a seat of the counsels of the heart does he sit enthroned, who now lies prostrate on the earth with his clothes rent!  For because by the judgment of the Lord he had lost all that he had, for the preserving his patience he brought to mind that time, when he had not as yet those things which he had lost, that, whilst he considers that at one time he had them not, he may moderate his concern for having lost them; for it is a high consolation in the loss of what we have, to recall to mind those times, when it was not our fortune to possess the things which we have lost.  But as the earth has produced all of us, we not unjustly call her our mother.  As it is written, An heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day that they go out of their mother's womb, till the day that they return to the mother of all things. Ecclus. 40, 1

Blessed Job then, that he might mourn with patience for what he had lost here, marks attentively in what condition he had come hither.  But for the furtherance of preserving patience, with still more discretion he considers, how he will go hence, and exclaims, Naked came lout of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.  As though he said, ‘Naked did the earth bear me, when I came upon this scene, naked it will receive me back, when I depart hence.  I then who have lost what I had indeed given me, but what must yet have been abandoned, what have I parted with that was my own?’  But because comfort is not only to be derived from the consideration of our creation conditionis ‘conditoris.’, but also from the justice of the Creator, he rightly adds,

 
2 - 31 The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. so V. and lxx.
 The holy man, under trial from the adversary, had lost every thing, yet knowing that Satan had no power against him to tempt him, saving by the Lord's permission, he does not say, ‘the Lord hath given, the devil hath taken away,’ but the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away.  For perchance it would have been a thing to grieve for, if what his Creator had given him, his enemy had taken from him: but when no other hath taken it away, saving He Who Himself gave it, He hath only recalled what was His own, and hath not taken away what was ours.  For if we have from Him all that we make use of in our present life, what cause for grief that by His own decree we are made to surrender, of Whose bounty we have a loan?  Nor is he at any time an unfair creditor, who while he is not bound to any set time of restitution, exacts, whenever he will, what he lends out.  Whereupon it is well added, As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done; for since in this life we undergo things which we would not, it is needful for us to turn the bias of our will to Him, Who can will nought that is unjust.  For there is great comfort in what is disagreeable to us, in that it comes to us by His disposal, to Whom nought but justice is pleasing.  If then we be assured that what is just is the Lord's pleasure, and if we can suffer nothing but what is the Lord's pleasure, then all is just that we undergo, and it is great injustice, if we murmur at a just suffering. 
 
2 - 32

 But since we have heard how the intrepid speaker put forward the vindication of his cause against the adversary, now let us hear how in the end of his speech he extols the Judge with benedictions.  It follows, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.  See how he concluded all that he felt alight with a blessing on the Lord, that the adversary might both perceive hence, and for his punishment under defeat take shame to himself, that he himself even though created in bliss had proved a rebel to that Lord, to Whom a mortal even under His scourge utters the hymn of glory.

But be it observed, that our enemy strikes us with as many darts as he afflicts us with temptations; for it is in a field of battle that we stand every day, every day we receive the weapons of his temptations.  But we ourselves too send our javelins against him, if, when pierced with woes, we answer humbly.  Thus blessed Job, when stricken with the loss of his substance and with the death of his children, forasmuch as he turned the force of his anguish into praise of his Creator, exclaiming, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done; blessed be the Name of the Lord:  by his humility, struck down the enemy in his pride, and by his patience, laid low the cruel one.  Let us never imagine that our combatant received wounds, and yet inflicted none.  For whatever words of patience he gave forth to the praise of God, when he was stricken, he as it were hurled so many darts into the breast of his adversary, and inflicted much sorer wounds than he underwent; for by his affliction he lost the things of earth, but by bearing his affliction with humility, he multiplied his heavenly blessings.  It follows,

 
2 - 33 Ver.22.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Since, when we are laid hold of by distressing trials, we may even in the silent working of our thoughts, without word of mouth, be guilty of sin; the testimony both of the lips and of the heart is given to blessed Job.  For it is first said, he sinned not, and then it is afterwards added, nor charged God foolishly: for he, who uttered nothing foolishly, kept offence from his tongue, and whereas the words, he sinned not, come before, it appears that he excluded the sin of murmuring even from his thought, so that he neither sinned nor spake foolishly, since he neither swelled with indignation in his silent consciousness, nor gave a loose to his tongue in reviling.  For he does ‘charge God foolishly,’ who, when the strokes of divine chastisement are fallen upon him, strives to justify himself.  For if he venture in pride to assert his innocence, what else does he, but impugn the justice of the chastiser?  Let it suffice for us to have run through the words of the history thus far: let us now turn the discourse of our exposition to investigate the mysteries of allegory.  And herein, that it is written,

 
 ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION
2 - 34 Ver.6.  Now there was a day when  the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
  It is first to be made out, wherefore any thing is said to be done on a particular day before the Lord, whereas with Him the progress of time is never marked by the variation of day and night.  For neither does that light, which without coming enlighteneth whatsoever it chooseth, and without going forsaketh those things which it rejects, admit any imperfection of mutability; for, while it abideth unchangeable in itself, it orders all things that are subject to change, and has in such sort created all transient beings in itself, that in it they are incapable of transition, nor is there inwardly in His sight any lapse of time, which with us, without Him, has its course.  Whence it comes to pass that those revolutions of the world remain fixed in His eternity, which, having no fixedness out of Him issue into existence emanant.  Why then in relation to Him is it said, one day, in that His one day is His eternity?  Which same the Psalmist perceived to be closed by no ending, and to open with no beginning, where he says, 
 
2 - 35 One day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. Ps. 84, 10. Vulg.
 But as Holy Scripture speaks to those who are brought forth in time, it is meet that it should use words significant of time, in order that it may lift us up by so condescending, and that while it relates something that belongs to eternity after the manner of time, it may gradually transfer to the eternal world those who are habituated to the things of time, and that that eternity, which is unknown, while it amuses blanditur us with words that are known, may successfully impart itself to our minds.  And what wonder is it, if in Holy Writ God is not overhasty to disclose the unchangeableness of His Nature to the mind of man, since after He had celebrated the triumph solemnitate of His Resurrection, it was by certain progressive steps that He made known the incorruptibility of the Body which He resumed again.  For we have learnt from the testimony of Luke, that He first sent Angels to some, that were seeking for Him in the tomb; and again to the disciples who were talking of Him by the way, He Himself appeared, yet not so as to be known by them, Who indeed after the delay of an exhortation did shew Himself to be known of them in the breaking of bread; but at last, entering suddenly, He not only presented Himself to be known by sight, but to be handled also.  For because the disciples still carried about with them faint hearts, in coming to the knowledge of this marvellous mystery they were to be nourished by such a method of its dispensation, that by little and little in seeking they might find some portion, that finding they might gain growth, and growing they might hold the faster the truths which they had learnt.  Inasmuch then as we are not led to the eternal world at once, but by a progression of cases and of words as though by so many steps, this or that is said to be done on a certain day before Him within, Who views even time itself also out of time.
 
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 Or forasmuch as Satan too was there, was it the aim of Holy Scripture, when it says that this was done on a certain day, to point out that in the light God beheld the darkness?  For we are unable to embrace light and darkness in one and the same view, in that when the eye is fixed upon darkness, the light is put to flight, and when the eye is directed to the glittering rays of light, the shades of darkness disappear.  But to that Power, Which in unchangeableness beholds all things changeable, Satan was present as in the day, in that It embraces undimmed the darkness of the apostate Angel.  We, as we have said, cannot survey at one view both the objects which we choose in approval, and those which we condemn in disapproval; for while the mind is directed to the one subject, it is withdrawn from the other, and when it is brought back to this latter it is taken off from that, to which it had attached itself.
 
2 - 37
But forasmuch as God without changing beholds all things at the same instant, and without extension embraces all, i.e.  both the good that He aids, and the evil that He judges; both that which thus aiding He rewards, and that which so judging He condemns; He is not Himself different in the things which He sets in different order.  Accordingly Satan is said to have come before Him on a day, in that the light of His eternity is proof against the overclouding of any change; and herein, that the darkness is made present to Him, he is said to have presented himself among the sons of God, because in fact the impure spirit is penetrated by the self-same Power of Righteousness, wherewith the hearts of pure spirits are replenished; and that being is pierced through with the same ray of light, which is so shed abroad in them as that they shine.
 
2 - 38

 He came among the sons of God, in that, though they serve God in rendering aid to the elect, he does this, in putting them to trial.  He presented himself among the sons of God, in that, although they dispense the succours of mercy to all that labour in this present life, this one unwittingly serves the ends of His secret justice, while he strives to accomplish the ministry of their condemnation.  Whence it is justly said by the Prophet in the books of Kings, I saw the Lord sitting upon His throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by Him, on His right hand and on His left.  And it was said, Wherewith shall I deceive Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead; And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.  And there came forth one and stood before the Lord, and said, I will deceive him.  And it was said, Wherewith? and he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. 1 Kings 22, 19. &c

For what is the throne of the Lord, unless we understand the Angelic Powers, in whose minds enthroned on high He disposeth all things below?  And what is the host of heaven, unless the multitude of ministering Angels is set forth?  Why then is it, that the host of heaven is said to stand on His right hand and on His left?  For God, Who is in such sort within all things, that He is also without all, is neither bounded on the right hand nor on the left.  However, the right hand of God is the elect portion of the Angels, and the left hand of God signifies the reprobate portion of Angels.  For not alone do the good serve God by the aid which they render, but likewise the wicked by the trials which they inflict; not only they who lift upward them that are turning back from transgression, but they who press down those who refuse to turn back.  Nor because it is called the host of heaven, are we hindered from understanding therein the reprobate portion of the Angels, for whatsoever birds we know to be poised in the air, we call them ‘the birds of heaven.’  And it is of these same spirits that Paul saith, Against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephes. 6,  And describing their head, he says, According to the prince of the power of the air. Ephes. 2, 2  On the right hand and on the left hand of God, then, stands the Angelic Host, forasmuch as both the will of the elect spirits harmonizes with Divine mercy, and the mind of the reprobate, in serving their own evil ends, obeys the judgment of His strict decrees.  Hence too it is said, that a spirit of falsehood immediately leaped forth in the midst, to deceive king Ahab, as his deserts called for.  For it is not right to imagine that a good spirit would ever have served the ends of deceit, so as to say, I will go forth, and I will be a, lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.  But because king Ahab by his previous sins had made himself worthy to be cursed with such deception, in order that he who had many times willingly fallen into sin, might for once unwillingly be caught for his punishment, leave is given by a secret justice to the evil spirits, that those whom with willing minds they strangle in the noose of sin, they may drag to the punishment of that sin even against their will.  What then it is there to describe the Host of heaven as having stood on the right hand and on the left hand of God, the same it is here to declare Satan to have presented himself among the sons of God.  So on the right hand of God there stood Angels, for that the sons of God are named; so on His left hand angels are standing, because Satan presented himself among them.

 
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  But as we have determined to search out the hidden senses of the allegory, we not unfitly take it to mean, that the Lord beheld Satan in the day, in that He restrained his ways in the Incarnation of His Wisdom; as though it were not to have seen him, to have for so long borne with his wickedness in the ruin of the human race.  Whence it is straightway said to him by the voice of God,

 
2 - 40 Ver. 7.  Whence comest thou?

 In the day Satan is demanded of his ways, for that in the light of revealed Wisdom the snares of the hidden foe are discovered.  Because, then, the devil is rebuked by the Incarnate Lord, and restrained from his baneful license, it is well subjoined, And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?  For He then by arraigning attainted the ways of Satan, when by the Advent of the Mediator restraining the wickedness of his persuasions, He rebuked the same.  And it is not without reason that the sons of God are related to have stood in the presence of the Lord on this day, forasmuch as it is by the light of Wisdom illuminating them that all the elect are gathered to the calling of their eternal country.  Who, though Incarnate Wisdom came to assemble them in actual deed, were yet by virtue of His foreknowledge already inwardly present to His Divinity.  But since the old enemy, at the coming of the Redeemer, is questioned of his ways, let us hear what he says.

 
2 - 41 Ver. 7.  From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

  For from the time of Adam till the coming of the Lord, he drew after him all the nations of the Gentiles; he went to and fro in the earth, and walked up and down in it, in that he stamped the foot-prints of his wickedness throughout the hearts of the Gentiles.  For when he fell from on high he gained lawful possession of the minds of men, because he fastened them as willing captives in the chains of his iniquity; and he wandered the more at large in the world, in proportion as there was no one found who was in all things free from that his guilt.  And his having gone to and fro in the world as with power, is his having found no man who could thoroughly resist him.  But now let Satan return back, i.e. let the Divine power withhold him from the execution of his wickedness, since He has now appeared in the flesh, Who had no part in the infection of sin from the infirmity of the flesh.  He came in humility for the proud enemy himself to wonder at, that he who had set at nought all the mightiness of His Divinity, might stand in awe even of the very infirmities of His Humanity.  Wherefore also this very weakness of His human nature is immediately set forth against him with wonderful significance as an object to confound him; whereas it is said,

 
2 - 42 Ver.  8.  Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth?

 That Job means by interpretation, ‘Grieving,’ we have already said a little above.  And He is truly called ‘Grieving’ in figure, Who is declared by the testimony of the Prophet ‘to bear our griefs.’ Isa. 53, 4  Who has not His like on the earth; for every man is only man, but He is both God and Man.  He has not His like on earth, because though every son by adoption attains to the receiving of the Divine nature, yet none ever receives so much, as to be, by nature, God.  He was even rightly styled a servant, because He did not disdain to take the form of a servant.  Nor did His taking the humility of the flesh injure His sovereignty, for in order that He might both take upon Him that which He was to save, yet not undergo alteration in that which He had, He neither lessened the Divine by the Human, nor swallowed up the Human in the Divine; for although Paul hath it, Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant; Phil. 2, 6. 7. yet to Him it is ‘emptying Himself,’ of the greatness of His Invisible Being to manifest Himself as Visible; so that the form of a servant should be the covering of That Which without limitation enters into all things by virtue of Godhead.  Again, God's saying to Satan in figure, Hast Thou considered My servant Job, is His exhibiting in his despite the Only-Begotten Son as an object of wonder in the form of a servant.  For in that He made Him known in the flesh as of so great virtue, He as it were pointed out to the adversary in his pride what it would grieve him to contemplate; but now that He had brought before him a perfect object for him to admire, it remains that in order to strike down his pride he should further go on to enumerate its excellencies.  It goes on,

 
2 - 43 Ver.8.  A perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.

 For there came among men the Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus, for the giving an example of living, perfect simplex; in respect of His rigour towards the evil spirits, upright; for the exterminating pride, fearing God; and for the wiping off impurity of life in His Elect, departing from evil.  For it is said of Him by Isaiah in a special manner, And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. Is. 13  And He did in a special manner depart from evil, who refused to imitate the actions which He found among men, since, as Peter bears witness, He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. 1 Pet. 2, 22  It follows;

Ver.  9, 10.  Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?  Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  

The old enemy knew that the Redeemer of mankind was come to be the conqueror of himself; and hence it is said by the man possessed in the Gospel, What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God?  Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time? Mat. 8, 29  Yet before, when he perceived Him to be subject to passion, and saw that He might suffer all the mortal accidents of humanity, all that he imagined concerning His Divinity became doubtful to him from his exceeding pride.  For savouring of nothing else but pride, whilst he beheld Him in humility, he doubted of His being God; and hence he has recourse to proof by temptation, saying, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Matt. 4, 3  In this way, because he saw that He was subject to passion, he did not believe Him to be God by birth, but to be kept by the grace of God.  And for the same reason too he is in this place said to allege,

 
2 - 44 Ver. 10.  Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?  Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

  For he urges that both himself and his house are hedged about by God; because he could not find an entrance to His conscience by tempting him, He declares his substance to be hedged about, in that he dares not to attack His elect servants.  He complains that God had blessed the work of his hands, and that his substance was increased in the land, for this reason, that he pines at beholding that faith in Him enlarges its bounds, in man's coming to the knowledge of Him by the preaching of the Apostles.  For His substance is said to be increasing, all the time that by the labours of the preachers the number of the faithful daily waxes larger.  Satan's saying this to God, is his seeing these things with an envious eye.  Satan's saying this to God, is his grieving at these things with a pining spirit.  It proceeds:

 
2 - 45 Ver.  1 But put forth Thine hand a little, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.

 For He, Whom he thought in time of tranquillity to be under the keeping of God's grace, he imagined might be led to sin by means of suffering; as though he had plainly said, ‘One, Who for the miracles which He works is accounted God, being put to the test by afflictions, is discovered to be a sinner, and nothing better,’ So the Lord said to Satan,

 
2 - 46 Ver. 12.  Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

 Whereas we are examining Holy Scripture under its figurative import, by the hand of Satan is to be understood not his power, but the extent of his tempting.  All, then, that he hath is given into the hand of the Tempter, and he is only forbidden to put forth his hand upon him, which nevertheless, when his substance is gone, is permitted him; for that first Judaea, which was His possession, was taken from Him in unbelief, and that afterwards His flesh was nailed to the stock of the Cross, He then Who first underwent the opposition of Judaea, and afterwards came even to the Cross, in a manner first lost that He had, and then in His own Person endured the wickedness of the adversary.

 
2 - 47 So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. 

Just as it was said above, Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, in that he attained the objects of his desire; for he was in a certain sense in His presence, all the time that on account of Him, he failed to accomplish all that he mischievously thirsted after.

 
2 - 48 Ver.  13, And there was a day, when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house.

We have said that the sons and daughters of blessed Job were a representation either of the order of the Apostles, or of the whole multitude of the faithful.  Now the Lord Incarnate first chose a few out of Judaea unto faith, and afterwards He gathered to Himself the multitude of the Gentile people.  But who was the eldest son of the Lord, unless the Jewish people is to be understood, which had been a long time born to Him by the teaching of the Law which He gave?  and who the younger son but the Gentile people, which at the very end of the world was gathered together?  And therefore whereas, when Satan was unwittingly contributing to the welfare of the human race, and having corrupted the hearts of those persecutors was demanding warrant for the Passion of the Lord, the Holy Apostles were as yet ignorant that the Gentile world were to be gathered to God, and preached to Judaea alone the mysteries of the Faith.  When Satan is said to have gone out from the Lord, the sons and daughters are described to be feasting in the house of their elder brother.  For it had been commanded them, Go not into the way of the Gentiles. Mat. 10, 5  Now after the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, they turned to preaching to the Gentiles, for which reason too in their Acts we find them saying, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but since ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Acts 13, 46  And thus these children of the bridegroom, of whom it is declared, and that by the voice of the same Bridegroom, The children of the bridechamber shall not fast as long as the bridegroom is with them, Matt. 9, are feasting in the house of their elder brother, for this reason, that the Apostles still continued to be fed with the sweets of Holy Scripture in the gathering of the single people of the Jews.

 
2 - 49 Ver. 14, 15.  And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them; And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took all away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
 What else do we take the oxen to mean in figure, but well-doers; what the asses, but certain men of simple ways?  These are properly described to be feeding beside the oxen, because simple souls, even when they are incapable of comprehending deep mysteries, are near to the great, inasmuch as they account the excellencies of their brethren to be their own also by force of charity; and while envy of the knowledges sensibus of others is a thing unknown, they are never divided at pasture.  The asses then take their food in company with the oxen, in that duller minds, when joined with the wise, are fed by their understanding.  Now the Sabeans mean by interpretation ‘captivators;’ and who are signified by the name of ‘captivators,’ but the impure spirits who lead all men captive to infidelity, whom they make subject to themselves?   These too strike the youths pueros with the sword, in that they inflict grievous wounds, with the darts of temptation, upon those whom the constancy of manhood does not yet maintain in freedom and hardiness.  These indeed enter fairly upon well-doing, but while still in the delicate state of a first beginning, they are prostrated beneath the unclean spirits that take captive; these are stricken with the sword of the enemy, in that he pierces them with despair of life eternal.
 
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 But what is this, that the messenger comes with these words, and I only am escaped alone?  Who is this messenger, who, when the rest are destroyed, ‘escapes alone,’ but the prophetic word, which, whilst all the evils happen, which it foretold, alone returns as it were unharmed to the Lord?  For when it is known to speak the truth concerning the fate of the lost, it is in a certain sense shewn to live among the dead.  It is hence that the servant is sent to bring down Rebecca, on the occasion of Isaac's marrying; doubtless because the intervening Prophecy does service in espousing the Church to the Lord.  So when the Sabeans made their assault, one servant alone escaped to give the tidings, because by means of malignant spirits leading captive weak minds, that declaration of Prophecy was confirmed, which, in foretelling the same captivity, saith, Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge. Is. 5,  The prophecy therefore is in a manner preserved safe, when the captivity, which it foretold, is brought to light.  It proceeds, 

 
2 - 51 Ver. 16.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from Heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

All, who held the office of preaching in the Synagogue, were rightly named, 'the heavens,' plainly because they were supposed to be imbued with heavenly wisdom; and for this reason, when Moses was urging the Priests and the people to take heed of his words of admonition, he exclaimed, Give ear, O ye Heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth; Deut. 32, 1 evidently signifying by the Heavens the order of rulers, and by the earth the people under them.  There is then in this place no unfitness in interpreting the Heavens to mean either the Priests or the Pharisees, or the Doctors of the Law, who, to the eyes of men, while they attended on heavenly duties, seemed as it were to shed light from on high.  Now because they were greatly stirred up in opposition to our Redeemer, it was as though ‘fire fell from heaven;’ whilst from those very men, who were accounted teachers of the truth, the flames of envy burst out, to the deceiving of the ignorant people.  For we know from the testimony of the Gospel, that through envy at the truths which He taught they sought an opportunity for His betrayal, but that from fear of the people they dared not make known what they went about.  Hence too it is therein written, that in order to dissuade the people they say, Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?  but this people, who knoweth not the Law, are cursed. John 7, 48. 49.  But what do we understand by the sheep and the servants, save all inoffensive, but still as yet fainthearted persons, who, while they feared to undergo the persecution of the Pharisees and the Rulers, were devoured by the fires of infidelity.  So let it be said; The fire of God is fallen from Heaven, and hath burned up the sheep and the servants; i.e. the flame of envy hath come down from the hearts of the rulers, and burnt up all that there was of good springing up in the people; for while the wicked rulers are claiming honour to themselves in opposition to the Truth, the hearts of their followers are turned from every right way.  And here too it is well added, And I only am escaped alone to tell thee; for whereas the predicted case of wickedness is fulfilled, that word of prophecy escapes the extinction of falsehood, wherein it is said, yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them Is. 26, 1as though it were plainly expressed, ‘not only are the wicked afterwards tormented by fire sent in vengeance, but even now they are consumed therewith through envy;’ in that they who are hereafter to be visited with the punishment of just retribution, inflict upon themselves here the tortures of envy.  And thus the servant flies and returns alone, and announces that the sheep and the servants have been destroyed by fire, when Prophecy in forsaking the Jewish people shews that she has declared the truth, saying, Jealousy has taken hold of a people without knowledge; as though it said in plain words, ‘when the people would not make out the words of the Prophets, but gave their belief to the words of the envious, the fire of jealousy consumed them, seeing that they were burnt in the fire of other men's envy.’  It goes on,

 
2 - 52 Ver. 17.  Whilst he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Knowing that the Chaldeans are to be interpreted ‘fierce ones,’ who else are represented by the name of Chaldeans but the stirrers of that of the persecution, who burst out even in open cries of malice, saying, Crucify Him!  Crucify Him! Luke 23, 21.  These made themselves into three bands, when the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees came severally to put questions. Mk. 15, 13. 15.  Assuredly they were vanquished by the mouth of Wisdom, but forasmuch as we must suppose that they drew some foolish ones after them, having made themselves into bands, they carried away the camels; for each set of them poisoned the hearts of the foolish according to the evil notions, with which it was itself embued; and while by their persuasions they drag them to destruction, it was as if they led captive the crooked tortuosas minds of the weaker sort.  Thus when the Lord preached in Samaria, there were many of the Samaritans that were joined to the heritage of that our Redeemer.  But did not they, who, on the ground of the seven husbands of one woman that were dead, tempted the Lord against the hope of resurrection, do their best to bring back the believing Samaritans from their faith, who plainly knew nothing of the hope of a resurrection?  Who, while they receive some things out of the Law, and disregard others, do as it were, after the manner of camels, ruminate indeed like a clean animal, but like an unclean animal do not cleave the hoof.  Though camels which ruminate, yet do not cleave the hoof, are likewise a representation of those in Judaea, who had admitted the historical fact after the letter, but could not spiritually discern the proper force thereof.  Upon these the Chaldeans seize in three bands, in that the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees, by their evil persuasions, turn them aside from all right understanding.  And at the same time they smite the servants with the sword; for though there were those among the people who were now capable of exercising reason, yet these they met not with force of reasoning, but with authoritativeness of power; and while they desire to be imitated as rulers by their subjects, notwithstanding if their followers can understand somewhat, yet they drag them to destruction by the prerogative of assumed authority.  And it is fitly that one servant escapes from them to bring the tidings, in that when the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees do wickedly, that word of Prophecy, whilst forsaking them, is established sure, which saith, And they that handle the Law knew me not. Jer. 2, 8  The account proceeds, MORAL INTERPRETATION.

 
2 - 53 Ver. 18, 19.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon thy children, and they are dead.
 We have said a little above that by the sons and the daughters we understand the Apostles that preached, and the people under them; who are said to be feasting in their eldest brother's house, for that it was in the lot of the Jewish people still that they were fed with the sweets of the sacred truths preached.  And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness.  The wilderness is the heart of unbelievers, which being forsaken by the Lord is without an inhabitant to tend it.  And what is the great wind, but strong temptation?  Accordingly there came a great wind from the wilderness; for at the Passion of our Redeemer there came from the hearts of the Jews strong temptation against His faithful followers.  The wilderness may likewise not unaptly be taken for the forsaken multitude of impure spirits, from whom came a wind and smote the house, in that they were the source whence the temptations proceeded, and overturned the hearts of the persecutors.
 
2 - 54

  But this house wherein the sons were feasting was builded on four corners.  Now we know the three orders of Rulers in the Synagogue, viz. the Priests, the Scribes, and the Elders of the people; to whom if we add the Pharisees likewise, we shall have found the four corners in this house.  There came then a wind from the wilderness., and smote the four corners of the house; in that temptation burst forth from the unclean spirits and stirred up the minds of the four orders to the wickedness of persecution.  That house fell and overwhelmed His children, forasmuch as when Judaea fell into the cruelty of persecuting our Lord, it overwhelmed the faith of the Apostles with fears of despair.  For they had only to see their Master laid hold of, and, lo, they fled every way, denying Him.  And though the Hand within did by foreknowledge hold their spirits in life, yet meanwhile carnal fear cut them off from the life of faith.  They then who forsook their Master, when Judaea raged against Him, were as if killed by the house being overthrown, when its corners were smitten.  But what do we think became of the flock of the faithful at that time, when, as we know, the very rams took to flight?  Now in the midst of these events one escaped to bring tidings, in that the word of Prophecy, which had given warning of these things, approves itself to have been confirmed in saying of the persecuting people, My beloved one hath done many crimes in Mine house Jer. 115. Vulg.; of the preachers, who though good yet fled at the Passion, My neighbours stood afar off; Ps. 38, saying again of the whole number, who were greatly afraid, Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. Zech. 13, 7  It proceeds;

 
2 - 55 Ver. 20.  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle.
When his sons were destroyed in the ruin of the house, Job arose, because when Judaea was lost in unbelief, and when the Preachers were fallen in the death of fear, the Redeemer of mankind raised Himself from the death of His carnal nature; He shewed in what judgment He abandoned His persecutors to themselves.  For His rising is the shewing with what severity He forsakes sinners, just as His lying down is the patient endurance of ills inflicted.  He rises then, when He executes the decrees of justice against the reprobate.  And hence He is rightly described to have rent his mantle.  For what stood as the mantle of the Lord, but the Synagogue, which by the preaching of the Prophets clung to the expectation of His Incarnation?  For in the same way that He is now clothed with those by whom He is loved, as Paul is witness, who says, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot nor wrinkle Eph. 5, 27; (for that which is described as having neither spot or wrinkle is surely made appear as a spiritual robe vestis rationalis; and at once clean in practice, and stretched in hope;) so when Judaea believed Him as yet to be made Incarnate, it was no less a garment through its clinging to Him.
 
2 - 56
But because He was looked for before He came, and coming, taught new truths, and teaching, wrought wonders, and working wonders, underwent wrongs, He rent His mantle, which He had put on Him, seeing that in Judaea some he withdrew from unbelief, whilst some He left therein.  What then is the rent mantle but Judaea divided in contrary opinions?  For, if His mantle had not been rent, the Evangelist would not have said that, at the preaching of our Lord, there arose strife among the people; For some said, He is a good man; others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people. John 7,  For that mantle of His was rent, in that being divided in opinions it lost the unity of concord.  It proceeds; 
 
2 - 57 And shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.
What is signified by the hair that was shorn but the minuteness sublilitas of Sacraments?  what by the head but the High Priesthood?  Hence too it is said to the prophet Ezekiel, And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head, and upon thy beard; Ezek. 5, 1 clearly that by the Prophet's act the judgment of the Redeemer might be set out, Who when He came in the flesh ‘shaved the head,’ in that he took clean away from the Jewish Priesthood the Sacraments of His commandments; ‘and shaved the beard,’ in that in forsaking the kingdom of Israel, He cut off the glory of its excellency.  And what is here expressed by the earth, but sinful man?  For to the first man that sinned the words were spoken; Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen. 3, 19  By the name of the earth then is signified the sinful Gentile world; for whilst Judaea thought herself righteous, it appears how damnable she thought the Gentile world, as Paul is witness, who saith, We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles. Gal. 2,  Therefore our Mediator, as it were, shaved His head, and fell down upon the earth, seeing that in forsaking Judaea, whilst He took away His Sacraments from her Priesthood, He came to the knowledge of the Gentiles.  For He ‘shaved the hair from His Head,’ because He took away from that His first Priesthood the Sacraments of the Law.  And He fell upon the earth, because He gave Himself to sinners for their salvation; and while He gave up those who appeared to themselves righteous, He took to Himself those, who both knew and confessed that they were unrighteous.  And hence He Himself declares in the Gospel, For judgment I am come into this world, that they that see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind. John 9, 39  And hence the pillar of the cloud, which went before the people in the wilderness, shone with a radiant flame of fire not in the day but in the night; for this reason, that our Redeemer, in giving guidance to those that followed Him by the example of life and conduct, yielded no light to such as trusted in their own righteousness, but all those who acknowledged the darkness of their sins, He shone with the fire of His love.  Nor, because Job is said to fall on the earth, let us account this to be an unworthy representation of our Redeemer.  For it is written, The Lord sent a Word into Jacob, and it hath fallen E.V. lighted upon Israel. Is. 9, 8  For Jacob means one that overthrows another, and Israel, one that sees God.  And what is signified by Jacob but the Jewish people, and by Israel but the Gentile world?  For in that very One Whom Jacob aimed to overthrow by the death of the flesh, the Gentile world, by the eyes of faith, beheld God.  And thus the Word, that was sent to Jacob, lighted upon Israel; for Him whom the Jewish people rejected when He came to them, the Gentile world at once owned and found.  For concerning the Holy Spirit it is written, 
 
2 - 58 The Spirit of God fell upon them. Acts 115

And for this reason either the Word of God or the Holy Spirit is said to fall in Holy Scripture, to describe the suddenness of His coming.  For whatever rushes down or falls, comes to the bottom directly.  And therefore it is as if the Mediator had fallen upon the earth, that without any previous signs He unexpectedly came to the Gentiles.  And it is well said, that He fell down upon the earth and worshipped, in that whilst He Himself undertook the low estate of the flesh, He poured into the hearts of believers the breathings of humility.  For He did this, in that He taught the doing of it, in the same way that it is said of His Holy Spirit, But the Spirit itself maketh request Vulg. postulat for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Rom. 8, 26  Not that He petitions, Who is of perfect equality, but He is said to make request for no other reason than that He causes those to make request whose hearts He has filled: though our Redeemer, moreover, manifested this in His own Person, Who even besought the Father when He was drawing nigh to His Passion.  For what wonder if, in the form of a servant, He submitted Himself to the Father by pouring out His supplications to Him, when in the same He even underwent the violence of sinners, to the very extremity of death.  It proceeds:

 
2 - 59 Ver.21.  Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.

The mother of our Redeemer, after the flesh, was the Synagogue, from whom He came forth to us, made manifest by a Body.  But she kept Him to herself veiled under the covering of the letter, seeing that she neglected to open the eyes of the understanding to the spiritual import thereof.  Because in Him, thus veiling Himself with the flesh of an human Body, she would not see God, she as it were refused to behold Him naked in His Divinity.  But He ‘came naked out of His mother's womb,’ because when He issued from the flesh of the Synagogue, He came openly manifest to the Gentiles; which is excellently represented by Joseph's leaving His cloak and fleeing.  For when the adulterous woman would have used him to no good end, he, leaving his cloak, fled out of the house; because when the Synagogue, believing Him to be simply man, would have bound Him as it were in an adulterous embrace, He too left the covering of the letter to its eyes, and manifested Himself to the Gentiles without disguise for the acknowledgment of the Power of His Divinity.  And hence Paul said, But even to this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their hearts 2 Cor. 3, 15; for this reason, that the adulteress kept the cloak in her own hands, but Him, Whom she wickedly laid hold of, she let go naked.  He then Who coming from the Synagogue plainly disclosed Himself to the faith of the Gentiles, ‘came naked out of His mother's womb,’ But does He wholly give her up?  Where then is that which the Prophet declares, For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return? Is. 10, 22 where that which is written, Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved? Rom. 125. 26.   The time will be, then, when He will shew Himself clearly to the Synagogue also.  Yes, the time will doubtless come in the end of the world, when He will make Himself known, even as He is God, to the remnant of His People.  Whence it is likewise justly said in this place, and naked shall I return thither.  For he ‘returns naked to His mother's womb,’ when, at the end of the world, He, Who being made Man in time is the object of scorn, is revealed to the eyes of His Synagogue as God before all worlds.  It proceeds; -

 
2 - 60 Ver. 21.  The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it come to pass; blessed be the Name of the Lord.
 Our Redeemer, in that He is God, gives all things with the Father; but in that He is Man, He receives at the hands of the Father, as one among all.  Therefore let Him say of Judaea, so long as she believed in the mystery of His Incarnation to come, the Lord hath given.  Let Him say of her, when she slighted the looked for coming of His Incarnation, the Lord hath taken away.  For she was ‘given,’ when in the persons of a certain number she believed what was to be; but she was ‘taken away,’ as the just desert of her blindness, when she scorned to hold in veneration the truths believed by those.
 
2 - 61

 But let Him instruct all that believe in Him, that when under scourges they may know how to bless God, in the words that are added, As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done not in E.V.; blessed be the Name of the Lord.  Whence likewise, as the Gospel is witness, when He is described to be drawing near to His Passion, He is said to have taken bread and given thanks.  And so He gives thanks Who is bearing the stripes of the sins of others.  And He, Who did nothing worthy of strokes, blesses humbly under the infliction of them, doubtless that He might shew from hence what each man ought to do in the chastisement of his own transgressions, if He thus bears with patience the chastisement of the transgressions of others, that He might shew hence what the servant should do under correction, if He being equal gives thanks to the Father under the rod.  It proceeds;

 
2 - 62 Ver.  22.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
 ‘That he neither sinned, nor charged God foolishly,’ Peter, as we have said, above testifies of Him in plain terms, saying, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. 1 Pet. 2, 22  For guile in the mouth is so much the more senseless folly with God, the more that in the eyes of men it passes for crafty wisdom, as Paul bears witness, saying, The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. 1 Cor. 3,  Forasmuch then as there was no guile in His mouth, verily He said nothing foolishly.  The Priests and the Rulers believed that He charged God foolishly, when, being questioned at the time of His Passion, He testified that He was the Son of God.  And hence they question, saying, What further need have we of witnesses?  Behold now we have heard His blasphemy. Mat. 26, 65  But He did not charge God foolishly, in that speaking the words of truth, even in dying He brought before the unbelievers that concerning Himself, which He soon after manifested to all the redeemed by rising again.
 
MORAL INTERPRETATION.
2 - 63
 We have briefly gone through these particulars, regarded under the view of representing our Head.  Now, as they tend to the edification of His Body, let us explain them to be considered in a moral aspect; that we may learn how that, which is described to have been done in outward deed, is acted inwardly in our mind.  Now when the sons of God present themselves before God, Satan also presents himself among them, in that it very often happens that that old enemy craftily blends and unites himself with those good thoughts, which are sown in our hearts through the instrumentality of the coming of the Holy Spirit, to disorder all that is rightly conceived, and tear in pieces what is once wrongly disordered.  But He, Who created us, does not forsake us in our temptation.  For our enemy, who hid himself in ambush against us, He makes easy to be discovered by us, through the illumination of His light.  Wherefore He saith to him immediately, 
 
2 - 64 Whence comest thou?

For His interrogating the crafty foe is the discovering to us his ambush, that where we see him steal into the heart, we may watch against him with resolution and with caution.

 
2 - 65 Ver. 7.  Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Satan's going to and fro in the earth is his exploring the hearts of the carnal, and seeking diligently whence he may find grounds of accusation against them.  He ‘goeth round about the earth,’ for he comes about the hearts of men, that he may carry off all that is good in them, that he may lodge evil in their minds, that he may heap up on that he has lodged, that he may perfect that he has heaped, that he may gain as his fellows in punishment those whom he has perfected in sin.  And observe that he does not say that he has been flying through the earth, but that he has been walking up and down in it; for, in truth, he is never quick to leave whomsoever he tempts; but there where he finds a soft heart, he plants the foot of his wretched persuasion, so that by resting thereon, he may stamp the prints of evil practice, and by a like wickedness to his own may render reprobate all whom he is able; but in despite of him blessed Job is commended in these words;

 
2 - 66 Ver.8.  Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

To him, whom Divine Inspiration makes strong to meet the enemy, God gives praise as it were in the ears of Satan; for His giving him praise is the first vouchsafing virtues, and afterwards preserving them when vouchsafed.  But the old enemy is the more enraged against the righteous, the more he perceives that they are hedged around by the favour of God's protection.  And hence he rejoins, and says,

 
2 - 67 Ver. 10.  Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?  Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

As though he plainly said; ‘Wherefore dost Thou extol him whom Thou stablishest with Thy protection?  for man would deserve Thy praises, while Thou despisest me, if he withstood me by his own proper strength.’  Hence also he immediately demands on man's head with evil intent, what man's Defender concedes though with a merciful design.  For it is added,

 
2 - 68 Ver. 11.  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath; and he will curse Thee to Thy face.

For when we yield plentifully the fruits of virtue, and when we are flourishing in uninterrupted prosperity, the mind is somewhat inclined to be lifted up, so as to imagine that all the excellency that she hath comes to her from herself.  This same excellency, then, our old enemy with evil intent desires to lay hands on, whilst God no otherwise than in mercy allows it to be tried; that while the mind, under the force of temptation, is shaken in the good wherein it exulted, learning the powerlessness of its own frail condition, it may become the more strongly established in the hope of God's aid; and it is brought to pass by a marvellous dispensation of His Mercy, that from the same source, whence the enemy tempts the soul to destroy it, the merciful Creator gives it instruction that it may live; and hence it is rightly added,

 
2 - 69 Ver. 12.  Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

As if He said in plain words; ‘I give thee so to try the good that is in each one of Mine Elect by temptation from without, that thou mayest acquaint thine own self that I keep him holding on to Me by the inward root of the mind; and hence it is rightly added,

 
2 - 70 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

For in that he is not suffered to prevail so far as to withdraw the heart, being thus shut out from the interior, he roams without.  Who, even if he very often work confusion in the virtues of the soul, herein does it without, in that, through God's withholding him, he never wounds the hearts of the good to their utter ruin.  For he is permitted so far to rage against them as may be necessary, in order that they, thus instructed by temptation, may be stablished, that they may never attribute to their own strength the good which they do, nor neglect themselves in the sloth of security, loosing themselves from the bracings of fear, but that in keeping guard over their attainments they may watch with so much the greater prudence, as they see themselves to be ever confronting the enemy in the fight of temptations.

 
2 - 71 Ver. 13, 14, 15.  And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:  and the Sabeans fell upon them; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
 In the hearts of the Elect wisdom is first engendered, before all the graces that follow; and she comes forth as it were a first born offspring by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Now this wisdom is our faith, as the Prophet testifies, saying, If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not understand E.V. be established. Is. 7, 9  For then we are truly wise to understand, when we yield the assent of our belief to all that our Creator says.  Thus the sons are feasting in their eldest brother's house, when the other virtues are feasted in faith.  But if this latter be not first produced in our hearts, all besides cannot be good, though it may seem to be good.  The sons feast in their eldest brother's house, so long as our virtues are replenished with the good of holy writ, in the dwelling place of faith; for it is written, without faith it is impossible to please God Heb. 16; and so our virtues taste the true feasts of life, when they begin to be sustained with the mysteries sacramentis of faith.  The sons feast in their eldest brother's house, in that except the other virtues, filling themselves with the feast of wisdom; do wisely all that they seek to do, they can never be virtues.
 
2 - 72
But observe, while the good that we do is fed with the rich fare of wisdom and of faith, our enemy carries off the oxen that are plowingand the asses feeding beside themand kills the servants with the sword.  What are the oxen plowing, except we understand our serious thoughts, which while they wear conticiunt the heart with diligent tillage, yield abundant fruits of increase?  and what do we take to be the asses feeding beside them, but the simple emotions of the heart, which, whilst carefully withheld from straying in double ways, we feed in the free pasture of purity?  But oftentimes the crafty enemy, spying out the serious thoughts of our heart, corrupts them under the cloak of that beguiling pleasure which he insinuates; and when he sees the simple emotions of the heart, he displays the subtleties and refinements of discoveries, that while we aim at praise for subtlety, we may part with the simplicity of a pure mind; and though he has not the power to draw us to a deed of sin, nevertheless by secret theft subripiens he spoils the thoughts of good things through his temptations, that while he is seen to trouble the good that is in their mind, he may seem as though he had completely made spoil of it.  By the oxen ploughing may also be understood the intents of charity, whereby we endeavour to render service to others, when we desire to cleave the hardness of a brother's heart by preaching; and by the asses also, for that they never resist with a mad rage those that are loading them, may be signified the meekness of patience, and oftentimes our old enemy, seeing us anxious to benefit others by our words, plunges the mind into a certain sleepy state of inactivity, that we are not disposed to do good to others, even though our own concerns leave us at liberty.  Accordingly he carries away the oxen that are ploughing, when, by insinuating sloth that causes negligence, he breaks the force of those inward purposes, which were directed to produce the fruit of a brother's welfare, and although the hearts of the Elect keep watch within the depths of their own thoughts, and, getting the better of it, take thought of the mischief, which they receive at the hands of the tempter; yet by this very circumstance, that he should prevail over the thoughts of good things though but for a moment, the malicious enemy exults in having gotten some booty.
 
2 - 73

Now oftentimes, when he sees the mind in a readiness to endure, he contrives to find out what it loves the best, and there sets his traps of offence; that the more the object is beloved, our patience may be the sooner disquieted by means of it.  And indeed the hearts of the Elect ever return heedfully to themselves, and chastise themselves sorely, even for the slighest impulse to go wrong, and whilst by being moved they learn how they should have stood fast, they are sometimes the more firmly established for being shaken.  But the ancient enemy, when he puts out our purposes of patience, though but for a moment, exults that he has, as it were, carried off the asses from the field of the heart.  Now in the things which we determine to do we carefully consider, with the watchfulness of reason, what is proper, and to what cases.  But too often the enemy, by rushing upon us with the sudden impulse of temptation, and coming unawares before the mind's looking out, slays as it were with the sword the very servants that are keeping watch, yet one escapes to tell that the rest alia is lost; for in whatsoever the mind is affected by the enemy, the discernment of reason ever returns to it, and she doth in a certain sense shew that she hath escaped alone, which doth resolutely consider with herself all that she has undergone.  So then all the rest perish, and one alone returns home, when the motions of the heart are in the time of temptation put to rout, and then discernment comes back to the conscience; that whatever the mind, which has been caught by a sudden onset, calculates that she has lost, she may recover, when bowed down with heartfelt contrition.

 
2 - 74 Ver. 16.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

What is signified by sheep but the innocency of our thoughts?  what is signified by sheep, but cleanness of heart in the good?  Now we have said a little above that we speak of the aerial ‘heaven,’ whence too we name the birds of heaven.  And we know that the impure spirits, that fell from the ethereal heaven, roam abroad in the mid space between this heaven and earth.  These are the more envious that the hearts of men should mount up to the realms of heaven, that they see themselves to have been cast down from thence by the impurity of their pride.  Forasmuch then as the glances of jealousy burst forth from the powers of the air against the purity of our thoughts, ‘fire fell from heaven upon the sheep;’ for oftentimes they inflame the pure thoughts of our minds with the fires of lust, and they do as it were consume the sheep with fire, when they disorder the chaste feelings of the mind with the temptations of sensuality.  This is called the fire of God, for it owes its birth, though not to the making, yet to the permission of God.  And because by a sudden onset they sometimes overwhelm the very cautions of the mind, they slay with the sword as it were the servants that are their keepers.  Yet one escapes in safety, so long as persevering discernment reviews with exactness all that the mind suffers, and this alone escapes the peril of death; for even when the thoughts are put to rout, discretion does not give over to make known its losses to the mind, and as it were to call upon her lord to lament.

 
2 - 75 Ver.  17.  While he was yet speaking there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

By the camels, which have a clean mark, in that they ruminate, and an unclean, in that they do not cleave the hoof, are meant, as we have already said above, the godly stewardships of temporal things, in which in proportion as the charge is more extensive, the more doth the enemy multiply his plots against us.  For every man who is set over the management of temporal affairs, is the more largely open to the darts of the hidden foe.  For some things he aims to do with an eye to the future, and often whilst, thus cautious, he forecasts future events with exactness, he incautiously neglects to regard present evils.  Often while his eye is on the present, he is asleep to the anticipation of coming events.  Often in doing some things slothfully, he neglects what should be done with energy.  Often in shewing himself overactive in the execution, by the very restlessness of his mode of acting he hurts the more the interests of his charge.  Again, sometimes he strives to put restraint upon his lips, but is prevented keeping silence by the requirements of his business.  Sometimes, whilst he restrains himself with excessive rigour, he is silent even when he ought to speak.  Sometimes, while he gives himself more liberty to communicate necessary things, he says at the same time what he should never have given utterance to.  And for the most part he is embarrassed with such vast complications of thoughts, that he is scarce able to bear the mere things, which with foresight he ponders in his mind, and while he produces nothing in deed, he is grievously overburdened insudat with the great weight upon his breast.  For as that is hard to bear which he is subject to within his own bosom, even while unemployed and at rest from work without, he is yet wearied.  For very frequently the mind as it were views coming events, and every energy is strung to meet them; a vehement heat of contention is conceived, sleep is put to flight, night is turned into day, and while the bed holds our limbs which are outwardly at rest, the cause is inwardly pleaded with vehement clamours in the court of our own heart.  And it very often happens that nothing comes to pass of the things foreseen, and that all that thinking of the heart, which had so long been strung up in preparation to the highest degree of intensity, proves vain, and is stilled in a moment.  And the mind is so much the longer detained from necessary concerns, as it thinks on trifles to a wider extent.  Forasmuch therefore as the evil spirits one while deal a blow against the charges of our stewardship by a slothful or a headlong mode of action, at another time throw them into disorder by a backward or an unchecked use of speech, and are almost always burthening them with excessive loads of care, the Chaldeans in three bands carry off the camels.  For it is as it were to make three bands against the camels, to spread confusion amidst the business of earthly stewardship, now by unwarranted deed, now by overmuch speech, now by unregulated thought, so that while the mind is striving to direct itself effectually to outward ministrations, it should be cut off from the consideration of itself, and know nothing of the injuries which it sustains in itself, in the same proportion that it exerts itself in the affairs of others with a zeal above what is befitting.  But when a right mind undertakes any charge of stewardship, it considers what is due to self and what to neighbours, and neither by excess of concern for others overlooks its own interests, nor by attention to its own welfare, puts behind the affairs of others.  But yet it very often happens that while the mind is discreetly intent upon both, while it keeps itself clear for the utmost precautions, both as regards itself and the things which have been entrusted to it, still being thrown into confusion by some unexpected point in any case that arises, it is so hurried away headlong, that all its precautions are overwhelmed thereby in a moment.  And hence the Chaldeans strike with the sword the servants that were the keepers of the camels.  Yet one returns; for amidst all this the rational thought of discretion meets the eyes of our mind, and the soul, taking heed to herself, is led to comprehend what she has lost within by the sudden onset of temptation.  It follows;

 
2 - 76 Ver. 18, 19.  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
As we have before said, ‘the wilderness’ is the deserted multitude of impure spirits, which when it forsook the felicity of its Creator, as it were lost the hand of the cultivator.  And from the same there came a strong wind, and overthrew the house; in that strong temptation seizes us n from the unclean spirits, and overturns the conscience from its settled frame of tranquillity.  But this house stands by four corners for this reason, that the firm fabric of our mind is upheld by Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice.  This house is grounded on four corners, in that the whole structure of good practice is raised in these four virtues.  And hence do four rivers of Paradise water the earth.  For while the heart is watered with these four virtues, it is cooled from all the heat of carnal desires.  Yet sometimes when idleness steals on o the mind, prudence waxes cold; for when it is weary and turns slothful, it neglects to forecast coming events.  Sometimes while some delight is stealing on p the mind, our temperance decays q.  For in whatever degree we are led to take delight in the things of this life, we are the less temperate to forbear in things forbidden.  Sometimes fear works its way into the heart and confounds the powers of our fortitude, and we prove the less able to encounter adversity, the more excessively we love some things that we dread to part with.  And sometimes self-love invades the mind, makes it swerve by a secret declension from the straight line of justice: and in the degree that it refuses to refer itself wholly to its Maker, it goes contrary to the claims of justice.  Thus ‘a strong wind smites the four corners of the house,’ in that strong temptation, by hidden impulses, shakes the four virtues; and the corners being smitten, the house is as it were uprooted; in that when the virtues are beaten, the conscience is brought to trouble.
 
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Now it is within these four corners of the house that the sons are feasting, because it is within the depths of the mind, which is carried up to the topmost height of perfection in these four virtues especially, that the others like a kind of offspring of the heart take their food together.  For the gift of the Spirit, which, in the mind It works on, forms first of all Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, in order that the same mind may be perfectly fashioned to resist every species of assault, doth afterwards give it a temper in the seven virtues, so as against folly to bestow Wisdom, against dulness, Understanding, against rashness, Counsel, against fear, Courage, against ignorance, Knowledge, against hardness of heart, Piety, against pride, Fear.
 
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But sometimes, whilst the mind is sustained with the plenitude and richness of a gift so large, if it enjoys uninterrupted security in these things, it forgets from what source it has them, and imagines that it derives that from itself, which it sees to be never wanting to it.  Hence it is that this same grace sometimes withdraws itself for our good, and shews the presumptuous mind how weak it is in itself.  For then we really learn whence our good qualities proceed, when, by seemingly losing them, we are made sensible that they can never be preserved by our own efforts.  And so for the purpose of tutoring us in lessons of humility, it very often happens that, when the crisis of temptation is upon us, such extreme folly comes down upon our wisdom, that the mind being dismayed, knows nothing how to meet the evils that are threatened, or how to make ready against temptation.  But by this very folly, the heart is wisely instructed; forasmuch as from whatever cause it turns to folly for a moment, it is afterwards rendered by the same the more really, as it is the more humbly, wise; and by these very means, whereby wisdom seems as if lost, it is held in more secure possession.  Sometimes when the mind lifts itself up in pride on the grounds of seeing high things, it is dulled with a remarkable obtuseness in the lowest and meanest subjects; that he, who with rapid flight penetrated into the highest things, should in a moment see the very lowest closed to his understanding.  But this very dulness preserves to us, at the very time that it withdraws from us, our power of understanding.  For whereas it abases the heart for a moment, it strengthens it in a more genuine way to understand the loftiest subjects.  Sometimes while we are congratulating ourselves that we do every thing with grave deliberation, some piece of chance takes us in the nick, and we are carried off with a sudden precipitancy; and we, who believed ourselves always to have lived by method, are in a moment laid waste with an inward confusion.  Yet by the discipline of this very confusion we learn not to attribute our counsels to our own powers; and we hold to gravity with the more matured endeavours, that we return to the same as if once lost. Sometimes while the mind resolutely defies adversity, when adverse events rise up, she is struck with violent alarm.  But when agitated thereby, she learns to Whom to attribute it, that on any occasion she stood firm; and she afterwards holds fast her fortitude the more resolutely, as she sees it now gone as it were out of her hand the moment that terror came upon her.  Sometimes whilst we are congratulating ourselves that we know great things, we are stunned with a blindness of instantaneous ignorance q.  But in so far as the eye of the mind is for a moment closed by ignorance, it is afterwards the more really opened to admit knowledge, in that in fact being instructed by the stroke of its blindness, it may know also from whom it has its very knowing.  Sometimes while ordering all things in a religious spirit, when we congratulate ourselves that we have in abundant measure the bowels of pious tenderness, we are struck with a sudden fit of hardness of heart.  But when thus as it were hardened, we learn to Whom to ascribe the good dispositions of piety which we have; and the piety, which has been in a manner extinguished, is recovered with more reality, seeing that it is loved with fuller affection as having been lost. Sometimes while the mind is overjoyed that it is bowed under the fear of God, it suddenly waxes stiff under the temptations of pride.  Yet immediately conceiving great fears that it should have no fear, it speedily turns back again to humility, which it recovers upon a firmer footing, in proportion as it has felt the weight of this virtue by seeming to let it go.
 
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When the house, then, is overthrown, the sons perish; because when the conscience is disturbed under temptation, the virtues that are engendered in the heart, for any advantage from ourselves knowing them, are speedily and in the space of a moment overwhelmed.  Now these sons live inwardly by the Spirit, though they perish outwardly in the flesh; because, forsooth, although our virtues in the time of temptation be disordered in a moment, and fall from the safety of their seat, yet by perseverance in endeavour they hold on unimpaired in the root of the mind.  With these the three sisters likewise are slain, for in the heart, sometimes Charity is ruffled by afflictions, Hope shaken by fear, Faith beaten down by questionings.  For oftentimes we grow dull in the love of our Creator, while we are chastened with the rod beyond what we think suitable for us.  Often while the mind fears more than need be, it weakens the confidence of its hopes.  Often while the intellect is exercised with endless questionings, faith being staggered grows faint, as though it would fail.  But yet the daughters live, who die when the house is struck.  For notwithstanding that in the seat of the conscience the disorder by itself tells that Faith, Hope, and Charity, are almost slain, yet they are kept alive in the sight of God, by perseverance in a right purpose of mind; and hence a servant escapes alone to tell these things, in that discretion of mind remains unhurt even amid temptations.  And the servant is the cause that Job recovers his sons by weeping, whilst the mind, being grieved at what discretion reports, keeps by penitence the powers which it had in a manner begun to part with.  By a marvellous dispensation of Providence are we thus dealt with, so that our conscience is at times struck with the smitings of guilt.  For a person would count himself possessed of great powers indeed, if he never at any time within the depth of his mind felt the failure of them see S. Macarius, Hom. xv..  But when the mind is shaken by the assaults of temptation, and is as it were more than enough disheartened, there is shewn to it the defence of humility against the arts of its enemy, and from the very occasion, whence it fears to sink powerless, it receives strength to stand firm.  But the person tempted not only learns from Whom he has his strength, but is made to understand with what great watchfulness he must preserve it.  For oftentimes one, whom the conflict of temptation had not force to overcome, has been brought down in a worse way by his own self-security.  For when anyone awearied relaxes himself at his ease, he abandons his mind without restraint to the corrupter.  But if, by the dispensations of mercy from above, the stroke of temptation falls upon him, not so as to overwhelm him with a sudden violence, but to instruct him by a measured approach, then he is awakened to foresee the snares, so that with a cautious mind he girds himself to face the enemy in fight.  And hence it is rightly subjoined,

 
2 - 80 Ver. 20.  Then Job arose.

For sitting betokens one at ease, but rising, one in a conflict.  His rising, then, when he heard the evil tidings, is setting the mind more resolutely for conflicts, after the experience of temptations, by which very temptations even the power of discernment is the gainer, in that it learns the more perfectly to distinguish good from evil.  And therefore it is well added, 

 
2 - 81 And rent his mantle.

We ‘rend our mantle,’ whenever we review with a discriminating eye our past deeds; for unless with God our deeds were as a cloak that covered us, it would never have been declared by the voice of an Angel, Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame Rev. 16, 15; for ‘our shame’ is then ‘seen,’ when our life, appearing worthy of condemnation in the eyes of the righteous in judgment, has not the covering of after good practice.  But because, as often as we are tempted with guilt, we are prompted to mourning, and being stirred by our own lamentations, open the eyes of the mind to the more perfect perception of the light of righteousness, we as it were rend our mantle in grief, in that in consequence of our weeping discretion being strengthened, we chastise r all that we do with greater strictness, and with wrathful hand.  Then all our high-mindedness comes down, then all our overcunningness is dropped from our thoughts; and hence it is added, 

 
2 - 82 And shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.
For what do we understand in a moral sense by hair, but the wandering thoughts of the mind?  and hence it is elsewhere said to the Church, Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet; and thy speech is comely; Cant. 4, 3 for a thread vitta Vulg. binds the hairs of the head.  So the lips of the Spouse are like a thread, in that by the exhortations of Holy Church all dissipated thoughts in the minds of her hearers are put in bands, that they may not roam at large, and be spread abroad amongst forbidden objects, and thus spread abroad, lie heavy on the eyes of the mind, but may as it were gather themselves to one direction, in that the thread of holy preaching binds them.  Which also is well represented to be of scarlet; for the preaching of the Saints glows only with charity.  And what is signified by the head, but that very mind, which is principal in every action?  Whence it is elsewhere said, And let thy head lack no ointment Eccl. 9, 8; for ointment upon the head is charity in the heart; and there is lack of ointment upon the head, when there is a withdrawal of charity from the heart.  The shaving of the head then is the cutting off all superfluous thoughts from the mind.  And he shaveth his head and falls upon the earth, who, restraining thoughts of self-presumption, humbly acknowledges how weak he is in himself.
 
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For it is hard for a man to do great things, and not to harbour confident thoughts in his own mind on the score of his great doings.  For from this very fact, that we are living in strenuous opposition to our vices, presumptuous imaginations are engendered in the heart; and while the mind valorously beats down the evil habits without her, she is very often inwardly swoln within herself; and now she accounts herself to have some special merits, nor ever imagines that she sins in the conceits of self-esteem.  But in the eyes of the severe Judge she is so much the worse delinquent, as the sin committed, in proportion as it is the more concealed, is well nigh incorrigible; and the pit is opened the wider to devour, the more proudly the life we lead glories in itself.  Hence, as we have often said before, it is brought to pass by the merciful dispensations of our Creator, that the soul that places confidence in itself is struck down by a providential temptation; that being brought low it may find out what it is, and may lay aside the haughtiness of self-presumption.  For as soon as the mind feels the blow of temptation, all the presumption and swelling of our thoughts abates.
 
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For when the mind is lifted up in pride, it breaks out as it were into usurpation s.  And it has for the attendants of its tyrannical power, its own imaginations that flatter it.  But if an enemy assaults the tyrant, the favour of those attendants is speedily at an end.  For when the adversary finds entrance the attendants fly, and fall away from him in fear, whom in time of peace they extolled with cunning flattery.  But, when the attendants are withdrawn, he remains alone in the face of the enemy; for when high thoughts are gone, the troubled mind sees itself only and the temptation, and thus upon healing of evil tidings, the head is shaved, whensoever under the violent assault of temptation the mind is bared of the thoughts of self-assurance.  For what does it mean that the Nazarites let their hair grow long, saving that by a life of special continency proud thoughts gain ground?  And what does it signify, that, the act of devotion over, the Nazarite is commanded to shave his head, and cast the hair into the sacrificial fire, but that we then reach the height of perfection, when we so overcome our external evil habits, as to discard from the mind even thoughts that are superfluous?  To consume these in the sacrificial fire is, plainly, to set them on fire with the flame of divine love; that the whole heart should glow with the love of God, and burning up every superfluous thought, should as it were consume the hair of the Nazarite in completing his devotion.  And observe that he fell upon the earth and worshipped; for he sets forth to God the true worship, who in humility sees that he is dust, who attributes no goodness to himself, who owns that the good that he does is from the mercy of the Creator; and hence he says well and fitly,

 
2 - 85 Ver. 2 Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.

As if the mind when tempted and taken in the powerlessness of its weak condition were to say, ‘Naked I was by grace first begotten in the faith, and naked I shall be saved by the same grace in being taken up into heaven in assumptione.’  For it is a great consolation to a troubled mind, when, smitten with the assaults of sin, it sees itself as it were stripped of all virtue, to fly to the hope of Mercy alone, and prevent itself being stripped naked in proportion as it humbly thinks itself to be naked and bare of virtue, and though it be perchance bereaved of some virtue in the hour of temptation, yet acknowledging its own weakness, it is the better clad with humility itself, and is stronger as it is laid low than as it was standing, in that it ceases to ascribe to itself without the aid of God whatever it has.  And hence it also at once owns with humility the hand of Him Who is both Giver and Judge, saying,

 
2 - 86 The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.

Observe how he grew great by the discipline of temptations, who both in the possession of the virtue acknowledges the bounty of the Giver, and in the disorderment of his fortitude, the power of the Withdrawer; which fortitude nevertheless is not withdrawn, but is confounded and loses heart, that the assaulted mind, while it dreads every instant to lose the quality as it seems, being alway made humble, may never lose it.

 
2 - 87 As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done; Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

In this circumstance, viz. that we are assaulted with inward trouble, it is meet that we refer the thing to the judgment of our Creator, that our heart may resound the louder the praises of its Maker, from the very cause that makes it, on being smitten, the more thoroughly to consider the impotency of its frail condition.  Now it is justly said,

 
2 - 88 Ver.  22.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly:
 In that the mind in grief ought to watch with wariness and diligence, lest, when the temptation prompts it within, it break forth inwardly into the utterance of forbidden words, and murmur at the trial; and lest the fire, which burns it like gold, by the excesses of a lawless tongue, may turn it to the ashes of mere chaff.
 
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Now nothing hinders that all that we have said concerning virtues, be understood of those gifts of the Holy Spirit which are vouchsafed in vid. chap. 9manifestation of virtue, for to one is given the gift of Prophecy, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the gifts of healing.  But forasmuch as these gifts are not always present in the mind in the same degree, it is clearly shewn that it is for our good that they are sometimes withdrawn, lest the mind should be lifted up in pride.  For if the Spirit of Prophecy had always been with the Prophets, plainly the Prophet Elisha would never have said, Let her alone, for her soul is vexed within her, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. 2 Kings 4, 27  If the Spirit of Prophecy had been always present to the Prophets, the Prophet Amos when asked would never have said, I am so Vulg. no Prophet; where he also adds, neither a Prophet's son, but I am an herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.Amos 7, 14.  How then was he no Prophet, who foretold so many true things concerning the future?  or in what way was he a Prophet, if he at the time disowned the truth concerning himself?  Why, because, at the moment that he was called in question requisitus, he felt that the Spirit of Prophecy was not with him, he bore true testimony concerning himself, in saying; I am not a Prophet.  Yet he added afterwards, Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord.  Therefore thus said the Lord, Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land. ver. 16, 17.  By these words of the Prophet it is plainly shewn, that while he was bearing that testimony about himself he was filled, and on the instant rewarded with the Spirit of Prophecy, because he humbly acknowledged himself to be no Prophet.  And if the Spirit of Prophecy had always continued with the Prophets, the Prophet Nathan would never have allowed King David, when he consulted him about the building of the Temple, what a little while after he was to refuse him.
 
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 And hence, how justly is it written in the Gospel, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He Which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  For the Spirit descends into all the faithful, but remains in the Mediator alone, in a special manner.  For He has never left the Human Nature of Him, from Whose Divine Nature He proceedeth.  He remains therefore in Him, Who only can both do all things and at all times.  Now the faithful, who receive Him, since they cannot always retain the gifts of miracles, as they desire, testify that they have received Him as it were in a passing manifestation.  But whereas on the other hand it is said by the mouth of Truth concerning the same Spirit to the Disciples, For He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you, John 14, how is it, that this same abiding of the Holy Spirit is by the voice of God declared to be the sign of the Mediator, where it is said, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding on Him?  If then according to the words of the Master He abideth in the disciples also, how will it be any longer a special sign, that He abides in the Mediator?  Now this we shall learn the sooner, if we discriminate between the gifts of the same Spirit.
 
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Now there are some of His gifts, without which life is never attained; and there are others whereby holiness of life is made known for the good of other men.  For meekness, humility, faith, hope, charity, are gifts that come from Him, and they are such as man can never reach to life without.  And the gift of Prophecy, healing, different kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues sermonum, are His gifts; yet such as shew forth the presence of His power for the improvement of all beholders.  In the case of these gifts then, without which we can never attain to life, the Holy Spirit for ever abides, whether in His preachers, or in all the Elect; but in those gifts whereof the object is not the preservation of our own life, but of the lives of others through the manifestation of Him, He by no means always abides in the Preachers.  For He is indeed always ruling their hearts to the end of good living, yet does not always exhibit the signs of miraculous powers by them, but sometimes, for all manifestation of miracles, He withdraws Himself from them, in order that those powers, which belong to Him, may be had with greater humility, in the same degree that being in possession they cannot be retained.
 
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But the Mediator of God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, in all things hath Him both always and continually present.  For the same Spirit even in Substance proceeds from Him.  And thus, though He abides in the holy Preachers, He is justly said to abide in the Mediator in a special manner, for that in them He abides of grace for a particular object, but in Him He abides substantially for all ends.  For as our body is cognizant of the sense of touch only, but the head of the body has the use of all the five senses at once, so that it sees, hears, tastes, smells, and touches; so the members of the Supreme Head shine forth in some of the powers, but the Head Itself blazes forth in all of them.  The Spirit then abides in Him in another sort, from Whom He never departs by reason of His Nature.  Now those of His gifts, by which life is attained, can never without danger be lost, but the gifts, whereby holiness of life is made evident, are very often withdrawn, as we have said, without detriment.  So then the first are to be kept for our own edification, the latter to be sought for the improvement of others.  In the case of the one let the fear alarm us, lest they perish, but in the other, when they are withdrawn for a season, let humility be our consolation, for that they may chance to lift up the mind to entertain pride.  Accordingly when the power of miracles which had been vouchsafed is withdrawn, let us exclaim as is right, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.  For then, and only then, we really shew that we have held in a right spirit all that we had given us, when we bear with patience the momentary withdrawal thereof. 
 
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BLESSED Job, though aimed at for death in his temptation, gained growth unto life by the stroke.  And our old enemy grieved to find that he had only multiplied his excellences by the very means, by which he had thought to do away with them, but whereas he sees that he has been worsted in the first struggle, he prepares himself for fresh assaults of temptations, and still has the boldness to augur evil of that holy man; for one that is evil can never believe goodness to exist, though proved by his experience.  Now those circumstances, which were promised in the first infliction, are again subjoined, when it is said,  

Ver. 2, 3.  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.   And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?  And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?   

Because we have discussed these particulars very fully above, we the rather pass them over in silence, lest, whilst we often repeat points once gone into, we delay too long in coming to such as are untouched; although what is said to Satan by the Lord's voice, Whence comest thou?  I cannot consider to be addressed to him just as it was before; for whereas he returns defeated from that contest upon which he had been let loose, and yet is asked ‘whence he comes,’ when it is known from whence he comes, what else is this but that the impotency of his pride is chidden?  As though the voice of God openly said, ‘See, thou art overcome by a single man, and him too beset with the infirmities of the flesh; thou, that strivest to set thyself up against Me, the Maker of all things!’  Hence when the Lord immediately went on to declare the excellences of Job, as He did before, it is together with the triumphs of his victory that He enumerates this, and adds, 

 
3 - 2 And still he holdeth fast his integrity.

As if He said explicitly, ‘Thou indeed hast wrought thy malice, but he has not lost his innocence; and thou art forced to serve to his advancement by the very means whence thou thoughtest to lessen his advancement.  For that inward innocency, which he honourably maintained when at rest, he has more honourably preserved under the rod.  It follows;

 
3 - 3 Although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause.
 Whereas God is a just and a true God, it is important to enquire how and in what sense He shews that He had afflicted Job without cause.  For because He is just, He could not afflict him without cause, and again, because He is true, He could not have spoken other than what He did.  So then that both particulars may concur in Him that is just and true, so that He should both speak truth, and not act unjustly, let us know, that blessed Job was both in one sense smitten without cause, and again in another sense, that he was smitten not without cause.  For as He that is just and true, says the thing of Himself, let us prove both that what He said was true, and that what He did was righteous.  For it was necessary that the holy man, who was known to God alone and to his own conscience, should make known to all as a pattern for their imitation with what preeminent virtue he was enriched.  For he could not visibly give to others examples of virtue, if he remained himself without temptation.  Accordingly it was brought to pass, both that the very force of the infliction should exhibit his stores of virtue for the imitation of all men, and that the strokes inflicted upon him should bring to light what in time of tranquillity lay hidden.  Now by means of the same blows the virtue of patience gained increase, and the gloriousness of his reward was augmented by the pains of the scourge.  Thus, that we may uphold the truth of God in word, and His equity in deed, the blessed Job is at one and the same time not afflicted without cause, seeing that his merits are increased, and yet he is afflicted without cause, in that he is not punished for any offence committed by him.  For that man is stricken without cause, who has no fault to be cut away; and he is not stricken without cause, the merit of whose virtue is made to accumulate.
 
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But what is meant when it is said, Thou movedst Me against him?  Is ‘the Truth’ then inflamed by the words of Satan, so that at his instigation He falls to torturing His servants?  Who could imagine those things of God which he even accounts unworthy of a good man?  But because we ourselves never strike unless when moved, the stroke of God itself is called the ‘moving’ Him.  And the voice of God condescends to our speech, that His doings may in one way or another be reached by man's understanding.  For that Power which without compulsion created all things, and which without oversight rules all things, and without labour sustains all, and governs without being busied, corrects also without emotion.  And by stripes He forms the minds of men to whatsoever He will, in such sort still that He never passeth into the darkness of change from the light of His Unchangeable Being.  It follows;

 
3 - 5 Ver. 4, 5.  And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.

The old enemy derives from outward things the charge which he urges against the blessed man's soul.  For he affirms that ‘skin is given for skin;’ as it often happens that when we see a blow directed against the face, we put our hands before our eyelids to guard the eyes from the stroke, and we present our bodies to be wounded, lest they be wounded in a tenderer part.  Satan then, who knew that such things are customarily done, exclaims, Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give in exchange for his life.  As if he said in plain words, ‘It is for this reason that Job bears with composure so many strokes falling without, because he fears lest he should be smitten himself, and so it is care of the flesh that makes him unmoved by hurt done to the feelings of the flesh; for while he fears for his own person, he feels the less the hurt of what belongs to him.  

And hence he immediately requires his flesh to be smitten, in these words;

But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.  

He had said above, Touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. Job  Now, as if forgetting his former proposal, being beaten upon one point, he demands another.  And this is justly allowed him by God's dispensation, that the audacious disputer, by being over and over again overcome, may be made to keep silence.  It proceeds;

 
3 - 6 Ver.6.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
Here again, the safeguard of protection goes along with the permission to smite, and the dispensation of God both while guarding, forsakes his elect servant, and while forsaking, guards him.  A portion of him He gives over, a portion He protects.  For if he had left Job wholly in the hand of so dire a foe, what could have become of a mere man?  And so with the very justice of the permission there is mixed a certain measure of pity, that in one and the same contest, both His lowly servant might rise by oppression, and the towering enemy be brought down by the permission.  Thus the holy man is given over to the adversary's hand, but yet in his inmost soul he is held fast by the hand of his Helper.  For he was of the number of those sheep, concerning whom Truth itself said in the Gospel, Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. John 10, 28  And yet it is said to the enemy, when he demands him, Behold, he is in thine hand.  The same man then is at the same time in the hand of God, and in the hand of the devil.  For by saying, he is in thine hand, and straightway adding, but save his life, the pitiful Helper openly shewed that His hand was upon him whom He yielded up, and that in giving He did not give him, whom, while He cast him forth, He at the same time hid from the darts of his adversary.
 
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But how is that it is said to Satan, but save his life animam?  For how does he keep safe, who is ever longing to break in upon things under safe keeping?  But Satan's saving is spoken of his not daring to break in, just as, conversely, we petition The Father in prayer, saying, Lead us not into temptation; Matt. 6, for neither does the Lord lead us into temptation, Who is ever mercifully shielding His servants there from.  Yet it is as it were for Him ‘to lead us into temptation,’ not to protect us from the allurements of temptation.  And He then as it were ‘leads us not into the snare of temptation,’ when He does not let us be tempted beyond what we are able to bear.  In like manner then as God is said to ‘lead us into temptation,’ if He suffers our adversary to lead us thereinto, so our adversary is said to ‘save our soul animum, same as above,’ when he is stayed from overcoming it by his temptations.

Ver. 7.  So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.  

How ‘Satan goes forth from the presence of the Lord,’ is shewn by the remarks which have been already some Mss. add ‘often’ made above.  It goes on;

 
3 - 8 And smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

Strokes are to be estimated in two ways, viz. to consider either of what kind, or how great.  For being many they are often made right by their quality, and being heavy by their quantity, i.e. when, if they be many, they be not heavy, and if they be heavy, they be not many; in order to shew, then, how by the sharpness of the stroke the adversary flamed against the holy man, not only in the badness of the kind, but also in the heaviness of the amount: to prove the quality, it is said, And smote Job with sore boils; and to teach the quantity, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.  Plainly, that nothing might be void of glory in his soul, in whose body there is no part void of pain.  It goes on;

 
3 - 9 Ver. 8.  And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
What is a potsherd made from, excepting mud?  and what is the humour of the body, but mud?  Accordingly he is said ‘to scrape the humour with a potsherd,’ as if it were plainly said, ‘he wiped away mud with mud.’  For the holy man reflected, whence that which he carried about him had been taken, and with the broken piece of a vessel of clay he scraped his broken vessel of clay.  By which act we have it openly shewn us, in what manner he subdued under him that body of his when sound, which even when stricken he tended with such slight regard; how softly he dealt with his flesh in its sound state, who applied neither clothing, nor fingers, but only a potsherd to its very wounds.  And thus he scraped the humour with a potsherd, that seeing himself in the very broken piece, he might even by the cleansing of the wound be taking a remedy for his soul.
 
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But because it often happens that the mind is swelled by the circumstances that surround the body, and by the way men behave toward us the frailty of the body is removed from before the eyes of the mind, (as there are some of those that are of the world, who while they are buoyed up with temporal honours, whilst they rule in elevated stations, whilst they see the obedience of multitudes yielded to them at will, neglect to consider their own frailty, and altogether forget, nor ever take heed, how speedily that vessel of clay which they bear, is liable to be shattered,) so blessed Job, that he might take thought of his own frailty from the things about him, and increase the intensity of his self-contempt in his own eyes, is described to have seated himself not any where on the earth, which at most in every place is found clean, but upon a dunghill.  He set his body on a dunghill, that the mind might to its great profit consider thoroughly what was that substance of the flesh, which was taken from the ground. Gen. 3, 23  He set his body on a dunghill, that even from the stench of the place he might apprehend how rapidly the body returneth to stench.
 
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But see, while blessed Job is undergoing such losses in his substance, and grieving over the death of so many children whereby he is smitten, while he is suffering such numberless wounds, while he scrapes the running humour with a potsherd, whilst, running down in a state of corruption, he sat himself upon a dunghill, it is good to consider how it is that Almighty God, as though in unconcern, afflicts so grievously those, whom He looks upon as so dear to Him for all eternity.  But, now, while I view the wounds and the torments of blessed Job, I suddenly call back my mind's eye to John, and I reflect not without the greatest astonishment, that he, being filled with the Spirit of prophecy within his mother's womb, and who, if I may say so, before his birth, was born again, he that was the friend of the Bridegroom, John 3, 29 he than whom none hath arisen greater among those born of women, Matt. 1he that was so great a Prophet, that he was even more than a Prophet, he is cast into prison by wicked men, and beheaded, for the dancing of a damsel, and a man of such severe virtue dies for the merriment of the vile!  Do we imagine there was aught in his life which that most contemptible death was to wipe off?  When, then, did he sin even in meat, whose food was but locusts and wild honey?  How did he offend even by the quality of his clothing, the covering of whose body was of camel's hair?  How could he transgress in his behaviour, who never went out from the desert?  How did the guilt of a talkative tongue defile him, who was parted far from mankind?  When did even a fault of silence attach to him, who so vehemently charged those that came to him?  O generation, of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Matt. 3, 7  How is it then, that Job is distinguished above other men by the testimony of God, and yet by his plagues is brought down even to a dunghill?  How is it that John is commended by the voice of God, and yet for the words of a drunkard suffers death as the prize of dancing?  How is it, that Almighty God so utterly disregards in this present state of being those whom He chose so exaltedly before the worlds, saving this, which is plain to the religious sense of the faithful, that it is for this reason He thus presses them below, because He sees how to recompense them on high?  And He casts them down without to the level of things contemptible, because He leads them on within to the height of things incomprehensible.  From hence then let everyone collect what those will have to suffer There, that are condemned by Him, if here He thus torments those whom He loves, or how they shall be smitten, who are destined to be convicted at the Judgment, if their life is sunk so low, who are commended by witness of the Judge Himself.  It proceeds;

 
3 - 12 Ver. 9.  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  curse God, and die. 
 The old adversary is wont to tempt mankind in two ways; viz. so as either to break the hearts of the stedfast by tribulation, or to melt them by persuasion.  Against blessed Job then he strenuously exerted himself in both; for first upon the householder he brought loss of substance; the father he bereaved by the death of his children; the man that was in health he smote with putrid sores.  But forasmuch as him, that was outwardly corrupt, he saw still to hold on sound within, and because he grudged him, whom he had stripped naked outwardly, to be inwardly enriched by the setting forth of his Maker's praise, in his cunning he reflects and considers, that the champion of God is only raised up against him by the very means whereby he is pressed down, and being defeated he betakes himself to subtle appliances of temptations.  For he has recourse again to his arts of ancient contrivance, and because he knows by what means Adam is prone to be deceived, he has recourse to Eve.  For he saw that blessed Job amidst the repeated loss of his goods, the countless wounds of his strokes, stood unconquered, as it were, in a kind of fortress of virtues.  For he had set his mind on high, and therefore the machinations of the enemy were unable to force an entrance on it.  The adversary then seeks by what steps he may mount up to this well-fenced fortress.  Now the woman is close to the man and joined to him.  Therefore he fixed his hold on the heart of the woman, and as it were found in it a ladder whereby he might be able to mount up to the heart of the man.  He seized the mind of the wife, which was the ladder to the husband.  But he could do nothing by this artifice.  For the holy man minded that the woman was set under and not over him, and by speaking aright, he instructed her, whom the serpent set on to speak wrongly.  For it was meet that manly reproof should hold in that looser mind; since indeed he knew even by the first fall of man, that the woman was unskilled to teach aright.  And hence it is well said by Paul, I permit not a woman to teach. 1 Tim. 2,  Doubtless for that, when she once taught, she cast us off from an eternity of wisdom.  And so the old enemy was beaten by perdidit ab Adam on a dunghill, he that conquered Adam in Paradise; and whereas he inflamed the wife, whom he took to his aid, to utter words of mispersuasion, he sent her to the school of holy instruction; and she that had been set on that she might destroy, was instructed that she should not ruin herself.  Yes, the enemy is so stricken by those resolute men of our part, that his very own weapons are seized out of his hand.  For by the same means, whereby he reckons to increase the pain of the wound, he is helping them to arms of virtue to use against himself.
 
3 - 13
Now from the words of his wife, thus persuading him amiss, we ought to mark with attention, that the old enemy goes about to bend the upright state of our mind, not only by means of himself, but by means of those that are attached to us.  For when he cannot undermine our heart by his own persuading, then indeed he creeps to the thing by the tongues of those that belong to us.  For hence it is written; Beware of thine own children, and take heed to thyself from thy servants. Ecclus. 32, 22. Vulg. Hence it is said by the Prophet; Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother. Jer. 9, 4  Hence it, is again written; And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Matt. 10, 36  For when the crafty adversary sees himself driven back from the hearts of the good, he seeks out those that they very much love, and he speaks sweetly to them by the words of such as are beloved by them above others, that whilst the force of love penetrates the heart, the sword of his persuading may easily force a way in to the defences of inward uprightness.  Thus after the losses of his goods, after the death of his children, after the wounding and rending of his limbs, the old foe put in motion the tongue of his wife.
 
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 And observe the time when he aimed to corrupt the mind of the man with poisoned talk.  For it was after the wounds that the words were brought in by him; doubtless that, as the force of the pain waxed greater, the froward dictates of his persuasions might easily prevail.  But if we minutely consider the order itself of his temptation, we see with what craft he worketh his cruelty.  For he first directed against him the losses of his goods, which should be at once, as they were, out of the province of nature, and without the body.  He withdrew from him his children, a thing now no longer indeed without the province of nature, but still in some degree beyond his own body.  Lastly, he smote even his body.  But because, by these wounds of the flesh, he could not attain to wound the soul, he sought out the tongue of the woman that was joined to him.  For because it sorely grieved him to be overcome in open fight, he flung a javelin from the mouth of the wife, as if from a place of ambush: as she said, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  Bless God and die.  Mark how in trying him, he took away every thing, and again in trying him, left him his wife, and shewed craftiness in stripping him of every thing, but infinitely greater cunning, in keeping the woman as his abettor, to say, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  Eve repeats her own words.  For what is it to say, ‘give over thine integrity,’ but ‘disregard obedience by eating the forbidden thing?’  And what is it to say, Bless see Book I, 31. God and die, but ‘live by mounting above the commandment, above what thou wast created to be?’  But our Adam lay low upon a dunghill in strength, who once stood up in Paradise in weakness.  For thereupon he replied to the words of his evil counsellor, saying,

 
3 - 15 Ver. 10.  Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
 See the enemy is every where broken, every where overcome, in all his appliances of temptation he has been brought to the ground, in that he has even lost that accustomed consolation which he derived from the woman.  Amid these circumstances it is good to contemplate the holy man, without, void of goods, within, filled with God.  When Paul viewed in himself the riches of internal wisdom, yet saw himself outwardly a corruptible body, he says, We have this treasure in earthen vessels. 2 Cor. 4, 7  You see, the earthen vessel in blessed Job felt those gaping sores without, but this treasure remained entire within.  For without he cracked in his wounds, but the treasure of wisdom unfailingly springing up within issued forth in words of holy instruction, saying, If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil?  meaning by the good, either the temporal or the eternal gifts of God, and by the evil, denoting the strokes of the present time, of which the Lord saith by the Prophet, I am the Lord, and there is none else.  I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. Is. 45, 6. 7.  Not that evil, which does not subsist by its own nature, is created by the Lord, but the Lord shews Himself as creating evil, when He turns into a scourge the things that have been created good for us, upon our doing evil, that the very same things should at the same time both by the pain which they inflict be to transgressors evil, and yet good by the nature whereby they have their being.  And hence poison is to man indeed death, but life to the serpent.  For we by the love of things present have been led away from the love of our Creator; and whereas the froward mind submitted itself to fondness for the creature, it parted from the Creator's communion, and so it was to be smitten by its Maker by means of the things which it had erringly preferred to its Maker, that by the same means whereby man in his pride was not afraid to commit sin, he might find a punishment to his correction, and might the sooner recover himself to all that he had lost, the more he perceived that the things which he aimed at were full of pain.  And hence it is rightly said, I form the light, and create darkness.  For when the darkness of pain is created by strokes without, the light of the mind is kindled by instruction within.  I make peace, and create evil.  For peace with God is restored to us then, when the things which, though rightly created, are not rightly coveted, are turned into such sort of scourges as are evil to us.  For we are become at variance with God by sin.  Therefore it is meet that we should be brought back to peace with Him by the scourge, that whereas every being created good turns to pain for us, the mind of the chastened man may be renewed in a humbled state to peace with the Creator.  These scourges, then, blessed Job names evil, because he considers with what violence they smite the good estate of health and tranquillity.
 
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But this we ought especially to regard in his words, viz. with what a skilful turn of reflection he gathers himself up to meet the persuading of his wife, saying, If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil?  For it is a mighty solace of our tribulation, if, when we suffer afflictions, we recall to remembrance our Maker's gifts to us, Nor does that break down our force, which falls upon us in the smart, if that quickly comes to mind, which lifts us up in the gift.  For it is hence written, In the day of prosperity be not unmindful of affliction, and in the day of affliction, be not unmindful of prosperity. Ecclus. 125  For whosoever receives God's gifts, but in the season of gifts has no fear of strokes, is brought to a fall by joy in his elation of mind.  And whoever is bruised with scourges, yet, in the season of the scourges, neglects to take comfort to himself from the gifts, which it has been his lot to receive, is thrown down from the stedfastness of his mind by despair on every hand.  Thus then both must be united, that each may always have the other's support, so that both remembrance of the gift may moderate the pain of the stroke, and misgiving and dread of the stroke may bite down the joyousness of the gift.  And thus the holy man, to soothe the depression of his mind amidst his wounds, in the pains of the strokes weighs the sweetness of the gifts, saying, If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil?  And he does well in saying first, Thou hast spoken like one of the foolish women.  For because it is the sense of a bad woman, and not her sex, that is in fault, he never says, ‘Thou hast spoken like one of the women,’ but ‘of the foolish women,’ clearly that it might be shewn, that whatsoever is of ill sense cometh of superadded folly, and not of nature so formed.  The account goes on;

 
3 - 17 In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
We sin with our lips in two ways; either when we say unjust things, or withhold the just.  For if it were not sometimes a sin also to be silent, the Prophet would never say, Woe is me, that I held my peace. Is. 6, 5. Vulg.  Blessed Job, then, in all that he did, sinned no wise with his lips; in that he neither spake proudly against the smiter, nor withheld the right answer to the adviser.  Neither by speech, therefore, nor by silence did he offend, who both gave thanks to the Father that smote him, and administered wisdom of instruction to the ill-advising wife.  For because he knew what he owed to God, what to his neighbour, viz. resignation to his Creator, wisdom to his wife, therefore he both instructed her by his uttering reproof, and magnified Him by giving thanks.  But which is there of us, who, if he were to receive any single wound of such severe infliction, would not at once be laid low in the interior?  See, that when outwardly prostrated by the wounds of the flesh, he abides inwardly erect in the fences of the mind, and beneath him he sees every dart fly past wherewith the raging enemy transfixes him outwardly with unsparing hand; watchfully he catches the javelins, now cast, in wounds, against him in front, and now, in words, as it were from the side.  And our champion encompassed with the rage of the besetting fight, at all points presents his shield of patience, meets the darts coming in on every hand, and on all virtue's sides wheels round the guarded mind to front the assailing blows.
 
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But the more valiantly our old enemy is overcome, the more hotly is he provoked to further arts of malice.  For whereas the wife when chidden was silent, he forthwith set on others to rise up in insults till they must be chidden.  For as he essayed to make his blows felt, by the often repeated tidings of the losses of his substance, so he now busies himself to penetrate that firm heart by dealing reiterated strokes with the insults of the lips.  It proceeds; 

 
3 - 19 Ver. 11.  Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

We have it proved to us how great a love they entertained both for each other, and for the smitten man, in that they came by agreement to administer consolation to him when afflicted.  Though even by this circumstance, viz. that Scripture bears witness they were the friends of so great a man, it is made appear that they were men of a good spirit and right intention; though this very intention of mind, when they break forth into words, upon indiscretion arising, becomes clouded in the sight of the strict Judge.  It goes on;

 
3 - 20 Ver. 12.  And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent everyone his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
Because the scourge had altered the appearance of the stricken man, his friends ‘lift up their voice and weep,’ ‘rend their garments,’ ‘sprinkle dust upon their heads;’ that seeing him altered to whom they had come, their voluntary grief might likewise alter the very appearance even of the comforters also.  For the order in consolation is, that when we would stay one that is afflicted from his grief, we first essay to accord with his sorrow by grieving.  For he can never comfort the mourner who does not suit himself to his grief, since from the very circumstance that his own feelings are at variance with the mourner's distress, he is rendered the less welcome to him, from whom he is parted by the character of his feelings; the mind therefore must first be softened down, that it may accord with the distressed, and by according attach itself, and by attaching itself draw him.  For iron is not joined to iron, if both be not melted by the burning effect of fire, and a hard substance does not adhere to a soft, unless its hardness be first made soft by tempering, so as in a manner to become the very thing, to which our object is that it should hold.  Thus we neither lift up the fallen, if we do not bend from the straightness of our standing posture.  For, whereas the uprightness of him that standeth disagreeth with the posture of one lying, he never can lift him to whom he cares not to lower himself; and so the friends of blessed Job, that they might stay him under affliction from his grief, were of necessity solicitous to grieve with him, and when they beheld his wounded body, they set themselves to rend their own garments, and when they saw him altered, they betook themselves to defiling their heads with dust, that the afflicted man might the more readily give ear to their words, that he recognised in them somewhat of his own in the way of affliction.
 
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But herein be it known, that he who desires to comfort the afflicted, must needs set a measure to the grief, to which he submits, lest he should not only fail of soothing the mourner, but, by the intemperance of his grief, should sink the mind of the afflicted to the heaviness of despair.  For our grief ought to be so blended with the grief of the distressed, that by qualifying it may lighten it, and not by increasing weigh it down.  And hence perhaps we ought to gather, that the friends of blessed Job in administering consolation gave themselves up to grief more than was needed, in that while they mark the stroke, but are strangers to the mind of him that was smitten, they betake themselves to unmeasured lamentation, as if the smitten man who was of such high fortitude, under the scourge of his body, had fallen in mind too.  It proceeds;

 
3 - 22 Ver. 13.  So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.
Whether they sat with the afflicted Job for seven days and seven nights together, or possibly for seven days and as many nights kept by him in assiduous and frequent visiting, we cannot tell.  For we are often said to be doing any thing for so many days, though we may not be continually busied therein all those days.  And often holy Scripture is wont to put the whole for a part, in like manner as it does a part for the whole.  Thus it speaks of a part for the whole, as where, in describing Jacob's household, it says, All the souls of the house of Jacob which came into Egypt were threescore and ten. Gen. 46, 27  Where indeed, while it makes mention of souls, it clearly takes in the bodies also of the comers.  Again it puts in the whole for a part, as where at the tomb Mary complains, saying, They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. John 20, 2  For it was the Body of the Lord only that she had come to seek, and yet she bewails the Lord as though His whole Person had been altogether taken away tultum; and so in this place too it is doubtful whether the whole is put for a part.
 
3 - 23
Yet this circumstance, viz. that they were a long while silent, and yet in speaking after all were condemned, must not be passed over carelessly.  For there are some men who both begin to speak with precipitation, and follow out that unchecked beginning with still less check.  While there are some who are indeed backward to begin to speak, but having once begun know not how to set limits to their words.  Accordingly the friends of blessed Job, upon seeing his grief, were for long silent, yet, whilst slow to begin, they spoke with indiscretion, because they would not spare him in his grief.  They held their tongue that it might not begin over-hastily, but once begun they never ruled it, that it might not let itself out from imparting consolation so far as to offer insults.  And they indeed had come with a good intention to give comfort; yet that which the pious mind offered to God pure, their hasty speech defiled.  For it is written, If thou offerest rightly, but dividest not rightly, thou has sinned. Gen. 4, 7. lxx.  For it is rightly offered, when the thing that is done is done with a right intention.  But it is not ‘rightly divided,’ unless that which is done with a pious mind be made out with exact discrimination.  For to ‘divide the offering aright’ is to weigh all our good aims, carefully discriminating them; and whoso puts by doing this, even when we offer aright, is guilty of sin.
 
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 And so it often happens, that in what we do with a good aim, by not exercising careful discrimination therein, we know nothing what end it will be judged withal quo judicetur fine, and sometimes that becomes ground of accusation, which is accounted an occasion of virtue.  But whoever considers the doings of blessed Job's friends, cannot but see with what a pious intention they came to him.  For let us consider, what great love it shewed to have come together by agreement to the stricken man; what a preeminent degree of longsuffering it proved to be with the afflicted, without speaking, seven days and nights; what humility, to sit upon the earth so many days and nights; what compassion, to sprinkle their heads with dust!  But yet when they began to speak, by the same means, whereby they reckoned to win the price of a reward, it was their lot to meet with the arraignment of rebuke; for to the unwary even that which is begun for the object of recompense alone, oftentimes turns to an issue in sin.  Observe!  by hasty speech they lost that good which it cost them so much labour to purchase.  And unless the grace of God had bidden them to offer sacrifice for their guilt, they might have been justly punished by the Lord, on the very grounds whereon they reckoned themselves exceeding well-pleasing to Him.  By the same proceeding they displease the Judge, whereby, as if in that Judge's defence, they please themselves through want of self-control.  Now it is for this reason that we speak thus, that we may recall to the recollection of our readers, for each one to consider heedfully with himself, with what dread visitations the Lord punishes the actions which are done with an evil design, if those which are begun with a good aim, but mixed with the heedlessness of indiscretion, are chastised with such severe rebuke.  For who would not believe that he had secured himself ground of recompense, either if in God's defence he had said aught against his neighbour, or at all events if in sorrow for a neighbour he had kept silence seven days and nights?  And yet the friends of blessed Job by doing this were brought into sin for their pains, because while the good aim of comforting which they were about was known to them, yet they did not know with what a balance of discretion it was to be done.  Whence it appears that we must not only regard what it is that we do, but also with what discretion we put it in execution.  First indeed, that we may never do evil in any manner, and next, that we may not do our good deeds without caution; and it is in fact to perform these good deeds with carefulness, that the Prophet admonishes us when he says, Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently. Jer. 48, 10. Vulg.  But let these things stand us in stead to this end, that before the exact and incomprehensible scrutiny of the Awful Judge shall be, we may not only fear for all that we have done amiss, but if there be in us aught of the kind, for the very things that we have done well; for oftentimes that is found out to be sin at His Judgment, which before the Judgment passes for virtue, and from the same source, whence we look for the merciful recompense of our works, there comes upon us the chastisement of righteous vengeance.
 
ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION
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We have run through these particulars thus briefly considered according to the letter of the history, now let us turn our discourse to the mystical sense of the allegory.  But as, when, at the beginning of this work, we were treating of the union betwixt the Head and the Body, we premised with earnest emphasis how close the bond of love was between them, forasmuch us both the Lord in fact still suffers many things by His Body, which is all of us, and His Body, i.e.  the Church, already glories in its Head, viz. the Lord, in heaven; so now we ought in such sort to set forth the sufferings of that Head, that it may be made appear how much He undergoes in His Body also.  For if the torments that we endure did not reach our Head, He would never cry out to His persecutor even from heaven in behalf of His afflicted Members, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? Acts 9, 4  If our agony were not His pain, Paul, when afflicted after his conversion, would never have said, I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh. Col. 24  And yet being already elevated by the resurrection of his Head, he says, And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places; Eph. 2, 6 in this way, namely, that the torments of persecution had enchained him on earth, yet while sunk down with the weight of his pains, lo, he was already seated in heaven, through the glory of his Head.  Therefore because we know that in all things the Head and the Body are one, we in such wise begin with the smiting of the Head that we may afterwards come to the strokes of the Body.  But this, viz. that it is said, “that on a day Satan came to present himself before the Lord;” that he is interrogated ‘whence he comes?’ that the blessed Job is distinguished by his Creator's high proclaim; forasmuch as we have already made it out more than once, we forbear to explain again.  For if the mind is a long time involved in points that have been examined, it is hindered in coming to those which have not been, and so we now put the beginning of the allegory there, where, after often repeated words, we find something new added.  So then He says,

 
3 - 26 Ver. 3.  Though thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause.
If blessed Job bears the likeness of our Redeemer in His Passion, how is it that the Lord says to Satan, Thou moved at Me against him?  Truly the Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, came to bear the scourges of our mortal nature, that He might put away the sins of our disobedience; but forasmuch as He is of one and the self-same nature with the Father, how does the Father declare that He was moved by Satan against Him, when it is acknowledged that no inequality of power, no diversity of will, interrupts the harmony between the Father and the Son?  Yet He, that is equal to the Father by the Divine Nature, came for our sakes to be under stripes in a fleshly nature.  Which stripes He would never have undergone, if he had not taken the form of accursed man in the work of their redemption.  And unless the first man had transgressed, the second would never have come to the ignominies of the Passion.  When then the first man was moved by Satan from the Lord, then the Lord was moved against the second Man.  And so Satan then moved the Lord to the affliction of this latter, when the sin of disobedience brought down the first man from the height of uprightness.  For if he had not drawn the first Adam by wilful sin into the death of the soul, the second Adam, being without sin, would never have come into the voluntary death of the flesh, and therefore it is with justice said to him of our Redeemer too, Thou movedst Me against him to afflict E.V. destroy him without cause.  As though it were said in plainer words; ‘Whereas this Man dies not on His own account, but on account of that other, thou didst then move Me to the afflicting of This one, when thou didst withdraw that other from Me by thy cunning persuasions.’  And of Him it is rightly added, without cause.  For ‘he was destroyed without cause,’ who was at once weighed to the earth by the avenging of sin, and not defiled by the pollution of sin.  He ‘was destroyed without cause,’ Who, being made incarnate, had no sins of His own, and yet being without offence took upon Himself the punishment of the carnal.  For it is hence that speaking by the Prophet He says, Then I restored that which I took not away.  For that other that was created for Paradise would in his pride have usurped the semblance of the Divine power, yet the Mediator, Who was without guilt, discharged the guilt of that pride.  It is hence that a Wise Man saith to the Father; Forasmuch then as Thou art righteous Thyself, Thou orderest all things righteously; Thou condemnest Him too that deserveth not to be punished. Wisd. 12, 15. Vulg.
 
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But we must consider how He is righteous and ordereth all things righteously, if He condemns Him that deserveth not to be punished.  For our Mediator deserved not to be punished for Himself, because He never was guilty of any defilement of sin.  But if He had not Himself undertaken a death not due to Him, He would never have freed us from one that was justly due to us.  And so whereas ‘The Father is righteous,’ in punishing a righteous man, ‘He ordereth all things righteously,’ in that by these means He justifies all things, viz. that for the sake of sinners He condemns Him Who is without sin; that all the Elect electa omnia might rise up to the height of righteousness, in proportion as He Who is above all underwent the penalties of our unrighteousness.  What then is in that place called ‘being condemned without deserving,’ is here spoken of as being ‘afflicted without cause.’  Yet though in respect of Himself He was ‘afflicted without cause,’ in respect of our deeds it was not ‘without cause.’  For the rust of sin could not be cleared away, but by the fire of torment, He then came without sin, Who should submit Himself voluntarily to torment, that the chastisements due to our wickedness might justly loose the parties thereto obnoxious, in that they had unjustly kept Him, Who was free of them.  Thus it was both without cause, and not without cause, that He was afflicted, Who had indeed no crimes in Himself, but Who cleansed with His blood the stain of our guilt.

 
3 - 28 Ver. 4, 5.  And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.

When the evil spirit sees our Redeemer shine forth by miracles, he cries out, We know Who Thou art, the Holy One of God. Luke 4, 34  And in saying this, he dreads, whilst he owns, the Son of God.  Yet being a stranger to the power of heavenly pity, there are seasons when, beholding Him subject to suffering, he supposes Him to be mere man.  Now he had learnt that there were many in the pastoral station, cloked under the guise of sanctity, who, being very far removed from the bowels of charity, held for very little other men's ills.  And thus as though judging of Him by other men, because after much had been taken from Him, he did not see him subdued, he so flamed against Him even to His very flesh, in applying the touch of suffering, as to say, Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.  As though he said in plain terms, ‘He does not care to be moved by the things that are without Him, but it will then be really known what He is, if He shall experience in Himself what may make Him grieve.’  This Satan expressed in his own person not by words, but by wishes, when he desired to have it brought to pass; in his members he brought it on both by words and wishes at once.  For it is himself that speaks, when, according to the words of the Prophet, his followers say, Let us put the wood in his bread, and let us raze him out from the land of the living. Jer. 119. Vulg.  For ‘to put the wood into the bread,’ is to apply the trunk of the cross to His body in affixing Him thereto; and they think themselves able to ‘raze out’ His life from the land of the living, Whom while they perceive Him to be mortal mould, they imagine to be put an end to by death.

 
3 - 29 Ver. 6.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, but save his life.
What fool even would believe that the Creator of all things was given up into ‘the hands of Satan?’  Yet who that is instructed by the Truth can be ignorant that of that very Satan all they are members who are Joined unto him by living frowardly?   Thus Pilate shewed himself a member of him, who, even to the extremity of putting Him to death, knew not the Lord when He came for our Redemption.  The chief priests proved themselves to be his body, who strove to drive the world's Redeemer from the world, by persecuting Him even to the cross.  When then the Lord for our salvation gave Himself up to the hands of Satan's members, what else did He, but let loose that Satan's hand to rage against Himself, that by the very act whereby He Himself outwardly fell low, He might set us free both outwardly and inwardly.  If therefore the hand of Satan is taken for his power, He after the flesh bore the hand of him, whose power over the body He endured even to the spitting, the buffetting, the stripes, the cross, the lance; and hence when He cometh to His Passion He saith to Pilate, i.e. to the body of Satan, Thou couldest have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above; John 19, and yet this power, which He had given to him against Himself without, He compelled to serve the end of His own interest within.  For Pilate, or Satan who was that Pilate's head, was held under the power of that One over Whom he had received power; in that being far above He had Himself ordained that which now condescending to an inferior condition He was undergoing from the persecutor, that though it arose from the evil mind of unbelievers, yet that very cruelty itself might also serve to the weal of all the Elect, and therefore He pitifully ordained all that within, which He suffered Himself to undergo thus foully without.  And it is hence that it is said of Him at the supper, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments. John 13, 3  Behold how, when He was about to come into the hands of those that persecuted Him, He knew that those very persecutors even had been given into His own hand.  For He, Who knew that He had received all things, plainly held those very persons by whom He was held, that He should Himself inflict on Himself, for the purposes of mercy, whatsoever their permitted wickedness should cruelly devise against Him.  Let it then be said to him, Behold, he is in thine hand, in that when ravening thereafter he received permission to smite His flesh, yet unwittingly he rendered service to the Power of that Being.
 
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Now he is ordered to ‘save the life of the soul,’ not that he is forbidden to tempt it, but that he is convicted of being unable to overcome it.  For never, as we that are mere men are oftentimes shaken by the assault of temptation, was the soul of your Redeemer disordered by its urgency.  For though our enemy, being permitted, took Him up into an high mountain, though he promised that he would give Him the kingdoms of the earth, and though he shewed Him stones as to be turned into bread, yet he had no power to shake by temptation the mind of the Mediator betwixt God and man.  For He so condescended to take all this upon Himself externally, that His mind, being still inwardly established in His Divine Nature, should remain unshaken.  And if He is at any time said to be troubled and to have groaned in the spirit, He did Himself in His Divine nature ordain how much He should in His Human nature be troubled, unchangeably ruling over all things, yet shewing Himself subject to change in the satisfying of human frailty; and thus remaining at rest in Himself, He ordained whatsoever He did even with a troubled spirit for the setting forth of that human nature which He had taken upon Himself.
 
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 But as, when we love aright, there is nothing among created things that we love better than the life of our soul, and like as we say that we love those as our soul toward whom we strive to express the weight of our love, it may be that by the life of His Soul per animam, is represented the life vita of the Elect.  And while Satan is let loose to smite the Redeemer's flesh, he is debarred the soul, forasmuch as at the same time that he obtains His Body to inflict upon it the Passion, he loses the Elect from the claims of his power, And while That One's flesh suffers death by the Cross, the mind of these is stablished against assaults.  Let it then be said, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.  As if he had heard in plain words, ‘Take permission against His Body, and lose thy right of wicked dominion over His Elect, whom foreknowing in Himself before the world began He holdeth for His own.’

 
3 - 32 Ver. 7.  So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

No one entereth into this life of the Elect, that has not undergone the contradictions of this enemy.  And they all have proved themselves the members of our Redeemer, who, from the first beginning of the world, whilst living righteously, have suffered wrongs.  Did not Abel prove himself His member, who not only in propitiating God by his sacrifice, but also by dying without a word, was a figure of Him, of whom it is written, He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. Is. 53, 7  Thus from the very beginning of the world he strove to vanquish the Body of our Redeemer; and thus He inflicted wounds ‘from the sole of the foot to His crown,’ in that beginning with mere men, he came to the very Head of the Church in his raging efforts.  And it is well said;

 
3 - 33 Ver. 8.  And he took him a potsherd to scrape the humour withal.

For what is the potsherd in the hand of the Lord, but the flesh which He took of the clay of our nature?  For the potsherd receives firmness by fire.  And the Flesh of our Lord was rendered stronger by His Passion, in so far as dying by infirmity, He arose from death void of infirmity.  And hence too it is rightly delivered by the Prophet, My strength is dried up like a potsherd. Ps. 22,  For His ‘strength was dried up like a potsherd,’ Who strengthened the infirmity of the flesh which He took upon Him by the fire of His Passion.  But what is to be understood by humour saniem saving sin?  For it is the custom to denote the sins of the flesh by flesh and blood.  And hence it is said by the Psalmist, Deliver me from blood. Ps. 516  Humour then is the corruption of the blood.  And so what do we understand by humour but the sins of the flesh, rendered worse by length of time?  Thus the wound turns to humour when sin, being neglected, is aggravated by habit.  And so the Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, in giving up His Body into the hands of those that persecuted Him, scraped the humour with a potsherd, forasmuch as He put away sin by the flesh; for He came, as it is written, in the likeness of sinful flesh, that He might condemn sin of sin. Rom. 8, 3. Vulg.  And whilst He presented the purity of His own Flesh to the enemy, He cleansed away the defilements of ours.  And by means of that flesh whereby the enemy held us captive, He made atonement for us whom He set free.  For that which was made an instrument of sin by us, was by our Mediator converted for us into the instrument of righteousness.  And so ‘the humour is scraped with a potsherd,’ when sin is overcome by the flesh.  It is rightly subjoined; 

 
3 - 34 And he sat down upon a dunghill.
Not in the court in which the law resounds, not in the building which lifts its top on high, but on a dunghill he takes his seat, which is because the Redeemer of man on coming to take the flesh, as Paul testifies, hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. 1 Cor. 27 Does not He, as it were, sit down upon a dunghill, the buildings being ruined, Who, the Jews in their pride being left desolate, rests in that Gentile world, which He had for so long time rejected?  He is found outside the dwelling all in His sores, Who herein, that He bore with Judaea, which set itself against Him, suffered the pain of His Passion amid the scorn of His own people; as John bears witness, who says, He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. John 1And how He rests Himself upon a dunghill, let this same Truth say for Himself; for He declared, Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance. Luke 15, 7. and 10.  See, He sits upon a dunghill in grief, Who, after sins have been committed, is willing to take possession of penitent hearts.  Are not the hearts of penitent sinners like a kind of dunghill, in that while they review their misdoings with bewailing, they are, as it were, heaping dung before their eyes in abusing themselves?  So when Job was smitten he did not seek a mountain, but sat down upon a dunghill, in that when our Redeemer came to His Passion, He left the high minds of the proud, and rested in the lowliness of the heavy laden.  And this, while yet before His Incarnation, He indicated, when He said by the Prophet, But to this man will I look, even to him, that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word. Is. 66, 2
 
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 But who can think what numberless outrages He underwent at the hands of men, Who shewed to men such unnumbered mercies?  Who can think how great those are which He even yet undergoes, yea now that He reigns from above over the hearts of the faithful?  For it is He that endures daily all wherein His Elect are racked and rent by the hands of the reprobate.  And though the Head of this Body, which same are we, already lifts itself free above all things, yet He still feels in His Body, which He keeps here below, the wounds dealt it by reprobate sinners.  But why do we speak thus of unbelievers, when within the very Church itself we see multitudes of carnal men, who fight against the life of our Redeemer by their wicked ways.  For there are some, who set upon Him with evil deeds, because they cannot with swords, forasmuch as when they see that what they go after is lacking to them in the Church, they become enemies to the just, and not only settle themselves into wicked practices, but are also busy to bend the uprightness of good men to a crooked course.  For they neglect to lift their eyes to the things of eternity, and in littleness of mind they yield themselves up to the lust of temporal things, and they fall the deeper from eternal blessings, in proportion as they look upon temporal blessings as the only ones.  The simplicity of the righteous is displeasing to these, and when they find opportunity for disturbing them, they press them to lay hold of their own duplicity.  Hence also this is in just accordance, which is added,

 
3 - 36 Ver. 9.  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  curse God, and die.
For of what did that mispersuading woman bear the likeness, but of all the carnal that are settled in the bosom of Holy Church, who in proportion as by the words of the Faith they profess they are within the pale, press harder on all the good by their ill-regulated conduct.  For they would perchance have done less mischief, if Holy Church had not admitted in and welcomed to the bed of faith those, whom, by receiving in a profession of faith, she doubtless puts it almost out of her power to eschew.  It is hence that in the press of the crowd one woman touched our Redeemer, whereupon the same our Redeemer at once saith, Who touched Me?  And when the disciples answered Him, The multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?  He therefore subjoined, 
 
3 - 37 Somebody hath touched Me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me.
 Thus many press the Lord, but one alone touches Him; in that all carnal men in the Church press Him, from Whom they are far removed, while they alone touch Him, who are really united to Him in humility.  Therefore the crowd presses Him, in that the multitude of the carnally minded, as it is within the pale, so is it the more hardly borne with.  It ‘presses,’ but it does not ‘touch,’ in that it is at once troublesome by its presence, and absent by its way of life.  For sometimes they pursue us with bad discourse, and sometimes with evil practices alone, for so at one time they persuade to what they practise, and at another, though they use no persuasions, yet they cease not to afford examples of wickedness.  They, then, that entice us to do evil either by word or by example, are surely our persecutors, to whom we owe the conflicts of temptation, which we have to conquer at least in the heart.
 
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But we should know that carnal men in the Church set themselves to prompt wickedness at one time from a principle of fear, and at another of audacity, and when they themselves go wrong either from littleness of mind or pride of heart, they study to infuse these qualities, as if out of love, into the hearts of the righteous.  So Peter, before the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, retained a carnal mind.  It was with a carnal mind that the son of Zeruiah held to his leader David, whom he was joined to.  Yet the one was led into sin by fear, the other by pride.  For the first, when he heard of his Master's Death, said, Be it far from Thee, Lordthis shall not be unto Thee. Matt. 16, 22  But the latter, not enduring the wrongs offered to his leader, says, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed? 2 Sam. 19, 21  But to the first it is immediately replied, Get thee behind Me, Satan. Matt. 16, 23  And the other with his brother immediately heard the words; What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye are this day turned into a Satan So Vulg. E.V. Adversaries unto me? 2 Sam. 19, 22  So that evil prompters are taken for apostate angels in express designation, who, as if in love, draw men to unlawful deeds by their enticing words.  But they are much the worse, who give into this sin not from fear but from pride, of whom the wife of blessed Job bore the figure in a special manner, in that she sought to prompt high thoughts to her husband, saying, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  Curse God, and die.  She blames the simplicity in her husband, that in contempt of all things transitory, with a pure heart, he longs after the eternal only, As though she said, ‘Why dost thou in thy simplicity seek after the things of eternity, and in resignation groan under the weight of present ills?  Transgress Excedens, and contemn eternity, and even by dying escape from present woes.’  But when any of the Elect encounter evil within coming from carnal men, what a model formam of uprightness they exhibit in themselves, let us learn from the words of him, wounded and yet whole, seated yet erect, who says,

 
3 - 39 Ver. 10.  Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.  What?  shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?
Holy men, when fastened upon by the war of afflictions, when at one and the same moment they are exposed to this party dealing them blows and to that urging persuasions, present to the one sort the shield of patience, at the other they launch the darts of instruction, and lift themselves up to either mode of warfare with a wonderful skill in virtue, so that they should at the same time both instruct with wisdom the froward counsels within, and contemn with courage the adverse events without; that by their instructions they may amend the one sort, and by their endurance put down the other.  For the assailing foes they contemn by bearing them, and the crippled citizens they recover to a state of soundness, by sympathizing with them.  Those they resist, that they may not draw off others also; they alarm themselves for these, lest they should wholly lose the life of righteousness.
 
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Let us view the soldier of God's camp fighting against either sort, He says, Without were fightings, within were fears. 2 Cor. 7, 5  He reckons up the wars, which he underwent external1y, in these words, In perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils ,in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. 2 Cor. 126  Now in this war, what were those darts which he sent against the foe, let him add, In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. ib. 27  And let him say, when caught amidst such numerous assaults, with what a watchful defence he at the same time guarded the camp too.  For he forthwith proceeds, Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. ib. 28  See how bravely he takes upon himself those fights, how mercifully he spends himself in defending his neighbours.  He describes the ills which he suffers, he subjoins the good that he imparts.  So let us consider how toilsome it must be, at one and the same time to undergo troubles without, and to defend the weak within.  Without, fightings are his lot, in that he is torn with stripes and bound with chains; within he suffers alarm, in that he dreads lest his sufferings do a mischief, not to himself but to his disciples.  And hence he writes to those same disciples, saying, That no man should be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 1 Thess. 3, 3  For in suffering himself he feared for the fate of others, lest while the disciples perceive him to be afflicted for the faith with stripes, they be backward to confess themselves to be of the faithful.  Oh!  bowels of boundless love!  All that he suffers himself, he disregards, and is concerned lest the disciples should suffer ought of evil prompting within the heart.  He slights the wounds of the body in himself, and heals the wounds of the soul in others.  For the righteous have this proper to themselves, that in the midst of the pain of their own woe, they never give over the care of others' weal, and when in suffering afflictions they grieve for themselves, still by giving needful instruction they provide for others, and are like some great physicians, that being smitten are brought into a state of sickness.  They themselves suffer from the lacerations of the wound, yet they proffer the salves of saving health to others.  But it is very far less toilsome, either to instruct when you are not suffering, or to suffer when you are not giving instruction.  Hence holy men skilfully apply their energies to both objects, and when they chance to be stricken with afflictions, they so meet the wars from without, that they take anxious thought that their neighbour's interior be not rent and torn.  Thus holy men stand up courageously in the line, and on the one hand smite with the javelin the breasts advanced against them, and on the other cover with the shield their feeble comrades in the rear.  And thus with a rapid glance they look out on either side, that they may at the same time pierce their daring foes in front, and shield from wounds their trembling friends behind.  Therefore, because holy men then are skilled so to meet adversities without, that they are at the same time able to correct froward counsels within, it may be well said, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.  For as it is said to the Elect, Act like men, and He shall comfort your heart; Ps. 324. Vulg. so the minds of carnal men, which serve God with a yielding purpose, are not undeservedly called ‘women.’
 
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 What?  shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?  As though he said, ‘If we are bent upon eternal blessings, what wonder if we meet with temporal evils?’  Now these blessings Paul had his eye fixed on with earnest interest, when he submitted with a composed mind to the ills that fell upon him, saying, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8, 18

In all this did not Job sin with his lips.  When holy men undergo persecution both within and without, they not only never transgress in injurious expressions against God, but they never launch words of reviling against their very adversaries themselves; which Peter, the leader of the good, rightly warns us of when he says, But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an So Vulg. evil speaker. 1 Pet. 4, 15  For the evil speaker's way of suffering is, in the season of his suffering, to break loose in abuse at least of his persecutor.  But forasmuch as the Body of our Redeemer, viz. Holy Church, so bears the burthen of her sorrows, that she never transgresses the bounds of humility by words, it is rightly said of this sorrower; 

In all this did not Job sin with his lips.  

 
3 - 42 Ver. 11.  Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.
In the Preface to this work we said that the friends of blessed Job, though they come together to him with a good purpose, yet do for this reason bear the likeness of heretics, in that they fall away into sin by speaking without discretion; and hence it is said to them by blessed Job, Surely I would speak to the Almighty, I desire to reason with God; but ye are forgers of lies, and followers of corrupt doctrines. Job 13, 3. 4.  Thus Holy Church, which is set in the midst of tribulation all this time of her pilgrimage, whilst she suffers wounds, and mourns over the downfall of her members, has other enemies of Christ besides to bear with, under Christ's name.  For to the increasing of her grief, heretics also meet together in dispute and strife, and they pierce her with unreasonable words like as with a kind of dart.
 
3 - 43
 And it is well said, they came every one from his own place.  For ‘the place’ of heretics is very pride itself.  For except they first swelled with pride in their hearts, they would never enter the lists of false assertion.  For the place of the wicked is pride, just as reversely humility is ‘the place’ of the good.  Whereof Solomon saith, If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place. Eccles. 10, 4  As though he said in plain words, ‘If thou perceivest the spirit of the Tempter to prevail against thee in aught, quit not the lowliness of penitence;’ and that it was the abasement of penitence that he called ‘our place,’ he shews by the words that follow, saying, for healing ib. Vulg. pacifieth great offences.  For what else is the humility of mourning, save the remedy of sin.  Heretics therefore come each from ‘his place,’ in that it is from pride that they are urged to attack Holy Church.
 
3 - 44
And their froward conduct, moreover, is collected from an interpretation of their names.  For they are named ‘Eliphaz,’ ‘Baldad,’ ‘Sophar;’ and as we have said above Eliphaz is, by interpretation, rendered, ‘contempt of God.’  For if they did not condemn God, they would never entertain wrong notions concerning Him.  And Baldad is rendered ‘oldness alone.’  For while they shrink from being fairly defeated, and seek to be victorious with froward purpose, they pay no regard to the conversation of the new life, and all that they give heed to is ‘of oldness alone.’  And Sophar, ‘dissipating prospect;’ for they that are set in Holy Church humbly contemplate with true faith the mysteries of their Redeemer, but when heretics come to them with false statements, they ‘dissipate the prospect,’ in that they turn aside from the aim of right contemplation the minds of those, whom they draw over to themselves.
 
3 - 45

Now the places from whence they come are described in fitting accordance with the practices of heretics.  For there is a Themanite, and a Suhite, and a Naamathite named.  Now Thema is by interpretation ‘the south;’ Suhi, ‘speaking;’ Naama, ‘come1iness.’  But who does not know that the south is a hot wind; so heretics, as they are over ardent to be wise, study to have heated wits beyond what needs.  For sloth goes with the torpor of cold, whilst reversely the restlessness of unrestrained curiosity accords with unabated teeming heat, and so because they long to feel the heat of wisdom beyond what they ought, they are said to come from ‘the south.’  Paul busied himself to cool the minds of the faithful to this heat of unrestrained wiseness, when he said, Not to be overwise beyond what he ought to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety. Rom. 12, 3. Vulg.  It is hence that David smites at the valleys of salt, 2 Sam. 8, viz. in that our Redeemer, by the piercing of His severity, extinguishes the foolishness of unrestrained wit in all that entertain wrong notions regarding Him.  And Suhi is rendered ‘talking,’ for they desire to be warm-witted, not that they may live well, but that they may talk high; thus they are said to come from Thema and Suhi, i.e. from ‘heat,’ and ‘talkativeness,’ for herein, viz. that they shew themselves as studious of Scripture, they teem with words of talkativeness, but not with bowels of love.  And Naama is interpreted ‘comeliness,’ for because they aim not to be, but to appear learned, by words of deep learning they put on the guise of well living, and by their teeming wit in talk, exhibit in themselves a form of  ‘comeliness,’ that by the comeliness of the lips they may more easily recommend evil counsels, in proportion as they commonly hide from our senses the foulness of their lives.  But neither are the very names of the places set down in undistinguished order in the relation.  For Thema is set first, then Suhi, and next Naama in that first an excessive warmth of wit sets them on fire, next smartness of speech lifts them up, and then, finally, dissimulation presents them comely to the eyes of men.  

 
3 - 46 For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him and to comfort him.

 Heretics ‘make an appointment together,’ when they hold in common certain false opinions contrary to the Church, and in the points wherein they are at variance with the truth agree together in falsehood.  But all they that give us instruction concerning eternity, what else are they doing, save amid the tribulations of our pilgrimage administering consolation to us?  And forasmuch as heretics desire to impart to Holy Church their own opinions, they come to her as though to comfort her.  Nor is it strange if they who set forth a figure of enemies, are called friends, when it is said to the very traitor, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Mat. 26, 50 and the rich man that is consumed in the fire of hell, is called son by Abraham. Luke 16, 25  For though the wicked refuse to be amended by us, yet it is meet that we style them friends, not of their wickedness, but by virtue of our own lovingkindness.  

 
3 - 47 Ver. 12.  And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept.
All heretics, in contemplating the deeds of Holy Church, lift up their eyes, in that they are themselves down below, and when they look at her works, the objects, which they are gazing at, are set high above them.  Yet they do not know her in her sorrow, for she herself covets to ‘receive evil things’ here, that so being purified she may attain to the reward of an eternal recompence, and for the most part she dreads prosperity, and joys in the hard lessons of her training.  Therefore heretics, who aim at present things as something great, know her not amidst her wounds.  For that, which they see in her, they recognise not in the reading of their own hearts.  While she then is gaining ground even by her adversities, they themselves stick fast in their stupefaction, because they know not by experiment the things they see.  And they rent everyone his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
 
3 - 48
 Like as we take the garments of the Church for the whole number of the faithful; (and it is hence that the Prophet saith, Thou shalt clothe thee with them all as with an ornament; Is. 49, 18) so the garments of heretics are all they that attaching themselves with one accord to them are implicated in their errors.  But heretics have this point proper to themselves, that they cannot remain stationary for long in that stage wherein they leave the Church, but they are day by day precipitated into further extremes, and by hatching worse opinions they split into manifold divisions, and are in most cases parted the wider from one another by their contention and disorderment.  Thus because all those, whom they attach to their ill faith perfidiae, are further torn by them in endless splitting, it may well be said that the friends who come rend their garments rumpunt, but when the garments are rent, the body is shewn through; for it oftentimes happens, that when the followers are rent and torn, the wickedness of their imaginings is disc1osed, for discord to lay open the artifices, which their great guilt in agreeing together had heretofore kept close. 
 
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But now, they ‘sprinkle dust upon their heads to heaven.’  What is represented by dust, saving earthly senses; what by the head, saving that which is our leading principle, viz. the mind?  What is set forth by ‘heaven,’ but the law of heavenly revelation?  So, to ‘sprinkle dust upon the head to heaven,’ is to corrupt the mind with an earthly perception, and to put earthly senses upon heavenly words.  Now they generally canvas the words of God more than they take them in, and for this reason they sprinkle dust upon their heads, forasmuch as they strain themselves in the precepts of God, following an earthly sense, beyond the powers of their mind.

 
3 - 50Ver. 13.  So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights.
 In the day we make out the objects that we look at, but in the night, either from the blindness we discern nothing, or from the uncertainty we are bewildered.  Accordingly by ‘day’ we have ‘understanding’ represented, and by ‘night,’ ‘ignorance.’  And by the number seven the sum of completeness is expressed; and hence in seven days, and no more, the whole of this transitory period is accomplished.  How then is it that the friends of blessed Job are said to sit with him seven days and seven nights, saving that heretics, whether in those things wherein they admit the true light, or in those wherein they are under the darkness of ignorance, as it were feign to let themselves down to Holy Church in her weakness, while under colour of caresses, they are preparing their snares to catch her withal?  and though, whether in the things which they do understand, or in those which they are unable to understand, through the swelling of a bloated self-elation, they account themselves great in their own eyes, yet sometimes in semblance they bend to Holy Church, and while they make soft their words, they insinuate their venom, ‘To sit upon the earth,’ then, is to exhibit somewhat of the figure of humility, that whilst their exterior appears humble, they may recommend the proud doctrines which they teach.
 
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But it is possible that by ‘the earth’ may be also represented the Incarnation of our Mediator.  And hence it is said to Israel, An altar of earth shalt thou then make unto Me. Ex. 20, 24  For to make an altar of earth for the Lord is to trust in the Incarnation of our Mediator.  For then our gift is received by God, when our humility has placed upon His Altar, i.e. upon the belief of our Lord's Incarnation, all the works that it performs.  Thus we place our offered gift upon an altar of earth, if our actions be firmly based upon faith in the Lord's Incarnation.  But there are some heretics, who do not deny that the Incarnation of the Mediator took place, but either think otherwise concerning His Divinity than is true, or in the character of the Incarnation itself are at variance with us.  They then that with us declare the true Incarnation of our Redeemer, as it were sit alike with Job upon the earth, and they are described as sitting upon the ground seven days and seven nights; forasmuch as whether in this very thing that they understand somewhat of the fulness of truth, or in this that they are thoroughly blinded by the darkness of their foolish minds, they cannot yet deny the mystery of the Incarnation.  And so to sit upon the earth with blessed Job, is to believe in the true Flesh of our Redeemer in unison with Holy Church.
 
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  Now sometimes heretics wreak their animosity against us in punishments as well, sometimes they pursue us with words only.  Sometimes they provoke us when quiet, but  sometimes, seeing us hold our peace, they remain quiet, and they are friendly to the dumb, but hostile to them that open their lips, and hence forasmuch as blessed Job had not as yet said aught to them in converse, it is rightly added, And none spake a word unto him.  For we find our adversaries hold their peace, so long as we forbear by preaching to beget sons of the true faith.  But if we begin to speak aright, we immediately feel the weight of their reviling by their reply; forthwith they start into hostility, and burst out into a voice of bitterness against us, doubtless because they fear lest the hearts, which the weight of folly presses down beneath, should be drawn up on high by the voice of him that speaketh aright.  Therefore, as we have said, because our enemies love us when mute, and hate us when we speak, it is rightly said in the case of Job keeping silence, 

 
3 - 53 And none spake a word unto him.

  Yet sometimes when they see the hearts of believers vacant through sloth, they do not cease to scatter the seeds of error by speech.  But when they see the minds of the good busied on high, seeking the way back to their country, earnestly sorrowing over the toils of this place of exile, they rein in their tongues with anxious heed; in that they see that whilst they assail those sorrowing hearts with fruitless words, they are speedily made to hold their peace.  And hence whereas it is well said, none spake a word unto him, the cause of their silence is immediately brought in by implication, when it is said, 

 
3 - 54 For they saw that his grief was very great.
 For when our hearts are pierced with violent grief from the love of God, the adversary fears to speak frowardly at random, for he sees that by provoking the fixed mind, he not only has no power to draw it to untoward ways, but that by its being stirred up, he may chance to lose even those whom he held bound.
 
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Perhaps it may influence some that we have so made out these particulars, that what was well done by the friends should denote that which was to be ill done by heretics.  Yet in this way it very often happens that a circumstance is virtue in the historical fact, evil in its meaning and import, just as an action is sometimes in the doing ground of condemnation, but in the writing, a prophecy of merit, which we shall the sooner shew, if we shall bring forward one testimony of Holy Writ to prove both points.  For who, that hears of it, not only among believers but of unbelievers themselves also, does not utterly loathe this, that David walking upon his solar lusteth after Beershebah the wife of Uriah?  Yet when he returns back from the battle, he bids him go home to wash his feet.  Whereupon he answered at once, The Ark of the Lord abideth in tents, shall I then take rest in my house? 2 Sam. 1 David received him to his own board, and delivers to him letters, through which he must die.  But of whom does David walking upon his solar bear a figure, saving of Him, concerning Whom it is written, He hath set his tabernacle in the sun? Ps. 19, 4. Vulg.  And what else is it to draw Beersheba to himself, but to join to Himself by a spiritual meaning the Law of the formal letter, which was united to a carnal people?  For Beersheba is rendered ‘the seventh well,’ assuredly, in that through the knowledge of the Law, with spiritual grace infused, perfect wisdom is ministered unto us.  And whom does Uriah denote, but the Jewish people, whose name is rendered by interpretation, ‘My light from God?’  Now forasmuch as the Jewish people is raised high by receiving the knowledge of the Law, it as it were glories ‘in the light of God.’  But David took from this Uriah his wife, and united her to himself, surely in that the strong-handed One, which is the rendering of ‘David,’ our Redeemer, shewed Himself in the flesh, whilst He made known that the Law spake in a spiritual sense concerning Himself, Hereby, that it was held by them after the letter, He proved it to be alienated from the Jewish people, and joined it to Himself, in that He declared Himself to be proclaimed by it.  Yet David bids Uriah ‘go home to wash his feet,’ in that when the Lord came Incarnate, He bade the Jewish people turn back to the home of the conscience, and wipe off with their tears the defilements of their doings, that it should understand the precepts of the Law in a spiritual sense, and finding the fount of Baptism after the grievous hardness of the commandments, have recourse to water after toil.  But Uriah, who recalled to mind that the ark of the Lord was under tents, answered, that he could not enter into his house.  As if the Jewish people said, I view the precepts of God in carnal sacrifices, and I need not to go back to the conscience in following a spiritual meaning.  For he, as it were, declares ‘the ark of the Lord to be under tents,’ who views the precepts of God as designed for no other end than to shew forth a service of carnal sacrifice.  Yet when he would not return home, David even bids him to his table, in that though the Jewish people disdain to return home into the conscience, yet the Redeemer at His coming avouches the commandments to be spiritual, saying, For had ye believed Moses, ye would  Vulg. would perchance have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. John 5, 46  And thus the Jewish people holds that Law, which tells of His Divinity, whereunto that people deigns not to give credence.  And hence Uriah is sent to Joab with letters, according to which he is to be put to death, in that the Jewish people bears itself the Law, by whose convicting testimony it is to die.  For whereas holding fast the commandments of the Law it strives hard to fulfil them, clearly it does itself deliver the judgment whereupon it is condemned.  What, then, in respect of the fact, is more foul than David?  What can be named purer than Uriah?  What again in respect of the mystery can be discovered holier than David, what more faithless than Uriah?  Since the one by guiltiness of life prophetically betokens innocency, and the other by innocency of life prophetically represents guilt.  Wherefore it is with no inaptitude that by the things that are well done by the friends of Job we have represented to us those to be done amiss by heretics, in that it is the excellency of Holy Writ so to relate the past as to set forth the future; in such wise to vindicate the case in the fact, that it is against it in the mystery; so to condemn the things done, that they are commended to us as fit to be done in the way of mystery. 
 
MORAL INTERPRETATION
3 - 56

 So then as we have completed the allegorical mysteries, unravelling them piece by piece, let us now proceed to follow out the sense of the moral truth, hastily touching thereupon, for the mind hastens forward to make out the parts of greater difficulty, and if it is for long wrapped up in the plain parts, it is hindered from knocking as it were fit at those which are closed.  Oftentimes our old enemy, after he has brought down upon our mind the conflict of temptation, retires for a time from his own contest, not to put an end to his wickedness, but that upon those hearts, which he has rendered secure by a respite, returning of a sudden, he may make his inroad the more easily and unexpectedly.  It is hence that he returns again to try the blessed man, and demands pains on the head of him, whom nevertheless the Supreme Mercy while keeping fast yields up to him, saying,

 
3 - 57 Ver. 6.  Behold, he is in thine hand: but save his life.

For He so forsakes us that He guards us, and so guards us that by the permitted case of temptation, He shews us our state of weakness.  And he immediately went forth from before the face of the Lord, and by smiting him whom He had thus gotten he wounded him from the sole of his foot even to his crown.  Thus, viz. in that when he receives permission, beginning with the least, and reaching even to the greater points, he as it were rends and pierces all the body of the mind corpus mentis with the temptations which he brings upon it, yet he does not attain to the smiting of the soul animam, in that deep at the bottom of all the thoughts of the heart, the interior purpose of our secret resolution holds out, in the midst of the very wounds of gratification which it receives, so that although the enjoyment may eat into the mind, yet it does not so bend the set intent of holy uprightness as to bring it to the very softness of consenting.  Yet it is our duty to cleanse the mere wounds of enjoyment themselves by the sharp treatment of penance, and if aught that is dissolute springs up in the heart to refine it with the chastening hand of rigorous severity.  And hence it is rightly added immediately,

 
3 - 58 Ver. 8.  And he took him a potsherd to scrape the humour withal.
For what do we understand by the ‘potsherd,’ saving forcibleness of severity, and what by the ‘humour,’ save laxity of unlawful imaginations?  And thus we are smitten, and ‘scrape off the humour with a potsherd,’ when after the defilements of unlawful thoughts, we cleanse ourselves by a sharp judgment.  By the potsherd too we may understand the frailness of mortality.  And then to ‘scrape the humour with a potsherd,’ is to ponder on the course and frailty of our mortal state, and to wipe off the rottenness of a wretched self-gratification.  For when a man bethinks himself how soon the flesh returns to dust, he readily gets the better of that which originating in the flesh foully assails him in the interior.  So, when bad thoughts arising from temptation flow into the mind, it is as if humour kept running from a wound.  But the humour is soon cleansed away, if the frailty of our nature be taken up in the thought, like a potsherd in the hand.
 
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For neither are these suggestions to be lightly esteemed, which though they may not draw us on so far as to the act, yet work in the mind in an unlawful way.  It is hence that our Redeemer was come, as it were, ‘to scrape the humour from our wounds,’ when He said, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.  But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matt. 5, 27. 28.  ‘The humour,’ therefore, ‘is wiped off,’ when sin is not only severed from the deed, but also from the thought.  It is hence that Jerubbaal saw the Angel when he was winnowing corn from the chaff, at whose bidding he forthwith dressed a kid and set it upon a rock, and poured over it the broth of the flesh, which the Angel touched with a rod, and thereupon fire coming out of the rock consumed it. Judg. 6, 1&c.  For what else is it to beat corn with a rod, but to separate the grains of virtues from the chaff of vices, with an upright judgment?  But to those that are thus employed the Angel presents himself, in that the Lord is more ready to communicate interior truths in proportion as men are more earnest in ridding themselves of external things.  And he orders a kid to be killed, i.e.  every appetite of the flesh to be sacrificed, and the flesh to be set upon a rock, and the broth thereof to be poured upon it.  Whom else does the ‘rock’ represent, saving Him, of Whom it is said by Paul, And that rock was Christ? 1 Cor. 10, 4 We ‘set flesh then upon the rock,’ when in imitation of Christ we crucify our body.  He too pours the juice of the flesh over it, who, in following the conversation of Christ, empties himself even of the mere thoughts of the flesh themselves.  For ‘the broth’ of the dissolved flesh is in a manner ‘poured upon the rock,’ when the mind is emptied of the flow of carnal thoughts too.  Yet the Angel directly touches it with a rod, in that the might of God's succour never leaves our striving forsaken.  And fire issues from the rock, and consumes the broth and the flesh, in that the Spirit, breathed upon us by the Redeemer, lights up the heart with so fierce a flame of compunction, that it consumes every thing in it that is unlawful either in deed or in thought.  And therefore it is the same thing here ‘to scrape the humour with a potsherd,’ that it is there to ‘pour the broth upon the rock.’  For the perfect mind is ever eagerly on the watch, not only that it may refuse to do bad acts, but that it may even wipe off all that is become foul and soft in it, in the workings of imagination.  But it often happens that war springs up from the very victory, so that when the impure thought is vanquished, the mind of the victor is struck by self-elation.  Therefore it follows that the mind must be no otherwise elevated in purity, than that it should be heedfully brought under in humility.  And hence, whereas it was said of the holy man, And he took a potsherd, and scraped the humour withal, it is forthwith fitly added,

 
3 - 60 And he sat down upon a dunghill.
 For ‘to sit down upon a dunghill’ is for a man to entertain mean and abject notions of himself.  For us to ‘sit upon a dunghill,’ is to carry back the eye of the mind, in a spirit of repentance, to those things which we have unlawfully committed, that when we see the dung of our sins before our eyes, we may bend low all that rises up in the mind of pride.  He sits upon a dunghill, who regards his own weakness with earnest attention, and never lifts himself up for those good qualities, which he has received through grace.  Did not Abraham sit by himself upon a dunghill, when he said, Behold, now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes? Gen. 18, 27  For it is plain to see in what place he had set himself, who, at the very moment that he was speaking with God, reckoned himself to be ‘dust and ashes.’  If he then thus despises himself who is raised to the honour of converse with the Deity even, we should consider with earnest thoughts of heart with what woes they are destined to be stricken, who, while they never advance a step towards the highest things, are yet lifted up on the score of the least and lowest attainments.  For there are some, who, when they do but little things, think great things of themselves.  They lift their minds on high, and account themselves to excel other men in the deserts of virtue.  For surely, these inwardly quit the dunghill of humility within themselves, and scale the heights of pride; herein following the steps of him, the first that elevated himself in his own eyes, and in elevating brought himself to the ground, following the steps of him, who was not content with that dignity of a created being, which he had received, saying, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. Is. 14, 13  And it is hence that she, which is united to him by an evil alliance, even Babylon, i.e. ‘the confused multitude of sinners,’ says, I am, and none else beside me, I shall not sit as a widow. Is. 47, 8  Whosoever then swells within him, has set himself on high by himself.  Yet doth he sink himself so much the deeper below, in proportion as he scorns to think the lowest things of himself according to the truth.  There are some too that labour not to do aught that is virtuous, yet when they see others commit sin, they fancy themselves righteous by comparison with them.  For all hearts are not wounded by the same or a similar offence.  For this one is entrapped by pride, while that perchance is overthrown by anger, and avarice is the sting of one, while luxury fires another.  And it very often chances that he, who is brought down by pride, sees how another is inflamed with anger; and because anger does not speedily influence himself, he now reckons that he is better than his passionate neighbour, and is as it were lifted up on the score of his righteousness in his own eyes, in that he forgets to take account of the fault, by which he is more grievously enchained.  And it very often happens that he who is mangled by avarice, beholds another plunged in the whirlpool of luxury, and because he sees himself to be a stranger to carnal pollution, he never heeds by what defilements of the spiritual life he is himself inwardly polluted; and while he considers well the evil in another, which he is himself without, he forgets to take account in his own case of that which he has; and so it is brought to pass, that when the mind to be pronounced upon goes off to the cases of other men, it is deprived of the light of its own judgment, and so much the more cruelly vaunts itself against others' failings, in proportion as it is from negligence in ignorance of its own.
 
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But, on the other hand, they that really desire to rise to the heights of virtue, whenever they hear of the faults of others, immediately recall the mind to their own; and the more they really bewail these last, so much the more rightly do they pronounce judgment on those others.  Therefore, forasmuch as every elect person restrains himself in the consideration of his own frailty, it may be well said that the holy man in his sorrow sits down upon a dunghill.  For he that really humbles himself as he goes on his way, marks with the eye of continued observation all the filth of sin wherewith he is beset.  But we must know that it is in prosperity that the mind is oftenest touched with urgent temptations, yet that it sometimes happens that we at the same time undergo crosses without, and are wearied with the urgency of temptation within, so that both the scourge tortures the flesh, and yet suggestion of the flesh pours in upon the mind.  And hence it is well, that after the many wounds that blessed Job received, we have yet further the words of his illadvising wife subjoined also, who says,

 
3 - 62 Ver. 9.  Dost thou still retain thine integrity?  Curse God, and die.
 For the illadvising wife is the carnal thought goading the mind, since it often happens, as has been said above, that we are both harrassed with strokes without, and wearied with carnal promptings within.  For it is hence that Jeremiah bewails, saying, Abroad the sword bereaveth; at home there is as death. Lam. 20  Since ‘the sword bereaveth,’ when vengeance outwardly smites and pierces us, and ‘at home there is as death,’ in that indeed he both undergoes the lash, and yet the conscience is not clear of the stains of temptation within.  Hence David says, Let them be as chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord persecute them. Ps. 35, 5  For he that is caught by the blast of temptation in the heart, is lifted up like dust before the face of the wind; and when in the midst of these strokes the rigour of God smites them, what else is it, but the Angel of the Lord that persecutes them?
 
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But these trials are carried on in the case of the reprobate in one way, and of the Elect in another.  The hearts of the first sort are so tempted that they yield consent, and those of the last undergo temptations indeed, but offer resistance.  The mind of the one is taken captive with a feeling of delight, and if at the moment that which is prompted amiss is displeasing, yet afterwards by deliberation it gives pleasure.  But these so receive the darts of temptation, that they weary themselves in unceasing resistance, and if at any time the mind under temptation is hurried away to entertain a feeling of delight, yet they quickly blush at the very circumstance of their delight stealing upon them, and blame with unsparing censure all that they detect springing up in themselves of a carnal nature.  Hence it is rightly added immediately,

 
3 - 64 Ver. 10.  Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.  What?  shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
 For it is meet that the holy mind restrain by spiritual correction whatever of a carnal nature within it utters rebellious muttering, that the flesh whether by speaking severe things may not draw it into impatience, nor yet by speaking smooth ones melt it to the looseness of lust.  Therefore let manly censure, reproving the dictates of unlawful imaginations, hold hard the dissolute softness of what is base in us, by saying, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.  And, on the other hand, let the consideration of the gifts repress the discontent of bitter thought, saying, Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?  And whoever desires to get the mastery of his vices, and goes forward to the eternal heights of inward recompense retributionis with the steps of a true purpose, the more he sees himself to be on every hand beset with the war of the vices, the more resolutely he arrays himself with the armour of the virtues, and fears the darts the less, in proportion as he defends his breast bravely against their assault.
 
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 Yet it very often happens, that whilst we are striving to stay ourselves in this fight of temptation by exalted virtues, certain vices cloak themselves to our eyes under the garb of virtues, and come to us as it were with a smooth face, but how adverse to us they are we perceive upon examination.  And hence the friends of blessed Job as it were come together for the purpose of giving comfort, but they burst out into reviling, in that vices that plot our ruin assume the look of virtues, but strike us with hostile assault.  For often immoderate anger desires to appear justice, and often dissolute remissness, mercy; often fear without precaution would seem humility, often unbridled pride, liberty.  Thus the friends come to give consolation, but fall off into words of reproach, in that vices, cloaked under the guise of virtues, set out indeed with a smooth outside, but confound us by a bitter hostility.  And it is rightly said,

 
3 - 66 Ver. 11.  For they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

 For vices make an appointment together under the cloak of virtues; in that there are certain ones, which are banded together against us by a kind of agreement, such as pride and anger, remissness and fear.  For anger is neighbour to pride, and remissness to cowardice.  Those then come together by agreement, which are allied to one another in opposition to us, by a kind of kinship in iniquity; but if we acknowledge the toilsomeness of our captivity, if we grieve in our inmost soul from love of our eternal home, the sins that steal upon the inopportunely joyful, will not be able to prevail against the opportunely sad.  Hence it is well added,

 
3 - 67 Ver. 12.  And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept.

For the vices do not know us in our afflictions, in that so soon as they have knocked at the dejected heart, being reproved they start back, and they, which as it were knew us in our joy, because they made their way in, cannot know us in our sadness, in that they break their edge on our very rigidity itself.  But our old enemy, the more he sees that he is himself caught out in them, and that with a good courage, cloaks them with so much the deeper disguise under the image of virtues; and hence it is added, They lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

 
3 - 68 Ver. 18.  So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights.
 For by the weeping pity is betokened, discretion by the cutting of the garments, the affecting al. ‘effecting’ of good works by the dust upon the head, humility by the sitting.  For sometimes the enemy in plotting against us feigns somewhat that is full of pity, that he may bring us down to an end of cruelty.  As is the case, when he prevents a fault being corrected by chastisement, that that, which is not suppressed in this life, may be stricken with the fire of hell.  Sometimes he presents the form of discretion to the eyes, and draws us on to snares of indiscretion, which happens, when at his instigation we as it were from prudence allow ourselves too much nourishment on account of our weakness, while we are imprudently raising against ourselves assaults of the flesh.  Sometimes he counterfeits the affecting of good works, yet hereby entails upon us restlessness in labours, as it happens, when a man cannot remain quiet, and, as it were, fears to be judged for idleness.  Sometimes he exhibits the form of humility, that he may steal away our affecting of the useful, as is the case when he declares to some that they are weaker and more useless than indeed they are, that whereas they look upon themselves as too unworthy, they may fear to administer the things wherein they might be able to benefit their neighbours.
 
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 But these vices which the old enemy hides under the semblance of virtues, are very minutely examined by the hand of compunction.  For he that really grieves within, resolutely foredetermines what things are to be done outwardly, and what are not.  For if the virtue of compunction moves us in our inward parts, all the clamouring of evil dictates is made mute; and hence it follows.

 
3 - 70 And none spake a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.

 For if the heart feels true sorrow, the vices have no tongue against it.  And when the life of uprightness is sought with an entire aim, the fruitless prompting of evil is closed up.  But oftentimes if we brace ourselves with strong energy against the incitements of evil habits, we turn even those very evil habits to the account of virtue.  For some are possessed by anger, but while they submit this to reason, they convert it into service rendered to holy zeal.  Some are lifted up by pride.  But whilst they bow down the mind to the fear of God, they change this into the free tone of unrestrained authority in defence of justice.  Strength of the flesh is a snare to some; but whilst they bring under the body by practising works of mercy, from the same quarter, whence they were exposed to the goading of wickedness, they purchase the gains of pitifulness.  And hence it is well that this blessed Job, after a multitude of conflicts, sacrifices a victim for his friends.  For those whom he has for long borne as enemies by their strife, he one day makes fellow-countrymen by his sacrifice, in that whilst we turn all evil thoughts into virtues, bringing them into subjection, by the offering of the intention, we as it were change the hostile aims of temptation into friendly dispositions.

Let it suffice for us to have gone through these things in three volumes in a threefold method.  For in the very beginning of this work we set firm the root of the tongue, as a provision against the bulk of the tree that should spring up, that we might afterwards produce the boughs of exposition according as the several places require. 

 
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4 - THE PREFACE.

HE who looks to the text and does not acquaint himself with the sense of the holy Word, is not so much furnishing himself with instruction as bewildering himself in uncertainty, in that the literal words sometimes contradict themselves; but whilst by their oppositeness they stand at variance with themselves, they direct the reader to a truth that is to be understood.  Thus, how is it that Solomon says, There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink; Ecc. 2. 24 and adds not long after, It is better to go to the house if mourning than to the house of feasting? Ecc. 7, 2  Wherefore did he prefer mourning to feasting, who had before commended eating and drinking?  for if by preference it be good ‘to eat and drink,’ undoubtedly it should be a much better thing to hasten to the house of mirth than to the house of mourning.  Hence it is that he says again, Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; Ecc. 19 yet adds a little after, for youth and pleasure are vanity. ver. 10. Vulg.  What does this mean, that he should either first enjoin practices that are reprehensible, or afterwards reprehend practices that he has enjoined, but that by the literal words themselves he implies that be, who finds difficulty in the outward form, should consider the truth to be understood, which same import of truth, while it is sought with humility of heart, is penetrated by continuance in reading.  For as we see the face of strange persons, and know nothing of their hearts, but if we are joined to them in familiar communication, by frequency of conversation we even trace their very thoughts; so when in Holy Writ the historical narration alone is regarded, nothing more than the face is seen.  But if we unite ourselves to it with frequent assiduity, then indeed we penetrate its meaning, as if by the effect of a familiar intercourse.  For whilst we gather various truths from various parts, we easily see in the words thereof that what they import is one thing, what they sound like is another.  But everyone proves a stranger to the knowledge of it, in proportion as he is tied down to its mere outside.

See here, for instance, in that blessed Job is described as having cursed his day, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived; Job 3, 3 if we look no further than the surface, what can we find more reprehensible than these words?  But who does not know that the day, in which he was born, could not at that time be in existence, for it is the condition of time to have no stay of continuance.  For whereas by way of the future it is ever tending to be, so in going out by the past, it is ever hastening not to be. Wherefore then should one so great curse that, which he is not ignorant hath no existence?  But perchance it may be said, that the magnitude of his virtue is seen from hence, that he, being disturbed by tribulation, imprecates a curse upon that, which it is evident has no existence at all.  But this notion is set aside the moment the reasonableness of the thing is regarded, for if the object existed, which he cursed, it was a mischievous curse; but if it had no being, it was an idle one: but whoso is filled with His Spirit, Who declareth, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment; Matt. 12, 36 fears to be guilty of what is idle, even as of what is mischievous.  To this sentence it is further added, Let that day be turned into darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.  Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let it be enfolded in bitterness.  As for that night, let darkness seize upon it.  Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein: let it look for light, and have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day.  How is it that that day, which he knows to have gone by with the flight of time, is said ‘to be turned into darkness?’  And whereas it is plain that it has no existence, wherefore is it wished for that ‘the shadow of death might stain it?’ or what cloud dwells upon it, what envelopement of bitterness enfolds it?  or what darkness seizes upon that night, which no stay holds in being?  Or how is it desired that that may be solitary, which in passing away had already become nought?  Or how does that look for the light, which both lacks perception, and doth not continue in any stay of its own self?  To these words he yet further adds,

Why died I not from the womb?  why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?  Why did the knees prevent me?  or why the breasts that I should suck?  For now I should have lain still and have been quiet, I should have slept, and been at rest. Job 3, 11-

If he had died at once from the womb, would he have got by this very destruction a title to a reward?  Do abortive children enjoy eternal rest?  For every man that is not absolved by the water of regeneration, is tied and bound by the guilt of the original bond.  But that which the water of Baptism avails for with us, this either faith alone did of old in behalf of infants, or, for those of riper years, the virtue of sacrifice, or, for all that came of the stock of Abraham, the mystery of circumcision.  For that every living being is conceived in the guilt of our first parent the Prophet witnesses, saying, And in sin hath my mother conceived me. Ps.55  And that he who is not washed in the water of salvation, does not lose the punishment of original sin, Truth plainly declares by Itself in these words, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3, 5  How is it then, that he wishes that he had ‘died in the womb,’ and that he believes that he might have had rest by the boon of that death, whereas it is clear that the rest of life could in no wise be for him, if the Sacraments of Divine knowledge had in no wise set him free from the guilt of original sin?  He yet further adds with whom he might have rested, saying, With kings and counsellors of the earth which built desolate Vulg. solitudines places for themselves.  Who does not know that the kings and counsellors of the earth are herein far removed from ‘solitude,’ that they are close pressed with innumerable throngs of followers?  and with what difficulty do they advance to rest, who are bound in with the tightened knots of such multifarious concerns!  As Scripture witnesses, where it says, But mighty men shall be mightily tormented. Wisd. 6, 6  Hence Truth utters these words in the Gospel; unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much be required. Luke 12, 48  He implies besides, whom he would have had as fellows in that rest, in the words, Or with princes that had gold, that filled their houses with silver. Matt. 19, 23  It is a rare thing for them that have gold to advance to rest, seeing that Truth saith by Itself, They that have riches shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mark 10, 23  For what joys in the other life can they look for, who here pant after increase of riches?  Yet that our Redeemer might further shew this event to be most rare, and only possible by the supernatural agency of God, He saith, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matt. 19, 26 Therefore because these words are, on the surface, at variance with reason, the letter itself thereby points out, that in those words the Saint delivers nothing after the letter.

But if we shall first examine the nature of other curses in Holy Writ, we may the more perfectly trace out the import of this one, which was uttered by the mouth of blessed Job.  For how is it that David, who to those that rewarded him evil, returned it not again, upon Saul and Jonathan falling in war, curses the mountains of Gilboa in the following words, Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of Saul is vilely cast away, as though he had not been anointed with oil? 2 Sam. 21  How is it that Jeremiah, seeing that his preaching was hindered by the hardness of his hearers, utters a curse, saying, Cursed be the man, who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee? Jer. 20.  What then did the mountains of Gilboa offend when Saul died, that neither dew nor rain should fall on them, and that the words of his sentence against them should make them barren of all produce of verdure?  Why, forasmuch as Gilboa is by interpretation ‘running down,’ while by Saul’s anointing and dying, the death of our Mediator is set forth, by the mountains of Gilboa we have no unfit representation of the uplifted hearts of the Jews, who, while they let themselves run down in the pursuit of the desires of this world, were mingled together in the death of Christ, i.e. of 'the Anointed.’  And because in them the anointed King dies the death of the body, they too are left dry of all the dew of grace; of whom also it is well said, that they cannot be fields of first fruits.  Because the high minds of the Hebrews bear no ‘first fruits;’ in that at the coming of our Redeemer, persisting for the most part in unfaithfulness, they would not follow the first beginnings of the faith; for Holy Church, which for her first fruits was enriched with the multitude of the Gentiles, scarcely at the end of the world will receive into her bosom the Jews, whom she may find, and gathering none but the last, will put them as the remnant of her fruits.  Of which very remnant Isaiah hath these words, For though thy people Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return. Is. 10, 22  However, the mountains of Gilboa may for this reason be cursed by the Prophet's mouth, that whilst, the land being dried up, no fruit is produced, the possessors of the land might be stricken with the woe of that barrenness, so that they might themselves receive the sentence of the curse, who had obtained as the just reward of their iniquities to have the death of the King take place among them.  But how is it that, from the lips of the Prophet, that man received the sentence of cursing, who brought to his father the tidings of his birth?  Doubtless this is so much the more full of deeper mystery within, as it lacks human reason without.  For perchance, if it had sounded at all reasonable without, we should never have been kindled to the pursuit of the interior meaning; and thus he the more fully implies something within, that he shews nothing that is reasonable without.  For though the Prophet had come into this world from his mother's womb to be the subject of affliction, in what did the messenger of his birth do wrong?  But what does the person of the Prophet represent ‘carried hither and thither fluctuantis’ except the mutability of man, which came by the dues of punishment, is thereby signified?  and what is expressed by his ‘father’ but this world whereof we are born?  And who is that man, who ‘bring tidings of our birth to our father,’ saving our old enemy, who, when he views us fluctuating in our thoughts, prompts the evil minded, who by virtue of this world's authority have the preeminence, to persuading us to our undoing, and who, when he has beheld us doing acts of weakness, commends these with applause favoribus as brave, and tells as it were of male children being born, when he gives joy that we have turned out corrupters of the truth by lying?  He gives tidings to the father that a man child is born, when he shews the world him, whom he has prevailed with, turned into a corrupter of innocence.  For when it is said to any one committing a sin or acting proudly, ‘Thou hast acted like a man,’ what else is this than that a man child is told of in the world?  Justly then is the man cursed, who brings tidings of the birth of a man child; because his tidings betoken the damnable joy of our corrupter.  Thus by these imprecations of Holy Scripture we learn what, in the case of blessed Job, we are to look for in his words of imprecation, lest he, whom God rewards after these wounds and these words, should be presumptuously condemned by the mistaken reader for his words.  As then we have in some sort cleared the points, which were to be the objects of our enquiry in the preface, let us now proceed to discuss and to follow on the words of the historical form.

 

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION  Ver. 2, 3.  After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day, And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born.

4 - 1
That which is here said, He opened his mouth, must not be gone into negligently.  For by the things which Holy Scripture premises but slightly, we are apprised that what comes after is to be expected with reverence.  For as we know nothing what vessels that are closed contain inside, but when the mouth of the vessels is opened, we discover what is contained within; so the hearts of the Saints, which so long as their mouth is closed are hidden, when their mouth is opened, are disclosed to view.  And when they disclose their thoughts, they are said to open their mouth, that with the full bent of our mind we may hasten to find out, as in vessels that are set open, what it is that they contain, and to refresh ourselves with their inmost fragrance.  And hence when the Lord was about to utter His sublime precepts on the Mount, the words precede, And He opened His mouth, and taught them; Matt. 5, 2 though in that place this too should be taken as the meaning, that He then opened His own mouth in delivering precepts, wherein He had long while opened the mouths of the Prophets.  But it requires very great nicety in considering the expression, After this, namely, in order that the excellence of all that is done may be perceived in its true light by the time.  For first we have described the wasting of his substance, the destruction of his children, the pain of his wounds, the persuasions of his wife, the coming of his friends, who are related to have rent their garments, to have shed tears with loud cries, to have sprinkled their heads with dust, and to have sat upon the ground for long in silence, and afterwards it is acded, After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day; clearly that from the very order of the account, duly weighed, it might be concluded that he could never have uttered a curse in a spirit of impatience, who broke forth into a voice of cursing whilst his friends were as yet silent.  For if he had cursed under the influence of passion, doubtless upon hearing of the loss of his substance, and upon hearing the death of his sons, his grief would have prompted him to curse.  But what he then said, we have heard before.  For he said, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Job 2Again, if he had cursed under the impulse of passion, he might well have uttered a curse when he was stricken in his body, or when he was mischievously advised by his wife.  But what answer he then gave we have already learnt; for he says, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.  What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2,  But after this it is set forth that his friends arrive, shed tears, seat themselves, keep silence, whereupon this is immediately subjoined, that he is said to have cursed his day.  It is, then, too great an inconsistency to imagine that it was from impatience that he broke out into a voice of cursing, no man setting him on, no man driving him thereto, when we know that amidst the loss of all his goods, and the death of his children, amidst bodily afflictions, the evil counsels of his wife, he only gave great acknowledgments to his Creator with a humble mind.  It is plain, then, with what feelings he spoke this when he was at rest, who even when stricken uttered such a strain of praise to God.  For afterwards, when no longer stricken, he could not be guilty of pride, whom even his pain under the rod only shewed to be full of humility.  But as we know for certain that holy Scripture forbids cursing, how can we say that that is sometimes done aright, which yet we know to be forbidden by the same Holy Writ?  
 
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But be it known that Holy Writ makes mention of cursing in two ways, namely, of one sort of curse which it commands, another sort which it condemns.  For a curse is uttered one way by the decision of justice, in another way by the malice of revenge.  Thus a curse was pronounced by the decree of justice upon the first man himself, when he fell into sin, and heard the words, Cursed is the ground for thy sake. Gen. 3,  A curse is pronounced by decree of justice, when it is said to Abraham, I will curse them that curse thee.  Again, forasmuch as a curse may be uttered, not by award of justice, but by the malice of revenge, we have this admonition from the voice of Paul the Apostle in his preaching, where he says, Bless, and curse not; Rom. 12, and again, nor revilers shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6,  So then God is said to curse, and yet man is forbidden to curse, because what man does from the malice of revenge, God only does in the exactness and perfection of justice.  But when holy men deliver a sentence of cursing, they do not break forth therein from the wish of revenge, but in the strictness of justice, for they behold God's exact judgment within, and they perceive that they are bound to smite evils arising without with a curse; and are guilty of no sin in cursing, in the same degree that they are not at variance with the interior judgment.

It is hence that Peter flung back the sentence of a curse upon Simon when he offered him money, in the words, May thy money perish with thee; Acts 8, 20 for he who said, not does, but may, shewed that he spoke this, not in the indicative, but in the optative mood.  Hence Elias said to the two captains of fifty that came to him, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee. 2 Kings  And upon what reasonable grounds of truth the sentences of either of the two were established, the issue of the case demonstrated.  For both Simon perished in eternal ruin, and fire descending from above consumed the two captains of fifty.  Thus the subsequent miracle virtus testifies with what mind the sentence of the curse is pronounced.  For when both the innocence of him that curseth remains, and he that is cursed is by that curse swallowed up to the extent of utter destruction, from the end of either side we collect, that the sentence is taken up and launched against the offender from the sole Judge of what is within.

 
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Therefore if we weigh with exactness the words of blessed Job, his cursing cometh not of the malice of one guilty of sin, but of the integrity of a judge, not of one agitated by passion, but of one sober in instruction; for he, who in cursing pronounced such righteous sentence, did not give way to the evil of perturbation of mind, but dispensed the dictates of wisdom.  For, in fact, he saw his friends weeping and wailing, he saw them rending their garments, he saw how they had sprinkled their heads with dust, he saw them struck dumb at the thought of his affliction; and the Saint perceived that those whose hearts were set upon temporal prosperity, took him, by a comparison with their own feelings, for one brokenhearted with his temporal adversity.  He considered that they would never be weeping for him in despair, who was stricken with a transient ill, except they had themselves withdrawn their soul in despair from the hope of inward soundness; and while he outwardly burst forth into the voice of grief, he shewed to persons inwardly wounded the virtue of a healing medicine, saying,

 
4 - 4 Ver. 3.  Let the day perish wherein was born.
For what is to be understood by ‘the day of our birth,’ save the whole period of our mortal state?  So long as this keeps us fast in the corruptions of this our mutable state of being, the unchangeableness of eternity does not appear to us.  He, then, who already beholds the day of eternity, endures with difficulty the day of his mortal being.  And observe, he saith not, ‘Let the day perish wherein I was created,’ but, let the day perish wherein I was born.  For man was created in a day of righteousness, but now he is born in a time of guilt; for Adam was created, but Cain was the first man that was born.  What then is it to curse the day of his birth, but to say plainly, ‘May the day of change perish, and the light of eternity burst forth?’
 
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 But inasmuch as we are used to bid perish in two ways, (for it is in one way that we bid perish, when we desire to any thing that it should no longer be, and in another way that we bid it perish, when we desire that it should be ill therewith,) the words that are added concerning this day, Let a cloud dwell upon it: let it be enveloped in bitterness Vulg.; clearly shew, that he wishes not this day to perish in such sort as not to be, but so that it may go ill with it; for that can never be ‘enveloped in bitterness,’ which is so wholly destroyed as not to be at all.  Now this period of our mutable condition is not one day to perish, (i.e. to pass away,) in such a way, as to be in an evil plight, but so as to cease to be altogether, as the Angel bears witness in Holy Writ, saying, By Him that liveth for ever and ever, that there should be time no longer. Rev. 10, 6  For though the Prophet hath it, Their time shall endure for ever Ps. 815, yet because time comes to an end with every moment, he designated their coming to an end by the name of ‘time,’ shewing that without every way ending they come to an end, that are severed from the joys of the inward Vision.  Therefore because this period of our mortal condition does not so perish as to be in evil plight, but so as not to be at all, we must enquire what it means that he desires it may perish, not so that it may not be, but that it may be in ill condition.  Now a human soul, or an Angelic spirit, is in such sort immortal, that it is capable of dying, in such sort mortal, that it can never die.  For of living happily, it is deprived whether by sin or by punishment; but its essential living it never loses, either by sin or punishment: it ceases from a mode of living, but it is not even by dying susceptible of an end to every mode of being.  So that I might say in a word, that it is both immortally mortal, and mortally immortal.  Whereas then he wishes that the day may perish, and soon after it is said that it is ‘to be enveloped in bitterness,’ whom should we think the holy man would express by the name of ‘day,’ except the Apostate Spirit, who in dying subsists in the life of essential being?  Whom destruction does not withdraw from life, in that in the midst of pains eternal an immortal death kills, while it preserves, him whose perishing, fallen as he is already from the glory of his state of bliss, is still longed for no otherwise than that being held back by the punishments, which he deserves, he may lose even the liberty of tempting.
 
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Yea, he presents himself as the day, in that he allures by prosperity; and his end is in the blackness of night, for that he leads to adversity; thus he displayed day when he said, In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods; Gen. 3, 5 but he brought on night, when he led to the blackness of mortality; the day, therefore, is the proffered promise of better things, but the night is the very manifested experience of evils.  The old enemy is the day, as by nature created good, but he is the night, as by his own deserts sunk down into darkness.  He is day, when by promising good things he disguises himself as an Angel of light to the eyes of men, as Paul witnesses, saying, For Satan himself is transformed as an angel of light; 2 Cor. 1but he is night, when he obscures the minds of those that consent to him with the darkness of error.  Well then may the holy man, who in his own sorrows bewailed the case of the whole human race, and who viewed nothing in any wise special to himself in his own special affliction, well may he recal to mind the original cause of sin, and soften the pain of the infliction by considering its justice.  Let him look at man, and see whence and whither he has fallen, and exclaim, Let the day perish wherein he was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.  As if he said in plain words, ‘Let the hope perish, which the apostate Angel held forth, who, disguising himself as day, shone forth with the promise of a divine nature, but yet again shewing himself as night, brought a cloud over the light of our immortal nature.  Let our old enemy perish, who displayed the light of promises, and bestowed the darkness of sin; who as it were presented himself as day by his flattery, but led us to a night of utter darkness by sealing our hearts with blindness.’  It proceeds;

 
4 - 7 Ver. 4.  Let that day be turned into darkness.

 This day shines as it were in the hearts of men, when the persuasions of his wickedness are thought to be for our good, and what they are within is never seen; but when his wickedness is seen as it is, the day of false promises is as it were dimmed by a kind of darkness spread before the eyes of our judgment, in this respect, that such as he is in intrinsic worth, such he is perceived to be in his beguilement, and so ‘the day becomes darkness,’ when we take as adverse even the very things, which he holds out as advantageous whilst persuading them.  ‘The day becomes darkness,’ when our old enemy, even when lurking under the cloak of his blandishments, is perceived by us to be such as he is when ravening after us, that he may never mock us with feigned prosperity, as though by the light of day, dragging us by real misery to the darkness of sin.  It proceeds;

 
4 - 8 Let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

As Almighty God was able to create good things out of nothing, so, when He would, He also restored the good things that were lost, by the mystery of His Incarnation.  Now he had made two creations to contemplate Himself, viz. the Angelic and the human, but Pride smote both, and dashed them from the erect station of native uprightness.  But one had the clothing of the flesh, the other bore no infirmity derived from the flesh.  For an angelical being is spirit alone, but man is both spirit and flesh.  Therefore when the Creator took compassion to work redemption, it was meet that He should bring back to Himself that creature, which, in the commission of sin, plainly had something of infirmity; and it was also meet that the apostate Angel should be driven down to a farther depth, in proportion as he, when he fell from resoluteness in standing fast, carried about him no infirmity of the flesh.  And hence the Psalmist, when he was telling of the Redeemer's compassionating mankind, at the same time justly set forth the cause itself of His mercy, in these words, And he remembered that they were but flesh Ps. 78, 39.  As if he said, ‘Whereas He beheld their infirmities, so He would not punish their offences with severity.’  There is yet another respect wherein it was both fitting that man when lost should be recovered, and impossible for the spirit that set himself up to be recovered, namely, in that the Angel fell by his own wickedness, but the wickedness of another brought man down.  Forasmuch then as mankind is brought to the light of repentance by the coming of the Redeemer, but the apostate Angel is not recalled by any hope of pardon, or with any amendment of conversion, to the light of a restored estate, it may well be said, Let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.  As though it were plainly expressed, ‘For that he hath himself brought on the darkness, let him bear without end what himself has made, nor let him ever recover the light of his former condition, since he parted with it even without being persuaded thereto.’  It goes on;

 
4 - 9 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it.

 By ‘the shadow of death,’ we must understand ‘oblivion,’ for as death ends life, so oblivion puts an end to memory.  As therefore the apostate Angel is delivered over to eternal oblivion, he is overclouded with the shadow of death.  Therefore let him say, Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; i.e. ‘So let him be overwhelmed with the blindness of error, that he never more rise up again to the light of repentance by recollection of God's regard.  The words follow;

 
4 - 10 Let a cloud dwell upon it Vulg.:  and let it be enveloped in bitterness.

It is one thing that our old enemy suffers now, bound by the chains of his own wickedness, and another that he will have to suffer at the end.  For in that he is fallen from the rank of the interior light, he now confounds himself within with the darkness of error; and hereafter he is involved in bitterness, in that by desert of a voluntary blindness, he is tortured with the eternal torments of hell.  Let it be said then, ‘What is it that he, who has lost the calm of the light interior, now endures as the foretaste of his final punishment?  Let a cloud dwell upon it.  Moreover let that subsequent doom be added also, which preys upon him without end.’  Let him be folded up in bitterness; for every thing folded up, shews, as it were, no end any where, for as it shews not where it begins, so neither does it discover where it leaves off.  The old enemy then is said to be folded up in bitterness, in that not only every kind of punishment, but punishment too without end or limit awaits his Pride; which same doom then receives its beginning when the righteous Judge cometh at the last Judgment; and hence it is well added,

 
4 - 11 Ver. 6.  As for that night, let a dark whirlwind seize upon it.

 For it is written, Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. Ps. 50, 3  Thus Vulg. tenebrosusturbo a dark whirlwind seizes upon that night, in that the apostate Angel is by that fearful tempest carried off from before the strict Judge to suffer eternal woe; thus this night is seized by a whirlwind, in that his blind Pride is smitten with a strict visitation.  It goes on; 

 
4 - 12 Let it not be joined unto the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.

By year we understand not inapplicably the preaching of supreme grace.  For as in a year the period is completed by a connected series of days, so in heavenly grace is a complex life of virtue made complete.  By a year too we may understand the multitude of the redeemed.  For as the year is produced by a number of days, so by the assemblage of all the righteous there results that countless sum of the Elect.  Now Isaiah foretells this year of a completed multitude, in these words; The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord Is. 61.  For ‘the acceptable year of the Lord is proclaimed,’ in that the future multitude of the faithful is foretold as destined to be illumined with the light of truth.  Now what is meant by ‘the days,’ but the several minds of the Elect?  What by the months, but their several Churches, which constitute one Catholic Church?  So then let not that night be joined unto the days of the year, neither let it come into the number of the months.  For our old enemy, hemmed in with the darkness of his pride, sees indeed the coming of the Redeemer, but never returns to pardon with the Elect.  And hence it is written, For verily He took not on Him the nature of Angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham Heb. 2, 16.  For it was on this account that our Redeemer was made not Angel, but Man, because He must needs be made of the same nature as that which He redeemed, that He might at once let go the lost angel, by not taking his nature, and restore man, by taking his nature in Himself.  These days, which abide in the interior light, may also be taken for the angelic spirits, and the months, for their orders and dignities.  For every single spirit, in that he shines, is a ‘day,’ but as they are distinguished by certain set dignities, so that there are some that are Thrones, some Dominions, some Principalities, and some Powers, according to this distribution of ranks, they are entitled ‘months.’  But forasmuch as our old enemy is never brought back to merit light, and is never restored to the order of the ranks above, he is neither reckoned in the days of the year, nor in the months.  For the blindness of the pride that he has been guilty of is so settled upon him, that he no more returns to those heavenly ranks of interior brightness.  He no longer now mixes with the ranks of light that stand firm and erect, for that, in due of his own darkness, he is ever borne downwards to the depth.  And for that he remains for ever an alien to the company of that heavenly land, it is yet further justly added,

 
4 - 13 Ver. 7.  Lo, let that night be solitary, let it be worthy of no praise.

That night is made solitary, in that it is divided by an eternal separation from the company of the land above. Yet this may be also taken in another sense, viz. that he loses man, whom he had made his fellow in ruin, and that the enemy perishes alone together with his body i.e. the wicked, while many that he had destroyed are restored by the Redeemer's grace.  The night then is made solitary, when they that are Elect being raised up, our old enemy is made over alone to the eternal flames of hell.  And it is well said, Let it be worthy of no praise.  For when mankind, encompassed with the darkness of error, took stones for gods, in this, that they worshipped idols, what else did they but praise the deeds of their seducer?  Hence Paul rightly remarks, We know that an idol is nothing.  But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils. 1 Cor. 8, 4; 10, 20  How else then is it with those that have bowed themselves to the worship of idols, but that they have ‘praised the darkness of night?’  But, lo! we see now that that night is known to be unworthy ‘of any praise,’ since now the worship of idols is condemned by the human race redeemed; and that ‘night is left solitary',’ in that there is none that goeth with the damned apostate spirit to suffer torments.  It proceeds;

 
4 - 14 Ver. 8.  Let them curse it that curse the day, that are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
 In the old translation it is not so written, but, Let him curse it that hath cursed the day, even him who shall take the great whale so LXX.  By which words it is clearly shewn, that the destruction of Antichrist, to be at the end of the world, is foreseen by the holy man.  For the evil spirit, who by rights is night, at the end of the world passes himself for the day, in that he shews himself to men as God, while he takes to himself deceitfully the brightness of the Deity, and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. 2 Thess. 2, 4  The same therefore that curseth the day, curseth the night; in that He at this present time destroys his wickedness, Who will then by the light of His coming also extinguish the power of his strength.  And hence it is well subjoined, Who will take the great whale.  For the strength of this whale is taken as a prey in the water, in that the wiliness of our old enemy is overcome by the Sacrament of Baptism.
 
4 - 15

But that which in the Old Translation is spoken of the Author of all things, in this translation, which we get from the Hebrew and Arabian tongues, is related of His elect Angels.  For it is of them that it is said, Let them curse it that curse the day.  For that spirit in his pride desired to pass himself for day even with the Angelic Powers, at that time when as though in the power of the Deity he exalted himself above the rest, and drew after him such countless legions to destruction.  But they, truly, who with humble spirits stood firm in the Author of their being, when they saw there was night in his perverse ways; trod under foot the day of his brightness by thinking humbly of themselves, who do now point out to us the darkness of his disguise, and shew us how we should contemn his false glare. So let it be said of the night of darkness, which blinds the eyes of human frailty; Let them curse it that curse the day; i.e. ‘Let those elect Spirits by condemning denounce the darkness of his erring ways, who see the grandeur of his shining already from the first a deceit.’  And it is well added, Who are ready to rouse up Vulg. thus Leviathan.  For ‘Leviathan’ is interpreted to be ‘their addition.’  Whose ‘addition,’ then, but the ‘addition’ of men?  And it is properly styled ‘their addition;’ for since by his evil suggestion he brought into the world the first sin, he never ceases to add to it day by day by prompting to worse things.

Or indeed it is in reproach that he is called Leviathan, i.e. styled ‘the addition of men.’  For he found them immortal in Paradise, but by promising the Divine nature to immortal beings, he as it were pledged himself to add somewhat to them beyond what they were.  But whilst with flattering lips he declared that he would give what they had not, he robbed them cunningly even of what they had.  And hence the al. The Lord by the P. Prophet describes this same Leviathan in these words, Leviathan, the bar-serpent Vulg. serpentem vectem: even Leviathan that crooked serpent.  For this Leviathan in the thing, which he engaged to add to man, crept nigh to him with tortuous windings; for while he falsely promised things impossible, he really stole away even those which were possible, But we must enquire why he that had spoken of ‘a serpent,’ subjoining in that very place the epithet ‘crooked,’ inserted the word ‘bar,’ except perhaps that in the flexibility of the serpent we have a yielding softness, and in ‘the bar,’ the hardness of an obstinate nature.  In order then to mark him to be both hard and soft, he both calls him ‘a bar’ and ‘a serpent.’  For by his malicious nature he is hard, and by his flatteries he is soft; so he is called ‘a bar E.V. Piercing,’ in that he strikes even to death; and ‘a serpent,’ in that he insinuates himself softly by deceitful acts.

 
4 - 16

Now this Leviathan at this present time elect Spirits of the Angelic host imprison close in the bottomless pit.  Whence it is written, And I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand; and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years; Rev. 20, 1-3 and cast him into the bottomless pit.  Yet at the end of the world they call him back to more open conflicts, and let him loose against us in all his power.  And hence it is written again in the same place; Till the thousand years should be fulfilled, and after that he must be loosed.  For that apostate angel, whereas he was created so that he shone preeminent among all the other legions of the Angels, fell so low by setting himself up, that he is now prostrated beneath the rule of the orders of Angels that stand erect, whether that being put in chains by them, as they minister to our welfare, he should now lie buried from sight, or that they at that time setting him free for our probation, he should be let loose to put forth all his power against us.  Therefore, because the proud apostate Spirit is restrained by those elect Spirits, who being humble would not follow him, and, they being the executioners, it is ordered, that he shall one day be recalled for the purpose of an open conflict, that he may be utterly destroyed, let it be well said, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan; but forasmuch as the artful adversary is not yet raised to wage open war, let him shew how that night now by hidden influences overshadows the minds of some men.  It follows;

 
4 - 17 Ver. 9.  Let the stars be darkened with the shadow thereof.

 In Holy Scripture by the title of stars we have set forth sometimes the righteousness of the Saints which shineth in the darkness of this life, and sometimes the false pretence of hypocrites, who display all the good that they do, that they may win the praise of men; for if well doers were not stars, Paul would never say to his disciples, In the midst of a crooked and perverse 11.ation, among whom ye shine like lights in the world. Phil. 2,  Again, if among those that seem to act aright, there were not some that sought by their conduct to win the reward of man's esteem, John would never have seen stars falling from heaven, where he says, The dragon put forth his tail, and drew the third part of the stars of heaven. Rev. 12, 4  Now a portion of the stars is drawn by the dragon's tail, in that, in the last efforts of Antichrist to win men, some that appear to shine will be carried off.  For to draw the stars of heaven to the earth is by the love of earth to involve those in the froward ways of open error, who seem to be devoted to the pursuit of the heavenly life.  For there are that as it were shine before the eyes of men by extraordinary deeds; but forasmuch as these very deeds are not the offspring of a pure heart, being struck blind in their secret thoughts, they are clouded with the darkness of this night, and these often lose the more outward deeds, which they do not practise with any purity of heart.  And so because the night is permitted to prevail, whenever even amidst good works the purpose of the heart is not cleansed, let it be said with justice, Let the stars be dark with the shadow thereof; i.e. ‘let the dark malice of our old enemy prevail against those who in the sight of men shew as bright by good works, and that light of praise, which in the eye of man's judgment they had taken, let them lay aside;’ for they are ‘overshadowed with the darkness of night,’ when their life is brought to shame by open error, so that verily they may also appear outwardly such in practice, as they do not shrink from appearing to the Divine eye in their secret hearts.  It proceeds;  

 
4 - 18 Ver. 9.  Let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day.
 In the Gospel Truth declares, I am the light of the world. John 8, Now as this same Saviour of us men is one Person with the assembly of the good, for He is Himself the Head of the Body, and we all are the Body of this Head, so our old enemy is one person with the whole company of the damned; in that he as a head out-tops them all in iniquity, and they, whilst they minister in the things he prompts, hold fast to him like a body joined below to the head.  And so it is meet that all that is said of this night, i.e. of our old enemy, should be applied to his body, i.e. to all wicked persons.  Wherefore because our Redeemer is the light of mankind, how is it that it is said of this night, Let it look for light, and have none; but that there are some, who exhibit themselves as maintaining by words that faith, which they undo by works?  Of whom Paul saith, They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him; Tit. with these, indeed, either the things which they do are bad, or they follow after good deeds with no good heart.  For they do not seek everlasting rewards as the fruit of their actions, but transitory partiality.  And yet, because they hear themselves praised as Saints, they believe themselves to be really Saints, and in proportion as they account themselves unblameable according to the esteem they are in with numbers, they await in greater security the Day of strict account.  Of whom the Prophet well says, Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord. Amos 5,  To these blessed Job utters the sentence due to them, saying in the temper of one foretelling the thing, and not as the wish of one that desired it, Let it look for light, but have none.  For that night, I mean the adversary of darkness, in his members doth look for the light, but seeth none; in that whether it be they who retain the faith without works, these, trusting that they may be saved at the final Judgment by right of the same faith, will find their hope prove vain, because by their life they have undone the faith, which in the confession of the lips they have maintained; or they, who for the sake of human applause make a display of themselves in doing well, they vainly look for a reward of their good deeds at the hand of the Judge, when He cometh; for that whereas they do them out of regard to the notoriety of praise, they have already had their reward from the lips of men.  As the Truth testifies, Which saith, Verily I say unto you, they have their reward Matt. 6, 2. 5.; and here it is justly added, 
 
4 - 19 Neither let it see the dawning of the day.
 For the dawn is the title of the Church, which is changed from the darkness of its sins into the light of righteousness.  And hence the Spouse, admiring her in the Song of Solomon, saith, Who is she that goeth forth as the morning arising? Cant. 6, for like the dawn doth the Church of 'the Elect arise, in that she quits the darkness of her former iniquity, and converts herself into the radiance of new light.  Therefore in that light, which is manifested at the coming of the strict Judge, the body of our enemy when condemned seeth no dayspring of the rising dawn, in that when the strict Judge shall come, every sinner, being overlaid with the blackness of his own deserts, knows not with what wondrous splendour Holy Church rises into the interior light of the heart.  For then the mind of the Elect is transported on high, to be illuminated with the rays of the Divine.  Nature, and in the degree that it is penetrated with the light of that Countenance, it is lifted above itself in the refulgence of grace.  Then doth Holy Church become a full dawn, when she parts wholly and for ever with the darkness of her state of mortality and ignorance.  Thus at the Judgment she is still the dawn, but in the Kingdom she is become the day.  For though together with the renewal of our bodies she already begins to behold the light at the Judgment, yet her vision thereof is more fully consummated in the Kingdom.  Thus the rising of the dawn is the commencement of the Church in light, which the reprobate can never see, because they are closed in upon and forced down to darkness by the weight of their evil deeds from the sight of the Righteous Judge. And hence it is rightly said by the Prophet, Let the wicked be taken out of the way, that he see not the glory of God. Is. 26, 10. LXX  It is hence that these words are uttered by the Psalmist concerning this dawn, Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy Presence from the pride of men. Ps. 320  For every Elect one at the Judgment is hid in the countenance of the Godhead in interior vision, whereas the blindness of the reprobate without is banished and confounded by the strict visitation of justice.
 
4 - 20
And this too we not irrelevantly interpret with reference to the present time likewise, if we minutely search the hearts of dissemblers.  For the proud and hypocritical look on the deeds of the good on the outside, and they find that such are commended by men for their doings, and they admire their high repute, and they see that these receive praises for their good deeds, but they do not see how studiously they eschew such praises; they regard the overt acts, but are ignorant that these proceed from the principle of the interior hope alone.  For all that shine with the true light of righteousness are first changed from the darkness of the inward purpose of the heart, so that they wholly forsake the interior dimness of earthly coveting, and entirely turn their hearts to the desire of the light above, lest while they seem to be full of light to others, they be in darkness to themselves; thus persons that assume, because they regard the deeds of the righteous, but do not survey their hearts, imitate them in the things from whence they may obtain applause without, but not in the things whereby they may inwardly arise to the light of righteousness; and they as it were are blind to see the dayspring of the rising dawn, because they do not think it worth their while to regard the religious mind's intent.
 
ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION
4 - 21

 The holy man, who was filled with the virtue of the prophetic Spirit, may also have his eye fixed upon the faithlessness of Judaea at the coming of the Redeemer, and in these words he may be speaking prophetically of the mischievous effects of her blindness, as though in the character of one expressing a wish, so as to say, Let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day.  For Judaea ‘looked for the light but had none;’ since by prophecy she waited indeed for the Redeemer of Man that should come, but never knew Him when He came; and the eyes of the mind, which she opened wide to the expectation, she closed to the presence of the Light; neither did she see the dayspring of the rising dawn, in that she scorned to pay homage to those first beginnings of Holy Church, and while she supposed her to be undone by the deaths of her members, was ignorant to what strength she was attaining.  But as, when speaking of the faithless, he signified the members of the wicked head, he again turns his discourse to the head of the wicked itself, saying,

 
4 - 22 Ver. 10.  Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.
What the womb of his mother is to each individual man, that the primary abode in Paradise became to the whole human race.  For from it came forth the family of man as it were from the womb, and tending to the increase of the race, as if to the growth of the body, it issued forth without.  There our conception was cemented, where the Man, the origin of mankind, had his abode, but the serpent opened the mouth of this womb, in that by his cunning persuading he broke asunder the decree of heaven in man's heart.  The serpent opened the mouth of this womb, in that he burst the barriers of the mind which were fortified with admonitions from above.  Let the holy man then in the punishment which he suffers, cast the eyes of his mind far back to the sin.  Let him mourn for this, which the neglect of darkness, that is, the dark suggestions of our old enemy lodged in man's mind; for this, that man's mind consented to his cunning suggestions to his own betrayal, and let him say, Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.  Nor let this disturb us, that he complains that he only did not shut up, whom he abhors for having opened the gate of Paradise.  For ‘he opened,’ he calls shut not up; and ‘he entailed it,’ nor hid sorrow from me.  For he would as it were have ‘hid sorrow,’ if he had kept quiet, and have ‘shut up,’ if he had forborne from bursting in.  For he is weighing well who it is he speaks of, and he reckons that it would have been as if the evil spirit had bestowed gains upon us if he had only not entailed losses upon our heads.  Thus we say of robbers that they give their prisoners their lives, if they do not take them.
 
MORAL INTERPRETATON
4 - 23

 It is well to go over these points again from the beginning, and according to what we remark in practice in the present life, to review it in a moral sense.  Blessed Job, observing how presumptuously mankind, after his soul fell from its original state, was lifted up in prosperity, and with what dismay it was dashed by adverse fortune, falls back in imagination to that unalterable state which he might have kept in Paradise, and in what a miserable light he beheld the fallen condition of our mortal state of being, so chequered with adversity and prosperity, he shewed by cursing the same in these words;

 
4 - 24 Ver. 3.  Let the day perish wherein I was born; and the night wherein it was said, There is a man child conceived.
 It seems as it were like day, when the good fortune of this world smiles upon us, but it is a day that ends in night, for temporal prosperity often leads to the darkness of affliction.  This day of good fortune the Prophet had condemned, when he said, Neither have I desired man's day ‘diem hominis’ Vulg., Thou knowest it. Jer. 17,  And this night our Lord declared He was to suffer at the final close of His Incarnation, when he declared by the Psalmist as if in the past, My reins also instructed me in the night season. Ps. 16, 7  But by ‘the day’ may be understood the pleasures of sin, and by ‘the night’ the inward blindness, whereby man suffers himself to be brought down to the ground in the commission of sin.  And therefore he wishes the day may perish, that all the flattering arts which are seen in sin, by the strong hand of justice interposing, may be brought to nought.  He wishes also that the ‘night may perish,’ that what the blinded mind executes even in yielding consent, she may put away by the castigation of penance.
 
4 - 25

 But we must enquire why man is said to be born in ‘the day’ and conceived in ‘the night?’  Holy Scripture uses the title ‘man’ in three ways, viz, sometimes in respect of nature, sometimes of sin, sometimes of frailness.  Now man is so called in respect of nature, as where it is written, Let Us make man after Our image and likeness. Gen. 26  He is called man in respect of sin, as where it is written, I have said, Ye are all gods, and all of you are children of the Most High: but ye shall die like men. Ps. 82, 6. 7.  As though he had expressed it plainly, ‘ye shall perish like transgressors.’  And hence Paul saith, For whereas there is among you envying and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Cor. 3, 3  As though he had said, ‘Ye that carry about minds at variance, do ye not still sin, in the spirit of faulty human nature?'  He is called man, in relation to his weakness, as where it is written, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man. Jer. 17, 5  As if he had said in plain words, ‘in weakness.’  Thus man is born in the day, but he is conceived in the night, in that he is never caught away by the delightfulness of sin, until he is first made weak by the voluntary darkness of his mind.  For he first becomes blind in the understanding, and then he enslaves himself to damnable delight.  Let it be said then, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night wherein it was said, There is a man child conceived: i.e. 'Let the delight perish, which has hurried man into sin, and the unguarded frailness of his mind, whereby he was blinded even to the very darkness of consenting to evil.  For while man does not heedfully mark the allurements of pleasure, he is even carried headlong into the night of the foulest practices.  We must watch then with minds alive, that when sin begins to caress, the mind may perceive to what ruin she is being dragged, And hence the words are fitly added,

 
4 - 26 Ver. 4.  Let that day be darkness.

 For ‘the day becomes darkness,’ when in the very commencement of the enjoyment, we see to what an end of ruin sin is hurrying us.  We ‘turn the day into darkness,’ whenever by severely chastising ourselves, we turn to bitter the very sweets of evil enjoyment by the keen laments of penance, and, when we visit it with weeping, whereinsoever we sin in gratification in our secret hearts.  For because no believer is ignorant that the thoughts of the heart will be minutely examined at the Judgment, as Paul testifieth, saying, Their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another; Rom. 2, searching himself within, he examines his own conscience without sparing before the Judgment, that the strict Judge may come now the more placably disposed, in that He sees his guilt, which He is minded to examine, already chastised according to the sin.  And hence it is well added,

 
4 - 27 Let not God require it from above.
 God requires the things, which He searches out in executing judgment upon them.  He does not require those, which He so pardons as to let them be unpunished henceforth in His own Judgment.  And so ‘this day,’ i.e. this enjoyment of sin, will not be required by the Lord, if it be visited with self-punishment of our own accord, as Paul testifies, when he says, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord. 1 Cor. 13‘God's requiring our day,’ then, is His proceeding against our souls at the Judgment by a strict examination of every instance of taking pleasure in sin, in which same ‘requiring’ He then smites him the harder, whom He finds to have been most soft in sparing himself.  And it follows well, Neither let the light shine upon it.  For the Lord, appearing at the Judgment, illumines with His light all that He then convicts of sin.  For what is not then brought to remembrance of the Judge, is as it were veiled under a kind of obscurity.  So it is written, But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light. Eph. 5,  It is as though a certain darkness hid the sins of penitents, of whom the Prophet saith, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Ps. 32, Therefore, as every thing that is veiled is as it were hidden in darkness, that which is not searched out in vengeance, is not illumined with light at the Day of final account.  For all those actions of ours, which He would not then visit with justice, the mercy of God in wotting of them still hideth in some sort from itself, but all is displayed in light, that is at that time manifest in the sight of all men.  Let, then, this day be darkness, in this way, viz. that by penance we may smite the evil that we do.  Let not the Lord require this day, neither let the light shine upon it, in this way, viz. that while we smite our own sin, He may not Himself fall thereupon with the visitations of the Final Judgment.
 
4 - 28

But the Judge will come Himself to pierce all things, and strike all things to the core.  And because He is every where present, there is no place to flee to, where He is not found.  But forasmuch as He is appeased by the tears of self-correction, he alone obtains a hiding-place from His face, who after the commission of a sin hides himself from Him now in penance.  And hence it is with propriety yet further added of this day of enjoyment,

 
4 - 29 Ver. 7.  Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it.
Then indeed darkness stains the day, when the delight of our inclinations is smitten through with the inflictions of penance.  By darkness moreover may be signified secret decisions.  For what we see in the light we know, but in the dark we either discern nothing at all, or our eyes are bewildered with an uncertain sight.  Secret decrees then are like a certain kind of darkness before our eyes, being utterly inscrutable to us.  And hence it is written of God, He made darkness His secret place; Ps. 18, and we know well that we do not deserve pardon, but, by the grace of God preventing us, we are freed from our sins by His secret counsels.  Darkness, therefore, stains the day, when the joy of gratification, which is a proper subject of tears, is in mercy hidden from that ray of just wrath by His secret determinations.  And here the words aptly follow, and the shadow of death.
 
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 For in Holy Scripture, the shadow of death is sometimes understood of oblivion of mind, sometimes of imitation of the devil, sometimes of the dissolution of the flesh.  For the shadow of death is understood of the oblivion of the mind, in that, as has been said above, as death causes that that which it kills should no longer remain in life, so oblivion causes that whatsoever it seizes should no longer abide in the memory.  And hence too, because John was coming to proclaim to the Hebrew people That God, Whom they had forgotten, he is justly said by Zacharias, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; for ‘to sit in the shadow of death,’ is to turn lifeless to the knowledge of the love of God in a state of oblivion.  The shadow of death is taken to mean the imitating our old enemy.  For, since he brought in death, he is himself called death, as John is witness, saying, and his name is death. Rev. 6, 8  And so by the shadow of death is signified the imitating of him.  For as the shadow is shaped according to the character of the body, so the actions of the wicked are cast in a figure of conformity to him.  Hence when Isaiah saw that the Gentiles had fallen away after the likeness of our old enemy, and that they rose up again at the rising of the true Sun, he justly records, as though in the past, what his eyes beheld as certain in the future, saying, They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a great light hath shined.  Moreover, the shadow of death is taken for the dissolution of the flesh, in that, as that is the true death whereby the soul is separated from God, so the shadow of death is that whereby the flesh is separated from the soul.  And hence it is rightly said by the Prophet in the words of the Martyrs, Though Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. Ps. 44, 19  For those, who, we know, die not in the spirit, but only in the flesh, can in no wise say that they are ‘covered with the true death,’ but 
 
4 - 31 with the shadow of death.

 How is it then that blessed Job demands the shadow of death, for putting out the day of evil enjoyment, but that for the obliterating of our sins in God's sight he calls for the Mediator between God and man, who should undertake for us the death of the flesh alone, and Who by the shadow of His own death, should do away the true death of transgressors?  For He comes to us, who were held in the bands of death, both of the spirit and of the flesh, and His own single Death He reckoned to our account, and our two deaths, which He found, He dissolved.  For if He had Himself undertaken both, He would never have set us free from either.  But He took one sort in mercy, and condemned them both with justice.  He joined His own single Death to our twofold death, and by dying He vanquished that double death of ours.  And hence it was not without reason that He lay in the grave for one day and two nights, namely, in that He added the light of His own single Death to the darkness of our double death.  He, then, that took for our sakes the death of the flesh alone, underwent the shadow of death, and buried from the eyes of God the sin that we have done. Therefore let it be truly said, Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it.  As though it were said in plain words; ‘Let Him come, Who, that He may snatch from the death of the flesh and of the spirit, us, that are debtors thereto, may, though no debtor, discharge the death of the flesh.’  But since the Lord lets no sin go unpunished, for either we visit it ourselves by lamenting it, or God by judging it, it remains that the mind should ever have a watchful eye to the amendment of itself.  Therefore, in whatever particular each person sees that he is succoured by mercy, he must needs wipe out the stains thereof in the confession of it.  And hence it is fitly added,

 
4 - 32 Let a shade dwell upon it.

 For because the eye is perplexed in the shade, therefore the perplexity of our mind in penitence is itself called shade, for as the shade obscures the light of day with a mass of clouds, so confusion overclouds the mind with troubled thoughts.  Of which it is said by one, There is a shame which is glory and grace. Ecclus. 4, 21  For when in repenting we recall our misdoings to remembrance, we are at once confounded with heaviness and sorrow, the throng of thoughts clamours vociferously in our breast, sorrow wears, anxiety wastes us, the soul is turned to woe, and, as it were, darkened with the shade of a kind of cloud.  Now this shade of confusion had oppressed the minds of those to their good, to whom Paul said, What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?Rom. 6, 21  Let shade, then, seize this day of sin, i.e. ‘Let the chastening of penance with befitting sorrow discompose the flattery of sin.’  And hence it is added with fitness,

 
4 - 33 Let it be enfolded in bitterness.
For the day is enfolded in bitterness, when, upon the soul returning to knowledge, the inflictions of penance follow upon the caresses of sin.  We ‘enfold the day in bitterness,’ when we regard the punishments that follow the joys of forbidden gratification, and pour tears of bitter lamenting around them.  For whereas what is folded up is covered on every side, we wish ‘the day to be folded in bitterness,’ that each man may mark on every side the ills that threaten crooked courses, and may cleanse the wantonness of self-gratification by the tears of bitter sorrow.
 
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  But if we hear that day, which we have rendered the ‘gratification of sin,’ assailed with so many imprecations, that, surely, our tears poured around it may expiate whatsoever sin the soul is become guilty of by being touched with gratification through negligence, with what visitings of penitence is the night of that day to be stricken, i.e. the actual consent to sin?  For as it is a less fault when the mind is carried away in delight by the influence of the flesh, yet by the resistance of the Spirit offers violence to its sense of delight; so it is a more heinous and complete wickedness not only to be attracted to the fascination of sin by the feeling of delight, but to pander to it by yielding consent.  Therefore the mind must be cleansed from defilement by being wrung harder with the hand of penitence, in proportion as it sees itself to be more foully stained by the yielding of the consent.  And hence it is fitly subjoined,

 
4 - 35 Ver. 6.  As for that night, let a black tempest seize it.
 For the awakened spirit of sorrow is like a kind of tempestuous whirlwind.  For when a man understands what sin he has committed, when he minutely considers the wickedness of his evil doings, he clouds the mind with sorrow, and the air of quiet joy being agitated, as it were, he sweeps away all the inward tranquillity of his breast, by the whirlwind of penitence.  For unless the heart, returning to the knowledge of itself, were broken by such a whirlwind, the Prophet would never have said, Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with a strong wind. Ps. 48, 7  For Tarshish is rendered, ‘the exploring of joy.’  But when the strong blast of penitence seizes the mind, it disturbs therein all the ‘explorings’ after a censurable joy, that it now takes pleasure in nought but to weep, minds nought but what may fill it with affright.  For it sets before the eyes, on the one hand, the strictness of justice, on the other the deserts of sin, it sees what punishment it deserves, if the pitifulness of the sparing Hand be wanting, which is wont by present sorrowing to rescue from eternal woe.  Therefore, ‘a strong wind breaks the ships of Tarshish,’ when a mighty force of compunction confounds, with wholesome terrors, our minds which have abandoned themselves to this world, like as to the sea.  Let him say then, As for that night, let a black tempest seize it, i.e. let not the softness of secure ease cherish the commission of sin, but the bitterness of repentance burst on it in pious fury.
 
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 But we are to bear in mind, that when we leave sins unpunished, we are ‘taken possession of by the night,’ but when we correct those with the visitation of penitence, then we ourselves ‘take possession of the night,’ that we have made.  And the sin of the heart is then brought into our right of possession, if it is repressed in its beginning.  And hence it is said by the voice of God to Cain, harbouring evil thoughts, Thy sin will lie at the door.  But under thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.  For ‘sin lieth at the door,’ when it is knocking in the thoughts, and ‘the desire thereof is under,’ and man ‘ruleth over it,’ if the wickedness of the heart, being looked to, be quickly put down, and before it grows to a state of hardness, be subdued by a strenuous opposition of the mind.  Therefore that the mind may be quickly made sensible of its offence by repenting, and hold in under its authority the usurping power of sin, let it be rightly said, As for that night let a black tempest seize it; as though it were said in plain words, ‘Lest the mind be the captive of sin, let it never leave a sin free from penance.’  And because we have a sure hope that what we prosecute with weeping, will never be urged against us by the Judge to come, it is rightly added,

 

 
4 - 37 Let it not be joined unto the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.
The year of our illumination is then accomplished, when at the appearing of the Eternal Judge of Holy Church, the life of her pilgrimage is completed.  She then receives the recompense of her labours, when, having finished this season of her warfare, she returns to her native country.  Hence it is said by the Prophet, Thou shalt bless the crown of the year with Thy goodness.  For the Crown of the year is as it were ‘blessed,’ when, the season of toil at an end, the reward of virtues is bestowed.  But the days of this year are the several virtues, and its months the manifold deeds of those virtues.  But observe, when the mind is erected in confidence, to have a good hope that, when the Judge comes, she will receive the reward of her virtues, all the evil things that she has done are also brought before the memory, and she greatly fears lest the strict Judge, Who comes to reward virtues, should also examine and weigh exactly those things, which have been unlawfully committed, and lest, when ‘the year’ is completed, the ‘night’ also be reckoned in.  Let him then say of this night, Let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.  As though he implored that strict Judge in such words as these; ‘When, the time of Holy Church being completed, Thou shalt manifest Thyself for the final scrutiny, do Thou so recompense the gifts Thou hast vouchsafed, that Thou require not the evil we have committed.  For if that ‘night be joined unto the days of the year,’ all that we have done is brought to nought, by the accounting of our iniquity.  And the days of our virtues no longer shine, if they be overclouded in Thine eyes by the dark confusion of our night being added to the reckoning.’
 
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 But if we would not then have inquest made on our night, we must take especial care now to exercise a watchful eye in examining it, that no sin whatever may remain unpunished by us, that the froward mind be not bold to vindicate what it has done, and by that vindication add iniquity to iniquity.  And hence it is rightly added,

 
4 - 39 Ver. 7.  Lo, let that night be solitary, and worthy of no praise.
 There are some men that not only never bewail what they do, but who do not cease to uphold and applaud it, and verily a sin that is upheld, is doubled.  And against this it is rightly said by one, My son, hast thou sinned? add not again thereto. Ecclus. 21  For he ‘adds sin to sin,’ who over and above maintains what he has done amiss; and he does not ‘leave the night alone,’ who adds the support of vindication also to the darkness of his fault.  It is hence that the first man, when called in question concerning the ‘night’ of his error, would not have the same ‘night’ to be ‘solitary,’ in that while by that questioning he was called to repentance, he added the props of self-exculpation, saying, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat; i.e. covertly turning the fault of his transgression upon his Maker; as if he said, ‘Thou gavest me occasion of transgressing, Who gavest me the woman.’  It is hence that in the human race the branch of this sin is drawn out from that root so far as to this present time, that what is done amiss should be yet further maintained.  Let him say then, Let that light be solitary, and not worthy of any praise.  As though he besought in plain words, ‘Let the fault that we have done remain alone, lest while it is praised and upheld, it bind us a hundredfold more in the sight of our Judge.  We ought not indeed to have sinned, but would that, by not adding others, we would even leave those by themselves, which we have committed.'
 
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 But here it is to be impressed upon our minds, that he in a true sense bears hard upon his sin, whose heart is no longer set to the love of the present state of being by any longing for prosperity, who sees how deceitful are the caresses of this world, and reckons its smiles as a kind of persecution; and hence it is well added,

 
4 - 41 Ver. 8.  Let them curse it that curse the day.

 As if he said in plain words; ‘Let them strike the darkness of this night by truly repenting, who henceforth despise and tread upon the light of worldly prosperity.’  For if we take ‘the day,’ for the gladness of delight, of this ‘night’ it is rightly said, Let them curse it that curse the day.  In that, indeed, they do truly chastise the misdeeds committed with the visitations of penance, who are henceforth carried away by no sense of delight after deceitful goods.  For of those whom other mischievous practices still delight, it is all false whereinsoever they are seen to bewail one set they have been guilty of.  But if, as we have said above, we understand thereby the crafty suggestion of our old enemy, those are to be understood to curse the ‘night,’ that curse the ‘day,’ in that surely they all really punish their past sins, who in the mere flattering suggestion itself detect the snares of the malicious deceiver.  But it is well added;

 
4 - 42 Who are ready to rouse u