The Twelve Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity

By Richard of St. Victor; Grover A. Zinn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XL

How and in what order hatred of the vices is born in us

Therefore he soon becomes as strong against all peril as he is a spirited enemy of all vices. This is the reason that Zabulon, who is interpreted "dwelling place of fortitude," is born after Issachar. For what do we understand by Zabulon, except hatred of vices? This hatred of vices is a good hatred, an ordered hatred. Without doubt the Prophet desired to order this affection in us when he said: "Be angry and do not sin" (Ps. 4:5). For what is it not to sin when angry, and to be angry without sinning, except when loving men beneficially and not for display, to be indignant with their vices? The Prophet also signified that he himself had this son, when he said elsewhere: "I have hated them with a perfect hate" (Ps. 138:22). And elsewhere: "I have hated every unjust way" (Ps. 118:128). This is that extraordinary soldier of God who does not cease to fight the wars of the Lord, and whom sacred Scripture calls in its usual vocabulary "zeal of the Lord" or "zeal of uprightness." "The zeal of your house," Lord, "has devoured me, and the reproaches of those reproaching you have fallen upon me" (Ps. 68:10). And again, "My zeal makes me waste away, because my enemies have forgotten your words" (Ps. 118:139). And Elijah: "With zeal I am zealous on account of the Lord" (3 Kings 19:10). Phinehas was zealous for the zeal of the Lord, and he received an eternal priesthood. (Cf. Num. 25:11ff.) But from where do you think you have advanced by means of so much fortitude, by means of so much wonderful constancy? Elijah rose up alone against one hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. When he invaded the camp of the Midianites, Phinehas alone pierced through the adulterers with a sword. Behold how much strength they receive; behold how strong they become, who eat of the fruits of that land mentioned above, who refresh themselves with inner pleasantness. Therefore after Issachar, who is interpreted "reward," Zabulon, that is "dwelling place of fortitude," rightly is born since after tasting the sweetness of eternal reward the soul is marvelously strengthened against the arguments of temptations, and suddenly esteeming lightly its own perils it forcefully avenges injuries to the Lord. It is for this reason that Moses,

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