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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 16—Job Foresaw that Christ Would Come to Suffer; The Way of Humility in Those that are Perfect.

Now it is remarkable 520 that the Lord Himself, after bestowing on Job the testimony which is expressed in Scripture, that is, by the Spirit of p. 51 God, “In all the things which happened to him he sinned not with his lips before the Lord,” 521 did yet afterwards speak to him with a rebuke, as Job himself tells us: “Why do I yet plead, being admonished, and hearing the rebukes of the Lord?” 522 Now no man is justly rebuked unless there be in him something which deserves rebuke. [XI.] And what sort of rebuke is this,—which, moreover, is understood to proceed from the person of Christ our Lord? He re-counts to him all the divine operations of His power, rebuking him under this idea,—that He seems to say to him, “Canst thou effect all these mighty works as I can?” But to what purpose is all this but that Job might understand (for this instruction was divinely inspired into him, that he might foreknow Christ’s coming to suffer),—that he might understand how patiently he ought to endure all that he went through, since Christ, although, when He became man for us, He was absolutely without sin, and although as God He possessed so great power, did for all that by no means refuse to obey even to the suffering of death? When Job understood this with a purer intensity of heart, he added to his own answer these words: “I used before now to hear of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but behold now mine eye seeth Thee: therefore I abhor myself and melt away, and account myself but dust and ashes.” 523 Why was he thus so deeply displeased with himself? God’s work, in that he was man, could not rightly have given him displeasure, since it is even said to God Himself, “Despise not Thou the work of Thine own hands.” 524 It was indeed in view of that righteousness, in which he had discovered his own unrighteousness, 525 that he abhorred himself and melted away, and deemed himself dust and ashes,—beholding, as he did in his mind, the righteousness of Christ, in whom there could not possibly be any sin, not only in respect of His divinity, but also of His soul and His flesh. It was also in view of this righteousness which is of God that the Apostle Paul, although as “touching the righteousness which is of the law he was blameless,” yet “counted all things” not only as loss, but even as dung.  526



Quid quod.


Job i. 22.


Job xxxix. 34.


Job 42:5, 6.


Ps. cxxxviii. 8.


Qua se noverat injustum. Several Mss. have justum [q. d. “had discovered what his own righteousness was,”—i.e. nothing].


Phil. iii. 6-8.

Next: Chapter 17

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