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tions in Paalm xxxvii. 35—37. J have seen the Kicked in great fit er: and spreading himself like a green bay tree: yet he passed amayr and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him hut he could not be found. But mark the perfect man, and behold the upright : for the end of that man is peace.
Job illustrates and confirms what Bildad had said of the power and justice of God; and applies all this to his own ease, is many expostulations and complaints.
1 T I ''HEN Job answered and said, I know [it is] so of a truth;
3 JL allowing the truth of what Bildad said, but adding, how
should man be just with God? Shall a mortal, miserable man pre
3 tend to charge God with injustice in any of his proceedings? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand;
4 not one crime of a thousand will he be able to reply lo. [He is] wise in heart, and mighty in strength, the allwise, almighty God i who hath hardened [himself] against him, and hath prospered?
5 who can wage war with God, and come off" ■victorious? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth,
6 them in his anger by earthquakes. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof, the lowest parts of the earth
7 which hold up the rest, tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, it becomes quite clouded; and sealeth up the
8 stars, hides them from our sight. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens like a tent, and keeps them spread out, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea, treads them down, or keeps them within
9 bounds. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the
10 chambers of the south.* Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number, these and other wonder*
11 innumerable. Lo, he goeth by me, and I see [him] not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not; / understand not his providential dispensations; I see second causes, but no further.
12 Behold, he taketh away any thing, or all that a man hath, and who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
13 who can or dare calMum to account? [If] God will not withdraw his.anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him; these who attempt to help, help in vain; or, those Iu.'io join to help one an
14 other against him are disappointed. How much less shall I answer him, [and] choose out my words [to reason] with him? who am a poor forlorn creature; and have neither friend nor helper; how can I think to plead my cause, or move him with
15 persuasive language? Whom, though I were righteous, [yet]
• These names are put in by our translators. Arcturus may refer tn the stars about the SH>rth pole; Orion, to the stars in general which rise in winter; and Flei-id«s, to thoss which usher in the sprint;, chap, xxxviii. 31. Th- chambers ol' :he srutb, nrc the southern fceaisuher*» which is hid from the inhabitants of the north, like a secret chamber.
■Would I not answer; I durst not do it, being terrified by his majesty; [but] I would make supplication to my judge; I would
16 only open my mouth to supplicate and petition. If I had called hint into judgment, and he had answered me, a/i/ieared with me at the bar; [yet] would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my \o\ce, for the take of my prayers, while these afflictions
17 continue. For he breaketh me with a tempest, unexpectedly, violently, and irrecoverably, and multiplied) my wounds without cause, without any extraordinary guilt, as Jar as I am conscious to
IS myself. He will not suffer me to take my breath, but tilleth
19 me with bitterness, brings one trouble upon another. If [I speak] of strength, lo, [he is] strong, too strong for me to contend with: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time [to plead ?] what
20 judge is above him to afifioint a time for hearing the cause. If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: [if I say,] I Lam] perfect, it shall also prove me perverse; there would be something or o:her in my /ilea, on which to ground a charge against
11 me, if he should deal with the utmost rigour. [Though] I [were] perfect, innocent of such great crimes as may deserve such exenifiLtry judgments, [yet] would I not know my soul, / would not insist upon my innocency; I would despise my life white it is so
22 ?TUserabte, and not think it worth contending for. This [is] one [thing,] therefore I said [it,] he destroyeth the perfect and the wicked; this is still my o/iinion, that the innocent often suffer with
23 the guilty.* If the scourge slay suddenly, he, not God, but it, the
24 scourge, will laugh at the trial of the innocent.t The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, wicked men are often advanced to dignity and flower: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof, wicked tyrants often lead to execution judges and patriots; a remarkable instance of the scourge smiting the innocent; if not, where, [and] who [is] he? if God does not permit this, who does? certainly none else could manage the affairs of the world after this
25 manner, but he. Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good ; my days of comfort have been swifter than the speediest messenger; they have fled away, they have seen no
26 good. They are passed away as the swift ships, or rather, rusk boats, or coracles, on the rapid river: as the eagle [that] hasteth to the prey; an hungry eagle, that cuts the air with the swiftest
27 motion. If I say, I will, or, I soon shall, forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort [myself] in hopes of
23 better days ; alas, I am afraid of all my sorrows, my grief destroys ■my hope, and all my sorrows croud in upon mc; beside, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent; will not declare me innocent by removing my affliction, I have no hope that thou wilt appear for
29 me. [If] Ibe wicked, ijlmust be treated as a wicked man, why then labour I in vain? then it is in vain for me to endeavour to clear
• The question w»s not, Whether good men were ewr afflicted.'b"r, whether God e»ef srtterly destroyed a Rood man by any rc.a,ukab]c overwhelming calaautjb wliiih Joo jn.untalns. and his friends deny.
t This is i beautiful figure, in which the aciurge ;s reprcsrr.ted as tiling pleuwic iq Baiting all alike.
Vol. IV. fc
30 myself, and maintain my own innocency. If I Wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean, clear myself
31 from all imputations, and fully firave my innocence; Yet shalt
thou plunge me in the ditch, into the deepest afflictions, and mine own clothes shall abhor me, make me abhorred by myself and
32 friends. For [he is] not a man, a mortal man, as I [am, that] I should answer him, [and] we should come together in jndgmect, that we should dispute upon equal terms at some judgment seat.
33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt U9, [that] might lay his hand upon us both; no arbitrator to oblige us to stand to hit
34 award, and add sanction to it. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear, the dread of his great power and majesty,
85 terrify me: [Then] would I speak, and not fear him, that wt speak freely before him; but [it is] not so with me, I have *• composure or fortitude of mind.*
1. T E T Us treasure up in our minds these noble sentiments of JL_i the wisdom, power, and majesty of God. The description of God is eloquent, beautiful, and instructive; they need no commentary, but deserve to be had in remembrance, that we may exalt and sanctify the Lord of hosts, who hath made the heavens and earth, who has all nature under hist government, and who does what he pleases in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
2. Learn the vanity and madness of rebelling against God. He is infinitely wise to know, and mighty to defeat the designs of his enemies. Who ever hardened himself against God, and hath prospered? and where is the instance of any one rebelling against him that was not confounded and destroyed? Who have not at least paid dear for their folly and rebellion. We have mahy remarkable instances, in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, the old world, and the angels that sinned ; which should make us stand in awe, and not sin.
3. A consciousness of God's greatness and our own imperfection and guilt, should make us silent and patient under his rebukes. The passionate expressions which the poet puts into Job's mouth, are designed to caution us against such language, and the temper from whence it flows. Many weighty thoughts are suggested to inculcate patience. There in no contending with God ; we are guilty ; we cannot answer for one sin of a thousand; if we justify ourselves, our own mouths will condemn us. Let us then be still, and know that he is God, that we are sinners, and that amidst the heaviest afflictions he dealeth not with us according to our sins, neither rewardeth us according to our iniquities.
4. The swift passing away of our time ought seriously to be considered. Job's remarks are applicable to the days of all men. They
• It appears tome that the impropriety ofsomr of these sentences, and the indecency of theie complaints, is their heauty; for ihi'y arc deigned to <how into what irregularity of tempor persons in affliction are liable to fall ; how their passion ^rtrries them headlong, afnt bow ready they arc to charge God foclulily s which suggeits a very useful caution to us.
We gone like a pout, a »hifi, or an eagle, and there is no recalling them. We have little need of pastimes, as they are called ; but great need to redeem time, to husband and improve it well. Be not fond of earthly things, that are so soon gone, nor sink under afflictions, that shall so sodfi be over. Let us remember, that as fast as time flies away, so fast eternity comes on, and that awful day, which will fix our state for ever.
5. Persons under heavy afflictions and trouble of spirit, are much to be pitied. The beautiful description of the tossing and disquietude of a troubled mind naturally suggests this thought to us. Such know not how to speak, or how to pray. Friends advise them te it, and blame them for not doing it; but it is not so easy as people imagine. A troubled mind sees it f.i it should be done; and attempts it, but in vain. Let us pity such, and pray for them ; and pray for ourselves, that God would not lead us into temptation, but grant us that sweet composure, which will make our afflictions sit light; and without which we may soon grow a burden to ourselves' and to all about us. The general lessen from the whole is, in your patience flosses» your souls. .
Job firoeecds with his heavy complaints; f leads with God; and •wishes far death.
\ TV/Г Y soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint _ly JL upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul;
2 let loose the reins to my embittered spirit, and venture the issue. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me, do not quite cast me qff\ and treat me as a wicked man; show me wherefore thou contendest with me; what are the crimes for which I suffer more
3 than others. [Is it] good unto thee, pleasing and delightful, or just and equal, that thou shouldst oppress ? that thou shouldst despise the work of thine hands, deal with mr as if I were not worth regarding, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
4 that is, seem to favour their designs and undertakings? Hast thou eyes of flesh ? or seest thou as man seeth ? as if be had taid, Thou dost not judge as man does, only by the outside, but seest my heart, that I am not wicked, (v. 7.) therefore why dost thou thue
5 afflict me? [Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man's days, dost thou need length of time to discover my char.
6 acter, That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? that thou puttcst me as it were upon the rack to dis
1 cover my guilt? Thou knowest that I am not wicked, that I am not an hypocrite, as my friends intimate; tut if thou wilt deal with me as such, none can help me ; and [there is] none that can de
• liver out of thine hand. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about, therefore thou knowctt me fcr* fectly and intimately; yet thou dost destroy me, art cutting tut
9 off by affliction». Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast
made me as the clay; as the flotter shafies the clay, so thou hast
wonderfully fashioned me; and wilt thou bring me into dust
10 again ? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese'? thickened the soft matter, and liguidsubstance whereof I was made, and brought it into a consistence? A beautiful
11 image to represent the ftrma'ion of a child in the womb. Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me, secured
12 »ч.1 vital pans, with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, that i», the comforts of life, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit ; thy good providence and care hath, still sup
13 ported and/¡reserved me. And these [things] hast thou hid in thine heart; thou canst not have forgotten this ; and yet I know that this [is] with thee, that my affliction comes by thy direction; and this I find no difficult to reconcile with creating and preserving
14 goodness. If I sin, then thou markest me narrowly, and I Jind bit t.vperience that thou wilt not acquit me from the punishment
15 of mine iniquity. If I be wicked, wo unto me, I must expect worse evils still; and [if] I be righteous, [yet] will I not lift up mine head ; i- dare not plead it, or take comfort in it: [I am] full of confuiîon ; therefore see thou mine affliction ; consider
16 my case, if it is not as bad as I represent if. For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion does Ais prey: and again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me ; when I hoped for an end of my troubles thou sendest more, and fittest me with antonish
17 ment and horror. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, the token» of thy displeasure, and increases! the effects of thine indignation upon me; changes and war [are] against me ; though my troubles change, each, wars against me, and no change is for the
18 better. Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, as soon as I came into
19 life, and that no eye had seen me 1 I should have been as though I had not been: I should have been carried from the womb *>
20 the grave, then I should have escaped these calamities. [Are] not my days few, almost ended? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a littlc, let me have a little respite before I
91 die; Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land 22 of darkness and the shadow of death; A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death ; ai dark ая dark can be, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness; where there is nothing but perpetual and uninterrupted darkness.
I. T I ч О deprecate the divine displeasure, and seek instruction, is JL very proper under afflictions ; that God would not согfect us in anger, nor give us up as incorrigible, nor quite cast vs off; but continue the sense of his love, acquaint us with the cause