31. In his own way blessed Job sets out with the plainer sort of words, but his declaration he closes by the deep following on of mystery. For the pain of the afflicted man ought to have been healed by the consoling of his friends, but because their consoling broke out into the soothings of deceit, the pain of the stricken man was made harsher. For whereas Eliphaz was not afraid to promise him better things on being converted, it was as if by a poisonous remedy the wound were increased. Hence it is rightly said, Even to-day is my complaint bitter, and the hand of my stroke is heavier than my groaning, in this respect, viz. that the straining of unregulated consoling increased the stroke manifold, which it ought to have diminished; by which same words taken in a type of Holy Church, the pain of the faithful is likewise set forth, who groan the more, the more they see the wicked using the acts of flattery, who, according to the declaration of Paul, by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
32. Which words may also be rightly applied to the viewing with greater exactness the mind of the faithful, who can never be without bitterness even if they seem to prosper in this world. Which persons when adversity too befalls, it redoubles that pain which it finds. Whence it is rightly said, Now also is my complaint bitter, that it might be plainly shewn that even in prosperity the mind of the Elect should not be without bitterness. And it is well said, And the hand of my stroke is heavier than my groaning. For ‘the hand of a stroke,’ is the force of the striking. For their first striking the Elect see to be, that from the vision of their Creator they are parted, that the brightness of the interior illumining they never enjoy, but groan as being banished in the exile of the present life as in a place of darkness. Thus they always have their groaning in this ‘hand of their stroke;’ but when over and above adversities also befall them in this life, ‘the hand of their stroke is heavier than their groaning.’ For there was groaning for the stroke even when the adversities of the present life were away. But the bitterness of the original stroke is increased over and above by the trial of adversity. Therefore he says, And the hand of my stroke is heavier than my groaning? In that any just man adversity did not smite whilst happy in this life, but came to redouble in him the pain of the wound. Yet it happens by the extraordinary governance of Almighty God, that when in this life the spirit of the righteous man travails most in adversities, he thirsts the more ardently after the beholding of his Maker’s face.