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for insisting so much in his own vindication endeavoured to convince him, by arguments drawn from God's unlimited sovereignty and unsearchable wisdom, that it is not inconsistent with his justice to lay his afflicting hand upon the best and most righteous of men. And therefore that it is the duty of all men to bear such exercises, when any befal them, without murmuring or complaining, and to acknowledge the justice of God therein. Job heard all this with great attention, but made no reply ; probably, lest he might be drawn to utter some unguarded expression, which the inhuman treatment of his three friends might have extorted from him. Therefore, when they were all silent, the Lord himself took up the matter, and out of a whirlwind directed his speech to Job : wherein, with the highest amplifications, describing his omnipotence in the formation and disposition of the works of the creation,* he so effectually convinced Job of his own weakness, and inability of himself to understand the ways and designs of God, that Job, in the most profound humility, exclaims,“ Behold I am vile and contemptible “ in comparison of thee? What shall I answer thee? I “ will lay my hand upon my mouth : once have I spoken, “ but I will not answer : yea, twice, but I will proceed “ no further.”+ Then Job proceeded to a more ample, confession of the supremacy, power, and wisdom of God, to this effect : “ I know thou canst do every thing; and * that no thought can be hid from thee. Well mightest “thou ask, Whof he was that darkened counsel by words “ without knowledge ? For I am sensible I have uttered, “ what I understood not, things too wonderful for me, " which I knew not But henceforward I desire to learn
of thee; therefore hear I beseech thee when I speak, " and declare unto me what I ask. I have heard of thee “ before, by the hearing of the ear, (which gave me but a “ distant knowledge of thee ;) but now I have obtained “a more elear and certain knowledge of thee, for mine
• Creation. See from ch. xxxvü. to xli.
Further. "See cb. xlii.
Wbo. See c6. xxxvii. 2.
have seen* thee: wherefore I reprove myself for 6 what I have done amiss, and repent in dust and ashes."
God was so well pleased with this free aild humble acknowledgment of Job, that he declared himself in favour of him, against his injurious friends, who by their unjust and umcharitable reflections, instead of being his comforters, had proved his tormenters. “ Wherefore (said God to Eliphaz the Temanite) “ my wrath is kindled “ against thee and thy two friends; for ye have not spo. “ ken of Me the thing that is right, as my servant Job “ hath. Therefore now take seven bullocks, and seven
go to my servant Job, and offer up for your“selves a burnt-offering ; and my servant Job shall pray “ for you ; for his prayers will I accept ; lest I deal with
you as ye deserve, for not speaking the truth, as my “ servant Job hath.”
Job's three friends alarmed with the menaces of an angry God, made haste to provide a sacrifice to appease the divine vengeance which they dreaded ; and when they offered, God was pleased to accept Job's intercessiont in their behalf.
After this, God was pleased to considert Job, by putting a period to his sufferings, and to reward his faith and piety with a much greater estate than he ever possessed before ; doubling his former stock in every respect, except that of his children ; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, à thousand yokes of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. He had also seven sons, who with three beautiful daughters, every day
• Seen. See cb. xlii. 5. This is not meant of ocular demonstration, for God is invisible ; but the eyes meant are the eyes of the mind, or understanding, to which God had revealed himself.
| Intercession. Job may not improperly here be considered a type of that christian perfection which the Gospel requires in praying for enemies as well as friends.
Consider. The text calls this change of Job's condition, “ The turning of bis captivity;" which is a scripture phrase frequently used to signify an end of finishing of misery, and restoration of joy and felicitg.
graced his table, and were esteemed the fairest women in all that country, to whom their father gave an inheritance among their brethren.
No sooner was the fame of Job's recovery, and the restoration of his prosperity known, than his kindred* and acquaintance, froin all parts, come to congratulate him upon this happy change : nor did they come empty handed; for every one brought him a present of money or some other valuable ;t so many contributing, he soon became exceedingly wealthy; and to make his terrestrial happiness still greater, God blessed him with a prolongation of life far beyond the common extent of those times; for he lived an hundred and forty years after his restoration, which made his age above two hundred years; so that he saw the increase of his family to the fourth generation.
THE Book of Job presents to our minds many excellent and instructive lessons. We
We may learn on how very precarious a tenure all our earthly blessings are held, and that we must therefore never “trust in uncertain riches."
The conduct of Divine Providence is exhibited in the most striking light, for it seems to be a principal design of the book to teach us that God, for wise ends, may permit the wicked greatly to prosper, while the righteous are oppressed, afflicted, and tormented ; but that this affords no reason to say, “ It is in vain to serve the Lord.”
* Kindred. The text calls them brothers and sisters, which, according to Scripture style used to comprehend all kindred. Now, among all the rest of Job's friends there is no mention at last made of his wife upon this happy change; unless she be included in the number of his kindred; which is not unlikely.
† Valuable. This ancient custom still prevails all over Arabia and the East.. Presents, chiefly in money, are made by the natives to their Princes and great men, not only on their accession to power, but on their return from distant excursions ; and more especially on their recovery from sickness.—The money so given frequently amounts to a very large sum. VOL. I.
The “ Patience of Job” is particularly set before us by the apostle James, as truly exemplary_"“ Ye have “ heard of the patience of Job.”
But there is one circumstance in the case of this excel. lent man, too generally overlooked—the prevalence of a self-righteous temper, and sonte expressions in his vindications of himself, not consistent with that humility which marked his general character. He seems to have claimed a degree of perfection to which no fallen man is entitled, as when he said, “ I am clean without transgression. * I “ am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me.t My foot “ hath held his steps, his way have I kept and not de“clined, neither have I gone back from the command“ment of his lips. My righteousness I hold fast, and will “not let it go ; my heart shall not reproach me so long “ as I live.” He seems even to challenge the Almighty to a dispute : “Let him take his rod away from me; and “ let not his fear terrify me: then would I speak and not “ fear him. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I “ desire to reason with God. O that I knew where I “ might find him! that I might come even to his seat! “ I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth “ with arguments. Behold my desire is that the Almighty 56 would answer me.”;
Elihu justly reproves Job for thus justifying himself ; declaring himself to be in God's place as his teacher : and to his reproof, Job quietly submits, making no reply, as he did to his three friends. Elihu enlarges on the holiness and majesty of God, and points out the proper use to be made of affliction. After describing the case of a man distressed like Job, he adds, “ If there be a messen
ger with him, the—Angel-Mediator, who by way of “eminence is styled, One among a Thousand, if he shall
appear, and intercede in his behalf, and shew to the “ humbled man his uprightness—his own divine righteous.
ness, (for man's own righteousness is ever defective)
* Cb. xxxiii. 9.
+ Cb. xxiii. 11, 12,
Cb. xxvii. 6
Cb. ix. 34. xiii. 3. 22. xxiii. 3, 4. xxxi. 35.
“ then he is gracious to him, and saith, Deliver him from
going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.—Save “ the man from perishing, for my justice is satisfied, and “ the sinner's soul is redeemed by the atonement made “ by the Messiah in his behalf.” This discourse of Elihu, enforced by the word of God in the whirlwind, effectually humbled the self-righteous spirit of Job, who instead of justifying himself any longer, cries out, “ I ab“hor myself and repent in dust an ashes.” Thus the weakness of man is exposed, the necessity of his being clothed with humility, and depending only on the righte, ousness of God the Saviour for eternal life is fully de. clared : and thus, in the example of Job, the world is taught that the “Lord is our righteousness,” and that he “who glorieth, must glory only in Him."