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28 against it. He will deliver his soul from going into the pit,

and his life shall see the light ; he shall own the goodness of God 29 in sparing his life and restoring his health. Lo, all these [things]

worketh God oftentimes with man, he often takes such methods as

these to reform men,to prolong their lives, and restore their comforts; 30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the 31 light of the living. Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me : hold 32 thy peace, and I will speak ; consider this. If thou hast any

thing to say, answer me : speak, for I desire to justify thee;

firopose any objection, for I shall rejoice to answer and vindicate 33 thee, that thou mayesi appear as a righteous person. If not,

hearken unto me : hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wise dom, that is, how to judge better of God's dealings with thee, and the way to find mercy.

REFLECTIONS.

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1. T may be inferred from hence, that discourses intended

for instruction and consolation ought to be plain and gentle. Elihu's was well weighed, and was delivered in plain terms, without perplexity or obscurity ; so as 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 learned, to speak a word in season.

2. Due consideration of the greatness and unsearchableness of God, would silence our murmurings and promote our submission. It is sufficient to silence our complaining words, and suppress our repining thoughts, to consider that God 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 is God.

3. We are here taught what the great end and design of divine admonitions and instructions is, to divert men from their evil pur. poses, subdue their pride, and teach them not to think of themselves 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 beneficial. 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 in. terpreters of Providence. It is proper to consider wherein we have done iniquity, and perverted that which is right ; that we may have the peaceable fruits of righteousness produced thereby.

5. Recovery from sickness ought thankfully to be acknowledged and faithfully improved. And it should engage us to continue VOL, IV.

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in prayer, to make restitution, to warn others by what we have felt 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 conforted 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 for ever. 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.

CHAP. XXXIV.

1

F

Elihu finding' Joo not disposed to reply, goes on to reprove some hanty

sperches of his ; vindicates the providence of God ; and directs him 10 more proper language. TURTHERMORE Elihu answered and said, Hear my

words, O ye wise (men ;] and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge ; he appeals to the auditory, not being desirous 3 10 be judge in the controversy himself. For the ear trieth words, 4 as the mouth tasteth meat. Let us choose to us judgment; let

us know among ourselves what (is) good ; let us lay aside free 5 judicc und examine the matter in debate. For Job hath sair', I am 6 righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. Should

I lie against my right? my wound [is] incurable without trans

gression ; I am not guilty of such miscarriages as to deserve such 7 $erre fiunishment. What man [is] like Job, (who) drinketh

up scorning like water? qvho so arrogantly charges God, and 8 80 contemptuously scorns his friends ? Which goeth in company

with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men ; 9 talks 100 much like them. For he hath said, It profiteth a man

nothing that he should delight himself with God; he seems 10 10 be of their opinion, that religion is unprofilable. Therefore

hearken unto me, ye men of ynderstanding : far be it from God, that he should do] wickedness; and (from) the Almighty,

[that he should commit] iniquity ; speaking with abhorrence of * 11 imputing any iniquity to God. For the work of a man shall he

render unto him, and cause every man to find according to [his] '12 ways ; he will do justice to every mar. Yea, surely God will

not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment ;

it is self evident that the supreme judge of all beings carinot do that 1-3-fthich iinplies weakne88. Who hath given him a charge over

the earth ? or who hath disposed the whole world ? his power is 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 them at once ; therefore he is under no temptation to do 16 injustice. If now (thou hasi) 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 wise prince make a wicked man 18 a ruler, or punish a good man? [Is it fit) to say to a king, [Thou

art] wicked ? [and] to princes, [Ye are] ungodly? is it not

reckoned indecent and affronting to charge earthly jirinces 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 less fit to God, who made, both, who is no respecter of

persons, who will do nothing unjust to gain their favour, or to avoid 20 their anger ? In a moment shall they die, and the people shall

be troubled at midnight, and pass away : and the mighty shall be taken away without hand; how should he stand in awe 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 deserve punishment. 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, For, in conse,

quence of this perfect knowledge, he will not lay upon may more (than right ;] that he should enter into judgment with God ;

he will nut punish them more than their iniquities deserup, porthat 24 they should be unable to tax hina with injustice. He shall be can,

break in pieces, easily destroy, mighty men without number, 25 and set others in their stead. Therefore he knoweth their

works, and he overturneth (them) in the night, so that they are

destroyed ; from his perfect knowledge of their conduct, he always 26 arts 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 wickedly: So that they cause the cry of the

poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted ;

they were fiarticularly oppressive to the poor, whose coinplaints he 29 hears and will redress. When he giveth quietness, who then

can make trouble ? when he gives quietness to the oppressed, the attempts of the oppressor ure vain ; and when he hideth (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 sanie with regırd to na, 30 tions as single persons : That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared; he often brings down wicked governors, especially such as pretend to piety, that others may not be ensnared by their artifices and example : drawing this conclusion from these

remarks ; since God is so great, so just, 80 compassionate to the 31 afflicted, Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have 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 proper to be humble, penitent, and devout, and 10 form resolu33 sions of amendment. (Should it be) according to thy mind ?

shouldst thou have every thing thy own way? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose, and not l; he will punish thine iniquity, whether thou wilt or no, and not I; it is not owing to me that thou art ihus dealt with, and I would not despise this advice myself, though thou mayest : therefore speak

what thou knowest ; if thou hast any objection against this advice, 34 speak freely. Let men or understanding tell me, and let a wise

man hearken unto me; if any of the company have any objection, 35 let them speak. Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his

words (were) without wisdom ; he hath spoken foolishly and in36 considerately. My desire (is that] Job may be tried unto the

end, because of Chis) answers for wicked men ; out of love to Job, I cannot but wish the affliction may be continued, till he is

brought to a better temper, because of his censures of Providence 37 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 intimates, that otherwise he would go on 10 censure God, to insult his friends, and increase his own guilt.

REFLECTIONS.

WE

1. E infer, that in matters of importance it is good to

consult with our friends,' and take their judgment. The proposal of Elihu, to lay aside differences and prejudices, and examine 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 multi. tude of counsellors there is safety.

2. Let us firmly believe and reverently acknowledge the righteousness and equity of God. Far be it from him that he should do in. iquity or pervert 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 to him to go on the whole unrewarded, nor any wicked action unpunished : sooner or later he will render to every man according to his work. If it is not fit to say 10 earthly princes, Ye are wicked ; if decency and decorum are necessary in speaking of them, much more of the great God, the blessed and only polentate.

3. Let a sense of the perfect knowledge of God continually impress our minds, v. 21. He accurately observes us wherever we 80, and whatever we do ; his eyes are ever upon us ; there is no dark. ness nor shadow of death where the wicked can hide themselves. 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 confederecy can secure from his hand. Let us then always act and endure, as seeing him who is invisible.

4. 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. If he hideth his face, who can have any comfort till they behold it again ? Every creature is insufficient to restore peace. The same Providence extends to nations as to par. ticular persons ; which is the strongest reason why we should endeavour to be at peace with him, and secure his favourable regard to us.

5. We are taught our duty in seasons of affliction. · Then it is fit and meet to be said unto God, as v. 31, 32. I have borne 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 our duty to humble ourselves before him, to examine what has been amiss, and pray that he would 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 God, and the recollection that our comfort and peace, our times and our lives, are in his hand, should engage us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

CHAP. XXXV.

1

Job continues silent ; sensible, that though Elihu put a harsh construc

tion on some of his words, he was right in general, in ollowing Job's integrity and giving him good advice. Elihu goes on to represent the limits of God's moral administration, and maintains that he is ready to deliver his creçtures out of trouble, if they humbly address him, and do not merely cry because of their pain.

LIHU spake moreover, and said, Thinkest thou this 2 to be right, (that) thou saidst, My righteousness [is] more

than God's ? appealing to Job's conscience, reproving him for reflecting on God's righteousness, which he did in effect by talking 80 3 much of his own integrity, and of 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 ? thus repre4 senting religion as unprofitable. I will answer thee, and thy

companions with thee ; all who talk or think in the same manner. 5 Look unto the heavens, and see ; and behold the clouds (which]

are higher than thou ; God is as much above the clouds, as they 6 are above thee. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or

[if) thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? 7 he is 'none the worse for thy sins. If thou be righteous, what

givest thou him ? or what receiveth he of thine hand ? he is no

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