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Excerpt From A Selected Epistle Of St. Gregory The Great:

If, however, any even slight sadness has arisen in your mind from this cause, I believe that Almighty God has kindly allowed this to be the case. For not even to His elect in this life has He promised the joys of delight, but the bitternesses of tribulation; so that, after the manner of medicine, they may be restored through a bitter cup to the sweetness of eternal salvation. For what says He? The world shall rejoice and ye shall lament (Joh. xvi. 20). With what hope? With what promise? A little afterwards it is added, I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you. Hence again He says to His disciples, In your patience shall ye poseess your souls (Luke xxi. 19).

Consider, I pray you, where patience would be, if there were nothing to be endured. I suspect that there is no Abel without having a Cain for his brother. For if the good were without the bad, they could not be perfectly good, since they would not be purged: and the very society of the bad is the purgation of the good. There were three sons of Noe in the ark, one of whom was a derider of his father, who, though in himself he was blessed, still received a sentence of condemnation in his son. Abraham had two sons before he took Cethura to wife; and yet his carnal son persecuted the son of promise (Genes. ix.). This the great teacher expounds, saying, As he who is after life flesh persecuted him that is after the Spirit, even so it is now (Gal. iv. 29). Isaac had two sons; but one, who was spiritual, fled before the threats of his carnal brother. Jacob had twelve sons, but one, who lived uprightly, was sold by ten into Egypt. In the case of the prophet David, because there was in him what should have been purged, it was brought to pass that he suffered under a son's persecution. The blessed Job says of the society of the reprobate, I have been a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls (Job xxx. 29). To Ezekiel the Lord says, Son of man, unbelievers and destroyers are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions (Ezek. ii. 6). Among the twelve apostles there was one reprobate, that there might be one by whose persecution the eleven might be tried. The Prince of the apostles speaks thus to his disciples, He delivered just Lot, oppressed by the injury and conversation of the wicked. For in seeing and hearing he was just, dwelling among those who from day to day vexed the soul of the just one with their un-righteous deeds (2 Pet. ii. 7, 8). Paul also the apostle writes to his disciples, saying, In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as luminaries in the world, holding fast the word of life.