The sword of him that reaches him cannot avail: neither the spear, the dart, nor the javelin.
Read Chapter 41
Gregory The Dialogist
17. In Holy Scripture by a ‘sword’ is sometimes designated holy preaching, sometimes eternal damnation, sometimes temporal tribulation, sometimes the wrath or persuasion of the ancient enemy. For a ‘sword’ is put for holy preaching, as Paul says, And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [Eph. 6, 17] By the word ‘sword’ is designated eternal damnation, as is written of an heretical preacher; If his children be multiplied, they will be in the sword; [Job 27, 14] because in whatever great number they here shoot forth, they are consumed with eternal damnation. A ‘sword’ is taken for temporal tribulation, as is said to Mary concerning tribulations which are about to follow; And a sword shall pass through thine own soul. [Luke 2, 35] Again, by ‘sword’ is expressed the wrath or persuasion of the malignant enemy, as the Psalmist says; Who hast delivered David Thy servant from the malicious sword. [Ps. 144, 10] For kind is the sword of holy preaching, with which we are struck that we may die from sin. But the sword of diabolical persuasion is malicious, with which a man is fatally wounded, that he may he deprived of rectitude of life. The sword then of the ancient enemy is, at that time, that accursed man, assumed for the purpose of his service. For he sharpens him through the malice of cunning, and pierces the hearts of the feeble. The sword therefore of this man reaches Leviathan, when his own accursed man has taken him up. But if by the word ‘sword’ his wrath is designated, he is rightly described, not as seizing the sword, but as seized by the sword. For he is then turned into such madness, that, seeking to rule over all, he is unable to control his own anger. For we, when we assume wrath in the exercise of justice, hold a sword; because we control it by keeping it under the moderation of judgment. But he, because he is hurried on through the precipices of fury, is said not to seize his sword, but to be seized by his sword. For he does not keep and control his anger, but, in his fury, is possessed by his anger.
18. But it is plain to all, that we strike our adversary with a spear, but are protected from our adversary by a breastplate. By a spear we inflict wounds, by a breastplate we are protected from wounds. What therefore is designated by a ‘spear’ but the shaft of preaching; what by a breastplate but the strength of patience? This Leviathan then, because by taking that reprobate man to himself, he is let loose in the wrath of every kind of cruelty, is said to be ‘seized by a sword.’ For by the display of his immense strength, he then exhibits whatever power of wickedness he possesses. And neither the spear nor the breastplate will be able to stand, because entering into Antichrist, he will seem to be of such great strength, as (if heavenly assistance were wanting) to blunt the keenness of preachers, and to overthrow the long-suffering of the patient. For unless heavenly grace strengthens the life of the righteous, the spear does not stand, because the strength of preachers is broken; the breastplate does not resist, because the patience of the constant is burst through and penetrated.