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any the better for thy righteousness. In ttrictnei» ofsfieeeh Goi is not obliged to reward his creatures any farther than he has
8 promised. Thy wickedness [may hurt] a man as thou [art ;5 and thy righteousness [may profit] the son of man; but not-with* «landing this, it is not all one -whether thou art good or bad, /or thyself and others will be bttter or worse according as thy temper and character is. Job had reflected on God's goodness, to which
9 Elihu answers, By reason of the multitude of oppressions, they make [the oppressed] to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm
ÎO of the mighty, yet God does not at//icar lo vindícate them; But the reason of thit is, none saith, Where [is] Clod my maker, who giveth songs in the night? they do nvt humbly and sincerely pray to him, nor acknowledge his goodness in tempering their afflictions with so much mercy that he gives them ground of rejoicing in the darkest seasons. It is a cry of nature, not of dcvo
11 tion, -which they utter; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? God has given us rational facultiet to pray to him, and will not ne
12 gleet us if we use those faculties aright. There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men ; the y cry because of evil men and o/ipret&orx, but none cmwereth, because they do not devoutly pray, their cry dues not proceed from a regard
13 to God, but from sensations ofpaînand trouble. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it ¡ therefore they cannot expect an answer, God will not hear their prayer, nor
14 regard their oppression, so as to deliver them. Although thou sayest thou shall not see him, [yet] judgment [is] before him; therefore trust thou in him; though thou sayest thou shall never enjoy prosperity, or a sense of his love again ¡ yet he is perfectly just and righteous, therefore trust him, and wait patient y for him.
15 But now, because [it is] not [so,] because thon dont not pray thus, art not thus humble and penitent, he hath visited in his auger, and thine a/lictions still continue; yet he knoweth [it] not in great extremity; thy great extremity hath пь! brought ihec to a seme
le of this, and to a knowledge <f God and thyself. Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge ; therefore thou chargent God with great severity in his con-, duct, which it is easy to justify on the clearest principles of reason.
1. "V ТГ T E learn from hence to reflect seriously on the greatness VV of God, and how unable we ¡ive to hurt him by our bins, er profit him by our righteousness. Sin cannot hurt his nature and happiness; but, as the moral governor of the world, he must hate and punisb it for the sake of his creatures. Our righteousness cannot profit him; therefore when he commands, encour-ages and rewards it, it is all of his grace and for our good. We must take in the whole of a creature's duration, in order to judge çf iu happiness and misery. The prospect of a future state seems the only sufficient answer to Job's objections > especially as we can but Very imperfectly judge of what our fellow creatures suffer or enjoy here below.
2. It is the duly of those who are afflicted, to be thankful for the mercies which are continued to them; particularly for our reason; that ive are made wiser than the brutes; can observe whence afflictions come, and what ends they are designed to answer. That vie hax>e songs in the night, many alleviating comfortable circumstances in the deepest distress; so that we have reason to rejoice in the darkest seasons: but these comforts we too often ungratefully overlook. If God continues to us the exercise of reason and peace of conscience under our afflictions, we have abundantly more cause for thankfulness than complaint.
C. Let us aUend to the important distinction here made between crying and praying. It is natural in affliction to groan, cry, and complain ;■ but there is no religion in this; the brutes do so. The cry of too many to God under their afflictions, rather arises from a sense of pain, than any devout regards to him. They cry for health, or for a physician: but how few say, Where is God my maker? Every one complains of pain and trouble, but few lift up their hearts to God with penitential, humble, and devout addresses; and it is no wonder if they are not regarded. God hears the cry of brutes extorted by pain, because they have' no rational souls; but as men, have them, he expects they should pray as well r.s cry, and consider and improve their afflictions, as well as feel them.
4. When we are under the deepest distress, let us remember that our judgment is before God, and therefore trust in him. We are often ready to despair, and think we shall never see him; never enjoy prosperity, or be restored to his favour. But he is perfectly righteous and wise, and knows the best time and way to deliver us; therefore we should continue to trust him. The Lord is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that waitjor him. Isa. xxx. IS.
JEli/ru here comes clone to the fwint; arguing that if Job had submitted to God's correction, he would hat'e been delivered; that his not be ing able to com/irehend the designs of Providence ought not to be an hindrance to this, seeing the daily works of God are incomfirehcnsible.
1 ■j1 LI IIU also proceeded, and said, Suffer me a littV, and t
2 JL_J will show thee that [I have] yet to speak >on God's behalf; entreating their fiatienc? while he goes on to vindicate God's fire
3 cecdings. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will arcribc righteousness to my Maker; 1 will urge some vntommon
4 and nublime consideralio^s to support the justice of Gcd. Tot
truly my words [shall] not [be] false: he that is perfect in knowledge [is] with thee; / vet U not use sophistical arguments,
5 but offer solid reasons. Behold, God [is] mighty, and despis« cth not [any: he is] mighty in strength [and] wisdom; tliere
6 fore he. will wrong no man, nor despise even the meanest. He pre"serveth not the life of the wicked: but givetli right to the poor;
he preserveth not the wicked though very rich, but rights the floor,
7 by delivering them from oppressors. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous; he regarda them with an eye of favour: but with kings [arc they] on the throne ; yea, he doth establish them for ever,'and they are exalted ; he often exalts them to the
> highest honours which kings can confer. And if [they be] bound
in fetters, [and] be holden in cords of affliction 5 if at any time
9 he afflicts them, yet Then he showeth them their work, and their
transgressions that they have exceeded; he leads them to reflect
10 on their sins, and He openeth also their ear to discipline, and
commandeth that they return from iniquity, to receive in?
•\ 1 structiqn, and return to their duty; and if they do so, If they
obey and serve [him,] they shall spend their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasures ; they shall be restored to prosptri
12 ty and established in comfort.* But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge ; if they /¡creist in obstinacy arid imfienilcncy they shall die in their foi
13 ly. But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath by their counterfeit piety, and they cry not when he bindeth them; do not ргяу
14 sincerely to God. They die in youth, and their life [is] among the unclean; they die unexpectedly, in the prime of llnir dayst
15 añilare suddenly cut off, like the Sodomites; whereas He delivercth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression ; he delivers the humble, and teaches them instruction by their
16 oppression. Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait [into] a broad place, where [there is] no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table [should be] full of fulness; АО u/ion Ihn htun'jlc submission he would have restored thee to thy
IT former prosperity and plenty. But instead of delivering the /«,';?-, tfi'nt hast maintained the cause of the wicked, thou hast fulfilk4fl the judgment of the wicked: therefore judgment and justice
18 take hold [on thee,] and ih-jti nifftrctt like them. Because [there is] wrath, [beware] lest he take thee away with [his] stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee; cautioning /urn thenfore not tt persist in such sent'ime'its lest he should be suddenly cut
Î9 tiff. Will he esteem thy riches? [no,] not gold, nor all the forces of strength ; no ransom will nignify any thing to him, nei
20 ther riche«, nor all the forces tlnu canst muster up. Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place; do not rashly desire death, for Gad sometimes cuts off multitudes at once in the
21 night. Take heed, regard not iniquity; do not give way to
• Snire think, with grrar prob.bility, that hire ii a referrnce to Oie глчс nf MnnaiTeh. and wooUl rentier it, lie ivill reiten kingttiten the throne*:/, ii/fT/w/nji V:'*i ^.':in.i m/< itcri, и be was, Ihr) repent and rtfcrm, it he die.
ruth rash sprechet: for this hast thou chosen rather than afflic
Í2 tion ; accusing God rather than tubmitting to him. Beholdj God
exalteth by his power, end casteth down: who teachcth like
him? therefore be willing to learn, and do not /¡retend to teach
23 him. Who hath enjoined him in his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? who hath directed his way, or can
24 charge Aim with injuitice? Remember that thou magnify his •workj which men behold ; instead of finding fault ivith his work,
25 afieak honourably of it. Every man may see it; man may behold [it] afar off; the most ignorant and stupid must see the great
US ness and excellency of it. Beheld, God [is] great, and we know [him] not, neither can the number of his years be searched out;
27 he it infinite and eternal, therefore just in all hi» ways. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof; instancing in the wisdom andpo-wer of God in the rain; and the clouds gently distil the rain which is ex
28 haledfrom the earth: Which the clouds do drop [and] distil upon man abundantly ; so as filentifulty to supply the necessities of
29 man andbeasi. Also can [any] understand the'spreadings of the clouds, [or] the noise of his tabernacle? we cannot understand honv the clouds hang and ßoat in the air, nor the thunder we hear
30 from his dwelling ¡ilacc: Behold he sprcadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea; the sun spreads its light over the whale hcoi'fnn, and penetrates the surface of the sea, to exhale
31 and dra-ш up the т a hour s from thence. For by them judgeth he the people; he givelh meat in abundance; lie nome'times judgeth or punithcth by storms or tempests; at othrr times he make»
S3 plentiful provision by seasonable showers. With clouds he covereth the lia;ht; and commandeth it [not to shine] by [the cloud] that cometh betwixt; sometimes he obscures the face of heaven, so ai to withhold the kindly influences cf the sun; and sometimes there are only thin clouds that temper its excessive heat.
33 The noise thereef showeth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour; thunder and wind foretell and introduce л ttorm; and cattle by a strong instinct foresee it, and by variant actions give notice of it.
1. /"4 REAT caution becomes, us when we speak of God. Let \J us be careful that what -we say be true, and pertinent; that we always entertain the highest idea of God, and neither speak wickedly, rashly, nor uncharitably in his behalf. Let us espccially be careful to ascribe righteousness to our Alaker; and lay it down as a first principle, that he will, that he can do nothing wrong. Let us remember that he is our Maker; and always speak of him with seriousness.
2. It is a comfortable thought to the righteous, that God withiraiu::h пэ! his eyes from them. Though they may seem to be forgotten, and think God hides his face from them, yet he never looks
Vol. IV. Bb
off them. Though he afflicts them, yet he graciously regards them; directs when, in what manner, and how long, they shall bo afflicted; and assists them in improving their afflictions. Let our eyes be ever toward the Lord, and then Am eyes ivill be ever upon us for good.
3. See the misery of hypocrites in heart; of men who counterfeit religion and goodness, but whose hearts are not right itnth God. They think they arc heaping up wealth, reputation, and merit; but they are indeed only heaping up wrath. Their hearts are hard, Unhumbled, and stubborn under affliction. Every sin, every counterfeit act of religion, every proud, repining thought, further pro* Vokes God; and they are only treasuring up Co themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
4. It is a very foolish thing indeed to prefer iniquity to affliction; to pursue wealth by sinful methods in order to avoid poverty, to indulge sinful pleasures, to ease the cares of the mind, to allow ovaSelves in sinful compliances, to avoid trouble, reproach, or persecution. Such persons may think themselves wise and cunning; but they will appear at last to be very great fools. Sin is the greatest and most dreadful evil, and therefore ought to be avoided, whatever we may endure or suffer.
5. High and honourable thoughts of God, tend to promote submission to his will. Let us consider him as a Being of infinite perfections, of boundless power and knowledge, supreme authority, unrivalled and everlasting dominion. We see his works of nature, and they are all without fault and defect; especially his agency in the blessings of sunshine and rain; they are plain to our eyes, though the method of the operation of nattiral causes is mysterious and incomprehensible. Let us not dare to teach him or prescribe to him. The more careful we are to contemplate his nature, and to magnify his works which We behold, the more shall we be afraid and ashamed of censuring his providence.
Elihu pursues his former subject concerning the incomprehensible greatness and glory of God's works, as displayed in the formation ef the sky, and the direction of the meteors and clouds *
T this also my heart trembleth, at the consideration of the .... _— thunder, which perhaps he then heard, and is moved out of his place, beats and leaps ufi and down, as if it would hap °ut °f
* This chapter will have a peculiar hearaty if thii thought he ittf n.le.l to, that '!><. !"*j introduces God himself in the nt-xt chapter, ns sptakintf our nl' j \\ Lirlwiiid; ir.d in ui"T^prt^e^ts Klihu as hearing the thunder ;jt a distance, and seeing the whirlwind comitn; ■'• ward with slow pomp, and pointing low :ird the place from whrfrcc if c»me. This rrtww' heart tremble; but at its ni-:crir approach tow,ird the eK-e ,iithe sh..pter. hripeMJin'' • arid with broken sentences, lik,. one in a hurry aiij confwiou, who was afraid'"opr" n.cutii; and lost in arruicuu-au