You shall know also that your descendants shall be many, and your offspring as the grass of the earth.
Read Chapter 5
Gregory The Dialogist
55. For after the ‘peace of his tabernacle,’ after ‘the visiting of our likeness,’ the manifold seed of the righteous man ariseth, in that after the macerating of the members and the fulness of the moral virtues, the word of preaching is bestowed upon him so much the more productive, in proportion as it is anticipated in his breast by the tillage of perfect practice. For he receives eloquence to speak well, who expands the bosom of his heart by the exercises of right living. Nor does the conscience hinder the speaker, when the life goes before the tongue. It is hence that the Egyptians, who, by Joseph's management, were subjected to a state of public servitude, when they humble themselves by submitting their persons to the king's power, carry away corn even for seed. For we receive, even when free, fruit to eat, when we are at the same time fed by the sacred word, and yet in the gratification of our pleasures roam after different objects, which we seek after in this world. But when we become slaves, we receive corn for seed too, in that while we are made wholly subject to God, we are replenished further with the word of preaching. And since a vast progeny of faithful souls succeeds, when holy preaching is first bestowed, after the multiplying of the seed, it is rightly subjoined, And thine offspring as the grass of the earth. The progeny of the righteous is compared to the grass of the earth, in that he who is born in a copy of him, while he quits the decaying glory of the present life, comes out green with hope in the things of eternity. Or truly, the progeny of the righteous springeth up like ‘the grass,’ in that while he shews forth by his living what he declares by his preaching, an innumerable multitude of followers arises. But whosoever already looks down upon all earthly objects of desire, whoever spreads himself out in the labours of an active life, finds it by no means suffice him to do great things without, unless by contemplation he also have power to penetrate into interior mysteries.