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Wherein he in few words goes through the particulars, which are to be

laid open in the course of the entire work.



1.  IT is often a question with many persons, who should be held for the writer of the Book of the Blessed Job; and some indeed conjecture that Moses was the author of this work, others, some one of the Prophets.  For because it is related in the Book of Genesis [Gen.  36, 33] that Jobab sprung from the stock of Esau, and that he succeeded Bale [Bela E.V.] the son of Beor upon the throne, they have inferred that this Blessed Job lived long before the times of Moses, evidently from ignorance of the manner of Holy Writ, which in the earlier parts is wont to touch slightly upon events that are not to follow till long afterwards, when the object is to proceed without delay to particularize other events with greater exactness.  Whence it happens, that in that case likewise it is mentioned of Jobab, that he was before there arose kings in Israel.  Therefore we clearly see that He never could have lived before the Law, who is marked out as having lived during the time of the Judges of Israel; which being little attended to by some, they suppose that Moses was the writer of his acts, as placing him long before, [ut vide licet] so that in effect the self-same person who was able to deliver the precepts of the Law for our instruction; should be supposed also to have commended to us examples of virtue derived from the life of a man that was a Gentile.  But some, as has been said, suppose some one of the Prophets to have been the Author of this work, maintaining that no man could have knowledge of those words of God, which have such deep mystery, save he whose mind was raised to things above by the spirit of Prophecy.


2.  But who was the writer, it is very superfluous to enquire; since at any rate the Holy Spirit is confidently believed to have been the Author.  He then Himself wrote them, Who dictated the things that should be written.  He did Himself write them Who both was present as the Inspirer in that Saint's work, and by the mouth of the writer has consigned to us his acts as patterns for our imitation.  If we were reading the words of some great man with his Epistle in our hand, yet were to enquire by what pen they were written, doubtless it would be an absurdity, to know the Author of the Epistle and understand his meaning, and notwithstanding to be curious to know with what sort of pen the words were marked upon the page.  When then we .understand the matter, and are persuaded that the Holy Spirit was its Author, in stirring a question about the author, what else do we than in reading a letter enquire about the pen?


 3.  Yet we may with greater probability suppose that the same blessed Job, who bore the strife of the spiritual conflict, did likewise relate the circumstances of his victory when achieved; nor should it influence us that it is said in the same book, 'Job said,' or, ‘Job bore this or that;' for it is the manner of Holy Scripture for the persons who are writing so to speak of themselves in it, as though they were speaking of others.  Whence it is that Moses says, Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. [Numb. 12, 3]  Hence John says, that Disciple whom Jesus loved; [John 19, 26] hence Luke says, that two of them were walking by the way, Cleophas and another; [Luke 24, 13] which other indeed, while he was so carefully silent about him, he shewed to have been no other than himself, as some assert.  The writers then of Holy Writ because they are moved by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, do therein so bear witness of themselves as though of other persons.  Thus the Holy Spirit by the mouth of Moses spake of Moses, the Holy Spirit speaking by John spoke of John.  Paul too intimates that he did not speak from the dictates of his own mind, by saying, Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me. [2 Cor. 13, 3]  It is hence that the Angel who is described to have appeared to Moses, is now mentioned as an Angel, now as the Lord; an Angel in truth, in respect of that which was subservient to the external delivery; and the Lord, because He was the Director within, Who supplied the effectual power of speaking.  Therefore as the speaker is inwardly directed, by virtue of his obedience to instructions, he receives the name of Angel, by virtue of his inspiration, that of Lord.  Hence David exclaims, Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. [Ps. 78, 1]  For it was neither David's law, nor David's people, but he, assuming the character of Him from whom He spoke, speaks with His authority with Whose inspiration he was filled.  This we perceive to be daily practised in the Church, if we regard the thing attentively; for the reader standing in the midst of the people exclaims, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. [Exod. 3, 61]  Yet that he is himself God, he says not certainly with truth, nor yet by saying what he does is the line of truth deviated from; for by his voice he first proclaims the sovereignty of Him, Whose minister he is in the office of reading.  Therefore the writers of Holy Writ, because when full of the Holy Spirit they are lifted above their own nature, are as it were put out of themselves, and in this manner they deliver sentiments about themselves, as though about other persons.  In this way Blessed Job also, being under the influence of the Holy Spirit, might have written his own acts, which were, for that matter, gifts of inspiration from above, as though they were not his own; for in so far as it was a human being, who spoke things which were of God, all that he spake belonged to Another, and in so far as the Holy Spirit spake of what is proper to a human being, it was Another that gave utterance to the things that belonged to him.




4.  But we should now leave these points behind us, and hasten forward to consider the particulars of the Sacred History.  Every man, even from this, that he is a man, ought to understand the Author of his being, to Whose will he must submit the more completely, in the same proportion that he reflects that of himself he is nothing; yet we, when created I by Him, neglected to take God into our thoughts.  Precepts were had recourse to: precepts likewise we have refused to obey, Examples are added; these very examples too we decline to follow, which we see were set forth to us by those under the Law; for because God did openly address Himself to particular persons who were placed under the Law, we regard ourselves as unconcerned with those particular precepts, to whom they were not specially addressed; wherefore to confound our shamelessness, a Gentile is handed down to be our example, that as he that is set under the Law disdains to pay obedience to the Law, he may at least be roused by comparing himself with him, who without the Law lived as by law, The Law then was given to one gone astray; but when even under the Law he still strays, he has the testimony of those brought before him, who are without the pale of the Law, that forasmuch as we would not keep to the order of our creation [conditionis], we might be admonished of our duty by precepts, and because we scorned to obey the precepts, we might be shamed by examples, not, as we have said, the examples of those who had the restraint of the Law, but of those who had no law to restrain them from sin.


5.  The Divine Providence has compassed us about, and cut off all excuse; all opening to man's equivocating arts is every way closed; a Gentile, one without the Law, is brought forward to confound the iniquity of those that are under the Law; which is well and summarily shewn by the Prophet, when He says, Be thou ashamed, O Zidon, saith the sea; [Isai. 23, 4] for in Sidon we have a figure of the stedfastness of those settled upon the foundation of the Law, and in the sea of the life of the Gentiles; accordingly, Be thou ashamed, O Zidon, saith the sea, because the life of those under the Law is convicted by the life of Gentiles, and the conduct of men in a state of religion is put to confusion by the conduct of those living in the world, so long as the first do not, even under vows, observe what they hear enjoined in precepts: the latter by their manner of life keep those ways whereunto they are not in any wise bound by legal enactments.  Now for the authority this book has received, we have the weighty testimony of the sacred page itself, where the Prophet Ezekiel says, that those men alone should have deliverance granted to them., viz.  Noah, Daniel, and Job; nor is it without propriety, that in the midst of Hebrew, lives, that of a righteous Gentile is placed in that authority which commands the reverence of men; because as our Redeemer came to redeem both Jews and Gentiles, so He was willing to be prophesied of by the lips both of Jews and Gentiles, that He might be named by either people [utrumque populum], Who was at a future time to suffer for both.


6.  This man then, with all the surpassing powers whereby he was sustained, was known to his own conscience and to God; but had he not been stricken he would never have been the least known to us.  For his virtue had its exercise indeed even in peaceful times, but it was by strokes that the report of; his virtue was stirred up to fragrance: and he, who in repose kept within himself all that he was, when disturbed did scatter; abroad the odour of his fortitude, for all to know.  For as unguents, unless they be stirred, are never smelt far off, and as aromatic scents spread not their fragrance except they be burned, so the Saints in their tribulations make known all the sweetness that they have of their virtues.  Whence it is well said in the Gospel, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. [Matt. 17, 20]  For unless a grain of mustard seed be bruised, the extent of its virtue is never acknowledged.  For without bruising it is insipid [lene], but if it is bruised it becomes hot, and if gives out all those pungent properties that were concealed in it.  Thus every good man, so long as he is not smitten, is regarded as insipid [lenis], and of slight account.  But if ever the grinding of persecution crush him, instantly he gives forth all the warmth of his savour, and all that before appeared to be weak or contemptible, is turned into godly fervour, and that which in peaceful times he had been glad to keep from view within his own bosom, he is driven by the force of tribulations to make known; so that the Prophet says with justice, Yet the Lord hath commanded His lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night He hath declared it; [Ps 42, p] for the lovingkindness of the Lord is commanded in the day time, because the season of rest is perceived by the sense of it [cognoscendo], but ‘in the night it is declared,’ because the gift which is received in tranquillity is made manifest in tribulation.




7.  But we ought to search out more particularly why so many strokes fell to the lot of him who maintained without blame such strict guard of the several virtues: for he had humility, as he himself even testifies, If I did despise to be judged in the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me. [Job 31, 13]  He shewed hospitality, as himself describes, when he says; the stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller. [Job 31, 32]  He maintained a vigorous exercise of discipline, as his own words shew; The princes refrained talking, and laid their fingers on their mouth. [Job 29, 9]  With that vigour he yet retained mildness, according to his own confession, where he says, I sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, yet as one that comforteth the mourners.  In almsdeeds he cherished a bountiful spirit, as he himself intimates by saying, If I have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof. [Job 31, 17]  Whereas then he performed all the precepts of the several virtues, one thing was wanting to him, viz. that when stricken even he should learn to render thanks: it was known that he knew how to serve God when surrounded by blessings, but it was meet that a most searching severity should put it to the test, whether even under the lash he would yet remain constant to his God, for chastisement is the test, whether when let to rest a man really loves.  Him the adversary sought indeed to obtain that he might prove deficient [deficeret] in godliness, but obtained that he might prove a proficient [proficeret] therein.  The Lord in loving-kindness permitted that to be done, which the devil in his wickedness required; for when the enemy had got leave to have him with the purpose of destroying him, by his temptations he effected that his merits were augmented.  For it is written, In all this Job sinned not with his lips. [Job 1, 22]  Yet doubtless there are certain words of his rejoinders, which sound harshly to readers of little experience, for the sayings of the Saints these are unable to understand in the pious sense in which they are spoken, and because they are unskilled to make their own the feelings of the afflicted Saint, therefore it is impossible for them to interpret aright the expressions of grief, for it is a sympathy that lowers itself to his state of suffering, that knows how to estimate aright the meaning of the sufferer.


8.  And so they conclude that blessed Job was a defaulter in his speech, without sufficiently considering, that if they convict the blessed Job's replies, they at the same time bear witness that God's sentence concerning him was untrue.  For the Lord saith to the devil, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? [Job 1, 8]  To Whom the devil presently replies, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Has not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house?  But put forth Thine hand now, and touch him, and see if he hath not blessed Thee to Thy face. [v. 9, 10]  The enemy then put forth his strength upon the blessed Job, but in doing this he entered the lists against God, and in this way blessed Job became the intermediate subject of the contest between God and the devil.  Whoever then maintains that the holy man, when in the midst of the strokes, committed sin by the words which he uttered, what else doth he than reproach God, Who had pledged Himself [proposuerat] for him, with having been the loser?  For the same God was pleased to take upon Himself the cause of the Saint under his trial, Who both extolled him before his afflictions, and on thus extolling allowed him to undergo the trial of those scourges.  If then Job is said to have gone wrong, his advocate is made out to have been foiled: though the gifts vouchsafed him alone testify, that he did not transgress at all: for who does not know that what is due to faults is not reward but chastisement?  He then who merited to receive back double what he had lost, proved by this compensation that there was nought of evil, but only virtue in all that he said, and to this declaration too it is further added, that he is himself the intercessor in behalf of his guilty friends.  For one that is involved in great sins, can never, when burthened with his own, discharge another's score; he then is shewn to be clear in his own case, who could obtain for others their clearance from guilt.  If however it be displeasing to any, that he is himself the relator of his own goodness, let them know that in the midst of so many losses of his substance, amidst so many wounds of the body, amidst so many deaths of his children, with the friends, who had come to comfort him, breaking out into reproaches, he was urged to despair of his life, and he whom such repeated calamities had sorely smitten, was further stricken by the insulting language of the reproachers; for these, that had come to comfort him, while they upbraided him with his unrighteousness as it seemed to them, were driving him quite to give up all hope of himself; whereas then he recalls his good deeds to mind, it is not that he lifts himself up in self applause, but sets anew [reformat] his mind to hope, when as it were sunk down amid those reproaches and those strokes.  For the mind is smitten with a heavy weapon of despair, when it is both hard pressed with the tribulations of wrath from above, and galled by the reproaches of men's tongues without.  Blessed Job therefore, thus pierced with the darts of so many woes, when he now feared to be brought down by their reproaches, recalled himself to a state of confidence, by the assurance derived from his past life.  He then did not thereby fall into the sin of presumption, because he resisted an inward impulse to despair by the outward expression of his own eulogies, to the end that while he recounted the good things which he had done he might be saved from despairing of the good that he had sought.




9.  But now let us follow out the actual course of his trial.  The enemy, full of rage, and striving to conquer the firm breast of that holy man, set up against him the engines of temptation, spoiled his substance, slew his children, smote his body, instigated his wife, and while he brought his friends to console him, urged, them to the harshest upbraiding.  One friend too was more cruel in his reproaches, he reserved with the last and bitterest invective, that by the frequency of the stroke, if not otherwise, the heart might be reached by that which was ever being repeated with a fresh wound.  For because he saw that he had power in the world, he thought to move him by the loss of his substance, and finding him unshaken, he smote him by the death of his children.  But seeing that from that wound which made him childless he even gained strength to the greater magnifying of God's praise, he asked leave to smite the health of his body.  Seeing moreover that by the pain of the body he could not compass the affecting [passionem] of the mind, he instigated his wife, for he saw that the city which he desired to storm was too strong; therefore by bringing upon him so many external plagues, he led an army as it were on the outside against him, but, when he kindled the feelings of his wife into words of mischievous persuasion, it was as though he corrupted the hearts of the citizens within; For so from external wars we are instructed how to think of those within.  For an enraged enemy, that holds a city encircled by his surrounding armies, upon perceiving its fortifications to remain unshaken, betakes himself to other methods [argumenta] of attack, with this object, that he may corrupt the hearts of some of the citizens also within; so that, when he has led on the assailants from without, he may also have cooperators within, and that when the heat of the battle increases outside, the city being left without succour by the treachery of those within, of whose faith no doubt is felt, may become his prey.


10.  And thus a battering ram having been planted on the outside, as it were, he smote the walls of this city with blows many in number, as the several times that he brought tidings of calamities; while on the inside, he, as it were, corrupted the hearts of the citizens, when he set himself to undermine the strong bulwarks of this city by the persuasions of the wife.  In this manner he brought to bear, from without, an hostile assault, from within, baneful counsels, that he might capture the city the sooner, in proportion as he troubled it both from within and from without.  But because there are times when words are more poignant than wounds, he armed himself, as we have said, with the tongues of his friends.  Those indeed that were of graver years, might perchance give the less pain by their words.  The younger is made to take their place, to deal that holy bosom a wound so much the sharper, the meaner was the arm that be impelled to strike blows against it.  Behold the enemy mad to strike down his indomitable strength, how many the darts of temptation that he devised, see, what numberless beleaguering engines he set about him! See how many weapons of assault he let fly, but in all his mind continued undaunted, the city stood unshaken.




11.  It is the aim of enemies, when they come up face to face, to send off some in secret, who may be so much the more free to strike a blow in the flank of the hostile force, in proportion as he that is fighting is more eagerly intent upon the enemy advancing in front.  Job, therefore, being caught in the warfare of this conflict, received the losses which befel him like foes in his front; he took the words of his comforters like enemies on his flank, and in all turning round the shield of his stedfastness, he stood defended at all points, and ever on the watch, parried on all sides the swords directed against him.  By his silence he marks his unconcern for the loss of his substance; the flesh, dead in his children, he bewails with composure; the flesh in his own person stricken, he endures with fortitude; the flesh in his wife suggesting mischievous persuasions, he instructeth with wisdom.  In addition to all this his friends start forth into the bitterness of upbraiding, and coming to appease his grief, increase its force.  Thus all the engines of temptation are turned by this holy man to the augmentation of his virtues; for by the wounds his patience is tried, and by the words his wisdom is exercised.  Every where he meets the enemy with an undaunted mien, for the scourges he overcame by resolution, and the words by reasoning.  But his friends, who came indeed to administer consolation, but who deviate from their purpose even to using terms of reproach, must be thought to have erred more from ignorance than wickedness.  For we must never imagine that so great a man had evil minded friends, but, while they fail to discern the cause of his scourges, they slide into a fault.


12.  For of scourges there are sundry kinds; for there is the scourge whereby the sinner is stricken that he may suffer punishment without withdrawal [retractione], another whereby he is smitten, that he may be corrected; another wherewith sometimes a man is smitten, not for the correction of past misdeeds, but for the prevention of future; another which is very often inflicted, whereby neither a past transgression is corrected, nor a future one prevented, but which has this end, that when unexpected deliverance follows the stroke, the power of the Deliverer being known may be the more ardently beloved, and that while the innocent person is bruised by the blow, his patience may serve to increase the gain of his merits; for sometimes the sinner is stricken that he may be punished, without withdrawal, as it is said to Judaea when doomed to destruction, I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one; [Jerem. 30, 14] and again, Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable. [v. 15]  Sometimes the sinner is stricken that he may be amended, as it is said to one in the Gospel, Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee; [John 5, 14] for the words of his deliverer indicate that it was past sins which were exacting all the violence of the pain which he had endured, In some cases the person smitten, not for the obliteration of a past offence, but for the avoidance of a future one, which the Apostle Paul openly testifies of himself, saying, And lest I shall be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. [2Cor. 12, 7]  For he who says, not ‘that he was exalted,’ but, ‘lest he should be exalted,’ clearly shews that by that stroke it is held in check that it may not take place, and that it is not a fault that has taken place now clearing away.  But sometimes the person is stricken neither for past not yet for future transgression, but that the alone mightiness of the Divine power may be set forth in the cutting short of the striking; whence when it was said unto the Lord concerning the blind man in the Gospel, Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? the Lord answered, saying, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him: [John 9, 2.3.] in which manifestation what else is done, saving that by that scourge the excellence of his merits is increased, and while there is no past transgression wiped away, the patience may engender a mighty fortitude.  For which reason the same blessed Job is first extolled by the voice of the Judge, and is then given up into the hand of the Tempter, and whereas God, in recompensing him after the scourge, speaks to him in a more familiar manner, it is plainly shewn how much greater he became by the stroke; so then the friends of blessed Job, while they were unable to distinguish the different kinds of strokes, believed him to be stricken for his guiltiness, and while they endeavoured to vindicate the justice of God in smiting him, they were driven to reprove blessed Job of unrighteousness; not knowing in fact that for this reason he was stricken, viz. that the stroke might redound to the praise of God's glory, and not that by those strokes he might be brought to amend the evil, which he had never done; and hence they are the sooner restored to pardon, because they sinned from ignorance rather than from an evil disposition; and their pride the Divine Justice puts down with so much the stronger hand, as It refuses to renew them in Its favour, saving by means of him whom they had despised.  For a high mind is effectually struck down when it is bowed beneath the very person over whom it has exalted itself.




13.  But amongst these marvellous works of Divine Providence it yields us satisfaction to mark, how, for the enlightening the night of this present life, each star in its turn appears in the face of Heaven, until that towards the end of the night the Redeemer of mankind ariseth like the true Morning Star; for the space of night, being enlightened by the stars as they set and rise in their courses, is passed with the heavens in exceeding beauty.  Thus in order that the ray of stars, darting forth at its appointed time, and changed in succession, might reach the darkness of our night, Abel comes to shew us innocency; Enoch, to teach purity of practice; Noah, to win admittance for lessons of endurance in hope and in work; Abraham, to manifest obedience; Isaac, to shew an example of chastity in wedded life; Jacob, to introduce patience in labour; Joseph, for the repaying evil with the favour of a good turn; Moses, for the shewing forth of mildness; Joshua, to form us to confidence against difficulties; Job, to shew patience amid afflictions.  Lo what lustrous stars see we in the sky, that the foot of practice may never stumble as we walk this our night's journey; since for so many Saints as God's Providence set forth to man's cognizance, He, as it were, sent just so many stars into the sky, over the darkness of erring man, till the true Morning Star should rise, Who, being the herald to us of the eternal morning, should outshine the other stars by the radiance of His Divinity.


14.  And all the elect, whilst by their holy living serving as His forerunners, gave promise of Him by prophesying both in deeds and words.  For there never was any Saint who did not appear as His herald in figure; for it was meet that all should display that goodness in themselves whereby both all became good, and which they knew to be for the good of all, and therefore that blessing ought also to be promised without pause which was vouchsafed both to be received without price [sine aestimatione] and to be kept without end, that all generations might together tell what the end of all should bring to light, in the redemption of which all were partakers.  And therefore it behoved that blessed Job also, who uttered those high mysteries of His Incarnation, should by his life be a sign of Him, Whom by voice he proclaimed, and by all that he underwent should shew forth what were to be His sufferings; and should so much the more truly foretel the mysteries [sacramenta] of His Passion, as he prophesied then not merely with his lips but also by suffering.  But because our Redeemer has shewn Himself to be one with the Holy Church, which He has taken to Himself; for of Him it is said, Who is the Head of us all; [Eph. 4, 15] and of the Church it is written, the Body of Christ, Which is the Church, [Col. 1, 24] whosoever in his own person betokens Him, at one time designates Him in respect of the Head, at another of the Body, so as to have not only the voice of the Head, but also of the Body; and hence the Prophet Isaiah, in giving utterance to the words of the same Lord, says, He hath put upon me a mitre like unto a Bride-.  groom, and hath decked me with jewels as a Bride. [Isa. 61. 10 Vulg.]  Therefore because the same person that in the Head is the Bridegroom, is in the Body the Bride, it follows that when, at times, any thing is spoken from the Head, there must be a turning down by degrees or even at once to the voice of the Body, and again when any thing is said that is of the Body, there must be presently a rising to the voice of the Head.  Accordingly the blessed Job conveys a type of the Redeemer, Who is to come together with His own Body: and his wife who bids him curse, marks the life of the carnal, who having place within the Holy Church with unamended morals, as by their faith they are brought near to the godly, press them the more sorely by their lives, since while they cannot be shunned as being of the faithful, they are endured by the faithful as the greater harm by how much nearer home [deterius quanto et interius].


15.  But his friends, who, while acting as his counsellors, at the same time inveigh against him, are an express image of heretics, who under shew of giving counsel, are busied in leading astray; and hence they address the blessed Job as though in behalf of the Lord, but yet the Lord does not commend them, that is, because all heretics, while they try to defend, only offend God.  Whence they are plainly told, and that by the same holy man I desire to reason with God; first shewing that ye are forgers of lies, ye are followers of corrupt doctrines. [Job 13, 3.4.]   According to which it appears that these by their erroneous notions stood a type of heretics, whom the holy man charges with adhering to a creed [cultui] of corrupt doctrines.  But every heretic, in this, that he is seen to defend God, is a gainsayer of His troth, according to the testimony of the Psalmist, who says, That Thou mightest still the enemy and the defender [Ps. 8, 2. E.V. avenger], for he is an enemy and defender, who so preaches God as thereby to be fighting against Him.




16.  Now that blessed Job maintains the semblance of the Redeemer to come, his very name is a proof.  For Job is, if interpreted, 'grieving;' by which same grief we have set forth, either our Mediator's Passion, or the travails of Holy Church, which is harassed by the manifold toils of this present life.  Moreover by the word which stands for their name his friends mark out the quality of their conduct.  For Eliphas is called in the Latin tongue, ‘contempt of the Lord,’ and what else do heretics, than in entertaining false notions of God contemn Him by their proud conceits.  Baldad is by interpretation ‘Oldness alone.’  And well are all heretics styled, ‘Oldness alone,’ in the things which they speak concerning God, forasmuch as it is with no right purpose but with a longing for temporal honour that they desire to appear as preachers.  For they are moved to speak not by the zeal of the new man, but by the evil principles of the old life.  ‘Sophar’ too is rendered in the Latin language ‘dissipation of the prospect,’ or, ‘one dissipating the prospect.’  For the minds of the faithful lift themselves to the contemplation of things above; but as the words of heretics aim to prevent them in their contemplation of light objects, they do their best to ‘dissipate the prospect.’  Thus in the three names of Job's friends, we have set forth three cases [casus] of the ruin of heretical minds.  For unless they held God in contempt, they would never entertain false notions concerning Him; and unless they drew along with them a heart of oldness, they would: never err in the understanding of the new life; and unless they marred the contemplations of good things [or, of good men], the Supreme judgments would never condemn them with so strict a scrutiny for the guiltiness of their words.  By holding God in contempt, then, they keep themselves in oldness, and by being kept in oldness, they injure the contemplation of right objects [See] by their erring discourses.




17.  Now because it sometimes happens that heretics being penetrated with the bountiful streams of Divine grace return to the unity of Holy Church, this is well represented in the very reconcilement of his friends.  Yet blessed Job is bidden to intercede for them, because the sacrifices of heretics can never be acceptable to God, unless they be offered in their behalf by the hands of the universal Church, that by her merits they may obtain the recovery of salvation, whom they did strike before by assailing her with the darts of their words; and hence seven sacrifices are recorded to have been offered for them, for whereas in confessing they receive the Spirit of sevenfold grace, they do as it were obtain expiation by seven offerings.  It is hence that in the Apocalypse of John the whole Church is represented by the number of seven Churches [Rev. 1, 12].  Hence it is said of wisdom by Solomon, Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn, out her seven pillars. [Prov. 9, 1] And thus by the very number of the sacrifices those reconciled heretics set forth what they were before, in that these are not united to the perfection of sevenfold grace, except by returning.


18.  But they are well described as having offered for themselves bulls and rams.  For in the bull is figured the neck of pride, and in the ram, the leading of the flocks that follow.  What then is it to slaughter bulls and rams in their behalf, but to put an end to their proud leading, so that they may think humbly of themselves, and not seduce the hearts of the innocent to follow after them.  For they had started away from the unity of the Church with a swelling neck, and were drawing after them the weak folk like flocks following behind.  Therefore let them come to blessed Job; i.e.  return to the Church; and present bulls and rams to be slaughtered for a sevenfold sacrifice, and that they may be united to the universal Church, let them with the interposition of humility kill all the swelling humour wherewith their proud leadership savoured them.




19.  Now by Heliu, who speaks indeed with a right sense, yet runs down [derivatur] into foolish words of pride, is set forth a representation of every proud person.  For there are many within the pale of Holy Church, that are too proud to put forward in a right manner the right sentiments, which they profess, and hence he is both rebuked with the words of God's upbraiding, and yet no sacrifices offered in his behalf, in that he is a believer indeed, yet high-minded.  By the truth of his belief he is within, but by the obstacle which his pride presents he is not acceptable.  Him [read Hunc ergo, as old ed. and Mss.] therefore rebuke reproves, but sacrifice does not restore him, because he is indeed in the faith that he ought to be in, yet the Supreme Justice, charging him with things over and above what need to be, keeps him at a distance.  Hence Heliu is well rendered in the Latin tongue, ‘That my God,’ or, ‘God, the Lord.’  For proud men within Holy Church, though they keep away from God by living proudly, yet acknowledge Him by believing truly.  For what is it for him to say by his name, ‘That my God,’ but to shew forth Him Whom he believed with a public avowal?  Or what is it to say, ‘God the Lord,’ but to accept Him both as God by virtue of His Divinity, and to hold Him For Man by His Incarnation?




20.  It is well that after the losses of his substance, after the death of his children, after the tortures of his wounds, after the strife and conflict of words, he is raised up again with a double reward, clearly, in that Holy Church, even while yet in this present life, receives a double recompense for the toils she undergoes, since having taken in the Gentiles to the full, at the end of the world she converts to herself the souls of the Jews likewise.  For it is on this account written, Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved. [Rom. 11, 25. 26.]  And she will afterwards receive a double recompense, in that, when the toils of this present time are over, she rises not alone to the joy of souls, but to a blessed estate of bodies.  And hence the Prophet rightly says, therefore in their land they shall possess the double. [Isa. 61, 7]  For ‘in the Land of the Living’ the Saints possess the double, because we know they are gladdened with blessedness both of mind and body.  Hence John in the Apocalypse, because it was before the resurrection of bodies that he saw the souls of the Saints crying, beheld how that they had given them a stole to each, saying, And white robes were given, one [singulae] to every one of them, and it was said, that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. [Rev. 6, 11]  For before the Resurrection they are said to have received a stole to each, for that as yet they are gifted with blessedness of mind alone; and therefore they will receive each one two, whenever, together with the perfect bliss of souls, they shall be clothed also with incorruptibility of bodies.


21.  Now it is very properly that the affliction indeed of blessed Job is told, but the length of time that he was under the affliction is kept back, for we see the tribulation of Holy Church in this life, but know nothing for how long she is here to undergo bruising and delay; and hence it is spoken by the mouth of Truth, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power. [Acts 1, 7]  Herein then, that the suffering of blessed Job is told us, we are taught what we are made acquainted withal by experience; and herein, that the length of time that he continued in his suffering is withheld, we are taught what it is we must remain ignorant of.


We have drawn out these words of preface to some length, that by briefly running over it we might in a manner give a view of the whole.  Now then that by long discoursing we have been brought to the commencement of our discourse, we must first settle the root of the historical meaning, that we may afterwards let our minds take their fill of the fruits of the allegorical senses.