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58 against ¿I. He will délirer his soul from going into the pit, and hie life shall see the light; he shall oían the goodness of God
29 in sparing his life and restoring his health. Lo. all these [things] worketh God oftentimes with man, Ac often take» тасЛ methods at these to reform men, 19 prolong their lives,and restore their com fort к;
SO To brine; back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the
31 light of the living. Mark well, О Job, hearken unto me: hold
32 thy peace, and I will speak ; consider this. If thou hast any tiling to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee; pro/lose any objection, for I shall rejoice to answer and 'vindicate
33 th:e, that thou mayes! afîficar as a righteous fierson. If not, hearken unto me : hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom, thai is, haw to judge better of God's dealings -with thcet and the way te ßnd mercy.
1. T T may be inferred from hence, that discourses intended Jl for instruction and consolation ought to be plain and gentle, lilihu's was well weighed, and was delivered in plain terms, •without perplexity or obscurity ; so ю not to terrify or confound. This is a caution proper for ministers and parents to attend to; and particularly for them or others to observe, when they would instruct or comfort the afflicted. Let them pray for the tongue of the . ¿earned, to s/ieak a word in season.
2. Due consideration of the greatness and unscarchableness of God, would silence our murmurings and promote our submission. It is sufficient to silence ovir complaining words, and suppress our repining thoughts, to consider that Goii is greater than man; greater in goodness, as well as wisdom and power. We are not to expect an account of his matters. The general reasons of his conduct to his creatures are evident ; and it becomes us to acquiesce; to be still, and know that he i* God.
3. We are here taught what the great end and design of divine admonitions and instructions is, to divert men from their evil purposes, subdue their pride, and teach them mit to think of ifiemsrlvea more highly than they ought to think. This is a lesson all need to learn; which ordinances and providences are adapted to teach; and it is our duty to pray that we may learn it more perfectly ; that God would seal this important instruction on our souls.
4. Sickness and pain are in their consequences very salutary and benelidal. It is grievous indeed, to have all the bones full of pain, to lose the appetite, to have no relish for common bread, or the nicest dainties. But still it is good to be afflicted; desirable to have the help of good books, tender friends, faithful ministers, to be interpreters of Providence. It is proper to consider w/nrtin vie l.avc done ini/itini, and perverted that ivhiclt is right; that we may have the peaceable fruits of righteousness produced thereby.
5. Recovery from sickness ought thankfully tobe acknowledged and faithfully improved. And it sh ould engage us to continue
Vol. IV. A a
in prayer, to make restitution, to warn others by what we have fefc and experienced, of the vanity of the world, and the advantages of affliction, the supports of religion, and the hopes of immortality. Thus shall we be improving ourselves, while we are comforting others with those consolations with which we have been comforted of God.
6. All the methods of instruction, reformation, and improvement, are God's work. He speaks by conscience, providence, scripture, ministers, and friends. He works by sickness, recovery, mercies, and deliverances; and all are designed to save us from the pit of destruction, to make us comfortable here, and happy forevey. Let us give him the glory of his kind designs; observe the methods of his operations, and comply with his purposes. Remembering how inexcusable we shall be, if all these means of discipline and instruction are lost upon us. If we carefully improve them, he will be favourable to us, and we shall see his face with joy.
Elihußnding ЛЬ not ifís/íosfel to reply, goes on to reprove some hasty sflcrc/ies of hia ; vindicates the providente of God; and directs Aim to mare proper language.
1 T^URTHERMORE Elilui answered and said, Hear my
2 JL words, О ye wise [men ;] and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge ; he a/:fteals to t/ic auditory, not being destrón»
3 to be judge in t/tc controversy himself. For the ear trieth words,
4 as the mouth tastcth meat. Let us choose to us judgment; let us know among ourselves what [is] good; let us lay aside prt~
5 judicc and examine the matter in detate. For Job hath sait1,1 am ó righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. Should
I lie against my right? my wound [is] incurable without transgression ; I am not guilty of*ttcA miscarriages as to deserve such.
7 ecvere punishment. What man [is] like Job, [who] drinketh up scorning like water Î who s'j arrogantly charges God, and
8 «9 Contemptuously »corns his friends? Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men;
Ч talk* too much like them. For he hath said, It profiti'th a man nothing that he should delight himself with God; he seems to
10 be of their o/iiruon, that religion is iirtjirofitablr. Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, [that he should do] wickedness ; and [from] the Almighty, [that he should commit] iniquity ; speaking iintli abhorrence of
11 imputing any iniquity to God. For the work of a man shtill he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to [hia]
12 ways; he'.Ml do justice to every man. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment; it is »rlf evident that the snfircme judge с fall beings cannot do that
13 which implies weakness. Who hath given him a charge over
the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? his power it
14 of himself, there is no superior being that he is afraid of. If he set his heart upon man, [if] he gather unto himself his spirit and
15 his breath ; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust; he made and sustains all creatures, and can destroy tliem at once; therefore he is wider no temptation to do
16 injustice. If now fthou hast] understanding, hear this : hearken to the voice of my words, weigh well these considerations.
17 Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just? would any tvise prince make a wicked man
lia ruler, or punish a good man? [Is it fit] to say to a king, [Thou art] wicked ? [and] to princes, [Ye are] ungodly ? ¿» it not reckoned indecent and affronting to charge earthly princes and
19 judges with tyranny and injustice? [How much less to him] that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all [are] the work of his hands: how much leseßt to God, who made both, who is no respecter of fiersons, ivho will do nothing unjust to gain their favour, or to avoid
20 their anger? In a moment shall they die, and the people shall he troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand ; how should lie stand in aive of those, whom he can strike dead in a moment, or take away suddenly by his
•21 immediate hand? For his eyes [are] upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings; he can easily do this, for he knows them perfectly, and sees sin enough in them to deatrve famishment.
22 [There is] no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the work» ers of iniquity may hide themselves ; though they endeavour by
23 every means to conceal themselves, it is all in vain, 1'or, in consequence of this perfect knowledge, he will not lay upon man more [than right ;] that he should enter into judgment with God; he will nut punish them more than their iniquities deserve, so that
24 they should be unable to taje him with injustice. He shall, or cant break in pieces, easily destroy, mighty men without number,
•25 and set others in their st§ad. Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth [them] in the night, so that they are destroyed ; from his perfect knowledge of their conduct, heal-way»
26 acts justly when he punishes them. He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others; often brings remarkable ven
27 geance on them, to be a warning to others; Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways, that is,
28 because they did vnckedlit: So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted; they were particularly oppressive to the poor, whose complaints he
29 hears and will redress. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble ? when he gives quietness to the o/iflressed, the attempts of the oppressor are vain ¡ and when he hidcth [his] face, who then can behold him? whether [it be done] against a nation, or against a man only; when he is angry at the wicked, there is no peace or relief; and it is the same with regard to na+
30 tiws as tingle persons: That the hypocrite reign not, lest
people be ensnared; he often bringe down wicked governors, especially such as ftretfnd to fiiety, that other» may not be ensnared by their artifices and example: drawing this conclusion from these remarks; since God is so great, so just, so comfmssionate to iht
31 afflicted, Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I hare borne
32 [chastisement,] I will not offend [any more: That which] I see not, teach thou me : if I have done iniquity, I will do no more; it is firofier to be humble, fienitenl, and devout, and la form retolii
33 liona of amendment. [Should it be] according to thy mind? thouldst thou have every thing thy очт way? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose, and not I; he ivill fmnish thine iniquity, -whether thou v>ilt or no, and not I; it га not owing to me that thou art thus dealt -with, and I would not desfuse this advice myself, though thou mayest : therefore speak what thou knowest ; if thou hast any objection against this advice,
34 sfieak freely. Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me; if any of the company have any objection,
35 let them sfteak. Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words [were] without wisdom; he hath s/iotenfou/ishly and in
36 considerately. My desire [is that] Job may be tried unto the end, because of [his] answers for wicked men ; out of love to Job, I cannot but -wish the affliction may be continued, till he if brought to a better temfier, because of hie cennures of Providence
$7 and vindication of the wicked. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth [his hands] among us, and multiplieth his words against God ; he intimate», that otherwise he would go on to censure God, to insult his friends, and increase hie o-jm guilt.
1. TAT" E infer, that in matters of importance it is good to Vy consult with our friends, and take their judgment. The proposal of Elihu, to lay aside differences and prejudices, and exainine the matter together, was a good one. In difficult and perplexed cases, it is seldom that one man's thoughts are sufficiently clear, unbiassed, and comprehensive, to judge ; and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
2. Let us firmly believe and reverently acknowledge the righteousness and equity of God- -for be it from him that he should do iniquity or fiervert judgment; and far be it from us to say or think so. He cannot do an ill thing, or deal unjustly with any man. He never respects persons, nor suffers any service tp him to go on the whole unrewarded, nor any wicked action unpunished: sooner or later he laill render to every man according to his work. If it is not fit to say to earthly firinces, Ye are wicked; if decency and decorum are necessary in speaking of them, much more of the great God, tht blessed and only fiotentale,
3. Let a sense of the perfect knowledge of God continually impress our minds, v. 21. He accurately observes us wherever we CQ> am) whatever we do; fat ryes are ever v/ton us; therti* no ¿ark'
nor shadow of death where the wicked can hide themsetve*. This intimates that they would be glad to hide themselves, but it is in ■vain. He sees all their wickedness; no concealment can hide from his view, no confederacy can secure from his hand. Let us then alway s act and endure, as seeing him who is invisible.
*- Let us remember how constantly we depend upon God for personal and national peace. When God .speaks peace to a man, earth and hell cannot break it. Jf he lddeth his face, who can have any comfort till they behold it again? Every creature is insufficient *o restore peace. The same Providence extends to nations as to particular persons ; which is the strongest reason why we should endeavour to be at peace wilh him, and secure his favourable regard to us. 5. We are taught our duty in seasons of affliction. Then it is ft and meet to be said unto God, as v. 31, 32. I have borne chastisement, I Tirillnot offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me : if I htrve done inirjuitxj, I will do no more. It is our duty to humble ourselves before him, to examine what has been amiss, and pray that he tuould shew it unto us, that we may repent and correct it. It is our duty to form resolutions that we will offend no more, and to put them into practice immediately. A sense of the almighty power, impartial justice, and tender compassion of Cod, and the recollection that our comfort and peace, our times and our lives, arc in his hand, should engage us to do justly, lave mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
Job continues silent; sensible, that though Elihuput a harsh construction on some of his words, he was right in general, in allowing Job's integrity and giving him good advice. FJihu goes on to represent the limits of God's moral administration, and maintains that he is ready to deliver his creatures out of trouble, if they humbly address him, and do net merely cry because of their pain.
1 Xp LI H U spake moreover, and said, Thinkest thou this
2 I J to be right, [that] thou saidst, My righteousness [is] more than God's ? appcabiig to Job's conscience, reproving him for refecting on God's righteousness, which lie did in effect by talking so
3 much of his own integrity, and ef God's severity. For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? [and,] What profit shall I have [if I be cleansed] from my sin I thus repre
4 scntin* religion as unprofitable. I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee ; all who talk or think in the same maimer.
5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds [which] are higher than thou; God is as much above tin clouds, as they
6 are above thee. If thnu sinncst, what doest thou against him ?■ or [if] thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
t he is none the worse for thy sins. If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ? or what receiveta he of thine hand .' he is not