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Wherein S. Gregory unfolds the historical, allegorical, and moral sense of the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the Book of Job.


[i]                                          [HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION]


1.  In a former part of this work we have handled the point, that Almighty God, in order to amend the hearts of those under the law, brought forward the life of blessed Job for a testimony, who knew not the law and yet kept it, who observed the precepts of life, which he had not received in writing.  This man’s conduct is first extolled by God’s bearing witness to it, and is afterwards suffered to be put to the proof by the devil’s plotting against it, that he might prove by the trials of tribulation, how much he had attained before in a state of peace.  This man’s life the adversary of the human race, evil disposed after his manner, both knew to be commended by the attestation of God, and yet asked for to prove it.  And when he could not succeed in bringing him to the ground, smitten with so many losses in his substance, so many bereavements, he set on his wife against him in the goading of mispersuasion, that at all events by the words of his own household he might ruin him, whom he could never bring down by so many torments of tidings.  But whereas what by woman’s aid he won against Adam first in paradise, he could not make good against this second man sitting on a dunghill, he betook himself to other appliances of tempting, that he should bring in his friends as if administering consolation, and yet stir up their feelings in bitterness of upbraiding, that him whose patience scourges had failed to subdue, at least bitter words in the midst of those scourges might succeed in overcoming.  But the adversary, while laying his plots with craft, was a victim to the deceit, which he had contrived against the holy man, in that for all the occasions of ruin that he brought upon the holy man, he supplied him with as many occasions of victory.  For against torments he maintained patience, against words, wisdom, in that he at once sustained the pains of stripes with resignation, and restrained the foolishness of ill advisers with wisdom.  But whereas in those very sufferings and well-instructed speeches he bears a figure of Holy Church, by his friends, as we have already often said, uttering some things right and some foolish, heretics are not unjustly represented who in respect of this, that they are friends of the holy man, say many things right of the wicked, but in respect of this, that they bear a likeness of heretics, very often transgress in the excesses of the lips, and they smite the breast of the holy man with the darts of their words, but are tired out by their very own smiting against his indomitable spirit.  So then it is our business to distinguish with exact discrimination, both what there is in their words that they think aright concerning the lost, and what that they sound that is foolish as directed against blessed Job.

Ver. 1, 2.  Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, Unto what end will ye cast abroad words?  understand first, and so let us speak.


[ii]                                       [ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION]


2.  All heretics think that in some things that are known to her Holy Church is full of pride, while some things they fancy that she does not even understand.  Whence Bildad the Shuhite, as it were, asserts that blessed Job had broken out into pride, when he declares [fatetur is used thus] that he ‘casts abroad words.’  But he gives a token with what pride he was himself swoln, who supposed that blessed Job spoke things that he did not understand; and whereas all heretics complain that they are despised by Holy Church in her estimate of them, it is fitly subjoined,

Ver. 3.  Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed as vile in your sight?




3.  It is natural to the human mind to suppose that the thing that it does is done to itself.  Thus they believe themselves to be despised, who are used to despise the ways of the good; and whereas in such things as are capable of being understood by reason, the Church proves against heretics that what they make up is unreasonable, they imagine themselves to be counted as ‘beasts’ in her view.  On which supposition of their being despised, they directly break out in disdain, and are urged to abuse of that Church.  Whence it is added;

Ver. 4.  Why dost thou ruin thy soul in thy fury?




4.  Heretics esteem whether a strong feeling for the rule of right, or the spiritual grace of holy preaching, not as good weight of virtue, but as the madness of fury.  By which same fury they believe that ‘the souls of the faithful are ruined,’ in that they imagine that the life of the Church is destroyed by the very same means whereby they see she is made to kindle against themselves.  It goes on;

Shall the earth be forsaken for thee?




5.  For they think that they themselves worship God every where, that they themselves have occupied the whole world.  What is it then to say, Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? but what they often say to the faithful, viz. ‘that if this thing which you say be true, all the earth is forsaken by God, which we ourselves already occupy from the multitude of us.’  Now the holy Church universal proclaims that God cannot be truly worshipped saving within herself, asserting that all they that are without her shall never be saved.  But conversely heretics, who are confident that it is possible for them to be saved even without her pale, maintain that the Divine aid is rendered to them in every place.  Whence they say; Shall the earth be forsaken for thee?  i.e. ‘is it so, that whosoever is out of thee cannot be saved?’  Whence it is added further;

And shall the rocks be moved out of their place?




6.  Heretics call those persons ‘rocks’ who in their views by the sublimity of their thoughts stand out in the human race, which same they glory that they have for teachers.  But when Holy Church addresses herself to the task of gathering together the different erring preachers within the bosom of the right faith, what else is this but that she ‘removes the rocks from their places,’ that having a right view of things, they may lie down in humility within her, who aforetime were standing stiff in their own wrong notions?  But heretics altogether make against the doing of this, and withstand the ‘rocks being moved out of their places’ on account of her voice, because they are averse that they, who among themselves, being lifted up in their thoughts, were embued with false doctrine, by coming to her should think what is true in a humble spirit.


7.  Now, it very often happens that heretics, when they see any persons within the bosom of Holy Church travailing whether with want or calamities, lift themselves up directly in the presumption of righteousness, and whatsoever they see to have happened of an adverse kind to the faithful, they suppose it is done for their iniquities, not knowing doubtless that the complexion of the present life does not in the least degree prove the worth of men’s conduct.  For very often both good things befal the bad, and bad ones befal the good, on the very principle that real goods are reserved for the good, and real ills for the bad, in the season of the eternal recompensing.  Thus Bildad bearing a figure of heretics, who lift themselves up on the grounds of this life’s good fortune, swells against the strokes of blessed Job, as if with their voice in opposition to the reproach of the righteous, and expressly he is arguing against the ungodly indeed, but how wickedly he speaks in such terms against a good man, he is not aware.  Thus he added, saying,

Ver. 5.  Shall not the light of the wicked be put out, and the flame of his fire cease to shine?




8.  If he says this in describing the present life, he is mistaken; in that very often both the light of prosperity is seen in the ungodly, and the darkness of ignominy and poverty envelopes the godly.  But if his discourse points to this, viz. to shew what the ungodly meet with in their end, it is said with truth, Shall not the light of the wicked be put out, and the flame of his fire cease to shine?  Which if it might have been rightly spoken in regard to an ungodly man, ought never to have been delivered against a holy man set fast in the midst of scourges.  But let us, considering well the powers of his arm in delivering sentences, reflect how strongly be hurls the darts, and let us cease to look at him whom, while so hurling them, he aims to hit, knowing surely that he strikes a stone with foiled blows.  So let him say; Shall not the light of the wicked be put out?  For even the ungodly have their ‘light,’ i.e. the good fortune of the present life.  But ‘the light of the wicked shall be put out,’ in that this present life’s good fortune is speedily terminated along with life itself.  Whence it is fitly added; and the flame of his fire shall not shine.




9.  For every ungodly man has a ‘flame of his own fire,’ which he kindles in his heart from the heat of temporal desires, whilst he burns now with these now with those lusts, and fans his thoughts into a bigger flame by the diverse flatteries of the world.  But if a fire has no flame, it does not shine by shedding any light.  And so the flame of the fire is his outward beauty or power, which comes from his burning within.  For what he anxiously desires to get, he very often wins, to the heaping up of his own ruin; and whether in the power of the loftiest pitch, or in the wealth of multiplied increase, he as it were shines in external glory.  But ‘the flame of his fire shall not shine,’ in that, in the day of his departure hence, all the fair shew without is removed, and he is consumed by his own burning within alone.  And ‘so the flame’ is removed from the ‘fire,’ when his exterior glory is separated from his interior burning.  Even the righteous too have a flame of their fire, but one doubtless to shine bright, in this respect, that their desires give light in good works.  But the light of the wicked does not shine in the least, in that hereby, viz. that they aim at what is evil, they are forced to darkness.  And hence it follows ;

Ver. 6.  The light shall be dark in his tabernacle.




10.  If we very frequently take darkness for sorrow, we ought without unfairness to take light for joy.  And so ‘the light is dark in his tabernacle,’ in that in his conscience, which he inhabits in wickedness, the joy which he had from things temporal is brought to an end.  Whence too it is fitly added;

And the candle that is over him shall be put out.


For to speak in language grounded on the usage of many, a ‘candle [lucerna]’ is a light in an earthen vessel, but a light in an earthen vessel, is delight in the flesh.  And so ‘the candle that is over him is put out,’ in that when the recompensing of his wickednesses comes upon the ungodly man, carnal delight is brought to nought in his heart.  Now it is well that it is not said of this candle, ‘which is by him,’ but ‘which is over him,’ in that earthly enjoyments possess the mind of the bad, and so swallow it up in delight, that they are ‘over’ it, and not ‘by’ it.  But the righteous even when they have the good fortune of the present life, are taught to force it to bow beneath them, that this, viz. that they are made glad in themselves with good things, they may get above by the counsel of a steadied mind, and surmount by the control of virtue.  And so ‘the candle’ of the wicked man, ‘which is over him, is put out,’ in that his joy is quickly brought to an end, which possessed him wholly in this life, and the man, who now wickedly lets himself out at large in pleasures, punishment hereafter closely encompasses round about in woe.  Whence it is yet further added;

Ver. 7  The steps of his strength shalt be straitened.




11.  For now as it were he puts forth ‘the steps of his strength,’ as often as he executes the violent acts of his power.  But ‘the steps of his strength shall be straitened,’ in that the resources of his wickedness, which he now displays in his own gratification, punishment hereafter binds fast.  It goes on;

And his own counsel shall cast him down.




12.  Every bad man makes it his counsel now to aim at present things, to abandon the things of eternity, to do what is unjust, to sneer at what is just; but when the Judge of the just and unjust shall come, every ungodly person is ‘cast down by his counsel,’ in that for this that he chose to go after here with bad intent, he is drowned in the darkness of eternal woe.  For that man whom temporal glory uplifts here, punishment without end there sinks down.  He who here revels in self-gratification, is there tortured with everlasting vengeance.  And it often happens that the very prosperity of this life, which is so eagerly hankered after by the ungodly, so clogs their steps, that even when they have the mind to return to good works, they are scarcely able: in that they have not the power to do what is right, while they fear to displease the lovers of this world.  Whence it is brought to pass, that through that glory which the ungodly man derives from sin, his sins are yet further doubled and redoubled.  Which Bildad rightly sets forth, when he adds;

Ver. 8.  For he hath put his own foot into the net, and he walketh in the meshes [masculis] of it.




13.  He, who ‘puts his feet into a net,’ cannot get them out, when he has a mind; so he that lets himself down, into habits of sin, cannot rise up the moment he wishes it; and he ‘that walketh in the meshes of a net,’ entangles his steps in walking, and when he tries to extricate himself to walk, he is tied and bound that he cannot.  ‘For it very often happens that a man, beguiled by the delightfulness of this world, reaches after the gloriousness of the honour thereof, that he attains to the effecting of his desires, and rejoices to have attained the object which he sought after; but seeing that the good things of this world, when not possessed, are objects of love, and very often, when possessed, grow worthless, he learns by the act of obtaining how worthless that is which he sought after.  Whence being brought back to himself, he looks out how without sin to get quit of that which he sees himself to have gotten with sin; but the very same dignity which entangled him, holds him fast, and he cannot without further sins flee from thence, whereunto he came not without sin.  And so he has ‘put his feet into the net, and walketh in the meshes thereof,’ in that when he strives to get quit, he then sees in a true light with what hard knots he is held bound.  For we do not even know of our binding in a true sense, save when in striving to get free, we as it were try to lift our feet.  And hence he makes known this same binding, by adding,

Ver. 9.  The gin shall take him by the heel;

in that the end shall be made fast in sin.  And because the enemy of mankind, when he binds up in sin the life of each individual, eagerly pants after his death, it is rightly added;

And thirst shall burn furiously against him.




14.  For our old enemy, when he ensnares the life in sin, thirsts that he may drink the death of the sinner.  Which however may also be understood in another sense.  For the evil mind when it sees that it has been brought into sin, seeks with a certain superficialness of thought to escape out of the snares of sin; but fearing either the threats or reproaches of men, it chooses rather to die for ever, than to undergo a little of adversity for a season, whence it abandons itself wholly to evil ways, in which it perceives itself to be already once bound.  And so he whose life is bound fast in sin even to the end, has his ‘heel held by the gin.’  But forasmuch as in the same degree that he minds that he is tied and bound with evil habits, he is in despair of his return, by that very despairing he henceforth kindles more fiercely to the lusts of this world, the heat of desire arises within him, and the mind having been ensnared by previous sins, is inflamed to even worse transgressions.  And hence it is added; And thirst shall burn furiously against him.  For in his mind there is a ‘thirst that burns out against him,’ in that in proportion as he is used to do wicked things, he is the more vehemently on fire to drink down evil.  Since for the ungodly man to ‘thirst’ is to lust after the good things of this world.  And hence our Redeemer cures the man with the dropsy before the Pharisee’s house, and when he was arguing against avarice, it is written, And the Pharisees also who were covetous heard all things; and they derided Him. [Luke 16, 14]  What does it mean then that the man with the dropsy is cured before the house of the Pharisee, but that by the sickness of one man’s body the sickness of heart in another is represented?  For one sick of a dropsy, the more he drinks, thirsts the more, and every covetous person redoubles his thirst by drinking, in that when he has got the things he desires, he pants the more in desiring others.  For he that by getting is made to long for more, has his thirst increased by drinking.  It goes on;

Ver. 10.  His snare is buried in the earth, and his trap upon the way.




15.  His ‘snare is buried in the earth,’ when sin is hidden under earthly interests.  For our enemy in executing his plots shews to the human mind something to long after in earthly gain, and hides the snare of sin, that it may bind his soul tight, so that he should see indeed what he might set his heart on, and yet never see in what a snare of sin he is putting his foot.  Now a trap [decipula] has its name from entrapping.  And ‘a trap is’ then ‘placed’ by our old enemy ‘upon the way,’ when in the course of this world’s practice, which the mind is bent to follow, the snare of sin is prepared, which same would not so easily entrap, if it were possible to be seen.  For a trap is so set, that, while the meat is displayed, it is not itself seen by the passers by.  For like to meat in a trap is gain with sin, and the prosperity of this world with wickedness; and so when gain is sought after by one with a covetous view, it is as if the trap which is not seen laid hold of the foot of the mind.  Thus there are often set before the mind along with sin, honours, riches, health, and temporal life, which, while the weak mind sees like food, and does not see the trap, by the meat, which on seeing it longs after, it is caught fast in the sin, which is not seen.  For there are kinds of tempers which border upon certain bad qualities.  Thus harsh tempers are usually found to be united either to cruelty or to pride; but tempers that are soft, and joyous beyond what is becoming, are sometimes allied to lust and dissoluteness.  Therefore the enemy of mankind surveys the tempers of each individual," to see what bad quality they are allied to, and he sets those objects before the face, which he sees the mind is most readily inclined to, so that to the soft and joyous tempers he often proposes dissoluteness, and sometimes vainglory, but to harsh dispositions he proposes pride or cruelty, and so there he sets a trap, where he sees the path of the mind to be, in that he there introduces peril by deception, where he has found that there is the ‘way’ of a kindred turn of thought.  And, whereas all that the bad man does, he fears to undergo too, and reckons that to be doing by all others toward himself, which he himself prepares for all others, whom he is able, it rightly follows;

Ver. 11.  Terrors shall make him afraid on every side.




16.  For he imagines all men to be such toward himself, as he himself strives to be towards all.  And what effect these same terrors have in his conduct, is brought in, when it is said;

And shall entangle his feet.


For if ‘the feet be entangled,’ they cannot have free steps, and are not able to accomplish any journey; in that their own entanglements hold them fast.  Therefore bad desires force into vilest practice, and vilest practice holds fast in terror; which same terror entangles the feet, that they should have no power to step out into right practice.  And it often happens that a person for this reason fears to be good, that he may not himself suffer that at the hands of the wicked, which he remembers himself to have done to the good; and whereas he dreads to undergo that thing which he has himself done, on every side affrighted, on every side full of misgiving, he as it were has his feet entangled, who is ensnared by fear; he is able to do nothing freely; in that he has in a manner lost his going in good practice by the same act, whereby he stepped out of the 1ine into the evil which he set his heart on.  It goes on;

Ver. 12.  Let his strength be hungerbitten, and starvation invade his ribs.




17.  After the manner of Holy Scripture, he has the appearance of wishing that which he foresees will be, not surely in the spirit of one uttering curses, but of one pronouncing prophesies.  Thus every man, in that he consists of soul and flesh, is as it were made up of strength and weakness.  For by virtue of that part, by which he was created a reasoning spirit, he is not improperly called ‘strong,’ but in respect of that, by which he is of a fleshly substance, he is weak.  And so ‘the strength’ of man is the reasoning soul, which is able to resist by reason the tendencies to evil that assail it.  And hence it is said again by blessed Job, Thou hast strengthened him for a while, that he might pass through for evermore. [Job 14, 20]  Since from a reasoning soul man derives it, that he should live for evermore.  And so this wicked man’s ‘strength is hungerbitten,’ in that his soul is not fed by any refreshment of the interior food.  Of which same hunger God saith by the Prophet; I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. [Amos 8, 11]


18.  And it is well added, And starvation invade his ribs.  For the ribs lace in the bowels, that lying out of sight within they should be fortified by their solidity.  And so the ‘ribs’ of every one are the senses [Vide b. xi. c. 45. note.] of the mind, which fence the hidden thoughts.  Therefore ‘starvation invades the ribs,’ when all spiritual refreshment being removed, the senses of the mind fail, and cannot either rule or guard their thoughts.  ‘Starvation invades the ribs’ of the wicked man, in that the interior hunger debilitates the senses of the mind, that they may not rule their thoughts at all.  For when the senses of the mind are dulled, the thoughts issue forth to things without, and, as it were, the ribs being weak, the bowels which might have lain in secret in a sound state, are poured forth without.  Hence it comes that when the thoughts are spread abroad without, the mind being deceived goes after the image of exterior glory, and is pleased with nothing save what it beholds beautiful without; against whom the words yet further subjoined are fitly directed;

Ver. 13.  Let it devour the beauty of his skin; and let the firstborn death consume his arms.




19.  ‘The beauty of his skin’ is temporal glory, which whereas it is coveted as an object without us, is retained as a beauty on the skin.  But by the title of ‘arms’ works are not unfitly set forth, in that the work of the body is done by the arms.  And what is death but sin, which kills the soul to the interior life?  Whence it is written; Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection [Rev. 20, 6], in that he shall hereafter rise again joyfully in the flesh, who whilst set in this life has risen again from the death of his soul.  If then sin is death, ‘the firstborn death’ may not unsuitably be taken for pride; in that it is written, Pride is the beginning of all sin. [Ecclus. 10, 13]  And so ‘the beauty of his skin and his arms the firstborn death devoureth,’ in that the glory or the practice of the bad man is overthrown by Pride.  For he might have been glorious even in this life without sin, if be had not been proud.  He might in the judgment of His Creator have been commended for some works, if before His eyes pride had not overturned those very works.  Thus we often see rich people, which might have had wealth and glory without guilt, if they would have had them with humility.  But they are uplifted by possessions, they are flushed with honours, they disdain the rest of the world, and place their life’s whole hope and trust in the mere abundance of good things alone.  Hence a certain rich man said, Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. [Luke 12, 19]  Which thoughts of their hearts when the Judge above beholds, He plucks them away for this very confidence of theirs by itself.  Hence in this place too it is fitly added;

Ver. 14.  Let his confidence be rooted out of his tabernacle, and let death as a king trample on him.




20.  In this place by the title of ‘death’ we have denoted the enemy of the human race himself, who brought in death, who is set forth by a particular minister of his, of whom it is said to John, And his name was Death. [Rev. 6, 8]  And so this ‘death,’ in the day of departure hence, ‘tramples upon the wicked man as a king,’ in that him, whom he before deceived by soft persuasions, at the last he carries off to punishment in bonds of violence, and forces him down the more cruelly, in proportion as he ties him the stronger in bad deeds.  And here too while he possesses the heart of the lost sinner, he ‘tramples’ upon it, in that as often as he pressed it with feelings of delight, he as it were set upon it the feet of his tyrannical dominion.


21.  But if by the title of ‘death,’ we are to understand not the devil explicitly, but sin, in consequence of which the lost meet with the doom to be dragged to death, then indeed such ‘death tramples on the mind like a king,’ when it possesses the same making no resistance.  For temptation to sin cannot be away from man whilst set in this life.  But it is one thing to resist sin tempting us, and another to be enthralled by it tyrannizing over us.  And so the wicked man, because he is not taught to resist the persuasions of sin, and is not afraid to be subdued to its dominion, has it rightly said of him, Death as a king shall trample on him.  For it was the reign of this death that Paul was keeping off from the hearts of his disciples, when he said, Let not sin there reign in your mortal body. [Rom. 6, 12]  Since be does not say, ‘let it not be,’ but, let it not reign, in that it cannot help but be, but reign it may not, in the hearts of the good.  And so whereas, when a sin strikes the heart of the bad man, it does not find it resist, but bows it under its dominion, let it rightly be said, Let his confidence be rooted out of his tabernacle, and let death as a king trample on him.  And so ‘his confidence is rooted out of the earth,’ when the man, who in this life had provided for himself many goods after his mind, is brought to nought by death in an instant.  And ‘death as a king tramples on him,’ in that he is either pressed upon here by evil habits, or at the time of his death, hereby, viz. that he is carried off to punishment, he is brought under to the power of the devil.  Which is thus done in the minds of the wicked on this account; because, even when the opportunity of committing sin is lacking, the suggestions of the desire are not in the least lacking to their minds.  And whereas they do always follow the devil in practice, yet do they doubly bind themselves fast to him in thought.  And so there is first sin in thought, and afterwards in act.  Whence it is said to the daughter of Babylon, Come down and sit in the dust, O Virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the earth. [Is. 47, 1]  For whereas dust is always earth, earth is not always dust.  What then are we to understand by dust but thoughts, which, while they perseveringly and silently fly up in the mind, blind its eyes?  And what is denoted by ‘the earth,’ but an earthly way of acting?  And whereas the mind of the lost sinner is first cast down to imagine wicked things, and afterwards to do them, to the daughter of Babylon, who came down from the judgment of interior uprightness, it is rightly said in a wounding sentence, that first she should ‘sit in the dust,’ and afterwards ‘in the earth,’ in that except she had lowered herself in thought, she would never have settled fast in bad practice.  It goes on;

Let his fellows dwell in his tabernacle, because he is not.




22.  i.e. In his mind apostate angels shall have their haunt by vilest thoughts, they being ‘his fellows,’ who for this reason no longer ‘is,’ because he has departed from the Supreme Essence, and for this is, by a daily augmented declension, as it were tending ‘not to be,’ in that he has once fallen from Him Who truly is; who moreover is rightly said ‘not to be,’ in that he has lost well-being, though he has not lost natural being.  Still, yet further setting forth these thoughts of the bad man with more minuteness, he subjoins, saying,

Let brimstone be scattered upon his habitation.




23.  What is ‘brimstone’ but the fuel of fire, which, however, so cherishes the fire, that it sends out the very foulest stench.  What then do we understand by ‘brimstone,’ but carnal sin, which, while it fills the mind with wicked thoughts like a kind of ill savours, is kindling everlasting fires for it; and whilst it spreads the cloud of its stench in the lost soul, it is as it were providing against it fuel for the flames to come after.  For that the ill savour of the flesh is understood by brimstone, the mere history of Holy Writ by itself hears record, which relates that the Lord ‘rained down fire and brimstone upon Sodom.’  Who, when He had determined to punish her carnal wickednesses, by the very character of the punishment marked out the stain of her guilt: since ‘brimstone’ hath stench, and fire burning; and so, forasmuch as they had been kindled to bad desires in the ill savour of the flesh, it was meet that they should perish by fire and brimstone combined; that by their just punishment they might be taught what they had done in unjust desire.  And so this ‘sulphur is scattered upon the habitation’ of the wicked man, as often as the corrupt indulgence of the flesh exercises dominion within him; and whereas bad thoughts unceasingly occupy him, and forbid his bringing forth the fruit of good practice, it is rightly added;

Ver. 16.  Let his roots be dried up beneath, and above let his crop be spoiled.




24.  For what do we understand by the title of ‘roots,’ which are set out of sight, and bring forth a shoot into open view, but the thoughts, which, while they are not seen in the heart, produce visible works?  And hence by the title of a ‘crop’ there is denoted the same visible practice, which is thus produced from a hidden root.  And whereas every bad man first dries up in the imaginings of temptation and afterwards dies off from good deeds, it is rightly said by Bildad, Let his roots be dried up beneath, and above let his crop be spoiled, in that, whereas the wicked man sets his thoughts in things below, and neglects to seek the delights of everlasting greenness, what is this but that he lets his ‘roots be dried beneath?’  Whose ‘crop too is spoiled above,’ in that all his practice is counted as nothing in the view of the judgment above, even if it seem good in the eyes of man.  Thus the ‘roots’ are at the bottom, and the ‘crop’ above, in that we first send out good thoughts here, that we may one day deserve to receive the fruit of our good works in eternal recompensing; but every wicked person when he abandons good thoughts, and pours himself forth upon the things that are without, has ‘his roots dried up below:’ but ‘above his crop is spoiled,’ in that he, who persists barren here, after this life is bidden to no rewards.  It goes on;

Ver. 17.  Let his remembrance perish from the earth, and let not his name be repeated in the streets.


[xxi]                                     [PROPHETICAL INTERPRETATION]


25.  It is deserving of our notice, that Bildad the Shuhite so expresses himself of each one of the wicked, that his words are secretly directed against the head of all the wicked; for the head of the wicked is the devil.  And he in his own person having in the last times entered into that vessel of perdition, shall be called ‘Antichrist,’ who will endeavour to spread his name far and wide, which same every individual now likens himself to, when, by the memorial of an earthly name, be strives to extend the gloriousness of his praise, and exults in transitory reputation.  Therefore let these words be so understood of each one of the wicked, that they be referred in a particular manner to the head of the wicked himself.  Therefore let him say, Let his remembrance perish from the earth, and let not his name be repeated in the streets.  For streets [platea from platuv ‘broad’] are called by a Greek term from width, and so Antichrist aims to settle the remembrance of himself upon earth, when he longs, if it were possible, to remain for ever in temporal glory He delights to have ‘his name celebrated in the street,’ whilst he spreads the working of his wickedness far and wide.  But whereas this wickedness of his is not permitted to be reared to a height for a long time, let it be said, Let his remembrance perish from the earth, and let not his name be repeated in the street; i.e. that he should both quickly part with the fame of his earthly power, and lose all the pleasures of his name, which he had spread far and wide in the shortlived prosperity of time.  It goes on;

Ver. 18.  He shall drive him from light into darkness.




26.  He is led ‘from light to darkness,’ when for honour in the present life, he is condemned to eternal punishments.  And hence it is more plainly added,

And translate him out of the world.

For he is ‘translated out of the world,’ when upon the Judge above appearing, he is taken away from this world, in which he wickedly glories; and for this, that when the end of the world breaks in upon him, he is condemned with all his followers, it is rightly subjoined;

Ver. 9.  There shall neither be seed of him, nor offspring in his people, nor any remnant in his parts.


For it is written, that the Lord Jesus shall consume him, with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightness of His coming. [2 Thess. 2, 8]  And so, then, whereas his wickedness is ended together with the settled constitution of the world, there shall be ‘no offspring of him left in his people,’ in that both he himself and his people along with him are equally forced to punishment; and all the wicked, who by his evil advising were born in bad courses, by the brightness of the Lord’s coming are struck with eternal destruction together with that head of theirs.  And there is ‘no offspring of him remaining in the world,’ in that the strict Judge ends the iniquities of that one simultaneously with the end of the world.  Now that these words are to be understood expressly of Antichrist is shewn, when it is added;

Ver. 20.  In his days the last shall be astonied, and horror shall seize on the first.




27.  For he will then let himself loose against the righteous with such a measure of iniquity, that even the hearts of the very Elect shall be struck with no small consternation.  Whence it is written, Insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very Elect. [Mat. 24, 24]  Which, clearly, is said, not because the Elect shall fall, but because they shall tremble with terrible alarms.  Now at that time both the latest Elect and the first Elect are described as maintaining the conflict for righteousness against him, in that both they that shall be found among the Elect at the end of the world, are destined to be laid low in the death of the flesh, and they too who proceeded from the former divisions of the world, i.e. Enoch and Elijah, shall be brought back amongst men, and shall be exposed to the savageness of his cruelty still in their mortal flesh.  This one’s forces let loose in such terrible power, ‘the latest are astonied at, and the first do dread,’ in that, though in respect of this, viz. that he is lifted up by a spirit of pride, they despise all his temporal power, yet in respect of this, that they are themselves still in mortal flesh, wherein they are liable to suffer temporal anguish, they dread the very punishments, which they bear with resolution; so that there is in them at one and the same time both constancy derived from virtue, and alarm proceeding from the flesh; in that though they be of the number of the Elect, so that they cannot be overcome by torments, yet from this only that they are men, they fear the very torments, that they overcome.  So let it be said, In his days the last shall be astonied, and terror shall seize on the first.  In that he shall then shew forth such signs, and do things so cruel and hard hearted, as to force them to astonishment, whom he shall find at the end of the world, and to pierce with the pang of carnal death the first fathers, who are reserved for his extirpation.  Therefore whereas he has described many particulars relating to all the wicked, or to the head of the wicked himself, he immediately adds with a general description,

Ver. 21.  Surely, such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.


[xxiv]                                      [MORAL INTERPRETATION]


28.  For he had said above; He shall drive him from fight into darkness, and translate him out of the world; and upon subjoining his miseries, he added; Surely, such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.  In that he who is now lifted up from not knowing God, is then brought to his own ‘dwellings,’ when his own wickedness plunges him into woes; and one day he finds ‘darkness his place,’ who, while he made himself glad here in the counterfeit light of righteousness, was occupying the place of another.  For bad men in all that they do in dissimulation, are striving to possess themselves of the righteous man’s name of credit, as of another’s place.  But they are then brought to their own place, when they are tormented with everlasting fire, as the desert of their iniquity.  For here in all that they do they are ministering to their desire of winning praise, and by the semblance of good works, they are opening wider the bosom of the mind to avarice.  So let the wicked man go now, and full blown with complete equipments, let him build his habitations here below, let him spread a name of glory, let him multiply estates, and delight himself in abundant stores, but when he shall be brought to everlasting punishments, then surely he shall know that ‘such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.’  Now Bildad said this rightly, but he did not know who it was that he was saying it to.  But the heart of a good man is seriously afflicted, when sentences are pronounced against him upon an unfair estimate.  Whence blessed Job directly answered, saying;

How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?


[xxv]                                    [HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION]


29.  The sayings of the holy man, as we have already often said, are to be understood as spoken sometimes in his own person, sometimes in the voice of the Head, and sometimes in a figure of the Church Universal.  Now the soul of the righteous is deeply distressed, when those persons launch severe sentences against the good, who have not learned to lead good lives, and by the words of the mouth claim righteousness to themselves, to which in practice they are enemies.  Whence to the friends of blessed Job, who, as we have already often said, bear a type of heretics, himself rightly answers, How long will ye vex my soul, and wear me with words?  For good men are ‘worn’ with the words of the wicked, when those swell out against them in words of the lips, who lie low either in a corrupt faith, or in bad habits.  It goes on;

Lo, these ten times ye confound me.




30.  On enumerating the successive times of the speeches of Job’s friends, we learn that as yet they had spoken but five times.  But for this reason, that he had five times heard rebukes from them, and five times himself replied to their rebukes, he says that he had been ten times confounded; because both herein, viz. that he had been causelessly reproached, he suffered deeply, and in this, that he uttered words of instruction to those that gave no ear, he underwent confusion.  And so, while in hearing he held his peace, and in speaking was not heard, that person had trouble put upon him, who both in holding his peace submissively, and in speaking to them fruitlessly, experienced pain within his heart; and hence he says above, What shall I do?  If I speak, my grief is not assuaged; and though I forbear, it will not depart from me. 




But if we make these words refer to a type of Holy Church, it is well known that it is her great delight to keep the precepts of the Ten Commandments; and the wicked ‘confound her ten times,’ in that by all that they do wrong in their wicked principles, they forsake the precepts of the Ten Commandments, and cause confusion to the good as often as they set themselves against the words of God in their doings, It goes on;

And ye are not ashamed that ye oppress me.




31.  There are some persons, whom bad principle suddenly springing up invites to the commission of wickedness, yet respect for their fellow-creatures recalls again.  And very often from this, viz. that they are made ashamed outwardly, they are brought back into their own interior heart, and pass an inward judgment upon themselves; in that if they are afraid to do what is evil on man’s account, how much more ought they not even to have longed after what is evil, on God’s account, Who sees all things?  And in the case of these persons it is brought to pass, that they correct greater evil by inferior good, i.e. interior sin by exterior shame.  Again, there are some, who, when once they have brought themselves to contemn God in their hearts, despise the judgments of their fellow-creatures much more, and all the evil that they long after, they do not blush to execute boldly, which persons secret wickedness invites to the commission of sin, and outward shame holds not back; as it is said also of a certain wicked judge, Which feared not God, neither regarded man. [Luke 18, 2]  Hence too it is said of certain persons sinning with shameless effrontery; And they have declared their sin as Sodom. [Is. 3, 9]  Thus very often there are such persons enemies of Holy Church, persons who are not withheld from committing wicked things, either by the fear of God, or regard of man; and it is well said to these by blessed Job, And ye are not ashamed that ye oppress me; seeing that though it was wrong to have wished bad things, it is worse not to be ashamed of things wrongly desired.  It goes on;

Ver. 4.  And be it indeed that I have been ignorant, my ignorance remaineth with myself.




32.  Heretics have this about them, that they are swoln by the empty pretensions of their knowledge, and often turn to ridicule the simplicity of those that believe rightly, and account the life of the humble to be of no worth.  On the other hand Holy Church, in all that she has really wise in her, keeps low the level of her view in humility, that she be not puffed up by knowledge, nor be made to swell high on the seeking out of things hidden, and venture to dive into points, that are above her powers.  For with more profit to herself she is anxious not to know things she is unable to fathom, rather than boldly to define things she does not know.  As it is written; It is not good to eat much honey: so he that is a searcher of majesty, shall be overwhelmed by glory. [Prov. 25, 27]  For if the sweetness of honey be taken in greater measure than there is occasion for, from the same source whence the palate is gratified, the life of the eater is destroyed, The ‘searching into majesty’ is also sweet; but he, that seeks to dive into it deeper than the cognizance of human nature admits, finds the mere gloriousness thereof by itself oppress him, in that, like honey takes in excess, it bursts the sense of the searcher which is not capable of holding it.  Now that is said to be ‘with’ us, which is for us; and on the other hand that is said not to be with us, that is against us; and so, because his own knowledge puffs out the heart of the heretic, while his perception of his own ignorance abases the faithful, let blessed Job say in his own voice, let him say also in the confession of the Church Universal, And be it indeed that I have been ignorant, my ignorance shall be with me.  As if it were said in express words to Heretics; ‘All your knowledge is not with you, since it is against you, so long as it uplifts you in foolish pride; but my ignorance is with me, because it is for me; since, whereas I do not dare to search into any thing relating to God in pride of heart, I keep myself in the truth in a spirit of humility.’  And because these very same things that heretics seek to know, they apply perforce to the furtherance of self-elation only, that they may seem learned in contrast to the faithful and humble, it is rightly added;

But ye are set up against me.


[xxix]                                [HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION]


33.  But perhaps we shall consider these words more thoroughly, if we point out how they apply to the friends of blessed Job personally in a special sense.  For they, when they saw the righteous man smitten, ought to have turned back into their own deepest interior, and not to have persecuted blessed Job with words of upbraiding, but to have bewailed their own case; seeing that, if he was so stricken, who served as he did, with what vengeance did they deserve to be smitten, who had not served like him?  And it is rightly said to them, Ye are set up against me; as if it were said to them in plainer terms; ‘Ye who ought by occasion of my being smitten to have been set up against your own selves,’ this being the order of such setting up on the side of goodness, viz. that we be first set up against ourselves, and afterwards against the wicked.  For he that is set up against the good, is blown out in pride.  Thus we are set up against ourselves, when, reviewing our own evil deeds, we smite ourselves with the severe avenging of penance, when we do not spare ourselves at all in our sins, and are not biassed by any fond thoughts towards ourselves, who, if we first rigidly follow up our evil things in ourselves, it is likewise fair, that we should be set up against the evil in others too for their good, and that the evil which we punish in ourselves, we should subdue in others too, by charging it home to them.


34.  But this sort of setting up the wicked know nothing of, because they leave themselves, and attack the good; they incline themselves towards themselves, in their secret heart, by the softness of fond flattering, and they are set up against the lives of good men by the severity of harshness, whence it is now rightly said to the friends of blessed Job swelling against him under his scourge, Ye are set up against me: i.e. ‘Your own selves, that deserve to be rebuked, ye leave, and me ye rebuke with severe sentences.’  For he that does not judge himself first, is ignorant what to judge right in another; and if perchance he did know by the hearing what to judge right, yet he is not able to judge rightly the merits of another, who has no rule of judging supplied him by the consciousness of his own innocence.  Hence it is that it is said to certain persons dealing deceitfully, when they brought an adulteress to receive punishment; He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. [John 8, 7]  For they went for the punishing of others’ sins, and they had left their own behind; and so they are called back to their conscience within them, that they should first correct their own faults, and then reprove those of others.  It is hence that, when the tribe of Benjamin was deep sunk in the guilt of carnal sin, all Israel banded together would have avenged that wickedness, yet was once and again itself smitten down in the conflict of war; but on the Lord being consulted whether they should go to take vengeance, it was commanded them. [Judges 20]  The People, that went according to the bidding of God’s voice, fell both once and again, and then at length effectually smiting the sinning tribe, almost wholly extirpated it.  How is it that it is first kindled to the revenge of sin, and yet afterwards itself brought down; but that those are to be chastised first themselves, by whose means the sins of others are chastised; that they may themselves now come cleansed through vengeance, who are forward to chastise the evil of others?  Whence it follows that when the vengeance of God’s inquest is at rest towards us, our own conscience should reprove its own self, and by its own act lift itself up against self, to sorrows of penance, neither being set up towards the good, and humble towards itself, but unbending towards itself, and bowed low towards all the good.  Thus to proud men administering reproof, it is rightly said; Ye are set up against me, and ye charge me with my reproaches.  All persons that are set up, account temporal afflictions to be a grievous reproach, and they think every individual to be the more despised by God, in proportion as they see him scourged with the rod of affliction.  For they look for nothing in principles, they look for nothing in practices; but whomsoever they see to be stricken in this life, they imagine to be already condemned by God’s sentence; whence it is well said on this occasion by the voice of blessed Job;

And ye charge me with my reproaches.




35.  In that they, who knew him to be righteous before his strokes, were now judging him to be unrighteous by the mere fact of his being stricken, and hence it very often happens that Heretics, because they see persons within the bosom of Holy Church suffering affliction; (for it is written of God, And scourgeth every son whom He receiveth [Heb. 12, 6];) fancy that the sorrows of the faithful arise from nothing but sin, and themselves they for this reason conclude to be righteous, because being left in the thoughts of their evil ways, lacking the rod, they have become hardened.  It proceeds;

Ver. 6.  Know now at least that God hath afflicted me with no just judgment.




36.  O, how hard does the voice of the righteous man sound, suffering under the infliction of the rod!  Which same, however, not pride, but grief gave vent to!  Now he is not righteous, who gives up righteousness under sorrow; and blessed Job, because he had a meek spirit, did not sin even by a hard word.  For, if we say that he did err by this voice, we make out that the devil accomplished what he purposed, when he said, Touch his bone and his flesh, and see if he have not blessed Thee to Thy face. [Job 2, 5]  Therefore a serious question arises; for if he did not sin in that he says, Know now at least that God has not afflicted me with a just judgment; we agree to God’s having done something unjustly, which it is profane to say; but if he did sin, then the devil made appear concerning him the thing that he promised.  And so it must be asserted both that God acted rightly in His dealings with blessed Job, and yet that blessed Job herein, viz. that he says that he ‘was not afflicted by a just judgment of God,’ did not speak an untruth, and that our old enemy in respect of that which he promised of sin in the blessed man did speak an untruth.  For sometimes the words of the good are for this reason supposed wrong, because they are not ever considered in their interior signification.  Thus blessed Job had turned his eyes to his own life, and he estimated the strokes which he was undergoing, and saw that it was not just that upon such a life such strokes should be dealt.  And when he says that he was not afflicted by a just judgment, he spoke that with unreserved voice, which God in His own secresy had said concerning him to his adversary, thou movedst Me against him, to afflict him without cause [v. 3].   For what God expresses, that He ‘had afflicted blessed Job without cause,’ this blessed Job asserts again in the words that he was not ‘afflicted of the Lord by a just judgment?’  Wherein then did he sin, who was in nothing at odds with the sentence of his Maker?


37.  But perhaps some one will say, that for us to speak that good concerning ourselves, which the Judge may have said in secret concerning us, cannot be done without sin.  For he whom the Judge praises, it cannot be doubted, is justly praiseworthy; but if he in his own person praises himself, his righteousness is henceforth supposed to be no longer deserving of praise; and this is said rightly, if what the just Judge delivers in impartial sentence, the person in question should venture to say afterwards concerning himself in pride of heart.  For if he himself too continuing in a humble frame, when the occasion or his grief brings it out, has uttered good that is true in his own praise, he has not departed from the line of righteousness, in so far as he was not at all at variance with truth.


38.  Whence Paul the Apostle also related many brave things of himself for the edification of his disciples, but he did not commit sin by relating these things, in that both by an undeniable attestation, and a humble mind, he did not depart from the pathway of truth; and so let blessed Job, conscious of his own life being just, say that he is not afflicted by a just judgment; neither yet does he sin by that voice, wherein he is not at variance with His Maker, in that he whom God ‘smote without cause,’ himself also asserts that he was not ‘afflicted by a just judgment.’  But again there arises another question, which I remember has been already solved in the beginning of this work, viz. whereas Almighty God does nothing without cause, why does He bear witness that He had afflicted blessed Job without cause?  For our just Creator by those many strokes inflicted upon blessed Job did not aim to do away with evil qualities in him, but to increase his merits; and so that was just, which He did in the heightening of his good deserts; but it did not seem equitable, because it was thought to be the punishing of instances of sin.  Now blessed Job believed that sins of his doing were obliterated by those scourges, not that his merits were added to, and therefore he calls it ‘not a just judgment,’ because he tests his life side by side with the scourges: thus, if the life and the scourges be weighed in the scales, that was not equal dealing, which blessed Job, as I have said, supposed to be done to him in the wrathfulness of severity; but if the mercifulness of the Judge be looked to, seeing that by the punishment of the just man the merits of his life are heightened, it was an equal or rather a merciful judgment: therefore at once Job spoke what was true, so long as he balanced his life with the stroke; and God did not afflict Job with an unjust judgment, in that he heightened his merits by the stroke; and the devil did not achieve what he promised; seeing that blessed Job, amidst words which sound hard, was neither removed from a true sentence nor a humble mind.  But perhaps we shall understand these words of blessed Job less well, if we are not acquainted with the sentence of the Judge; Who, when He was delivering sentence between the two parties, says to the friends of Job; Ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath. [Job 42, 7]  Who then is there so foolish [ABCD ‘tam.’] in mind as to own that blessed Job had been guilty in his way of speaking, when he is declared to have spoken rightly by the very voice of the Judge itself?  Which same voice, indeed, if we refer to the person of Holy Church, we not unsuitably apply it to her weak members, which while, in the season of her persecution, they weigh both her merits and her scourges, forasmuch as they see that the unjust thrive, and the just perish, have no notion that this is just.  Now it is well added by the voice of the blessed man,

And compassed me with his scourges.




39.  For it is one thing to be smitten, and another thing to be ‘compassed with scourges.’  Thus, we are smitten with scourges, when even in our sorrows we have a consolation derived from other sources; for when affliction lies so heavy on us that the spirit can no longer take breath by consolation from anyone thing; we are now no longer smitten only, but even ‘compassed with scourges,’ in that we are every way surrounded by the rod of affliction.  Thus Paul had been compassed with scourges, when he said, Without were fightings, within were fears. [2 Cor. 7, 5]  He had been compassed with scourges, when he said, In perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness [2 Cor. 11, 26], with the other particulars, which he so enumerates, as to shew that he no where had rest.  But when Holy Church is ‘compassed with the scourges’ of her tribulation, all the weak in her are brought down in the fall of littleness of mind, so that they now suppose themselves disregarded, in proportion as they see that they are the more slowly heard with effect.  And it is rightly added yet further likewise in a figure of them by the voice of the holy man,

Ver. 7.  Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard; I cry aloud, but there is no one to Judge.




40.  Almighty God, knowing what has in it efficacy to prove our good, shuts His ears to hear the voice of persons mourning, that He may add to their advantage, that their life may be purified by punishment, that the tranquillity of rest which can no where be found here, may be sought for elsewhere.  But there are some of the faithful even that know nothing of this grace of Providential ordering, in whose person too it is now said; Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard; I cry aloud, but there is no one to judge; for it is said, ‘there is no one to judge,’ when He veils His eyes to judge, in that beside Him ‘there is not any to judge’ our cause against our adversary.  Nor yet is this very thing void of judgment, viz. that judgment is delayed; seeing that at the very time that blessed Job said this, both the merits of the holy man and the punishment of his adversary were increased: so then this very deferring of judgment is the act of a judge.  But what God settles justly within is one thing, and what the soul bruised by scourges without seeks after is another.  Whence he still further adds of that sinking under scourges,

Ver. 8.  He hath fenced up my way, that I cannot pass: and He hath set darkness in my paths.




41.  He saw his ‘way fenced up’ with strokes, when anxiously desiring to pass into a state of security, he was not able to escape the scourges, and whereas he saw himself smitten, and yet did not find in himself a life worthy of such smiting, as it were ‘in the paths’ of the heart he met with ‘the darkness’ of his own ignorance, in that he could not fathom the cause wherefore he was so scourged.  And this is not unfitly applied to the weak members of Holy Church too, when from this which they remember to have done wickedly, they are made backward in good practice as well, and, frightened by their own weakness, do not venture to attempt strong acts of goodness to match them.  For they fear to begin great acts of goodness, who call to mind that they are infirm in their ways; and whereas they very often do not know the very good, which they should choose, they, as it were, shrink from the ‘darkness placed in their paths.’  For the mind often becomes so doubtful of its own doings, as not to know at all which is the virtue and which the fault.  Thus he ‘finds darkness in his path,’ who in those things which he desires to do, is ignorant what he ought to choose.  Therefore seeing that there is sin often from infirmity, and sometimes from ignorance, it is said in the person of the members that go weakly, He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass.  While in the person of those who see not clear as to the very good work itself which they should choose, it is added; and He hath set darkness in my paths.  For it is punishment of sin, to see the good which we ought to do, and yet not to have the power to fulfil it; and again it is in still worse punishment of sin, not even to see what we ought to do; and hence against both of these it is said by the voice of the Psalmist, The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom then shall I fear? [Ps. 27, 1]  For against the darkness of ignorance the Lord is a ‘Light;’ against weakness ‘Salvation,’ whilst He both shews what ought to be desired for the doing it, and supplies the powers, that what He shews may be fulfilled.  It goes on;

Ver. 9.  He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.


[xxxv]                              [ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION]


42.  That all this suits the person of the blessed man set in the midst of tribulation, there can be no doubt; but, since the words of the historical account are plain, they do not require explaining after the letter, therefore they have to be traced out in their mystical senses.  Thus he says, He hath stripped me of my glory.  For the glory of each individual is his righteousness.  Now just as a garment protects from the cold, so does righteousness defend from death; hence righteousness is not improperly likened to a garment, where it is said by the Prophet; Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness. [Ps. 132, 9]  But seeing that in the season of her tribulation this garment of righteousness, which covers her in the sight of God, is lost to Holy Church in her members that go weakly, let it be rightly said; He hath stripped me of my glory, i.e. righteousness has been taken away from the weak, whereas it could never possibly have been taken away from them, if it had been infixed in them from the ground of the heart, but for this reason it was possible to be taken away from them, because it was attached to them outwardly, like a garment.  Wherein the question offers itself, how they could be called members of Holy Church, who were capable of losing the righteousness which they seemed to maintain.  But it is necessary for us to know, that very often righteousness is lost for a while by her weakly members, but when they are afterwards brought back to penitence in the acknowledgment of their fault, they attach themselves to that very righteousness which they had lost more strongly than was supposed credible.  And it is yet further added thereby, and taken the crown from my head.  As the head is the first part of the body, so the leading part of the interior man is the mind.  Now the crown is the reward of victory, which is set from Above, in order that he that has contended should be rewarded; and so because many persons, under the pressure of adversities, do not hold out in the contest, in these Holy Church as it were ‘loses a crown from her head:’ for ‘a crown on the head’ is the reward from Above in the mind; there are a great many who whilst they are pressed with adversities, neglect to take thought of the rewards above, and cannot reach to the completion of victory; in such, then, ‘the crown is taken from the head,’ in that the heavenly and spiritual reward is taken away from the aim of the mind, that they should henceforth go after the externally peaceful, nor look out for the eternal rewards, which they used to have at heart.


43.  Or otherwise, ‘the head’ of the faithful is not inappropriately taken to mean the priests, in that they are the first part of the Lord’s members; and hence it is expressed by the Prophet, that ‘the head and the tail’ are rooted out, in which same place both by the title of the ‘head’ we have the priests denoted, and by the designation of the ‘tail’ the reprobate prophet.  Therefore ‘the crown is taken from the head,’ when even they abandon the heavenly rewards, who seemed to have the lead in this body of the Church; and it generally happens that, when the leaders fall, the army, that followed, is the wider worsted; and hence directly after the ills to the greater ones, going on about the manifold undoing of the Church, he added;

Ver. 10.  He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone; and He hath removed mine hope like as with a tree torn away.




44.  The Church is, as it were, ‘destroyed on every side,’ and undone in her weak members, when those very ones that seemed strong, are brought to ruin; when ‘the crown is taken away from the head,’ i.e. when the rewards of eternity are neglected even by those set at the head; and it is well added concerning weak ones falling, And mine hope hath He removed like as with a tree torn away; for a tree is pushed by the wind that it falls, and with him whom threats so terrify, as to make him go headlong into unrighteousness, what else is it, but that a tree met with a blast of the wind, and lost the standing of its uprightness?  For he has, as it were, lost hope by the wind, who, subdued by the threats and persuasions of the wicked, has parted with those eternal rewards, which he looked forward to; and because it very often happens that a person, from fear of punishment, gives over righteousness, it is brought to pass by God’s decreeing it, that even in giving up righteousness he does not get quit of the punishments, which he was afraid of, and that he who did not fear at all the destruction of the soul, meets even with the ills of the flesh, which he apprehended.  Hence it is yet further added;

Ver. 11.  He hath also kindled His wrath against me, and He counteth me unto Him as one of His enemies.




45.  For we have, been taught by the excellent Preacher attesting it, that ‘God is faithful, Who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it.’ [1 Cor. 10, 13]  Moreover the Lord says by the Prophet, For I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with a cruel chastisement. [Jer. 30, 14]  He then that is so stricken that his powers are overcome by that striking, the Lord no longer now smites him as a son in the course of discipline, but as an enemy in indignation.  Thus when the strokes exceed the power of our patience, it is very much to be feared, lest, our sins demanding it, we are now no longer stricken as sons by a Father, but as enemies by the Lord; and whereas it very often comes to pass that evil spirits too press home many things to the hearts of the afflicted, and amidst the scourges which strike them outwardly, infuse bad thoughts into their hearts, after the wrath of the Lord it is rightly added;

Ver. 12.  His robbers come together, and make themselves a way through me.




46.  For ‘his robbers’ are evil spirits, who busy themselves in hunting out the deaths of men; and these ‘make themselves a way’ in the hearts of the afflicted, when, amidst the adversities that are undergone outwardly, they do not cease to infuse bad thoughts likewise; of whom it is yet further added;

And encamp round about my tabernacle.




For they ‘encamp round about our tabernacle,’ when they encircle the mind on every side with their temptings; which by most wicked prompting they persuade one while to mourn for things temporal, at another time to despair of things eternal, now to go headlong into impatience, and to cast words of blasphemy against God.  Yet these words, as we have already said before, agree with blessed Job even taken historically; who, whilst he heaped before his eyes the ills he was enduring, judged himself to be not like a son that must be corrected, but as an enemy stricken with affliction.  Through whom even ‘His robbers made themselves a way,’ in that the evil spirits obtained against him the leave to smite.  ‘Round about whose tabernacle they encamped,’ in that after his substance and his children were taken away, they bruised his whole body too with wounds.  But it is very extraordinary, why, when he spoke of the ‘robbers,’ he added His, clearly with a view to shew that these same robbers belonged to God; on which point, if we make a distinction between the power and the will of evil spirits, it is made evident, why they are called ‘God’s robbers;’ for evil spirits incessantly pant to do us mischief; but while they have a bad will derived from themselves, they have not the power of doing mischief, except the Supreme Will vouchsafes them permission; and while of themselves indeed they long to hurt us unjustly, yet by Almighty God they are not suffered to hurt anyone saving justly; and so whereas the will is unjust in them and the power just, they are at once called ‘robbers,’ and ‘God’s robbers,’ that it should come from themselves, that they aim to bring down evil things unjustly, and from God that the things so desired they do not consummate saving justly; but because, as we have often said already, the holy man set in the midst of the pain of punishment, one while speaks in his own accents, at another time in the accents of the Church, at another time of our Redeemer, and very frequently so describes his own circumstances, that in a figure he delivers those that belong to the Holy Church and to our Redeemer, concern for historical fact being for a little space put aside, let us shew in these things, which he subjoins, how he accords with the accents of our Redeemer, It goes on;

Ver. 13, 14.  He hath put my brethren far from me; and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.  My kinsfolk, have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.


[xxxix]                             [ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION]


47.  We shall shew this the better, if we bring forward the testimony of John, who says, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not [John 1, 11]; for His ‘brethren were put far from Him,’ and His ‘acquaintance were estranged’ from Him, Whom the Hebrews that held the Law were taught to prophesy, and never knew to acknowledge when present; whence it is rightly said: My kinsfolk have failed me, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.  For the Jews; ‘kinsfolk’ in the flesh, ‘acquaintance’ by the teaching of the Law, as it were forgot Him, Whom they had foretold, in that Him they both sung of in the words of the Law, as destined to be made Incarnate, and when made Incarnate denied Him by the words of unbelief.  It proceeds;

Ver. 15.  They that dwell in my house, and my maids, count me for a stranger.




48.  The inmates of God’s house were the Priests, whose race [origo] once set apart in the service of God, was henceforth by office continued in that state.  But the ‘maids’ are not improperly taken for the souls of the Levites, servants to the hidden parts of the tabernacle as it were by a more familiar service to the interior of the bedchamber.  Therefore let him say of the Priests, serving with sedulous care, let him say of the Levites attending on the interior of the house of God.  They that dwell in my house, and my maids, have counted me for a stranger; in that the Incarnate Lord, Whom they had for long foretold in the words of the Law, they refused to acknowledge and to reverence.  And he yet more plainly shews that He was not known by their wicked will, when he adds;

And I was as it were an alien in their sight.




49.  For our Redeemer whereas He was not recognised by the Synagogue, was rendered ‘as it were an alien’ in His own house, Which the Prophet plainly witnesses, saying, Wherefore shalt thou be as a settler in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry? [Jer. 14, 8]  For whereas He was not heard as the Lord, He was taken not as the owner but for ‘a settler of the land;’ and He only ‘turned aside to tarry as a wayfaring man,’ in that He carried off but few out of Judaea, and going on to the calling of the Gentiles finished the journey He had begun; and so ‘He was an alien’ in their sight, in that while they thought only of the things they could see, they were unable to perceive in the Lord the things they could not see; for whilst they contemn the flesh that was to be seen, they never reached to the unseen Majesty; therefore let it be rightly said; And I was as it were an alien in their sight.  Concerning which people it is yet further fitly added;

Ver. 16.  I called my servant, and he gave me no answer.




50.  For what was the Jewish people but a ‘servant,’ which never obeyed the Lord with the love of a son, but the fear of a slave?  Contrariwise it is said to us by Paul, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. [Rom. 8, 15]  And so this ‘servant’ the Lord ‘called,’ in that by benefits vouchsafed, as by voices given out, He strove to bring it to Himself; but it ‘answered not,’ in that it was indifferent to render back deeds corresponding to His gifts.  For God ‘calls’ us, when He presents us with His gifts; and we ‘answer’ to this calling, when we serve Him worthily according to the benefits we have been vouchsafed; therefore because He prevented the people with so many benefits, let him say, I called my servant, and because even after such numberless benefits, it contemned Him, let him add; and he gave me no answer.  It goes on;

I entreated him with my own mouth.




51.  As though he said more plainly; ‘I, the Same that before My Incarnation had given it in charge so many precepts to be practised, by the mouths of the Prophets, coming to it Incarnate, entreated it with my own mouth.’  And hence Matthew, when he was telling of precepts being delivered by Him on the Mount, says, And He opened His mouth, and taught. [Matt. 5, 2]  As if he said in plain speech; ‘Then He opened His own mouth, Who before had opened the mouths of the Prophets;’ it is hence too that it is said of Him by the Spouse longing for His presence, Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth [Cant. 1, 2]; since for all the precepts which she learnt by His preaching, Holy Church, as it were, received so many ‘kisses of his mouth.’  Now it is well said, I entreated; in that being exhibited in the flesh, whilst He spoke the precepts of life with humility, He, as it were, besought His servant filled with pride that he would come; and hence it is fitly added;

My wife shuddered at my breath.




52.  What does the ‘wife’ of the Lord mean save the Synagogue, subject to Him in the Covenant of the Law with a carnal perception?  Now the breath is from the flesh, and the unbelieving people understood the incarnation of the Lord in a carnal manner; in that it took Him for mere man; and so His ‘wife shuddered at His breath,’ in that the Synagogue was afraid to take Him for God, Whom it saw to be man; and when it heard the words from His mouth by bodily utterance, it refused to perceive in Him the mysteries of the Divine Nature, and would not believe Him to be Creator, Whom it saw to be created; and so the carnal ‘wife shuddered at the breath’ of the carnal body, in that being given over to carnal senses, it did not take knowledge of the mystery of the Incarnation.  It goes on;

I entreated the children of mine own womb.




53.  In God, Who is not circumscribed by the figure of a body, the members of the body, i.e. the hand, the eye, the womb, are named in such a way, that by the designation of the members, the effects of His Power are represented.  As He is said to have eyes, in that He sees all things; He is described as having hands, in that He works all things.  Now in the womb the offspring is conceived, which is brought forth in this life; what then are we to take the ‘womb’ of God for, but His counsel, wherein before time we were conceived by predestination, that being created in time we might be brought into the world?  And so God, Who abides before time, ‘besought the children of His womb;’ in that those, whom He created with power by His Divine nature, coming Incarnate He besought with humility; but because in that same flesh, wherein He appeared, He was contemned in their estimation, it is subjoined;

Ver. 18.  The foolish too despised me.




54.  The wise falling away from faith in the truth, there is an addition rightly made concerning ‘fools’ as well; in that when the Pharisees and the Lawyers despised the Lord, the rabble of the people too followed the example of their incredulousness, which herein, that it saw Him a man, slighted the announcements of the Redeemer of the world.  For often by the title of fools, are denoted those who are poor among the common people; whence too it is said by Jeremiah, Therefore I said, perchance these are poor, and foolish ones, that know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. [Jer. 5, 4]  But leaving the rich and wise of the world, our Redeemer came to seek the poor and foolish, whence it is now said, as if for the heightening of grief, The foolish despised me.  As if it were expressed in plain speech; ‘Even those very persons despised Me, for whose healing I took to Me the foolishness of preaching.’  As it is written, For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. [1 Cor. 1, 21]  For the ‘Word’ is ‘the Wisdom of God,’ but ‘the foolishness’ of this ‘Wisdom,’ the Flesh of the Word is called; that whereas the carnal severally could not by craft of the flesh attain to the wisdom of God, by the foolishness of preaching, i.e. by the incarnation of the Word, they might be healed.  Therefore he says, The foolish too despised me.  As if it were expressed in plain words; ‘Even by those very persons I was despised, for whose sake I was not afraid to be counted foolish.’  And whereas the Jewish multitude, when it saw the miracles of our Redeemer, honoured Him for His miracles, saying, This is the Christ [John 7, 41.  12.]; but when it beheld the infirmities of His human nature, it disdained to account Him the Creator, saying, Nay, but He deceiveth the people; it is rightly subjoined;

And when I departed from them, they spake against me.




55.  For the Lord as it were drew near to the hearts of people, when He displayed miracles to them; and He as it were ‘departed from them,’ when He shewed them no signs; but they spake against the Lord so ‘departing,’ when they refused to yield their faith to Him thus resting from miracles; but what wonder that He met with such treatment from the common folk, when those very persons, who appeared to be teachers of the Law, who gave it out that He was to be made Incarnate in the words of Prophecy, both beheld Him made Incarnate, and yet were parted from Him by the disjoining of unbelief?  Concerning whom it is added;

Ver. 19.  They that were once my counsellors abhorred me, and he whom I loved most turned away from me.




56.  It is plain to all people, that God does not stand in need of counsellors, Who to man’s very counsellors themselves too vouchsafes the counsel of wisdom.  Of whom moreover it is written, Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor? [Hom. xi. 34.  from Is. 40, 13] but as when bread or clothing is bestowed on one that lacks them, the Lord bears witness that He Himself has received them; so when right counsel is given to one that is ignorant of it, He Himself receives it, of Whom that man is a member, who is so instructed; for all we, that are of the number of the faithful, are members of our Redeemer; and as He Himself is fed in our persons by the pitying of liberality, so He is Himself aided in our persons by the counselling of instruction; and so the scribes and doctors of the Law Who used to instruct the people with respect to life, what else were they but ‘counsellors’ of the Redeemer, Who was to come?  Who, nevertheless, when they beheld the Lord become Incarnate, separated numbers from faith in Him by their counsels, though before they had seemed to teach numbers by the words of the Prophets to believe the mystery of His Incarnation; and because with God he is more in His love, who draws the greatest number to the love of Him, it is further added of that same order of the doctors of the Law and the Pharisees; and he whom I loved most, turned away from me.  For that very order, through the prompting of unbelief was turned aside from faith in the truth, which before, while serving in the labours of preaching, was most beloved, which same not only to the extent of not believing the Lord, but even of persecuting Him as well, the rabble of the common people followed, and was kindled with the firebrands of cruelty to the very deed of His Passion; in which very Passion too the hearts of the disciples were troubled; whence also it is here added;

Ver. 20.  My bone cleaveth to my skin, through my flesh being wasted.




57.  By ‘bone’ we have strength, and by flesh weakness of the body denoted; therefore, whereas Christ and the Church are one person, what is signified by the ‘bone’ but the Lord Himself?  what by the ‘flesh’ save the disciples, who in the hour of His Passion were weakly disposed?  but by the ‘skin,’ which in the body remains more outward than the flesh, what is represented but those holy women, who with the view to furnish the stays of the body, served the Lord by outward offices of ministration?  for when His disciples, though not yet firm, were preaching faith to the people, the flesh kept close to its bone; and when the holy women prepared the outward things that were necessary, they as it were like ‘a skin’ remained on the body outwards; but when it came to the hour of the Cross, exceeding great fear, caused by the persecution of the Jews, took possession of His disciples: they severally fled, the women ‘stuck close,’ and so, the ‘flesh,’ as it were, ‘being consumed,’ ‘the bone of the Lord clave to its skin,’ in that His strength, when the disciples fled in the hour of the Passion, had the women close beside it.  Peter indeed stood for some time, but yet afterwards being affrighted he denied Him.  John too stood, to whom at the very time of the Cross it was said, Behold thy mother. [John 19, 27]  But he could not persevere; since it is also written concerning him [a], And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body, and the young men laid hold of him.  And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked; [Mark 14, 51.  52.] who although afterwards, to hear the words of his Redeemer, he returned at the hour of the Cross, yet first he was affrighted and fled; but the women are related not only not to have been afraid nor to have fled, but even to have stood fast even to the sepulchre; and so let him say, My bone cleaveth to my skin, through the flesh being wasted; i.e. ‘they that ought to have attached themselves closer to My strength, in the season of My Passion were consumed with dread; and those whom I set to external ministrations, in My Passion I found attached themselves faithfully to Me without fear.’  And here it is plainly implied that these words are delivered in mystery, in that it follows;

And the lips only are left about my teeth.




58.  For what do we have ‘about our teeth,’ but ‘lips,’ even if we suffer no scourges of affliction?  but what is signified by ‘the lips’ but talk, what by ‘teeth’ but the holy Apostles?  who are with this intention set in this body of the Church, that they may bite at the life of the carnal by correction, and break it in pieces from the hardness of its obstinacy; and hence it is said to that first of the Apostles, as being set, as a tooth in His Body, Kill, and eat. [Acts 10, 13]  But because, at the time of His Passion, these ‘teeth’ from fear of death lost the biting of correction, lost the assurance of strength, lost the efficiency of practice of every sort, so that two of them as they walked, after His death and resurrection, talked by the way and said, But we trusted that it should have been he which should have redeemed Israel; [Luke 24, 21] it is rightly said here, And the lips only are left about my teeth.  They were still conversing about Him, but now they no longer at all believed in Him; and so ‘the lips only remained about His teeth,’ in that they had parted with the efficiency of good practice, and only retained words of converse about Him.  They had lost the bite of correction, and possessed the mooting of speech.  Therefore, ‘the lips only were left about the teeth,’ in that to talk about Him indeed they knew still, but to preach Him now, or to bite the bad ways of unbelievers, they were afraid.  Therefore these particulars being finished, which he spoke in the voice of the Head, blessed Job is brought back to his own words, saying;

Ver. 21.  Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.


[li]                                      [HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION]


59.  The mind of godly men is used to have this peculiar to itself, that when it suffers unjust treatment at the hands of enemies, it is not so much moved to wrath as to prayer; that if the wickedness of those persons could be made to subside to a calm, they would choose rather to beseech than to be wroth; whence it is rightly said in this place, Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.  Observe, those by whom he sees that he is ever being treated with insults, he calls ‘friends,’ in that to godly minds the very things that seem contrary are made favourable; for any that are wicked are either converted by the sweetness of the good so as to turn back, and by this alone they are friends, viz. that they are made good, or they persevere in their wickedness, and herein also even against their will they are ‘friends,’ in that, if there be any transgressions of the good, by their persecutions they purge them away even unknowingly.  Observe too, that with these things which are done with God in secret, the words of the blessed man openly spoken are quite of a piece.  Thus he had been smitten by Satan, yet he did not ascribe his being smitten to Satan, but he calls himself ‘touched by the hand of God,’ as Satan himself too had said; But put forth thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and see if he bless Thee not to Thy face. [c. 2, 5]  For the holy man knew that in that very thing which Satan had done towards him with an evil will, he derived his power not from himself, but from the Lord.  It goes on;

Ver. 22.  Why do ye persecute me as God; and are filled with my flesh?




60.  It is not at variance with the style of piety that he tells that he is persecuted by God.  For there is a good persecutor; as when the Lord says of Himself by the lips of the Prophet, Him that privily slandereth his neighbour, him did I persecute. [Ps. 101, 5]  But when any Saint is suffered to be stricken, he knows that he is undergoing persecution, sent against evil he has been guilty of, from the interior ordering.  Now the savage minds of the persecutors, when they desire the power to smite, are inflamed against the life of the good not with the ardour of purifying, but with the firebrands of envy; and they do that indeed, which Almighty God allows to be done; in that while there is one cause with God transacted too by their agency, yet there is not one will maintained in that cause, since whilst Almighty God, in loving, is enforcing purification, the wickedness of the unjust is exercising malice in raging.  This then that is said, Why do ye persecute me as God? he spoke with reference to the external smiting, not to the interior intention, in that though they execute that externally which God ordained to be done, yet in their doing it they do not seek that which God does, viz. that good men should be purified by means of affliction.  Which too may likewise be understood in another sense also.  For Almighty God chastens the evil qualities of others so much the more justly in proportion as He has no whit of evil qualities in Himself; but men when they strike others in the course of discipline, ought so to chasten the frailty of another, that they should at the same time have learnt the habit to recall their eyes to their own frailty, so as to consider from themselves how they ought to spare in smiting others, seeing that they are not unaware that they themselves too are worthy of stripes.  And so it is said in this case, Why do ye persecute me as God?  As if it were expressed in plain words; ‘Ye do so afflict me on the grounds of my frailties, as if ye yourselves after the manner of God owned nought of infirmity:’ whence it is to be considered, that if perchance there be persons that need sharpness of correction, hard correction is then to be used to them by us, when the hand of God ceases from using the rod; but when strokes from above are upon them, from us there is now due no longer correction but consolation, lest, while in their grief we join our reproach, we put smiting to smiting.


61.  Now it is well added, And are filled with my flesh?  The mind which hungers for the punishing of a neighbour, surely seeks to be ‘filled with the flesh’ of another.  Moreover it is necessary to be known, that those also who feed on the slander of another’s life, are as surely ‘filled with the flesh’ of another.  Whence it is said by Solomon; Be not in the feastings of winebibbers; nor eat with those, who bring together flesh to eat. [Prov. 23, 20]  For to ‘bring together flesh to eat,’ is, in the parlance of disparagement to tell by turns the bad qualities of neighbours; concerning whose punishment it is directly added there, they that are given to cups, and that give a contribution, shall be consumed, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.  They are ‘given to cups’ who make themselves drunk [se debriant] with slander of another’s life; but to ‘give a contribution [symbolum],’ is in the same way that each individual is used to contribute provisions for his share to be eaten, so in the parlance of slander to contribute words.  But ‘they that are given to cups and that give a contribution shall be consumed,’ in that as it is written, Every slanderer shall be rooted out [Ben. Ed. refers to Prov. 15, 5 perhaps Ps. 101, 5]; but ‘drowsiness shall cover a man with rags,’ in that his death finds him an object of contempt and empty of all good works, whom the sickly habit [languor] of detraction took possession of here for the raking out the misdemeanours of another man’s life.  But all those hardships which blessed Job undergoes it is not meet should be let pass in silence, and that the obscurity of ignorance should cover them from man’s knowledge; for so many may be edified for the preserving of patience, as they who, by grace from above replenishing them, may be made acquainted with the achievements of his patience.  And hence the same blessed Job would have the strokes which he feels carried into an example, in that he immediately adds, saying;

Ver. 23, 24.  O that my words were now written!  O that they were graven in a book with an iron pen, and a plate of lead, or surely that they were hewed in the flint!


[liii]                                 [ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION]


62.  Whereas all that blessed Job underwent, that heavy Jewish people, being instructed by the strong declaration of the Fathers, was brought to know, they were written with ‘an iron pen’ and ‘a plate of lead;’ but whereas the hard hearts of the Gentiles also were made acquainted with them, what is this but that we see them ‘hewn in the flint?’  And observe, that what is written on lead, by the mere softness of the metal, is quickly obliterated; but upon the flint letters may be more slowly stamped indeed, but more hardly obliterated.  Therefore it is not unsuitably that by ‘the plate of lead’ Judaea is represented, which at once received the precepts of God without labour, and lost them with speed; and rightly by ‘the flint’ the Gentile world is represented, which could with difficulty receive the words of sacred revelation to keep, but kept them when received fixedly.  Now by the ‘iron pen’ what else is denoted save the strong sentence of God?  Whence too it is said by the Prophet, The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron on a diamond nail [ungue]. [Jer. 17, 1]  The end of the body is in the nail, and a diamond is so hard a stone, that it cannot be cut with iron.  Now by ‘an iron pen’ there is denoted a strong sentence, but by a ‘diamond nail’ the eternal end; so the sin of Judah is said to be written with a ‘pen of iron upon a diamond nail,’ in that the guilt of the Jews is reserved by the strong sentence of God for an end that is endless.


63.  Rightly too by ‘a plate of lead’ we understand those, whom the load of avarice weighs down, to whom it is said by the Prophet with upbraiding, O ye sons of men, how long heavy in heart!  For by lead, the nature whereof is of a heavy weight, the sin of avarice is in a special manner denoted, which renders the mind it has infected so heavy, that it call never be raised to aim at things on high.  Hence it is written in Zechariah, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forthAnd I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah [Lat.  amphora] that goeth forth.  He said moreover, This is their eye throughout all the earth.  And behold there was lifted up a talent of lead, and, lo, one woman sitting in the midst of the ephah.  And he said, This is wickedness; and he cast her into the midst of the ephah, and he cast the weight of lead on her face [or into the mouth thereof]. [Zech. 5, 5-8]  And with reference to this vision of ‘the ephah,’ and ‘the woman,’ and ‘the lead,’ that he might shew more fully what he had been made to know, he yet further added going on, Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and behold there came out two women, and a spirit was in their wings, for they had wings like the wings of a kite, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.  Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?  And he said, To build it an house in the land of Shinar. [v. 9-11]  Which testimony of the Prophet we have brought forward as a proof of the lead to no purpose, if we do not also explain it going over it again.  Thus he says, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth; and I said, What is this?  And he said, It is an ephah that goeth forth.  God desiring to shew to the Prophet, by what sin above all others the human race fell away from Him, by the figure of an ephah as it were denoted the wide-opened mouth of avarice.  For avarice is like an ephah, in that it keeps the mouth of the heart open and agape on the stretch [in ambitu].  And he said, This is their eye through all the world.  We see many men of dull sense, and yet we see them sharp in bad practices, as the Prophet too testifies, who saith, They are wise to do evil; but to do good they have no knowledge. [Jer. 4, 22]  And so these are dull in sense, but in those things which they desire, they are urged on by the goads of avarice; and they that are blind to see good, under the incitements of rewards are quick-eyed to the doing evil things.  Hence it is rightly said of this same avarice, This is their eye in all the world.  And behold there was lifted up a talent of lead.  What is ‘a talent of lead’ but the weight of sin from that very avarice.  And, lo, one woman sitting in the midst of the ephah.  Which same woman, lest perchance we should doubt who she was, the Angel thereupon made known; for it follows there immediately, And he said, This is impiety; and he cast her into the midst of the ephah.  Impiety is ‘cast into the midst of the ephah,’ in that in avarice there is always impiety taken in.  And he cast the weight of lead on her face.  The mass of lead is cast on the woman’s face, in that the impiety of avarice is borne down by the very weight of its own sin; for if it did not reach after things that are below, it would never prove impious towards God and our neighbour.


64.  Then, lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and behold there came out two women and a spirit was in their wings.  What do we understand by these ‘two women’ but the two principal vices, i.e. pride and vain glory, which are without any doubt united to impiety?  Which two are described as having ‘a spirit in their wings;’ in that they are subservient to the will of Satan in their actions; for the Prophet calls that one ‘a spirit,’ concerning whom Solomon saith, If the spirit if him that hath power rise above thee, leave not thy place; [Eccles. 10, 4] and of whom the Lord saith in the Gospel; When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places. [Mat. 12, 43]  ‘A spirit is in their wings,’ in that in whatsoever they do, pride and vain glory render obedience to the will of Satan.  And they had wings like the wings of a kite.  Now the kite is always busied in plotting against the chicken kind.  So these women have ‘wings like the wings of a kite,’ in that surely their doings are like the devil, who is always plotting against the life of the little ones.  And they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.  Pride and vain glory have this peculiar to them, that whosoever is infected by them, they lift up in his own conceit above the rest of his fellow creatures: at one time by pursuit of the gifts of fortune, at another time by the desire of dignities, the man whom they have once gotten captive, they, as it were, lift up into the height of honour.  And he that is between the earth and the heaven, at once leaves things below, and fails altogether to attain the things on high.


65.  These women, then, ‘lift up the ephah between the earth and the heaven,’ in that pride and vain glory so exalt the mind taken captive through greediness of honour, that looking down upon all their neighbours, men do, as it were, leave things below, and in proud boasting seek high things.  But all such persons, while they give themselves up to pride, at once in imagination mount above those, with whom they are placed, and are far from ever being united to the citizens above.  Thus the ephah is said to be ‘lifted up between earth and heaven,’ in that all covetous persons through pride and vain glory at once despise their neighbours at their side, and never lay hold of the things above, which are beyond them; and so they are carried ‘between the earth and the heaven,’ in that they neither keep equality of brotherhood in this lower world by charity, nor yet are able to attain the world above by setting themselves up.  And I said to the Angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?  and he said, To build it an house in the land of Shinar.  That same ephah has a ‘house built it in the land of Shinar,’ for ‘Shinar’ is rendered ‘their ill savour;’ and as there is a sweet savour from virtue, as Paul bears witness, who saith; and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place; For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ; [2 Cor. 2, 14] so reversely there is an ill savour from vice.  For covetousness is the root of all evil. [1 Tim. 6, 10]  And whereas every thing evil is engendered by avarice, it is meet that the house of avarice should be erected in ‘ill savour.’  Moreover it is necessary to be known that ‘Shinar’ is a very wide valley, wherein the tower was begun to be built by men giving themselves to pride, which, when the diversity of tongues was brought to pass, came to destruction; which same tower was called Babylon, forsooth on account of that very confusion of minds and tongues: nor is it inappropriately that the ‘ephah’ of avarice is placed there, where ‘Babylon,’ i.e. ‘confusion,’ is building, in that whereas it is certain that from avarice and impiety all things bad have their origin, this same avarice and impiety are rightly described as dwelling in confusion.


66.  We have said these things in few words out of course, that we might shew that the weight of sin is set forth by the ‘plate of lead.’  Yet these very words of blessed Job are also applicable to Holy Church, who while keeping the two testaments of sacred revelation, as it were begs a second time that her words should be written, saying, Oh! that my words were now written!  Oh! that they were printed in a book!  Which same, in that she speaks with a strong sentence at one time to hearts heavy from the weight of avarice, at another time to hardened hearts, ‘writes with a pen of iron upon a plate of lead,’ or, surely, ‘upon the flint.’  Now we say with justice that blessed Job uses the accents of our Redeemer and His Church, if we find any thing that he says explicitly of that same Redeemer of us men; for how is it to be believed that he teaches us any thing connected with Him in a figure, if he does not point Him out to us in express words?  But now let him disclose to us what he is sensible of concerning Him, and let him take away from us all misgivings in our thoughts.  It goes on;

Ver. 25.  For I know that my Redeemer liveth.




67.  For he who does not say, ‘Creator,’ but ‘Redeemer,’ expressly tells of Him, Who after He created all things, appeared Incarnate amongst us, that He might redeem us from a state of bondage, and by His Passion set us free from death everlasting; and mark with what sure faith he makes himself secure in the power of His Divine Nature, of Whom it is said by Paul, For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. [2 Cor. 13, 4]  For he says, For I know that my Redeemer liveth.  As if he said in express terms; ‘The unbelievers may know that He was scourged, mocked, struck with the palms of the hand, covered with a crown of thorns, besmeared with spittings, crucified, dead: I, with sure faith, believe Him to live after death; I confess with unreserved voice, ‘that my Redeemer liveth,’ Who died by the hands of wicked men.’  And how, O blessed Job, through His Resurrection, thou trustest to the resurrection of thine own flesh, declare, I pray, in open speech.  It goes on;

And that I shall rise at the last day from the earth.




68.  That is, because the resurrection which He manifested in His own Person, He will one day bring to pass in ourselves as well; for the resurrection, which He exhibited in Himself, He pledged to us; seeing that the members follow the glory of their Head.  Thus our Redeemer underwent death, that we might not fear to die; He manifested the resurrection, that we might have a sure hope that we are capable of rising again.  And hence He would not have that death to be of more than three days’ duration, lest if the resurrection were deferred in Him, it should be altogether despaired of in ourselves; and this is rightly said of Him by the Prophet; He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head. [Ps. 110, 7]  For He in a manner condescended to drink of that current as it were of our suffering, not in an abiding place, but ‘in the way,’ in that He met death in a transitory way, i.e. for three days, and in that death which He met He did not, like ourselves, remain unto the end of the world.  And so, whereas He rose again on the third day, what then is to come after in His body, i.e. in the Church, He makes appear; for He shewed in example, what He promised in reward, that as believers knew and owned that He had Himself risen again, so they might hope for the rewards of the resurrection in themselves at the end of the world.  Lo, we, through the death of the flesh, remain in the dust until the end of the world, but He on the third day budded into life from the dryness of death, that by the very renewal of His flesh by itself He might shew the power of His Divine Nature.  Which is well shewn in Moses by the twelve rods placed in the Tabernacle: for when the priesthood of Aaron, who was of the tribe of Levi, was despised, ‘and the tribe was not accounted worthy to offer up burnt-offerings, twelve rods according to the twelve tribes were ordered to be put in the Tabernacle, and, lo, the rod of Levi budded, and shewed what efficacy Aaron had in the office. [Num. 17, 8]  By which same sign what is conveyed, but that all we who lie in the arms of death until the very end of the world, remain like the rest of the rods in a state of barrenness?  But when all the rods remained in a state of dryness, the rod of Levi returned to flowering, in that the body of our Lord, i.e. our true Priest, being set in the dryness of death, burst into the flower of the Resurrection.  By which same flowering Aaron is rightly known to be the Priest, in that by this glory of the Resurrection our Redeemer, Who sprung from the tribe of Judah and Levi [Luke 1; 5, 36], is shewn to be an Intercessor in our behalf.  And so, lo! the rod of Aaron buds now after dryness, but the rods of the twelve tribes remain in a dry state, in that already indeed the body of the Lord lives after death, but our bodies are kept back from the glory of the resurrection until the end of the world.  Whence he carefully introduced this same delay, by saying, And that I shall rise at the last [novissimo] day from the earth.


69.  Therefore we have a hope of our own resurrection, by considering the glory of our Head.  But lest anyone say perhaps merely in the secret thought of his heart, that it was in this way that He rose again from the dead, viz. that being God and Man in one and the same Person, the death, which He underwent in His Human Nature, He overcame by His Divine Nature, while we, who are mere men, are not able to rise from the curse of death; it happened rightly that, in the season of His resurrection, the bodies of many of the Saints arose at the same time, that both in Himself He might shew us an example, and by the resurrection of others who were like to ourselves in respect of a mere human nature, He might give us a sure confirmation, that whereas man despaired of his obtaining what He that was God and Man had exhibited in His own Person, he might presume that that was capable of being brought to pass in his own case, which he knew to have been brought about in the case of those very persons, who he doubted not were but simple human beings.


70.  But there are some who, observing that the spirit is parted from the flesh, that the flesh is turned into corruption, that its corruption is reduced to dust, that this dust is so dissolved into elementary parts that it is incapable of being seen by the eyes of man, despair of the possibility of the resurrection being brought to pass, and whilst they gaze on the dry bones, they distrust its being possible for these to be clothed with flesh, and again flushing into life; which persons, if they do not hold the resurrection of the body on the principle of obedience, ought certainly to hold it on the principle of reason.  For what does the universe every day, but imitate in its elements our resurrection?  Thus by the lapse of the minutes of the day the temporal light itself as it were dies, when, the shade of night coming on, that light which was beheld is withdrawn from sight, and it daily rises again as it were, when the light that was withdrawn from our eyes, upon the night being suppressed is renewed afresh.  For the progress of the seasons too, we see the shrubs lose the greenness of their foliage, and cease from putting forth fruit; and on a sudden as if from dried up wood, by a kind of resurrection coming we see the leaves burst forth, the fruit grow big, and the whole tree clothed with renewed beauty; we unceasingly behold the small seeds of trees committed to the moistness of the ground, wherefrom not long afterwards we behold large trees arise, and bring forth leaves and fruit.  Let us then consider the little seed of any tree whatever, which is thrown into the ground, for a tree to be produced therefrom; and let us take in, if we are capable of it, where in that exceeding littleness of the seed that most enormous tree was buried, which proceeded from it?  where was the wood?  where the bark?  where the verdure of the foliage?  where the abundance of the fruit?  Was there any thing of the kind perceived in the seed, when it was thrown into the ground?  [Comp. S. Chrys. on 1 Thess. 4, 15]  And yet by the secret Artificer of all things ordering all in a wonderful manner, both in the softness of the seed there lay buried the roughness of the bark, and in its tenderness there was hidden the strength of its timber, and in its dryness fertility of productiveness.  What ‘wonder, then, if that finest dust, which to our eyes is resolved into the elements, He, when He is minded, fashioneth again into the human being, Who from the finest seeds resuscitates the largest trees?  And so, seeing that we have been created reasoning beings, we ought to collect the hope of our own resurrection from the mere aspect and contemplation of the objects of nature.  But forasmuch as the faculty of reason was deadened in us, the grace of the Redeemer came in for an example.  For our Creator came, He took death upon Him, He exhibited the Resurrection, in order that we, who would not hold the hope of the Resurrection by reason, might hold it by His succour and example; and so let blessed Job say; I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall rise at the last day from the earth.  And let any one that despairs of the possibility that the power of the Resurrection should be brought to pass in himself, blush at the words of a believing person set in the midst of the Gentile world, and let him reflect with what a weight of punishment he deserves to be stricken, if he still does not believe his own resurrection, who now knows the resurrection of the Lord which has taken place, if even he believed his own, who as yet expected the resurrection of the Lord Jesus to be brought to pass.


71.  But see, I hear of the resurrection, but it is the effect of the resurrection that I am searching out.  For I believe that I shall rise again, but I wish that I might hear what kind of person; since it is a thing I ought to know, whether I shall rise again perhaps in some other subtle or ethereal body, or in that body wherein I shall die.  But if I shall rise again in an ethereal body, it will no longer be myself, who rise again.  For how can that be a true resurrection, if there may not be true flesh?  so that plain reason suggests, that if it shall not be true flesh, assuredly it will not be a true resurrection; for neither can it be rightly termed a resurrection, when it is not what fell that rises again.  But in this too for us, O blessed Job, do thou remove these clouds of misgiving, and whereas through the grace of the Holy Spirit vouchsafed thee thou hast begun to speak to us of the hope of our resurrection, shew in plain words if our flesh shall really rise again.  It follows,

Ver. 26.  And I shall be again encompassed with my skin.




72.  Whereas the ‘skin’ is expressly named, all doubt of a true resurrection is removed; in that our body will not, as Eutychius the Bishop of Constantinople wrote, in that gloriousness of the resurrection be impalpable, and more subtle than the wind and air: for in that gloriousness of the resurrection our body will be subtle indeed by the efficacy of a spiritual power, but palpable by the reality of its nature; whence also our Redeemer, when the disciples doubted of His resurrection, shewed them His hands and feet, and offered His bones and flesh to be touched, saying, Handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have. [Luke 24, 39]  And when, being placed in the city of Constantinople, I brought before Eutychius this testimony of truth from the Gospel, he said, ‘For this reason the Lord did this, that He might take away all doubt of the resurrection from the hearts of the disciples.’  To whom I said; ‘This is a very extraordinary thing that you assert, that doubting should arise to ourselves from the same quarter, whence the hearts of the disciples were cured of doubting.’  For what can be said worse than that that is made doubtful to us relating to His true flesh, whereby His disciples were restored anew to faith from all doubting?  For if He is declared not to have had that, which He manifested; from the same source, from whence the faith of His disciples is confirmed, ours is destroyed.  And he further added, saying, ‘He had that body which He shewed a palpable body; but after the hearts of those that handled it were confirmed, all that in the Lord which was capable of being handled, was reduced into a certain subtle quality.’  To which same I answered, saying; ‘It is written, Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over Him. [Rom. 6, 9]  If then there was aught in the Body which was capable of being altered after His resurrection, contrary to the truly spoken declaration of Paul, the Lord after His resurrection returned into death; and what fool even would venture to say this, save he that denies the true resurrection of His flesh?’  Then he objected to me, saying, ‘Whereas it is written; Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, [1 Cor. 15, 50] by what means is it to be supposed that the flesh truly rises again?’  To whom I say; ‘In Holy Writ flesh is named in one way according to nature, and in another way according to sin or corruption.’  For there is flesh according to nature, as where it is written, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. [Gen. 2, 23]  And, The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. [John 1, 14]  But there is flesh according to sin, as where it is written, My Spirit shall not always abide in those men, for that they are flesh. [Gen. 6, 3] And as the Psalmist saith; For He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. [Ps. 78, 39]  Whence too Paul said to the disciples; But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit. [Rom. 8, 9]  For it was not that these persons were not in the flesh, to whom he was sending letters, but for that they had subdued the motions of carnal passions, henceforth, free through the efficacy of the Spirit, they ‘were not in the flesh.’  Therefore in respect to what Paul says, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, he would have flesh to be understood as applied to sin, not flesh as applied to nature.  Hence directly afterwards that he was speaking of flesh after sin he makes plain, by adding; Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.  Therefore in that glory of the heavenly kingdom there will be flesh according to nature, but not flesh according to the desire of the passions; in that the sting of death being overcome, it will reign in eternal incorruptibility.’


73.  To which words the same Eutychius directly answered that he assented, yet still he denied that the body could rise again a palpable body.  Who in the treatise too which he had written concerning the resurrection, had put in the testimony of the Apostle Paul, when he says; That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain. [1 Cor. 15, 36. 37.]  Being eager to shew this, that the flesh will either be impalpable [Nearly all MSS.  read, ‘palpabilis,’ which, if right, must come under the following negative], or will not be itself identically, seeing that the holy Apostle, when treating of the glory of the resurrection, says that ‘it was not sown the body that it shall be.’  But the answer to this is soon made.  For the Apostle Paul, when he says, Thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, is telling us of what we see; viz. that the grain, which is sown without a stalk or leaves, springs up with a stalk and leaves; so that he, in heightening the glory of the resurrection, did not say that what it was is wanting to it, but that what it was not is present: but this man, whereas he denies the real body to rise again, does not say that what was wanting is there, but that what it was is wanting.


74.  Upon this, then, we being led on in long disputing on this point, we began to recoil from one another with the greatest animosity, when the Emperor Tiberius Constantine, of religious memory, bringing myself and him to a private audience, learnt what dispute was being carried on between us, and weighing the statement of both sides, and by his own allegations as well disproving that same book which he had written concerning the resurrection, determined that it ought to be consumed in the flames.  Upon our leaving whom, I was seized with a grievous sickness, while to that same Eutychius sickness and death shortly followed.  And when he was dead, because there was well nigh no one who followed his statements, I held back from prosecuting what I had commenced, lest I should seem to be darting words at his ashes, but while he was still alive, and I sick of violent fever, I if any of my acquaintance went to him for the sake of greeting him, as I learnt from their relation, he used to take hold on the skin of his hand before their eyes, saying, ‘I confess that we shall all rise again in this flesh;’ which as they themselves avowed he was before wont altogether to deny.


75.  But let us, laying aside these considerations, minutely search out in the words of blessed Job, if there will be a true resurrection, and the true body in that resurrection; for, lo, we are no longer able to doubt of the hope of the resurrection, in that he says, And that I shall rise at the last day from the earth.  Moreover he has removed all doubting of the true renewal of the body, in that he says, And I shall be again encompassed with my skin.  And he still further adds, with the view of removing the misgivings of our thought;

And in my flesh shall I see God.




76.  Mark, he owns the resurrection, ‘the skin,’ ‘the flesh,’ in explicit words.  What is there left then, by which our mind should have occasion to doubt?  If this holy man then before the fact of the Lord’s resurrection, believed in the flesh being destined to be brought back to its entire state, what will be the guilt of our doubting, if the true resurrection of the flesh not even after the proof of our Redeemer obtains credit? For if after the resurrection there will not be a palpable body, surely another person rises again than dies: which is profane to say; viz. to believe that it is I who die, and another that doth rise again [ABCD, ‘another shall rise.’].  Wherefore I entreat thee, blessed Job, add how thou art minded, and remove from us all ground of scruple on this point.  It follows;

Ver. 27.  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.


77.  For if, as certain votaries of false opinions believe, after the resurrection there shall be no palpable body, but the subtle quality of an invisible body shall be called the flesh, though there be no substance of flesh, then surely he that dies is one person, and he that rises again is another.  But blessed Job destroys this assertion for them by a truthtelling voice, in that he says, Whom I shall see for myself; and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.  But we, following the faith that blessed Job held, and truly believing the palpable Body of our Redeemer after His resurrection, confess that our flesh after the resurrection will be at once both the same and different, the same in respect of nature, different in respect of glory, the same in its reality, different in its power.  Thus it will be subtle, in that it will be incorruptible; it will be palpable, in that it will not lose the essence of its very and true nature.  But that same assurance of the resurrection the holy man subjoins with what sure hope he holds it, with what certainty he awaits it.  It goes on;

This my hope is laid up in my bosom.




18.  We suppose that we hold nothing more surely than what we have in our bosom; and so he kept ‘hope laid up in his bosom,’ in that he laid hold beforehand on true certainty concerning the hope of the resurrection.  But whereas he made known that the day of the resurrection would come, he now, whether in his own voice, or in a figure of the holy and universal Church, reproves the deeds of the wicked, and foretells the Judgment which ensues on the day of the resurrection.  For he straightway adds;

Ver. 28, 29.  Wherefore then do ye now say, Let us persecute him, and find out the root of the word against him?  Fly therefore from the face of the sword, for the sword is an avenger of wickedness; and know that there is a judgment.


79.  For in the first sentence he reproved the deeds of the wicked, while in the following he made known the punishments proceeding from the Divine judgment, Thus he saith, Wherefore then do ye now say; Let us persecute him and find out the root of the word against him?  Wicked persons, because they hear with wrong earnestness things well put forth, and seek to find in the tongue of the righteous an inlet for accusation, what else do they but ‘seek the root of the word against him,’ from which same they may take the commencement of speaking, and in the accusing of him expand the branches of evil talkativeness?  But when the holy man meets with such things at the hands of wicked men, it is not against them but rather for them that he feels sorrow, and reproves the things wickedly harboured in the heart, and shews them evil for them to escape, saying, Fly therefore from the face of the sword; for the sword is the avenger of wickedness; and know that there is a judgment.  Everyone that does wicked things, even herein, that he is too indifferent to fear this, does not know of there being a judgment of God.  For if he did know that this was a thing to be feared, he would never do things that are destined to be punished in it.  For there are very many who know that there is a final Judgment as far as the words go, but by acting wickedly they bear witness that they do not know it.  Since whereas he does not dread this as he ought, he does not yet know with what a tempest of terror it will come.  For if he had [al. ‘he who had’] been taught to estimate the weight of the dreadful scrutiny, surely in fearing he would guard against the day of wrath.  Moreover, ‘to fly from the face of the sword,’ is to propitiate the sentence of the strict visitation before it appears.  For the terribleness of the Judge cannot be avoided saving before the Judgment.  Now He is not discerned, but is appeased by prayers.  But when He shall sit on that dreadful inquest, He is both able to be seen and not able any longer to be propitiated; in that the doings of the wicked which He bore long while in silence, He shall pay back all of them together in wrath.  Whence it is necessary to fear the Judge now, while He does not yet execute judgment, while He bears patiently for long, while He still tolerates the wickedness that He sees, lest when He has once plucked out His hand in the awarding of vengeance, He strike the more severely in judgment, in proportion as He waited longer before judgment.