The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his rebuke.
All Commentaries on Job 26:11 Go To Job 26
Gregory The Dialogist
41. Because very often in Holy Writ, as we said above, by the name of ‘waters’ peoples are denoted; the Lord compasseth the waters with bounds; because He so tempers the knowledge of mankind: that until the successions of the changing seasons pass away, it cannot perfectly attain to the knowledge of the Interior Brightness. But if by the name of ‘light’ we understand the righteous, and by the designation of ‘darkness’ sinners; (and hence Paul saith, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light, [Eph. 5, 8]) there is nothing to hinder this same thing that we said being understood, ‘that the perfect knowledge of eternity is vouchsafed to no one, until the course of the righteous and of the unrighteous is brought to an end.’ But because it is not wonderful that carnal people know nothing of things above, the holy man lifts himself up in astonishment at that same Divine power, and considers that it surpasses the very knowledge of Angels and perfect men as well, saying,
The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his nod.
42. What else does he call ‘the pillars of heaven’ but the holy Angels, or the principal preachers of the Church, over whom in the heavenly world the whole structure of the spiritual edifice increasing arose, as Holy Scripture elsewhere bears witness, saying, Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God. [Rev. 3, 12] For whoever is established firmly by a right purpose of mind in the work of God, is set up as a pillar in the structure of the spiritual edifice; that being placed in this temple, which is the Church, he should be both for usefulness and ornament. But Job calls those ‘pillars of heaven’ whom the Apostle calls ‘pillars’ of the Church, saying, Peter, and James, and John, which seemed to be pillars, gave me the right hand. [Gal. 2, 9]
43. We may also not inappropriately interpret the ‘pillars of heaven’ the Churches themselves, which being many in number, constitute one Catholic Church spread over the whole face of the earth. Hence too the Apostle John writes to the seven Churches, meaning to denote the one Catholic Church replenished with the Spirit of sevenfold grace, and we know that Solomon said of the Lord, Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars. [Prov. 9, 1] And the same, to make known that it was of the seven Churches he had spoken that, in going on sedulously introduced the very Sacraments themselves too, saying, She hath killed her sacrifices, she hath mingled her wine, she hath also set forth her table; she hath sent forth her maidens, that they may cry to the citadel and to the walls of the city. If any be a little one, let him come to me. [Prov. 9, 2–4] For the Lord ‘killed the sacrifices’ by offering Himself on our behalf. He ‘mingled the wine,’ blending together the cup of His precepts from the historical narration and the spiritual signification. Whence it is elsewhere written, For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture. [Ps. 75, 8] And ‘He set forth His table,’ i.e. Holy Writ, which with the bread of the word refreshes us when we are wearied, and come to Him away from the burthens of the world, and by its effect of refreshing strengthens us against our adversaries. Whence too it is elsewhere said by the Church; Thou preparest a table before me, against them that trouble me. [Ps. 23, 5] He ‘sent forth His maidens,’ i.e. the souls of the Apostles, being in their actual beginning infirm [i.e. thence called maidens, see on Job 1, 2 Bk I. §. 20. T. 1.], ‘that they might cry to the citadel and the walls of the city;’ in that whilst they tell of the interior life, they lift us up to the high walls of the City Above, which same walls, surely, except any be humble they do not ascend. Whence it is there added by that same Wisdom; If any be a little one, let him come unto Me. As if she said in plain words; ‘Whosoever accounts himself great in his own eyes, contracts the avenue of his approach unto Me; for there is a loftier reaching unto Me in proportion as the mind of each one is in himself the more truly abased.’
44. But with whatever degree of goodness a man may be advanced, with whatever knowledge he may be made to grow, he cannot fathom to the bottom, what a governance of judgments the Lord rules us with. Therefore let him say, The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his nod; because in most things not those even are able to reach the lofty height of His will, who whilst announcing see the rewards of that will. Which, as we said above, there is nothing hinders being interpreted of the Holy Angels as well; because the very Powers of the heavenly world themselves, which behold Him without ceasing, in that very contemplation of theirs are made to tremble. But that that should not be a trembling of woe to them, it is one not of fear, but of admiration. Now because he had brought in how great the consternation of his wonderment was, he now relates the order of our salvation.