Gregory, Pastoral 305

Chapter V. How Servants and Masters are to Be Admonished.

305 (Admonition 6). Differently to be admonished are servants and masters. Servants, to wit, that they ever keep in view the humility of their condition; but masters, that they lose not recollection of their nature, in which they are constituted on an equality with servants. Servants are to be admonished that they despise not their masters, lest they offend God, if by behaving themselves proudly they gainsay His ordinance: masters, too, are to be admonished, that they are proud against God with respect to His gift, if they acknowledge not those whom they hold in subjection by reason of their condition to be their equals by reason of their community of nature. The former are to be admonished to know themselves to be servants of masters; the latter are to be admonished to acknowledge themselves to be fellow-servants of servants. For to those it is said, Servants, obey your masters according to the flesh (Col 3,22); and again, Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honour (1Tm 6,1); but to these it is said, And ye, masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, knowing that both their and your Master is in heaven (Ep 6,9).

Chapter VI. How the Wise and the Dull are to Be Admonished.

306 (Admonition 7). Differently to be admonished are the wise of this world and the dull. For the wise are to be admonished that they leave off knowing what they know: the dull also are to be admonished that they seek to know what they know not. In the former this thing first, that they think themselves wise, is to be thrown down; in the latter whatsoever is already known of heavenly wisdom is to be built up; since, being in no wise proud, they have, as it were, prepared their hearts for supporting a building. With those we should labour that they become more wisely foolish, leave foolish wisdom, and learn the wise foolishness of God: to these we should preach that from what is accounted foolishness they should pass, as from a nearer neighbourhood, to true wisdom. For to the former it is said, If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him becomefool, that he may be wise (1Co 3,18): but to the latter it is said, Not many wise men after the flesh (1Co 1,26); and again, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1Co 27). The former are for the most part converted by arguments of reasoning; the latter sometimes better by examples. Those it doubtless profits to lie vanquished in their own allegations; but for these it is sometimes enough to get knowledge of the praiseworthy deeds of others. Whence also the excellent teacher, who was debtor to the wise and foolish (Rm i. 14), when he was admonishing some of the Hebrews that were wise, but some also that were somewhat slow, speaking to them of the fulfilment of the Old Testament, overcame the wisdom of the former by argument, saying, That which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away (He 8,13). But, when he perceived that some were to be drawn by examples only, he added in the same epistle, Saints had trial of mockings and seourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword (He 11,36-37): and again, Remember those who were set over you, who spoke to you the Word of God, whose faith follow, looking to the end of their conversation (He 13,7); that so victorious reason might subdue the one sort, but the gentle force of example persuade the other to mount to greater things.

Chapter VII. How the Impudent and Bashful are to Be Admonished.

307 (Admonition 8). Differently to be admonished are the impudent and the bashful. For those nothing but hard rebuke restrains from the vice of impudence; while these for the most part a modest exhortation disposes to amendment. Those do not know that they are in fault, unless they be rebuked even by many; to these it usually suffices for their conversion that the teacher at least gently reminds them of their evil deeds. For those one best corrects who reprehends them by direct invective; but to these greater profit ensues, if what is rebuked in them be touched, as it were, by a side stroke. Thus the Lord, openly upbraiding the impudent people of the Jews, saying, There is come unto thee a whoreís forehead; thou wouldest not blush (Jr 3,3). But again He revives them when ashamed, saying, Thou shalt forget the confusion of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood ; for thy Maker will reign over thee (Is 54,4). Paul also openly upbraids the Galatians impudently sinning, when he says, O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you (Ga 3,1)? And again, Are ye so foolish, that, having begun in the Spirit, ye are now made perfect in the flesh (Jr 3)? But the faults of those who are ashamed he reprehends as though sympathizing with them, saying, I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last ye have flourished again to care for me, as indeed ye did care, far ye lacked opportunity (Ph 4,10); so that hard upbraiding might discover the faults of the former, and a softer address veil the negligence of the latter.

Chapter VIII. How the Forward and the Faint-Hearted are to Be Admonished.

308 (Admonition 9). Differently to be admonished are the forward and the faint-hearted. For the former, presuming on themselves too much, disdain all others when reproved by them; but the latter, while too conscious of their own infirmity, for the most part fall into despondency. Those count all they do to be singularly eminent; these think what they do to be exceedingly despised, and so are broken down to despondency. Therefore the works of the forward are to be finely sifted by the reprover, that wherein they please themselves they may be shewn to displease God.

For we then best correct the forward, when what they believe themselves to have done well we shew to have been ill done; that whence glory is believed to have been gained, thence wholesome confusion may ensue. But sometimes, when they are not at all aware of being guilty of the vice of forwardness, they more speedily come to correction if they are confounded by the infamy of some other personís more manifest guilt, sought out from a side quarter; that from that which they cannot defend, they may be made conscious of wrongly holding to what they do defend. Whence, when Paul saw the Corinthians to be forwardly puffed up one against another, so that one said he was of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another of Christ (
1Co 1,12 1Co 3,4), he brought forward the crime of incest, which had not only been perpetrated among them, but also remained uncorrected, saying, It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one should have his fatherís wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you (1Co 5,1-2). As if to say plainly, Why say ye in your forwardness that ye are of this one or of the other, while shewing in the dissoluteness of your negligence, that ye are of none of them?

But on the other hand we more fitly bring back the faint hearted to the way of well-doing, if we search collaterally for some good points about them, so that, while some things in them we attack with our reproof, others we may embrace with our praise; to the end thatthe hearing of praise may nourish their tenderness, which the rebuking of their fault chastises.And for the most part we make more way with them for their profit, if we also make mention of their good deeds; and, in case of some wrong things having been done by them, if we find not fault with them as though they were already perpetrated, but, as it were, prohibit them as what ought not to be perpetrated; that so both the favour shewn may increase the things which we approve, and our modest exhortation avail more with the faint-hearted against the things which we blame. Whence the same Paul, when he came to know that the Thessalonians, who stood fast in the preaching which they had received, were troubled with a certain faint-heartedness as though the end of the world were nigh at hand, first praises that wherein he sees them to be strong, and afterwards, with cautious admonition, strengthens what was weak. For he says, We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves too glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith (2Th 1,3-4). But, having premised these flattering encomiums of their life, a little while after he subjoined, Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as sent by us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand (2Th 2,1). For the true teacher so proceeded that they should first hear, in being praised, what they might thankfully acknowledge, and afterwards, in being exhorted, what they should follow; to the end that the precedent praise should settle their mind, lest the subjoined admonition should shake it; and, though he knew that they had been disquieted by suspicion of the end being near, he did not yet reprove them as having been so, but, as if ignorant of the past, forbade them to be disquieted in future; so that, while they believed themselves to be unknown to their preacher with respect even to the levity of their disquietude, they might be as much afraid of being open to blame as they were of being known by him to be so.

Chapter IX. How the Impatient and the Patient are to Be Admonished.

309 †(Admonition 10). Differently to be admonished are the impatient and the patientFor the impatient are to be told that, while they neglect to bridle their spirit, they are hurried through many steep places of iniquity which they seek not after, inasmuch as fury drives the mind whither desire draws it not, and, when perturbed, it does, not knowing, what it afterwards grieves for when it knows The impatient are also to be told that, when carried headlong by the impulse of emotion; they act in some ways as though beside themselves, and are hardly aware afterwards of the evil they have done; and, while they offer no resistance to their perturbation, they bring into confusion even things that may have been well done when the mind was calm, and overthrow under sudden impulse whatever they have haply long built up with provident toil. For the very virtue of charity, which is the mother and guardian of all virtues, is lost through the vice of impatience. For it is written, Charity is patient (1Co 13,4). Wherefore where patience is not, charity is not. Through this vice of impatience, too; instruction, the nurse of virtues, is dissipated. For it is written, The instruction of a man is known by his patience (Pr 19,11). Every man, then, is shewn to be by so much less instructed as he is convicted of being less patient. For neither can he truly impart what is good through instruction, if in his life he knows not how to bear what is evil in others with equanimity.

Further, through this vice of impatience for the most part the sin of arrogance pierces the mind; since, when any one is impatient of being looked down upon in this world,he endeavours to shew off any hidden good, that he may have, and so through impatience is drawn on to arrogance; and, while he cannot bear contempt, he glories ostentatiously in self-display. Whence it is written, Better is the patient than the arrogant (Qo 7,9); because, in truth, one that is patient choosesto suffer any evils whatever rather than that his hidden good should come to be known through the vice of ostentation. But the arrogant, on the contrary, chooses that even pretended good should be vaunted of him, lest he should possibly suffer even the least evil. Since, then, when patience is relinquished, all other good things also that have been done are overthrown, it is rightly enjoined on Ezekiel that in the altar of God a trench be made; to wit, that in it the whole burnt-offerings laid on the altar might be preserved (Ez 43,13). For, if there were not a trench in the altar, the passing breeze would scatter every sacrifice that it might find there. But what do we take the altar of God to be but the soul of the righteous man, which lays upon itself before His eyes as many sacrifices as it has done good deeds? And what is the trench of the altar but the patience of good men, which, while it humbles the mind to endure adversities, shews it to be placed low down after the manner of a ditch? Wherefore let a trench be made in the altar, lest the breeze should scatter the sacrifice laid upon it: that is, let the mind of the elect keep patience, lest, stirred with the wind of impatience, it lose even that which it has wrought well. Well, too, this same trench is directed to be of one cubit, because, if patience fails not, the measure of unity is preserved. Whence also Paul says, Bear ye one anotherís burdens, and so ye shall fulfil the law Christ (Ga 6,2). For the law of Christ is the charity of unity, which they alone fulfil who are guilty of no excess even when they are burdened. Let the impatient hear what is written, Better is the patient than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh cities (Pr 16,32). For victory over cities is a less thing, because that which is subdued is without; but a far greater thing is that which is conquered by patience, since the mind itself is by itself overcome, and subjects itself to itself, when patience compels it to bridle itself within. Let the impatient hear what the Truth says to His elect; In your patience ye shall possess your souls (Lc 21,19). For we are so wonderfully made that reason possesses the soul, and the soul the body. But the soul is ousted from its right of possession of the body, if it is not first possessed by reason. Therefore the Lord pointed out patience as the guardian of our state, in that He taught us to possess ourselves in it. Thus we learn how great is the sin of impatience, through which we lose the very possession of what we are. Let the impatient hear what is said again through Solomon; A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man putteth it off, and reserves it until afterwards (Pr 29,11). For one is so driven by the impulse of impatience as to utter forth the whole mind, which the perturbation within throws out the more quickly for this reason, that no discipline of wisdom fences it round. But the wise man puts it off, and reserves it till afterwards. For, when injured, he desires not to avenge himself at the present time, because in his tolerance he even wishes that men should be spared; but yet he is not ignorant that all things are righteously avenged at the last judgment.

On the other hand the patient are to be admonished that they grieve not inwardly forwhat they bear Outwardly, lest they spoil with the infection of malice within a sacrifice of so great value which without they offer whole; and lest the sin of their grieving, not perceived by men, but yet seen as sin under the divine scrutiny, be made so much the worse as it claims to itself the fair shew of virtue before men.

The patient therefore should be told to, study to love those whom they must needs bear with; lest, if love follow not patience, the virtue exhibited be turned to a worse fault of hatred. Whence Paul, when he said, Charity is patient, forthwith added, (Is kind (1Co 13,4); shewing certainly that those whom in patience she bears with in kindness also she ceases not to love. Whence the same excellent teacher, when he was persuading his disciples to patience, saying, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and indignation, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you (Ep 4,31), having as it were now set all outward things in good order, turns himself to those that are within, when he subjoins, With all malice (Ibid).; because, truly, in vain are indignation, clamour, and evil speaking put away from the things that are without, if in the things that are within malice, the mother of vices, bears sway; and to no purpose is wickedness cut off from the branches outside if it is kept at the root within to spring up in more manifold ways. Whence also the Truth in person says, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, and pray for them which persecute you and say evil of you falsely (Lc 6,27). It is virtue therefore before men to bear with adversaries; but it is virtue before God to love them; because the only sacrifice which God accepts is that which, before His eyes, on the altar of good work, the flame of charity kindles. Hence it is that to some who were patient, and yet did not love, He says, And why seest thou the mote in thy brotherís eye, and seest not the beam in thine own eye? (Mt 7,3; Lc 6,41). For indeed the perturbation of impatience is a mote; but malice in the heart is a beam in the eye. For that the breeze of temptation drives to and fro; but this confirmed iniquity carries almost immoveably. Rightly, however, it is there subjoined, Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shah thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brotherís eye (Ibid).; as if it were said to the wicked mind, inwardly grieving while shewing itself by patience outwardly as holy, First shake off from thee the weight of malice, and then blame others for the levity of impatience; lest, while thou takest no pains to conquer pretence, it be worse for thee to bear with the faultiness of others.

For it usually comes to pass with the patient that at the time, indeed, when they suffer hardships, or hear insults, they are smitten with no vexation, and so exhibit patience as to fail not to keep also innocence of heart; but, when after a while they recall to memory these very same things that they have endured, they inflame themselves with the fire of vexation, they seek reasons for vengeance, and, in retracting, turn into malice the meekness which they had in bearing. Such are the sooner succoured by the preacher, if the cause of this change be disclosed. For the cunning adversary wages war against two; that is, by inflaming one to be the first to offer insults, and provoking the other to return insults under a sense of injury. But for the most part, while he is already conqueror of him who has been persuaded to inflict the injury, he is conquered by him who bears the infliction with an equal mind. Wherefore, being victorious over the one whom he has subjugated by incensing him, he lifts himself with all his might against the other, and is grieved at his firmly resisting and conquering; and so, because he has been unable to move him in the very flinging of insults, he rests meanwhile from open contest, and provoking his thought by secret suggestion, seeks a fit time for deceiving him. For, having lost in public warfare, he burns to lay hidden snares. In a time of quiet be returns to the mind of the conqueror, brings back to his memory either temporal harms or darts of insults, and by exceedingly exaggerating all that has been inflicted on him represents it as intolerable: and with so great vexation does he perturb the mind that for the most part the patient one, led captive after victory, blushes for having borne such things calmly, and is sorry that he did not return insults, and seeks to pay back something worse, should opportunity be afforded. To whom, then, are these like but to those who by bravery are victorious in the field, but by negligence are afterwards taken within the gates of the city? To whom are they like but to those whom a violent attack of sickness removes not from life, but who die from a relapse of fever coming gently on? Therefore the patient are to be admonished, that they guard their heart after victory; that they be on the lookout for the enemy, overcome in open warfare, laying snares against the walls of their mind; that they be the more afraid of a sickness creeping on again; lest the cunning enemy, should he afterwards deceive them, rejoice with the greater exultation in that he treads on the necks of conquerors which had long been inflexible against him).

Chapter X. How the Kindly-Disposed and the Envious are to Be Admonished.

310 (Admonition II). Differently to be admonished are the kindly-disposed and the envious. For the kindly-disposed are to be admonished so to rejoice in what is good in others as to desire to have the like as their own; so to praise with affection the deeds of their neighbours as also to multiply them by imitation, lest in this stadium of the present life they assist at the contest of others as eager backers, but inert spectators, and remain without a prize after the contest, in that they toiled not in the contest, and should then regard with sorrow the palms of those in the midst of whose toils they stood idle. For indeed we sin greatly if we love not the good deeds of others: but we win no reward if we imitate not so far as we can the things which we love. Wherefore the kindly-disposed should be told that if they make no haste to imitate the good which they applaud, the holiness of virtue pleases them in like manner as the vanity of scenic exhibitions of skill pleases foolish spectators: for these extol with applauses the performances of charioteers and players, and yet do not long to be such as they see those whom they praise to be. They admire them for having done pleasing things, and yet they shun pleasing in like manner. The kindly-disposed are to be told that when they behold the deeds of their neighbours they should return to their own heart, and presume not on actions which are not their own, nor praise what is good while they refuse to do it. More heavily, indeed, must those be smitten by final vengeance who have been pleased by that which they would not imitate.

The envious are to be admonished how great is their blindness who fail by other menís advancement, and pine away at other menís rejoicing; how great is their unhappiness who are made worse by the bettering of their neighbour, and in beholding the increase of anotherís prosperity are uneasily vexed within themselves, and die of the plague of their own heart. What can be more unhappy than these, who, when touched by the sight of happiness, are made more wicked by the pain of seeing it? But, moreover, the good things of others which they cannot have they might, if they loved them, make their own. For indeed all are constituted together in faith as are many members in one body; which are indeed diverse as to their office, but in mutually agreeing with each other are made one. Whence it comes to pass that the foot sees by the eye, and the eyes walk by the feet; that the hearing of the ears serves the mouth, and the tongue of the mouth concurs with the ears for their benefit; that the belly supports the hands, and the hands work for the belly. In the very arrangement of the body, therefore, we learn what we should observe in our conduct. It is, then, too shameful not to act up to what we are. Those things, in fact, are ours which we love in others, even though we cannot follow them; and what things are loved in us become theirs that love them. Hence, then, let the envious consider of how great power is charity, which makes ours without labour works of labour not our own. The envious are therefore to be told that, when they fail to keep themselves from spite, they are being sunk into the old wickedness of the wily foe. For of him it is written, But by envy of the devil death entered into the world (
Sg 2,24). For, because be had himself lost heaven, he envied it to created man, and, being himself ruined, by ruining others he heaped up his own damnation. The envious are to be admonished, that they may learn to how great slips of ruin growing under them they are liable; since, while they cast not forth spite out of their heart, they are slipping down to open wickedness of deeds. For, unless Cain had envied the accepted sacrificeof his brother, he would never have come to taking away his life. Whence it is written, And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell (Gn 4,4). Thus spite on account of the sacrifice was the seed-plot of fraticide. For him whose being better than himself vexed him he cut off from being at all. The envious are to be told that, while they consume themselves with this inward plague, they destiny whatever good they seem to have within them. Whence it is written, Soundness of heart is the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones (Pr 14,30). For what is signified by the flesh but certain weak and tender actions, and what by the bones but brave ones? And for the most part it comes to pass that some, with innocence of heart, in some of their actions seem weak; but others, though performing some stout deeds before human eyes, still pine away inwardly with the pestilence of envy towards what is good in others. Wherefore it is well said, Soundness of heart is the life of the flesh; because, if innocence of mind is kept, even such things as are weak outwardly are in time strengthened. And rightly it is there added, Envy is the rottenness of the bones; because through the vice of spite what seems strong to human eyes perishes in the eyes of God. For the rotting of the bones through envy means that certain even strong things utterly perish.

Chapter XI. How the Simple and the Crafty are to Be Admonished.

(Admonition 12). Differently to be admonished are the simple and the insincere. The simple are to be praised for studying never to say what is false, but to be admonished to know how sometimes to be silent about what is true. For, as falsehood has always harmed him that speaks it, so sometimes the hearing of truth has done harm to some. Wherefore the Lord before His disciples, tempering His speech with silence, says, I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now (
Jn 16,12). The simple are therefore to be admonished that, as they always avoid deceit advantageously, so they should always utter truth advantageously. They are to be admonished to add prudence to the goodness of simplicity, to the end that they may so possess the security of simplicity as not to lose the circumspection of prudence. For hence it is said by the teacher of the Gentiles, I would have you wise in that which is good, but simple concerning evil (Rm 16,19) Hence the Truth in person admonishes His elect, saying, Be ye wise as serpents, but simple as doves (Mt 10,16); because, to wit, in the hearts of the elect the wisdom of the serpent ought to sharpen the simplicity of the dove and the simplicity of the dove temper the wisdom of the serpent, to the end that neither through prudence they be seduced into cunning, nor from simplicity grow torpid in the exercise of the understanding.

But, on the other hand, the insincere are to be admonished to learn how heavy is the labour of duplicity, which with guilt they endure. For, while they are afraid of being found out, they are ever seeking dishonest defences, they are agitated by fearful suspicions. But there is nothing safer for defence than sincerity, nothing easier to say than truth. For, when obliged to defend its deceit, the heart is wearied with hard labour. For hence it is written, The labour of their own lips shall cover them (Ps 139,10). For what now fills them then covers them, since it then presses down with sharp retribution him whose soul it now elevates with a mild disquietude, Hence it is said through Jeremiah, They, have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity (Jr 9,5): as if it weresaid plainly, They who might have been friends of truth without labour, labour to sin; and, while they refuse to live in simplicity, by labours require that they should die. For commonly, when taken in a fault, while they shrink from being known to be such as they are, they hide themselves under a veil of deceit, and endeavour to excuse their sin, which is already plainly perceived; so that often one who has a care to reprove their faults, led astray by the mists of the falsehood that surrounds them, finds himself to have almost lost what he just now held as certain concerning them. Hence it is rightly said through the prophet, under the similitude of Judah, to the soul that sins and excuses itself, There the urchin had her nest (Is 34,15). For by the name of urchin is denoted the duplicity of a mind that is insincere, and cunningly defends itself; because, to wit, when an urchin is caught, its head is perceived, and its feet appear, and its whole body is exposed to view; but no sooner has itbeen caught than it gathers itself into a ball,draws in its feet, hides its head, and all is lost together within the hands of him that holds it which before was all visible together. So as suredly, so insincere minds are, when they are seized hold of in their transgressions. For the head of the urchin is perceived, because it appears from what beginning the sinner has advanced to his crime; the feet of the urchin are seen, because it is discovered by what steps the iniquity has been perpetrated; and yet by suddenly adducing excuses the insincere mind gathers in its feet, in that it hides all traces of its iniquity; it draws in the head, because by strange defences it makes out that it has not even begun any evil; and it remains as it were a ball in the hand of one that holds it, because one that takes it to task, suddenly losing all that he had just now come to the knowledge of, holds the sinner rolled up within his own consciousness, and, though he had seen the whole of him when he was caught, yet, illuded by the tergiversation of dishonest defence, he is in like measure ignorant of the whole of him. Thus the urchin has her nest in the reprobate, because the duplicity of a crafty mind, gathering itself up within itself, hides itself in the darkness of its self-defence.

Let the insincere hear what is written, (He that walketh in simplicity walketh surely (Pr 10,9). For indeed simplicity of conduct is an assurance of great security. Let them heat what is said by the mouth of the wise man, The holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit (Sg 1,5). Let them hear what is again affirmed by the witness of Scripture, His communing is with the simple (Pr 3,32). For Godís communing is His revealing of secrets to human minds by the illumination of His presence. He is therefore said to commune with the simple, because He illuminates with the ray of His visitation concerning supernal mysteries the minds of those whom no shade of duplicity obscures. But it is a special evil of the double-minded, that, while they deceive others by their crooked and double conduct, they glory as though they were surpassingly prudent beyond others; and, since they consider not the strictness of retribution, they exult, miserable men that they are, in their own losses. But let them hear how the prophet Zephaniah holds out over them the power of divine rebuke, saying, Behold the dayof the Lord cometh, great and horrible, the day of wrath, that day; a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of cloud and whirlwind, a day of trumpet and clangour, upon all fenced cities,and upon all lofty corners (Zephan. 1,15, 16).For what is expressed by fenced cities but minds suspected, and surrounded ever with a fallacious defence; minds which, as often as their fault is attacked, suffer not the darts of truth to reach them? And what is signified by lofty corners (a wall being always double in corners) but insincere hearts; which, while they shun the simplicity of truth, are in a manner doubled back upon themselves in the crookedness of duplicity, and, what is worse, from their very fault of insincerity lift themselves in their thoughts with the pride of prudence? Therefore the day of the Lord comes full of vengeance and rebuke upon fenced cities and upon lofty corners, because the wrath of the last judgment both destroys human hearts that have been closed by defences against the truth, and unfolds such as have been folded up in duplicities. For then the fenced cities fall, because souls which God has not penetrated will be damned. Then the lofty corners tumble, because hearts which erect themselves in the prudence of insincerity are prostrated by the sentence of righteousness.

Gregory, Pastoral 305