Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it.
All Commentaries on Job 4:12 Go To Job 4
Gregory The Dialogist
50. For the invisible Son is called ‘the hidden Word,’ concerning Whom John saith, In the beginning was the Word. [John 1, 1] Which he the same person teaches to be ‘hidden’ in that he adds, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But this ‘hidden Word’ is delivered to the minds of the Elect, when the power of the Only-Begotten Son is made manifest to believers. By ‘the hidden word’ we may also understand the communication of inward Inspiration, concerning which it is said by John, His anointing teacheth you of all things. [1 John 2, 27] Which same inspiration on being communicated to the mind of man lifts it up, and putting down all temporal interests inflames it with eternal desires, that nothing may any longer yield it satisfaction but the things that are above, and that it may look down upon all, that, from human corruption, is in a state of uproar below. And so to hear ‘the hidden word’ is to receive in the heart the utterance of the Holy Spirit. Which same indeed can never be known save by him, by whom it may be possessed. And hence it is said by the voice of Truth concerning this hidden utterance, And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with, you for ever; even The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive. [John 14, 16. 17.] For as that ‘Comforter,’ after the Ascension of the Mediator, being another Consoler of mankind, is in Himself invisible, so He inflames each one that He has filled to long after the invisible things. And because worldly hearts are set upon the things that are seen alone, the world receiveth Him not, because it doth not rise up to the love of the things that are unseen. For worldly minds, in proportion as they spread themselves out in interests without, contract the bosom of the heart against the admission of Him. And because out of mankind there are few indeed, who, being purified from the pollution of earthly desires, are opened by that purification to the receiving of the Holy Spirit, this word is called ‘a hidden word,’ since, surely, there are particular persons that receive that in the heart, which the generality of men know nothing of. Or truly this same inspiration of the Holy Spirit is ‘a hidden word,’ in that it may be felt, but cannot be expressed by the noise of speech. When, then, the inspiration of God lifts up the soul without noise, ‘a hidden word’ is heard, in that the utterance of the Spirit sounds silently in the ear of the heart. And hence it is added;
And mine ear as it were stealthily received the veins of the whispering thereof.
51. The ear of the heart ‘receives stealthily the veins of heavenly whispering,’ in that both in a moment and in secret the inspired soul is made to know the subtle quality of the inward utterance. For except it bury itself from external objects of desire, it fails to enter into the internal things. It is both hidden that it may hear, and it hears that it may be hidden; in that at one and the same time being withdrawn from the visible world its eyes are upon the invisible, and being replenished with the unseen, it entertains a perfect contempt for what is visible. But it is to be observed that he does not say, Mine ear received as it were by stealth the whispering thereof; but the veins of the whispering thereof; for ‘the whispering of the hidden word’ is the very utterance of inward Inspiration itself; but ‘the veins of the whispering’ is the name for the sources of the occasions whereby that inspiration itself is conveyed to the mind. For it is as if It opened ‘the veins of its whispering,’ when God secretly communicates to us in what ways He enters into the ear of our understandings. Thus at one time He pierces us with love, at another time with terror. Sometimes He shews us how little the present scene of things is, and lifts up our hearts to desire the eternal world, sometimes He first points to the things of eternity, that these of time may after that grow worthless in our eyes. Sometimes He discloses to us our own evil deeds, and thence draws us on even to the point of feeling sorrow for the evil deeds of others also. Sometimes He presents to our eyes the evil deeds of others, and reforms us from our own wickedness, pierced with a wonderful feeling of compunction. And so to ‘hear the veins of Divine whispering by stealth,’ is to be made to know the secret methods of divine Inspiration, at once gently and secretly.
52. Though we may interpret whether ‘the whispering’ or ‘the veins of whispering’ in another way yet. For he that ‘whispers’ is speaking in secret, and he does not give out, but imitates a voice. We, therefore, so long as we are beset by the corruptions of the flesh, in no wise behold the brightness of the Divine Power, as it abides unchangeable in itself, in that the eye of our weakness cannot endure that which shines above us with intolerable lustre from the ray of His Eternal Being. And so when the Almighty shews Himself to us by the chinks of contemplation, He does not speak to us, but whispers, in that though He does not fully develope Himself, yet something of Himself He does reveal to the mind of man. But then He no longer whispers at all, but speaks, when His appearance is manifested to us in certainty. It is hence that Truth saith in the Gospel, I shall shew you plainly of the Father. [John 16, 25] Hence John saith, For we shall see Him as He is. [1 John 3, 2] Hence Paul saith, Then shall I know even as also I am known. [1 Cor. 13, 12.] Now in this present time, the Divine whispering has as many veins for our ears as the works of creation, which the Divine Being Himself is Lord of; for while we view all things that are created, we are lifted up in admiration of the Creator. For as water that flows in a slender stream is sought by being bored for through veins, with a view to increase it, and as it pours forth the more copiously, in proportion as it finds the veins more open, so we, whilst we heedfully gather the knowledge of the Divine Being from the contemplation of His creation, as it were open to ourselves the ‘veins of His whispering,’ in that by the things that we see have been made, we are led to marvel at the excellency of the Maker, and by the objects that are in public view, that issues forth to us, which is hidden in concealment. For He bursts out to us in a kind of sound as it were, whilst He displays His works to be considered by us, wherein He betokens Himself in a measure, in that He shews how Incomprehensible He is. Therefore, because we cannot take thought of Him as He deserves, we hear not His voice, yea, scarcely His whispering. For because we are not equal to form a full and perfect estimate of the very things that are created, it is rightly said, Mine ear as it were by stealth received the veins of whispering; in that being cast forth from the delights of paradise, and visited with the punishment of blindness, we scarcely take in ‘the veins of whispering;’ since His very marvellous works themselves we consider but hastily and slightly. But we must bear in mind, that in proportion as the soul being lifted up contemplates His excellency, so being held back it shrinks from His righteous perfectness [rectitudinem].