Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.
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Gregory The Dialogist
2. For because he does not fear to endure adversities, let him say, But fulfil what ye have begun; and because he does not withhold the announcements of the Truth from his very persecutors themselves, let him add, Give ear, and see if I lie. As if he said in plain words, ‘Neither do I tremble at the mischiefs done me before, nor do I withhold the succours of correction from ungrateful hearers, in that I both have exercise through being driven to straits by misfortune, and gain increase by being kindly devoted to my very persecutors themselves.’ For the mind of the Saints, in this war of temptations, being at once defended by the shield of patience, and begirt with the swords of love, obtains resolution for the enduring of bad treatment, and puts forth kindness in the recompensing good, so as both to receive stoutly the weapons of enmities, and return forcibly the darts of love. For he does not in any way go armed to the wars, who either taking a shield, uses no swords, or using swords, is not protected by a shield. And hence the soldier of God, encountered by a war of adversity, ought both to hold before him the shield of patience, lest he perish, and being prompt to preach he should launch the darts of love, that he may win the victory. The sum of which armour Paul briefly informs us of, saying, Charity suffereth long, and is kind. [1 Cor. 13, 4] But when one of either is wanting, charity is not, i.e. if bearing with the wicked without kindness, he has no love; or again if shewing himself without patience, he neglect to bear with the wicked whom he loves. Therefore that true charity may be retained by us, it must needs be that both patience support kindness, and again kindness support patience, that building up a large edifice as it were in our breast, both patience may give strength to the tower of kindness, and kindness give grace to the firmly founded edifices of patience. Therefore let blessed Job, as being prompt to patience, say, But fulfil what ye have begun; and as endued with kindness let him add, Give ear, and see I lie,
3. But because Holy Church, being well trained in the school of humility, does not enjoin as by authority the right instructions which she delivers to those that be gone astray, but wins acceptance for them by reason, it is well said in this place, See if I lie. As though it were in plain words, ‘In all that I declare, give no credence to me upon grounds of authority, but consider on grounds of reason whether they be true. And if at any time she says what cannot be comprehended by reason, she reasonably advises that human reasoning should not be looked for in hidden truths.’ But it often happens that heretics, when they meet with opportunity for reasoning, give themselves a loose in the brawlings of strife.