Job 1:13

And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
All Commentaries on Job 1:13 Go To Job 1

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
71. In the hearts of the Elect wisdom is first engendered, before all the graces that follow; and she comes forth as it were a first born offspring by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now this wisdom is our faith, as the Prophet testifies, saying, If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not understand [E.V. be established]. [Is. 7, 9] For then we are truly wise to understand, when we yield the assent of our belief to all that our Creator says. Thus the sons are feasting in their eldest brother's house, when the other virtues are feasted in faith. But if this latter be not first produced in our hearts, all besides cannot be good, though it may seem to be good. The sons feast in their eldest brother's house, so long as our virtues are replenished with the good of holy writ, in the dwelling place of faith; for it is written, without faith it is impossible to please God [Heb. 11, 6]; and so our virtues taste the true feasts of life, when they begin to be sustained with the mysteries [sacramentis] of faith. The sons feast in their eldest brother's house, in that except the other virtues, filling themselves with the feast of wisdom; do wisely all that they seek to do, they can never be virtues. 72. But observe, while the good that we do is fed with the rich fare of wisdom and of faith, our enemy carries off the oxen that are plowing, and the asses feeding beside them, and kills the servants with the sword. What are the oxen plowing, except we understand our serious thoughts, which while they wear [conticiunt] the heart with diligent tillage, yield abundant fruits of increase? and what do we take to be the asses feeding beside them, but the simple emotions of the heart, which, whilst carefully withheld from straying in double ways, we feed in the free pasture of purity? But oftentimes the crafty enemy, spying out the serious thoughts of our heart, corrupts them under the cloak of that beguiling pleasure which he insinuates; and when he sees the simple emotions of the heart, he displays the subtleties and refinements of discoveries, that while we aim at praise for subtlety, we may part with the simplicity of a pure mind; and though he has not the power to draw us to a deed of sin, nevertheless by secret theft [subripiens] he spoils the thoughts of good things through his temptations, that while he is seen to trouble the good that is in their mind, he may seem as though he had completely made spoil of it. By the oxen ploughing may also be understood the intents of charity, whereby we endeavour to render service to others, when we desire to cleave the hardness of a brother's heart by preaching; and by the asses also, for that they never resist with a mad rage those that are loading them, may be signified the meekness of patience, and oftentimes our old enemy, seeing us anxious to benefit others by our words, plunges the mind into a certain sleepy state of inactivity, that we are not disposed to do good to others, even though our own concerns leave us at liberty. Accordingly he carries away the oxen that are ploughing, when, by insinuating sloth that causes negligence, he breaks the force of those inward purposes, which were directed to produce the fruit of a brother's welfare, and although the hearts of the Elect keep watch within the depths of their own thoughts, and, getting the better of it, take thought of the mischief, which they receive at the hands of the tempter; yet by this very circumstance, that he should prevail over the thoughts of good things though but for a moment, the malicious enemy exults in having gotten some booty. 73. Now oftentimes, when he sees the mind in a readiness to endure, he contrives to find out what it loves the best, and there sets his traps of offence; that the more the object is beloved, our patience may be the sooner disquieted by means of it. And indeed the hearts of the Elect ever return heedfully to themselves, and chastise themselves sorely, even for the slighest impulse to go wrong, and whilst by being moved they learn how they should have stood fast, they are sometimes the more firmly established for being shaken. But the ancient enemy, when he puts out our purposes of patience, though but for a moment, exults that he has, as it were, carried off the asses from the field of the heart. Now in the things which we determine to do we carefully consider, with the watchfulness of reason, what is proper, and to what cases. But too often the enemy, by rushing upon us with the sudden impulse of temptation, and coming unawares before the mind's looking out, slays as it were with the sword the very servants that are keeping watch, yet one escapes to tell that the rest [alia] is lost; for in whatsoever the mind is affected by the enemy, the discernment of reason ever returns to it, and she doth in a certain sense shew that she hath escaped alone, which doth resolutely consider with herself all that she has undergone. So then all the rest perish, and one alone returns home, when the motions of the heart are in the time of temptation put to rout, and then discernment comes back to the conscience; that whatever the mind, which has been caught by a sudden onset, calculates that she has lost, she may recover, when bowed down with heartfelt contrition.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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