Occurring Scripture for the
Hour of Matins
Here begins the book of Wisdom
Love justice, you that are the judges
of the earth. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of
heart. For He is found by them that tempt Him not: and He shows
Himself to those who have faith in Him. For perverse thoughts separate
from God: and His power, when it is tried, reproves the unwise: For
wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to
For the Holy Spirit of discipline will
flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw Himself from thoughts that are
without understanding, and He shall not abide when iniquity comes in.
For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, yet will not acquit the evil speaker
from his lips: for God is witness of his inner self, and He is a true
searcher of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue. For the spirit of
the Lord has filled the whole world: and that, which contains all things,
has knowledge of the voice.
Therefore he that speaks unjust things
cannot be hid, neither shall the chastising judgment pass him by. For
inquisition shall be made into the thoughts of the ungodly: and his words
shall come to God, to the chastising of his iniquities. For the ear of
jealousy hears all things, and the tumult of murmuring shall not be hid.
Keep yourselves therefore from murmuring, which profits nothing, and refrain
your tongue from detraction, for an obscure speech shall not go for nothing:
and the mouth that lies, kills the soul.
From the Book of St Ambrose, Bishop
On Offices Book I, chapter 28.
Great is the glory of justice. She
lives for others rather than for herself. By she aids our commonwealth and
fellowship. She holds such a pre-eminence that all things are subject to her
judgment. She helps others. She gives wealth. She is willing to
labor. She takes upon herself the dangers of others. Who would not desire to
hold this castle of power and courage, if the covetousness of our first
parents had not weakened and distorted the strength of our nerve? But
so it is, that, while we desire to increase wealth, to store up money, to
add lands to our possessions, or to make a show of our abundance, we put
aside the image of justice, and lose charity toward our brethren.
How wide the scope of justice appears
by this, that it is not excepted from any place, person, or time—nay,
she has to do even towards enemies, for if one agrees with his enemy on a
certain place, or day for battle, it would be deemed unjust to fall on him
beforehand, at some other place, or time. For it is a very different thing,
whether one gets the better of another in a hard fight, or by skill, or by
accident. If justice has place in war, how much more is she to be observed
in time of peace?
Honour is the foundation of justice.
The thoughts in the hearts of just men are honorable thoughts and when the
just man accuses himself, it is honour that brings him to that just deed.
Then his justice is manifested by his honorable admission. The Lord said by
Isaias "Behold, I lay in Zion a foundation-stone" (cf. 28:16), that
is to say, He gives Christ to the Church to be Her foundation. Christ is the
true honor for all men, and the Church is, as it were, an image of justice,
being a commonwealth in which all have rights, and which works as one, and
suffers as one. Whoever denies himself is just and worthy of Christ.
Therefore also Paul said "For other foundation can no man lay than that
which is laid, which is Jesus Christ " (I Corinthians 3:11), and upon that
foundation it is, that every building of justice must be raised. For the
spirit of Christ is the true spirit of honor which is the foundation upon
which justice rests.
The remaining lessons and collect
are from the current Sunday after Pentecost
From the book of Wisdom
But the souls of the just are in the
hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the
sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for
misery: And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they
are in peace. And though in the sight of men they suffered torments,
their hope is full of immortality. Afflicted in few things, in many
they shall be well rewarded: because God has tried them, and found them
worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace He has proved them, and as a
victim of a holocaust He hath received them, and in time they shall be
The just shall shine, and shall run to
and fro like sparks among the reeds. They shall judge nations, and
rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that trust
in Him, shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love shall
rest in Him: for grace and peace are given to His elect. But the
wicked shall be punished according to their own devices: those who have
neglected the just, and have revolted from the Lord. For they
that reject wisdom and discipline, are unhappy: and their hope is vain, and
their labors without fruit, and their works unprofitable.
But the just shall live for evermore:
and their reward is with the Lord, and the care of them with the most High.
Therefore shall they receive a kingdom of glory, and a crown of beauty at
the hand of the Lord: for with His right hand He will cover them, and with
His holy arm he will defend them. And His zeal will take armor, and He
will arm creation for the revenge of His enemies. He will put on
justice as a breastplate, and will take true judgment instead of a helmet.
He will take equity for an invincible shield: And He will sharpen his
severe wrath for a spear, and the whole world shall fight with Him against
From the book of Wisdom
Wisdom is better than strength, and a
wise man is better than a strong man. Hear therefore, ye kings, and
understand: learn, ye that are judges of the ends of the earth. Give
ear, you that rule the people, and that please yourselves in multitudes of
nations: For power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the most
High, who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts:
Because, though being ministers of his kingdom, you have not judged rightly,
nor kept the law of justice, nor walked according to the will of God.
Horribly and speedily will he appear to
you: for a most severe judgment shall be for those who rule. For to
him that is little, mercy is granted: but the mighty shall be mightily
tormented. For God will not except any man's person, neither will He
stand in awe of any man's greatness: for He made the little and the great,
and He has equal care for all. But a greater punishment is ready for
the more mighty.
To you, therefore, O kings, are these
my words, that you may learn wisdom, and not fall from it. For they
that have kept just things justly, shall be justified: and they that have
learned these things, shall find what to answer. Therefore covet my
words, and love them, and you shall have instruction. Wisdom is
glorious, and never fades away, and is easily seen by them that love her,
and is found by them that seek her.
From the book of Wisdom
I myself also am a mortal man, like all
others, and of the race of him, that was first made of the earth, and in the
womb of my mother I was fashioned to be flesh. In the time of ten
months I was compacted in blood, of the seed of man, and the pleasure of
sleep concurring. And being born I drew in the common air, and fell
upon the earth below, and the first voice which I uttered was crying, as all
others do.  I was nursed in swaddling clothes, and with great cares.
For none of the kings had any other beginning of birth. For all men
have one entrance into life, and the like going out.
Wherefore I wished, and understanding
was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me:
And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing
in comparison of her. Neither did I compare her to any precious stone:
for all gold in comparison of her, is as a little sand, and silver in
respect to her shall be counted as clay. I loved her above health and
beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put
Now all good things came to me together
with her, and innumerable riches through her hands, And I rejoiced in
all these: for this wisdom went before me, and I knew not that she was the
mother of them all. Which I have learned without guile, and
communicate without envy, and her riches I hide not. For she is an
infinite treasure to men! which they that use, become the friends of God,
being commended for the gift of discipline.
From the book of Wisdom
For who among men can know the counsel
of God? or who can think what the will of God is? For the thoughts of
mortal men are fearful, and our counsels uncertain. For the
corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and this earthly habitation
presses down the mind that considers many things. And hardly do we
guess rightly about things that are upon earth: and with labor do we find
the things that are before us. But the things that are in heaven, who shall
search them out? And who shall know Thy thought, except Thou give
wisdom, and send Thine Holy Spirit from above: And so the ways of them
that are upon earth may be corrected, and men may learn the things that
please Thee? For by wisdom they were healed, whosoever have pleased
Thee, O Lord, from the beginning.
She preserved him, that was first
formed by God the father of the world, when he was created alone, And
she brought him out of his sin, and gave him power to govern all things.
But when the unjust went away from her in his anger, he perished by the fury
wherewith he murdered his brother. For whose cause, when water
destroyed the earth, wisdom healed it again, directing the course of the
just by contemptible wood. Moreover when the nations had conspired
together to consent to wickedness, she knew the just, and preserved him
without blame to God, and kept him strong against the compassion for his
She delivered the just man who fled
from the wicked that were perishing, when the fire came down upon Pentapolis:
Whose land for a testimony of their wickedness is desolate, and smokes to
this day, and the trees bear fruits that ripen not, and a standing pillar of
salt is a monument of an incredulous soul. For regarding not wisdom,
they did not only slip in this, that they were ignorant of good things, but
they also left men a memorial of their folly, so that in the things in which
they sinned, they could not so much as lie hid. But wisdom has
delivered from sorrow those who attend her.
From the book of Wisdom
But all men are vain, in whom there is
not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could
not understand Him that is, neither by attending to the works have
acknowledged who was the workman: But have imagined either the fire,
or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great
water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world. With
whose beauty, if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know
how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author
of beauty made all those things.
Or if they admired their power and
their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is
mightier than they: For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the
creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby.
But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err,
seeking God, and desirous to find him. For being conversant among his
works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which
But then again they are not to be pardoned. For if
they were able to know so much as to make a judgment of the world: how did
they not more easily find out the Lord thereof? But unhappy are they,
and their hope is among the dead, who have called gods the works of the
hands of men, gold and silver, the inventions of art, and the resemblances
of beasts, or an unprofitable stone the work of an ancient hand.
From the book of Wisdom
But thou, our God, art gracious and
true, patient, and ordering all things in mercy. For if we sin, we are
Thine, knowing Thy greatness: and if we sin not, we know that we are counted
with Thee. For to know Thee is perfect justice: and to know Thy
justice, and Thy power, is the root of immortality. For the invention
of mischievous men has not deceived us, nor the shadow of a picture, a
fruitless labor, a graven figure with diverse colors, the sight of which
entices the fool to lust after it, and he loves the lifeless figure of a
The lovers of evil things deserve to
have no better things to trust in, both they that make them, and they that
love them, and they that worship them. The potter also tempering soft
earth, with labor fashions every vessel for our service, and of the same
clay he makes both vessels that are for clean uses, and likewise such as
serve to the contrary: but what is the use of these vessels, the potter is
the judge. And of the same clay by a vain labor he makes a god: he who
a little before was made of earth himself, and a little after returns to the
same earth out of which he was taken, when his life which was lent him shall
be called for again.