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Mrs. M. In a vast variety of instances, the future peace of the Christian church is prefigured in promises to the Jewish nation, under the titles of the house of Jacob Jerusalem-Zion-and the mountain of the house of the Lord, in allusion to the temple, which stood on · Mount Zion. Glorious days are promised to them, when Israel and Judah shall be collected from the four quarters of the globe.
Lo! these shall come from afar.
Such superlative pictures of the final glory of Israel, can only be referred to that time, when they, with all other nations, shall submit to the sceptre of the Redeemer, and the Millennium of the Christian church shall embrace the whole earth. The splendid passages which foretell the great prosperity of the Jews, after their deliverance from Babylon, by the Persian prince, the destruction and complete subjugation of their enemies to the very people whom they had oppressed, were never fully realised. They are not yet made“ an eternal excellency," “ a joy of many generations." These predictions must therefore be referred, in analogy to the whole scheme of revelation, in a secondary sense, to the glorious reign of the gospel; when both Jews and Gentiles shall be one church under Jesus Christ the deliverei-when his disciples shall be released,
* See Lowth's translation of Isaiah, chap. 49.
both from the Mosaic ritual, and from the guilt and bondage
of sin. “ These two events (says the elegant translator of Isaiah) the prophet connects together, and hardly ever treats of the former, without throwing in some intimations of the latter. Nay, sometimes he is so fully possessed with the glories of the remoter kingdom under the Mes. siah, that he seems almost to lose sight of the more immediate object of his mission."*
“ Thus saith the Lord Jehovah.
With their faces to the earth they shall bow down unto thee,
And shall lick the dust of thy feet;
* Lowth, chap. 40.
Panny. Mother, you have now finished the history of the Old Testament, without once mentioning the Book of Job. You have, I believe, named every other,why did you omit that?
Mrs. M. The Book of Job was omitted, because it is wholly unconnected with the history of which we have spoken. Job was not a Jew, nor does he appear to have known any thing of that people, but rather to have lived some ages before they became a nation.
Fanny. Why, then, is his story inserted amongst the sacred writings, which are chiefly devoted to their affairs.
Mrs. M. By the sacred writings, we do not mean merely such books as were connected with the Jewish his. tory, but all the inspired books which have come down to us, and considering the scrupulous care that has been most religiously devoted to their preservation, it may be presumed, that we now possess all that did ever bear the sacred stamp. We have histories of the Jews by some profane authors, and frequent allusions to them by others. We read also of “the book of Jasher," “ the book of Iddo, the seer,” and “the book of the wars of the Lord” —these were historical, but probably not inspired, otherwise they would not have been lost, as they now certainly
are. But this sublime poem has been treasured up with the sacred rolls of the Jews, from the earliest period of their written history, and is transmitted with them for our instruction. It has all the marks of divine inspiration ; its views of the deity are the most elevated, and its moral sentiments the most pure: we conclude, then, that it was delivered to them by their revered legislator, from whom alone, perhaps, they would have received a rule of faith and man
CATHERINE. By whom was it written ?
Mrs. M. That is a question which divides commentators, Some have assigned it to Moses, and some to Job himselft Some have supposed it to have been written by Elihu, one of the actors in the drama, whilst others have not scrupled to bring it down so late as the time of Ezra, but so various are the opinions on this uncertain subject, that still others, and intermediate persons, between the first and the last named, are supported as the authors.
No book of scripture has been more severely scrutinized than this. The reality of Job's existence, the period, and the place in which he lived, as well as the which we are indebted for this portion of the story, have all been made the subjects of very able discussion. The time and the design of its publication have also been examined.
Some writers, more fanciful than wise, have imagined the whole book to be an allegory, or fable, agreeably to the eastern mode of giving lessons. Whilst others, with more reason, defend the literal truth of
circumstance related, admitting, however, that the dialogue is ornamented by the florid language, without which, a conversation could not have been reduced to measured numbers, consistently with the elegance required in an epic
poem. But all these disputed points are put to rest by the successful labours of commentators, * all competent to the work. It is not necessary that I should rehearse all the arguments on either side, an abstract on each particular will prepare you to read their works, and to study the sublime original. I shall only premise, that it is allowed on all hands, to be a poem of the most lofty character, excepting the two first, and the last chapters, which are plain narrative, and that it is replete with instruction.
CATHERINE. On what ground is the reality of his existence questioned, when the patience of Job is proposed as an example, by the apostle James at
Mrs. M. Objections are made to the transactions related in the exordium. That the adversary of mankind should have appeared with the “sons of God," before the throne of the Omnipotent, and have obtained permission to bring a succession of calamities beyond the common lot of mortals, on a righteous man, say the objectors, appears fabulous, and the protraction of the patriarch's days, to the amount of an hundred and forty years after his trial, is inconsistent with the abridgment of man's life after the flood, for that he lived after that catastrophe is evident from the text.
Now the experience of every age, in accordance with the words of inspiration, is sufficient proof that the patience and resignation of the most pious, are often severely tried by affliction. That Satan may be the agent, is also clear. He tempted Eve in Paradise, and our Saviour in the wilderness but in what manner he obtains his com
* Gray, Magee, Peters, Horne, &c. + James, v. xi.