« AnteriorContinuar »
«nd assemblies, mirth and music, and all the delights of sense; yet they forget and affront God. Such were the gentry in the days of the author of this book; and would to God ours in the general Were any better. In their families, the -voice of/¡raver and /¡raise г* not heard; their children are not taught devotion, humility, and in» dustry. How wretched are such families, with all their riches and all their mirth. Let this thought cure us of too great an attach» ment to the wealth and pleasures of life; and teach parents to train up their children to something better than getting money, singing, dancing, and the like; and to bring them vfi in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
3. See to what heights of impiety and profaneness prosperity often leads men; they say unto God, Depart from us; think they have no concern with him, and because they will not walk in his vays, do net desire the knowledge cf them. They think they owe nothing to the Almighty, and therefore will not pay him homage. The language of their heart is, what signifies praying? h will not pay debts, nor portion children; and only serves to make men me!» ancholy. Thus most of the rich and the gay think; at least thus they act. But let this counsel be far from us. Let us not say as they say, nor do as they do; let us take pleasure in serving God and praising him. Let us earnetfly desire th? knowledge of his -trays, •and resolutely walk in them. Then, whatever we lose or suffer for religion, we shall enjoy the favour of God and everlasting happiness; and instead of being brought for'h to execution in the day of Cod's wrath, we shall be brought forth to eternal life, joy and triumph.
4. The different seasons and circumstances in which men die, is a call to us to be always ready. Some die in their full strength, in the highest degree of health, when they think least of death, and imagine they have many prosperous years to come; others after long pain and languishing. Let us remember, that we must die. Innumerable multitudes are gone this road; all that are now alive, or shall hereafter live, must come after us. Let this engage us ta afihly our hearts to witdom, and liiy up treasures in heaven, which tvill never decay, and secure fulness of joy and pleasures for ever-> more.
EUfihaz su/i/iosiitg thai Job had accused, divine firovidcnte, in suffering the wicked to ¡irosfter and the righteous to be afflicted, •vindicate* the justice (¡f God; charges ufion Job many heraous sins; shavi» how such sinners have been Jiuni&hed; and offers tome excellent advicr.
1 T I ч HEN Elipliaz the Temanite answered and said, Can
2 Л a man b.c profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? if thou art righteous, God is no gainer
3 by it, he is not obliged to reward thee. [Is it] any pleasure to • the Almighty, that thou art righteous? is it any addition to him
perfect happiness? or [is it] gda [to him,] that thou makest
4 thy ways perfect? Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment, and crush thee lest thou shouidst
5 grow too powerful for him? [Is] not thy wickedness great? and are not thine iniquities infinite ? and therefore thou ncedest not
6 wonder at thy sufferings. For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought; with great oppression hast taken <t pledge for such a trifle as is not worth contending for; and stripped the naked of their clothing; stripped those of clothing saho
7 had scarce enough to cover their nakedness. Thou hast not given •water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry; thou hast been cruel and unkind to the dis-'
8 tressed. But [as for] the mighty man, he had the earth; andthe honourable man dwelt in it; thou hast been unjust as a mag
9 istrate, favouring the rich and great. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken; thou hast weakened and oppressed these, and rendered them more
10 incapable of helping themselves than they were before. Therefore snares [are] round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;
11 Or darkness, [that] thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee, therefore all these calamities are come upon thee i darkness, and confusion overwhelm thee, sv that thou hast no com
12 fort, nor any way to extricate thyself. [Is] not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high
13 they are 1 And thou sayest, How doth God know ? can he judge through the dark cloud? God is infinitely great and majestic, and thou seemest to infer that he is not able to discern; or
14 Thick clouds [are] a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven; he is too much taken up with (he affairs of heaven to take notice of what is done on earth.
15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? hast thou ever attended to what God did to the men of the old
16 world? Which, were cut down out of time, beftre their time in the course of nature was come, whose foundation was overflown
17 with a flood, whom the flood swept away. Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them; they said as the wicked do now, and yet thou sanest sitch persons
IBT-prosper. Yet Tie filled their houses with good [things,] and therefore showed his /iresence and observation by his agency: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me, I abhor the thought of
19 such impiety and ingratitude, as much as thou dost. The righteous see [it,] and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn; probably referring to A'oah and Lot, who derided their neighbours' ridiculous censures of Providence, andrejoiced in the displays of the
20 divine justice. Whereas our substance is not cut down, we who are godly are still secure, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth;
21a* the wicked of Sodom whom God utterly consumed. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace : thereby good shall
come unto thee; therefore labour to gain a greater acquaintance 4uith God and his чгауп, and be at peace with him by true repent* >2 anee, thereby all prosperity shall come unto thee. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up hisi words in thine heart; be concerned to team his -will, to remember it, and
23 live suitably to it. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shall be built up, and soon feel the comfortable effect» of it ; thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles, the punishment of
24 iniquity t/ia/¿ te removed from thy tabernacle. Then shalt thoit lay up gold as dust, and the [gold] of Ophir as the stones of the
25 brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, to secure thy
26 wrallA, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shall thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God ; instead of doubting of his care, thou shalt have inward satisfaction in his love and favour, and lift ufi thy face in
27 cheerful expectation of his protection and blessing. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows; God shall hear thy prayer, and thou shalt
28 have cause and a heart to be thankful on that account. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways ; thou shalt be able tu accomplish thy schemes, and have success and comfort in thy pro*
29 ceedings. When [men] are cast down, then thou shalt say, [There is] lifting up; thou shall have courage and comfort thy* e?if, and be able to encourage others; and he, that is, God, in
30 answer to thy prayer, shall save the humble person. He shall deliver the island of the innocent, or, the innocent shall deliver the island, that is, the whole country when in it is danger: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine handsj by thy sincere prayer« and holy life.* .
• • v •
1. T 11H E allsufficiency of God for his own happiness, is a very JL useful and instructive thought. He is infinitely perfect and happy. It is no gain to him that we are righteous; he can ba no man's debtor. It is therefore great condescension in him to require and encourage our service; and all his rewards must be of grace, and not of debt. He does not punish or afflict men for fear of them ; we can do him no harm ; therefore he most kindly intends our benefit, and we ought patiently to submit. , 2. How may 'the best of men be falsely accused! and that not only by the bad, but by those who upon the whole are wise and good. These charges against Job are unjust; his character was cjuite the reverse ; he was an upright magistrate, jusl and kind and pious. Tins reflection is designed to teach us how common it í. even for good men to think worse of one another lhan they de» serve, and to caution us against uncharitable censures. The devil i.» the accuser of the brethren ; let us not be like him, and imitate him in this dirty work. And when we are falsely accused, let us not revile again; but, with Christ, commit our cause to him vihojudgeth righteously.
* This was fulfilled when FJiphaz and his friends were delivered by Job's pnyers; and to it was a prephecy which he litüc thought o£
3. A sense of God's infinite grandeur and majesty, should never lead us to think he is unacquainted with us, or unconcerned about us. He is indeed in the heights of heaven, and higher than the stars. Heaven is the immediate residence of his glory, and the stars are but the pavement of his palace. This should lead us to address him with the greatest reverence ; and still remember, that he can judg". through ¿he dark cloud. It is no burden or disparagement to him to govern the world; for all things are naked and cjicn before the eyes of him -with whom vie have to do,
4. Those who may differ and dispute abrut some matters of religion, should join in condemning atheism and impiety. Eliphaz protests against entertaining the counsel of the wicked ; he abhorred their sentiments and ways. There are some important princi» pies which we should still abide by, when we differ about lesser matters, such as, that God is omnipresent, righteous, ami good; that religion is reasonable and necessary. Let us appear strenuouslyi aijd join heartily in this righteous cause. This •will prevent our differences from becoming irreconcileable, and our disputes uncharitable.
5. Let all of us, especially those that are in affliction, attend to and learn this useful lesson. It is excellent advice which Eliphaz here gives to Job, v. 2 1. Let us endeavour to acquaint eurtelves •with God; to know more of him, his nature, and will, by meditation and prayer, and the study of his works, his providence, and his •word. Let us submit to his law; treasure it up in our memory, and regulate our tempers and lives by it. Thus shall we probably enjoy prosperity ; if not, we shall hate what is much belter, delight in God, comfort in approaching him, and a well grounded hope of his favour, which will be a cordial under every affliction, a bal« anee for every loss, and a source of comfort and joy even in death kself.
6. We learn, that eminently good men are public blessings ; of jçreat service to socitty, by their prayers for it, and their sedate and cheerful deportment; by keeping up the spirits of others in troublesome times, and their devotion and holy behaviour: this is so pleasing to God, a* to engage him on that account, to send blessings
ren the nation or society to which they belong. As we love ourselves, our family and country, let us labour to have our hands pure, our prayers sincere and serious, and our whole conduct unblameable, honourable, and useful. Then shall we deliver our souls, and contribute to the deliverance and happiness of nil us.
Job dim not here make a direct reply to the discount of Eliphaz, but wishes for a fair hearing; laments that he cannot tee God appear* ing for him; comforts himself with the consciousness of his integrity i but com/dains that God denies him the consolation of clearing ■u/t hi* innocence, or of ending his afflictions btj death.
\ r 1 ~*HEN Job, hearing his character still censured, and his dis* 2 JL course perverted, answered and said, Even to day [is] my complaint bitter; notwithstanding your promises and consolations, I still have reason to com/tlain: my stroke is heavier than S my groaning row express. Oh that I knew where I might find him I [that] 1 might come [even] to his seat I The name of God is omitted to increase the pathos. If he will not come down to me, I would go up. to him, and present myself before Ms splendid
4 throne. I would ort'er [my] cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments: this is a military phrase; I would marshal m>i cause, have a whole army of arguments, and bring them
5 forth in a regular manner. I would know the words [which] he
would answer me, and understand what he would say unto roe;
6 i" long for his judgment, and would diligently attend to it. Will he plead against me with [his] great power? No ; but he would put [strength] in me , he would not use his power to oppress, but to assist me, and would puss sentence according to his clemency.
7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge; there I might argue my cause, and be delivered f'om his condemning sentence. But my
8 wishes are vain ; for Behold, I go forward, but he [is] not [there ;] and backward, but I cannot perceive him ; though he is every where present, yet I cannot see him apptaring to /dead for me; I am so hurried and discomposed by my affliction, that I
9 am all confusion; I look On the left hand, where he cloth work, but 1 cannot behold [him :] he hideth himself on the
10 right hand, that 1 cannot see [him :] Cut he knowelh the way that 1 take ; this is my comfort, that he approves the course I have walked in: [when] he hath tried me, 1 shall come forth as gold s my innocence shall be cleared, and my virtue shall be established by
11 the trial. My foot hath held his steps, hi? way have I kept, and not declined; I am conscious I have imitated God, being afol
12 fcr of him. Neither have I gone buck from the commandment of his lips; / have ruled my life by all the intimations of the divine will; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food ;] treasured them up as my richest dainties.
13 But he [is] in one [mind,] and who can turn him ? or rather, he ii the only one supreme Being, and [what] his scul desireth, even [that] he doeth ; he governs himself by unuherable rulex,
14 and I cannot think to move him by my expostulations. For he performeth [the thing that is] appointed for me, continues his determined purposes not to relieve me: and many such [things