Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

14 in this world. The depth saith to the miners that dig in it, It £i*3 not in me: and the sea saith to the mariners and merchants that

15 sail over it, [It is] not with ine. It cannot be gotten for gold,

16 neither shall silver be weighed [for] the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx,

17 or the sapphire. The gold and the chrystal cannot equal it: and

18 the exchange of it [shall not be for] jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of

19 wisdom [is] above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall net equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold; no gold, gemsy or

20 precious stones, can purchase this knowledge. Whence then Cometh wisdom? and where [is] the place of understanding? where

21 shall it be found? who shall show it us? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air;

22 seeing the most soaring geniuses are quite ignorant of it. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears; there are discoveries of the divine wisdom in the invisible state, which cannot be known in this; yet they are as far short of the whole of the divine counsel, as an imfierfect rumour isfram

23 certain knowledge. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof; God's counsels are only known to

24 himself; For he looketh to the ends of the earth, [and] seeth under the whole heaven ; his understanding is infinite, he sees all

25 creatures; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure ; he directs where, and how strong the winds shall blow, and determines how much water shall fell,

2-6 and lie u/ion the earth. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder ; when he appointed the course of the rain and lightning, and established the several

27 laws of the air and other elements; Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out ; these were

first established, and their regular course settled by his unerring wisdom; God knew them perfectly, and communicites to us what

28 he thinks ft. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding; this is the great discovery he hath made to n\cn, that practical religion is the true wisdom, and that in which we are most concerned. Man was made, not to censure, but to adore that di

vine wisdom he cannot comprehend, and to fmrsue that which he can attain; and this God said to man, or, as in the original, to Adam : it is a law as old as the creation, and of universal importance.

REFLECTIONS.

1. r | \ H E wisdom and goodness of God, in furnishing the X bowels of the earth with such treasures, and in giving men wisdom and industry to get them out, claim our veneration and thankfulness. The' metals and minerals, the coals and the clay, are all useful and serviceable to human life. God has lodged them in their different recesses, and different kinds in different parts of the earth, to quicken men's industry, and promote a circulation of money and exchange of valuable commodities. He has ordained so many difficulties in procuring them, that multitudes may be employed about them. All this comelhfrorn the Lord of hosts, wh« is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.

2. Let us remember that the secrets of God's providence are not discoverable by us. The secret reasons of his conduct are hidden from us, and all future events; all the skill, sagacity, and application of men, cannot discover them. But there is a world beyond the grave where they are better known, though even there not perfectly. Let us not tire ourselves in the search of what we cannot understand, and what God never intended we should understand; but content ourselves with firmly believing (as \ve have the greatest reason to do) that all things are well and wisely ordered; and that all things shall work together for good to them that love God.

3. Let us attend with the greatest care lo what is plain, obvious and important. The distinction of good and evil, the immutable and indispensable obligations we are under to fear the Lord and depart from evil: these are very evident, and most momentous. This is spoken of by Moses, David, Solomon, Job, and Christ himself, as the one thing needful. To man God hath said this in all ages. It is better to. get this wisdom than gold ; it is more easily obtained; the possession is more secure; the consequence more happy. This is the wisdom which God requires of man ; and by this alone he can attain to eternal happiness. It lies open lo the poor as well as the rich, to him that digs for jewels, as well as to him that wears them. Let this be our concern, for unto us God says, lichold, the fear of the Lord, that is, wisdom, and to depart from evil under»landing.

CHAP. XXIX.

Job ftfre reminds hie friends of his fanner /iros/ierity and honour; tacitly reproving them for attending no more to what he said, which vas so different from the rat/iect with which he was formerly treated; and he inter-weaves solemn jirotestalions of his innocence.

1 "TV/I" O R E O V E R Job continued his parable, and said,

2 _LVJL Oh that I were as [in] months past, as [in] the days [when] God preserved me with peculiar tenderness and care;

3 When his candle shincd upon my head, [and when] by his light I walked [through] darkness; when I had continued tokens of his

4 favour, which sfiread a glory around nie; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God [was] upon my tabernacle; when I had pleasing communion wilh Gcd, and he seemed to

i dwell in my house, as his tabernacle; When the Almighty [was] yet with me, thawed /urntelf gracious, and [when] my children [were} about me, offering me their assistance and service* t

6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured ine out rivers of oil ; when he blessed me with such prosperity that I

7 had butter and oil as plcn>iful as water; When I went out to the gate through the city, [when] I prepared my seat in the street!

8 when I went out to the place of judicature. The young men saw me and hid themselves, ashamed to be surprized in any irregular be/iaviour: and the aged arose, [and] steod up to shew

9 me reverence. The princes refrained talking, and laid [their] hand on their mouth ; there was a general silence wailing for

10 what I had to say. The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the rcof of their mouth ; there was profound

11 attention of princes and nobles to my words. When the ear heard [me,] then it blessed me; and when the eye saw [me.] it gave witness to me ; / was so far from being a tyrant, as ycu suggest, that I was a public favourite; whtn my vane was mentioned every body was ready to give me a good word,and their very

12 looks discovered their esteem; Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and [him that had] none to help him,

13 from their enemies. The blessing of him that was ready to

perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy ; I had the prayers and blessings of those whose lives and

14 estates I had preserved. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment [was] as a robe and a diadem ; my wisdom and equity in administering justice, were more conspicuous and

15 ornamental than my robes and ensigns of honour. I was eyes to the blind, and feet [was] I to the lame; / directed the ignorant

16 and perplexed, and hrl/ied the weak and the feeble. I [was] a father to the poor: and the cause [which] I knew not I searched out ; I was not only a patron, but a father to the poor, providing for him, as well as protecting him; and was unwearied in search.

17 ing out the merits of his cause to do him justice. And I brake the jaws of the wickod, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth; ■Ipunished the wicked, and made them restore what then had un

18 justly gotten. Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply [my] days as the sand; / thought t should continue prosperous and die honourably in my house, and not be driven like a

19 bird from his nest. My root [was] spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch ; like a tree by the

20 rivers, I thought I should never wither. My glory [was] fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand ; my esteem and reputation were growing, and my /lower to defend my fortune and

21 dignity continued and increased. Unto me [men] gave ear, and

22 waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again ; and my speech dropped upon them ; all we're attention; my words were a tazv; Iwas the oracle of the country; my speech distilled and insinuated into their hearts, like showers

23 of snow. And they waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide, [as] for the latter rain, they waited

Zi impatiently for my opinion, and received it with eagerness. [If]

I laughed on them, they believed [it] not; and the lightof my countenance they cast not down; if J laid aside my gravity, and condescended to be cheerful andfavtitiar among t/iem, they could scarce believe themselves ; yet this did not breed contempt, they 25 still kept ufi their reverence for me. I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army ; I could do as much by my influence, as if I had been a monarch, or a general of an army; yet I did not abuse my authority, but was as one [that] comforteth the mourners; / treated all about me with as much humanity and tenderness, as a person does a dear friend who is in distress.

REFLECTIONS.

1. "I" T O W little do young people know what is before them in Jlx life! After a comfortable and prosperous youth, they may he in such circumstances, as to wish for the days and months past. L.et them set out with moderate desires, and not expect too much from this world ; but cultivate an humble and contented spirit. The less we expect, the less grievous will be our disappointments.

2. Those who have wealth, power, wisdom, or any influence> should use it for valuable purposes. Job is an excellent pattern for all, especially for magistrates; let them in imitation of him, do justice, love mercy, be friends of the poor, and patrons of the oppressed; otherwise their robes, and swords, and other ensigns of honour, will be only a reproach. Let all, according to their various spheres and abilities, endeavour to do good; to be public blessings, and the favourites of the place where they live ; (a most noble, honourable, and godlike character !) and they will be esteemed and reverenced; and it will be a pleasure to them, (as it was lo Job) to recollect their generous and charitable actions; even when the power of repeating them is lost. It is in the power of all to pity and comfort the afflicted; and a noble act of charity it is. Let us learn to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3. Worthy, useful, and generous men, ought to be highly esx teemed and revered. It is a just debt to them and will be an eiH couragement to the like conduct in others. Let us give every man's character its just encomium ; pay honour to whom honour is due. Where men appear to lay themselves out for the public good, they deserve public applause; every one should attest their character, and show them all that respect, which their virtue and usefulness claim.

4. When amidst the greatest prosperity and honour, let us expect changes, and especially think of death. Men are ready to be confident of the continuance of their wealth and enjoyments; perhaps Job was so. Let us learn from the sad change in his circumstances, and many such changes within our own knowledge, not to be high minded, but ftar. He thought of death; his prosperity did not make him forget that. Let us daily think of it, and prepare for it ; and then, whether we have praise of men or no, wc shall certainly have praise of God, and be applauded before the asstmbled world at the last day.

CHAP. XXX.

Job proceed* to describe the vilenesa and misery of his preterit condition, to move the compassion of his friends, especially as they thought him SO near his end.

1 TJ UT now [they that are] younger than I have me in deriJj sion, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock ; persons tuho durst not before look me in the face, and whose fathers I would not have set with the mean

2 est shepherd or servant in my family. Yea, whereto [might] the strength of their hands [profit] me, in whom old age was perished? in their best state they were good for nothing, but now they

3 are wholly useless. For want and famine [they were] solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste; beggarly fellows who were glad to hide themselves in the wilderness.

4 \V ho cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots [for] their meat ; fed on any coarse herbs or roots they found there.

5 They were driven forth from among [men,] (they cried after them as [after] a thief ;) they were driven, as unworthy of Au« man society, and they fed as if an hue and cry was after them;

6 To dwell in the cliffs of the vallies, [in] caves of the earth, and

7 [in] the rocks; they sought shelter in rocks. Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together,

8 and lived like wild asses. [They were] children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth : they were descended from a scandalous crew, and were as infamous as

9 their parents. And now am I their song, yea,. I am their by

10 word, their pastime. They abhor me, they flee far from me, and

11 spare not to spit in my face, they treat vie insolently. Because lie hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me ; because God hath taken away my power and authority, with which I held them as with a bridle, so they nov>

12 abuse me. Upon [my] right [hand] rise the youth: they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction j a parcel of despicable villains, whose fathers or themselves J had punished as a magistrate, come and insult me, and

13 charge me with tyranny and injustice in my office. They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper ; they are fruitful in inventing calumnies against me, and need no per

14 son's help. They came [upon me] as a wide breaking in [of waters :] in the desolation they rolled themselves [upon me,] like soldiers entering into a besieged city, through a wide breath.

15 Terrors are turned upon me : they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud that is dispersed by it.

16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me; / pour out many tears, and

17 my soul is faint through griff. My bones are pierced in mc in the night season: and my sinews take no rest, by rra.

18 son of the violent pain I have in the night. By the great forct

« AnteriorContinuar »