Who alone spreads out the heavens, and treads upon the waves of the sea.
All Commentaries on Job 9:8 Go To Job 9
Gregory The Dialogist
10. For what is denoted by the name of ‘the heavens,’ but this very heavenly life of the persons preaching, of whom it is said by the Psalmist, The heavens declare the glory of God. Thus the same persons are recorded to be the heavens, and the same to be the sun; the heavens indeed, in that by interposing [intercedendo] they shield; the sun, in that by preaching they display the power of light. And so, upon the ‘earth being shaken’ ‘the heavens were spread out,’ in that when Judaea ravened in the violence of persecution, the Lord spread wide the life of the Apostles, for all the Gentiles to acquaint themselves withal. And whilst she in judgment being made captive is scattered over the world, they by grace are every where amplified in honour. For ‘the heavens’ were of small compass, so long as one people contained so many mighty preachers. For to which of the Gentiles would Peter have been known, if he had continued in the preaching to the Jewish people alone? Who would have known of Paul’s virtues, unless Judaea by persecuting him had transmitted him to our knowledge? See how already they, that were thrust off with scourges and with insults by the Israelitish people, are held in honour throughout the length and breadth of the world. The Lord alone then ‘has spread out the heavens,’ Who, by the wondrous ordering of His secret counsel, from the very cause, that He let His Preachers be persecuted in one people, caused them to spread out even to the comers of the world. But yet neither did this Gentile folk itself, which was devoted to the present world, when the tongues of the Apostles rebuked its iniquities, gladly welcome the words of life. For it forthwith swelled up in the pride of opposition, and roused itself to the cruelty of persecution. But she that sets herself to gainsay the words of preaching, is speedily subdued in wonderment at miraculous signs. Hence too the words are fitly added in praise of the Creator,
And treadeth upon the wave of the sea.
11. For what is denoted by the title of ‘the sea,’ but this world's bitterness raging in the destruction of the righteous? Concerning which it is said by the Psalmist too, He gathereth the waters of the sea together as in a skin. [Ps. 33, 7. Vulg.] For the Lord ‘gathereth the waters of the sea together as in a skin,’ when, disposing all things with a wonderful governance, He restrains the threats of the carnal pent up in their hearts. Thus ‘the Lord treadeth upon the waves of the sea.’ For when the storms of persecution lift up themselves, they are dashed in pieces in astonishment at His miracles. Since He that brings down the swellings of man's madness, as it were treads the waters standing up in a heap. Thus when the Gentile world saw that her form and fashion was undone through the preaching of the Apostles, when the rich sons of this world beheld poor men's deeds arrayed against their arrogance, when the wise men of this generation marked that the words of unlettered men were set in opposition to them, they swelled thereupon in a storm of persecution. Yet they who, being moved by the opposition of words, burst out in storms of persecution, are calmed, as we have said, by wonder at the miraculous signs. So the Lord set as many steps upon these waves, as He exhibited miracles to the persecutors in their pride. Whence it is well said again by the Psalmist, Marvellously the floods lift up their waves; marvellous is the Lord on high. [Ps. 93, 3. 4.] For against the life of the Elect the world has lifted itself wonderfully in waves of persecution, but the Creator of things above has still more marvellously put these down in the exaltation of the Preachers’ power; for He shewed that His ministers prevailed more in miracles above all that the powers of the earth had swelled unto in anger. Which the Lord moreover well delivered by the lips of Jeremiah, while relating outward things, telling of inward ones; I have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree that it cannot pass it; and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail: though they roar, yet can they not pass over it. [Jer. 5, 22] For ‘the Lord has placed the sand for the bound of the sea;’ in that He has made choice of the despised and poor to dash in pieces the glory of the world. ‘The waves of which same sea toss themselves,’ when the powers of the world leap forth in the uproar of persecution. Yet they cannot pass over the sand, in that they are broken in pieces by the miracles and the humility of the despised and scorned. But whilst the sea rages, while it is lifted up in the waves of its madness, yet whereas it is trodden upon by the manifestation of interior Power, Holy Church makes way, and by the accessions of time she rises to the station of her own rank [or ‘the establishing of her own order’]