As a servant earnestly desires the shadow, and as a hireling looks for the reward of his work:
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Gregory The Dialogist
13. Since for ‘a servant to desire the shadow,’ is after the heat of trial and the sweat of labour to seek the cool of eternal repose. Which shadow that servant desired, who said, My soul thirsteth for God, the living God; when shall I come and appear before God? [Ps. 42, 2] And again, Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech. [Ps. 120, 5] Who as if after hard toil retreating from the heat, and seeking a covering that he might attain the rest of coolness, says again, For I will enter into the place of the wonderful Tabernacle, even to the house of God. [Ps. 42, 4] Paul panted to lay hold of this ‘shadow,’ having a desire to depart and to be with Christ. [Phil. 1, 23] This shadow they had already attained unto in the fulness of the desire of their hearts, who said, We which have borne the burthen and heat of the day. [Mat. 20, 12] Now he that is said to ‘desire’ the shadow, is rightly styled ‘a servant,’ in that each one of the Elect, so long as he is bound fast by the condition of frailty, is held in under the yoke of corruption, in its exercising dominion over him, as though under the harrassing effect of heat; which same person, when he is stripped of corruption, is then made known to himself as free and at rest. And hence it is well said by Paul also, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [Rom. 8, 21] For the Elect are now, pressed down by the penalty of a corrupt state, but then they are exalted high by the glory of an incorrupt. And in the same degree that, relatively to the burthens of our present constraint, there is nought of liberty now manifested in the sons of God, relatively to the glory of the liberty to ensue, nought of servitude will then appear in the servants of God. And so the servile garb of corruption being cast off, and the nobility of liberty bestowed, the creature is turned into the gloriousness of the sons of God, in that in being united to God by the Spirit, it is proved as it were to have surmounted and overcome this very thing, that it is a created being. Now he that still ‘desires the shadow’ is ‘a servant,’ in that so long as he is subject to the heat of temptation, he is bearing on his shoulders the yoke of a wretched condition, and it is rightly added there, and as an hireling looks for the reward of his work.
14. For an hireling, when he looks at the work to be done, at once resigns his spirit in consequence of the length and burthensomeness of the labour; but when he recalls his sinking spirit to take thought of the reward of his work, he immediately sets afresh his vigour of mind for the exercising of his labour, and what he reckoned a grievous burthen in respect of the work, he esteems light and easy on the grounds of the recompense. Thus, thus, do each of the Elect, when they meet with the crosses of this life, when insults upon their good name, losses in their substance, pains of the body are brought upon them, reckon the things grievous, which they are tried with; but when they stretch the eyes of the mind to the view of the heavenly country, by comparison with their reward they see how light is all they undergo. For that which is shewn to be altogether insupportable for the pain, is by forecasting reflection rendered light for the recompense. It is hence that Paul is always being lifted up bolder than himself against adversities, in that ‘as an hireling he looketh for the end of his work.’ For he accounts what he undergoes to be a heavy burthen, but he reckons it light in consideration of the reward. For he does himself declare how great the burthen is of what he suffers, in that he bears record that he was ‘in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft,’ &c. who ‘of the Jews five times received folly stripes save one.’ [2 Cor. 11. 23. &c.] Who was ‘thrice beaten with rods, once stoned, thrice suffered shipwreck, a night and a day was in the deep of the sea; who endured perils of waters, of robbers, of his own countrymen, of the heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea, among false brethren; ‘who in weariness and painfulness, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness,’ had labour and toil, who sustained ‘fights without, within fears,’ who declares himself pressed down above strength, saying, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we were weary even of life. But in what sort he wiped off him the streams of this hard toil with the towel of his reward, he himself tells, when he says, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared, with the glory to come, which shall be revealed in us. Thus, ‘as an hireling, he looketh for the end of his work,’ who while he considers the increase of the reward, reckons it of no account that he labours well nigh spent.