Gregorius Moralia EN 335
Whose part is the wickedly persuasive woman playing, if not that of those church members who live according to the flesh and are all the more a burden to the just for their worldly ways because by the words with which they professed their faith they are inside the church itself. They would do less harm if the church had not let them in and made a place for them in the inner chamber of faith. When she receives them with their profession of faith, she makes it impossible for herself to avoid contact with them. This is the meaning of the story of the woman who touched our Redeemer in the middle of a pressing crowd; straightaway our Redeemer said, "Who touched me?" When his disciples answered, "Crowds are all around you and harassing you and you say, 'Who touched me'?" he answers, "Someone touched me, for I know the power went out from me."
337 Many press around the Lord but one woman touches him,
for all the worldly people in the church press upon the one from whom they are really very distant. The only ones who touch him are the ones joined to him in true humility. The crowd presses upon him, because the mob of worldly people are more of a burden for having been allowed to come into the church. It presses upon but does not touch him, because although it is insistently present in one way, it is altogether absent in the way it lives. Sometimes they trouble us with their evil words, but sometimes only with their wicked ways. Sometimes they try to persuade us of their beliefs, while sometimes, even if they do not argue their case, they still give constant example of their iniquity. So they entice us towards evil by their words and example and become thereby our persecutors. At their hands we face the contests of temptation, which we must win, if only in our hearts.
338 We must beware that the worldly members of the church
sometimes try to urge wickedness upon us by fear, sometimes by bold pride. While they themselves go astray through cravenness or pride, they try to instill the same qualities in us, as if out of love. Peter's mind was still worldly before the death and resurrection of the Redeemer, while the son of Sarvia clung to David his leader still with a worldly mind, but the one sinned out of fear, the other out of pride. The one, hearing of the death of his master, said, "Far be it from you, Lord, this will not be for you." The other could not bear the insults against his leader and said, "Shall not Semei die for these words, since he has cursed the anointed one of the Lord?" But to the first it was quickly said, "Get thee behind me, Satan;" and the other soon heard with his brother, "What have I to do with you, sons of Sarvia?" These men, when they tried to argue for wickedness, are expressly compared to the apostate angels, using soft words to lead us astray to sin in the guise of loving friends. The ones who give way to this sin out of pride are much worse than those who yield through fear. It is the ones who sin out of pride whose part the wife of blessed Job takes here, proudly tempting her husband and saying, "Do you still persist with your simplicity? Curse God and die." She reproaches her husband's simplicity, because he turned away from everything that would perish and fixed his heart's pure desire only on what was eternal. It is as if she said, 'Why do you simple-mindedly seek what is eternal and groan through your present trials so calmly? Be bold, scorn the things of eternity and escape your present sufferings, even at the cost of death.'
We learn something about the virtue of the elect in the face of all that they put up with from worldly members of the church when we hear the words of this man, wounded but unscathed, sitting down but standing tall, when he says:
If we have taken good things from the hand of the Lord, how shall we refuse the bad?' (Jb 2,10)
Holy men on the battlefield of temptation, attacked by the blows of some, tempted by the words of others, defend themselves with the shield of patience against the first, and launch spears of doctrine against the other. Their virtue teaches them to stand up to both kinds of battle, teaching the perverse with deep inner wisdom and facing violent men boldly without. These they correct with teaching, those they defeat with endurance. They scorn their attacking enemies by a show of long-suffering, while they lead their weaker brethren home to safety out of compassion. They resist the attackers to keep them from destroying others, while they fear for the others, hoping to keep them from losing the path of righteousness altogether.
340 Let us see how the warrior of the Lord's camps does battle in each of these ways.
He says, "Battles without, fears within." He counts off the battles he has endured externally, saying, "In danger of flood, in danger of thieves, in danger from family, in danger from foreigners, in danger in the city, in danger in the desert, in danger on the sea, in danger among unfaithful brothers." But of the other battle, in which he launches his arrows, he adds, "in toil and pain, in sleepless nights without number, in hunger and thirst, in repeated fastings, in cold and nakedness." But in the middle of such contests, hear how he tells of the watches he keeps to guard the camps of the Lord; for he adds, "Beside dangers from without, there is with me daily my concern for all the churches." See how he bravely undertakes these battles and exerts himself in his mercy to protect his neighbors. He recounts the evils he suffers, and he adds the good deeds he performs.
Let us consider therefore how great is his labor, as he bears up under external attacks at the same time that he is full of care for others within. His outward battles are the lashes of persecution by which he is flayed, the chains by which he is bound. Within he endures his fear that his sufferings may harm, not himself, but those he cares for. So he writes to them, saying, "Let no one be disturbed by these troubles. For you know that this is what we are here for." In his own sufferings, he fears that others may fall, that his followers may see him feeling the whip for the faith and decline to declare their own faith. O the depth of his charity! He takes no thought for his own sufferings and takes care that his followers yield to no wicked persuasion in their hearts. He despises the wounds of his body and offers healing care for the wounds of others' hearts. Just men have this characteristic, that in the midst of their own troubles they do not lose their concern for others' welfare. They suffer for their own pains while looking out for the others' needs by their instruction.
They are like great physicians stricken down by illness. They endure the ripping open of their own wounds and offer healing balm to others. It is much, much easier either to teach when you have nothing to suffer or to suffer and endure if you are not teaching. But holy men exert themselves strenuously in both ways. If they are perchance struck by troubles, they take on this external combat in such a way that they think carefully how they can keep their neighbors from being wounded within. Holy men and brave stand on the battle line and hurl their darts against the enemy on one side, while on the other they shield the weaker ones behind themselves. So they swiftly turn from one side to the other with vigilance and care. They deal wounds boldly ahead and protect the timorous from wounds behind.
So because holy men know how to endure attacks without and correct errors within, let it rightly be said, "You have spoken like a foolish woman." Since it is said to the elect, "Act manfully and let your heart be comforted," so the minds of worldly people who abandon the Lord in their fickleness are not inappropriately called "women."
341 If we have taken good things from the hand of the Lord, how shall we refuse the bad?
This is as if to say, 'If we are reaching for eternal goodness, what surprise is it if we suffer temporal evil?' Paul had fixed his eye firmly on this goodness when he endured the injuries he suffered, saying, "The sufferings of the present time are not to be measured alongside the coming glory which will be revealed in us."
In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
When holy men bear persecution within and without, not only do they not burst forth with insults against God, but they launch no angry words against their adversaries. Peter, leader of good men, rightly admonishes, "Let none of you suffer like a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-sayer." An evil-sayer suffers when in a moment of suffering he lets go with insults at least against the one persecuting him. But because the body of the Redeemer (namely the holy church) bears its burden of suffering in such a way that it does not overstep the bounds of humility in its words, it is rightly said of Job as he suffered:
nor did he utter any folly against God. Three friends of Job heard all the evil that had befallen him and they came, each from his own home: Eliphaz the Themanite, Baldad the Suhite, and Sophar the Naamathite. (Jb 2,10-11)
In the preface of this work we said that the friends of blessed Job, even if they came to him with good intentions, nevertheless represent the heretics because they fall into error by speaking without discernment. So it is said to them by blessed Job, "I wish to dispute with God, first showing you to be manufacturers of lies and worshippers of false dogmas." Through all the history of the holy church on pilgrimage in this world, as it suffers its wounds and grieves for those who fall away from it, it must in addition put up with the presence of enemies of Christ wearing the name of Christ. To increase its sorrow, the heretics even gather to quarrel and pierce the church with the arrows of their senseless words.
343 It is well said, "they came, each from his own home." The home of heretics is pride itself, for if their hearts had not first grown swollen and proud, they would not have come forth to battle with their wicked teachings. Pride is the home of the wicked just as humility is the home of the good. Of that home it is said through Solomon, "If the spirit of the one who has power should lord it over you, do not leave your home." As if to say, 'If you see the spirit of the tempter about to overcome you, do not let go of the humility of repentance.' He shows that he means our home to be understood as the penitent humility by his next words, where he says, "For healing shall make great sins to cease." For what is mournful humility but the medicine of sin? So the heretics come from their own homes because they are moved against the holy church out of pride.
344 The perversity of their actions can be understood from the translation of their names. For they are called Eliphaz, Baldad and Sophar. As we said above, Eliphaz means "contempt of God," for if heretics did not despise God, they would never have thought wicked thoughts about him. But Baldad means "oldness alone," for while they refuse to be bound by truth and seek victories for their perverse ideas, they fail to convert themselves to the new life and what they seek comes from oldness alone. Now Sophar means "destruction of the watchtower," for those who are inside the holy church behold the mysteries of their Redeemer humbly in true faith, but when heretics come along with their false claims, they destroy the watchtower, for they distract the minds of those whom they tempt away from the attentive watchfulness of direct vision.
345 The places from which they come are named in ways appropriate to the deeds of heretics, for they are said to be a Themanite, a Suhite, and a Naamathite. Now Thema is interpreted, "south wind," Suhi, "speaker," and Naama, "attractiveness."
But who does not know that the south wind is a warm wind? Heretics are fired with zeal to be wise, so they seek to be warmer than is necessary. For laziness is a thing of numbing chill, while the restlessness of unrestrained curiosity stems from unrestrained warmth. Because they seek the heat of wisdom more ardently than they should, they are said to come from the direction of the south wind. Paul took care to restrain the minds of the faithful from this warmth of unrestrained wisdom when he said, "Not to be more wise than the wisdom that is fitting, but to be wise in moderation." This is why David attacked the Valley of the Salt-pits, for in the hour of his judgment our Redeemer wipes out the foolishness of unrestrained cleverness in those who thing wrongly of him.
But Suhi is called "speaking," for the Suhites desire to have their warmth not to live well but to speak proudly. They are said to come from Thema and Suhi, that is, from warmth and talkativeness, because they show their study of scripture comes not from the heart of charity but from the empty words of eager chatter.
Now Naama is translated "attractiveness," because the Naamathites do not wish to be learned but to seem so, and so they take on by their learned words the appearance of those who live well. Through the warmth of chatter they present an image of attractiveness, to persuade us to evil through attractive words with which they cleverly conceal the foulness of their lives. Neither are these names carelessly arranged in the narration: first Thema, then Suhi, finally Naama appears, because excessive warmth lights them first, then their polished words prop them up, and then finally they show themselves to men all attractive in their hypocrisy.
Heretics are said to agree when they join their thoughts in wicked concord against the church. Insofar as they defect from the truth, they agree with one another in falsehood. Now all those who teach us about eternity are consoling us for the sufferings of our journey, but heretics, desiring to teach the church their own doctrines, also present themselves as if to give consolation. It is nothing to marvel at that those who take the part of the adversaries should bear the name of friends, since it was said even to the traitor himself, "Friend, for what have you come?" And the rich man who was burning in the fire of hell is called "son" by Abraham. Even if the wicked refuse to accept correction from us, it is still fitting that we call them names that spring from our own kindness, not from their wickedness.
When heretics look upon the works of the holy church, they are looking "up on" it, for they are in the lowest place and when they consider the church's works, they see things placed on high. But they do not recognize the church in its sufferings. For the church seeks to take on the evils of this world, in order to come to its eternal reward purged clean. Often it shies away from prosperity and rejoices to learn from discipline. Heretics, who seek present glory as a great thing, do not recognize the church covered with wounds. What they see in the church they do not find when they read their own hearts. The church advances even in adversity, while they stay stuck in their stupor, because they do not understand from their own experience the things they see before them.
The garments of the church we take to be all its faithful people, just as it says through the prophet: "You shall be clothed with all these people as with adornment." By this reading, the garments of the heretics are all the people who join together with them and are wrapped up in their errors. Heretics have this characteristic, that they cannot for long stay at the level they reach upon leaving the church, but daily they fall into worse things and as their thoughts continue to go astray they divide themselves into many factions and are separated from each other the more by argument and confusion. So because they wound and rend and divide those whom they have joined to their wickedness, it may well be said that the friends who come rend their garments. With torn garments, the body is revealed, for often the malice of their hearts is revealed when their followers are torn from each other. Discord reveals their treachery, previously shut up under a show of guilty harmony.
349 But they scatter dust to the heavens upon their heads. What is that dust but intelligence that is bound to earthly things? What is the head if not the mind that governs? What is heaven, if not the command that speaks from above? To scatter dust over one's head to the heavens is to pervert the mind with worldly thoughts and to attach earthly interpretations to heavenly words. For they discuss the divine words rather than accept them. They sprinkle the dust over their heads because they go beyond the powers of their minds, reading worldly ideas into the commands of God.
What we see by day we recognize; but at night we either see nothing in our blindness or we are confused by doubt as to what we see. Day stands for understanding, therefore, and night for ignorance. By the number seven is meant the totality of everything: so all this transient age is completed in no more than seven days. The friends of blessed Job are said to have sat with him seven days and seven nights, because both in the things in which they do see the true light and in those things in which they bear the darkness of ignorance they make as if to condescend to the church in its weakness. They are really preparing the snares of deception under a show of kind words. They are swollen with pride for what they know and for what they do not know, and secretly they think themselves great; but still sometimes they bow to the church, at least in appearance, and inject their poison with soft words. To sit upon the ground, therefore, is to display an image of humility, hoping to press their haughty ideas the more convincingly behind a show of humility.
351 The ground [terra] can also represent the incarnation of the Mediator.
Thus it is said to Israel, "You shall make an altar of dirt [terra] for me." To make an altar of dirt for God is to hope in the incarnation of the Mediator. Our offering is accepted by God when our humility places on this altar (that is, in its faith in the Lord's incarnation) whatever it does. We place an offering on an altar of dirt if we fortify what we do with faith in the incarnation. But there are some heretics who do not deny the fact of the Mediator's incarnation, but who either think otherwise than the truth about his divinity or disagree about the nature of that incarnation. The ones who profess the true incarnation of the Redeemer with us are the ones sitting with Job on the ground as equals. But they are said to have sat there for seven days and seven nights on the ground, for whether they are able to see something of the fulness of truth or whether they are blinded by the darkness of folly, they cannot deny the mystery of the incarnation. To sit with blessed Job on the ground is to believe in the true flesh of the Redeemer along with holy church.
52 But sometimes heretics are instruments of savage punishment for us, sometimes they attack us with words alone, sometimes they stir us up when we are at peace, while sometimes they remain quiet if they see us silent: friends in silence, they oppose us when we speak. So because blessed Job had not yet said anything to them, it is rightly added, "No one said a word to him." We have silent adversaries if we fail to propagate sons for the true faith by our preaching. But if we begin to speak the truth, soon we hear the heavy insults of their response: they immediately leap to oppose us and break out bitterly against us. They fear that the hearts which folly bears down to the depths should be pulled up on high again by the voice of one speaking truth. So because, as we said, our adversaries love us when we are silent, and hate us when we speak, it is rightly said of Job when he was silent:
353 (Jb 2,13)
Sometimes when idleness and inertia keep the hearts of the faithful sitting quietly, heretics scatter the seeds of error abroad. But when they see that the minds of the good are full of deep wisdom, longing to return to the heavenly homeland, sorrowing much over the toils of exile here, they restrain their tongues with careful circumspection, because they see that they should speak in vain against the hearts of those who sorrow and so they keep silence. So it is rightly added, after it says, "No one said a word to him," by way of expressing the cause of their silence:
When the powerful sorrow that comes from the love of God has pierced our heart, the enemy fears to speak his wicked words, for he sees that if he attacked the mind thus intent, he would not only fail to turn it toward perversity, but he might even lose, by stirring up the mind, those souls he already held.
55 Perhaps it troubles some readers
that we have interpreted this passage in such a way that the good deeds of Job's friends represent evil acts of heretics. But it is very often the case that something is right when read literally but wrong when understood allegorically. Just as frequently, something may be a cause of damnation taken as historical fact, but when written down it becomes a prophecy of some good thing. We can show this more quickly if we take a single text of scripture to show both tendencies.
For who could there be, whether faithful or infidel, who would not be entirely repelled by hearing that David went walking on his terrace and lusted after Bersheba, the wife of Urias? When Urias returned home from battle, David urged him to return home to wash his feet. But Urias answered him, "The ark of the Lord is camped in a tent and I should rest in my house?" David received Urias at his own table and gave him letters that would be the cause of his death. When David is walking on his terrace, whom does he foreshadow but the one of whom it is written, "He placed his tent in the sun"? What does it mean to bring Bersheba to his house but to take the law of the letter, wed to a worldly people, and join it to oneself in spiritual understanding? Bersheba means "the seventh well," because of course through knowledge of the law, with the infusion of spiritual grace, perfect wisdom is offered to us.
But whom does Urias represent if not the Jewish people? His name translates, "my light is of God." Now the Jewish people may be said to glory in the light of God because it is exalted by knowledge of the law it has received. But David takes away Urias's wife and joins her to himself. This means that the Redeemer appearing in the flesh "strong of hand" (which is what "David" means) showed that the law spoke, in the spiritual sense, of himself and showed that it was no longer the possession of the
Jewish people (who read it literally) and so joined it to himself, when he declared that he had been proclaimed on its pages. David urges Urias to go home and wash his feet because the incarnate Lord came to the Jewish people commanding that they heed their consciences and wash away the stain of their deeds with tears, so that they might understand the commands of the law spiritually and, finding at last the font of baptism after living under such harsh rules, they might resort to water after their labors.
But Urias remembered that the ark of the Lord was dwelling in a tent and answered that he could not enter his own house. This is as if the Jewish people were to say, 'I observe God's commands in sacrifices of flesh and I have no need to give ear to the spiritual understanding with my conscience.' To say that the ark is dwelling in a tent is to treat the commands of God only as a matter of giving service in sacrifices of flesh. So when Urias did not want to return home, David invited him to his own table, for though the Jewish people refused to heed their conscience, the Redeemer still came and preached his spiritual commands to them, saying, "if you would believe Moses, you would perhaps also believe me, for he wrote of me." The Jewish people possessed the law that spoke of the divinity of the one in whom the same people refused to believe.
So Urias was sent to Joab with the letters that would be the death of him, because the Jewish people bears with it the law whose words of rebuke will be the cause of its death. By holding on to the commands of the law that it refused to fulfill, it was surely carrying the judgment by which it would be condemned. What could be more criminal than this deed of David's? What could be more innocent than Urias? But again in a mystic sense [per mysterium], what could be more holy than David, what could be more faithless than Urias? By the sin of the one, innocence is foretold prophetically, while sin is prophesied by the innocence of the other.
It is not therefore inappropriate that the good deeds of Job's friends, should be read as the evil deeds of heretics. The power of sacred scripture recounts the past in such a way that the future is revealed, and so it can approve the deed of the doer only to rebuke it in a mystic sense. It can condemn some deeds done in fact to preach other deeds in the mystic sense.
356 We have now worked through the knots of allegorical mystery line by line;
let us now turn to touch briefly on the moral interpretation. The mind hastens to clarify what is obscure; if it is long delayed with what is obvious, it is hindered from coming to knock (as it should) on doors that are closed. Often the ancient enemy launches his war of temptation against our mind, then rests from the contest for a while, not to put an end to his malice but to render hearts carefree in time of respite. Then suddenly he returns to capture them more easily for attacking unexpectedly. This is why he returns to tempt the blessed man again and asks Job be tortured directly, which the divine pity allows with a concession, saying,
357 (Jb 2,6)
For he abandons us the better to protect us. He protects us so that he might reveal to us the weakness of our condition in the hour of temptation that he allows. Satan quickly went out from God's presence and wounded his victim from the sole of his foot to the top of his head, for when he has his opportunity he begins with the least things, working up to the greater, meaning to offer temptation to the mind by piercing the whole body with the wounds. But he did not succeed in reaching the soul with his blows, because inside, beneath all thought, beneath the wounds left by the pleasures that were indulged, the integrity of the secret will resisted. Though self-indulgence should gnaw at the mind, it could not turn aside the constancy of holy rectitude to accept the soft delights of sin. We ought nevertheless to clean the wounds that pleasure inflicts with the harsh penances and with strict punishment purify whatever dissolute thoughts spring up in the mind. So it is well added,
What is the potsherd but harsh punishment? What is the oozing flesh but the effusion of unlawful thoughts? Stricken, we scrape our oozing flesh with a shard when we judge ourselves harshly and thus purify ourselves from the pollution of unlawful thought. The shard can also stand for the vulnerability of mortality. Then to clean the flesh with a shard is to consider the vulnerability of mortality and where it leads, and to clean away the foulness of delight in wretched things. To consider how quickly flesh comes to dust is to defeat swiftly the shameful inner motions of the flesh. When temptation pours wicked thought into the mind, it is as if pus is oozing from a wound. But the wound is quickly cleaned if we hold in our hands the shard that brings us to consider our vulnerable mortality.
359 Nor should we underestimate the importance
of the things we turn over idly in our mind, even if they do not stir us to action. In this way the Redeemer came to clean our wounds with a shard when he said, "You have heard that it was said to the ancients, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you that if anyone look at a woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The wound is cleaned, therefore, when guilt is cut away not only from our deeds but even from our thoughts.
This is why Jerobaal saw an angel while he was winnowing grain from chaff. At the angel's command he cooked a goat, placed it upon a rock, and poured the juice of the flesh over it. The angel touched it with his staff and fire came from the rock and consumed it. What does it mean to flail the grain but to use right judgment in separating the grains of virtue from the chaff of vice? An angel appears to those who do this, because the Lord more openhandedly reveals inner secrets, when we cleanse ourselves from outer things. The angel commands that a goat be killed (that is, that all the desires of our flesh be sacrificed) and its flesh placed upon a rock and the broth poured over it. What else is the rock if not the one of whom it was said through Paul, "but the rock was Christ"? We place the flesh upon a rock when we crucify our body in imitation of Christ. We pour broth over the offering when we empty ourselves of the thoughts of the flesh in following Christ's manner of life. For we pour the juice of the flesh over a rock when the mind is emptied from the torrents of the thoughts of the flesh. The angel soon touches the offering with a rod, because the power of divine assistance cannot be far away from our thoughts at such a time. Fire comes from the rock and consumes flesh and broth because the spirit breathed forth by our Redeemer fires our heart with such a flame of compunction that every illicit thought and deed within it is burned up completely. Pouring the juice over the rock is the same as to clean the wound with a shard.
The perfected mind watches carefully therefore, that it might not only abstain from wrongful action but even clean away the dregs of foul thoughts in itself. Often enough in the hour of victory the battle begins again, and when impurity of thought is vanquished, the mind of the victor swells with pride. So the mind must be raised up through purification and still kept low in humility. So when it is said of the holy man, "he was scraping his oozings with a shard," it is immediately and fittingly added:
360 (Jb 2,8)
To sit on a dungheap is to be conscious of our worthlessness and lowliness. We sit on a dungheap when we bring back to mind in repentance the things we have done wrong. Then when we look upon the offal of our sins, we can restrain all the pride that stirs in our heart. That man is truly sitting on a dungheap who looks upon his own weakness with care and refuses to take pride in the goodness that has come to him through grace. Was not Abraham sitting on his own dungheap when he said, "Shall I speak to my Lord, when I am dust and ashes?" We can clearly see where he places himself, when he thinks himself to be dust and ashes, even when he is speaking with God. If a man who was lifted up to speak with God could so despise his own worth, we must think carefully about the punishment that will strike us if we do not reach such heights, yet boast of little things.
There are those who think great thoughts about themselves when they are busied with little deeds. They lift up their minds on high and think that the excel all others by their merits and virtues. These are surely leaving behind the dunghill of humility within themselves and climbing the heights of pride, imitating the one who was first to lift himself up (and overthrew himself in the process)--imitating the one who was not content
with the marks of high favor that he had received, and said, "I shall rise to heaven, I shall exalt my throne above the stars of heaven." And in his evil, Babylon is joined to him, she who is the jumbled mass of sinners and who says, "I sit here as a queen and I am not a widow." Whoever swells up within is placing himself on a high place in his own eyes, but he really presses himself down to the depths by refusing to think truthfully about his weakness.
Then there are those who do not seek to do good themselves, but when they see others sin they get the idea that they themselves are just in comparison to the rest. There is indeed no one single fault that pierces the hearts of all. One man is snared by pride, another is tripped by wrath, another is tormented by greed, another is inflamed with lust. Very often it happens that someone weighed down by pride can see how anger enrages someone else, and because anger is not his own vice he considers himself better than the angry one and boasts within of his own calm fairness, because he fails to see the vice that by which he is himself more tenaciously held. Often as well a man wounded with greed sees another plunge in the whirlpool of lust. Because he sees himself free of the defilement of the flesh, he pays no heed to the defiling stains of spiritual vice within. While he judges in another the evil he is free from, he does not see the evil that is his. So it happens that while the mind is distracted judging another, it is deprived of the light of self-judgment. He is all the more proudly hostile towards another's vices for the way he neglects his own.
361 On the other hand, people who truly strive for the heights of virtue quickly take their own vices to heart when they hear of another's sins. They understand the other's sins better for regretting their own more truly. Because every one of the elect restrains himself with thought of his own weakness, it can rightly be said that the holy man sits on a dungheap in sorrow. The one who truly humbles himself makes progress by looking unflinchingly upon the stains of sin by which he is covered. We must know that often the mind is touched by eager temptation in time of prosperity, but still sometimes we suffer adversity without and at the same time are wearied by the press of temptation within, so that the whip tortures the flesh and still the flesh pours its suggestions into the mind. So it is well that after so many wounds inflicted on Job, there should then be attached the words of his wife trying to lead him to evil, saying:
Gregorius Moralia EN 335