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prosperity and joy are but uncertain things; and the joy of the 6 hypocrite (but) for a moment ? Though his excellency mount up
to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds ; though he arrive at the highest piilch of greatness, and overtop ali mankind; (Yet] he shall perish for ever like his own dung, in the most cone temprible manner : they which have seen him, shall say, Wiliere
[is] he ? those who envied or feared him shall say, Where is he? 8 what is become of him? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall
not be found : yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night; all his former honour and happiness is but like the joy of a dream. The eye also (which) saw him with evy, shall (see
him) no more ; neither shall his place any more behold bjm. 10 His children shall seek to please ihe poor, and his hands shall
restore their goods; he shall be poster than the picorest ; his chile drin shall be glad to be servants in the fainilies avhich he opforeseed,
and be obliged by public justice, or the racks of conscience, to restore 11 the goods of which he had wronged others. His bones are full of
the sin) of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the i ust;
The fiain and unguish of youthful sins shall stick by him and bring -12 him to the grave. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, .13 (though he hide it under his tongue ; [Though) he spate it,
and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth 10 6uCK ou , 14 its swertness, ti.ough he is cold of its poisonous quality : [Yet) his : meat in his bowels is turned, (it is) the gall of asps within him;
it becomes biller, pair.ful and destructive, tormenta his conscience 15 and destroys him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall
vomit them up again : God shall cast thein out of his belly ;
force him to part with them with a violence like that with which 16 the stomach throwe zi? what oppresses it. He shall suck the poi.
son of asps : the riper's tongue shall slay lim ; his riches shall
be poison to him, and his agonies be like a man whose whole mass of 17 blood is envenomed by à poisonous serpient. He shall not see the
rivers, the foods, the brooks of honey and butter; his expectae
tions shall be disappointed, he shall lost all the fine things he hoped 18 for. That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not
swallow [it] down : according to [lisj substance (shall] the restitution (be,) and he shall not rejoico (therein ;) restituiion shall devour his substanci", his ill gotten goods shall bring a curse on
all the rest, so that he shall have no comfort in them; and the ria19 son is, Because he liath oppressed (and) hath forsaken the poor ;
(because] he hath violently taken away an house which he build'90 ed not; Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, be shall
not save of that which he desired; this conscience shall be uneasy, 21 and he deprived of all his desirable things. There shall none of
his meat be left ; therefore shall no man look for his groods ;
nothing shall be life for him to subsil upon, and no one desire to be 22 his heir. In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be irr straits ;
the greater abundance he has gained, the more shall he be distressed by his own conscience : every hand of the wicked shall come upon him, being obliged to restore to some, and being filundered by othe
13 ers. [When) he is about to fill his belly, (God) shall cast the
fury of his wrath upon him, he shall have no comfort in his enjoya ments while they are continued; when he is about to eat, God shall
set another dish before him, full of his rrath, and shall rain [it] 24 upon him while he is eating and thinks himself most secure. He
shall fee from the iron weapon, [and] the bow of steel shall strike him through ; when God is armed against him, he shall 1104
escape ; if he fli s from the sword, the arriw shall fillow end pierce 25 him. It is drawn, and cometh out of the body ; yea, the glitter
ing sword cometh out of his gall : terrors are] upon him : though mortally wounded by divine judgments, other terrors shall
Talk over him, and trample upon him as he lies wounded and expire 26 ing. All darkness (shall be] hid in his secret places ; all kinds
ý gril vous calamities shall follow him to those secret places, where he retires to hide and secure himself; a fire not blown, a pestilence or burning fever, shall consume him; it shall go ill
with him that is left in his tabernacle ; his posterity also shall 27 inherit the curse. The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the
earth shall rise up against him ; extraordinary calamities from heaven shall even proclaim his iniquity to all about him, and the
earth shall rise up as unable any longer 'o endure a wretch who is 28 such a reproach and burden to it. The increase of his house shall
depart, (and his goods) shall flow away in the day of his wrath ;
shall roll away like water when God manifesteth his wrath against 29 him. This (is) the portion of a wicked man from God, and the
heritage appointed unto him by God; he hath annointed it to him, and will bring it upon him.
1. THENEVER we answer in any argument or debate, le!
it be with the spirit of our understanding; be careful rightly to understand, and duly consider what has been said, and what we have to reply, and never to answer in haste or passion. This is peculiarly necessary when we think we are reproached ; as many call the most friendly check a check of reproach, and think a passionate answer justifiable. Calm deliberation and cool answers are the only likely way to find out 'truth, to vindicate our characters, and silence reproaches.
2. Let young people learn the danger of youthful sins, especially of fleshly lusts, which are sins that easily beset them ; else they will probably have their bones full of them. Glattony and drunka enness, whoredom and debauchery, bring upon men such diseases as are painful to them all their lives after ; and if they do not (as they generally do) cut short their days, yet they entail pain, sorrow and inisery upon them. Young persons should be careful to flee youthful lusts, and not indulge any sensual gratifications ; for however pleasant they inay think such sins in the commission, they will
be turned to the gall of asps within them, and they will nourn at the last, when their flesh and their bodies are consumed.
3. Honesty is the best policy; the surest way to preserve and increase what we have, and afford us comfort in the use and enjoy. ment of it. The description here given of the miserable condition, the contempt, poverty, and ruin of oppressors, and those who by fraud and dishonesty increase their substance, is very beautiful and moving, and ought to make us afraid of unjust gain, and lead us to practise only fair, upright, and honourable methods of increasing and preserving our substance. . 4. The frequent descriptions given in this book of the inward misery and utter ruin of prosperous sinners, furnish us with repeated and very necessary cautions to seek a better and an enduring substance. They may promise themselves great things, and by their oppression, hypocrisy and fraud, in their dealings with others, they may expect rivers of wealth and pleasure. But the voice of conscience will not be drowned, nor the anger of God escaped. Zophar's application of these remarks to Job was unjust ; but take the wicked, in the whole course of his distress, and what is here said of the righteous vengeance of God inflicted on him, will be certainly and strictly true. When we read what is the portion and inheritance of the most prosperous sinners, let us dread their condition, and seek 2 better portion, an interest in God and the Redeemer; and an inheritance in heaven, which, as it is incorruptible and undefiled, will never fade away.
Job here comes close to the point in debate between him and his friends,
and begins by desiring a patient hearing.
1 2 BY
UT Job answered and said, Hear diligently my speech,
and let this be your consolations, it is all the comfort I 3 have to expect from you. Suffer me that I may speak; do not
interrupt me, hear me attentively; and after that I have spoken, 4 mock on. As for me, [is] my complaint to man? and if [it
were so,) why should not my spirit be troubled ? my complaint is to God, and therefore you should not pronounce sentence ; but if
it was to man, there is sufficient reason for it, because you re5 proached me. Mark me, and be astonished at the miseries that
have befallen me, and lay (your) hand upon (your) mouth ; be 6 silent from reproach, and wait the issue. Even when I remem
ber I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh ; I am astonished at the recollection of my own great and aggravated mis
eries. After this introduction he asserts that Zophar's proof of 7 the misery of the wicked is not universally true. Wherefore do
the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power ? if what you say is true, how come the wicked to enjoy so much wealth, hon. 8 our, and power, and that to old age ? Their seed is established
in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes ;
they see their children and grandchildren happily settled, and very 9 prosperous. Their houses Care) safe from fear, neither [is) the
rod of God upon them ; no man aliacks them, neither does the 10 immediate hand of God visit them. Their bull gendereth, and
taileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf; their
herds and flocks increase, and they meet with no disappoinimene 11 in them. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their 12 children dance ; they are healthful and merry. They take the
timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ ; they 13 themselves abound in sensual delights. They spend their days in
wealth, their whole life is full of plenty and pleasure, and in a mo
ment go down to the grave, without languishing, pain, or sick14 ness, scarce feeling themselves dying ; Therefore, as a conse
quence of this, they say unto God, Depart from us ; for we de. 15 sire not the knowledge of thy ways. What [is] the Almighty,
that we should serve him ? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him ? this is in effect their language, they think they
owe him no service, and shall not be better for paying homage to 16 him. Lo, their good (is) not in their hand ; they are not pros.
perous, or cannot secure it without God : the counsel of the
wicked is far from me ; I will never join with them in such ime 27 pious sentiments, speeches, and practices. How oft is the candle
of the wicked put out ? and (how oft) cometh their destruction upon them? (God) distributeth sorrows in his anger ; this is
not 80 frequently as you suppose, yet it is sometimes the case. 18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm 19 carrieth away, that is, light, worthless, and easily dispersed. God
layeth up his iniquity, that is, the punishment of his iniquity, for his children : he rewardeth him, and he shall know [it ;] you will say, if God does not punish him, yet he layeth up punishments
for his children : I say, no ; he oftentimes rewards the sinner. 20 himself, so that he knows and feels it. His eyes shall see his de
struction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty ; he
sees himself sinking and perishing under that wrath, which he 21 would not before fear, and falling into destruction. For what
pleasure (hath) he in his house after him, when the number of
his months is cut off in the midst ? the thought of his house's 22 prosperity when he is dead, is no comfort to him. Shall (any)
teach God knowledge ? direct his counsels, and tell him when and how to punish the wicked ? seeing he judgeth those that are
high, princes and angels, therefore surely he knotus how to judge 23 38. One dieth in his full strength, in the Hebrew, in his very
perfection, or, in the strength of his perfection, being wholly at 24 case and quiet. His breasts are full of milk and other juices, and 25 his bones are moistened with marrow. And another dieth in
the bitterness of his soul, after long pain and languishing, and 26 never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the VOL. IV.
dust, and the worms shall cover them; there is no distinction be
tween them here, so that we cannot tell good or bad by such events. 27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices (which] ye
wrongfully imagine against me ; I know what you are ready to 28 suggest, For ye say, Where [is] the house of the prince ? and
wliere (are) the dwelling places of the wicked? what difference is
there between Job under his calanily, and these wicked men he has 29 been describing? To which he answers, Have ye not asked them
that go by the way ? and do ye not know their tokens, the cona tinued prosperity of the wicked, in many cases is so obvious that
the first passenger could inform you of instances of it, there were 30 such plain tokens of their prosperity ; but there is no doubt That
the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction ? they shall be
brought forth to the day of wrath ; they are preserved from com31 mon calamities here, to be punished in the other world. Who
shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him (what] he hath done? his power is so great that none dare tell him
of his faulis to his face, nor punish him for his wicked actions. 32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave in pomp, and shall remain 83 in the tomb, in a stately monumeni. The clods of the valley shall.
be sweet unto him, he shall rest in the grave as other men do, and every man shall draw after him, as (there are) innumerable be
fore him ; he suffered nothing but what other men have done be34 fore him, and all that succeed shall suffer after him. How then
comfort ye me in vain, with vain hopes of recovering my former prosperity if I repent, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood ? since it appears by common experience, that good men are often in great trouble, while bad men thrive and prosper in the world? You ill discharge the part of friends ; you betray truth and piety, under pretence of defending it ; and refiroach and vex your friend, under pretence of comforting him.
THE providence of God in suffering the wicked to prosper,
good men, and hath in all ages been a stumbling block to them. We are too' apt to judge by present appearances. Certainly God sees and hates their wickedness, and will punish it; but he bears long with them, waits with patience for their repentance, and makes use of them to serve his own purposes ; and he will make their punishment more conspicuous and instructive hereafter. Let us judge nothing before the time, but rest in the Lord and keep his way ; and remember these two maxims that are most plain and most important, that it shall be upon the whole ill with the wicked, and well with the righteous, whatever the former enjoy, whatever the latter may endure.
2. There may be much wealth and pleasure in families where there is no religion. We see multitudes, whose houses are safe from fear, their children healthful and gay; they have their balls