Job 42:16

After this lived Job a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
All Commentaries on Job 42:16 Go To Job 42

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
47. In Holy Scripture a person is not easily recorded as ‘full of days,’ unless he is one whose conduct is praised in the same Scripture. For he is in truth void of days, who, even if he has lived ever so long, has wasted the time of his life in vanity. But he, on the other hand, is said to be ‘full of days,’ whose days pass not away and come to nought, but by the daily reward of good works, are treasured up with the just Judge, even after they have been passed. 48. But because there are some who wish to interpret these things also as typical of Holy Church, (whose wishes we must the rather obey, the more we must also rejoice at their spiritual understanding,) if we multiply fourteen by ten, we come to the number one hundred and forty. And the life of Holy Church is rightly reckoned as made up of ten and four, because by keeping both Testaments, and living both according to the ten commandments of the Law, and the four books of the Gospel, it is carried on to the height of perfection. Whence also, though the Apostle Paul wrote fifteen Epistles [He refers to the Epistle to the Laodicaeans, Col. 4, 16 which however is thought to be that to the Ephesians, including Laodicaea, as all Achaia is associated with Corinth. Some Fathers have quoted the Ep. to the Ephesians as ‘to the laodicaeans.’ There is a spurious Epistle in Hutter’s N. Test. 12. Linguarum, and one held by the Marcionites is rejected by St. Epiphanius. Ab. from Ben.], yet Holy Church does not retain more than fourteen, in order that the illustrious teacher might shew by the very number of his Epistles, that he had searched out the secrets of the Law and of the Gospel. But blessed Job is well said to ‘live’ after his scourgings, because Holy Church too is first smitten with the scourge of discipline, and afterwards strengthened by perfection of life. And she beholds also her sons, and her sons’ sons even to the fourth generation, because in this life, which rolls on through four seasons in the year, she beholds children daily born to her, by the mouths of preachers even to the end of the world. Nor is it inconsistent with the truth to say that times are designated by generations. For what is each succession but a kind of offshoot of a race? And when the butler of the king of Egypt had seen a dream which was throwing out three shoots, Joseph, who was endowed with the solution of dreams, declares that the three shoots designate three days. [Gen. 40, 10. 12.] If therefore the space of three days is expressed by three shoots, why should not also the four seasons of the year be typified by four generations? Holy Church, therefore, beholds her sons, when she beholds the first progeny of the faithful. She sees her sons’ sons, when she beholds that sons are begotten to the faith by these same faithful ones. And she dies also old and full of days, because in the light, which follows as a reward for her daily doings, having laid aside the weight of corruption, she is changed into the incorruption of the heavenly country. She dies, namely, full of days, since her days pass not away as they glide on, but are made firm by the recompense of her enduring deeds. She dies full of days, who in this transitory state works that which passes not away. Whence it is also said to the Apostles; Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life. [John 6, 27] Holy Church therefore loses not her days, even when she leaves the present life. Because she finds their lights more abundantly multiplied in her Elect, the more cautiously and anxiously she now guards herself in them from all temptation. The Church loses not her days, because she neglects not to examine herself watchfully day by day in this life, and is not weighed down with any sloth in all things which she is able rightly to perform. For hence is that which is said of her by Solomon; She considers the ways of her house, and eateth not her bread in idleness. [Prov. 13, 27] For she considers the ways of her house, because she accurately examines all the thoughts of her conscience. She eateth not her bread in idleness, because that which she learned out of Holy Scripture by her understanding, she places before the eyes of the Judge by exhibiting it in her works. But she is said to ‘die,’ because when the contemplation of eternity has absorbed her, it makes her entirely dead to this vicissitude of her changeableness, so that there lives no longer within her any thing to impede the keenness of inward vision. For she then more truly beholds inward things, the more entirely she is dead to all outward things. Let us both believe therefore that this death, this plenitude of days, has taken place in blessed Job, who is in truth one member of the Church; and let us hope that it is to take place in the whole Church together; in order that the truth of the history may be so maintained, that the prophecy of what is to take place may not be made void. For if the good deeds which we learn from the life of Saints are wanting in truth, they are nothing; if they contain no mysteries, they are of very little value. Let the life then of good men, which is described by the Holy Spirit, both shine upon us in its spiritual meaning, and yet let not its interpretation depart from belief in the history, in order that the mind may remain more firmly fixed in its understanding, the more hope binds it to the future, and faith to past, when standing, as it were, midway between them. 49. This work then being now completed, I see that I must go back to myself. For our mind, even when it endeavours to say what is right, is much distracted from itself. For when we think on how our words are spoken, it takes from the perfection of the mind, because it draws it out of itself. I must therefore return from the outward utterance of words to the council chamber [‘curiam’] of the heart, to summon together the thoughts of my mind in a kind of council of consultation, to examine myself, in order that I may there see, whether I have either incautiously said wrong things, or right things in a wrong way. For a right thing is then rightly spoken, when he who says it, seeks by what he says to please Him alone from Whom he has received it. And though I do not find that I have said any things that are wrong, yet I do not maintain that I have not said any at all. But if I have said any good things, by a gift from above, I profess that it is my own fault in truth that I have spoken them but imperfectly. For on returning to myself within, and putting aside the leaves of words, and the branches of sentences, when I look closely at the very root of my intention, I find that I specially desired to please God thereby. But yet the desire of human praise, in some unknown secret way, blends itself with this intention with which I strive to please God. And when I discern this slowly and at last, I find that I do a thing in one way, which I knew I began in another. For the desire of human praise, secretly joining itself, and meeting with it, as it were, on the way, frequently comes up with our intention, when it is rightly commenced before the eyes of God. As food is taken indeed as a matter of necessity, but when gluttony stealthily creeps in, as it is being eaten, the pleasure of eating is blended with it. Whence it frequently happens, that we finish for the sake of pleasure the bodily refreshment we begin for the sake of health. It must be confessed therefore that a less correct intention, which seeks to please men by means of the gifts of God, sometimes insidiously accompanies our right intention, which seeks to please God alone. But if we are strictly examined on these points by God, what place of safety remains for us therein, when both our evils are purely evil, and the good things we believe we possess, cannot possibly he purely good? But I believe it to be worth my while, to disclose without hesitation to the ears of my brethren all which I secretly blame in myself. For since in my exposition I have not concealed what I thought, in my confession I hide not what I suffer. By my exposition I have laid open my gifts, by my confession I discover my wounds. And because in this numerous race of men, there are not wanting little ones, who ought to be instructed by my words, nor yet great ones, who are able to pity my infirmity, when made known to them; in both these ways I confer assistance on some brethren, as far as I can, and hope for it from others. The one I have told in my exposition what to do; to the others I make known by my confession what to spare. From the one I withdraw not the healing remedies of my words; from the others I conceal not the laceration of my wounds. I pray therefore that every one who reads these books, may confer on me before the strict Judge the solace of his prayers, and wash away with his tears every filthiness which he discover, in me. But on comparing the virtues of prayer, and of exposition, my reader surpasses me in his recompense, if when he receives words by my means, he gives me tears in return.
8 mins

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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