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15 are) with him, that he will not give a man the reason of. There

fore am I troubled at his presence : when I consider, I am 16 afraid of him, overwhelmed with his majesty and power. For

God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me ;

instead of coming into his presence with cheerfulness, my heart is 17 quite weakened and broken; Because I was not cut off before the

darkness, (neither) hath he covered the darkness from my face, 80 that it is matter of lamentation that I was not cut off by such darkness as now overwhelma me : for even death is denied me in the midsi of death itself.

REFLECTIONS.

1.

IT
T is no uncommon thing for good men, when in distress, to

be quite at a loss to understand the providence of God. They go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but they cannot perceive him, v. 8. This arises partly from the nature of God, the depth of his counsels, and the unsearchableness of his judgments, and partly from the hurry and discomposure of their own spirits. Yet still chey perform the thing appointed. Afflictions are sent in such number and measure as infinite wisdom ordains, and therefore undoubtedly are for the best.

2. It is allowable for afflicted persons humbly to plead their cause with God ; to be particular and importunate in their requests ; 10 fill their mouths wiik arguments, and urge them before the throne of grace, provided it be with a due sense of God's absolute power and unsearchable wisdom, and a patient resignation to his will.

3. It is comfortable to good men under afflictions, to have a consciousness of their own integrity. God knows the way they take, the course in which they have walked ; and though they have taken some false steps, yet that upon the whole they have not declined from his ways. Let us endeavour to trace his moral excellencies, to walk in his steps ; and by a holy walk and conversation, endeavour to secure this comfort to ourselves.

4. Let all, and especially afflicted persons, cherish an high esteem for the word of God, as their necessary food ; as necessary to support and comfort the soul, as food is to strengthen the body ; to sustain the spiritual life, as food doth the natural life. Let us hunger and thirst after the word of God; earnestly desire and diligently seek it, highly prize it, heartily delight in it, and carefully treasure it up in our hearts. Then God will be our guide in prosperity, and our cordial in every distressing scene.

5. The end and use of afflictions should be seriously considered, v. 10. God designs to try us, to examine and bring into light and strengthen our virtures in the furnace of affliction ; if it is properly improved, we shall come out as gold refined and purified. Let this be our prayer and endeavour, that the trial of our faith may be found to prcisi, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

CHAP. XXIV.

Job here comes to the very hinge of the controversy between him and - his friends; he directly answers their assertions concerning the present punishment of the wicked, by mentioning several kinds of wicked people, who, instead of being made an example of vengeance, lived in plenty, and died in ease. 1 HY, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty,

do they that know him not see his days ? if; as you say, God always punishes the wicked in this world, since he knows all things, and is a witness to the greatest wickedness, why do not

those who know him, (truby pious and good men) see the triumph % of his wrath and vengeance on the wicked ? [Some) for instance

remove the land marks; they violently take away flocks, and

feed (thereof ;] defraud r8ons of their inheritance and substance 3 in an open notorious manner. They drive away the ass of the

fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge, whose labour 4 is all they have to support themselves with, They turn the needy

out of the way; they make the needy forsake ihe common road, for fear of meeting with them : the poor of the earth hide them5 selves together, as afraid to appear in their presence. Behold, (as) wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work ; rising betimes for a prey : the wild Arabs did 80 : the wilderness [yieldeth) food for them [and] for (their) children ; they go out to rob, plunder, and murder, with as little shame as labourers to

their daily business ; and thus they support their families even in 6 the wilderness. They reap (every one) his coin in the field ;

and they gather the vintage of the wicked; they make incursions

upon neighbouring countries, steal away their corn, and gather 7 grapes without considering who is the owner. They cause the

naked to lodge without clothing, that they have) no covering & in the cold; they strip even the poor reaper and labourer. They

are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter ; they are so much set on their villany,

that they lie all night on the mountains to watch their prey, and 9 are glad to creep into a cave for shelter. They pluck the father

less from the breast, sell the child for a slave, and make the mother

work, and take a pledge of the poor ; take away their garments 10 to pay a trifling debt. They cause (him) to go naked without

clothing, and they take away the sheaf (from) the hungry; if he

hath gleaned a sheaf of corn, 'he violently takes it from him ; 11 (Which) make oil within their walls, (and) tread (their) wine

presses, and suffer thirst; they deprive labourers and servants

of their pay, and will not allow them to refresh themselves with the 12 things they are preparing. Men groan from out of the city, and

the soul of the wounded crieth out : yet God layeth not folly

[to them,] does not make them immediate examples of his justice. 13 They are of those that rebel against the light, endeavour 10 con.

ceal their wickedness; they know not the ways thereof, nor Vol. IV,

X

abide in the paths thereof, like oruls and bats sitting where it cane 14 not reach them. The murderer rising with the light killeth the

poor and needy as he goeth to his work, and in the night is as a 15 thief, waiting to rob others as they return, The eye also of the

adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me :

and disguiseth [his] face ; wraps his face in his cloak, so that if 16 he should be met, he may not be known. In the dark they dig

through houses, (which) they had marked for themselves in the

day time ; they mark the place where to enter, in the day time, 17 and at night break in : they know not the light. For the morn

ing [is] to them even as the shadow of death : if (one) know [them, they are in) the terrors of the shadow of death ; they

fear the light of the morning should discover them, and if they are 18 known they are in the agonies of death. He [is] swift as the wa

ters ; the pirate who robs on the sea is 80 ; their portion is curso ed in the earth ; whatever land they have is neglected and runs waste, and they betake themselves to this way of living : he be

holdeth not the way of the vineyards ; he gives up all the inno19 cent pleasures of husbandry for a life of rafine. Drought and

heat consume the snow waters : [so doth] the grave (those which) have sinned ; notwithstanding their wickedness they

die by insensible degrees, and gently decay, ás snow water sinks in. 20 to the ground. The womb shall forget him, his mother shall not

remember him on account of any honour attending his death ; the worm shall feed sweetly on him, he shall become their prey ; he shall be no more remembered but with infamy; and his wicked

ness shall be broken as a tree ; or violently destroyed, as a tree 21 that is broken off from the place where it grows, He evil entreat

eth the barres [that] beareth not: and doeth not good to the

widow ; he insulteth and oppresselh the barren and the widow, who 22 are proper objects of compassion. He draweth also the mighty

with his power : he riseth op, and no (man) is sure of life ; he

overcomes the mighty, and no man can stand against him. 23 (Though) it be given him (to be) in safety, whereon he rest

eth ; yet his eyes Care] upon their ways; notwithstanding all

Iris wickedness, he is in safety, and reste secure, though the eyes of 24 God are on all his ways. They are exalted for a little while, but

are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all (other,] and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn ; they are

sometimes taken of by a sudden stroke that gives them no pain, 25 like ears of corn cut down in a moment. And if (it be] not [so]'

now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth ? if these things are not s0, do you'disprove them, and cori fite my reasonings. And indeed this was the matter in question, and there was no room to charge this discourse as being foreign and impertinent,

1

REFLECTIONS.

I of

ber and acknowledge his omniscience. No being is hidden from him; his eyes are upon men's ways: a truth so evident, that We cannot but acknowledge it. The times of all men are in his bands, and the various events of their lives. He sees all the wickedness of men, and knows their ways ; therefore it is a just conclusion that he has wise and good ends in not immediately punishing them : the delay is not for want of knowledge or power. Some such first principles, firmly established in our minds, will help us to understand, at least to reconcile us to many difficulties and myste. ries in the conduct of Providence.

2. Say not the former times are better than these ; for it is by no means universally true. What variety of wickedness was there in old times! and how many different sorts! There is scarce any now, but what is pointed out even in this chapter. The same lusts and passions in wicked minds produce the same dreadful effects. Though it is matter of lamentation that there should be such wickedness, deceit and cruelty at any time, especially under the gospel dispensation.

3. See what great labour and pains are necessary to be wicked. How much care and contrivance does it cost wicked men to conceal their designs, and to accomplish their purposes. They rise up early, and sit up late, and submit to many hardships and inconveniences. They take great pains to disguise themselves; and have many anxious fears lest a discovery should take place. Half these pains in a lawful calling and honest labour, would make them as rich, and much happier, yea, half the cares and thoughts and pains would have saved their souls. Shall wicked men submit to all this to gratify their lusts, and shall we grudge diligence, care, and pains, to serve God, and save our souls? God forbid !

4. Let us judge nothing before the time. When we see the wick. ed prosper, and such sinners as these living in plenty and worldly honour, and dying in peace, and perhaps spoken of honourably by many survivors, let us not say, God seeth not, nor regardeth. Remember what reason hints to us, and what' scripture assures us of, that God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and render lo every man according to his works. The future state will set every thing to rights. In the mean time let us not envy the portion of sinners, but seek one infinitely better ; that when all their evil deeds are called over, censured, and punished, we may have praise of God, and enter into our Master's joy.

CHAP. XXV.

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Bildad could find nothing to reply to the point in debate ; but offre.

hending that Job had boasted too much of his own righteousness, and spoken irreverently of God, he here checks him for it ; and refiresents the greatness of God, and the meanness of man, 1 HEN answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, Dominion 2

; to give laws and dispose of his creatures ; therefore he ought to be worship.ped, and spoken of with the greatest reverence ; he maketh peace in his high places ; noi anly do the heavenly bodies obey his orders, but his angels most calmly consent to his service, and submissively bow to his will ; they never clash or contend with each other ; his presence imposed upon them a most respectful-si

lence ; and wilt thou clamour against him on earth, and quarrel af 3 his dealings with thee? Is there any number of his armies ? the

crea!ures here below are "his armies, and all the hosts of heaven are under his command, therefore it is in vain to think of contending with him ; yea, he is infinitely good as well as great, and upon

whom doth not his light arise ? his šun arises and shines, he be4 slows his favours and extends his providence to all men. How

then can man be justified with God, and accounted innocent at his tribunal ? or how can hę be clean (that is] born of a woman? how can a creature descended from weak, imfiure, and guilty mor.

tals, boast of righteousness and purity before this glorious majesty? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not : yea, the stars are

not pure in his sight ; when compared with him, there is darknese and imperfecsion in the brightest luminary ; even in those which men admire, and which some of them worshif ; all disappear

before his perfect liesire, as the sun obscures all meaner lights. 6 How much less man, (that is) a worm ? and the son of man,

(which is] a worm ? how can he compare with God in purity, man that is a worm, a moth, or small insect, and the son of man, which is a worm, that is, a mite, and can' scarce be discerned ? How can he pretend to be pure before God, who is a weak, defiled creature, vanity while he lives, and corruption when he is dead 3

REFLECTION

HIS short chapter is extremely useful, as it inculcates this

truth, which we have all great need to learn and lay to heart, that God is infinitely and incomprehensively great; that we are weak, mean, and polluted. Let us think of him as perfectly pure, outshining the sun in lustre ; as the father of lights ; as the universal Lord. Innumerable hosts are at his command ; all obedient and submissive to his will. He is therefore greatly to be feared. Let us think of God in this light, and learn to think meanly of ourselves, as vanity, darkness and nothing in his sight. Let us see how little reason we have to be proud; how unbecoming pride is for a

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