The Moralia on Job
Book 32,
ch. 6-8
On the Transfiguration

 The Moralia on Job
 BMM S0321-c. 1190

Ver. 4. Have you an arm like God's, and do you thunder with a voice like His?

Si ergo ex tuis meritis contra mea flagella disputas, quid aliud quam me de iniustitia addicere te iustificando festinas? Sequitur: si habes brachium sicut deus et si uoce simili tonas.

6. Because blessed Job transcended in merits the race of men, his merciful Creator and Teacher challenges him to consider the resemblance of His greatness, in order that, having known the great dissimilarity, he may keep himself down in humility.

 Quia humanum genus beatus iob meritis transcendebat, eum pius conditor et eruditor ad considerandam similitudinem suae magnitudinis prouocat, ut cognita tanta dissimilitudine, in humilitate se premat.

7. But when a voice and arm are spoken of in God, we must take the greatest care that our mind imagines nothing corporeal in Him. For to confine Hirn within the lineaments of a body, Who without circumscription fills and embraces all things, is to fall into the heresy of the Anthropomorphites. But Almighty God, in drawing us to His own things, humbles Himself even to ours, and, to teach lofty, condescends to lowly things ; in order that the mind of little ones, being nourished with the things it knows, may rise to enquire into those it knows not, and hearing from Him Who is far above it, some truths nigh itself, may move, as it were, some steps towards Him. Whence it happens, that in His own Scripture He sometimes from the bodies of men, sometimes from their minds, but sometimes from birds, and sometimes even from insensate objects, applies to Him-self some very unlikely resemblances. For Ile frequently applies to Himself a resemblance from the bodies of men, as the Prophet says of Him to the Israelites, He that ha/h touched you, touchelh the apple of.1.lis eye.

Sed cum in deo uox et brachium dicitur, cauendum summopere est, ne quid in eum mens corporeum suspicetur. In antropomorphitarum namque haeresim cadere est, eum qui incircumscripte implet et circumplectitur omnia intra corporalia lineamenta concludere. Sed omnipotens deus ad sua nos trahens, usque ad nostra se humiliat, atque ut alta insinuet, humilibus condescendit, quatenus paruulorum animus rebus cognitis enutritus, ad inquirenda exsurgat incognita; atque ab eo qui longe super ipsum est quaedam iuxta se audiens, quasi quibusdam ad illum passibus moueatur. Vnde fit ut per scripturam suam aliquando a corporibus hominum, aliquando a mentibus, aliquando uero ab auibus, aliquando etiam ab insensatis rebus quasdam longe dissimiles in se similitudines trahat. Plerumque enim a corporibus hominum in se similitudinem trahit, sicut de eo propheta ad israelitas dicit: qui tetigit uos, tangit pupillam oculi eius.

 And as it is said again of .Iliui by the Prophet to a man who trusts in Him; He will nutke tt shadow .lier thee with His shoulders. It is doubtless admitted that God in !Lis own nature has neither eye, nor shoulders; but since we see with our eye, but support burdens on our shoulders, God, because He sees all things, is said to have au eye; but because He carries us, and by carrying preserves us, He is said to make a shadow for us with His shoulders. For he says, He will make a shadow for thee with His shoulders. As if He were saying to man who was a sinner, and, after his sin asking pardon, The Lord protects thee with the same affection, with which He endured thee. For He shadows thee with His shoulders, because while He carries, He defends thee. But sometimes Ile applies to Himself a resemblance from our minds, as He says by the Prophet to Israel ; I have remembered thee, having pity on thy youth.

Et sicut de eo rursum speranti homini per prophetam dicitur: in scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi. Constat nimirum quod in natura sua nec oculum deus, nec scapulas habeat, sed quia nos per oculum cernimus, in scapulis uero onera sustinemus. Deus quod omnia uideat, oculum habere perhibetur; quod uero nos tolerat, atque eo ipso quo tolerat seruat, obumbrare nobis in scapulis dicitur. Ait enim: in scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi. Ac si diceretur peccatori homini, et post peccatum ueniam deprecanti: ea pietate dominus te protegit, qua te pietate tolerauit. Obumbrat enim in scapulis suis, quia dum portat, defendit. Aliquando uero a mentibus in se similitudinem trahit, sicut per prophetam ad israel dicit: recordatus sum tui, miserans adolescentiam tuam.

 And again speaking by the comparison of a wife, He says ; Even if she shall have forgotten, yet will I not forget thee. For who can be ignorant, that the memory of God is neither broken off by oblivion, nor yet repaired by recollection? But when He neglects and passes over some things, He is said, after the manner of minds, to forget, and when, after a long time, He visits the things He wills, He is said, after the fashion of our changeableness, to have remembered. For how does oblivion weaken the strength of that Godhead, with Which even praiseworthy memory itself has no essential agreement. For men remember no things, except those which are either past or absent. How then does God remember past things, when the very things which in them-selves pass away, stand ever present at His beck ? Or how does He call to mind things absent, when every thing that is, is present to Him, from the fact that it exists iii 1 Mim ? For if it were not present to .11* it would not exist at all ; for things nonexistent He creates, by looking on them, things existent He keeps together, by looking on them. Whatever, therefore, the Creator beholds not, is bereft of the essence of subsistence. But sometimes a resemblance is applied to Him from birds, as is said by Moses, He spread abroad His wings, and took them. And the Prophet says; Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings. For because when we are young He nourishes us, as He protects us, and cherishes us with no heavy and burdensome, but with light and gentle, protection, when He puts forth His mercies towards us, He extends I Iis wings over us, as if after the manner of birds. Ile sometimes, with deep condescension, compares himself, on account of our infirmity, with objects without sense ; as Ile says by the Prophet, Behold, I will shriek over you, as a cart creaketh laden with hay. For since the life of the carnal is hay, as it is written, All flesh is hay; in that the Lord endures the life of the carnal, He declares that IIe carries hay as a cart. And to creak under the weight of the hay is for Him to bear, with murmuring, the burdens and iniquities of sinners.

 Et rursum per sponsae comparationem loquens: et si illa oblita fuerit, ego tamen non obliuiscar tui. Quis enim nesciat quia dei memoria nec obliuione rumpitur, nec recordatione sarcitur? Sed cum aliqua deserens praetermittit, more mentium obliuisci dicitur; et cum post longum tempus quae uoluerit uisitat, nostrae mutabilitatis consuetudine recordatus uocatur.   Quo enim pacto diuinitatis eius uim obliuio dissipat, cui ipsa quoque laudabilis memoria essentialiter non concordat?   Nulla namque nisi aut praeterita, aut absentia recordantur.   Quomodo ergo deus praeteritorum reminiscitur, cum ipsa quae in semetipsis praetereunt eius nutui semper praesentia assistunt?   Aut quomodo absentium recordatur, dum omne quod est per hoc illi praesto est, quod in ipso est?   Quod si ei praesto non esset, omnino non esset; nam non exsistentia uidendo creat, exsistentia uidendo continet.   Quicquid ergo creator non uidet, essentia subsistendi caret.   Aliquando autem ab auibus in illum similitudo trahitur, sicut per moysen dicitur: expandit alas suas, et accepit eos.   Et sicut propheta ait: sub umbra alarum tuarum protege me.   Quia enim nos paruulos dum protegit nutrit, et non graui atque onerosa, sed leui et blanda protectione nos refouet, dum suas in nos misericordias exserit, quasi more super nos auium alas tendit.  Aliquando etiam insensatis rebus, propter infirmitatem nostram alta condescensione se comparat, sicut per prophetam dicit: ecce ego stridebo super uos, sicut stridet plaustrum onustum feno.   Quia enim fenum est uita carnalium, sicut scriptum est: omnis caro fenum; in eo quod dominus uitam carnalium patitur, more plaustri fenum se portare testatur.   Cui sub feni onere stridere est pondera et iniquitates peccantium cum querela tolerare.  


When therefore He applies to llimself very unlike resemblances, we must carefully observe that some things of this kind are sometimes spoken of concerning God, on account of the effect of His doings, but sometimes to indicate the substance of His Majesty. For when an eye, shoulders, a foot, and wings, are said to be in God, the effect of His operation is set forth. But when hand, arm, right hand, or voice, is said to belong to God, by these words His Consubstantial Son is pointed out. For He is in truth both hand, and right hand, of Whose Ascension the Father speaks by Moses, saying, I will lift up My hand to heaven, and I will swear by My right hand. He is the arm, of Whom the Prophet says, And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? He is the voice, because the Father said when He begat Him, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. And of Whom it is written, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. By this Word David declares that the Father made all things, saying, He spake, and they were made. For God, therefore, to have an arm, is for Him to beget a Son that worketh ; to thunder with His voice, is for Him to manifest fearfully to the world His Consubstantial Son. When therefore the Lord says to blessed Job, Hast thou an arm like God, and (lost thou thunder with a voice like Hint ? by a wonderful dispensation of mercy IIe exalts, while lle reproves him, Because He proves him to be superior to all, whom Ilc surpasses only by comparison with Himself.

 Cum ergo longe dissimiles in se similitudines trahat, sollerter intuendum est quod quaedam talia aliquando dicantur in deo propter effectum operis, aliquando autem ad indicandam eius substantiam maiestatis.   Nam cum in deo oculus, scapulae atque pes uel alae nominantur, effectus quidem operationis ostenditur.   Cum uero manus, brachium, dextera uel uox in deo dicitur, per haec uocabula consubstantialis ei filius demonstratur.   Ipse quippe est manus et dextera, de cuius ascensione per moysen pater loquitur, dicens: tollam in caelum manum meam, et iurabo per dexteram meam.   Ipse brachium, de quo propheta ait: et brachium domini cui reuelatum est?   Ipse uox, quia eum pater gignendo dixit: filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.   Et de quo scriptum est: in principio erat uerbum, et uerbum erat apud deum, et deus erat uerbum.  Per hoc uerbum fecisse patrem omnia dauid asserit, dicens: dixit, et facta sunt.   Deum ergo brachium habere est operantem filium gignere, uoce tonare est consubstantialem sibi filium mundo terribiliter demonstrare.   Beato ergo iob dum dicit dominus: si habes brachium sicut deus et si uoce simili tonas, mira dispensatione pietatis eum dum increpat exaltat, quia eum quem sua comparatione superat superiorem cunctis demonstrat.  

To whom 1h. subjoins with this proposal ; Ver. 5. Surround thyself with beauty, and raise ihysel on high, and be fall o/'glor?l, and array thyself with beautifu4 garments.

Cui in hac propositione subiungit:   circumda tibi decorem et in sublime erigere; et esto gloriosus et speciosis induere uestibus.  

8. Thou understandest, As I. For He surrounds Himsel: with beauty, of Whom it is written, The Lord bath reigned Ile bath- put on beauty. IIe is raised aloft in us, when He is proved to be in His own Nature unsearchable by out minds. But Ile is glorious, Who while He enjoys Himself needs not any added praise. He is arrayed in beautifu garments, because He assumed for the service of His beauty the choirs of the holy Angels, whom He created, and set: forth His Church as a kind of glorious garment, not havin wrinkle or spot. Whence it is said to Him by the Prophet

Subaudis, ut ego.   Ipse enim sibi circumdat decorem, de quo scriptum est: dominus regnauit, decorem induit.   Ipse apud nos in sublime erigitur, cum nostris mentibus in natura sua esse impenetrabilis demonstratur.   Ipse uero gloriosus est, qui dum seipso perfruitur, accedentis laudis indigens non est.   Ipse speciosis induitur uestibus, quia sanctorum angelorum choros, quos condidit, in usum sui decoris assumpsit; et uelut quamdam uestem gloriosam sibi ecclesiam exhibet non habentem maculam aut rugam.  Vnde ei per prophetam dicitur:

Thou host put on confession, and beauty, clothed with light as with a garment. For here He puts on confession, there beauty; because those whom He has here made to confess by penitence, He will there set forth refulgent with the beauty of righteousness. He is clothed, therefore, with light as with a garment, because in that eternal glory He will be clothed with all the Saints, to whom it is said, Ye are the light of the world. Whence also it is said by the Evangelist, that when the Lord was transfigured in the mountain, His raiment became white as snow. In which transfiguration what else is announced but the glory of the final resurrection? For in the mountain His raiment became as snow, because in the height of heavenly brightness all Saints will be joined to Him, refulgent with the light of righteousness. But since He teaches, under the expression beautiful garments, how He unites the righteous to Himself, He shews also how He separates from Himself the unrighteous. It follows ;

confessionem et decorem induisti, amictus lumen sicut uestimento.   Hic quippe confessionem induit, illic decorem, quia quos hic per paenitentiam confitentes fecerit, illic fulgentes per decorem iustitiae ostendit.   Luce ergo sicut uestimento amicietur, quia sanctis omnibus, quibus dictum est: uos estis lux huius mundi, in illa aeterna gloria uestietur.   Vnde et per euangelium dicitur, quia, transfigurato in monte domino uestimenta eius facta sunt candida sicut nix.   In qua transfiguratione quid aliud quam resurrectionis ultimae gloria nuntiatur?   In monte enim uestimenta eius sicut nix facta sunt, quia in supernae claritatis culmine sancti omnes ei luce iustitiae fulgentes adhaerebunt.   Sed quia speciosarum uestium nomine iustos sibi quomodo adiungat insinuat, iniustos etiam quomodo a se disiungat ostendit.   Sequitur:   disperge superbos in furore tuo. 

Ver. 6. Scatter the proud in thy wrath.



(Zech. 2:8)

(Ps. 91:4)

(Job 40:4)


(Is. 49:15)

(Deut. 32:11


(Amos 2:13)

(Is. 40:6)

(Deut. 32:40)


(Ps. 2:7)

(John 1:1)



(Ps. 104:1, 2)

(Job 40:6)

(Matt. 5:14)

Gregorius Magnus - Moralia in Iob

Cl. 1708, SL 143B, lib. : 32, par. : 6, linea : 1 [*] 




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