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4. The ceasing of all distinction in the gmc» shows us how unbecoming pride and arrogance are. Do the rich and the poor meet there? do the small and the great, the servant and the master, lie down and rest together without distinction? How unbecoming then are those haughty airs, and that tyrannical treatment, which the rich and the great, which princes and nobles and masters, too often manifest to their subjects, servants or children, yea, to all the poor! Were men but to consider their common end, those who have power would be humble, moderate, kind, and benevolent; and those who are in subjection would be patient and content; especially when we take in the thoughts of another world, where God shall judge and treat men according to their real characters, and not their rank» distinction or circumstances here on earth; for fie will judge every man according to Ms works.

5. Let us learn from the whole, to guard our tongues and hearts, especially in seasons of affliction. This poetical description of Job's complaints intimates to us, how prone even good and upright men are to be impatient, to vent unbecoming complaints, and to talk in an irrational, foolish manner. We have need to keep our mouth as with a bridle, to keep our hearts with all diligence, that we speak bot unadvisedly with our lips, or suffer our hearts to repine. Though we are now in safety, have rest and quiet, troubles may come. Let us labour in patience to possess our souls, and make the best of a troublesome life. Be it ever so afflictive, we have opportunity of glorifying God, and of advancing in religion! of promoting and adorning it, and preparing for a better life. Else we shall have reason hereafter to take up these complaints, and utter them with great and everlasting anguish; for better mould it have been for men that they had never been born, or died as soon as born, than lived i rro ligiously, and treasuredufi to themselves wrath against the day of wrath.

CHAP. IV.

in this chafiter the dialogue begins between Job and his friends. They argue, that if Job had been an vfiright man, he would not have been so heavily afflicted; this he denies ; and the debate is carried on between them till Elihu moderates it, and God is introduced in all his majesty to determine the cause. All the remarks that have been made by commentators concerning the manner in which Job's friend* treated him, atid his behaviour toward them, have no foundation, «ince it is r.vident the whole is dramatic and poetical, and the author fut into their mouths what he thought most likely to illustra'e his argument, to imfiress the reader, and answer the end for which he wrote the book. Т/из thought should be continually borne in mind.

1 ППНЕК Eliphaz the Tcmanite answered and said, [If] we

2 JL assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved ^ but who can withhold himself from speaking? intending a

Vol. IV. P

for speaking what he feared would be disagreeable; but he expresses a greater regard for truth and usefulness, than for what

3 would please. Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou

4 hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholder! him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. He gives just commendation of Job's friendly attempts to supfiort and counsel others, to uphold the weak and feeble knees

5 which sunk and trembled under their burdens. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it touchcth thee, and thou art troubled; thou dost not practise thy own lesson ; thus insinu

6 ating a refection on Job's character. [Is] not [this] thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? im

7 not this a time to exercise thy piety, patience, and hope ?* Remember, I pray thee, who [ever] perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? consult thy own observation, and give one instance in wldch a person was thus afflicted who ma*

8 not guilty of some heinous crime? Even as I have seen, they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same; many wicked men cut off, and reaping the due reward of their iniquity.

9 By the blast of God they perish, by some terrible storm which God raised up against them, and by the breath of his nostrils are

10 they consumed, by his anger, or by some secret jadgment. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken ; not only such wicked men as are weak, but the strongest, stoutest andfercest, with all their depend

11 ants, are destroyed by God. The old lion perisheth for lack of 1 '2 prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.f Now a

thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof; some precious instruction concerning the will and word

13 qf God. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, it happened in the night, when all was silent,

14 and my thoughts were composed; {hen Fear came upon me, and • trembling, which made all my bones to shake, / was seized with "15 .violent dread. Then a spirit} passed before my face; the hair

16 of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but 1 could not discern the form thereof: an image [was] before mine eyes, [there was]

17 silence, and I heard a voice, [saying,||] Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man, the greatest and most accomplished man, as the word signifies, be more pure than his Maker?

18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants, no such trust as if they

* Shr.ili tut thy plciy be thy anfidtnee. tmithtufrithmiis cfthy ivciyi tliyhcpef Scott.

t Tyrants and oppressors arc here described by lions; and five different words are used For lions, some s.*y, to express the fury :.nd crr.elty of oppressors. He intim-ttes not onjy that they *houM be destroyed, but their descendants shonld ue re.iuced to low circumstances, and wander about destitute, seeking food and finding none. He illustrates and confirms this, by an account of a remarkable vision he h:id seen. There has been much trifling among commentators about thetime whenElipbaz saw the vision, the nature of the apparition, the manner, the scenery, and design of it But it seems to be a beautiful effort of the yw t's imagination. and contains a plain reference to the manner in which Cod often revealed himself to his ancient people in visions and drcam9

; The original here signifies a wind, like that which used to precede the appearance of the Shckinah. or visible manifestations of God to his prophets.

| Some would render it, Iiuvi ne imate, there Tiuj liknccend I htttd a vtici, layini.

were absolutely perfect andinfallible; and his angels he charged with folly, or vanity, who, though good in themselves, and free from, sin, yet being liable to err, may be said to be charged with folly 19 when compared with unerring wisdom. How much less doth he put any such trust [in] them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation [is] in the dust, [which] are crushed before the moth ? poor, weak, frail creatures, who are more easily crushed SO than a moth, that feeble and contemptible insect. They are destroyed from morning to evening; continually dying and passing away: they perish for ever without any regarding [it ;] they never return to the world again, and this is so common that it is 21 scarce attended to. Doth not their excellency [which is] in them go away? they die, even without wisdom ; whatever was excellent in them dies with them; they moulder to the dust, like the brutes that have no understanding. The design of all this was to rebuke Job's complaints and discontent, to show what incompetent judges, weak frail men are of the proceedings of the infinitely wise, pure, and holy God; and in this view it is very much (o the purpose.

REFLECTIONS.

1. T O B's benevolent and friendly conduct in prosperity, is worJ thy of our imitation. Though he was honourable and rich, a man full of business, who had great and numerous affairs to manage, yet he was disposed and found time to go among his neighbours, to talk with them about their souls, and visit, direct, and comfort them under their afflictions. Thus should we do; instruct the ignorant, reprove the impatient and discontented, lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble knees, and say unto them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong. This, is a duty we owe to God and our fellow christians) and is an essential part of pure and undefined religion.

2. It is easier to give good instructions than to take them. Job did not practise his own lessons so well as he should; and this is too common a case. Those who are ministers, are conscious of their weakness, and how difficult it is to behave as they exhort others to do. This should be a motive to them and to christian parents, and to all, who by their office or relations are instructors of others, to be peculiarly watchful over their own conduct, lest they give occasion for that reproof, thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Ministers desire the prayers of their people that their example may teach as well as their doctrine; and that they may be abundantly comforted of God under their afflictions, that they may be able to comfort others with the like consolations.

3. We are taught that the connection between sin and misery is inseparable, v. 8. Even as I have seen, they that plough iniquity, -and sow wickedness, reap the same. This is an awful truth. It does not always appear in this world, though it would generally da so, if we could see.men's hearts, and know what they feci in their conscience. But it is undoubtedly true, if we take in the whole of men's existence. Good men, though ever so much afflicted, shall be finally happy; and the wicked shall reap the fruit of their doings. This is the language of the New Testament, and let us at. tend to it ; Be not deceived, God is not mocked} for vihai a man sowet/i, that shall he also reaft.

4. The majesty of God and the meanness of man, are both very great, but never appear more so than when compared together, as they beautifully are in the passages we have been considering. God employs many servants, to display his glory and widely to diffuse happiness; but puts no absolute trust in them. The greatest, brightest, holiest angela are chargeable with possible and comparative folly; and all sink infinitely beneath his glory. What is man, 4ohen compared with Aim! a weak, frail, dying creature: And shall a creature so far below the angels, so infinitely below the Almighty, pretend to quarrel with his providence, to arraign his proceedings, censure his conduct, and act so, as if he was more just and pure than God? What shameful arrogance Î what abominable im« piety! Let the thoughts of God's immense greatness and glory, his perfect justice, and unspotted purity, check every murmuring, repining thought; and bow all our souls in humble submission to his will. We need no vision to teach us so plain a lesson; our own infirmities, and the death of our neighbours from morning to evening, speak it loudly; and if we do not attend to and learn this lesson, all our excellency will vanish; we shall die without wisdom, and shall be finally miserable, without hope and without end.

CHAP. V.

In which Eliphaz fyroceeds vàth the same argument, that afflictions euch as Job's are a proof of hypocrisy } he therefore advites him to repent, and return to God ¡ and assures him of returning prosperity, greater and more secure than his former was.

ALL now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? examine the opinions of others, the holy beings, or angels, who have sen the r evoluttons of ages, and all the saints on earth, let them all produce an

2 instance of a godly man punished аз thou art. For wrath, the wrath of God, killeth the foolish man, and envy, or indignation,

3 slaycth the silly one. I have seen the foolish taking root, and flourishing: but suddenly I cursed his habitation; Jjudged him

unhappy, saw a curse hanging over all that belonged to him; and

4 this will be thy portion. His children are fer from safety, they are exposed to great dangers and calamities, and they are crushed in the gate, by the hand af public justice, neither [is there]

i any to deliver [them.] Whose harvest, though fenced about ever во strongly, the hungry, whom he had oppressed) breaks through. tke fentf, and eiteth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns,

-4md the robber swalloweth up their substance, any part that

might remain. He Aas a reference to Job in all these remarks, and

t reflects severely upon his supposed character. Although afflio

tion cometh not forth of the dust, by chance, or only from second

7 causes, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward; it is as natural for him to fall into it as the sparks to mount, and his afflictions are

numerous at they ; naturally arising from his circumstances and condition on earth, and his connections with other»; therefore it

8 is unbecoming to murmur and re/iine. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause; -were I in your case, I •mould seek relief from him, I would refer myself to his providence;

9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number; he it therefore able to helft those that seek Aim,

10 and punish those who rebel against him: Who giveth rain uponj the earth, and sendeth -waters upon the fields; is good to all hi»

\ \ creatures: To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety ; he can exalt the floor to

12 wealth, and place the oppressed in security. He diaappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform [their] enterprise; cannot raise themselves to power, or execute their

13 designs. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness : and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong; he makes artful and insinuating men miscarry in their most sanguine expectations, and

14 hasten their own ruin.. They meet with darkness in the day time, and grope in the noon day as in the night; they are con-. founded in the plainest things, and see not their danger though oth*.

15 erado. But he saveth the poor, him th?t humbles himself and seeks to God, from the swore!, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty ;from open -violence, and the deceitful mouth.

16 of flattery and calumny. So the poor hath hope, he need not despair, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth; proud oppressor» should not boast themselves, Ьесаике they shall be soon mortified and confounded: therefore on all occasions God is a fit object ef

17 thine addresses and confidence. B.ehold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth, so as to convince and humble, as the word signifies: therefore -despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty ; count it not a terrible evil, or useless and unprofitable; but esteem it a privilege, a means of happiness, and impreve it

18 accordingly: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole, like a tender and skillful surgeon.

19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee; if thou teilt take this course amidst all the troubles that surround thee, he will be at hand 'to help, and deliver

20 thee. In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war

21 from the power of the sword. Thou shall be hid from the si :ourge of the tongue,/rom slander: neither shall thou be afraid <jf destruction, when it cometh; of ruin by calumny or false ac*

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