Job 39:2

Can you number the months that they fulfill? or know you the time when they bring forth?
Read Chapter 39

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
44. For when holy men think of the improvement of their hearers, they bear already a conception, as it were, in their womb. But when they put off some things which ought to be said, and seek a season fit for their exhortations, they are detained, as it were, by a weary length of months, from that birth which they wish to take place. And frequently when they are unwilling to express some of their sentiments to their hearers unseasonably; by this very slowness in declaring their opinion they are strengthened with greater wisdom, whether for giving this advice, or for reproving these faults. And while the life of their children is considered, but the tongue utters not the thoughts of the mind before the time, the offspring which has been already conceived grows, as it were, within the womb; in order that the sentiment of their heart may then come forth to the knowledge of the hearers, when being usefully uttered it can live, as if at the fit season for its birth. But since men are ignorant when, or how, these things take place in the mind of teachers, but God, in order to the glory of retribution, considers not only the effects, but also the seasons of thoughts, it is rightly said to blessed Job, Hast thou numbered the months of their conception? Thou understandest, As I, Who count in holy preachers not only the fruits of their outward doings, but their long-continued meditations themselves; Who reserve them also for retribution. 45. By months, because they are an aggregate of days, multiplied virtues can be likewise understood. In months also the moon is new born; and there is no hindrance, if the new creating of regeneration is understood by months. Of which the Apostle Paul says, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. [Gal. 6, 15] When holy men, therefore, prepare themselves for preaching, they first renew themselves within with virtues, in order to accord in their living with that which they teach in words. They first consider their own internal state, and cleanse themselves from all the filth of sin; taking special care to shine forth against anger with the light of patience, against the lust of the flesh to glitter with cleanness even of the heart, against torpor, to be bright with zeal, against the confused motions of precipitation to glow with serene gravity, against pride to shine with true humility, against fear to be brilliant with the rays of authority. Because therefore they first accumulate such attention on themselves, months of virtues pass, as it were, in the conception of holy preaching. And the Lord alone numbers these months, because no one but He Who has given these virtues, values them in their hearts. And because the produce of fruit follows according to the measure of their virtues, it is rightly subjoined; And hast thou known the time when they bring forth? 46. Thou understandest, As I, Who, when I number months in the thought of virtues, know when they are able to bring forth that which they wish to perform; because, doubtless, whilst I behold the secrets of the heart, I judge from the weight of thought within, the future result of the work without.

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

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