By his sneezings a light flashes, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
Read Chapter 41
Gregory The Dialogist
56. This passage we expound the better, if we first enquire, how sneezing is produced. For in sneezing the breath rises up from the breast, and when it finds no pores open for its escape, it touches the brain, and, passing out condensed through the nostrils, it shakes at once all the head. In this body therefore of Leviathan, that is, in either malignant spirits, or reprobate men, who have adhered to him through resemblance in their guilt, a breath rises, as it were, from the breast, when pride exalts itself through the power of the present world. And it finds as it were no pores for escape; because in this raising up of itself against the just, it is kept, by God’s provision, from prevailing as much as it desires. But it ascends and touches and shakes the brain, because the collected pride of Satan strikes the sense more closely at the end of the world, and disturbs the head, when it excites more vehemently the author himself of malignant spirits to the persecution of the faithful, by him who is called Antichrist. Then does the condensed breath come forth through his nostrils, because the iniquity of his pride is fully set forth by the open blasts of his malice. Because therefore sneezing especially shakes the head, that last commotion of this Leviathan, with which he enters into that accursed man, and by him rules over the reprobate, is called his ‘sneezing.’ And he rouses himself at that time with such power, as to confound, if possible, even the Elect members of the Lord: he makes use of such signs and prodigies, as to seem to glitter with the power of miracles, as if with a kind of light of fire. Because his head then strives, when aroused, to shine forth with miracles, his sneezing is rightly called the splendour of fire. For in rousing himself to persecute the just, he shines forth before the eyes of the reprobate with mighty signs. And because the wise ones of the world adhere to his tyranny, and he exercises by their advice every evil which he attempts, it is rightly subjoined,
And his eyes as the eyelids of the morning.
57. For by his ‘eyes,’ which are fixed in his head, and serve the purpose of sight, his counsellors are not improperly designated, who, when they foresee in their perverse machinations in what manner what things are to be done, point out to his evil workers a way, as it were, for their feet. And they are rightly compared to the eyelids of the morning. For by the ‘eyelids of the morning’ we understand the last hours of the night, in which the night opens, as it were, its eyes, when now setting forth the beginnings of the coming light. The prudent then of this world, who adhere to the perverse counsels of the malice of Antichrist, are, as it were, the eyelids of the morning, because they declare that the faith in Christ which they meet with is, as it were, the night of error, and profess that veneration for Antichrist is the true morning. For they promise to banish the darkness, and to announce the light of truth by brilliant miracles; because they cannot persuade what they wish, unless they profess to offer better things. Whence also this very snake, when speaking to our first parents in paradise, by pretending to provide something better for them, opened as it were the eyelids of the morning, when he reproved in their innocent minds the ignorance of humanity, and promised the knowledge of Godhead. For he banished, as it were, the darkness of ignorance, and announced the divine morning of eternal knowledge, saying; Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [Gen. 3, 5] In like manner when coming then in that accursed man, his eyes are compared to the eyelids of the morning, because his wise ones reject the simplicity of the true faith, as if the darkness of the night which is past, and display his lying wonders as the rays of the rising sun. But because this Leviathan not only has eyes to foresee evil things with malignant designs, but also opens his mouth to pervert the minds of men, (since by his wicked preachers he inflames the hearts of his hearers to love the deceit of error,)