All flesh would perish together, and man would turn again unto dust.
Read Chapter 34
Gregory The Dialogist
48. For all flesh fails together, when it is no longer a slave to its own emotions; because the spirit presiding therein restrains all its waverings, and destroys as it were with the sword of Its severity all evil which lived therein. Jeremiah had, in truth, slain himself with this sword of discipline, when he said, After Thou hadst converted me, I did penance, and after Thou hadst shewed to me, I smote my thigh. [Jer. 31, 19] For what is understood by the thigh, but carnal pleasure? And what his saying, After Thou hadst shewed unto me, I smote my thigh, except that after he spiritually beheld heavenly things, he extinguished every infirm carnal desire which used to live in him: that as heavenly objects opened upon him, he might feel less pleasure in those inferior things which he had possessed? For the more a man begins to live to things above, does he begin to die to things below. For as far as concerns the love of carnal doings, the whole flesh of Paul had perished together, when he said, I no longer live, but Christ liveth in me. [Gal. 2, 20]
49. Eliu also properly subjoined in this place, And man shall return to ashes. For every one who is involved in sin, forgets his mortal condition, and while he is still puffed up with pride, remembers not that he is earth. But when, after the grace of his conversion, he is touched with the spirit of humility, what does he call to mind that he is, but ashes? David had already returned to ashes, when he said, Remember, Lord, that we are dust. [Ps. 103, 14] And Abraham had returned to ashes, saying, I will speak to my Lord, though I am dust and ashes. [Gen. 18, 27] And though death had not yet dissolved their living flesh unto earth, yet in their own opinion they were that, which they foresaw without doubt they were about to be. Hence it is said in another place, Thou wilt take away their breath, and they will fail, and will return to their dust. [Ps. 104, 29] But what is meant by their breath, but the breath of pride? Let their breath then be taken away, that they may fail; that is, feel themselves to be nothing in themselves, when the breath of pride is withdrawn. And let them return to dust, that is, let them be humbled by their infirm condition. It is on account of this very dust, to the recollection of which those are recalled who consider themselves, that it is said by Wisdom, The righteous shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. [Wisd. 3, 7] For holy men while they mix with sinners, kindle them by the fire of their example, and reduce to ashes all their brilliancy. For consumed by the flame of holiness, they discern themselves, on looking at the infirmity of their condition, to be nought but ashes. So that when loosened from the hardness of their pride they may use the words before quoted, Remember, O Lord, that we are dust. It is well said then that when God draws the breath of a man to Himself, all flesh will fail together, and man will return to ashes. These words of Eliu are true and important. But he betrays in the words which follow that he was soon wickedly puffed up by that which he thought rightly.