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prosperity and joy ere but uncertain thing*; and the jop of the
6 hypocrite [hut] for a moment ? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; though he arrive at the highest flitch of greatness, and overtop ail mankind.;
7 [Yet] he shall perish for ever like his own clung, in the most contemptible manner: they which have seen him, shall say, \Y here [is,] he ? those who envied or feared him shall say, Where is he f
8 what is become of him? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night; all his former honour and happiness is but like the joy nfs
9 dream. The eye also [which] saw him with envy, shall [see him] no more ; neither shall his place any more behold him.
10 His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their poods; he shall be poorer than the poorest; hit children shall be triad to be servants in the families which he oppressed, and be obliged by public justice, or the racks of conscience, to restore
11 the goods of which he had wronged others. His bones are full [of the sin] of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the t ust; the pain and anguish of youthful sins shall stick by him and bring
12 him to the grave. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth,
13 [though] he hide it under his tongue; [Though] he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth to suck out
14 its sweetness, though he is told of its poisonous quality: [Yet] his meat in his bowels is turned, [it is] the gall of asps within him; it becomes bitter, painful and destructive, torments his conscience
15 and destroys him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly j •■ force him to Jiart with them with a violence like that with which
16 the stomach throws up what oppresses it. He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him ; his riches shall be poison to him, and his agonies be tike a man whose whole mass nf
17 blood is envenomed by a poisonous serpent. He shall not sec the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter; his expectations shall be disappointed, he shall lose all the fine things he hopcf
IS for. That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow [it] down: according to [Lis] substance [shall] the restitution [lie.] and he shall not rejoice [therein ;] restitution shall devour his substance, his ill gotten goods shall bring a curse on all the rest, so that he shall have no comfort in them; and the rea
19 son is, Because he hath oppressed [and] hath forsaken the poor; [because] he hath violently taken away an house which he build
20 ed not; Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired; his conscience shall be uveasv,
21 and he deprived of all his desirable things. There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods; nothing shall be left for him to subsit upon, and no one desire to be
22 his heir. In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits; the greater abundance he has gained, 'he more shall he be distressed by his own conscience : every hand of the wicked shall come upon him., being obliged to restore to some, and being plundered by. o(A
"S3 ers. [When] he is about to fill his belly, [God] shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, he shall have no comfort in his enjoyments while they are continued; iahen he is about to eat, God »hall sei another dish before Aim, full of his wrath, and shall rain [it]
S4 upen him while he is eating and thinks himself most secure. He shall flee from the iron weapon, [and] the bow of steel shall strike him through; when God is armed against him, he shall not escape; ifheflitsfrom the sward, the arrcv> shall follow and pierce
25 him. It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors [are] upon him: though mortally wounded by divine judgments, other terrors shall walk aver him, and tramfite ufion him as he lies wounded and ex/iir*
26 ing. All darkness [shall be] hid in his secret places; all kind* of grievous calamities shall follow him to those secret /¡/arc*, •where he retires to hide and secure himself: a fire not blown, a fieMilencc or burning fever, shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle; Ms posterity also shall
27 inherit the curse. The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him; extraordinary calamities from heaven shall even proclaim his iniquity to all about him, and the earth shall rise ufi as unable any longer 'o endure a tvretch who ie
28 stich a reproach and burden to it. The increase'of his house shall depart, [and his goods] shall flow away in the day of his wrath; shall roll away like water when God manifeUeth his wrath against
29 Aim. This [is] the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God; he hath afijiointtd it to him, and will bring it ufion him.
1. "^TTHEXEVER fre answer in any argument or debate, let VV it be with the spirit of our understanding; be careful rightly to understand, and duly consider what has been said, and what we have to reply, and never to answer in haste or passion; This is peculiarly necessary when we think we are reproached ; as many call the most friendly check a check cf reproach, and think a passionate answer justifiable. Calm deliberation and cool answers are the only likely way to find out truth, to vindicate our characters, and silence reproaches.
2. Let young people learn the danger of youthful sins, especially of fleshly lusts, which are sins that easily beset them; ebe they will probably have their bones full of them. Gluttony and drunkenness, whoredom and debauchery, bring upon men such diseases as are painful to them all their lives after; iind if they do not (as they generally do) cut short their days, yet they entail pain, sorrow and misery upon them. Young persons should be careful to flee youthful lusts, and not indulge any sensual gratifications -T for however pleasant they may think such sins in the conynission, they viii be turned to the gall of asfis -within them, and they will mourn at the last, when their flesh and their bodies are consumed.
3. Honesty is the best policy; the surest way to preserve and increase what we have, and afford us comfort in the use and enjoyment of it. The description here given of the miserable condition* the contempt, poverty, and ruin of oppressors, and those who by fraud and dishonesty increase their substance, is very beautiful and moving, and ought to make us afraid of unjust gain, and lead us to practise only fair, upright, and honourable methods of increasing* and preserving our substance.
4. The frequent descriptions given in this book of the inward misery and utter ruin of prosperous sinners, furnish us with repeated and very necessary cautions to seek a better and an enduring substance. They may promise themselves great things, and by their oppression, hypocrisy and fraud, in their dealings with others, they may expect rivers of wealth and pleasure. But the voice of conscience will not be drowned, nor the anger of God escaped. Zophar's application of these remarks to Job was unjust; but take the wicked m the whole course of his distress, and what is here said of the righteous vengeance of God inflicted on him, will be certainly and strictly true. When we read what is the portion and inheritance of the most prosperous sinners, let us dread their condition, and seek a better portion, an interest in God and the Redeemer; and an inheritance in heaven, which, as it is incorruptible and undefiled, will never fade away.
Job here comes close to the point in debate between Mm and his friendly and begins by desiring a jia'.ient hearing.
I 2 TJUT Job answered and said, Hear diligently my speech, JJ and let this be your consolations", it is all the comfort I
3 have to exfiectfrom you. Suffer me that I may speak; do not interru/it me, hear me attentively; and after that I have spoken,
4 mock on. As for me, [is] my complaint to man? and if [it were so,] why should not my spirit be troubled? my complaint is to God, and therefore you should not pronounce sentence j but if it was to man, there is sufficient reason for it, because you rt
5 proached me. Mark me, and be astonished at the miseries that have befallen me, and lay [your] hand upon [your] mouth; be
6 silent from reproach, and wait the issue. Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh ; lam astonished at the recollection of my own great and aggravated miseries. Afer this introduction he asserts that Zophar's proof of
7 the misery of the wicked is not universally true. Wherefore do t'ae wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? if what
you say is true, how come the wicked to enjoy to much wealth, hon
8 our, and fiovjer, and that to old age? Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes; they see their children and grandchildren happily settled, and very
9 prosperous. Their houses [are] safe from fear, neither [is] the rod of God upon them; no man attacks them, neither does the
10 immediate hand of God visit them. Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf; their herds and flocks increase, and they meet with no disa/i/iointment
11 in them. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their
12 children dance; they are healthful and merry. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ; they
13 themselves abound in sensual delights. They spend their days in wealth, their indole life is full of plenty and pleasure, and in a moment go down to the grave, without languisiting, pain, or sick
14 ness, scarce fueling themselves dying; Therefore, as a conscquence of this, they say unto God, Depart from us; for we de
15 sire not the knowledge of thy ways. What [is] the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him ? this is in effect their language, they think they owe- him no service, and shall not be better for paying homage to
16 firm. Lo, their good [is] not in their hand ; they are not prosperous, or cannot secure it without God: the counsel of the wicked is for from me; / will never join with them in such im
17 pious sentiments, speeches, and practices. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out ? and [how oft] cometh their destruction upon them? [God] distributeth sorrows in his anger; this is not so frequently as you suppose, yet it is sometimes the case.
18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm
19 carrieth away, that is, light, worthless, and easily dispersed. God Iayeth up his iniquity, that is, the punishment of his iniquity, for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know [it ;] you •will say, if God does not punish him, yet he Iayeth up punishments
for his children: I say, no; he oftentimes rewards the sinner ; 20 himself, so that he knows and feels it. His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty ; he sees himself sinking and perishing under that wrath, which he
21 would not before fear, and falling into destruction. For what pleasure [hath] he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst? the thought of his house's
22 prosperity when he is dead, is no comfort to him. Shall [any] teach God knowledge? direct his counsels, and tell him wheft and. how to punish tin wicked? seeing he judgeth those that are high, princes and angels, therefore surely he knows how to judge
23 us. One dieth in his full strength, in the Hebrew, in his very perfection, or, in the strength of his perfection, being Wholly at
24 ease and quiet. His breasts are full of milk and other juices, and
25 his bones are moistened with marrow. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, after long pain and languishing, and
26 never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the Vol. IV. "W
dust, and the worms shall cover them; there is no distinction between them here, so that We cannot tell good or bad by such e-ven:&. 37 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices [which] ye wrongfully imagine against me ; 1 know ivhat you arc ready to
28 suggest, For ye say, Where [is] the house of the prince? and where [are] the dwelling places of the wicked? what difference it there between Job undrr his calamity, and these wicked men he Aa-3
29 been describ'-ng? To which he a/timers, Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, the csr.~ tinued firosfierity of the wicked, in many cases is so obvious that thejirst passenger could infirm you ofinstani.es of it, tliere were
30 such filain tokens of their prosperity; but there is no doubt That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall he brought forth to the day of wrath; they are preserved Jrem ccm
31 mm calamities here, to be fiunished in the other world. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him [what] he hath done? his /lower is so great that none dare tell hit* of his faults to his face, nor punish him for his wicked actions.
32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave in pomp, and shall remain
33 in the tomb, in a stately monument. The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, he shall rest in the grave as other men do, and every man shall draw after him, as [there are] innumerable before him > he suffered nothing but what other men have done be
34 fore him, and all that succeed shall suffer after him. How then
comfort ye me in v„in, with vain hopes of recovering my former prosperity if I reflent, seeing in your answers there remainem falsehood? since it a/ifiears by common experience, that good men are often in great trouble, while bad men thrive and prosper in the world? You ill discharge the part of friends ; you betray truth and piety, under pretence of defending it; and reproach and vex your friend, under pretence of comforting him.
1> fT* H E providence of God in suffering the wicked to prosper, X and in afflicting the righteous, is often very astonishing to good men, and hath in all ages been a stumbling block to them. . We are too apt to judge by present appearances. Certainly God sees and hates their wickedness, and will punish it; but he bears long with them, waits with patience for their repentance, and makes Use of them to serve his own purposes; and he will make their punishment more conspicuous and instructive hereafter. Ltt us judge nothing before the lime, but rest in the Lord and keep his way j and rtmember these two maxims that are most plain and most important, that it shall be upon the whole ill tvith the wicked, and well with the righteous, whatever the former enjoy, whatever the latter may endure.
2. There may be much wealth and pleasure in families where there is no religion. We see multitudes, whose houses are safe from fear, their children healthful and gay j they have their tails