Yea, his soul draws near unto the grave, and his life to those who bring death.
All Commentaries on Job 33:22 Go To Job 33
Gregory The Dialogist
53. For the soul of every just man when tempted is said to draw near to corruption, when, for fear his virtue should elate him, he is compelled by the rod to feel what he is in his own natural infirmity. He approaches, in truth, to corruption, because he learns that by his own strength he is not far from destruction, in order that he may ascribe not to himself but to the Lord, that he is far from that destruction. But he approaches to the destroyers, because he sees that, through the infirmity of the flesh, he is very near to sins which cause death: and from these he is the farther removed by the Divine goodness, the more he is conscious that by his own deserts he is very near them. By contemplating his own condition, David had drawn near to corruption, when he said, Remember, Lord, that we are dust; as for man his day is grass. [Ps. 103, 14. 15.] Paul also had, by contemplating his own infirmity, approached the destroyers, when he said, I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched wan that I am I who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [Rom. 7, 23. 24.] To approach then to corruption, and to the destroyers, is for a man, on considering the infirmity of our human nature, to see that he is a sinner, as far as concerns his deserts, and that he possesses, of his own strength, no ground of boasting [‘arrogantiam’] in himself. For what are we, when bereft of the protection of our Maker? a protection which is considered to be less necessary, if always enjoyed. But it is withdrawn, generally, for our good, that it may be shewn to a man’s own self how worthless he is without it. The hand of God, then, which bears us up, even when we know it not, in prosperity, brings us to a true knowledge of ourselves in adversity. And when we begin to fall, from being deprived of it, we are yet supported by its aid. It is a warning to us, that we are trembling to our fall, and His protection, that we remain stedfast.
54. Let no one consider then that he has any real virtues, even if he is able to display any resolution: since, if Divine protection leave him to himself, he is suddenly unnerved and overpowered in that very point in which he used to boast that he was standing firm. For what is meant by the man of God, when directed to prophesy against the altar at Samaria, exerting in the king’s presence the authority of bold speaking, by his miraculously withering the extended arm of the rash king, which he afterwards restored to health of his tender pity? by his refusing when invited, to eat in his house, because he kept the commands of the Lord, which forbade him to eat by the way? But yet he was afterwards seduced to eat on the same way, and perished when he had eaten. [1 Kings 13, 1-34] What do we gather from an accurate examination of this matter, what (if I may so speak) do we fear and suspect, except that he was perhaps silently boasting in himself that he had put contempt on the king in obeying the commands of the Lord? Hence it was that he was soon shaken from his inward stedfastness, and that sin stole on him in his work, from the same source as pride sprang up in his heart; in order that he might learn when deceived by the false prophet, that it was not of his own strength that he had withstood the commands of the king. But he rightly received the sentence of death from the mouth of that very person, by whose seduction he had turned away from the precept of life, in order that he might receive the true announcement of his punishment, from the same quarter by which he had through carelessness admitted a fault. Because then the grace of God more especially guards and instructs each of His Elect, at the very time when He seems to smite and forsake them, let it be rightly said, His soul shall approach to corruption, and his life to the destroyers; that so the more he is led by adversity to consider that he is in his own strength nigh unto death, he may, in all cases in which he has acted with resolution, have surer ground of life, by flying to the protection which comes from trust in God.