Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Gregory the Great: Natural Law in Moralia in Job

GREGORY THE GREAT, GREGORIUS MAGNUS, one of only three popes called the "great" by popular acclamation (the other two being Leo I and Nicholas I, and perhaps we may include a third, John Paul II), is one of the four original Latin Doctors of the Church along with Sts. Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine, and one of six Latin Fathers in addition to Tertullian and Cyprian of Carthage. St. Gregory was born circa 540, and died in 605 A.D., the great closer of the Patristic age and initiator of the Medieval age, as he stands athwart both ages like a Christian colossus. Born into a wealthy Christian family with ties to the Church (St. Gregory's great-great grandfather was Pope Felix III, three of his paternal aunts were nuns, his father was a Regionairius in the Roman Church, and his mother, Sylvia, is regarded as a saint), Gregory had a privileged life and education. He knew Latin, but not much Greek.

In 579, Pope Pelagius II selected Gregory, despite his weakness in the Greek tongue, to be his ambassador to the imperial court in Constantinople, an office called apocrisiarius or ἀποκρισιάριος, a position that he held for six years, but without any particular merit. Gregory returned to Rome in 585, where he returned to the monastic life he felt called to. In 590, however, he was elected to succeeed Pope Pelagius II, a position he was to hold for fourteen fruitful years. And so through his felt duty to the Church, he left his beloved monastic regime, and dedicated himself to the Church Roman and Catholic, the servus servorum Dei.

Pope St. Gregory the Great by Carlo Saraceni

Gregory's papacy proved far more fruitful than his position as apocrisiarius. Elected to the office of papacy when "his world," as Frederic James Edward Raby wrote invoking the Dies irae, "was a world 'without any order,' in which natural law was unknown, a world of demons and witchcraft, of miracles and wonders, and over it all was spread the horror of that day
When shriveling like a parchèd scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll."
(Quoted in Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism, 350-750: The Conversion of Western Europe (Univ. Penn. Press, 1986), 86-87.

Fourteen centuries later, Pope St. Pius X was to praise St. Gregory in his Encyclical Iucunda sane (1904), No.
36, extolling him for his efforts in promoting "the ever more perfect observance of the natural law inscribed in our hearts, and consequently the greater welfare of the individual, the family, and universal society." These efforts tempered the "ferocity of the barbarians" and educated them to gentleness, freed women from subjection, repressed slavery, restored order, recognized justice, proclaimed true liberty of souls, and assured social and domestic peace. A missionary at heart, St. Gregory is known for sending St. Augustine of Cantebury to Anglo-Saxon England to convert those persons who were not so much Angles as angels (Non Angli, sed angeli). He is also regarded as a significant liturgical reformer, and is popularly regarded as the originator of "Gregorian chant." For this reason, he is frequently shown with the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove speaking into his ear. He is considered the first of the medieval popes. He brought a measured order to the world and its polity and peoples, just like he brought order to the sacred liturgy and to its song. The energetic St. Gregory did much to increase the dignity of the papacy, and was the author of numerous works, including sermons, epistles, the Dialogues, the Moralia in Job or Commentary on Job (also known as the Magna Moralia), and the Rule for Pastors. The Moralia in Job is regarded as the source of the traditional list of the seven deadly sins: luxuria (extravagance), gula (gluttony), avaritia (avarice/greed), acedia (acedia or apathy), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), and superbia (pride).

St. Gregory's Tomb at St. Peter's in Rome

With regard to his teachings on the natural law, we will focus on his Moralia in Job. The work is also known by various other titles, Moralia, sive Expositio in Job, the Expositio in librum Job sive Moralium libri xxxv. Regardless, St. Gregory's Magna Moralia, should not be confused with a work of Aristotle by the same name. In St. Gregory's Magna Moralia or Moralia in Job, Job, a non-Jew, was often considered as an example of how a man, without the Mosaic law, could live a good life by conforming himself with the natural law. This law, which may be said to have two precepts--love of God and love of neighbor, which latter is nothing but the Golden Rule--shows itself displayed in manifold ways in the life of the Patriarchs, in Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Saints. Ultimately, for St. Gregory, the natural law is all about that certain kind of love with God at its heart: charity, caritas.

In the Preface to his work Moralia in Job, St. Gregory notes that Job is a Gentile, and not a Jew. He is offered as an exemplar to the Church as one who, though outside the Mosaic law, yet lived in accordance with the natural law, and was accounted as righteous, even by those under the Mosaic law. Job was "a Gentile . . . handed down to be our example, that as he is set under the Law disdains to pay obedience to the law, he may at least be roused by comparing himself with him, who without the Law lived as by law (ut quia obedire homo legi sub lege positus despicit, ejus saltem comparatione evigilet, qui sine lege legaliter vixit)." Mor. Job, pref., ii. "The Law then was given to one gone astray (Erranti igitur homini data est lex); but when even under the Law he still strays, he has the testimony of those brought before him, who are without the pale of the Law (qui extra legem sunt), that forasmuch as we would not keep to the order of our creation (ut quia conditionis nostrae ordinem servare noluimus), we might be admonished of our duty by precepts, and because we scorned to obey the precepts, we might be shamed by examples, not, as we have said, the examples of those who had the restraint of the Law, (quos lex astringeret) but of those who had no law to restrain them from sin (quos lex a peccato nulla cohiberet)." Mor. Job, pref., ii.

"Or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light." (Job 3:16)

Miniature from Medieval Manuscript of St. Gregory's Moralia

Gregory interprets Job 3:16 as a reference to the those outside the law, either as a result of their historical existence prior to Moses, or as a result of being outside the household of Israel, i.e., the Gentiles. Those who fell under the Patriarchal religion, "who had not the tables of the Law," qui conscriptae legis tabulas non habentes, are as abortive children, "born before the full period, being dead . . . ." The abortive children nevertheless are not stillborn, as they are "the Elect, who from the beginning of the world lived before the time of the Redemption, and yet studied to mortify themselves to this world." Mor. Job, IV, xxxii.

They did this not by following the Mosaic law, which had not yet been given, but by following the natural law. "Those who had not the tables of the Law, 'died' as it were 'from the womb,' in that it was by the natural law that they fear their Creator, and believing the Mediator would come, they strove to the best of their power, by mortifying their pleasures, to keep even those very precepts, which they had not received in writing." Qui conscriptae legis tabulas non habentes, quasi ab utero mortui sunt, quia auctorem suum naturali lege timuerunt; et cum venturum Mediatorem crederent, siuduerunt summopere, mortificandis voluptatibus, etiam quae scriptae non acceperant praecepta servare. Mor. Job, IV, xxxii.

It is during this hidden time, before the Law was given through Moses, that we find the special mention of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, patriarchs that stand out by special mention from "by far the largest portion of mankind [that] is hidden from our sight." Mor. Job, IV, xxxii.

"Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox at his full manger?" (Job 6:5)

Nativity of Christ with Ox and Ass by Lorenzo Monaco

All mankind is separated into asses and oxen, Gentile or Jew. For Gregory, the ass represents the Gentiles, "which, as nature has produced it without the stalls of training, so has continued roaming abroad in the field of its pleasures." The ox represents the Jewish people, "which being bowed down to the yoke of the dominion above, in gathering together proselytes unto home, drew the ploughshare of the Law through all the hearts that it was able." Mor. Job, VII, vii. The food for both--"the 'grass' of the wild ass then, and the ox's 'fodder,'" is the Incarnation of Christ, foretold by the Jewish Law and the Jewish prophets, and intimated even by the hunger or longing of the Gentiles. "All flesh is grass," as Isaiah states (Is. 40:6), and "the Creator of the universe taking flesh of our substance, willed to be made 'grass,' that our flesh might not remain grass for ever . . ." Christ, by taking on himself a human body in the Incarnation, gave himself up, even his very flesh and blood, as food for all mankind, thus satisfying the braying Gentile and the lowing Jew. Mor. Job, VII, vii. Thus, it would seem, that either by nature or by Mosaic law, both Jew and Gentile, ass and ox, are drawn to their fulfillment in Christ. It is as if both the natural law and the Mosaic law are servile worshippers of the Incarnate Lord in his manger in Bethlehem.

"Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? Or can anyone taste, what by being tasted brings death?" (Job 6:6)

Miniature from Medieval Manuscript of St. Gregory's Moralia

The Jewish law, interpreted carnally and not spiritually, was without salt, and thus not tasteful to the Gentile. "In the Law, the virtue of the hidden meaning is the salt of the letter." Mor. Job, VII, viii. The "savour of a hidden sense lay at the bottom of the Law," namely Christ. "Or can anyone taste, what by being tasted brings death? (Job 6:6b). The Law, "if tasted in a carnal way, 'brought death,' in that it seized the misdeeds of transgressors with a severe visitation; it 'brought death,' in that both by the injunction it made known the sin, and did not by grace put it away, as Paul testifies, saying The Law made nothing perfect." [Heb. 7:19] And again, Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. And soon after, But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good. [Rom. 7:12, 13] But the Gentile world, when turned to Christ, in that it understands Him to be sounding in the words of the Law, being straitened by its desires looks for Him, Whom it ardently loves, in a spiritual way amongst carnal precepts. Mor. Job, VII, ix.

"Who sealeth the hand of all men, that every one may know his works." (Job 37:7)

Pope St. Gregory the Great by Francisco Zubarán

Here one can quote St. Gregory in full:
But this can also be understood in another sense. For the Almighty Creator has made man a rational creature, distinguished from all which are void of sense and reason; in order that he should not be ignorant of what he has done. For he is compelled by the law of nature to know whether what he is doing is right or wrong. For why is he brought to judgment for his conduct, if he could be ignorant of what he has done? And therefore even they, who scorn to be instructed by the precepts of the Lord, know whether they things they are doing are good or evil. For if they do not know they are doing good, why do they ostentatiously boast of some of their doings? Again, if they know not that they are doing wrong, why do they shrink from the eyes of others in these very doings? For they are witnesses to themselves, that they know what they are doing is wrong, because they are ashamed of being seen by others. For if they did not really believe it to be wrong, they would not be afraid of its being seen by others. Whence it is well said by a certain wise man; When wickedness is fearful, it beareth testimony to its own condemnation. [Wis. 17:11] For when fear assails and convicts the conscience of what it has done, it furnishes testimony against itself, that its conduct is deserving of condemnation. The contrary to which is said by John, If our heart condemn us not, we have confidence toward God. [1 John 3:21] Let the wicked fly then from the eyes of men; they certainly cannot fly from themselves. For that they know the sin which they commit, they have their conscience as a witness, they have their reason as a judge. In the sin therefore which they commit, they first find the judgment of their reason against them, and they are afterwards brought to the strictures of the eternal judgment. And this is perhaps that which is said by the Psalmist, Deep calleth unto deep with the voice of They water-spouts. [Ps. 42:7] Because, when by a wondrous course of secret dispensation, the evil which is committed is not suffered to be unknown, a sinner both condemns himself at once in his conscience by his own sentence, and after his own condemnation hastens to the sentence of the eternal Judge. For deep then to call on deep, is to pass from one judgment to another.

Creator namque omnipotens a cunctis insensibilibus irrationabilibusque distinctum rationabilem creaturam hominem condidit, quatenus quod egerit ignorare non possit. Naturae enim lege scire compellitur, seu pravum sive rectum sit quod operatur. Nam ad judicium pro actione cur venit, si potuit nescire quod egit? Et ipsis ergo qui praeceptis dominicis erudiri contemnunt, utrum bona an mala sint quae faciunt sciunt. Nam si bona se facere nesciunt, cur de aliquibus factis in ostentatione gloriantur? Rursum si male se agere ignorant, cur in eisdem factis alienos oculus declinant? Ipsi enim sibi testes sunt, quia sciunt malum esse quod agunt, quod videri ab aliis verentur. Si enim veraciter malum esse crederent, nequaquam hoc ab aliis videri formidarent. Unde et bene per quemdam sapientem dicitur: Cum sit timida nequitia, dat testimonium condemnationi (Sap. xvii, 10). Quia dum de facto suo conscientiam pulsans timor redarguit, ipsa sibi testimonium perhibet damnabile case quod agit. Quo contra per Joannem dicitur: Si cor nostrum non reprehenderit nos, fiduciam habemus apud Deum (I Joan. III, 21). Fugian ergo iniqui humanos oculos, semetipsos certe fugere non possunt. Quia enim malum quod faciunt noverunt, habent testem conscientiam, habent judicem rationem suam. In peccato igitur quod committunt prius contra se judicium suae rationis inveniunt. Et hoc est fortasse quod per Psalmistam dicitur: Abyssus abyssum invocat in voce cataractarum tuarum (Psal. XLI, 8). Quia dum miro ordine dispositionis occultae maium non permittitur nesciri quod agitur, et suo se jam judicio peccator in conscientia condemnat, et post condemnationem propriam ad aeterni judicis setentiam properat. Abyssum ergo abyssum invocare est de judicio ad judicium pervenire.
Mor. Job, XXVII.xxv

"And that He would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, and that her law is manifold." (Job 11:6)

Medieval Depiction of St. Gregory the Great

It is not given to man's estate to know God's wisdom, as "few have strength to investigate, and no man has strength to find out." Divine wisdom "is ordained not unjustly above us, and concerning us, by immortal Wisdom," that it "should be bidden from us while yet in a mortal state." Any of mankind that searches for God's wisdom will experience what St. Paul did, and will learn that "being unable to attain to the secrets of God, " he must return "back to the recognition of his own weakness, and by thus falling short, [recall] himself to the instructing of himself, in not finding out the secrets of wisdom, so to say, he did find them out." In other words, we grow wise when we learn that we are not wise before God. Man's wisdom is gained through humility, as "the man whom his own weakness kept back from the interior knowledge, humility did more thoroughly unite thereto." Mor. Job, X.vi

Job's companion Zophar is an exemplar of how the lack of humility results in the loss of wisdom. Zophar "is both instructed by the pursuit of knowledge, and uninstructed by the effrontery of highswoln [greatly swollen] speech." But he appropriately points to God: "But oh that God would speak with thee, and open His lips unto thee; that He might shew thee the secrets of wisdom." And in doing so he adds: "And that her law is manifold." Mor. Job, X.vi
What should the ‘law’ of God be here taken to mean, saving charity, whereby we ever read in the inward parts after what manner the precepts of life should be maintained in outward action?" asks St. Gregory. "For concerning this Law it is delivered by the voice of ‘Truth,’ This is My commandment, that ye love one another. [John 15, 12] Concerning it Paul says, Love is the fulfilling of the law. [Rom. 13, 10] Concerning it he saith again, Bear ye one another's burthens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. [Gal. 6, 2] For what can the Law of Christ be more fitly understood to mean than charity, which we then truly fulfill when we bear the burthens of our brethren from the principle of love?
Mor. Job, X.vi. The law of love or charity (caritas) is also called manifold because "full of eager solicitude" it "dilates into all deeds of virtue." It starts with two simple precepts, but ramifies into numerous branches:
It sets out indeed with but two precepts, but it reaches out into a countless number. For the beginning of this Law is, the love of God, and the love of our neighbour. But the love of God is distinguished by a triple division. For we are bidden to love our Maker ‘with all our heart’ and ‘with all our soul’ and ‘with all our might.’ Wherein we are to take note that when the Sacred Word lays down the precept that God should be loved, it not only tells us with what, but also instructs us with how much, in that it subjoins, ‘with all;’ so that indeed he that desires to please God perfectly, must leave to himself nothing of himself. And the love of our neighbour is carried down into two precepts, since on the one hand it is said by a certain righteous man, Do that to no man which thou hatest. [Tob. 4, 15] And on the other ‘Truth’ saith by Himself, Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. [Mat. 7, 12] By which two precepts of both Testaments, by the one an evil disposition is restrained, and by the other a good disposition charged upon us, that every man not doing the ill which he would not wish to suffer, should cease from the working of injuries, and again that rendering the good which he desires to be done to him, he exert himself for the service of his neighbour in kindness of heart. But while these same two are thought on with heedful regard, the heart is made to open itself wide in innumerable offices of virtue, lest whether for the admitting of things which it ought not, the mind being agitated be heated by passions; or for the setting forth of whatsoever it ought, being undone by indolence, it may be rendered inactive. For when it guards against doing to another what it would not on any account itself undergo at the hands of another, it looks about itself on every side with a heedful eye, lest pride lift it up, and while cutting down set up the soul even to contempt of our neighbour; lest coveting mangle the thought of the heart, and while stretching it wide to desire the things of another, straitly confine it; lest lust pollute the heart, and corrupt it, thus become the slave of its passions, in forbidden courses; lest anger increase, and inflame it even to giving vent to insult; lest envy gnaw it, and lest jealous of the successes of others it consume itself with its own torch; lest loquacity drive on the tongue beyond all bounds of moderation, and draw it out even to the extent of license in slander; lest bad feeling stir up hatred, and set on the lips even to let loose the dart of cursing. Again, when it thinks how it may do to another what it looks for at the hands of another for itself, it considers how it may return good things for evil, and better things for good; how to exhibit towards the impertinent the meekness of longsuffering; how to render the kindness of good will to them that pine with the plague of malice, how to join the contentious with the bands of peace, how to train up the peaceable to the longing desire of true Peace; how to supply necessary things to those that are in need; how to shew to those that be gone astray the path of righteousness; how to soothe the distressed by words and by sympathy; how to quench by rebuke those that burn in the desires of the world; how by reasoning to soften down the threats of the powerful, how to lighten the bands of the oppressed by all the means that he is master of; how to oppose patience to those that offer resistance without; how to set forth to those that are full of pride within a lesson of discipline together with patience; how, with reference to the misdeeds of those under our charge, mildness may temper zeal, so that it never relax from earnestness for the rule of right; how zeal may be so kindled for revenge, that yet by kindling thus it never transgress the bounds of pity; how to stir the unthankful to love by benefits; how to preserve in love all that are thankful by services; how to pass by in silence the misdoings of our neighbour, when he has no power to correct them; how when they may be amended by speaking to dread silence as consent to them; how to submit to what he passes by in silence, yet so that none of the poison of annoyance bury itself in his spirit; how to exhibit the service of good will to the malicious, yet not so as to depart from the claims of righteousness from kindness; how to render all things to his neighbours that he is master of, yet in thus rendering them not to be swelled with pride; in the good deeds which he sets forth to shrink from the precipice of pride, yet so as not to slacken in the exercise of doing good; so to lavish the things which he possesses as to take thought how great is the bounteousness of his Rewarder, lest in bestowing earthly things he think of his poverty more than need be, and in the offering of the gift a sad look obscure the light of cheerfulness.
Mor. Job, X.vi. The law of charity is also manifold in that it shows itself in manifold works. And here we may turn again to the Old Testament saints: to Abel, to Enoch, to Noah, to his sons Shem and Japhet, to Isaac, to Abraham, to Jacob and to Joseph, to Moses, Phineas, and Joshua, Samuel, David, Nathan, the prophets Isaiah, Elijah and Elisha, Ezekiel, and Daniel. We may turn to the New Testament saints as well, to Peter and to Paul. All these were moved by the Law that is love.

Abel, as a result of this law, "both presented chosen gifts to God, and without resistance submitted to the brother's sword."

Enoch this law "taught to live in a spiritual way among men, and even in the body carried him away from men to a life above."

Noah the law "exhibited the only one pleasing to God when all were disregarded, and she exercised him on the building of the ark with application to a long labour, and she preserved him the survivor of the world by the practice of religious works."

Shem and Japhet the law of love "humbly felt shame at the father's nakedness, and with a cloak thrown over their shoulders hid that which she looked not on."

Abraham "she lifted the right hand of, "for the death of his son in the yielding of obedience, made him the father of a numberless offspring of the Gentiles. "

Isaac's mind the law "kept . . . in purity, when his eyes were now dim with age, opened it wide to see events that should come to pass long after."

Jacob the law "constrained . . . the same time to bewail from the core of his heart the good child taken from him, and to bear with composure the presence of the wicked ones. "

Joseph the law instructed, "when sold by his brethren, both to endure servitude with unbroken freedom of spirit, and not to lord it afterwards over those brethren with a high mind. "

Moses, "when the people erred," the law "at once prostrated [him] in prayer, even to the beseeching for death, and lifted him up in eagerness of indignant feeling even to the extent of slaying the people; so that he should both offer himself to die in behalf of the perishing multitude, and in the stead of the Lord in His indignation straightway let loose his rage against them when they sinned."

Phineas the law taught to lift his arm, "in revenge of the guilty souls, that he should pierce them as they lay with the sword he had seized, and that by being wroth he might appease the wrath of the Lord."

Joshua this law instructed, "so that he both first vindicated the truth by his word against his false countrymen, and afterwards asserted it with his sword against foreign enemies."

Samuel the law of love rendered "lowly in authority, and kept him unimpaired in his low estate, who, in that he loved the people that persecuted him, became himself a witness to himself that he loved not the height from whence he was thrust down."

David "before the wicked king [Saul]," the law "at once urged with humility to take flight, and filled with pitifulness to grant pardon; who at once in fearing fled from his persecutor, as his lord, and yet, when he had the power of smiting him, did not acknowledge him as an enemy."

Nathan the law of love "both uplifted . . . against the king on his sinning in the authoritativeness of a free rebuke, and, when there was no guilt resting on the king, humbly prostrated him in making request."

Isaiah the law "blushed not for nakedness of the flesh in the work of preaching, and the fleshly covering withdrawn, she penetrated into heavenly mysteries."

Elijah this law of love "taught . . . to live spiritually with the earnestness of a fervent soul, carried him off even in the body also to enter into life."

Elisha the law taught to "love his master with a single affection, filled him with a double portion of his master's spirit."

Jeremiah "withstood that the people should not go down into Egypt, and yet by cherishing them even when they were disobedient he even himself went down where he forbad the going down."

Ezekiel the law first raised "from all earthly objects of desire, afterwards suspended him in the air by a lock of his head."

Daniel the law "refrained his appetite from the royal dainties, closed for him the very mouths of the hungry lions," and in the three children, the law "quenched the flames of evil inclinations in them whilst in a condition of peace, in the season of affliction abated the very flames in the furnace."

Peter, the law "stoutly withstood the threats of frowning rulers, and in the setting aside of the rite of circumcision, she heard the words of inferiors with humility."

Paul, for the law and in the law "both meekly bore the violence of persecutors, and yet in the matter of circumcision boldly rebuked the notion of one by great inequality his superior."

"‘Manifold’ then is this Law of God," St. Gregory concludes after his list of Biblical characters who responded to the one law of love of God and love of neighbor, and "which undergoing no change accords with the several particulars of events, and being susceptible of no variation yet blends itself with varying occasions."
The multiplicity of which same law, Paul rightly counts up, in the words, Charity suffereth long, and is kind, envieth not, vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. For charity ‘suffereth long,’ in that she bears with composure the ills that are brought upon her. She ‘is kind,’ in that she renders good for evil with a bounteous hand, She ‘envieth not,’ in that from her coveting nought in the present life, she thinketh not to envy earthly successes. She ‘is not puffed up,’ in that whereas she eagerly desires the recompense of the interior reward, she does not lift herself up on the score of exterior good things. She ‘doth not behave herself unseemly,’ in that in proportion as she spreads herself out in the love of God and our neighbour alone, whatever is at variance with the rule of right is unknown to her. She is not covetous, in that as she is warmly busied within with her own concerns, she never at all covets what belongs to others, ‘She seeketh not her own,’ in that all that she holds here by a transitory tenure, she disregards as though it were another's, in that she knows well that nothing is her own but what shall stay with her. She ‘is not easily provoked,’ in that even when prompted by wrongs she never stimulates herself to any motions of self avenging, whilst for her great labours she looks hereafter for greater rewards. She ‘thinketh no evil,’ in that basing the soul in the love of purity, while she plucks up all hatred by the roots, she cannot harbour in the mind aught that pollutes. She ‘rejoiceth not in iniquity,’ in that as she yearns towards all men with love alone, she does not triumph even in the ruin of those that are against her, but she ‘rejoiceth in the truth,’ in that loving others as herself, by that which she beholds right in others she is filled with joy as if for the growth of her own proficiency. ‘Manifold,’ then, is this ‘Law of God,’ which by the defence of its instructiveness is proof against the dart of every sin which assaults the soul for its destruction, so that whereas our old enemy besets us with manifold encompassing, she may in many ways rid us of him. Which Law if we consider with heedful attention, we are made to know how greatly we sin each day against our Maker. And if we thoroughly consider our sins, then assuredly we bear afflictions with composure, nor is anyone precipitated into impatience by pain, when conscience gives itself up by its own sentence. Hence Zophar, knowing what it was that he said, but not knowing to whom he said it, after he had premised the words, That He would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, and that her Law is manifold, forthwith adds, And that thou mightest know that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
Mor. Job, X.vi.


The Ecstasy of St. Gregory the Great by Peter Paul Rubens

Note: All English quotations from St. Gregory's Moralia in Job are taken from the Oxford Parker Edition (1844). It may be coveniently accessed thither: http://summa.blogspot.com/2009/08/gregory-great-moralia-in-job.html.





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