The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it has dust of gold.
All Commentaries on Job 28:6 Go To Job 28
Gregory The Dialogist
52. The proclaim of the glory going before adds to the guilt of the sin following after. For the fall of every individual is of worse criminality, in proportion as before he fell he had the power to be of greater excellency. Thus let it be told of Judaea, let it be told what she was, and let the greatness of the excellencies going before grow into the heightening of the delinquencies succeeding afterwards, Her stones were the place of sapphires, arid her clods of gold, What do we understand in this place by ‘gold,’ but the minds of the Saints and strong ones? For in Holy Scripture ‘stones’ are wont to be taken sometimes on the side of bad and sometimes on the side of good, For when a’ stone’ is put for insensibility, by ‘stones’ we have hard hearts denoted. Whence also it is said by John; God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham [Matt. 3, 9]; who, surely, by the name of’ stones’ denotes the hearts of the Gentiles, at that time hard and insensible in respect of unbelief, And by the Prophet the Lord promises, saying, And I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you an heart of flesh. [Ez. 11, 19] Again by ‘stones’ the minds of the strong ones are used to be denoted. And hence it is said to the Saints by Peter, Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood. [1 Pet. 2, 5] And by the Prophet the Lord promises to the Church when she comes, saying, Behold, I will lay down thy stones in order, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy bulwarks jasper, and thy gates in cut stones, and all thy borders into pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord. [Is. 54, 11-13] For He did ‘lay down in her the stones in order,’ in that He distinguished the holy souls in her by the diverseness of merits, He ‘laid her foundation in sapphires,’ which same stones retain in themselves the likeness of the colour of the air, because the strength of the Church is firmly based in souls seeking after heavenly things. And because a jasper is of a green hue, He ‘made his bulwarks of the jasper,’ because they are advanced against her adversaries in the defence of Holy Church, who growing green and fresh by interior desires, do not die off by any drying up of damnable lukewarmness. But He ‘set her gates in cut stones.’ For those are the ‘gates’ of the Church, by whose life and teaching the multitude of those that believe enter into her, Who also for this reason, that they are rich in great deeds, and that-what by speaking they declare, by living they exhibit, are described to be not plain but’ cut stones.’ For in whosesoever life right practice is seen, there is as it were represented in those same persons what they have done. Where also embracing all the number of the Elect in a general roll, he added, and all thy borders in pleasant stones. And as though we, on hearing these things, begged that he would make known those stones that he spoke of, he added, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord. And therefore because from out of Judaea there were never wanting holy souls, to lead a heavenly life, it is said, he?’ stones are the place of sapphires. And because with an extraordinary brightness of life and of wisdom she shone forth by faith, it is added, and her clods gold. What is denoted by ‘clods,’ but the assemblages and multitudes of the several orders? Now clods are compacted of moisture and dust; and so all they that being watered with the dew of grace confessed with a true-sighted knowledge that by the debt of death they are dust, whilst they were made to shine bright by excellency of life, lay in her like’ clods of gold.’ ‘Clods’ this earth had in the Prophets,’ clods’ she had in the teachers, ‘clods’ in the Ancient Fathers, who by an extraordinary infusion of grace kept themselves close in unanimity of profession and of practice. Therefore let him say, And the clods of it gold; because therein the multitude of the spiritual souls shone with greater perfection, in proportion as it bound itself up in God and its neighbour with greater unanimity.
53. But this gold was afterwards dimmed by the darkness of unbelief. Whose blackness, surely, the Prophet Jeremiah surveying laments, saying, How is the gold become dim? how is the most fine gold changed! For ‘the gold is become dim,’ in that that ancient brilliancy in them of faith and innocency, upon unbelief coming upon them, dulled itself with the night of wickedness. Therefore, what it was since we have heard, even that her stollen are the place of sapphires, now let us bear next wherefore that People so beloved of God lost these great blessings.