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What danger there is in the beginning of strife!

Nov 9, 2022

What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off,

if it were possible, before you begin.

The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water As soon as the smallest breach is made in the dike or dam, the water begins to press from all parts towards the breach; the resistance becomes too great to be successfully opposed, so that dikes and all are speedily swept away.

Such is the beginning of contentions, quarrels, lawsuits, etc.
Leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

— As you see what an altercation must lead to, therefore do not begin it.

Before it be mingled together, [lgth hithgalla, before the spirits of the contending parties come into conflict-are joined together in battle, and begin to deal out mutual reflections and reproaches. When you see that the dispute is likely to take this turn, leave it off immediately.

Whence it is well said through Solomon, He that letteth out water is a well-spring of strifes (Proverbs 17:14). For to let out water is to let loose the tongue to a flux of speech.

Wherefore, on the other hand, in a good sense it is said again, The words of a man’s mouth are as deep water (Ibid. 18:4).

He therefore who letteth out water is the wellspring of strifes, because he who curbs not his tongue dissipates concord. Hence on the other hand it is written, He that imposes silence on a foal allays enmities (Ibid. 26:10).

Moreover, that any one who gives himself to much speaking cannot keep the straight way of righteousness is testified by the Prophet, who says, A man full of words shall not be guided aright upon the earth (Psalm 139:12).

Hence also Solomon says again, In the multitude of words there shall not want sin (Proverbs 10:19). Hence Isaiah says, The culture of righteousness is silence (Isaiah 32:17),

indicating, to wit, that the righteousness of the mind is desolated when there is no stint of immoderate speaking.

Fr. Gregory (the Great)


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