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In which many things already said are repeated in recapitulation,

and this immense work is brought to a close by a most lowly

confession of human infirmity.



Because this is the last book of this work, and since, the more difficult places having been treated, those which remain are less obscure, it seems good to run through it with less attention and care. For as if we had traversed a mighty ocean, we now gain sight of the shore, and lowering the sails of our intention, are not borne along with the same force as before, but yet we still hold our way from the impulse of the former blast. The storm of our anxiety has, so to speak, abated, but its violence, through now moderated, yet still wafts us on to our station on the shore. After then the Lord had shewn to His faithful servant how strong and crafty is Leviathan His enemy, while He carefully disclosed his strength and craft, blessed Job replied to both, saying,

Chap. xlii. ver. 2. I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no thought is hid from Thee.




2. For against his huge strength he observed; I know that Thou canst do all things; but against his hidden machinations he subjoined; And no thought is hid from Thee. Whence he immediately upbraids the same Leviathan, saying;

Ver. 3. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?


For Leviathan hides counsel without knowledge, because, though he is concealed from our infirmity by many frauds, he is yet disclosed to us by the holy inspiration of our Protector. He hides counsel without knowledge, because though he escapes the notice of those who are tempted, yet he cannot escape the notice of the Protector of the tempted. Having heard therefore the power and craft of the devil, having heard also the power of our Creator, which both mightly represses him, and mercifully protects us, we entreat thee, O blessed Job, not to conceal from us that which thou thinkest of thyself. It follows;

Therefore I have spoken foolishly, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge.




3. All human wisdom, however powerful in acuteness, is foolishness, when compared with Divine wisdom. For all human deeds which are just and beautiful are, when compared with the justice and beauty of God, neither just nor beautiful, nor have any existence at all. Blessed Job therefore would believe that he had said wisely what he had said, if he did not hear the words of superior wisdom. In comparison with which all our wisdom is folly. And he who had spoken wisely to men, on hearing the Divine sayings, discourses more wisely that he is not wise. Hence it is that Abraham saw, when God was addressing him, that he was nothing but dust, saying; I speak unto my Lord, though I am dust and ashes. [Gen. 18, 27] Hence it is that Moses, though instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, as soon as he heard the Lord speaking, discovered that he was a person of more hesitating and slower speech, saying; I beseech Thee, O Lord, I am not eloquent; for from yesterday, and the day before, since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant, I am of a more hesitating and slower tongue. [Ex. 4, 10] Hence it is that Isaiah, after he saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up, after he beheld the Seraphim covering their face with two wings, and their feet with two, and flying with two, after he heard them crying one to the other, That Which He is, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, he returned to himself, and said; Woe is me, because I have held my peace, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips. [Is. 6, 5] And he immediately added, whence he had learned this pollution, and said; And I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of Hosts. Hence also Jeremiah, on hearing the words of God, found that he had no words in himself, saying; Ah, ah, ah, Lord God, behold I know not how to speak, for I am a child. [Jer. 1, 6] Hence Ezekiel speaking concerning the four animals, says; When there was a voice above the firmament, which was over their heads, they stood, and let down their wings. [Ez. 1, 25] For what is designated by the flying of the animals but the sublimity of evangelists and doctors? Or what are the wings of the animals, but the contemplations of saints raising them up to heavenly things? But when a voice is uttered above the firmament which is over their heads, they stand, and let down their wings, because when they hear within the voice of heavenly wisdom, they drop down, as it were, the wings of their flight. For they discern, in truth, that they are not able to contemplate the loftiness itself of truth. To drop down their wings then at the voice which comes from above, is, on learning the power of God, to bring down our own virtues, and from contemplating the Creator, to think but humbly of ourselves. When holy men, therefore, hear the words of God, the more they advance in contemplation, the more they despise what they are, and know themselves to be either nothing, or next to nothing. Let blessed Job then reply to the words of God, and, as he advances in wisdom, find himself to be a fool, saying; I have spoken foolishly, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge. Behold, he reproved himself the more, the more he advances, and believed that he had beyond measure exceeded his knowledge, because in the words of the Lord he discerned, more than he had imagined, the secrets of His wisdom. It follows;

Ver. 4. Hear, and I will speak; I will question Thee, and answer Thou me.




4. To hear, is, with us, to adapt our ear which is in one place to a sound which comes from another. But with God, on the other hand, to Whom nothing is external, hearing is properly for Him to perceive our longings which are rising up beneath Him. For us then to speak to God, Who is acquainted with the hearts even of those that hold their peace, is not for us to utter what we think with the words of our throat, but to long for Him with eager desires. And because a person asks a question in order to be able to learn that of which he is ignorant, for a man to question God, is for him to acknowledge that he is ignorant in His sight. But for God to reply, is for Him to instruct with His secret inspirations him who humbly acknowledges his ignorance. Blessed Job then says; Hear, and I will speak. As if he were saying, Mercifully understand my desires, in order that, while Thy mercy receives and furthers them, they may rise up to Thee in greater number. For as often as good wishes obtain their effect, they are multiplied. Whence it is written in another place; I have called, for Thou hast heard me. [Ps. 17, 6] For he says not, Because I called, Thou hast heard me: but, I have called, for Thou hast heard me. For he who had been heard when speaking, when he had been heard, and his wishes had been successful, exclaimed; I will question Thee, and answer Thou me. As if he were saying, From the contemplation of Thy knowledge I acknowledge myself to be ignorant. Answer me therefore when I question Thee, that is, teach me who humbly confess my own foolishness. For that he himself was questioning God from his longing after humility, and was seeking for God to answer him by the instruction of inspiration, is declared in the following words. For he announced that he would put a question, and yet added nothing in the shape of a question. For as thinking only humbly of himself, and as acknowledging the favours he had mercifully received from God, he immediately subjoins;

Ver. 5. I have heard Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee.




5. By these words he doubtless plainly declares, that as far as sight is superior to hearing, so far does the progress also he had made through suffering differ from that which he was before. And because he had beheld more plainly the light of truth with the eye within, he more clearly discerned and beheld the darkness of his humanity. Whence it also follows;

Ver. 6. Wherefore I reproach myself.




6. For the less a person sees himself, the less is he displeased with himself; and the more he discerns the light of greater grace, the more blameworthy does he acknowledge himself to be. For when he is elevated within, by all that he is, he endeavours to agree with that standard which he beholds above him. And because human weakness still impedes him, he perceives that he differs therefrom in no slight degree, and every thing within him is burdensome, which does not agree with that inward standard. This standard blessed Job more fully beholds, as he was making progress after his suffering, and with great self-reproach is at variance with himself, saying; Therefore I reproach myself. But because there is no knowledge of reproach, if the lamentations of penitence do not also follow, it is rightly added, after the reproach,

And do penance in dust and ashes.




7. For to do penance in dust and ashes, is, after having contemplated the supreme Essence, to acknowledge himself to be nothing else but dust and ashes. Whence the Lord in the Gospel says to the reprobate city, If the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have done penance long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [Mat. 11, 21] For by ‘sackcloth,’ is set forth the roughness and the piercing of sin, but in ‘ashes’ the dust of the dead. And therefore both of these are wont to be used in penance, in order that by the piercing of sackcloth we may know what we have done through sin, and that in the dust of ashes we may consider what we have become through judgment. Let piercing sins then be considered in sackcloth, let the just punishment of sins, which succeeds by the sentence of death, be considered in ashes. For since insults of the flesh have sprung up after sin, let man behold in the roughness of the sackcloth what he has done through pride, let him behold in the ashes how far he has gone through sin. But by sackcloth can be designated also the very compunction of grief which arises from remembrance and penitence. For blessed Job in saying, I reproach myself, is wounded as it were by a kind of sackcloth, when he is galled in his mind by the sharp stings of reproaches. But he does penance in ashes; because he carefully observes what he has been made by a just judgment after his first sin, saying, I do penance in dust and ashes. As if he plainly said, I do not boast myself of any gift of my Creator, because, having been taken from the dust, I know that I return to dust by the sentence of death which has been inflicted on me.


8. Having heard then all the words of Job, having known also all the answers of his friends, let us turn the sight of our mind to the sentence of the inward Judge, and say to Him; Behold, Lord, we have heard both the sides of those who are disputing in Thy sight, and we know that Job, in this contest, goes through his virtuous deeds, and that his friends maintain against him the glory of Thy justice. But Thou knowest what amid these things is the opinion of our mind. For we cannot possibly blame the sayings of those whom we know to be contributing to Thy defence. But, behold, the parties are present, and wait the sentence; bring forth therefore, O Lord, from Thine invisible rule the most discriminating sentence of Thy judgment, and shew us which has spoken most rightly in this contention. It follows;

Ver. 7. But after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, He said to Eliphaz the Themanite, My anger is kindled against thee and thy two friends, because ye have not spoken before Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job.




9. O Lord, the sentence of Thy judgment declares how much our blindness is at variance with the light of Thine uprightness. Behold, we know that in Thy judgment blessed Job is victorious, whom we believed to have sinned against Thee by his words. In Thy judgment those are condemned, who believed that they surpassed the merits of blessed Job by speaking in Thy behalf. Since then we have learned by the Divine sentence what to think of the parties, let us now examine a little more minutely the words of this sentence. For how is it that blessed Job is blamed above, if, in comparison with his uprightness, his friends are said not to have spoken that which is right before the Lord? Is not this decision concerning him still further confirmed, in which it is said to the ancient enemy, Hast thou seen My servant Job, that there is none like him upon the earth? [Job 1, 8] But what is this, that he is praised to the enemy, and reproved in his own person; reproved in his own person, and yet preferred to the friends who spake to him? Unless it be that the holy man surpassed all men by the virtue of his merits, and yet, inasmuch as he was man, could not possibly be without blame before the eyes of God. For in a holy man sojourning in this temporary state, the rule of the Divine judgment has still something to judge, though in comparison with the rest of men it has even now something to praise. Blessed Job therefore believed that he was scourged for his fault, and not as a favour; he considered that his sins were lopped off, not that his merits were increased. And he is blamed for imagining that the intention of the scourging was different, and yet is preferred, in the decision of the inward judgment, to his friends who opposed him. Whence it is plainly gathered how great was his justice, in establishing the innocence of his doings against the arguments of his friends, since he is preferred in the Divine judgment even to those very persons who defended the Divine judgment. But we learned in the beginning of this Book [Bk. 3. § 15] that Satan had said of him to the Lord; Put forth Thy hand and touch him, and see if he do not bless Thee to Thy face. [Job 2, 5] At which request blessed Job is permitted to be touched with losses, with bereavement, with wounds, and with offensive words, because, in truth, He Who had praised him was certain, that the holy man would never, according to the assertion of the devil, fall into the sin of cursing. As we have then said also above, [Preface chap. 3] whoever considers that blessed Job sinned in his words after he had been scourged, plainly decides that the Lord had been the loser in His pledging. And though the Lord in speaking to the devil, brought forward his present good qualities, but did not promise his perseverance, it should yet be known that He would not have put forward his righteousness by permitting it to he tempted, if He foresaw that he would not he able to continue righteous under temptation. Since the devil then had been permitted by God to tempt him, if any one considers that he sank under temptation, he blames the ignorance of Him who permitted it.


10. Let us then truthfully approve of blessed Job in his sayings, lest we should sinfully blame God in His providence. And although, as far as concerns human judgments, his friends might be believed to have said in their words many things better than himself, yet Truth bringing forth another rule from the secret place, says; Ye have not spoken before Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job. Before Me, He says, that is, within, where the conduct of many often displeases, even if outwardly it is pleasing to men. Whence it is said with great judgment, in praise of the righteous married people; They were both righteous before God. [Luke 1, 6] For it is no safe praise to appear just before men. For the opinion of man often approves of a person as if mighty before God, but Almighty God knows not him, who is approved of as if by Him. For hence is it that the Psalmist watchfully prays, saying; Direct my way in Thy sight. [Ps. 5, 8] Doubtless, because even that way is frequently believed to be right in the sight of men, which is turned aside from the way of truth. And it is observable, that it is not said, Ye have not spoken before Me the thing that is right as Job, but, as My servant Job. In order, namely, that by speaking of him as if in some sort in a peculiar character, by introducing the mention of his being a servant, He might point out that all that had been urged in his defence, he had said not with haughty pride, but with humble truth. But because God is just and merciful, He both reproves his friends strictly with His justice, and graciously converts them by His mercy. For it follows;

Ver. 8. Take unto you seven bulls, and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a whole burnt offering. But My servant Job shall pray for you; his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you.




11. Behold the just and merciful God neither passes over their faults without reproof, nor yet leaves their guilt without conversion. For since He is our inward Physician, He first made known the corruptions of our wound, and afterwards pointed out the remedies for obtaining health. But we have already often said, [Pref. chap. 6] that the friends of blessed Job represent heretics, who offend God, while they endeavour to defend Him; for they are in their words rebels against the truth, which they imagine they are serving by their false assertions. Because therefore Almighty God frequently incorporates them into the body of Holy Church, through the knowledge of the truth; their conversion also, which is often mercifully effected, is well designated by this pardon which the friends of Job obtain.


12. But it must be specially observed, that they are ordered to offer to the Lord the sacrifice of their conversion, not by themselves, but by Job. Heretics doubtless, when they come back from their error, cannot appease the wrath of God towards them by a sacrifice offered by themselves, unless they are converted to the Catholic Church, which blessed Job designates; that so they may obtain their salvation by her prayers whose faith they used to impugn with their false assertions. For He says; My servant Job will pray for you; his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you. As if He openly said to heretics. I accept not your sacrifices, I hear not the words of your petitions, except through the intercession of her, whose words of confession concerning Me I acknowledge true. And do ye indeed bring down bulls and rams to offer the sacrifices of your conversion, but ask of Me your salvation through the Catholic Church, which I love. For I wish to remit to her the sin which ye have committed against Me in her, in order that she may obtain your recovery, who used to suffer from your sickness.


13. For it is she alone through whom God willingly accepts a sacrifice, she alone who intercedes with confidence for those who are in error. Whence also the Lord commanded concerning the sacrifice of the lamb, saying; In one house it shall be eaten, neither shall ye carry forth of the flesh thereof out of the house. [Ex. 12, 46] For the lamb is eaten in one house, because the true Sacrifice of the Redeemer is immolated in the one Catholic Church. And the Divine law orders its flesh not to he carried forth abroad, because it forbids that which is holy to be given to dogs. [Matt. 7, 6] It is she alone in whom a good work is fruitfully carried on, whence they only who had laboured in the vineyard received the reward of a penny. [Matt. 20, 10] It is she alone who guards those who are placed within her by the strong bond of charity. Whence also the water of the deluge raised the ark indeed aloft, but destroyed all those whom it found out of the ark. It is she alone in whom we truly contemplate the heavenly mysteries. Whence also the Lord says to Moses; There is a place by Me, and thou shall stand upon a rock. [Exod. 33, 21] And a little after; I will take away Mine hand, and thou shall see My back parts. [ib. 23] For since the truth shines forth from the Church Catholic alone, the Lord says that there is a place by Him, from which He is to be seen. Moses is placed on a rock, to behold the form of God, because if any one maintains not the firmness of the Faith, he discerns not the Divine presence. Of which firmness the Lord says; Upon this rock I will build My Church. [Mat. 16, 18] What is then in this place the saying to the friends of Job, Go ye to Job, except, ‘Ascend ye the rock?’ What is, His face I will accept for you, that folly be not imputed to you, except that which is there said, Thou shalt see My back parts? that is, thou shalt understand the mysteries of that Incarnation which is hereafter to be.


14. But heretics, because they disdain to stand on the rock, behold not the back parts of God as He passes by; because, being situated without the Church, they discern not the mysteries of His Incarnation, as they really are. For, as we have said before, by ‘bulls’ is expressed the neck of pride; [Pref. chap. 8] but by ‘rams,’ the leadership which is exercised by heretics, when people are persuaded by them, as flocks that are led astray. For of proud heretics, who corrupt the minds of the weak by their evil persuasion, it is said; The congregation of the bulls amongst the kine of the people. [Ps. 68, 30] And because they lead like flocks the people that follow them, they are sometimes called ‘rams.’ For rams in truth lead the flock. Whence Jeremiah says by way of reproof; Thy princes are like rams. [Lam. 1, 6] Because then heretics, when they return to the Church, abandon the haughtiness of pride, and lead not the multitude of the people to destruction, like herds that follow them, the friends of blessed Job are ordered to offer bulls and rams. For to offer bulls and rams in sacrifice, is to sacrifice proud leadership with the humility of conversion, so that they, who before endeavoured to take the lead in teaching, may tame the neck of pride, and learn to follow by obedience. This their pride is also rightly expiated by seven sacrifices; because heretics, on returning to the Church, receive through the offering of humility the gifts of the Spirit of sevenfold grace, in order that they who had wasted away through their old habit of pride, may be formed afresh by the newness of grace.


15. But the number seven is among the wise of this world considered to be perfect on some special grounds of its own, because it is the sum of the first even, and the first uneven number. For the first uneven number is three, and the first even number is four. Of these two numbers that of seven is composed, which, by multiplying together these very parts rises up to the number twelve. For whether we multiply three by four, or four by three, we arrive at that number. But we, because we enjoy the preaching of truth by a gift from above, tread under foot and look down on these matters which are fixed on the loftiness of knowledge, doubtless retaining this with unshaken faith, that those, whom the Spirit of sevenfold grace has filled, it makes perfect; and imparts to them not merely the knowledge of the Trinity, but also the performance of the four virtues, that is, prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. And It is increased, in a manner, in its parts, within those also whom It enters, when both the performance of the four virtues is received through the knowledge of the Trinity, and by the performance of the four virtues we attain even to the manifest sight of the Trinity. And therefore among ourselves the number seven is perfect, but in a very different way; because it rises fully and with no deficiency to the number twelve, when it both perfects works by faith, and again faith by works [i. e. four by three and three by four]. The holy Apostles also, who were to be filled with the Spirit of sevenfold grace, were chosen twelve in number. For they were sent in the four quarters of the world to make known the Trinity, Which is God. They were therefore chosen in number twelve, that even by the nature of the number itself, the cause might be plain, why they preached the three highest, through the four lowest things.



16. Whether then from this, or perhaps from some other reason, in Holy Scripture, by the number seven is designated sometimes the secure rest of eternity, sometimes the whole of this present time, but sometimes the whole body of Holy Church. For by the number seven the perfection of eternity is suggested, when the seventh day is called sanctified for the rest of the Lord. [Gen. 2, 3] And no evening is said to belong to it, because the rest of eternal blessedness is confined by no limit. Hence also it is that, on the giving of the Law, the seventh day is ordered to be one of rest, in order that eternal rest may be designated by it. [Ex. 20, 8-11] Hence it is, that in the course of years, the number seven multiplied seven times, with a unit added, amounts to fifty, in order that the most holy rest of the Jubilee, signifying perpetual blessedness, might be observed. [Lev. 25, 10] Hence it is, that the Lord, rising again and frequently appearing, is said at His last feast to have eaten with seven disciples; [John 21, 2] because they who are now perfected in Him, are filled by Him with eternal refreshment.


17. Again by the number ‘seven’ is understood the whole of this temporal condition. For hence it is that the whole season of this present life is passed over in periods of seven days. Hence it is, that in type of Holy Church, which at all times traverses this world with her preaching, the Ark of the Lord, carried round for seven days with the sound of trumpets, overthrew the walls of Jericho. [Josh. 6, 12-20] Hence the Prophet says; Seven times a day have I praised Thee. [Ps. 119, 164] And as signifying that he had said this for the whole and entire season of his supplication, he says; His praise shall he ever in my mouth. [Ps. 34, 1] But that the whole of the present life is designated by the number ‘seven’ is shewn more plainly, when the number ‘eight’ is mentioned after it. For when another number besides follows after seven, it is set forth by this very addition, that this temporal state is brought to an end and closed by eternity. For hence it is that Solomon advises, saying; Give portions to seven, and also to eight. [Eccles. 11, 2] For by the number seven he expressed the present time, ‘which is passed by periods of seven days. But by the number ‘eight’ he designated eternal life, which the Lord made known to us by His resurrection. For He rose in truth on the Lord’s day, which, as following the seventh day, that is, the Sabbath, is found to he the eighth from the creation. But it is well said; Give portions to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be on the earth. As if it were plainly said; So dispense temporal goods, as not to forget to desire those that are eternal. For thou oughtest to provide for the future by well-doing, who knowest not what tribulation succeeds from the future judgment. Hence it is, that the Temple is ascended with fifteen steps, in order that it may be learned by its very ascent that by seven and eight our worldly doings may be carefully discharged, and an eternal dwelling may be providently sought for. Hence also it is that, by increasing a unit to ten, the Prophet uttered a hundred and fifty Psalms. For on account of this number ‘seven’ signifying temporal things, and the number ‘eight’ eternal things, the Holy Spirit was poured forth upon a hundred and twenty of the faithful, sitting in an upper room. For fifteen is made up of seven and eight, and if in counting from one to fifteen we mount up by adding the sums of the numbers together, we reach the number a hundred and twenty. By this effusion of the Holy Spirit they learned in truth both to pass through with endurance things temporal, and eagerly to seek after those that are eternal.


18. Again, by the number ‘seven’ is designated the whole body of Holy Church. Whence John in the Apocalypse writes to seven Churches: [Rev. 1, 20] but what else but the Church universal did he wish to be signified by them? And in order that this universal Church might be signified to be full of the Spirit of sevenfold grace, Elisha is described as having breathed seven times over the dead child. [2 Kings 4, 35] For the Lord, coming to a lifeless people, opens his mouth seven times, because He confers on it in His mercy the gifts of the Spirit of sevenfold grace. Because then the whole body of Holy Church is typified by the number ‘seven,’ let the friends of blessed Job come to him, and offer the whole burnt offering commanded by God. But let them guard with all watchfulness the mysteries of the number seven; in order, namely, that they who are living without may first unite themselves to the general body of Holy Church, and then at length seek pardon for the guilt of their former pride. Let them offer for their fault seven sacrifices, because they receive not the washing away of their guilt, unless by the Spirit of sevenfold grace they are united to that universal peace, from which they had been cut off. Let it be said then, Take unto you seven bulls, and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer for yourselves a whole burnt offering. But My servant Job shall pray for you; his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you. As if it were plainly said to heretics on their return; Unite yourselves to the universal Church by the humility of penance, and obtain from Me through her prayers that pardon, of which of yourselves ye are not worthy: for when through her ye learn to be truly wise, ye are the first to blot out before Me the foolishness of your wisdom. It follows;

Ver. 8. For ye have not spoken before Me the thing which is right, like My servant Job.




19. The Lord used these words a little before, and yet He again repeats and adds the same words. What is this, except that, by again repeating, He confirms the sentence which He had already pronounced in judgment? And, in order that the righteousness of blessed Job and the unrighteousness of his friends might be the more manifestly displayed, the praise of the one and the reproof of the other is brought forward by a repetition of the words, so that by being repeated outwardly, it might appear how firmly fixed they are held within. For when the king of Egypt had known in two visions the fearful seasons of the coming famine under the figure of kine and of ears of corn, he heard by the voice of the holy interpreter; For that thou hast seen a second time a dream pertaining to the same thing, it is a token of the certainty. [Gen. 41, 32] From which it is plainly collected, that whatever is repeated in the word of God, is more strongly confirmed. But since we have heard what the Judge has decreed, let us hear also what they do who are convicted. It follows;

Ver. 9. Therefore Eliphaz the Themanite, and Baldad the Suhite, and Sophar the Naamathite, went and did according as the Lord had spoken to them: and the Lord accepted the face of Job.




20. We say nothing concerning the interpretation of these names, because we remember that we discussed it at greater length in the beginning of this work. But it must be noticed, that the order of the pardon they received is so carefully observed, as had been announced, that the Lord is said to have accepted in their sacrifices not their face, but the face of blessed Job. But, because whoever endeavours to intercede for others, promotes still more his own interest from this very love, it is rightly subjoined;

Ver. 10. The Lord also was turned at the penitence of Job, when he prayed for his friends.




21. For he is before shewn to have been heard in behalf of his friends, when the circumstance, which we before mentioned, is stated; They did according as the Lord had spoken, and the Lord accepted the face of Job. But when it is immediately observed, The Lord also was turned at the penitence of Job, when he prayed for his friends; it is plainly shewn, that a penitent has deserved to be heard the more quickly in his own behalf, the more devoutly he has interceded for his friends. For he makes his prayers more powerful in his own behalf, who offers them also in behalf of others. For that sacrifice of prayer is more willingly received, which, in the sight of the merciful Judge, is flavoured with love for one’s neighbour. And a person then truly adds to its amount, if he offers it even for his enemies. For hence is that, which the Truth Who is our Teacher says; Pray for them that persecute and calumniate you. [Luke 6, 28] Hence again He says, When ye shall stand to pray, forgive if ye have ought against any, that your Father also Who is in heaven may forgive you your sins. [Mark 11, 25] But how much he obtained for himself, who interceded for others, is immediately pointed out, when it is subjoined,

The Lord added all that had been to Job, twofold.




22. He received twofold all that he had lost, because through the tenderness of the merciful Judge the assistance of consolations far surpasses the loss of our temptation. But the temptation tries us less than the reward consoles us; in order that he, who used from the weight of the blow to consider that he had suffered some heavy trial, may learn from the recompense he has earned [‘retributionis merito’], that what he endured was but light. Whence it is said also to afflicted Judća; For a small moment have I forsaken thee, and in great mercies will I gather thee. [Is. 54, 7] But sometimes the measure of consolation is dispensed in proportion to the weight of affliction. Whence it is written elsewhere, According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have rejoiced my soul. [Ps. 94, 12] For he, who exclaims that he had been made joyful according to the multitude of his sorrows, points out that he was consoled in the same measure as he had been afflicted. But the reader is not slightly instructed, if he considers the very order of the remuneration. For correction follows excess, penitence correction, pardon penitence, gifts pardon. But because he who had been smitten by permission of Divine Providence, was afflicted also by the words of his friends, when he is consoled by the gifts of the Divine mercy, he deserves to be cherished also with human love; in order that to him, whom the sorrows and adversities of pains wounded on every side, the joys of consolation may on every side correspond. Whence also it is added,

Ver. 11. But there came to him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all that knew him before, and did eat bread with him in his house, and moved the head over him.




23. What is designated by the eating of bread but charity, and what by the moving of the head but admiration? But it is well subjoined, And comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. For to console the grief of one that had been smitten, is to rejoice with him on his pardon after he had been smitten. For the more a person is seen to rejoice on the restoration of his neighbour’s health, the more does he give proof that he had grieved at its loss.

And they gave him each one sheep, and one earring of gold.




24. Although all these things are truly stated according to the history, we are yet compelled by the very gifts which were offered to go back to the mystery of allegory. For we ought not to hear in a listless manner that they offered a sheep, and a single one, and a golden earring, and a single one. And if perhaps it is not wonderful in the mere letter why the sheep which was offered was one, yet it is very wonderful why the earring was one. But what reference has a sheep to an earring, or an earring to a sheep? We are compelled therefore, by the very definiteness [‘fine’] of the gifts, to examine in the mysteries of allegory the former statements also, which we have run through and treated superficially according to the mere history. Because therefore Christ and the Church, that is, the Head and the body, are one person, we have often said that blessed Job sometimes typifies the head, sometimes the body. Preserving then the truth of the history, let us understand that as performed under the type of the Church, which is written, The Lord added all that had been to Job twofold. For though Holy Church now loses many by the stroke of temptation, yet in the end of this world she receives those things that are her own, twofold, when, having received the Gentiles in full number, all Judaea also which shall then be found, agrees to run to her faith. For hence it is written, Until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in, and so all Israel should be saved. [Rom. 11, 25. 26.] Hence the Truth also says in the Gospel, Elias shall come, and he shall restore all things. [Matt. 17, 11] For now the Church has lost the Israelites, which she was unable to convert by preaching, but when, at that time, on the preaching of Elias, she gathers together as many as she shall have found, she receives as it were in fuller measure that which she has lost.


25. Or certainly, for Holy Church to rejoice over each of us at both the blessedness of our soul, and the incorruption of our body, is for her to receive double at her end. For hence is that which is said of the Elect by the Prophet, In their land they shall possess the double. [Is. 61, 7] Hence it is that the Apostle John says of the Saints who were seeking for the end of the world; While robes were given, unto every one of them one, and it was said unto them that they should rest yet a little season, until the number of their fellow-servants and of their brethren should be filled up. [Rev. 6, 11] For as we have said a great way above, [Pref. chap. 10] the Saints receive a single garment before the resurrection, because they enjoy the happiness of their souls alone; but in the end of the world they are about to have, each of them, two, because, together with blessedness of mind, they will possess also the glory of the flesh.


26. But these words which are subjoined attest that they rather announce the conversion of the Jewish people at the end of this world. For it is added; There came to him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all that knew him before, and did eat bread with him in his house. For then do His brethren and sisters come to Christ, when as many as shall have been found of the Jewish people are converted. For from that people He took the substance of His flesh. His brethren and sisters therefore then come to Him, when from that people which is united to Him by kindred, either those who are about to be strong, as brethren, or weak, as sisters, flock to Him with devout congratulation through the knowledge of the Faith. They then set forth in His house a banquet of most crowded festivity, when they no longer despise Him as a mere man, and, mindful of their relationship, rejoice together in cleaving to His Godhead. They then eat bread in His house, when they put aside the observance of the letter which is inferior, and feed, as it were, on the marrow of the grain of mystical teaching in Holy Church. But it is well subjoined; All who knew Him before. For they knew Him before, Whom they scorned in His Passion as if unknown to them. For no one who completely learned the Law was ignorant that Christ would be born. Whence even Herod the king, when alarmed by the coming of the Magi, endeavoured to enquire diligently of the priests and riders, where they knew Christ would be born; to whom they immediately answered; In Bethlehem of Judah. [Matt. 2, 5] They therefore knew Him before, Whom they knew not, when they despised Him at the time of His Passion. And both their former knowledge and their subsequent ignorance is well and briefly signified by the dimness of Isaac. For when he was blessing Jacob, he both foresaw what would afterwards happen, and knew not who was standing before him. [Gen. 27, 1] Thus in truth was the people of the Israelites, which received the mysteries of prophecy, but yet had eyes which were dim in contemplation, because it saw not Him when present, of Whom it foresaw so many things in the time to come. For it was unable to see Him when standing in its presence, the might of Whose coming it had long before announced. But, behold! they come at the end of the world, and recognise Him Whom they knew before. Behold! they eat bread in His house, because they feed on the grain of sacred doctrine in Holy Church, and shake off all the insensibility of their former torpor. Whence it is subjoined; And they moved the head over him. For what is understood by the head but the ruling power [‘principale’] of the mind? As is said by the Psalmist; Thou hast made fat my head with oil. [Ps. 23, 5] As if it were plainly said, Thou hast watered with the unction of charity my mind which is dried up in its thoughts. The head therefore is moved, when the mind, smitten with dread of truth, is roused from its insensibility. Let the kinsmen [‘parentes’] then come to the banquet, and having shaken off their drowsiness, let them move their head; that is, let those who are connected with our Redeemer in the flesh, enjoy at last the refreshment of the word by faith, and lose the hardness of their former insensibility. Whence it is well said by Habakkuk; His feet stood, and the earth is moved. [Hab. 3, 6] For the earth is doubtless moved when the Lord stands, because when He imprints on our heart the footsteps of His fear, every earthly thought in us trembles. In this place, therefore, to move the head, is to shake off the immoveableness of the mind, and to approach to the knowledge of the faith by the steps of belief.


27. But because Holy Church suffers now from the estrangement of the Hebrews, and then is relieved by their conversion, it is rightly subjoined; And comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. They, namely, console Christ, they console the Church, who repent of the error of their former unbelief, and abandon the depravity of life by which they had opposed the teachers of the truth. Is it not a weighty sorrow to preach fruitlessly to hard hearts, to endure labour in setting forth the truth, but to find no fruit of our labour from the conversion of our hearers? But the subsequent progress of their hearers is on the other hand a great consolation to preachers. For the conversion of a learner [‘proficientis’] is a consolation to his teacher. And it is to be observed that they would not console him when exposed to the scourge, but that they come to console him after the scourge; doubtless because the Hebrews, despising at the time of His Passion the preaching of the faith, disdained to believe Him to be God, Whom they had proved to be a man by His death. Whence the Lord says by the Psalmist, I looked for one to lament with Me, and there was none; I sought for one to comfort Me, and I found none. [Ps. 69, 20] For He found no one to comfort Him in His Passion, because in His contempt of death He endured even His very enemies, for whom He came to death. After his scourging, then, his neighbours come to console him; because the Lord now also suffers in His members, but in the last times all the Israelites flock together to the faith, on hearing the preaching of Elias, and return to the protection of Him from Whom they had fled; and then is celebrated that splendid banquet by the manifold assemblage of the people. At that time Job is shewn, as it were, to be in health after his scourging, when, to those who are converted and believe, the Lord is by the certainty of faith known to live, after His passion and resurrection, immortal in the heavens. At that time Job is as it were seen to be rewarded, when in the power of His Majesty He is believed to be God, as He is, and those who before resisted Him are seen to be subjected to the faith. Let the believing Hebrews therefore assemble together at the end of the world, and offer, as if to Job in health, the vows of their oblations to the Redeemer of mankind in the power of His Godhead. Whence it is also well subjoined; And they gave him each one sheep, and one earring of gold. What is designated by a ‘sheep’ but innocence, what by an ‘earring’ but obedience? For by a sheep is expressed an innocent mind, but by an earring, hearing adorned with the grace of humility.


28. But because a fit opportunity has offered itself for setting forth the virtue of obedience, let us examine into it with somewhat more attention and care, and point out how great is its merit. For obedience is the sole virtue which implants other virtues in the mind, and keeps them safe when planted. Whence also the first man received a precept to keep, to which if he had willed obediently to submit himself, he would attain without labour to eternal blessedness. Hence Samuel says; For obedience is better than victims, and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams, because to rebel is as the sin of witchcraft, and to refuse to obey as the sin of idolatry. [1 Sam. 15, 22. 23.] For obedience is justly preferred to victims, because by victims the flesh of another, but by obedience our own will, is offered up; a person therefore appeases God the more quickly, the more he represses before His eyes the pride of his own will, and immolates himself with the sword of the commandment. And on the other hand, disobedience is said to be the sin of witchcraft, in order that it might be pointed out how great a virtue is obedience. It is shewn therefore the better from its opposite what is thought in its praise. For if to rebel is as the sin of witchcraft, and to refuse to obey as the guilt of idolatry, it is the sole virtue which possesses the merit of faith, without which a person is convicted of being an unbeliever, though he seem to be a believer [‘fidelia’]. Hence it is said by Solomon in speaking of obedience; An obedient man speaketh of victories. [Prov. 21, 28] For an obedient man in truth speaketh of victories, because, when we humbly submit ourselves to the voice of another, we overcome ourselves in our heart. Hence the Truth says in the Gospel; Him that cometh to Me I will not cast out, for I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. [John 6, 37. 38.] For what? if He were doing His own will, would He have rejected those who come to Him? But who can be ignorant that the will of the Son differs not from the will of the Father? But since the first man went forth from the joy of Paradise, because he wished to do his own will; the second Man coming for the redemption of men, when He shews that He does the will of the Father, and not His own will, taught us to remain firm within. When therefore He does not His own will, but that of the Father, He casts not out those that come unto Him, because, while by His own example He brings us under the rule of obedience, He closes against us the way of escape. Hence again He says; I can of Mine own Self do nothing; but as I hear I judge. [John 5, 30] For obedience is enjoined on us to be observed even to death. But if He judges as He hears, He obeys also at that time when He comes as Judge. Lest then obedience to the end of our life should appear wearisome to us, our Redeemer points out that He practises it, even when He comes as a Judge. What wonder then if man who is a sinner subjects himself to obedience in the short period of the present life, when the Mediator between God and men does not abandon it, even when He recompenses the obedient.


29. But it should be known, that a sin ought never to be committed, through obedience, but that sometimes a good deed which is being performed ought, through obedience, to be given up. For the tree in Paradise was not evil, which God commanded man not to touch. But in order that man, who was rightly created, might increase the better by the merit of obedience, it was right that He should prohibit him even what was good; in order that his conduct might be more truly virtue, the more humbly he shewed that he was subject to his Maker, by forbearing what was good. But it should be observed that it is there said, Eat ye of every tree of paradise, but touch ye not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [Gen. 2, 16. 17.] For it is necessary that he who forbids those under him one good thing, should concede many, lest the mind of the person who obeys should perish utterly, if it is famished from having been entirely shut out from all good things. But the Lord granted all other trees of Paradise for food, when He prohibited them from one, in order that He might restrain His creature, whose advancement He desired, and not its destruction, the more easily from one, the greater liberty He gave for the rest.


30. But because sometimes worldly advantages, and sometimes worldly losses, are enjoined on us, it should he especially understood that sometimes if obedience has something of its own, it is none at all, but sometimes if it has not something of its own, it is a very paltry obedience. For when success in this world is enjoined, when a higher rank is commanded to be taken, he who obeys these commands makes void for himself the virtue of his obedience, if he is eager for these things with longing of his own. For he guides not himself by the rule of obedience, who in attaining to the good things of this life gives way to his own natural desire of ambition. Again, when contempt for the world is enjoined, when the endurance of reproaches and insults is commanded us, unless the mind desires these things of itself, it diminishes the merit of its obedience, because it descends reluctantly and against its will to those things which are despised in this life. For obedience incurs loss, when its own consent does not in a measure accompany a mind in submitting to the reproaches of this world. Obedience then ought both in adversity to have something of its own, and again in prosperity to have nothing at all of its own; in order that in adversity it may be more glorious, the more it is united even in desire to the Divine ordinance, and may be more sincere in prosperity, the more entirely it is separated in desire from that present glory, which it obtains from God.


31. But we shew more clearly this value of virtue if we mention the doings of two men of the heavenly country. For Moses, when he was feeding sheep in the desert, was called by the Lord speaking to him in the fire by means of an Angel, to take the lead in the deliverance of all the multitude of the Israelites. But because he was humble in his own mind, he trembled at once at the glory of such authority which had been offered to him, and immediately had recourse to his weakness as a defence, saying, I beseech Thee, O Lord, I am not eloquent: from yesterday and the day before, since Thou hast begun to speak unto Thy servant, I am of a more hesitating and slower tongue. [Exod. 4, 10] And, having put himself aside, he asks for another, saying; Send whom Thou wilt send. [ib. 13] Behold, he is speaking with the Maker of his tongue, and that he may not undertake the power of such great authority, he alleges that he has no tongue. Paul had also been admonished by God that he ought to go up to Jerusalem, as he himself says to the Galatians; Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem, taking with me Barnabas and Titus; but I went up by revelation. [Gal. 2, 1] And when he had found on his journey the Prophet Agabus, he heard from him what adversity awaited him in Jerusalem. For it is written that this Agabus placed Paul’s girdle on his own feet, and said; So shall they bind at Jerusalem the man whose girdle this is. [Acts 21, 11] Paul immediately answered; I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of Jesus; [ib. 13]] neither do I count my life more precious than myself. [Acts 20, 24] Going up then to Jerusalem by the command of revelation, he knows his sufferings, and yet he willingly seeks them, he hears of things to fear, but yet he more ardently pants after them. Moses therefore has nothing of his own to lead him on to prosperity, because he strives in his prayers not to be set over the people of Israel. But Paul is even by his own wish led on to suffering, because he gains a knowledge of the evils that threaten him, but yet in his devotion of spirit he is eager for sharper sufferings. The one wished, though God commanded him, to decline the glory of present power; the other when God had provided severity and hardships, yet studied to prepare himself for severer sufferings. We are taught then by the stubborn virtue of both these leaders going before, that if we truly endeavour to lay hold on the reward of obedience, we must contend for the prosperity of this world only by command, but that we must fight against its trials with devotion.


32. But it must be observed, that in this place a sheep is offered with an earring, and an earring with a sheep; doubtless because the ornament of obedience is always connected with innocent minds, as the Lord witnesses, Who says; My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. [John 10, 29] No one therefore offered blessed Job an earring without a sheep, no one a sheep without an earring; because, in truth, he who is not innocent obeys not his Redeemer, and he cannot be innocent who despises obedience. But since this very obedience must be maintained not with servile fear, but with the affection of love, not with dread of punishment, but with love of justice, all who come to the feast are said to have offered a ‘golden’ earring, in order, namely, that in that obedience which is displayed, charity should shine forth so as to surpass all virtues, as gold the other metals.


33. But because there can be no innocence, no true obedience, in the manifold divisions of heretics, let those who come to the knowledge of the faith offer a lamb, but only one; and an earring, but only one. That is, let them come so minded as to abide innocent and obedient in the unity of Holy Church. For that which is ‘one’ cannot be divided by numbers, because also this very ‘one’ of which we are speaking, is not a number. Let them offer therefore a sheep, but only one; let them offer an earring, but only one. That is, coming to Holy Church with innocence and obedience, let them offer such a mind as the schisms of sects cannot divide.


34. Let us open the eyes of faith, and contemplate that last banquet of Holy Church at the reception of the people of Israel. To which banquet that mighty Elias who is coming is engaged as the inviter of the guests. Then do neighbours, then do friends, come with gifts to Him, Whom they despised but a little before when exposed to the scourge. For as the day of judgment draws near, either by the words of His forerunner, or by certain signs which burst forth, does the might of the approaching Lord shine out in a measure before them. And while they hasten to prevent His wrath, they forward the time of their own conversion. But when converted they come with gifts, because by offering their virtuous deeds, they then reverence Him, Whom but a little before they derided in His Passion. Doubtless by this their oblation fulfilling that which we behold already made good in great measure, and which we believe is still to be made good in its fulness; The daughters of Tyre shall adore Him with gifts. [Ps. 45, 12] For then do the daughters of Tyre more fully adore Him with gifts, when the minds of the Israelites, which are now overcome by the desires of this world, bring to Him, Whom they proudly denied, when known at last, the offerings of their confession. And although at these very times, at which Antichrist draws near, the conduct of the faithful seems to be to a certain extent less virtuous, although in the contest with that ruined man, mighty fear constrains the hearts even of the strong; yet not only do all the faithful, strengthened by the preaching of Elias, remain in the firmness of Holy Church, but, as we said before, many also of the unbelievers are converted to the knowledge of the faith. So that the remnants of the nation of Israel, which had before been utterly rejected, crowd together to the bosom of the Church their Mother with the most pious devotion. Whence it is now well subjoined;

Ver. 12. But the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.




35. We believe that these things have taken place historically, we hope that they are to take place mystically. For the latter end of Job is blessed more than his beginning, because as far as concerns the admission of the people of Israel, when the end of the present world is pressing on, the Lord consoles the pain of Holy Church by a manifold ingathering of souls. For then she will be the more abundantly enriched, the more clearly it becomes known that the temporal condition of the present life is hurrying to its close. For the Psalmist had beheld the preachers of Holy Church enriched with the blessing of the latter times, when he said; They shall still be multiplied in a fruitful old age, and shall be well patient to announce. [Ps. 92, 14] They are in truth multiplied in a fruitful old age, because, when their life is prolonged, their strength is ever carried on to a better condition, and the gains of their merits are increased by means of the increase of their age. But they are well patient to announce, because, when preaching heavenly truths, they endure adversities with greater firmness, the more abundantly they bring back benefits for their souls by their very endurance. It follows;

Ver. 13, 14. And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses; and he had seven sons, and three daughters.




36. That he had had seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, before the trial of his scourging, the preface of this same history points out to us. Those things which were lost through his scourging, were now restored twofold. But as many children were restored as he had lost. For he had seven sons and three daughters. But he is now described as having received seven sons and three daughters, in order that those who had been destroyed may be shewn to be alive. For when it is said; The Lord added all that had been to Job twofold, and yet He restored him as many children as he had lost, He also added to him a double number of children, to whom He afterwards restored ten in the flesh, but reserved the ten that had been lost, in the hidden abode [‘vita’] of souls. But if any one wishes, as an intellectual being, to put aside the chaff of the history, and to feed on the grain of mysteries, it is necessary for him to learn what is our opinion. For it is possible for us to understand that by these animals is designated the universal body of the faithful. For hence is that which is said by the Psalmist to the Father concerning the Son; Thou hast put all things under His feet, sheep and all kine, and, moreover, the herds of the plain. [Ps. 6, 7] Hence is it that the same Prophet, beholding the simple ones inhabiting Holy Church, says; Thine animals shall dwell therein. [Ps. 68, 10]


37. What then do we understand by ‘sheep,’ but the innocent, what by ‘camels,’ but those who surpass the evil doings of others by the involved mass of their exuberant vices; what by ‘yoked oxen,’ but the Israelites subject to the Law; what by ‘asses,’ but the simple minds of the Gentiles? For that the innocent are designated by the name of ‘sheep’ the Psalmist witnesses, who says, But we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. [Ps. 95, 7] For those who neglect to preserve their innocence, are not fed with that refreshment of the spiritual pasture.


38. But by the name of ‘camel’ is expressed in Holy Scripture sometimes the Lord, sometimes the pride of the Gentiles, tortuous, as it were, with a swelling excrescence from above. For since a camel bends itself of its own accord to take up its burdens, it designates not improperly the grace of our Redeemer, Who, in deigning to hear the burden of our infirmity, descended of His own accord from the height of His power. Whence He says also in the Gospel; I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it up again, and no man taketh it from Me. [John 10, 38] Whence He also says again; It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. [Matt. 19, 24] For what does He mean by the name ‘rich,’ but any haughty person, what by the expression ‘camel,’ but His own condescension? For a camel passed through the eye of a needle, when the same our Redeemer entered through the narrow straits of His passion to the suffering of death. And this passion was like a needle, because it wounded His body with pain. But a camel goes more easily through the eye of a needle, than a rich man enters the kingdom of heaven, because, unless He took on Him first the burdens of our infirmity, and shewed us the opening [‘foramen’] of humility by His passion, our haughty stubbornness would never bend itself down to His humility. Again, by the name ‘camel’ is designated the Gentile world, tortuous and full of sins; as it is said by Moses, that when the day had already declined, Rebecca sitting on a camel beheld Isaac who had gone forth in the field, and that she immediately descended from the camel, and being ashamed at the sight of him, covered herself with a veil. [Gen. 24, 64. 65.] For whom did Isaac designate, in having gone forth in the field when the day had already declined, but Him, Who, coming in this last age of the world, as if in the close of the day, went forth as it were into the field? Because though He is invisible, yet He shewed Himself to be visible in this world. And Rebecca when sitting on a camel beheld him, because the Church, coming forth from the Gentiles, when it was still resting on its sins, and cleaving not to spiritual, but animal emotions, listened to Him. But she immediately descended from the camel, because it abandoned the sins, with which it had before been proudly elated, and was careful to cover itself with a veil, because, on beholding the Lord, it blushed at the infirmity of its own conduct; and she, who was before carried by the camel unconstrained, is afterwards on descending modestly covered. Whence it is said by the voice of the Apostle to this same Church, when converted from her former pride, as if to Rebecca descending from the camel, and throwing over her a veil; For what fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? [Rom. 6, 21]


39. But in ‘oxen’ is expressed sometimes the madness of the lustful, sometimes the laborious strength of preachers, sometimes the humility of the Israelites. For that by the name of ox is designated by comparison the madness of the lustful, Solomon points out. For when he had first mentioned the wantonness of the seducing woman, he added; Immediately he followeth her, as an ox led for a victim. [Prov. 7, 22] Again, that the labour of preachers is expressed by the name of ox, the words of the Law witness, which says; Thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox when treading out the corn. [Deut. 25, 4] As if it plainly said; Thou shalt not keep the preachers of the word from obtaining their stipends. [1 Cor. 9, 9; 1 Tim. 5, 18] Again, that the people of Israel is typified by the name of ox, the Prophet asserts, who says, when announcing the coming of the Redeemer, The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib. [Is. 1, 3] Signifying in truth by the ‘ox’ the people of Israel, brought into subjection to the yoke of the Law, but indicating by the ‘ass’ the people of the Gentiles, given up to pleasures, and more overwhelmingly brutish.


40. Under the name also of he asses and she asses is designated sometimes the wantonness of the lustful, sometimes the gentleness of the simple, but sometimes, as we have before said, the foolishness of the Gentiles. For that the wantonness of the lustful is expressed, by way of comparison, by the term he asses, is plainly declared, when it is said by the Prophet; Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses. [Ez. 23, 20] Again, because the life of the simple is typified by the name of she asses, when our Redeemer was going to Jerusalem, He is said to have sat on a she ass. For Jerusalem means the vision of peace. [Matt. 21, 5] What then does it signify, that our Lord sits on a she ass, and guides it to Jerusalem, except that when He possesses simple minds by ruling over them, He leads them by His own sacred indwelling [‘sessione’] to the vision of peace? Again, that by the name of he asses the foolishness of the Gentiles is designated, the Prophet witnesses, saying; Blessed are ye that sow upon all waters, sending in thither the foot of the ox and the ass. [Is. 32, 20] For to sow upon all waters is to preach to all people the fruitful words of life. But to send in the foot of the ox and the ass, is to bind the ways of the Israelitish and the Gentile people by the bands of heavenly precepts.


41. While preserving then the truth of the letter, we rightly believe that under the name of blessed Job, the people of Holy Church are designated by all these animals; in order that those things that are written, by the dispensation of the Holy Spirit Which wonderfully orders all things, may both relate to us what has happened, and announce what is to come. Let us recognise then in the ‘sheep’ the faithful and innocent people from Judaea, which had been before fed with the pastures of the Law. Let us recognise in the ‘camels’ the simple-minded from the Gentiles coming to the faith, who before, when under sacrilegious rites, through a kind of deformity of limbs, from the foulness, that is, of their vices, appeared very hideous. And because, as we have before said, the Holy Scriptures take good care to repeat their assertions, the Israelites, who were crushed, as it were, by the yoke of the Law, can again he understood by the ‘oxen.’ But, as has been said, by asses, can be understood the Gentile people, who, when they used to bow down to worship stones, foolishly, as it were, bent down their back, and, with no reluctant mind, served any idols whatever with brutish sense. Holy Church therefore which, when oppressed at her first beginnings with innumerable temptations, lost either the people of Israel, or many of the Gentiles, (those, namely, whom she was unable to gain,) receives double at the end; because there springs up in her, out of each people, a multiplied number of believers. By yoked oxen preachers can also be understood. Whence, when the Lord sent them forth to preach, He is described as having sent them two and two; [Luke 10, 1] in order that either because there are two precepts of charity, or that society cannot exist between a less number than two, the holy preachers might learn from the very mode of their sending forth, how much they should love the agreement of fellowship. By she asses, as we have before said, the minds of the simple can be designated. But Holy Church receives oxen and she asses in double number; because holy preachers, who from being oppressed with fear in the time of her temptation had hitherto remained silent, and the minds of the simple, which from being overpowered by terrors were afraid to confess her truth, now exert their voices with greater powers in confession of the truth, the more weakly they were before afraid.


42. We have briefly stated these points as typical of Holy Church. But how they serve to set forth the Head of this same Holy Church, we remind you that we have stated at greater length in the beginning of this work. Whoever therefore is anxious to be more fully satisfied on these points, should deign to read the second book of this work. But if we are now asked to discuss the number of the animals, why a thousand yoke of oxen, or a thousand she asses, and six thousand camels, and fourteen thousand sheep, are mentioned; we can state briefly, that in secular knowledge the number thousand is considered perfect, because it is the solid square of the number ten. For ten times ten are a hundred, which though a square, is a plane figure. But in order that it may rise in height and become solid, the hundred is again multiplied by ten, and becomes a thousand. But the number six is perfect, because it is the first number which is made up of its several parts, that is, its sixth, its third, and its half, which are one, and two, and three, and these added together become six. Nor is any other number found before six, which, when it is divided into its several parts, has its whole amount made up. But because we transcend all this knowledge, by advancing through the loftiness of Holy Scripture, we there find the reason why the numbers six, seven, ten, and a thousand, are perfect. For the number six is perfect in Holy Scripture, because in the beginning of the world God completed on the sixth day those works which He began on the first. The number seven is perfect therein, because every good work is performed with seven virtues through the Spirit, in order that both faith and works may be perfected at the same time. The number ten is perfect therein, because the Law is included in ten precepts, and no fault is forbidden further than by the ten words, and as the Truth relates, the labourers in the vineyard are rewarded with a denarius. [Mat. 20, 2] For in a denary three are joined to seven. But man, who consists of soul and body, consists of seven qualities. For he flourishes in three spiritually and in four bodily. For in the love of God he is excited in three qualities spiritually, when it is said to him by the Law; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. [Matt. 22, 37] But he consists of four qualities bodily; because, namely, he is composed of hot and cold, of moist and dry matter. Man therefore who consists of seven qualities is said to be rewarded with a denarius, because in that attainment of the heavenly country our seven are joined to the eternal Three, in order that man may enjoy the contemplation of the Trinity, and, by the reward of his work, live as though made perfect by a denarius. Or certainly, because there are seven virtues in which we toil in this life, and when the contemplation of the Trinity is granted them as a reward, the life of those that toil is rewarded with a denarius. But every one who is perfect receives a denarius even in this life, when he unites to these same seven virtues, faith, hope, and charity. The number thousand is also considered as perfect in Holy Scripture, because universality is designated by its appellation. Whence it is written; The word which He commanded to a thousand generations. [Ps. 105, 8] For since it cannot be believed that the world can be extended to a hundred generations, what else is set forth by a thousand generations but the whole number of generations? Blessed Job therefore received fourteen thousand sheep. For since in Holy Church the perfection of virtues extends to both sexes, the number seven is doubled therein. And six thousand camels; because they receive therein the plenitude of their work, who were before cut off from her by the filthiness of their sins. He received also a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses, because she exalts Israelites and Gentiles, learned and simple, after the falls of temptations, to the height of perfection. He received also seven sons and three daughters, because to the minds of those whom she had begotten with seven virtues, she adds faith, hope, charity, to complete their perfection, in order that she may the more truly rejoice in her offspring, the more she considers that there is no virtue wanting to her faithful ones. But because we have run over these points briefly, let us now turn to examine also the names themselves of his daughters. It follows,

Ver. 14. And he called the name of one Dies, and the name of the second Casia, and the name of the third Cornustibii.




43. Because these names are derived from virtues, the translator appropriately took care not to insert them as they are found in the Arabic language, but to shew their meaning more plainly when translated into the Latin tongue. For who can be ignorant that Dies and Casia are Latin words? But in Cornustibii, (though it is not corn us but cornu, and the pipe of singers is called not tibium but tibia,) I suppose he preferred, without keeping the gender of the word in the Latin tongue, to state the thing as it is, and to preserve the peculiarity of that language from which he was translating. Or because he compounded one word out of the two, (cornu, and tibia,) he was at liberty to call both words, which are translated in Latin by one part of speech, whatever gender he pleased. What is the reason then that the first daughter of Job is said to have been called Dies, the second Casia, but the third Cornustibii, except that the whole human race, which is chosen by the kindness of its Creator, and by the mercy of the same Redeemer, is designated by these names? For man as he was made shone as bright as the day (dies), because his Maker overspread him with the splendour of innate innocence. But when he fell of his own accord into the darkness of sin, because he deserted the light of truth, he concealed himself as it were in the night of error; because he is elsewhere said to have followed a shadow. [Ps. 39, 6] But because the bounteousness of His goodness failed not our Maker, even in spite of the darkness of our iniquity, He afterwards received him by a mightier redemption from his error, whom He at first mightily created for righteousness. And because he wanted, after his fall, the strength of his original creation, He supported him against the inmost assaults of His opposing corruption with the manifold virtues of His gifts. And these virtues of those who are advancing are doubtless fragrant, in the discernment of other men, as if with sweet odours. For hence is that which is said by Paul, We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ. [2 Cor. 2, 15] Hence it is that Holy Church, having scented a kind of fragrant sweetness in her Elect, speaks in the Song of Songs, saying, While the king is at his repose, my spikenard gave forth its odour. [Cant. 1, 12] As if he plainly said, As long as the king is concealed with himself from my sight in the rest of the heavenly retreat, the life of the Elect is regaled [‘exercetur’] with wonderful odours of virtues, in order that as it still beholds not Him Whom it seeks for, it may burn the more ardently with desire. For the spikenard gives forth an odour, as the king is taking his repose, because when the Lord is resting in His blessedness, the virtue of Saints in the Church supplies us with the delight of great sweetness. Because then the human race shone bright, on its creation, with the light of innocence, and afterwards, when redeemed, scattered the odour of sweetness by the exercise of good works, the first daughter is rightly named Dies, and the second is not unfitly named Casia. But she is well called Casia who is spread abroad with so strong an odour of a sublime life. For man, in his very beginning, in which he was created righteous, needed not such great virtues as he now requires. Because if he wished to remain as he had been created, he would have been able without difficulty to overcome his enemy placed without. But after that the adversary, through man’s consent, has forced his way into his inmost parts, he is now cast out with greater labour as conqueror, who would, when still an assailant, be repulsed without difficulty.


44. For many qualities now need to be displayed, which were not necessary in Paradise. For now we require the virtue of patience, laborious instruction in learning, chastening of the body, assiduity in prayer, confession of faults, a deluge of tears; none of which man wanted in truth on his creation, because by his very creation he enjoyed the blessing of salvation. For a bitter cup is held out to a sick man, that he may be restored to a state of health by the removal of disease. But a man in health is never ordered what to take in order to regain his strength, but what to avoid, lest he should be ill. We therefore display now greater zeal, when we do not preserve the health we possess, but endeavour to regain that which we have lost. And because all these efforts for our restoration, are supported by great opinions in Holy Church, the name of the second daughter justly smells as cassia; in order that, as the first daughter existed as ‘the day’ [‘dies’] through the dignity of her creation, the second may be ‘cassia’ through the fragrance of strength by the grace of redemption. Whence also it is said by the prophet to the same Redeemer on His coming; Myrrh and amber and cassia come from Thy garments, from the ivory steps, out of which the daughters of kings have delighted Thee in Thine honour. [Ps. 45, 8] For what is designated by the name of myrrh, amber, and cassia, except the sweetness of virtues? What is expressed by the ivory steps, except the ascent of proficients, which shines with great strength? Our Redeemer, therefore, when He comes, uses myrrh, amber, and cassia in His garment, because He scatters forth from His Elect, with whom He mercifully arrays Himself, the fragrance of the myrrh of virtue. And in them this odour is led on by ivory steps, because, in them an opinion of their virtues arises not from the show of pretence, but from the ascent of true and solid deeds. But it is well subjoined; Out of which the daughters of kings delighted Thee in Thine honour. For holy souls, which had been brought forth by the ancient fathers to the knowledge of the truth, delight their Redeemer in His honour, because they claim nothing to their own credit from all that they do well. But because the human race in its third condition, even when new fashioned for the resurrection of the flesh, is engaged in that concert of eternal praise, the third daughter is called Cornustibii. For what is expressed by ‘Cornustibii’ but the song of those that rejoice? For there is that truly fulfilled which is now said by the Prophet? Sing unto the Lord a new song. [Ps. 149, 1] It is there truly fulfilled, where the song of praise to God will be sung no longer by faith, but in a contemplation of His Person. There does our Creator receive from us the true songs of His praises, Who both made the human race ‘Dies’ by creating it, ‘Casia’ by redeeming it, and ‘Cornustibii’ by taking it to Himself. For we who were ‘light’ when created, and are now ‘casia’ by having been redeemed, shall at last be ‘cornustibii’ when engaged in the exultation of eternal praise. But before the Bride comes to the marriage chamber, she casts off from herself all filthiness of life, and preparing herself for the love of the Bridegroom, adorns and arrays herself with the beautifyings of virtues. For she studies to approve herself to the judgment of the inward Judge, and from being exalted in her inmost desires, to transcend the filthy habits of human conversation. Whence it is also well subjoined concerning the same daughters of blessed Job;

Ver. 15. But in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job.




45. For the souls of the Elect surpass, by the comeliness of their beauty, all the human race which lives after the fashion of men on the earth: and the more they slight themselves by outward affliction, the more truly do they array themselves within. Hence it is, that it is said by the Psalmist to Holy Church, which is adorned with the beauty of the Elect; the King hath greatly desired thy beauty. [Ps. 45, 11] Of whom it is added a little after; All the glory of this daughter of kings is from within. [ib. 13] For if she sought glory without, she would have no beauty within, for the king greatly to desire. And although many shine therein with the beauty of virtues, and surpass the merits of others by the very perfection of their conduct, yet some, because they are not able to attain to higher things, being conscious of their own weakness, are embraced in the bosom of her gentleness. For these, as far as they possess strength, avoid sins, although they do not fulfil higher excellencies as far as they desire. Yet God graciously receives them, and admits them to Himself in proportion to the recompense they deserve. Whence it also follows;

And their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.




46. Because then of the merit of the perfect they are said to be beautiful; but as being a type of the imperfect they also receive, as if they were weak, an inheritance among their brethren. For the practice of life in former times admitted not females to obtain an inheritance among males, because the severity of the Law, selecting the strong, and despising the weak, studied to sanction what was strict rather than what was merciful. But on the coming of our gracious Redeemer, let no one who is conscious of his infirmity despair of obtaining the inheritance of the heavenly patrimony. For our Father has granted to women also a right of succession among males, because amid the strong and perfect He admits the weak and humble to the lot of the heavenly inheritance. Whence the Truth Itself says in the Gospel; In My Father’s house are many mansions. [John 14, 2] For there are in truth many mansions with the Father, because in that equal life of blessedness each one obtains a different place according to his different desert. But he feels not the losses of this disparity, because that which he has received is quite sufficient for him. Sisters therefore come to an inheritance together with their brethren, because the weak are admitted thither together with the strong; in such wise that if any one through imperfection shall not be the highest, he may not through humility be shut out from his lot of the inheritance. And these mansions Paul well teaches us are apportioned to each one according to his merits, when he says; There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differeth from star in glory. [1 Cor. 15, 41] It follows;

Ver. 16. and last. But Job lived after these scourges a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even to the fourth generation, and he died an old man, and full of days.




47. In Holy Scripture a person is not easily recorded as ‘full of days,’ unless he is one whose conduct is praised in the same Scripture. For he is in truth void of days, who, even if he has lived ever so long, has wasted the time of his life in vanity. But he, on the other hand, is said to be ‘full of days,’ whose days pass not away and come to nought, but by the daily reward of good works, are treasured up with the just Judge, even after they have been passed.


48. But because there are some who wish to interpret these things also as typical of Holy Church, (whose wishes we must the rather obey, the more we must also rejoice at their spiritual understanding,) if we multiply fourteen by ten, we come to the number one hundred and forty. And the life of Holy Church is rightly reckoned as made up of ten and four, because by keeping both Testaments, and living both according to the ten commandments of the Law, and the four books of the Gospel, it is carried on to the height of perfection. Whence also, though the Apostle Paul wrote fifteen Epistles [He refers to the Epistle to the Laodicaeans, Col. 4, 16 which however is thought to be that to the Ephesians, including Laodicaea, as all Achaia is associated with Corinth. Some Fathers have quoted the Ep. to the Ephesians as ‘to the laodicaeans.’ There is a spurious Epistle in Hutter’s N. Test. 12. Linguarum, and one held by the Marcionites is rejected by St. Epiphanius. Ab. from Ben.], yet Holy Church does not retain more than fourteen, in order that the illustrious teacher might shew by the very number of his Epistles, that he had searched out the secrets of the Law and of the Gospel. But blessed Job is well said to ‘live’ after his scourgings, because Holy Church too is first smitten with the scourge of discipline, and afterwards strengthened by perfection of life. And she beholds also her sons, and her sons’ sons even to the fourth generation, because in this life, which rolls on through four seasons in the year, she beholds children daily born to her, by the mouths of preachers even to the end of the world. Nor is it inconsistent with the truth to say that times are designated by generations. For what is each succession but a kind of offshoot of a race? And when the butler of the king of Egypt had seen a dream which was throwing out three shoots, Joseph, who was endowed with the solution of dreams, declares that the three shoots designate three days. [Gen. 40, 10. 12.] If therefore the space of three days is expressed by three shoots, why should not also the four seasons of the year be typified by four generations? Holy Church, therefore, beholds her sons, when she beholds the first progeny of the faithful. She sees her sons’ sons, when she beholds that sons are begotten to the faith by these same faithful ones. And she dies also old and full of days, because in the light, which follows as a reward for her daily doings, having laid aside the weight of corruption, she is changed into the incorruption of the heavenly country. She dies, namely, full of days, since her days pass not away as they glide on, but are made firm by the recompense of her enduring deeds. She dies full of days, who in this transitory state works that which passes not away. Whence it is also said to the Apostles; Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life. [John 6, 27] Holy Church therefore loses not her days, even when she leaves the present life. Because she finds their lights more abundantly multiplied in her Elect, the more cautiously and anxiously she now guards herself in them from all temptation. The Church loses not her days, because she neglects not to examine herself watchfully day by day in this life, and is not weighed down with any sloth in all things which she is able rightly to perform. For hence is that which is said of her by Solomon; She considers the ways of her house, and eateth not her bread in idleness. [Prov. 13, 27] For she considers the ways of her house, because she accurately examines all the thoughts of her conscience. She eateth not her bread in idleness, because that which she learned out of Holy Scripture by her understanding, she places before the eyes of the Judge by exhibiting it in her works. But she is said to ‘die,’ because when the contemplation of eternity has absorbed her, it makes her entirely dead to this vicissitude of her changeableness, so that there lives no longer within her any thing to impede the keenness of inward vision. For she then more truly beholds inward things, the more entirely she is dead to all outward things. Let us both believe therefore that this death, this plenitude of days, has taken place in blessed Job, who is in truth one member of the Church; and let us hope that it is to take place in the whole Church together; in order that the truth of the history may be so maintained, that the prophecy of what is to take place may not be made void. For if the good deeds which we learn from the life of Saints are wanting in truth, they are nothing; if they contain no mysteries, they are of very little value. Let the life then of good men, which is described by the Holy Spirit, both shine upon us in its spiritual meaning, and yet let not its interpretation depart from belief in the history, in order that the mind may remain more firmly fixed in its understanding, the more hope binds it to the future, and faith to past, when standing, as it were, midway between them.


49. This work then being now completed, I see that I must go back to myself. For our mind, even when it endeavours to say what is right, is much distracted from itself. For when we think on how our words are spoken, it takes from the perfection of the mind, because it draws it out of itself. I must therefore return from the outward utterance of words to the council chamber [‘curiam’] of the heart, to summon together the thoughts of my mind in a kind of council of consultation, to examine myself, in order that I may there see, whether I have either incautiously said wrong things, or right things in a wrong way. For a right thing is then rightly spoken, when he who says it, seeks by what he says to please Him alone from Whom he has received it. And though I do not find that I have said any things that are wrong, yet I do not maintain that I have not said any at all. But if I have said any good things, by a gift from above, I profess that it is my own fault in truth that I have spoken them but imperfectly. For on returning to myself within, and putting aside the leaves of words, and the branches of sentences, when I look closely at the very root of my intention, I find that I specially desired to please God thereby. But yet the desire of human praise, in some unknown secret way, blends itself with this intention with which I strive to please God. And when I discern this slowly and at last, I find that I do a thing in one way, which I knew I began in another. For the desire of human praise, secretly joining itself, and meeting with it, as it were, on the way, frequently comes up with our intention, when it is rightly commenced before the eyes of God. As food is taken indeed as a matter of necessity, but when gluttony stealthily creeps in, as it is being eaten, the pleasure of eating is blended with it. Whence it frequently happens, that we finish for the sake of pleasure the bodily refreshment we begin for the sake of health. It must be confessed therefore that a less correct intention, which seeks to please men by means of the gifts of God, sometimes insidiously accompanies our right intention, which seeks to please God alone. But if we are strictly examined on these points by God, what place of safety remains for us therein, when both our evils are purely evil, and the good things we believe we possess, cannot possibly he purely good? But I believe it to be worth my while, to disclose without hesitation to the ears of my brethren all which I secretly blame in myself. For since in my exposition I have not concealed what I thought, in my confession I hide not what I suffer. By my exposition I have laid open my gifts, by my confession I discover my wounds. And because in this numerous race of men, there are not wanting little ones, who ought to be instructed by my words, nor yet great ones, who are able to pity my infirmity, when made known to them; in both these ways I confer assistance on some brethren, as far as I can, and hope for it from others. The one I have told in my exposition what to do; to the others I make known by my confession what to spare. From the one I withdraw not the healing remedies of my words; from the others I conceal not the laceration of my wounds. I pray therefore that every one who reads these books, may confer on me before the strict Judge the solace of his prayers, and wash away with his tears every filthiness which he discover, in me. But on comparing the virtues of prayer, and of exposition, my reader surpasses me in his recompense, if when he receives words by my means, he gives me tears in return.






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