Anthony_Sermons - (FIRST CLAUSE)
(A theme for a sermon on the misery of this exile, and on the end of man: Remember thy Creator, and the rest which is included on this matter.)
10. There follows, secondly:
For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a wall about thee and compass thee round and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. (Lc 19,43-44)
The time will come when the demonic enemies will cast a wall about souls as they leave their bodies, and drag them into the company of their own damnation. They will compass them round and straiten them on every side, when they reveal to their gaze the wickedness, not just of their deeds, but even their words and thoughts. They will beat them flat to the ground, when the flesh is reduced to dust. Their children will fall, when in that day all their thoughts shall perish (Ps 145,4); these thoughts are also signified by stones, when it goes on: and they shall not leave a stone upon a stone. When a wicked man caps a wicked thought with a worse one, he as it were lays a stone upon a stone; but when the soul is haled off to punishment, that structure of thought is demolished, and all because she did not know the time of her visitation. Sometimes God visits the wicked soul by precept, sometimes by punishment, and sometimes by miracles; but because she is proud and contemptuous, and is not ashamed of her wicked deeds, in the end she will be given up to her enemies, with whom she will be gathered in the eternal judgement of damnation. To explain why this unhappy outcome occurs, there is added: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.
The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master’s crib;
but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood. (Is 1,3)
The ‘ox’ is the thief who bore the cross as an ox bears the yoke. He knew his owner when he said: Remember me, etc. (Lc 23,42). The gentle ass is the Gentile centurion,
who said; Indeed this was the Son of God. But Israel (the clergy) does not know; and the people (the laity) do not understand.
There is a concordance to this in Ecclesiastes, towards the end, where it says: Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the time of affliction come, and the years draw nigh of which thou shalt say; They please me not.
Before the sun and the light, and the moon and the stars be darkened,
and the clouds return alter the rain;
when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
and the strong men shall stagger,
and the grinders shall be idle in a small number,
and they that look through the holes shall be darkened;
and they shall shut the doors in the street;
when the grinders’ voice shall be low,
and they shall rise up at the voice of the bird,
and all the daughters of music shall grow deaf.
And they shall fear high things, and they shall be afraid in the way.
The almond tree shall flourish, and the locust shall be made fat, and the caper-tree shall be destroyed; because man shall go into the house of his eternity, and the mourners shall go round about in the street.
Before the silver cord be broken, and the golden fillet shrink back, and the pitcher be crushed at the fountain,
and the wheel be broken upon the cistern,
and the dust return into its earth, from whence it was,
and the spirit return to God who gave it. (Qo 12,1-7)
O city of Jerusalem, O soul created according to the likeness of God, remember your Creator, who made you and who will judge you, in the days of your youth, the time more prone to sin and more acceptable for doing penance.
First he says:
Rejoice, therefore, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart be in that which is good. (Qo 11,9)
In youth there is the ability to be useful; so remember, have in mind, before the time of your affliction comes- old age, death and judgement- and the years come of which you will say, They do not please me: remember in this your day what is to your peace, and what does please you. The days will come in which you will take no pleasure. You pleased yourself and displeased God; the days will come when you displease yourself. Remember, I say, before the light of the sun is darkened, before the brightness of worldly prosperity is overshadowed by the darkness of death; before the moon and the stars- the senses of the body- grow weak in old age and in death are altogether darkened. Isaiah says:
They shall look upwards, and they shall look to the earth:
and behold trouble and darkness, weakness and distress, and a mist following them;
and they cannot fly away from their distress. (Is 8,21-22)
‘Trouble’ is in the devil’s suggestions; ‘darkness’ is in the blinding of the mind;
‘weakness’ is in the performance of works; ‘distress’ is in custom; and the ‘mist following’ is the hell of damnation. (Alternatively: there is ‘trouble’ in this life; ‘darkness’ in old age; ‘weakness’ in sickness; ‘distress’ in the sending forth of the soul; and the ‘mist following’ in the assaults of the demons).
So, Remember your Creator. And the clouds return alter rain. The clouds are preachers, who pour down rain when they announce to a soul the bondage of its damnation. They recede when he refuses to believe them, and return when what they have announced is fulfilled. When the keepers of the house shall tremble. In this text, Solomon speaks in a mixed way: now of old age, now of the death of a man; but from this point up to the
words, before the silver cord be broken, he is speaking of old age which is the herald of death.
The ‘keepers of the house’ are the ribs, which guard the inner parts and protect the delicate organs. In old age they ‘tremble’ and grow weak. The ‘strong men’ are the legs which support the whole body, which stagger and totter. The ‘grinders’ grow idle when the teeth grow weak and unable to chew food. ‘They that look through the holes’ are darkened when the eyes grow dim. They ‘shut the doors in the street’, because old men who cannot walk must stay at home; and they shut the doors so as not to see the games of the young- they cannot bear to look at things like that. The ‘grinders’ voice’ is low, because their senses are ageing, their voice is low and weak, and they cannot get, or even chew, their food by their own efforts. They rise up at ‘the voice of the bird’ (the cock) because as their blood chills they find themselves unable to sleep as they did before. The ‘daughters of music’ grow deaf, because in extreme old age the ears, which used to enjoy music, can make out nothing, and grow deaf.
They fear higher things. Old people are afraid of heights as their knees fail, and they are afraid in the way even on level ground, in case they fall. The almond-tree flourishes as their hair grows white, and the locust is made fat as their legs swell. Just as the locust has a fat stomach, so the lower parts of the old swell up. The caper-tree is destroyed, because lust cools as the sexual organs grow impotent. The caper has a strong effect on the kidneys, and because lust also controls the loins, it is signified by the caper. Man goes into the house of his eternity as he fails, and falls into the earth, and the mourners go round about in the street, as his friends and family accompany his corpse with lamentation. See how great your misery is, O man. Why, then, are you proud?
11. There follows a description of death. Remember your Creator before the silver cord of continued life is broken; and the golden fillet, the soul which is the most precious part of man, shrinks back whence it came. And the pitcher is crushed (the pitcher being man, made of earth), and the wheel (also man, ever turning in the circle of the world). He is broken at the fountain and upon the cistern when, destroyed by death, he lets go of the waters of desire which he had drawn from the well of worldly vanity. The pitcher stands for cupidity. The Samaritan woman left her pitcher at the Lord’s preaching (cf. Jn 4,28). When a rich man dies amidst his riches, we can say that the pitcher is crushed at the fountain, because the wretch dies at the fountain of greed. The cistern is the amassing of riches; as Jeremiah says:
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water,
and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jr 2,13)
The wheel is broken upon the cistern when a man’s cupidity does not abandon wealth, but dies in the midst of it.
The dust (the body) returns into its earth, from whence it was. The first man was told, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gn 3,19), and dust is blown away by the wind. And the spirit (the soul) returns to God, who gave it. It did not arise from matter; God made the soul, and freely infused into it the power to recognize him as Creator, to love him when it recognized him, to worship him when it loved him, and to enjoy him when it worshipped him.
The second part of the Epistle is concordant to this second clause of the Gospel:
Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord;
and there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh in all. (1Co 12,46)
Note these three: diversities of graces, of ministries and of operations. The Apostle calls ‘graces’ those virtues which are freely given by God- faith, hope and the like- whose effects are ‘ministries’ to our neighbour and ‘operations’ towards him. God infuses them, we minister, and he who infuses also operates. In speaking of the Spirit, the Lord, and God, the same underlying reality is to be understood. The Trinity exists in the Persons, and works ‘all in all’. He does not give all things to any one, but does all things in all together; so that what someone does not have in himself, he has in another, and so charity and humility remain.
We beg you then, O Trinity and Unity, that when the days of affliction come, for the final return to dust and the breaking of the silver cord: the soul which you have made may return to you, and you will receive it; so that it may be freed from the assaults of the demons, and may desire to fly upwards into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Grant this, you who are blessed, God three and one, for ever and ever. Amen.
(A theme for a sermon against simoniacs: And entering into the temple.)
12. There follows, thirdly;
And entering into the temple he began to cast out them that sold therein and them that bought; saying to them: It is written: My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it into a den of thieves. And he was teaching daily in the temple. (Lc 19,45-47)
And Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money, sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen; and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. (Jn 2,13-16)
Twice the Lord is said to have cast out those selling and buying from the temple, firstly in the first year of his preaching, and secondly when he went up to his Passion. Jesus enters the temple every day when he visits his Church and considers the actions of each one, casting out from among the saints those whose good deeds are only a pretence, or who openly do evil. The oxen which till the ground stand for the preachers of heavenly doctrine. The sellers of oxen are those who do not preach from the love of God, but to gain a temporal reward. The innocent sheep provide wool for clothing, which represent works of cleanness and piety. Those who sell them are those who do these things for the sake of human praise. The Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and so the dove represents the Spirit, which the simoniacs sell, committing a grave sin.
In Acts, when the Jews asked what they should do, they were told, ‘Do penance’ (cf. Ac 2,38). When Simon Magus asked the same question, he was told, ‘Do penance, that perhaps God may spare you.’ (cf. Ac 8,22). Those who change money in the Church are those who do not even pretend to serve heavenly things, but quite openly serve the things of earth. They are all cast out from the portion of the saints (cf. Col 1,12), because they either only pretend to do good, or openly do evil; and they are now scourged with the cords of sin for their correction. If they are not corrected, they will in the end be bound by them. Christ casts out the sheep and the oxen, showing his disapproval of their life and doctrine. He overturns the money and the tables, because in the end the very things they have loved will be destroyed.
When the Lord cast out the buyers and sellers from the temple, a certain brightness flashed from his eyes, which so terrified the priests and Levites that they could not withstand him.
(On the Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, and his power: Wisdom reacheth.)
13. There is a concordance to this in the book of Wisdom, where it says:
Wisdom reacheth everywhere by reason of her purity.
For she is a vapour of the power of God
and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the almighty God;
and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her.
For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty, and the image of his goodness.
And being but one, she can do all things:
and remaining in herself the same, she reneweth all things. (Sg 7,24-27)
Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God, reaches everywhere; satisfying the angels in heaven with his vision, mercifully encouraging sinners on earth to repentance, and punishing in hell the demons and sinners who have passed beyond hope. He reaches everywhere by reason of his purity, because he is light, and in him there is no darkness (1Jn 1,5). He is a vapour that warms the chill of our faithlessness, and that exists by the same power as God the Father. He is an emanation, the splendour of a consubstantial, equal and co-eternal glory, which proceeds somehow from the brightness of the Almighty, which exists in a single brightness with the Almighty. He is pure, because no evil can approach the supreme Good, and therefore no defiled thing comes into her, because Good is always simple. She is the brightness of eternal light, and a mirror in which the Father is seen: whence, He who sees me sees also my Father (Jn 14,9). Unspotted, because He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth (1P 2,22). The image of his goodness, the full representation which exists with him in the same goodness; and being but one (with the Father) he can do all things (because he is almighty), and remaining unchangeable, he renews all things by ruling and ordering them. No wonder that he cast out from the temple those who sold and bought, and that the priests and Levites could not withstand him!
Alternatively: The Wisdom of the Father was a warming vapour by his Incarnation, when the winter of infidelity was past, the rain of demonic persecution was over and gone, and the flowers of eternal promise appeared in our land (cf. Ct 2,11-12). Wisdom was an emanation of glory in the working of miracles, and the brightness of the eternal light in his resurrection. He will be to us an unspotted mirror in eternal blessedness, where we shall see him as he is (cf. 1Jn 3,2), and his wisdom will be reflected in us. St Augustine2 asks, "What will that love be, when each of us will see our own faces reflected in each other’s, as clearly as we now see each other’s faces?"
The third part of the Epistle is concordant to this third clause:
And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit.
To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom;
and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit, etc. (1Co 12,7-8)
Gifts are given and divided among each one, not always according to merit, but for their usefulness in building up the Church. Those who sell or buy these gifts must be cast out of the Church, as Christ cast the buyers and sellers out of the temple.
(A moral sermon on contemplation: When I go into my house.)
14. My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.
Solomon says in the book of Wisdom:
When I go into my house, I shall repose myself with her (i.e. Wisdom); for her conversation hath no bitterness,
nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness. (Sg 8,16)
The spiritual man returns from the care of temporal things, and from restless thoughts, and enters into the house of his own conscience. He shuts the door of the five senses, and reposes himself with Wisdom, making space for divine contemplation wherein he tastes the quiet of heavenly sweetness. The conversation of Wisdom has no bitterness, no delight in sin, and it does not infect with poison the palate it rests on. Nor does her company have any tediousness. Spiritual men increase in desire for her delights, and the more they consume them the more they love them. In this there is joy and gladness. Blessed is that house, happy is that conscience, which tastes the savour of Wisdom, and in which Wisdom herself takes repose, saying, My house shall be called a house of prayer.
(A sermon on prayer, and the things necessary for it, and on the nature of bees:
My house shall be called a house of prayer.)
‘Domicile’ suggests ‘dome’ or ‘roof’. A house has three parts: the foundation, the walls and the roof. The foundation is humility, the walls are the combined virtues, and the roof is charity. When all these come together, the Lord is present, and says, My house shall be called a house of prayer. For prayer (‘orison’ or ‘oral reason’), six elements are necessary: the fragrance of inner devotion, delight in tribulation, tears of compunction, mortification of the flesh, cleanness of life and almsgiving. These are noted in Genesis, where Jacob says to his sons:
Go and carry presents to the man (Joseph):
a little balm and honey, incense, myrrh, resin and almonds. (cf. Gn 43,11)
Balm is the fragrance of inner devotion, as Ecclesiasticus says: My odour is as the
purest balm (Si 24,21).
Honey is delight in tribulation, as it says in Deuteronomy: They sucked honey out of the rock (cf. Dt 32,13). The rock is the hardness of adversity or tribulation. Job says:
In the hardness of thy hand thou art against me. (Jb 30,21)
To suck honey out of the rock is to receive the harshness of adversity in peace of mind. Natural History tells us that bees sit in their hives and suck honey from the combs; and it is said that if they do not do this, the contents of the combs goes bad and generates spiders. The honey-comb is honey in wax, and it must be eaten rather than drunk.
The bees are like the just, who sit in their hives by afflicting and humbling their bodies, and suck what is in the combs. Just as a honey-comb consists of honey and wax, so in the life of the just man there is the honey of inner sweetness and the wax of outward adversity, which melts and runs when exposed to the fire, the presence of divine love. I pray that these bees will sit in their hives and suck what is in the combs, lest by impatience and bitterness of heart the honey of inner sweetness be corrupted, and generate a spider. The spider, which spins its thread in the air, signifies pride of heart, which even in the heavenly realm strives to live in the hearts of heaven’s citizens. Alas, indeed! When honey goes bad, it generates a spider; for from the corruption of inner sweetness the spider of pride is born.
Incense is prayer, whence: Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight (Ps 140,2). Incense is offered to God, and it is found only in Arabia (which means ‘sacred’). There is found a tree called ‘libanus’, resembling laurel in bark and leaves. It exudes a sap like that of the almond-tree. This is collected twice a year, in autumn and in spring. The autumn gathering is prepared for by cutting the bark in the heat of summer. The rich juice pours out and congeals where the nature of the place demands. This is white incense. The second harvest is prepared in winter, by cutting the bark. It comes out red, and is not like the first. The young shoots of the tree are whiter, but the old are more fragrant. Whoever owns such a glade is termed ‘sacred’ in Arabic; and those who tend or visit these places must not participate in funerals, or have relations with women.
(For religious, and on the gathering of incense, and its characteristics: As libanus not cut.)
15. ‘Arabia’ is the holy mind of a just man, in which there is (and there should be)
‘libanus’ (meaning ‘whiteness’), that is, cleanness of life which proceeds from the incense of true prayer. So Ecclesiasticus says:
I perfumed my dwelling... as libanus not cut. (Si 24,21)
Libanus stands for all those whose life is based on prayer. All religious should be ‘uncut libanus’, in particular so that their minds are not divided in prayer, having one thing on
their lips and another in their hearts. A divided mind does not pray, so they should labour to be whole, that their tongues accord with their hearts, and that there be a sweet melody in the ears of the Lord of hosts.
The collection of incense in autumn represents the devout prayer of proficients; the spring harvest of incense is the prayer of beginners, that is, the newly-converted. These, just like the former, emit gum when their bark is cut, because when their hearts are pricked they render prayer to God. But the former are cut in the heat of summer, and the latter in winter. The former produce white incense, the latter red. For proficients, in the fervour of heavenly desire, send forth all their devout prayer with tears of compunction; whereas beginners, in the winter of their temptation, and still afflicted by the cold of the devil’s suggestions, emit a sorrowful prayer, as it were bloody with bitter tears and sighs. When Pharao is spurned, he rises up to create obstacles.
The incense of the new shoots is whiter, but that of the old is more fragrant. First should come purity of life, then should follow the fragrance of good repute. When you begin, you should strive more for purity of life; when you are making progress, seek the fragrance of good repute. Whoever wants to gather the incense of prayer and offer it to God, should beware of involvement in the ‘funerals’ of rancour and hate (Whoever hates his brother murderer (1Jn 3,15)) and of pollution with evil thoughts- let alone relations with women.
Myrrh, whose name means ‘bitterness’, is the mortification of the flesh. Of this, the book of Judith tells how: Judith washed her body and anointed herself with the best myrrh (Jdt 10,4). The person who confesses should wash himself in confession, and anoint himself with mortification of the flesh to make satisfaction for sin. It was said to Daniel: From the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard (Da 10,12)- in the sight of God, he says, not of men!
(On compunction of tears: I will water thee with my tears, Hesebon.)
16. Resin is the ‘tear’ of a tree, and it represents the tears that flow from the inmost heart. Of these, the Lord said to Ezechias: I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears (Is 38,5); and:
I will water thee with my tears, O Hesebon and Eleale. (Is 38,5)
Hesebon means ‘girdle of sadness’ or ‘knowledge of grief’, and Eleale is ‘going up’. They stand for penitent souls which are girded with the girdle of sadness and grief, so as to be made ready to go up to the house of the Lord. So Isaiah says:
By the ascent of Luith they shall go up weeping;
and in the way of Oronaim they shall lift up a cry of contrition. (Is 15,5)
Luith means ‘cheeks’; so by the ascent of Luith, the cheeks, he goes up weeping to the Lord. Oronaim is ‘cleft of sorrow’, meaning the eyes through which the cry of lamentation goes forth, going up to the Lord. So it says in Ecclesiasticus:
Do not the widow’s tears run down the cheek,
and her cry against him that causeth them to fall?
For from the cheek they go up to heaven,
and the Lord that heareth will not be delighted in them. (Si 35,18-19)
The Lord inebriates penitent souls with the tears of his Passion, offering himself with a loud cry and tears to God the Father (cf. He 5,7). He inebriates, I say, so that forgetful of temporal things they reach out to what lies ahead (cf. Ph 3,13).
The almond-tree, which flowers in winter, stands for alms, with which we should flower in the winter of this present life. So Ecclesiastes says: The almond-tree shall flourish, etc. (Qo 12,5). (Refer to the third part of the Gospel: There was a certain rich man, that had a vineyard (Pentecost IX)). Ecclesiasticus says: Son, defraud not the poor of alms (Si 4,1). The words, defraud not, are well chosen, for fraud takes what belongs to another, according to the maxim, ‘He who keeps for himself more than he needs, is guilty of stealing what belongs to another.’ Alms are, as it were, ‘God’s water’, and the Greek word eleemosyna means ‘mercy’. Happy the house, and happy the store-room, in which these six are to be found; from which pure prayer proceeds and goes up to God’s ears, asking for everything it requires. The Lord says well, My house shall be called a house of prayer.
There is a concordance to this house in the Introit of todays Mass:
God is in his holy place: God who maketh men of one manner to dwell in a house.
It is he who will give power and strength to his people. (Ps 67,6-7,36)
The place and the house stand for the mind of the just man. It is a ‘place’ after Ezekiel’s words:
I heard behind me the voice of a great commotion, saying:
Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place. (Ez 3,12)
The voice of a great commotion is contrition of heart, by which the human mind becomes the place of God, from which God is blessed and glorified. It is a ‘house’, of which it is said: My house shall be called a house of prayer. In this house he makes reason and
sensuality to dwell in one manner, so that sensuality is subject to reason, and reason to its superior, namely God. It is he who will give power (virtue) to his people, lest prosperity make them proud; and strength, lest adversity cast them down. So Isaiah says; It is he that giveth strength to the weary, and increaseth force and might to them that are not (Is 40,29).
(On the den of thieves and the nature of the dragon, the ostrich, the hairy beast, the owl and the siren, and what they mean: Wild beasts shall rest.)
17. There follows: But you have made it a den of thieves. Jeremiah says:
Is this house then, in which my name has been called upon,
in your eyes become a den of robbers?(Jr 7,11)
The human conscience becomes a robbers’ den when what Isaiah says happens to it: Wild beasts shall rest there, and their houses shall be filled with dragons; and ostriches shall dwell there, and the hairy ones shall dance there.
And owls shall answer one another, in the houses thereof, and sirens in the temples of pleasure. (Is 13,21-22)
Beasts lay waste, savaging with teeth and claws. A dragon is a serpent greater than all other animals without feet. When dragged out of its lair, it takes to the air and violently shakes it. Its strength is in its tail rather than in its teeth. The sea-dragon has a sting in its limbs, turned towards its tail. The ostrich is a creature with bird-like wings, but it cannot lift itself off the ground. It neglects the care of its eggs, which are thrown anywhere and kept alive by the warmth of the dust. The ‘hairy ones’, or incubi, are shaped like humans above, but like beasts below. The Greeks call them ‘pans’ or ‘fauns’. The pagans thought that fauns were bearded, red-faced, and had feet like goats. Owls are nocturnal birds which give a hooting sound. They are often called night-hawks, or cave-birds. Sirens (it is said) are deadly sea-animals, human from head to navel, and bird-like from there to the feet. They sing a song, most sweet in melody, and by the sweetness of their voices they draw to themselves sailors, who hear them far off, and when they have put them into a deep sleep they tear them to pieces. (Their real counterparts are harlots, who reduce to penury those who resort to them.) They were supposed to have wings and claws, because lustful love is flighty and injurious.
Note that the beasts stand for pride and plunder; the dragons for the poisonous malice of wrath and envy; the ostriches for the deceitfulness of hypocrites; the fauns for avarice and simony; the owls for detraction; and the sirens for gluttony and lust. It is from pride
that robbers, like wild beasts, plunder the poor, orphans and widows. Ezekiel says of the proud and powerful of this world:
She took one of her cubs and set him up for a lion,
and he learned to catch the prey and to devour men.
He learned to make widows,
and the fulness of him came from the noise of his roaring. (Ez 19,5-7)
The wrathful and envious, like dragons drawn out of the lair of their own conscience, cannot contain themselves, but fill the air with words, making it ring with their clamour, defiling it with blasphemies. The strength of their malice is not only in their teeth (their blasphemy), but chiefly in their tail (the revenge and injury that they inflict with their hands). Hypocrites are like ostriches. They have an appearance of holiness, but are weighed down with love of temporal glory. They cannot raise themselves from earthly things. The ostrich neglects the care of its eggs, and the hypocrite deserts the children obtained by his preaching, so that they perish amid earthly things. So Job says:
The wing of the ostrich is like the wings of the heron, and of the hawk.
When she leaveth her eggs on the earth, thou perhaps will warm them in the dust?
She forgetteth that the foot may tread upon them,
or that the beasts of the field may break them.
She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers. (Jb 39,13-16)
Eggs are moist within, and represent the newly-converted, who have the moisture of compunction in their hearts, which the Lord warms in the dust of humble penance, so that they may produce the fruit of good works. The hypocritical prelate, intent on temporal glory, forgets that the foot of carnal affection may tread on them, and the beasts of the field (the devils) may break his subjects. He is hardened against them as if they were not his. He is a hireling, and so has no concern for the eggs or the sheep (cf. Jn 10,13).
The avaricious and simoniacs nowadays dance and play like fauns in the Church of Christ- red-faced, filled and fattened, their feet (affections) and morals are like goats: they stink. The cave of their conscience bears witness to their filth. Detractors and flatterers are like owls. In the night (the absence of those they criticise) and with false praise to those they flatter, they hoot horribly. Gluttons and the lustful, like sirens, tear their own souls, devour their own substance, and cast into the sea of eternal damnation
those they seduce, along with themselves. See how the house, the Church of God, is filled from top to bottom with these vices and made as it were a robbers’ den; while the human conscience is made a cave of demons. So the Lord says: You have made it a den of thieves.
Ah, then, dearest brothers! Let us humbly and with tears entreat the Lord Jesus Christ to cast out of his Church the simoniac sellers and buyers; and to drive out from the house of our conscience, once his own, the aforesaid vices, and to make it a real house of holy prayer. So may we be found fit to attain the house of the heavenly Jerusalem. May he grant this, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Let every pure conscience say: Amen. Alleluia.
Anthony_Sermons - (FIRST CLAUSE)