Skip to main content

Full text of "An exposition of the Old and New Testament"

See other formats


1. 10. l^ 






EXPOSITION \^/''^^om2 



Old and New Testament: 



EACH CHAPTER IS SUMMED UP IN ITS CONTEhl S ; THE SACRED TEXT INSERTED 

AT LARGE, IN DISTINCT PARAGRAPHS ; EACH PARAGRAPH REDUCED 

TO ITS PROPER HEADS ; THE SENSE GIVEN, 

AND LARGELY ILLUSTRATED; 



PRACTICAL REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS: 



BY MATTHEW HENRY, i 



EDITED BY 

THE REV. GEORGE BURDER, AND THE REV. JOSEPH HUGHES, A M 

WITH THE 

LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

BY THE 
REV, SAMUEL PALMER. 

JFitst American ISditton: 

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED, 

A PREFACE, 

BY ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D. D. 

rnOFESSOR of theology in THE SEMINARY AT FRINOKTON, H. 3. 



VOL. III. 



PHILADELPHIA : 
ED. HARRINGTON & GEO. D. HASWELL, 

MARKET STREET 



AK 



EXPOSITION, 



WITH 



PRACTICAL, OBSERVATIONS 



UPON THE 



POETICAL BOOKS 



OF THE 



OLD TESTAMENT, 



NAMELY^ 



JOB, 

PSALMS, 

PROVERBS, 



ECCLESIASTES, 

AlTD 

SOLOMON'S SONG. 



, '\ 



THE 



PREFACE 



TO THK 



POETICAL BOOKS. 



These five books of scripture, which I have here endeavoured, according to the measure of the gift 
given to me, to explain and improve, for the use of those who desire to read them, not only with under- 
standing, but to their edification — though they have the same divine origin, design, and authority, as 
those that went before, yet, upon some accounts, are of a very different nature from them, and froni the 
rest of the sacred writings: such variety of methods has Infinite Wisdom seen fit to take, in conveying the 
light of divine revelation to the children of men, that this heavenly food might have (as the Jews sa\ of 
the manna) something in it agreeable to ever)' palate, and suited to every constitution. If every eye be 
not thus oj)ened, every mouth will be stopped, and such as perish in their ignorance will be left without 
excuse. IVe have fiified unto you, and ye have not danced: ivehave mourned unto you, and ye have hot 
lamented, MaXth. xi. 17. 

1. The books of scripture have hitherto been, for the most part, very plain and easy narratives of mat- 
ter of fact, which he that runs may read and understand, and which are milk for babes, such as they can 
receive and digest, and both entertain and nourish themselves with. The waters of the sanctuary have 
liitherto been but to the ankles or to the knees, such as a lamb might wade in, to drink of and wash 
in; but here we are advanced to a higher form in God's school, and have books put into our hands, where- 
in are many things dark, and hard to be understood, which we do not apprehend the meaning of so sud- 
tlenly and so certainly as we could wish; the study whereof requires a more close application of mind, a 
greater intenseness of thought, and the accomplishing of a diligent search, which yet the treasure hid in 
them, when it is found, will abundantly recompense. The waters of the sanctuary are here to the loins, 
and still, as we go forward, we shall find the waters still risen in the prophetical books, waters to snvim 
in, (Ezek. xlvii. 3««5.) not fordable, nor otherwise to be passed over; depths in which an elephant will 
not find footing; strong meat for strong meji. The same method is observable in the New Testament, 
where we find the plain history of Christ and his gospel placed first in the Evangelists, and the Acts of 
the Apostles; then the mystery of both in the Epistles, which are more difficult to be understood; and, 
lastly, the prophecies of things to come, in the Apocalyptic visions. 

This method, so exactly observed in both the Testaments, directs us in what order to proceed, both in 
studying the things of God ourselves, and in teaching them to others; we must go in the order that the 
scripture does; and where can we expect to find a better method of divinity, and a better method of 
preaching.^ 

1. We must begin with those things that are most plain and easy, as, blessed be God, those things are 
wliich are most necessary to salvation, and of the greatest use. We must lay our foundation firm, in a 
sound experimental knowledge of the principles of religion, and then the superstructure will be well- 
reared, and stand firm. It is not safe to launch out into the deep at first, or to venture into points difficult 
and controverted, until we have first thoroughly digested the elements of the oracles of God, and turned 
them insuccum et sanguinem— juice and blood. Those that begin their Bible at the wrong end, cnmmonlv 
use their knowledge of it in the wrong way. 

And, in training up others, we must be sure to ground them well at first in those truths of God which 
are plain, and in some measure level to their capacity, which we find they take and relish, and know 
how to make use of, and not amuse those that are weak with things above them, things of doul^tful dis- 
putation, which they cannot apprehend any certainty of, or advantage by. Our Lord Jesus spake the 
word to the people as they were able to hear it, (Mark iv. 33.) and had many things to say to his disci- 
ples which he did not say, because as yet they could not bear them, John xvi. 12, 13. And those whom 
St. Paul could not sfieak to as unto spiritual — though he blamed them for their backwardness, yet he ac- 
commodated himself to their weakness, and spake to them as unto babes in Christ, 1 Cor. iii. 1, 2. 

2. Yet we must not rest in these things; we must not be always children, that have need of milk, but, 
nourished up witli that, and gaining strength, we must go on to perfection, (Heb. vi. 1.) that, having, by 
reason of use, our spiritual senses exercised, we may come to full age, and put away childish things, and, 
forgetting the things which are behind, (Heb. v. 14.) that is, so well remembering them, (Phil. iii. 13.^ 
that we need not be still poring over them, as those that are ever learning the same lesson, we may reach 



v^i PREFACE. 

t .!th to the things which are before. Though we must never think to learn abo\'e our B".l)]e, as long as 
we are here in this world, yet we must still be getting forward in it. Ye have divelt long enough in lliia 
mountain; now turn you, and take your journey onward in the wilderness toward Canaan: our motto must 
be Plus ultra — Onward. And then shall we know, if thus, by regular steps, (Hos. vi. 3.) we folloiv on 
to know the Lord, and what the mind of the Lord is. 

II. The books of scripture ha\ e hitherto been mostly historical, but now the matter is of another na- 
ture; it is doctrinal and devotional, preaching and praying. In this way of writing, as well as in the forme: , 
a great deal of excellent knowledge is conveyed, which ser\ es very valuable pui-poses. It will be of gor.d 
use to know, not only what others did that went before us, arxl how they fared, but what their notions 
and sentiments were, what their thoughts and affections were, that we may, with the help of them, form 
our minds ariijht. 

Plutarch's Morals are reputed as useful a treasure in the commonwealth of learning as Plutarcli's Lives; 
and the wise disquisitions and discourses of the philosophers, as the records of the historians; nor is this 
divine philosophy, (if I may so call it,) which we have in these books, less needful, or less serviceable, 
to the church, than the sacred history was. Blessed be God for both. 

III. The Jews make these books to be given by a divine inspiration somewhat different from that both 
of Moses and the prophets. The)*, divided the books of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, 
and the '3^no — the H-nVm^s, which Epiphanius emphatically translates r(3«<j)«7=c — Things written, and 
these books are more commonly called among the Greeks 'Ayioyfia.<pi — Holy Writings: the Jews attribute 
them to that distinct kind of inspiration which they call a^-ipnnn — T'/ie Holy S/iirit. Moses they supposed 
to write by the Spirit, in a way abo\ e all the other prophets, for with him God spake mouth to mouth, 
even apfiarently ; knew him, (Numb. xii. 8.) that is, conversed with him face toj'ace, Deut. xxxiv. 10. 
He was made partaker of divine revelation, (as Muimonides distinguishes, De hund, Legis, c. 7.) per 
vigiliam — while awake,* whereas God 'manifested himself to all the other prophets in a di'eam or vision: 
and he adds, th it Moses understood the words of prophecy without any perturbation or astonishment of 
mind, whereas the other prophets commonly fainted and were troubled. But the writers of the Hagio- 
grapha they suppose to be inspired in a degree somewhat below that of the other prophets, and to 
receive divine revelation, not as they did, by dreams, and visions, and voices, but (as Maimonides de- 
scribes it. More JVevochim — fiart 2. ch. 45.) they perceived some power to rise within them, and rest 
upon them, which urged and enabled them to write or speak far above their own natural ability, in psalms 
or hvmns, or in history, or in rules of good living, still enjoying the ordinary vigour and use of their senses. 
liCt David himself describe it. The Sfiirit of the Lord sfiake by me, and his word was in my tongue: the 
God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, 3. This gives such a magnificent ac- 
cnmt of the inspiration by which David wrote, that I see not why it should be made inferior to that of the 
other prophets, for David is expressly called a firo/ihet. Acts ii. 30. 

B it, since our hand is in with the Jewish masters, let us see what books they account Hagiography. 
These five that are now before us come, without dispute, into this rank of sacred writers, and the book of 
t'le Laii\entations is not unfitly added to them. Indeed, the Jews, when they would speak critically, 
reckon all those songs which we meet with in the Old Testament among the Hagiographa; for, though 
tliey were penned by prophets, and under the direction of the Holy Ghost, yet, because they were not 
the p'oper result of a.visu?n firopheticum — prophetic vision, they were not strictly prophecy. As to the 
Historical Books, they distinguish; (but I think it is a distinction without a difference;) some of them they 
assign to the prophets, calling them t\\t profihe'x priores — the former firophets, namely, Joshua, Judges, 
and the two books of the Kings; but others they rank among the Hagiographa, as, the book of Ruth, 
(which yet is but an appendix to the book of Judges,) the two books of Chronicles, with Ezra, Nehemiah, 
and the book of Esther, which last the Rabbins have a great value for, and think it is to be had in equal 
esteem with the law of Moses itself, that it shall last as long as it lasts, and shall survive the writings of 
the prophets. And, lastly, they reckon the book of Daniel among the Hagiographa,! for which no reason 
can be given, since he was not inferior to any of the prophets in the gift of prophecy: and, therefore, the 
learned Mr. Smith thinks that their placing him among the Hagiographical writers was fortuitous, and by 
mistake. :|: » 

Mr. Smith, in his Discourse, before quoted, though he supposes this kind of divine inspiration to be 
more " fiacatc and serene than that which was strictly called prophecy, not acting so much upon the imagi- 
nation, but seating itself in the higher and purer faculties of the soul, yet shows that it manifested itself 
t ) be of a divine nature, not only as it always acted pious snuls into strains of devotion, or moved tlieni 
strangely to dictate matters of true piety and goodness, but as it came in abruptly upon the minds of thosv! 
holy men, and transported them from the temper of mind they were in before; so that they perceived 
themselves captivated by the power of some higher light than that which their own understanding com- 
monly poured out upon them; and this, says he, was a kind of vital form to that light of divine and sanc- 
tified re I son which they were perpetually possessed of, and that constant frame of holiness and goodness 
which dwelt in their hallowed minds." We have reason to glorify that God of Israel who gave such 
ftovjrr unto mm, and has here transmitted to us the blessed products of that power. 

IV. The stvle and composition of tliese books are different from those that go befoi-e and those thut 
fallow. Ovu- Sa\ iour divides the books of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Ps.dms, 
(Luke xxiv. 44.) and thereby teaches us to distinguish those books that are poetical, or metrical, from 
t \e L iw and the Prophets; and such are all these that are now before us, except Ecclesiastes, which yet, 
having something restrained in its style, may well enough be reckoned among them. They are books 
in verse, according to the ancient rules of versifying, though not according to the Greek and Latin 
prosodies. 

S'^mc of the ancients call these five books the second Pentateuch of the Old Testament,^ five snrred 
volumes, which arc as the satellites to the five books of the law of Moses. Gregory .Yar.iunzen, [carm. 
33. /;. 98.1]) r,\lls these <t\ <rtx'^p^i Trivn — the five metrical books; first, Jolj, (so he reckons t'leni up,) then 
David, then the three of Solomon, Ecclcsiistes, tlie Song, and Proverbs, jlmfihilochius, Bishcp nt Ico 
nium, in his Iambic Poem to Srleiicus, reckons them up particularly, and calls them r/;:^"/'"^ tts'vts Bi0\;i(~ 

* See Mr Smith's Uisciiurse on I'ruplii-ty, rA. II t Ilil. Mcgil c -2 ^11. t Vii! Ilnttincpr. Tlirsnur. I'liilnl. lib r.ip. 1. ^3 

^Damasceii. Grlhod. Fid. I. 4. tap. 18. (I Viil. Siiicer. Tliesaur. in O'X'^h 



PREFACE. ' vii 

the Jive verse-books. Efiifihanius, (lib. de fionder. et mensur. fi. 533. J Triyrt riy^pii: — (he ^ve verse- 
books. And CyrU. Hierosol. Collect. A. p. Cmihi — m Tnj/ cq/zy J 30. calls these five books ra s-i;t«/ia — books 
in verse. Polychronius, in his prologue to Job, says, that, as those that are without, call their tragedies 
and comedies noi>\Tix.a. — Poetics, so, in sacred writ, those books which are composed in Hebrew metre, 
(of which he reckons Job the first,) we call Ti^iipa ht0xid — Hooks in verse, written koto, g-i^ov — according 
to order. What is written in metre, or rhythm, is so called from /utTpo; — a measure, and o.pifijuo( — a nu?n- 
her, because regulated by certain measures, or numbers of syllables, which please the ear with their 
smoothness and cadency, and so insinuate the matter the more movingly and powerfully into the fancy. 

Sir William Temple,* in his essay upon poetry, thinks it is generally agreed to have been the first sort 
of writing that was used in the world; nay, that, in several nations, poetical compositions preceded the 
very invention or usage of letters. The Spaniards (he says) found in America many strains of poetry, 
and such as seemed to flow from a true poetic vein, before any letters were known in those regions. The 
same (says he) is probable of the Scythians and Grecians: the oracles of Apollo were delivered in verse; 
so were those of the Sibyls. And Tacitus says, that the ancient Germans had no annals or records but 
what were in verse. Homer and Hesiod wrote their poems (the very Alcoran of the Pagan Dsmonology) 
many ages before the appearing of any of the Greek philosophers or historians; and, long before them, 
(if we may give credit to the antiquities of Greece,) even before the days of David, Orpheus and Linus 
were celebrated poets and musicians in Greece; and, at the same time, Carmenta, the mother of Evander, 
who was the first that introduced letters among the natives of Greece, was so called a carmine^'rom a 
song, because she delivered herself in verse. And in such veneration was this way of writing among the 
ancients, that their poets were called Vates — Prophets, and their muses were deified. 

But, which is more certain and considerable, the most ancient composition that we meet with in scrip- 
ture was the song of Moses at the Red Sea, (Exod. xv. ) which we find before the very first mention of 
writing, for that occurs not until Exod. xvii. 14. when God bade Moses write a memorial of the war with 
Amalek. The first, and indeed the true and general end of writing, is, the help of memory; and poetry 
does in some measure answer that end, and even in the want of writing, much more with writing, helps 
to preserve the remembrance of ancient things. The book of the wars of the Lord, (Numb. xxi. 14.) 
and the book of Jasher, (Josh. x. 13. 2 Sam. i. 18.) seem to have been both written in poetic measures. 

Many sacred songs we meet with in the Old Testament, scattered both in the historical and proplietical 
books, penned on particular occasions, which, in tli^ opinion of very competent judges, "have in them as 
true and noble strains of poetry and picture as are met with -in any other language whatsoever, in spite 
of all the disadvantages from translations into so different tongues and common prose;f nay, are nobler 
examples of the true sublime style of poetry than any that can be found in the Pagan writers; the images 
are so strong, the thoughts so great, the expressions so divine, and the figures so admirably bold and 
moving, that the wonderful manner of these writers is quite inimitable.":}: It is fit that what is emploved 
in the service of the sanctuary should be the best in its kind. 

The books here put together are poetical. Job is an heroic poem; the book of Psalms, a collection of 
divine odes or lyrics; Solomon's Song, a pastoral and an epithalamium: they are poetical, and yet sacred 
and serious, grave and full of majesty. They have a poetic force and flame, without poetic fuiy and 
fiction, and strangely command and move the affections, without corrupting the imagination, or putting 
a cheat upon it; and while they gratify tlie ear, they edify the mind, and profit the more by pleasing. It 
is, therefore, much to be lamented that so powerful an art, which was at first consecrated to the honour 
of God, and has been so often employed in his service, should be debauched, as it has been, and is at this 
day, into the service of his enemies; that his corn, and wine, and oil, should be prepared for Baal. 

V. As the manner of the composition of these books is excellent, and very proper to engage the atten- 
tion, move the affections, and fix them in the memory, so the matter is highly useful, and such as will be 
every way serviceable to us. They have in them the veiy sum and substance of religion, and what they 
contain is more fitted to our hand, and made ready for use, than any part of the Old Testament; upon 
which account, if we may be allowed to compare one star with another, in the firmament of the scripture, 
these will be reckoned stars of the first magnitude. 

All scripture is profitable (and this part of it in a special manner) for instruction in doctrine, in devo- 
tion, and in the right ordering of the conversation. -The book of Job directs us what we are to believe 
concerning God; the book of Psalms, how we are to worship him, pay our homage to him, and maintain 
our communion with him; and then the book of the Proverbs shows very particularlv how we are to 
govern oursehes h -rda-yi avets-po<pv — in every turn of human life: thus shall the man of God, bv a due at- 
tendance to these lights, be perfect, thoroughly furnished for e\ cry good work. And these are placed 
according to their natural order, as well as according to the order of time; for very fitlv are we first led 
into the knowledge of God, our judgments riglitly formed concerning him, and our mistakes rectified; 
and then instructed how to worship him, and to choose the things that please him. 

We have here much of natural religion, its principles, its precepts — much of God, his infinite perfec- 
tions, his relations to man, and his government both of the world and of the church : here is much of Christ, 
who is the Spring, and Soul, and Centre, of revealed religion, and whom both Job :md David were emi- 
nent types of, and had clear and happy prospects of. We have here that which will be of use to enlight- 
en our understandings, and to acquaint us more and more with the things of God, with the deep things of 
God; speculations to entertain the most contemplative, and discoveries to satisfy the most inquisitive, and 
increase the knowledge of those that ai-e most knowing. Here is that also which, with a divine light, 
will bring into the soul the heat and influence of a divine fire, will kindle and inflame pious and devout 
affections, on which wings we may soar upward, until we enter into the holiest. We may here be in the 
mount with God, to behold his .beauty; and when we come down from that mount, if we retain (as we 
ought) the impressions of our devotion upon our spirits, and make conscience of doing that good which 
the Lord our God here requires of us, our faces shall shine before all with whom we converse, who shall 
take occasion thence to glorify our Father vjhich is in heaven, Matth. v. 16. 

Thus great, thus noble, thus truly excellent, is the subject, and thus capable of being impj-oved, which 
gives me the more reason to be ashamed of the meanness of my performance, that the comment breathes 
so little of the life and spirit of the text. "V^^e often wonder at those that are not at all affected with the 

* Miscell. part 2. | Sir W. Temple, p. 329. X Sir R. Blacttmore's preface to Job. 



vm PREFACE. 

great things of God, and have no taste or relish of them, because they know little of them : but, perhaps, 
we have more reason to wonder at ourselves, that, conversing so frequently, so intimately, with them, 
we are not more affected with them, so as even to bt wholly taken up with them, and in a continual 
transport of delight in the contemplation of them. We hope to be so shortly in the meantime, though, 
like the three disciples that were the witnesses of Christ's transfiguration upon the mount, we are but 
dull and sleepy, yet we can say. Master, it w good to be here; here let us make tabernacles, Luke ix. 32, 33. 
I have nothing here to boast of, nothing at all; but a great deal to be humbled for, that I have not come 
up to what I have aimed at, in respect of fulness and exactness. In the review of it, I find many defects, 
and those who are critical perhaps will meet with some mistakes in it; but I have done it with what care 
I could, and desire to be thankful to God, who, by his grace, has carried me on in his work thus far: let that 
gi-ace have all the glory, (Phil. ii. 13.) which works in us both to will and to do whatever he will or do, 
that is good, or serves any good purpose. What is from God, I trust, shall be to him, shall be graciously 
accepted by him, according to what a man has, and not according to what he has not, and shall be of 
some use to his church; and what is from myself, that is, all the defects and errors, shall, I tinist, be 
favourably passed by and pardoned. That prayer of St, Austin is mine, Domine Deus, gusecungue dixi 
in his libris de tuo, agnoscant et tut; et gux de mco, et tu ignoseeet tui — JLord God, whatever I have main- 
tained in these books corresfiondent with what is contained in thine, grant that thy people may approve as 
well as thyself; whatever is but the doctrine of my book, forgive thou, and grant that thy people may 
forgive also. 

I must beg likewise to own, to the honour of our great Master, that I have found the work to be its 
own wages; and that the more we converse with the word of God, the more it is to us as the honey and 
the honeycomb, Ps. xix. 10. In gathering some gleanings of this harvest for others, we may feast our- 
selves; and when we are enabled, by the grace of God, to do so, we are best qualified to feed others. I 
was much pleased with the passage I lately met with of Erasmus, that great scholar and celebrated wit, 
in an epistle dedicatory before his book De Ratione Concionandi, where, as one weary of the world and 
the hurry of it, he expresses an earnest desire to spend the rest of his days in secret communion with 
Jesus Christ, encouraged by his gracious invitation to those who labour and are heavy-laden to come unto 
him for rest; (Matth. xi. 28.) and this alone is that which he thinks will yield him true satisfaction. I 
think his words worth transcribing, and such as deserve to be inserted among the testimonies of great 
men to serious godliness. Kegue guisguam facile cr^at guam misere animus jamdudum affectet ab his 
laboribus in tranguillum oMum secedere, guodgue superest vitge, (superest autem vix brevis palmus srve 
pugillus,) solum cum eo solo collogui, gui clamavit olim, (nee hodie mutat vocem suam,) " Venite ad 
me, omnes gui laboratis, et onerati estis, ego rejiciam vos;" guandoguidem in tam turbulento, ne dicam 
furente, sseculo, in tot molestiis guaa vel ipsa tempora publici invehunt, vel privatim adfert setas ac va- 
letudo, nihil reperio in guo mens mea libentiius conguiescat guam in hoc arcano colloguio — J^o one will 
easily believe ho%v anxiously, for a long time past, J have wished to retire from these labours into a scene 
oftranguillity, and, during the remainder of life, (dwindled, it is true, to the shortest span, J to converse 
only with him who once cried, (nor does he now retract, J " Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are 
heavy-laden, and I will refresh you;" for in this turbulent, not to say furious, age, the many public 
sources of disguietude connected with the infirmities of advancing age leave no solace to my mind to be com- 
pared with this secret communion. In the pleasing contemplation of the divine beauty and benignity we hope 
to spend a blessed eternity, and therefore in this work it is good to spend as much as may be of our time. 
One volume more, containing the Prophetical books, will finish the Old Testament, if the Lord con- 
tinue my life, and leisure, and ability of mind and" body for this work. It is begim, and I fir.-i it will be 
larger than any of the other volumes, and longer in the doing; but as God, by his grace, shall funiish me 
for it, and assist me in it, (without which grace I am nothing, less than nothing,) it shall be carried on 
with all convenient speed; and sat cito, si sat bene — if with sufficient ability, it will be with sufficient speed. 
I desire the prayers of my friends, that God would minister seed to the sower, and bread to the eaters, 
(Isa. Iv. 10.) that he would multiply the seed sown, and increase the fruits of our righteousness; (2 Cor. 
ix. 10.) that so he who sows and they who reap may rejoice together; (John iv. 36.) and the great Lord 
of the harvest shall have the glory oi alU 

M. H. 
Cheater, May 13, 1710. 



AN 



EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, 
OF THE BOOK OF 

JOB. 



This book of Job stands by itself, is not connected with any other, and is therefore to be considered alone. 
Many copies of the Hebrew Bible place it after the book of Psalms, and some after the Proverbs, which 
perhaps has given occasion to some learned men to imagine it to be written by Isaiah, or some of the 
later prophets. But, as the subject appears to have been much more ancient, so we have no reason to 
think but that the composition of the book was, and that therefore it is most fitly placed first in this 
collection of divine morals: also, being doctrinal, it is proper to precede, and 'introduce, the book of 
Psalms, which is devotional, and the book of Proverbs, which is practical; for how shall we worship 
or obey a God whom we know not? 

As to this book, 

I. We are sure that it is given by insfiiration of God, though ive are not certain who was the fienman of 
it. The Jews, though no friends to Job, because he was a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel, yet, 
as faithful conservators of the oraclen of God committed to them, always retained this book in their sa- 
cred canon. The history is referred to by one apostle; (James, v. 11.') and one passage {ch. v. 13.) is 
quoted by another apostle, with the usual form of quoting scripture. It is written, 1 Cor. iii. 19. It is 
the opinion of many of the ancients, that this history was written by Moses himself in Midian, and de- 
livered to his suffering brethren in Egypt, for their support and comfort under their burthens, and the 
encouragement of their hope that God would, in due time, deliver and enrich them, as he did this pa- 
tient sufferer. Some conjecture that it was written originally in Arabic, and afterward translated into 
Hebrew, for the use of the Jewish church, by Solomon, (so Monsieur Jurieu,) or some other inspired 
writer. It seems most probable to me, that Elihu was the penman of it, at least of the discourses, be- 
cause (ch. xxxii. 15, 16.) he mingles the words of an historian with those of a disputant: but Moses 
perhaps wrote the two first chapters and the last, to give light to the discourses; for in them God is 
frequently called Jehovah, but not once in all the discourses, except ch. xii. 9. That name was but 
little known to the patriarchs before Moses, Exod. vi. 3. If Job wrote it himself, some of the Jewish 
writers themselves own him afirofihet among the Gentiles; if Elihu, we find he had a spirit of prophecy 
which filled him with matter, and constrained him, ch. xxxii. 18. 

TI. We are sure that it is, for the substance of it, a true history, and not a romance, though the dialogues 
are fioetical. No doubt there was such a man as Job; the prophet Ezekiel names him with Noah and 
Daniel, Ezek. xiv. 14. The narrative we have here of his prosperity and piety, his strange afflictions 
and exeniplary patience, the substance of his conferences with his friends, and God's discourse with 
him out of^the whirlwind, with his retum, at length, to a very prosperous condition, no doubt, is exactly 
true, though the inspired penman is allowed the usual liberty of putting the matter of which Job and 
his friends discoursed, into his own words. 

III. We are sure that it is very ancient, though we cannot fix the precise tiyne either when .Job lived, or 
when the book was written. So many, so evident, are its hoaiy hairs, the marks of its antiquity, that 
we ha\ e reason to think it of equal date with the book of Genesis itself, and that holy Job was contem- 
poraty with Isaac and Jacob; though not co-heir with them <'f the promise of the earthly Canaan, vet a 
joint-expectant with them of the better country, that is, t/ic heavenly. Probably, he was of the poste- 
rity of Nahor, Abraham's brother, whose first-born was Cz, {(\en. xxii. 21.) and in whose family re- 
ligion was, for some ages, kept up, as appears, Gen. xxxi. 53. where God is called, not only the God of 
Abraham, but the God of JSTahor. He lived before the age of man was shortened to 70 of 80, as it was 
in Moses's time; before sacrifices were confined to one altar; before the general apostasy of the nations 
from the knowledge and worship of the true God; and while yet there was no other idolatry known 
than the worship of the sun and moon, and that punished by the Judges, ch. xxxi. 26, 28. He lived 
while God was known by the name of God Almighty, more than by the name of Jehovah; for he is 

Vor-. HI. — R 



10 JOB. I. 

called Shaddai — the Almighty, above thirty times in this book: he lived while divine knowledge was 
conveyed, not by writing, but by tradition ; for to that appeals are hei e made, ch: viii. 8. — xxi. 29. — xv 
18. — V. 1. And we have therefore reason to think that he lived before Moses, because here is no 
mention at all of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or the giving of the law. Tliere is indeed one 
passage which might be made to allude to the drowning of Pharaoh, {ch. xxvi. 12.) He dhndeth the sea 
with his poiver, and by his understanding he smiteth through Rahab; which name Egypt is very fre- 
quently called by in scripture, as Ps. Ixxxvii. 4. — Ixxxix. 10.. Isa. li. 9. But that may as well refer to 
the proud waves of the sea. We conclude therefore that we are here got back to the patriarchal age, 
and, beside its authority, we receive tliis book with \ eneration for its antiquity. 
IV. We are sure that it is of great use to the church, and to every good Christian, though there are 
inany passages in it dark and hard to be understood. We cannot perhaps be confident of the true 
meaning of every Arabic word and phrase we meet with in it. It is a book that finds a great deal of 
work for the critics; but enough is plain to make the whole profitable, and it was all written for our 
learning. This noble poem presents to us, in very clear and lively characters, these five things among 
others: — 

1. A monument of firimitive theology. The first and great principles of the light of nature, on which 
oatural religion is founded, are here, in a warm, and long, and learned, dispute, not only taken for 
granted on all sides, and not the least doubt made of them, but by common consent plainly laid down as 
eternal truths, illustrated and urged as affecting commanding truths. Were ever the being of God, his 
glorious attributes and perfections, his unsearchable wisdom, his irresistible power, his inconceivable 
glory, his inflexible justice, and his incontestable sovereignty, discoursed of with more clearness, fulness, 
reveren -e, and divine eloquence, than in this book? The creation of the world, and the government of 
it, are here admirably described, not as.matters of nice speculation, but as laying most powerful obliga- 
tions upon us to fear and serve, to submit to, and trust in, our Creator, Owner, Lord, and Ruler. Moral 
good and evil, virtue and vice, were never drawn more to the life, (the beauty of the one and the 
deformity of the other,) than in this book; nor the inviolable rule of God's judgment more plainly laid 
down. That happy are the righteous, it shall be well with them; and wo to the wicked, it shall be ill with 
them. These are not questions of the schools, to keep the learned world in action, nor engines of state, 
to keep the unlearned world in awe; no, it appears by this book that they are sacred truths of undoubt- 
ed certainty, and which all the wise and sober part of mankind have in every age subscribed and sub- 
mitted to. 

2. It presents us with a sfiecimen of Gentile fiiety. This great saint descended, not from Abraham, but 
Nahor; or, if from Abraham, not from Isaac, but from one of the sons of the concubines that were sent 
into the east country; (Gen. xxv. 6.) or, if from Isaac, yet not from Jacob, but Esau; so that he was 
out of the pale of the covenant of peculiarity, no Israelite, no proselyte, and yet none like him for 
religion, nor such a favourite of heaven upon ttiis earth. It was a truth, therefore, before St. Peter 
perceived it, that, iwevery nation, he that fears God, and works righteousness, is accepted of him. Acts 
X. 35. There were children of God scattered abroad, (John xi. 52.) beside the incorporated children 
of the kingdom, Matth. viii. 11, 12. 

3. It presents us with an exposition of the book of Providence, and a clear and satisfactory solution of 
many of the difficult and obscure passages of it. The prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of 
the righteous, have always been reckoned two as hard chapters as any in that book; but they ai'e here 
expounded, and reconciled with the divine wisdom, purity, and goodness, by the end of these things. 

4. It presents us with a great example of patience, and close adherence to God, in the midst of the sorest 
calamities. Sir Richard Blackmore's most ingenious pen, in his excellent preface to his paraphrase on 
this book, makes Job a hero proper for an epic poem; for, (says he,) "He appears brave in distress, 
and valiant in affliction, maintains his virtue, and with tint his character, under the most exasperating 
provocations tliat the malice of hell could invent, and thereby gives a most noble example of passive 
fortitude, a character no way inferior to that of the active hero," &c. 

5. It presents us with an illustrious tyfie of Christ, the particulars of which we shall endeavour to take 
notice of as we go along. In general. Job was a great sufferer, was emptied and humbled, but in order 
to his greater glory. So Christ abused himself, that we might be exalted. The learned Bishop Patrick 
quotes St. Jerom more than once speaking of Job as a type of Christ, who, for the joy that was set be- 
fore him, endured the cross, who was persecuted for a time bv men and devils, and seemed forsaken 
<jf God too, but was raised up to be an intercessor even for his friends that had added affliction to his 
misery. When the apostle speaks oitYve patience of Job, he immediately takes notice of the end of the 
Lord, that is, of the Lord Jesus, (as some understand it,) typified by Job, James v. 11. 

In this l)ook we have, (1.) The history of Job's sufferings, and his patience under them, {ch. i, ii.) not 
without a mixture of human frailty, ch. iii. (2.) A disjmte between him and his friends upon them, in 
which, [1.] The opponents were "Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. [2.] The respondent was Job. [3.] 
The moderators were. First, Elihu, ch. xxxii...xxxvii. ' Secondly, God himself, ch. xxxviii.-.xlit 
("5. ) The issue of all in Job's honour and prosperity, ch. xlii. Upon the whole, we learn, that many are 
tl\e afflictions of the righteous, but that, when the Lord delivers them out of all, the trial of their faith 
will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. 



JOB, I. 



M 



CHAP. 1. 

The history of Job begins here, with an account, I, Of his 
great piety in general, (v. 1.) and in a particular in- 
stance, V. 5. II. Of his great prosperity, v. 2. .4. Ill- 
Of the malice of Satan against him, and the permission 
he obtained to try his constancy, v. 6. . 12. IV. Of the 
surprising troubles that befell him; the ruin of his estate, 
(y. 13 . . 17.) and the death of his children, v. 18, 19. V. 
Of his exemplary patience and piety under these troubles, 
V. 20. . 22. In all which, he is set forth for an example of 
suffering affliction, from which no prosperity can secure 
us, but through which integrity and uprightness will 
preserve us. 

J. y I ^HERE was a man in the land of 
1 Uz, whose name was Job ; and that 
man was perfect and upright, and one that 
f"ared God, and eschewed evil. 2. And 
there were born unto him seven sons and 
three daughters. 3. His substance also was 
seven thousand sheep, and three thousand 
camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and 
five hundred she-asses, and a very great 
household ; so that tiiis man was the great- 
est of all the men of the east. 

Concerning Job, we are here told, 

I. That he was a m in; therefore subject to like 
passions as we are. He was Ish, a worthy man, a 
man of note and eminency, a magistrate, a man in 
avithority. The country he lived in was the land of 
Uz, in the eastern part of Arabia, which lay toward 
Chaldea, near Euphrates, probably not far from Ur 
of the Chaldees, whence Abraham was called. 
When God called one good man out of that coun- 
trv, yet he left not himself ivithoiU witness, but 
raisecl up another in it to be i\. preacher of righteous- 
fiefis. God has his remnant in all places, sealed ones 
nut of every nation, as well as out of every tribe of 
Israel, Rev. vii. 9. It was the privilege of the land 
of Uz to have so good a man as Job in it ; now it 
was jirabia the Hapfiy indeed: and it was tlie 
})raise of Job, that he was eminently good in so bad 
a place; the worse others were round about him, the 
better he was. 

His name Job, or Jjob, (some say,) signifies one 
hated, and counted as an enemy; others make it to 
signify one that grieves, or groans; thus the sorrow 
he carried in his nanie might be a check to his joy 
in his prosperity. Dr. Cave derives it from Jaab, 
to love, or desire, intimating how welcome his birth 
was to his parents, and how much he was the desire 
of their eyes; and yet there was a time when he 
cursed the day of his birth. Who can tell what the 
day may prove, which yet begins with a bright 
morning* \ 

II. That he was a very good man, eminently 
pious, and better than his neighbours. He mas fier- 
f''ct and upright. This is intended to show us, not 

only what reputation he had among men, (that he 
was .generally taken for an honest man,) but what 
was really his character; for it is the judgment of 
God concerning him, and we are sure that is ac- 
cording to truth. 1. Job was a religious man, one 
that feared God, that is, worshipped him according 
to his will, and governed himself bv the rules -oJF 
the divine law in every thing. 2. He was sincere 
in his religion; he was perfect, not sinless; he him- 
self owns, (ch. ix. 20.) Tf I say I am perfect, I shall 
be proved perx<erse. But, having a respect to all 
God's commandments, aiming at perfection, he 
was really as good as he seemed to be, and did not 
dissemble in his profession of pietv; his heart was 
sound, and his eye single. Sincerity is gospel-per- 
fection; I know no religion without it. o. He was i. 



upright in his dealings both with God and man ; whs 
faithful to his promises, steady in his counsels, tn.c 
to every trust reposed in him, and made conscieiut- 
of all he said and did. See Isa. xxxiii. 15. Though he- 
was not o/ Israel, he was indeed an Israelite with- 
out guile. 4. The fear of God i-eigning in his hear: 
was the principle that governed his whole con\ er- 
sation. That made him perfect and upright, in \var<l 
and entire for God, universal and uniform in religion ; 
that kept him close and constant to his duty. ' He 
feared God, had a reverence for his majesty, a re- 
gard to his authority, and a dread of his wrath'. 5. He 
dreaded the thought of doing what was wrong; witli 
the utmost abhorrence and detestation, and, witli u 
constant care and watchfulness, he eschewed evU, 
avoided all appearances of sin and approaches to it, 
and tliis, because of the fear of God, Neh. v. 15. 
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; (Prov. viii. 13.) 
and then, by the fear of the Lord men depart fro?n 
evil, Prov. xvi. 6. 

III. That he was a man who prospered greatlv 
in this world, and made a considerable figure iii 
his country. He was prospei-ous, and yet pious. 
Though it is hard and rare, it is not impossible, for 
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven: with 
God, even this is possible, and bv his grace the 
temptations of worldly wealth are not insuperable. 
He was pious, and his piety was a friend to his pros- 
perity; for godliness has the promise of the life that 
now is. He was prosperous, and his prosperity put 
a lustre upon his piety, and gave him, who was so 
good, so much greater opportunity of doing good. 
The acts of his piety were grateful returns to God 
for the instances of his prosperity; and, in the abun- 
dance of the good things God gave him, he served 
God the more cheerfully. 

1. He had a numerous family; he was eminent 
for religion, and yet not a hermit; not a recluse, 
but the father and master of a family. It is an in- 
stance of his prosperity, that his house was filled 
with children, which are a heritage of the Lord, 
and liis reward, Ps. cxxvii. 3. He had sez^en sons 
and three daughters, v. 2. Some of each sex, and 
more of the more noble sex, in which the family is 
built up. Children must be looked upon as bless- 
ings, for so they are, especially to good people, that 
will give them good instructions, and set them good 
examples, and put up good prayers for them. Job 
had many children, and yet he was neither oppress- 
ed nor uncharitable, I)ut very liberal to the poor, 
ch. xxxi. 17, 8cc. Those that have great families to 
provide for ought to consider, that what is prudent- 
ly given in alms is set out to the best interest, and 
put into the best fund for their children's benefit. 

2. He had a e;ood estate for the support of his 
family; his substance was considerable, v. 3. Riches 
are called substance, in conformity to the common 
form of speaking; otherwise, to the soul and another 
world, they are but shadows, things that are not, 
Prov. xxiii. 5. It is only in heavenly wisdom that we 
inherit substance, Prov.' viii. 21. In those days, when 
the earth was not fully peopled, it was, as now, 
in some of the plantations, men might have ImkI 
enough upon easy terms, if they had but where- 
withal to stock it; and therefore Job's substance is 
described, not by the acres of land he was lord of. 
but, 

(1.) Bv his cattle; sheep and camels, oxen and 
asses. The numbers of each are here set down, 
probably not the exact number, but thereabout, ;t 
very few under or over. The sheep are put first, 
because of most use in the family, as Solomon 
observes, (Prov. xxvii. 25, 26, 27.) I^mbs for thv 
clothing, and milk for the food of thy household. 
Job, it is likely, \\^t\ silver and gold, as well as 
Abraham; (Gen. xiii. 2.) but then men valued their 
own and their neighbours' estates by that which was 



•12 



JOB. I. 



tor service and present use, more than by that 
which was for show and state, and fit only to be 
hoarded. As soon as God had made man, and pro- 
vided for his maintenance by the herbs and fruits, he 
made him rich and great by givir^ him dominion 
over the creatures, Gen. i. 28. That, therefore, 
being still continued to man, notwithstanding his 
defection, (Gen. ix. 2.) is still to be reckoned one of 
the most considerable instances of men's wealth, 
honour, and power, Ps. viii. 6. 

(2.) By his servants; he had a very good house- 
hold or husbandry, many that were employed for 
him and maintained by him; and thus he both had 
honour and did good; yet thus he was involved in a 
threat deal of care, and put to a great deal of charge. 
See the vanity of this world; as goods are increased, 
they must be increased that tend them and occupy 
them, and they tvill be increased that eat them; and 
nvhat good has the owner thereof, save the beholding 
of (hem with his eyes y Eccles. v. 11. 

In a word. Job was the greatest of all the men of the 
east; and tliey were the richest in the world: those 
were rich indeed who were refilenished more than 
the east, Isa. ii. 6. margin. Job's wealth, with his 
wisdom, entitled him to the honour and power he 
had in his country, whirh he describes, ch. xxix. and 
made him sit chief. Job was upright and honest, 
and yet grew rich, nay, therefore grew rich; for 
honesty is the best policy, and piety and charity are 
ordinarily the surest ways of thriving. He had a 
great household and much business, and yet kept 
up the fear and worship of God; and he and his 
house served the Lord. The account of Job's piety 
and prosperity comes before the history' of his great 
afflictions, to show that neither will secure us from 
the common, no, nor from the uncommon, calami- 
ties of human life. Piety will not secure us, as Job's 
mistaken friends thought, for all things come alike 
to all; pros])erity will not, as a careless world 
thinks; (Isa. xlvii. 8.) I sit as a queen, and therefore 
shall see no sorroiv. 

4. And his sons went and feasted in their 
houses every one his day ; and sent and 
railed for their three sisters, to eat and to 
drink with them. 5. And it was so, when 
the days of their feasting were g;one about, 
that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose 
uo early in the morning:, and offered burnt- 
offerings according to the number of them 
all : for Job said. It may be that my sons 
have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. 
Thus did Job continually. 

We have here a further account of Job's prospe- 
rity and his piety. 

I. His great comfort in his children is taken no- 
tice of as an instance of his prosperity; for our tem- 
poral comforts are borrowed, depend upon others, 
and are as those about us are. Job himself mentions 
it as one of the greatest joys of his prosperous estate, 
t\\2A hh children -w&re about him, ch. xxix. 5. They 
kept a circular feast at some certain times; {xk 4.) 
they tvent and feasted in their houses. It was a 
comfort to this good man, 1. To see his children 
grown up and settled in the world; all his sons were 
in houses of their own, probably married; and to 
each of them he had given a competent portion to 
set up with. They that had been olive-plants 
round his table, were removed to tables of their 
own. 2. To see them thrive in their affairs, 
:>nd able to feast one another, as well as to feed 
t'lemselves. Good parents desire, promote, and 
rejoice in, their children's wealth and prosperity, 



as their own. 3. To see them in health, no sick- 
ness in their houses; for that would have spoiled 
their feasting, and turned it into mourning. 4. Es- 
pecially to see them live in love and unity, and mu- 
tual good affection; no jars or quarrels among them, 
no strangeness, no shyness one of another, no strait- 
handedness; but, though every one knew his own, 
they lived with as much freedom as if they had had 
all in common. It is comfortable to the hearts ot 
parents, and comely in the eyes of all, to see bre- 
thren thus knit together; Behold, hoiv good and 
how fileasant it is! Ps. cxxxiii. 1. 5. It added to the 
comfort, to see the brothers so kind to their sisters, 
that they sent for them to feast with them; who 
were so modest, that they would not have gone, if 
theyhad not been sent for. Those brothers that slight 
their sisters, care not for their company, and ha\ e 
no concern for their comfort, are ill-bred and ill- 
natured, and very unlike Job's sons. It seems their 
feast was so sober and decent, that their sisters were 
good company for them at it. 6. They feasted in 
their own houses, not in public houses, where they 
would be more exposed to temptations, and which 
were not so creditable. 

We do not find that Job himself feasted with 
them; doubtless they invited him, and he would 
have been the most welcome guest at any of their 
tables; nor was it from any sourness or moroseness 
of temper, or for want of natural affection, that he 
kept away, but he was old and dead to those things, 
like Barzdlai, (2 Sam.xix. 35.) and considered that 
the young people would be more free and pleasant, 
if there were none but themselves. Yet he would 
not restrain his children from that diversion which 
he denied himself. Young people may be allowed 
a youthful liberty, provided they flee youthful lusts. 

II. His great care about his children is taken no- 
tice of as an instance of his piety : for that we are 
really, which we are relatively. Those that are 
good will be good to their children, and especially 
do what they can for the good of their souls. Ob- 
serve, {v. 5. ) Job's pious concern for the spiritual 
welfare of his children. 

1. He was jealous over them with a godly jea- 
lousy: and so we ought to be over ourselves and 
those that are dearest to us, as far as is necessary 
to our care and endeavour for their good. Job had 
given his children a good education, had comfort in 
them, and good hope concerning them; and yet 
he said, " It may be my sons have sinned in the 
days of their feasting, more than at other times; 
have been too merry, have taken too great a liber- 
ty in eating and drinking, and have cursed God in 
their hearts," that is, " have entertained atheistical, 
profane, thoughts in their minds, unworthy notions 
of God and his providence, and the exercises of re- 
ligion." When they -were full, they were ready to 
deny God, and to say, Who is the Lord? ready 
(Prov. XXX. 9.) toforget God, and to say. The /low- 
er of our hand h:\s gof (en us this wealth, Dcut. viii. 
12, iJfc. Nothing alienates the mind moVe from God 
than the indulgence of the flesh. 

2. As soon as the days of their feasting were over, 
he called them to the solemn exercises of religion: 
not while their feasting lasted; (Let them take theii 
time for that; there is a time for all things;) but, 
when it was over, their good father reminded them 
that they must know when to take up, and not think 
to fare sumptuously every day; though they had 
their days of feasting the week round, they must not 
think to have them the year roimd; they had some- 
thing else to do. Note, Those that are merry must 
find a time to be serious. 

3. He sent to them to prepare for solemn ordi- 
nances, sent and sancdjied (hem; ordered them to 
examine their own consciences, and repent of what 
they had done amiss in their feasting; to lay aside 



JOB, 1. 



13 



their vanity, and compose themselves for religious 
exercises. Thus he kept his authority over them 
for their good, and they submitted to it, though they 
were got into houses of their own. Still he was the 
priest of the family, and at his altar they all attend- 
ed, valuing their share in his prayers more than 
their share in his estate. Parents cannot give grace 
to their children, (it is God that sanctifies,) but 
they ought, by seasonable admonitions and coun- 
sels, to further their sanctification. In their bap- 
tism they were sanctified to God; let it be our de- 
sire and endeavour that they may be sanctified/or 
him. 

4. He offered sacrifice for them, both to atone for 
the sins he feared they had been guilty of in the 
days of their feasting, and to implore for them mercy 
to pardon, and grace to prevent, the debauching of 
their minds, and corrupting of their manners, by 
the liberty they had taken, and to preserve their 
piety and purity. 

For he, with mournful eyes, had often spy'd, 
Scatter'd on Pleasure's siiiooih but Ireach'rous tide, 
The sfwils of virtu(;overpower'd by sense, 
And floating wrecks of ruiii'd innocence. 

Sir R. Bl^ckmorg. 

Job, like Abraham, had an altar for his family, 
on which, it is likely, he offered sacrifice daily; but, 
on this extraordinary occasion, he oflfered more 
sacrifices than usual, and with more solemnity, ac- 
cording to the number of them all, one for each 
child. Parents should be particular in their ad- 
dresses to God for the several branches of their 
family; "For this child I prayed, according to its 
particular temper, genius, and condition;" to which 
the prayers, as well as the endeavours, must be ac- 
commodated. 

When these sacrifices were to be offered, (1.) He 
rose early, as one in care that his children might not 
lie long under guilt, and as one whose heart was 
upon his work, and his desire towards it (2. ) He re- 
quired his children to attend the sacrifice, that they 
might join with him in the prayers he offered with 
the sacrifice, that the sight of the killing of the 
sacrifice might humble them much for their sins, 
for which they deserved to die, and the eight of the 
offering of it up might lead them to a Mediator. 
This serious work would help to make them seri- 
ous again, after the days of their gaiety. 

Lastly, Thus he did continually; not only when- 
ever an occasion of this kind recurred, for he that is 
washed, needs to wash his feet: (John, xiii. 10.) the 
acts of repentance and faith must be often renewed, 
because we often repeat our transgressions; but, all 
days, every day, he offered up his sacrifices, was 
constant to his devotions, and did not omit them 
any day. The occasional exercises of religion will 
not excuse us from those that are stated. He that 
serves God uprightly will serve him continually. 

6. Now there was a day when the sons 
of God came to present themselves before 
the Lord, and Satan came also among 
tliem. 7. And the Lord said unto Satan, 
Whence comest thou? Then Satan an- 
swered the Lord, and said. From going to 
and fro in the earth, and from walking up 
and down in it 8. And the Lord said 
unto Satan, Hast thou considered my ser- 
vant Job, that there is none like him in 
the earth, a perfect and an upright man, 
one that feareth God, and escheweth evil ? 
9. Then Satan answered the Lord, and 
said, Doth Job fear Gk)d for nought? 10. 



Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and 
about his house, and about all that he lialli 
on eveiy side ? Thou hast blessed the work 
of his hands, and his substance is increased 
in the land: 11. But put forth thy hand 
now, and touch all that he hath, and he 
will curse thee to thy face. 12. And the 
LoKD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he 
hath is in thy power; only upon himself 
put not forth thy hand. So Satan went 
forth from the presence of the Lord. 

Job was not only so rich and great, but withal so 
wise and good, and had such an interest both in 
heaven and earth, that one would think the moun- 
tain of his prosperity stood so strong, that it could 
not be moved; but here we have a thick cloud ga- 
thering over his head, pregnant with a horrible 
tempest We must never think ourselves secure 
from storms, while we are in this lower region. 

Before we are told how his troubles surprised and 
seized him here in this visible world, we are here 
told how they were concerted in the world of spirits; 
that the De\ il having a great enmity to Job for his 
eminent piety, begged and obtained leave to tor- 
ment him. It does not at all derogate from the 
credibility of Job's story in general, to allow that 
this discourse between God and Satan, in these 
verses, is parabolical, like that of Micaiah, (1 Kings 
xxii. 19, &c. ) and an allegory designed to represent 
the malice of the Devil against good men, and the 
divine check and restraint that malice is under. 
Only thus much further is intimated, that the af- 
fairs of this earth are very much the subject of the 
counsels of the unseen world. That world is dai k 
to us, but we lie very open to it 
Now here we have, 

I. Satan among the sons of God, (v. 6. ) an ad- 
versary (so Satan signifies) to God, to men, to all 
good. He thrust himself into an assembly of the 
sons of God, that came to firesent themselves before 
the Lord. This means, either, 1. A meeting of the 
saints on earth. Professors of religion, in the patri- 
archal age, were called sons of God; (Gen. vi. 2.) 
they had then their religious assemblies, and stated 
times for them. The king came in to see his guests; 
the eye of God was on all present: but there was a 
serpent in paradise, a Satan among the sons of 
God; when they come together, he is among them 
to distract and disturb them, stands at their right 
hand to resist them; the Lord rebuke thee, Satan.' 
Or, 2. A meeting of the angels in heaven; they arc 
the sons of God, ch. xxxviii. 7. They came to give 
an accountof their negociations on earth, and to re- 
ceive new instructions. Satan was one of them 
originally; but how art thou fallen, O Lucifer! 
He shall no more stand in that congregation; yet 
he is here represented as coming among them, 
either summoned to appear as a criminal, or con- 
nived at, for the present, though an intruder. 

II. His examination, how he came thither; {v. 
7.) The Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest 
thou? He knew very well whence he came, and 
with what design he came thither; that, as the 
good angels came to do good, he came for a per- 
mission to do hurt; but he would, by calling him to 
an account, show him that he was under check 
and control. Whence comest thou? He asks this, 
1. As wondering what brought him thither, h 
Saul among the prophets? Satan among the sons of 
God? Yes, for he transforms himself into an angel 
of light, (2 Cor. xi. 13, 14.) and would seem rne 
of them. Note, It is possible that a man may he 
a child of the Devil, and yet be foimd in the asscm 



14 



JOB, I. 



blies of the sons of God in this world, and there 
may pass undiscovered by men, and yet be chal- 
lenged by the all-seeing God; Friend, how earnest 
thou in hither? Or, 2. As inquiring what he had 
been doing before he came thither: the same ques- 
tion was perhaps put to the rest of them that pre- 
sented themselves before the Lord, " Whence came 
youi"' We are accountable to God for all our 
haunts, and all the ways we traverse. 

III. The account he gives of himself, and the 
tour he had made. I come (says \i€)frQm going to 
and fro on the earth. 1. He could not pretend he 
had been doing any good, could give no such ac- 
count of himself as the sons of God could, who 
presented themselves before the hord, who came 
from executing his orders, serving the interest of 
his kingdom, and ministering to the heirs of salva- 
tion. 2. He would not own he had been doing any 
hurt; that he had been drawing men from their 
allegiance to God, deceiving and destroying souls; 
no, I have done no wickedness, Prov. xxx. 20. 7'hy 
servant went no whither. In saying that he had 
walked to and fro through the earth, he intimates 
that he had kept himself within the bounds allotted 
him, and had not transgressed his tether; for the 
dragon is cast out into the earth, (Rev. xii. 9.) and 
not yet confined to his place of torment. While we 
are on this earth, we are within his reach;' and 
with so much subtlety, swiftness, and industry, does 
he penetrate into all the corners of it, that we can- 
not be in any place secure from his temptations. 3. 
He yet seems to give some representation of his 
own character. (1.) Perhaps it is spoken proudly, 
and with an air of haughtiness, as if he were indeed 
the firince of this world, as if the kingdoms of the 
world and the glory of them were his, (Luke iv. 6.) 
and he had now been walking in circuit through his 
own territories. (2.) Perhaps it is spoken fretfully, 
and with discontent; he had been walking to and 
fro, and could find no rest, but was as much a 
fugitive and a vagabond as Cain in the land of Nod. 
(3.) Perhaps it is spoken carefully; " I have been 
haid at work, going to and fro," or (as some read 
it) "searching about in the earth;" really in quest 
of an opportunity to do mischief. He walks about 
seeking whom he may devour. It concerns us 
therefore to be sober and vigilant. 

IV. The question God puts to him concerning 
Job, {y. 8.) Hast thou considered my serxmnt Job? 
As when we meet with one that has been in a dis- 
tant place, where we have a friend we dearly love, 
we are ready to ask, "You have been in such a 
place; pray did you see my friend there?" Observe, 

1. How honourably God speaks of Job; he is my 
servant. Good men are God's servants, and he is 
pleased to reckon himself honoured in their ser- 
vices, and that they are to him for a name and a 
firaise, (Jer. xiii. l\.) and a ci-own of glory, Isa. 
Ixxxii. 3. "Yonder is my servant Job; there is none 
like him, none I value like him; of all the princes 
and potentates of the earth, one such saint as he is 
worth them all: none //^e Ajtm for uprightness and 
serious piety; many do well, but he excellvth them 
all; there is not to be found such great faith, no not 
in Israel." Thus Christ, long after held up the 
centurion and the woman of Canaan, who were 
both of them, like Job, strangers to that common- 
wealth. The saints glory in God; Who is like thee 
among the gods? And he is pleased to glory in 
them; Who is like Israel among the people? So 
here, none like Job, none in the earth, that state of 
imperfection; those in heaven do indeed far out- 
shine him ; those who are least in that kingdom are 
erreater than he; but on earth there is none his like. 
There is none like him in that land: so some good 
men are the glory of their country. 

2. How closely he gi\ es to Satan this good cha- 



racter of Job, Hast thou set thy heart on my ser 
vant Job? Designing hereby, (1.) To aggravate 
the apostasy and misery of that wicked spirit; 
"How unlike him art thou!" Note, The holiness 
and happiness of the saints are the shame and tor- 
nient ot the Devil and the Devil's children. (2.) 
I'o answer the Devil's seeming boast of the interest 
he had in this earth; " I have been walking to and 
fro in it," says he, " and it is all my own; all flesh 
have corrupted their way; they all sit still, and are 
at rest in their sins," Zech. i. 10, 11. " Nay hold," 
saith God, "Job is my faithful servant." Satan 
may boast, but he shall not triumph. (3.) To an- 
ticipate his accusations, as if he had said, "Satan, 
I know thine errand, thou art come to inform 
against Job; but hast thou considered him? Does 
not his unquestionable character give thee the lie?" 
Note, God knows all the malice of the Devil and 
his instruments against his servants; and we have 
an Advocate ready to appear for us, even before we 
are accused. 

V. The Devil's base insinuation against Job, in 
answer to God's encomium of him. He cannot 
deny but that Job feared God, but suggests that he 
was mercenary in his religion, and therefore a hy- 
pocrite, {v. 9.) Doth Job fear God for naught? 
Observe, 1. How impatient the Devil was of hear- 
ing Job praised, though it was God himself that 
praised him.' Those are like the Devil, who cannot 
endure that any body should be praised but them- 
selves, but grudge at the just share of reputation 
others have, as Saul, (1 Sam. xviii. 5, &c.) and the 
Pharisees, Matth. xxi. 15. 2. How much at a loss 
he was for something to object against him; he 
could not accuse him of any thing that was bad, 
and therefore charges him with by-ends in doing 
good. Had the one half of that been true, which 
his angry friends, in the heat of dispute, charged 
him with, {ch. xv. 4. — xxii. 5.) Satan would, no 
doubt, have brought it against him now; but no 
such thing could be alleged, and therefore, 3. See 
how slily he censures him as a hypocrite; not as- 
serting that he was so, but only asking, " Is he not 
so ?" This is the common way of slanderers, to 
suggest that, by way of query, which yet they have 
no reason to think is true; whisperers, backbiters! 
Note, It is not strange if those that are approved 
and accepted of God, be unjustly censured by the 
Devil and his instruments; if they are otherwise 
unexceptionable, it is easy to charge them with 
hypocrisy, as Satan charged Job, and they have no 
way to clear themselves, but patiently to wait for 
the judgment of God. As there is nothing we 
should dread more than being hypocrites, so there 
is nothing we need dread less than being called and 
counted so without cause. 4. How unjustly he ac- 
cuses him as mercenary, to prove him a hypocrite. 
It was a great truth that Job did not fear God for 
naught; he got well by it, for godliness is great 
gain: but it was a falsehood that he would not have 
feared God if he had not got this by it, as the event 
proved. Job's friends charged him with hypocrisy, 
because he was greatly afflicted; Satan, because he 
greatly prospered. It is no hard matter for those 
to calumniate that seek an occasion. It is not mer- 
cenary to look at the eternal recompense, in our 
obedience; but to aim at temporal advantages in 
our religion, and to make it subservient to that, is 
spiritual idolatry, worshipping the creature more 
than the Creator, and is likely to end in a fatal 
apostasy; men cannot long serve God and mam- 
mon. 

VI. The complaint Satan made of Job's prospe- 
rity, v. 10. Observe, 1. What God had done for 
Job. He had ])rotected him, made a hedge about 
him, for the defence of his peiSon, his family, and 
all his possessions. Note, God's peculiar people 



JOB, I. 



]5 



are taken under his special protection, they and all 
that belong to them; divine grace makes a hedge 
about their spiritual life, and divine providence 
about their natural life, so they are safe and easy. 
He had prospered him, not in idleness or injustice, 
(the Devil could not accuse him of them,) but in 
the way of honest diligence; TAou hast blessed the 
luork of his handsj without that blessing, be the 
hands ever so strong, ever so skilful, the work will 
not prosper; but with that, his substance is wonder- 
fully increased in the land: the blessing of the 
Lord makes rich; Satan himself owns it. 2. What 
notice the Devil took of it, and how he improved 
it against him. The Devil speaks of it with \ exa- 
tion; I see thou hast made a hedge about him, 
round about; as if he had walked it round, to see 
if he could spy ever a gap in it, for him to enter in 
at, to do him a mischief; but he was disappointed; 
it was a complete hedge. The wicked one saw it, 
and was grieved, and argued against Job, that the 
only reason why he served God was, because God 
prospered him. " No thanks to him to be true to 
the government that prefers him, and to serve a 
Master that pays him so well. " 

VII. The proof Satan undertakes to give of the 
hypocrisy and mercenariness of Job's religion, if he 
might but have leave to strip him of his wealth. 
•' Let it be put to this issue," says he, v. 11. " make 
him poor, frown upon him, turn thine hand against 
him, and then see where his religion will be; touch 
what he has, and it will appear what he is. If he 
curse thee not to thy face, let me never be believed, 
but posted for a false accuser. Let me perish, if he 
curse thee not." So some supply the imprecation, 
which the Devil himself modestly concealed; but 
the profane swearers of our age impudently and 
daringly speak out. Observe, 1. How slightly he 
speaks of the affliction he desired that Job might 
be tried with; "Do but touch all that he has, do 
but begin with him, do but threaten to make him 
poor; a little cross will change his tone." 2. How 
spitefully he speaks of the impression it would make 
upon Job. " He will not only let fall his devotion, 
but turn it into an open defiance; not only think 
hardly of thee, but even curse thee to thy face." 
The word translated curse is barac, the same that 
ordinarily and originally signifies to bless; but 
cursing God is so impious a thing, that the holy 
language would not admit the name: but that, 
where the sense requires it, it must be so under- 
stood, is plain from 1 Kings xxi. 10- 'IS. where the 
word is used concerning the crime charged on Na- 
both, that he did blaspheme God and the king. 

Now, (1.) It is likely that Satan did think that 
Job, if impoverished, would renounce his religion, 
and so disprove his profession, and if so, (as a 
learned gentleman has observed in his Mount of 
Sfiirits,) Satan had made out his own universal em- 
pire among the children of men. God declared Job 
the best man then living: now, if Satan can prove 
him a hypocrite, it will follow that God had not one 
faithful servant among men, and that there was no 
such thing as true and sincere piety in the world, 
but religion was all a sham, and Satan was king de 
facto — in fact, over all mankind. But it appeared 
that the Lord knows them that are his, and is not 
deceived in any. (2.) However, if Job should re- 
tain his religion, Satan would have the satisfaction 
to see him sorely afflicted: he hates good men, and 
delights in their griefs, as God has fileasure in their 
prosfierity. 

VIII. The permission God gave to Satan to afflict 
Job for the trial of his sincerity. Satan desired 
God to do it. Put forth thy hand now. God 
allowed him to do itj {y. 12.) "All that he has 
it i?i thy hand; make the trial as sharp as thou 
canst, do thy worst at him." Now, (1.) It is mat- 



ter of wonder that God should give Satan such a 
permission as this, should deliver the soul of hi*: 
turtle-dove into the hand of the adversary, such a 
lamb to such a lion; but he did it for his own glory,. 
the honour of Job, the explanation of Providence, 
and the encouragement of his afflicted people in ah 
ages; to make a case, which, being adjudged, might 
be a useful precedent. He suffered Job to be tried, 
as he suffered Peter to be sifted; but took care that 
his faith should not fail, (Luke xxii. 32.) and then 
the trial of it was found unto praise, and honour, 
and glory, 1 Pet. i. 7. But, (2.) It is matter of 
comfort that God has the Devil in a chain. Rev. 
XX. 1. He could not afflict Job without leave from 
God first asked and obtained, and then no further 
than he had leave; " Only upon himself put not 
forth thine hand; meddle not with his body, but 
only with his estate. " It is a limited power that the 
Devil has; he has no power to debauch men, but 
what they give him themselves, nor power to afflict 
men, but what \s given him from above. 

Lastly, Satan's departure from this meeting of 
the sons of God. Before they broke up, Satan went 
forth (as Cain, Gen. iv. 16.) from the presence of 
the Lord; no longer detained before him (as Doeg 
was, 1 Sam. xxi. 7. ) than until he had accomplished 
his malicious purpose. He went forth, 1. Glad 
that he had gained his point; proud of the permis- 
sion he had to do mischief to a good man ; and, 2. 
Resolved to lose no time, but speedily to put his 
project in execution: he went forth now, not to go 
to and fro, rambling through the earth, but, with a 
direct course, to fall upon poor Job, who is care- 
fully going on the way of his duty, and knows no- 
thing of the matter. What passes between good 
and bad spirits concerning us, we are not aware. 

1 3. And there was a day when his sons 
and his daughters were eating and drinking 
wine in their eldest brother's house: 14. 
And there came a messenger unto Job, 
and said, The oxen were plowing, and the 
asses feeding beside them; 15. And the 
Sabeans fell ujioii them, and took them 
away; yea, they have slain the servants 
with the edge of the sword; and I only am 
escaped alone to tell thee. 1 6. While he 
ivas yet speaking, there came also another, 
and said, The fire of God is fallen from 
heaven, and hath, burnt up the sheep, and 
the servants, and consumed them; and I 
only am escaped alone to tell thee. 1 7. 
While he was yet speaking, there came 
also another, and said. The Chaldeans 
made out three bands, and fell upon the 
camels, and have carried them away, yea 
and slain the servants with the edge of tfia 
sword ; and I only am escaped alone to tell 
thee. 1 8. While he was yet speaking, ther^ 
came also another, and said, Thy sons and 
thy daughters were eating and drinking wine 
in their eldest brother's house: 19. And, 
behold, there came a great wind from the 
wilderness, and smote the four corners of 
the house, and it fell upon the young men, 
and they are dead ; and I only am escaped 
alone to tell thee. 

We have here a particular account of Job's 
troubles : 



16 



JOB, J. 



I. Satan brought them upon him on the very day | 
that his children began their course of feasting, at . 
their ddest brother's house, {y. 13.) where, he i 
having (we may suppose) the double portion, the 
entertainment was the richest and most plentiful. 
The whole family, no doubt, was in perfect repose, 
and all were easy, and under no apprehension of 
trouble, now when they revived this custom ; and 
this time Satan chose, that the trouble, coming 
now, might be the more grievous ; The night of my 
tileasure has he turned into fear, Isa. xxi. 4. 

II. They all come upon him at once ; while one 
messenger of evil tidings was speaking, another 
came ; and, before he had told his story, a third, 
and a fourth, followed immediately. Thus Satan, 
by the divine permission, ordered it, 1. That there 
might appear a more than ordinary displeasure of 
God against him in his troubles, and by that he 
might be exasperated against Divine Providence, 
as if it were resolved, right or wrong, to rum him, 
and not give him time to speak for himself. 2. 
That he might not have leisure to consider and re- 
collect himself, and reason himself into a gracious 
submission, but might be overwhelmed and over- 
powered by a complication of calamities. It he 
have not room to pause a little, he will be apt to 
speak in haste, and then, if ever, he will curse his 
God. Note, The children of God are often \\\ hea- 
viness, through manifold temptations: deep calls to 
deep, waves and billows, one upon the neck of 
another. Let one affliction therefore quicken and 
help us to prepare for another ; for how deep so- 
ever we have drunk of the bitter cup, as long as we 
are in this world, we cannot be sure that we have 
drunk our share, and that it will finally pass from 
us. 3. They took from him all that he had, and 
made a full end of his enjoyments. The detail of 
his losses answers to the foregoing inventory of his 
possessions. 

(1.) He had 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she-asses, 
and a competent number of servants to attend them; 
and all those he lost at once, v. 14, 15. The ac- 
. count he has of this, lets him know, [1.] That it 
was not through any carelessness of his servants, 
for then his resentment might have spent itself 
upon them: the oxen were ploughing, not playing, 
and the asses not suffered to stray, and so taken up 
as waifs,* but feeding beside them, under the ser- 
vants' eye, each in their place ; and they that pass- 
ed by, we may suppose, blessed them, and said, 
God speed the plough. Note, All our prudence, 
care, and diligence, cannot secure us from afflic- 
tion, no not from those affli^^ti ns which are com- 
monly owing to imprudence and negligence. Ex- 
cept the Lord keep the city, the watchman, though 
ever so wakeful, wakes but in vain; yet it is some 
comfort under a trouble, if it found us in the way of 
our duty, and not in any by-path. '2.'\ That it 
was through the wickedness of his neighbours the 
Sabeans, a sort of robbers, perhaps, that lived by 
spoil and plunder ; they carried off the oxen and 
asses, and slew the servants that faithfully and 
bravely did their best to defend them, and one only 
escaped, not in kindness to him or his master, but 
that Job might have the certain intelligence of it 
by an eye-witness, before he heard it by a flying 
report, which would have brought it upon him gra- 
dually. We have no reason to suspect that either 
Job or his servants had given any provocation to 
these Sabeans to make this inroad; but Satan put it 
into their hearts to do it, to do it now, and so 
gained a double point, for he made both Job to 
suffer, and them to sin. Note, When Satan has 
God's permission to do mischief, he will not want 
mischievous men to be his instruments in doing it, 

• Good* found, but unclaimed. Ed. 



for he is a spirit that works in the children of dia 
obedience. 

(2.) He had seven thousand sheep, and shep- 
herds that kept them; and all those he lost at the 
same time by lightning, x;. 16. Job was perhaps, 
in his own mind, ready to reproach the Sabeans, 
and fly out against them for their injustice and 
cruelty, when the next news immediately directs 
him to look upward; Thejire of God is fallen from 
heaven. As thunder is his voice, so lightning is his 
tire: but this was such an extraordinary lightning, 
and levelled so directly against Job, that all his 
sheep and shepherds were not only killed, but con- 
sumed, by it at once, and one shepherd only left 
alive to carry the news to poor Job. The Devil, 
aiming to make him curse God and renounce his 
religion, managed this part of the trial very art- 
fully, in order thereunto. [1.] His sheep, with 
which especially he used to honour God in sacri- 
fice, were all taken from him, as if God were angry 
at his offerings, and would punish him in those very 
things which he had employed in his service. 
Having misrepresented Job to God as a false ser- 
vant, in pursuance of his old design to set Heaven 
and earth at variance, he here misrepresented God 
to Job as a hard Master, who would not protect 
those flocks out of which he had so many burnt- 
offerings: this would tempt Job to say. It is in vain 
to serve God. [2.] The messenger called the 
lightning the fire of God, (and innocently enough,) 
but perhaps Satan thereby designed to strike into 
his mind this thought, that God was turned to be 
his enemy, and fought against him, which was 
much more grievous to him than all the insults of 
the Sabeans. He owns, {ch. xxxi. 23.) that de- 
struction from God was a terror to him. How 
terrible then were the tidings of this destruction, 
which came immediately from the hand of God! 
Had the fire from heaven consumed the sheep upon 
the altar, he might have construed it into a token 
of God's favour; but the fire consuming them in 
the pasture, he could not but look upon it as a 
token of God's displeasure: there had not been the 
like since Sodom was burned. 

(3.) He had three thousand camels, and servants 
tending them; and he lost them all at the same time 
by the Chaldeans, who came in three bands, and 
drove them away, and slew the servants, v. 17. If 
the fire of God, which fell upon Job's honest ser- 
vants, who were in the way of their duty, had fallen 
upon the Sabean and Chaldean robbers who were 
doing mischief, God's judgments therein would 
have been, like the great mountains, evident and 
conspicuous; but when the way of the wicked 
prospers, and they carry off their booty, when just 
and good men are suddenly cut off, God's righte- 
ousness is like the great deep, the bottom of which 
we cannot find, Ps. xxxvi. 6. 

(4.) His dearest and most valuable possessions 
were his ten children; and to conclude the tragedy, 
news is brought him, at the same time, that they 
were killed, and buried in the ruins of the house in 
which they were feasting, and all th^ servants th^t 
waited on them, except one that came express with 
the tidings of it, v. 18, 19. This was the greatest 
of Job's losses, and which could not but go nearest 
him; and therefore the Devil reserved it for the 
last, that, if the other provocations failed, thl.s 
might make him curse (iod. Our children arc 
pieces of ourselves; it is very hard to part with 
them, and touches a good man in as tender a pail 
as any other. But to part with them all at once, 
and for them to be all cut off in a moment, who had 
been so many years his cares and hopes, went to 
the quick indeed. [1.] They all died together, 
and not one of them was left alive. David, though 
jl a wise and good man, was very much discomposco 



JOB, I. 



17 



bv the death of one son ; how hard then did it bear 
ii;ioii poor Job, who lost them all, and, in one mo- 
ment, was written childless! [2.] They died sud- 
denly: had they been taken away by some lingering 
disease, he had had notice to expect their death, 
and prepare for the breach; but this came upon 
him without giving him any warning. [3.] They 
(lied when they were feasting and making merry: 
hifd they died suddenly, when they were praying, 
he might the better, have borne it; he would have 
hoped that ;eath had found them in a good frame, 
if their blood had been mingled with their sacri- 
fices; but to have it mingled with their feast, where 
he himself used to be jealous of them, that they 
had sinned, and cursed God in their hearts — to 
have that day come upon them at unawares, like a 
thief in the night, when perhaps their heads were 
overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness; this 
could not but add much to his grief, considering 
what a tender concern he always had for his chil- 
dren's souls, and that they were now out of the 
reach of the sacrifices he used to offer, according 
to the number of them all. See how all things 
came alike to all. Job's children were constantly 
prayed for by their father, and lived in love one 
with another, and yet came to this untimely end. 
[4. ] They died by a wind of the Devil's raising, 
who is the firince of the fiower of the air; (Eph. ii. 
2.) but it was looked upon to be an immediate hand 
of God, and a token of his wrath. So Bildad con- 
strued it; {ch. viii. 4.) Thy children have sinned 
against him, and he has cast them aivay in their 
transgressions. [5. ] They were taken away when 
he had most need of them to comfort him under all 
his other losses. Such miserable comforters are all 
creatures; in God only we have a present help at 
all times. 

20. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, 
and shaved his head, and fell down upon 
the ground, and worshipped, 21. And said. 
Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and 
naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, 
and the Lord hath taken away; blessed 
be the name of the Lord. 22. In all this 
fob sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. 

The Devil had done all lie desired leave to do 
against Job, to provoke him to curse God; he had 
touched all he had, touched it with a witness; he 
whom the rising sun saw the richest of all the men 
in the east, before niglit was poor to a proverb. If 
his riches had been, as Satan insinuated, the only 
principle of his religion, now that he had lost his 
nches, he had certainly lost his religion; but the 
account we have, in these verses, of his pious de- ! 
portment under his affliction, sufficiently proved the i 
Devil a liar, and Job an honest man. ' I 

I. He conducted himself like a man, under his 
afflictions; not stupid and senseless, like a stock or 
stone, not unnatural and unaffected at the death of i 
his children and servants; no, (v. 20.) he arose, I 
and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, which I 
were the usual expressions of great sorrow, to show 
that he Avas sensible of the hand of the Lord that | 
was gone out against him; yet he did not break out ; 
into any indecencies, nor discover any extravagant | 
passion; he did not faint away, but arose, as a j 
champion to the combat; he did not, in a heat, ! 
throw off his clothes, but very gravely, in confor- 
mity to the custom of the country, rent his mantle, 
his cloke, or outer garment; he did nr t passionately 
tear his hair, but deliberately shaved his head; by 
<tll which it appeared that he kept his temper, and 
bravelv maintained the possession and repose of his 

Vol. hi— C 



own soul, in the midst of all these provocations. 
The time when he began to show his teelings is ob- 
servable; it was not till he heard of tlie death t.f 
his children, and then he arose, then he rent liis 
mantle. A worldly unbelieving heart would have 
said, " Now that the meat is gone, it is well that 
the mouths are gone too; now that there are nj 
portions, it is well that there are no children;" but 
Job knew better, and would have been tliankful it 
Providence had spared his children, though he had 
had little or nothing for them, for Jehovah-jireh, 
the Lord ivill firovide. Some expositors, remem- 
bering that it was usual with the Jews to rend tlieir 
clothes when they heard blasphemy, conjtctuiv 
that Job rent his clothes in a holy indignation at the 
blasphemous thoughts which Satan now cast iiiti; 
his mind, tempting him to curse God. 

II. He conducted himself like a wise and gocd 
m.m, under his alfiiction, like a fierfect and ufx- 
right man, and one that feared God, and eschewed 
the evil of sin more than that of outward trouble. 

1. He humbled himself under the hand of God, 
and accommodated himself to the pro-, idences he 
was under, as one that knew Ixpw to want as well 
as how to abound. When God called to weeping 
and mourning, he wept and mourned, rent hin 
mantle, and shaved his head; and, as one tliat 
abased himself even to tlie dust before God, he fell 
down upon the ground, in a penitent sense of s!ii, 
and a patient submission to the will of God, accepting 
the punishment of his iniquity. Hereby lie sliowed 
his sincerity; {or hypocrites cry nottvhen God binds 
them. Job xxxvi. 13. Hereby he prepared himself 
to get good by the affliction; for how can we im- 
prove the grief which we will not feel? 

2. He composed himself with quieting conside- 
rations, that he might not be disturbed, and put cut 
of the possession of his own soul by these events: 
he reasons from the common state of human life, 
which he describes with application to liimscif; 
JVa/ced came I (as others do) out of my mother's 
ivomb, and naked shall I return thither, into the 
lap of our common mother, the earth; as the child, 
when it is sick or weary, lays its head in its m.o- 
ther's bosom. Dust we were in our original, and 
to dust we return in our exit, (Gen. iii. 19.) to the 
earth as we were; (Eccl. xii. 7.) 7iaked shall we 
return thither, wlience we were taken, namely, to 
the clay, Job xxxiii. 6. St. Paul refers to this of 
Job, (1 Tim. vi. 7.) We brought nothing of this 
world s goods into the world, but have them from 
others; and /; is certain that we caji carry nothing 
out, but must leave them to others. We come into 
the world naked; not only unarmed, but unclothed, 
helpless, shiftless, not so well covered and fenced 
as other creatures. The sin we are born in, makes 
us naked to our shame, in the eves of the lioly Uod. 
We go out of the world naked; the bodv doesj 
though the sanctified soul gees clothed, 2 Cor. v. 
3. Death strips us of all our enjoyments; clothing 
can neither warm nor adorn a dead body. This 
consideration silenced Job under all his losses. (1. ) 
He is but where he was at first; be looks upon 
himself only as naked, not maimed, not wounded: 
he was himself still his own man, when nothins; 
else was his own, and therefore but reduced to his 
first condition. Xemo tam pauper potest esse quam 
-natus est — A'o one can be so poor as he was wheri 
born. Mm. Felix. If we are impoverished, we 
are not wronged, nor much hurt, for we are but as 
we were born. (2.) He is but where he must hfve 
been at last, and is oniv unclothed, or unloaded • 
rather, a little sooner than he expected. If v.-e 
put off our clothes before Ave go to bed, it is some 
inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when 
it is near bed-time. 

3. He gave glory to God, and expressed himself 



JOB, II. 



■ipon this occasion with a great veneration for the 
Divine Providence, and an awful submission to its 
disposals; we may well rejoice to find Job in this 
good frame, because this was the very thing upon 
which the trial of his integrity was put, though he 
did not know it. Tiie Devii said that he would, 
under his affliction, curse God; but he blessed him, 
,ir>d so proved himself an honest man. 

(1.) He acknowledged the hand of God both in 
the mercies he had formerly enjoyed, and in the af- 
flictions he was now exercised with: The Lord 
gave, and the Lord halh taken awaij. We must 
own the Divine Providence, [!•] I^^ all our comforts. 
God gave us our being, made us, and 7iot we our- 
selves, gave us our wealth; it was not our own inge- 
nuity or industry that enriched us, but God's blessing 
on our cares and endeavours; he gave us power to 
get wealth; not only made the creatures for us, but 
bestowed upon us our share. [2. ] In all our crosses. 
The same that gave, hath taken away; and may he 
not do what he will with his own? See how he looks 
above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First 
Cause; he does not say, " The Lord gave, and the 
Sabeans and Chaldeans have taken away; God made 
me rich, and the Devil has made me poor;" but, 
"He that gave, has taken;" and, for that reason, 
he is dumb, and has nothing to say, because God 
did it: He that gave all, may take which and when, 
how and how much, he pleases. Seneca could 
argue thus, Abstulit, ned et dedit — He took away, 
but he also gave; and Epictetus excellently, (cap. 
15. ) " When thou art deprived of any comfort, sup- 
pose a child taken away by death, or a part of thy 
estate lost, say not uTr^Afo-* uutc — I have lost it; but, 
iTTsSaiKA — I have restored it to the right owner. But 
thou wilt object, (says he) xaxo? I ucpsAc^sno; — He is 
a bad man, that has robbed me; to which he an- 
swers, Ti J'i <roi y.iAii — What is it to thee, by what 
hand he that gives re?nands what he gave? 

(2.) He adores God in both. When all was gone, 
he fell down and worshipped. Note, Afflictions 
must not divert us from, but quicken us to, tlie ex- 
ercise of religion. Weeping must not hinder sow- 
ing, nor hinder worshipping. He eyed not only the 
hand of God, but the name of God, in his afflicti' ms, 
and gave glory to that. Blessed be the name of the 
Lord. He has still the same great and good thoughts 
of God that ever he had, and is as foi'ward as ever 
to speak tliem forth to his praise; and can find in 
his heart to bless (iod, even when he takes away, 
as well as when he gives. Thus must we sijig both 
of mercy and judgment, Ps. ci. 1. [1.] He blesses 
God f.ir what was gi\ en, though now it was taken 
'tway. When our comforts are i-emoved from us, 
we must thank God that ever we had them, and 
had them so much longer than we deserved. Na\', 
[2.] He adores God, even in taking away, and gives 
him honour by a willing submission; nay, he gi\es 
him thanks for good designed him by his afflic- 
tions, for gracious supports under his afflictions, 
and the believing hopes he had of a happy issue at 
last. 

Lasthi, Here is the honourable testimony which 
tlie Hoi}' Ghost gives to Job's constancy and good 
conduct imder his afflictions. He passed his trials 
with applause, v. 22. In all this. Job did not act 
amiss, for he did not attribute folly to God, nor in 
the leust reflect iqjon his wisdom in what he had 
done. Discontent and imixitience do, in effect, 
charge God with folly. Against the workings of 
these, therefore, Job carefully watched; and so 
must we, acknowledging, that as Ciod has done 
light, but we have done wickedly, soCiod has done 
wisely, but we have done foolishly, very foolishly. 
They who not only keep their temper under crosses 
:ind provocations, but keep up good thoughts of God 
and sweet communion with liim, whetlier thci:- J 



praise be of men or no, it will be of God, as Job here 
was. 

CHAP. II. 

We left Job honourably acquitted, upon a fair trial be 
tween God and Satan concerning him. Satan had leave 
to touch, to touch and take, all he had, and was confi- 
dent that he would then curse God to his (ace; but, oi> 
the contrary, he blessed him, and so he was proved 
an honest man, and Satan a false, accuser. Now, one 
would have thought, this had been conclusive, and that 
Job should never have had his reputation called in ques- 
tion again: but Job is known to be armour of proof, and 
therefore is here set up for a mark, and brought upon his 
trial, a second time. I. Satan moved for another trial 
which should touch his bone and his flesh, v. 1 . . 5. II. 
God, for holy ends, permits it, v. 6. III. Satan smites 
him with a very painful and loathsome disease, v. 7, 8. 
IV. His wife tempts him to curse God, but he resists the 
temptation, v. 9, 10. V. His friends come to condole 
with him, and to comfort him, v, II . . 13. And in this 
that good man is set forth for an example of suffering 
affliction and of patience. 

1 . A G A I N there was a day when the sons 
XjL of God came to present themselves 
before the Lord, and Satan came also 
among them to present himself before the 
Lord. 2. And the Lord said unto Satan, 
From whence comest thou? And Satan an- 
swered the Lord, and said. From going to 
and fro in the earth, and from walking up 
and down in it. 3. And the Lord said un- 
to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant 
Jol), that there is none like him in the earth, 
a perfect and an upright man, one that fear- 
eth God, and escheweth evil? and still he 
holdeth fast his integrity, although thou 
movedst me against him, to destroy him 
without cause. 4. And Satan ans\^ered 
the Lord, and said. Skin for skin; yea, all 
that a man hath will he give for his life: 5. 
But put forth thy hand now, and touch his 
bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to 
thy face. 6. And the Lord said unto Sa- 
tan, Behold, he is in thy hand ; but save his 
life. 

Satan, that sworn enemy to God and all good 
men, is here pushing forward his malicious prose- 
cution of Job, whom he hated because God loved 
liim, and did all he could to separate between him 
and his God, to sow discord, and make mischief, 
l)etween them, urging God to afflict him, and then 
urging him to blaspheme God. One would ha\ e 
thought that he had enough of his former attempt 
upon Job, in which he was so shamefully baffled and 
disa])pointcd; but malice is restlessj the Devil and 
his instruments are so. They that calumniate good 
people, and accuse them falsely, will have their 
saying, though the evidence to the contrary i^e ever 
so'plain and full, and they ha\ e been cast in the 
issue which they themselves have put it upon. Sa- 
tan will have Jciij's cause called over I'.gain. The 
malicious, unreasonable, importunity of that great 
persecutor of the saints is represented, (Rev. xii. 
10.) by his accusing them before our God day and 
night, still repeating and urging that against them 
wiiich lias been many a time answered: so did Satan 
here accuse Job day after day. Here is, 

I. The court set, and the prosecutor, or accuser, 
making his appearance, {v. 1, 2.) as before, ch. i. 
6, 7. The angels attended (}od's throne, and Satan 



JOB, II. 



19 



among them. One would have expected him to 
come and confess his mahce against Job, and his 
mistake concerning "him; to cry, Peccavi — / have 
done wrong, for belying one whom God spake well 
of, and to beg pardon; but, instead of that, he comes 
with a further design against Job. He is asked the 
same question as before, IV/ience contest thou? And 
answers as before, From going- to and fro in the 
earth; as if he liad been doing no harm, though he 
had been abusing that good man. 

II. Tiie Judge himself of counsel for the accused, 
and pleading for him; \y. 3.) " Haul thou consider- 
ed my servant Job better than thou didst, and art 
thou now at length convinced that he is a faithful 
servant of n)ine, a fierfect and an upright man; for 
thou seest he still holds fust his integrity'^" This is 
now added to his character as a further achieve- 
ment; intitead of letting go his religion, and cursing 
God, he holds it faster than ever, as that which he 
has now more than (U'dinary occasion for; he is the 
same in adversity that he was in prosperity, and 
rather better, and more hearty and li\eiy in bless- 
ing God th:m ever he was, and takes root the faster 
for being thus shaken. See, 1. How Satan is con- 
demned for his allegations against Job; Ihou mov- 
edst me against him, as an accuser, to destroy him 
ivi'.hout cause. Or, "Thou in vam movedst me 
to destrov him, for I will never do that." Good 
men, when they are cast down, are not destroyed, 
2 Cor. iv. 9. How well is it for us, that neither 
men nor de\ ils ar*^ to be our judges, for perhaps 
they would destroy us, right or wrong; but our 
Judgment pr. ceedsfrom the Lord, whose judgment 
never errs, or is biassed. 2. How Job is commend- 
ed for his constancy, notwithstanding the attacks 
made upon him; " Still he holds fast his integrity, 
as his weapon, and thou canst not disarm him; as 
his treasure, and thou canst not rob him of tliat; 
nay, thine endeavours to do it make him hold it the 
faster; instead of losing ground by the temptation, 
he gets ground." God speaks of it with wonder, 
and pleasure, and something of triumph in the pow- 
er of his own grace; Still he holds fast his integrity. 
Thus the trial of Jdb's faith was found to his p7-aise 
and honour, 1 Pet. i. 7. Constancy crowns integrit3% 

III. The accusation further prosecuted, v. 4. 
What excuse can Satan make for the failure of his 
former attempt? What can he say to palliate it, 
when he had been so very confident that he should 
gain his point? Why, truly, he has this to sny,. Skin 
for skin, and all that a man has, will he give for 
his life. Something of truth there is in this, that 
self-iove and self-preservation are very powerful 
commanding principles in the hearts of men. Men 
love themselves better than their nearest relations, 
even their children, that are pieces of themsehes; 
will not only venture, but give, their estates to save 
their lives. All account life sweet and precious, 
and while they are themselves in health and at ease, 
they can keep trouble from their hearts, whatever 
they lose. We ought to make a good use of this 
consideration, and while God continues to us our 
life and health, and the use of our limbs and senses, 
we should the more patiently bear the loss of other 
comforts. See Matth. vi. 25. 

But Satan grounds upon this an accusation of Job, 
slily representing him, 1. As unnatural to those 
about him, and one that laid not to heart the death' 
of his children and servants, nor cared how many 
of them had their skins (as I may say) stripped 
over their ears, so long as he slept in a whole skin 
himself As if he that was so tender of his chil- 
dren's souls, could be careless of their bodies, and, 
like the ostrich, hardened against his young ones, 
as though they were not his. 2. As wholly selfish, 
and minding nothing but his own ease and safetv, as 
if his religion made him sour, and morose, and ill- 



natured. Thus are the ways and people of Gf;d 
often misrepresented by the De\ il and his agents. 

IV. A challenge given to make a further trial cf 
Job's integrity; {v. 5.) " Put forth thine hand nor.', 
(for I find ?ny hand too short to reach him, and t'.o 
weak to hurt him,) and touch his bone and his fiesh, 
(that is with him the only tender part, 7nake him 
sick with smiting him, Mic." \i. 13.) and then, I dare 

' say, he will curse thee to thy face, and let go his in- 
tegrity." Satan knew it, and we find it by expe- 
rience, that nothing is more likely to luftle the 
thoughts, and put the mind into disorder, than ac ute 
; pain and distemper of body. There is no disputing 
I against sense. St. Paul himself had mucli ado to 
[ bear a thorn in the flesh, nor could he have borne it 
without special grace from Christ, 2 Cor. xii. 7, 9. 

V. A permission granted to Satan to make this 
trial, V. 6. Satan would have had God put forth his 
hand and do it; but he afflicts not willingly, nor 
takes any pleasure in grieving the children of men, 
much less his own children; (Lam. iii. 33.) and 
therefore, if it must be done, let Satan do it, who 
delights in such work: He is in thine hand, do thy 
worst with him; (but with a proviso and limitation;) 
only save his life, or his soul. Afflict him, but not 
to death. Satan hunted for the precious life, would 
ha\ e taken that if he might, in hopes that dying 
agonies would have forced Job to curse his God; 
but (iod had mercy in store for Job after this trial, 
and therefore he must survive it, and, however he 
is afflicted, must have his life given him for a prey. 
If Ciod did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon 
would he de\our us! As far as he permits the wrath 
of "Satan and wicked men to proceed against his 
people, he will make it turn to his praise and their's, 
and the 7'e?nainder thereof he will restrain, Ps. 
Ixxvi. 10. " Save his soul," that is, "his reason;" 
(so some;) "preserve to him the use of that, for, 
otherwise, it will be no fair trial; if, in his delirium, 
he should curse God, that will be no disproof of his 
integrity. It would be the language not of his heart, 
but of his distemper.'" 

Job, in being thus maligned by Satan, ^yas a type 
of Christ, the first prophecy of whom was, that Sa- 
tan should bruise his heel, (Gen. iii. 15.) and so he 
was foiled, as in Job's case. Satan tempted him to 
let go his integrity, his adoption; (Matth. iv. 6.) 
If thou be the Son of God. He entered into the 
heart of Judas who betrayed Christ, and (some 
think) with his terrors put Christ into his agony in 
the garden. He had permission to touch his bone 
and his flesh, without exception of his life, because 
by dying he was to do that which Job could not do; 
destroy him that had the power of death, that is the 
Devil. 

7. So went Satan forth from the presence 
of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils, 
from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8. 
And he took him a potsherd to scrape him- 
self withal ; and he sat down among the 
ashes. 9. Then said his wife unto him, Dost 
thon still retain thine integrity? Curse God, 
and die. 10. But he said unto her, Thou 
speakest as one of the foohsh women speak- 
eth. What! shall we receive good at the 
hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? 
In all this did not Job sin with his lips. 

The Devil, having got leave to tear and Wurry 
poor Job, presently fell to work with him, as a tor- 
mentor first, and then a- tempter. His own children 
he tempts first, and draws them to sin, and after- 
ward torments, when thereby he has brought then* 



20 



JOB, 11. 



t:> ruin; but this child of God he tormented with af- 
Riction, and then tempted to make a bad use of 
his affliction. That which he airted at, was, to 
make Job curse God; now here we are told what 
course he took both to move him to it, and mo\e it 
to him; both to give him the provocation, else it 
would be to no purpose to urge him to it, and to give 
him the information, else he would not have thought 
of it: thus artfully is the temptation managed with 
;iU the subtilty of the old serjDent, who is here play- 
ing the same game against Job that he played 
;igainst our first parents; (Gen. 3.) aiming to seduce 
lum from his allegiance to his God, and to rob him 
of his integrity. 

I. He provokes him to curse God, by smiting him 
with sore boils, and so making him a burthen to 
himself, x<. 7, 8. The former attack was extreme- 
ly violent, but Job kept his ground, bravely made 
good the pass, and carried the day : yet he is still 
imt girding on the harness, there is worse behind; 
the clouds return after the rain; Satan, by the di- 
vine permission, follows his blow, and now deep 
calls unto deep. 

1. The disease was very grievous with which Job 
WHS seized; S;itan .s-mote /ii?n iv'uli boils, sore boils, 
all over him, from head to foot; with an evil inflam- 
mation, so some render it; an erysipelas, perhaps, 
in a higher degree. One boil, v/hen it is gathering, 
is torrnent enough, and gives a man abundance f f 
pain and uneasiness. What a condition was Job 
then in, that had boils all over him, and no part 
free, and those of as raging a heat as the De\ il could 
make them, and, as it were, set on fire of hell 1 The 
small-pox is a \ery grievous and painful disease, 
and would be much more terrible than it is, but that 
we know the extremity of it ordinarily lasts but a 
few days; how grievous then was Job's disease, who 
was sniitten all over with sore boils or grievous ul- 
cers, which make him sick at heart, put him to 
exquisite torture, and to spread themselves o\er 
him, th.1t he could lay himself no way for any ease. 
If at any time we be exercised with sore and griev- 
ous distempers, let us not think ourselves dealt with 
any otherwise than as God has sometimes dealt with 
the best of his saints and servants. We know not 
how much Satan may have a hand (by divine per- 
mission) in the diseases with which the children of 
men, and especially the children of God, are afflict- 
ed ; what infections that prince of the air may spread, 
what inflammations may come from that fiery ser- 
l)ent. We read of one whom Satan had bound many 
vears, Luke xiii. 16. Should God suffer that roar- 
ing lion to have his will against any of us, how mise- 
rable would he soon make us! 

2. His management of himself, in this distemper, 
was verv strange, i\ 8. 

(1.) Instead of healing salves he took a potsherd, 
a piece of a broken pitcher, to scrafie himself with- 
al: a very sad pass this poor man was come to. 
When a man is sick and sore, he may bear it the 
Ijetter, if he be well tended and carefully looked 
after: many rich, people have, with a soft and ten- 
der hand, charitably ministered to the poor in such 
•I condition as this; even Lazarus had some ease 
from the tongues of the dogs that came and licked his 
sores; but poor Job has no help afforded him. [1.1 
Nothing is done to his sores but what he does himself, 
with his own hands. His children and servants are 
all dead, his wife unkind, ch. xix. 17. He has not 
wherewithal to fee a physician, or surgeon; and, 
which is most sad of all, none of those he had for- 
merly been kind to had so much sense of honour 
and gratitude as to minister to him in his distress, 
and lend him a hand to dress or wipe his running 
sores, either because the disease was loathsome 
.ind noisome, or because they apprehended it to be 
■nf'.-ctious. Thus it was in the former days, as it 



will be in the last days; men were i vers of their 
own selves, unthankful, and without natural affec- 
tion. [2. ] All that he docs to his sores is, to scrape 
them; they are not bound up with s( ft rags, i,< r 
mollified with ointment, not washed or kept clean: 
no healing plasters laid on them, no opiates, no 
anodynes, ministered to the poor patier.t, to alle- 
viate the pain, and compose him to rest, nor nay 
cordials to support his spirits; all the operatic n is 
the scraping of the ulcers, which, when they a ere 
come to a head, and began to die, made his h( dy 
all over like a scurf, as is usual in the end <f ih'e 
small-pox. It would ha\e been an endless iliing to 
dress his boils one by one, he therefore res'hes 
thus to do it by wholesale; a remedy wh'ch >• ne 
would think as bad as the disease. [3.] He h ;S 
nothing to do this with but a potsherd, no surgcu's 
instrument proper for the purpose, but tlu.t which 
would rather rake into his wounds, and add to his 
pain, than give him any ease. Pti^ple that are sick 
and sore, have need to be under the discipline and 
direction of others, for they are often but b;-.d 
managers of themselves. 

(2.) Instead of reposing himself in a soft and 
warm bed, he sat down among the ashes. Probably 
he had a bed left him; (for, though his fields were 
stripped, we do not find that his house was burnt or 
plundered;) but he chose to sit in the ashes, either 
because he was weary of his bed, or because he 
would put himself into the place and posture of a 
penitent, who, in token of his self-abhorrence, lay 
in dust and ashes, ch. xlii. 6. Isa. Iviii. 5. Jon. iii. 6. 
Thus did he humble himself under the mighty hand 
of God, and bring his mind to the meanness and 
poverty of his condition. He complains, {ch. \ii. 5.) 
that his flesh was clothed with worms, and c/orfs ' /' 
dust; and therefore dust to dust, ashes to ashes. If 
God lay him among the ashes, there he will con- 
tentedly sit down; a low spirit becomes low circum- 
stances, and will help to reconcile us t" them. The 
Septuagint reads it, He sat down upon a dunghill 
without the city; (which is commonly said, in men- 
tioning this story;) but the original says no mri-e 
than that he sat iyi the midst of the ashes, which he 
might do in his own house. 

II. He urges him, by the persuasions of his own 
wife, to curse God, v. 9. The Jews (who covet 
much to be wise above what is written) say that 
Job's wife was Dinah, Jacob's daughter: so the 
Chaldee paraphrase. It is not likely that she was; 
but, whoever it was, she was to him like Michal 
to David, a scoffer at his piety. She was spared to 
him, when the rest of his comforts were taken 
away, for this piu'pose, to be a troubler and tempter 
to him. If Satan leaves any thing that he has per- 
mission to take away, it is with a design of mischief. 
It is policy to send his temptations by the hand of 
those tha*. are dear to us, as he tempted Adam by 
Eve, and Christ by Peter. We must therefore 
carefully watch, that we be not drawn to say or do 
a wrong thing by the influence, interest, or en- 
treaty, of any, no' n< t those for whose (;pini(^n and 
favour we have ever so great a \alue. Observe 
how strong this temptation was, 

I. She banters Job for his constancy in his reli- 
gion; "Dost thou still retain thine integritij? Art 
thou so verv obstinate in thy religion, that nothing 
will cure thee of it? So tame and shee]Msh, as thus 
to truckle to a God, who is so far from rewarding 
thy services with marks of his favour, that he 
seems to take a pleasure in making thee miserable, 
strips thee, and scourges thee, without any provo- 
cation given? Is this a God to be still loved, and 
blessed, and served?" 

Dost thou not see that thy drvolion's vain? 

What have thy pravei^ procur'd, but woe and paii,'' 

Hast thou not yet liiine inl'rest undeisuuid'' 

Perversely righteous, and absurdly jot d"* 



JOB, II 



21 



Those painful soros, and all tliy losses, show 
Hiiw Heaven n -sards ihi; foolish saiuls below. 
Iiicuirigibly pious ! Can'! thy God 
Reform lliy siupiil virtue with his rod? 

Sir R. Blackmore. 

Thus Satan still endeavours to draw men from 
God, as he did our first pai'cnts, by suggesting hard 
thoughts of him, as one that envies the happiness, 
and delights in the misery, of his creatures, than 
which nothing is more false. Another artifice he 
uses, ;s, to drive men from their religion, by load- 
ing tliem witli scoffs and reproaches i^M their ad- 
herence to it: we have reason to expect it, but we 
arc fools if we heed it: our Master himself has un- 
dergone it, we sliall be abundantly recompensed for 
It, and with much more reason may we revnt it 
upon the scoffers, " Are you such fools as still to 
retain your impiety, when you might diess God, 
and live?" 

2. She urges him to renounce his religion, to 
blaspheme (iod, set him at defiance, and dare him 
to do his worst; " Curse God, and die; live no 
longer in dependence upon Ciod, wait not for relief 
from him, ijut be tiiine own deliverer, by being 
thine own executioner, end thy troubles by ending 
tliy life, better die once than be always dying thus; 
th'iu mayest now despair of having any help from 
thy God, even curse him, and hang thyself." 
These are two of the blackest and most horrid of all 
S itan's temptatijns, and yet such as good men ha\ e 
sometimes been violently assaulted with: nothing is 
more contrary to natural conscience than blas- 
plieming God, nor to natural sense than self-mur- 
der; therefv)re the suggestion of either of these may 
well be suspected to come immediately from Satan. 
Loi-d, lead us not into temptation, not into such, 
not into any, temptation, but deliver us from the 
evil one. 

III. He bravely resists and overcomes the temp- 
tation, V. 10. He soon gave her an answer, (for 
Satan spared him the use of his tongue, in hopes 
he would curse God with it,) which showed his 
constant .resolution to cleave to God, to keep his 
good thoughts of him, and not to let go his inte- 
grity. 

See, 1. How he resented the temptations; he 
was indignant at having such a thing mentioned to 
him; "What! Curse God? I abhor the thought of 
it; get thee behind me, Satan." In other cases. 
Job reasoned with his wife with a great deal of 
mildness, even when she was unkind to him; (ch. 
xix. 17.) / entreated her for the children's sake of 
my own body. But when she persuaded him to 
curse God, he was much displeased; Thou sp.eakest 
as one of the foolish women sfieaketh. He does not 
call her a fool, and an atheist, nor does he break 
out into any indecent expressions of his displeasure, 
as those who are sick and sore are apt to do, and 
think they may be excused; but he shows her the 
rvW of what she said, that she spake the language 
<if the infidels ;md idolaters, who, when they are 
hard hi bestead, fret themselves, and curse their king 
and their God, Isa. viii. 21. We have reason to 
suppose, that, in such a pious household as Job had, 
his wife was one that had been well-affected to re- 
ligion, but that now, when all their estate and com- 
fort were gone, she could not bear the loss with 
that temper of mind that Job had; but that she 
should go about to infect his mind with her wretch- 
ed distemper, was a great provocation to him, and 
he could not forbear thus showing his resentment. 
Note, (1.) Those are angry and sin not, who are 
angrr only at sin, and take a temptation as the 
greatest affront; who cannot bear them that are 
evil, Rev. ii. 2. When Peter was a Satan to Christ, 
he told him plainly. Thou art an offence to me. (2. ) 
If those whom we think wise and good, at any time 
speak that which is foolish and bad, we O'lght tore- 



prove them faithfully for it, and show them the e\ ;i 
of what they suy, that we suffer not sin upon them. 
(3.) Temptations to curse God ought to be rejected 
with the greatest abhonence, and not so much as to 
be parleyed with: whoe\ er persuades us to tliat, 
must be looked upon as our enemy, to whom if we 
yield it is at our peril. Job did not ciirseGnd, and then 
think to come off with Adam's excuse. The woman 
whom thou gavest to be with me, she persuaded vie 
to it, (Gen. iii. 12. ) which had in it a tacit reflection 
on God, his ordinance, and providence; no, if thou 
scornest, if thou cursest, thou alone shait bear it. 

2. How he reasoned against the temptation; Shall 
•w receive good at the hand of God, and shall we 
noi, receive evil also? Those whom we reprove, we 
must endeai^our to con\ ince; and it is no hard mat- 
ter to give a reason why we should still hold fust 
our integrity, evei. when we are stripped of every 
thing else. He considers that though good and 
evil are contraries, yet they do not come from con- 
trary causes, but both from the hand of God; (Isa. 
xlv. 7. Lam. iii. 38.) and therefore t'lat in both we 
must have our eye up unto him, with cbankfulness 
for the good he sends, and without fretfulnes* at the 
evil. Observe the force of his argument, 

(1.) What he argiies /or; not only the bearing, 
but the receiving, of evil; Shall we not receive 
evil? that is, [1.] " Shall we not expect to receive 
it.'' If God give us so many good things, shall we be 
surprised, or think it strange, if he sometimes 
afflict us, when he has told us that prosperity 
and adversity are set the one over-against the 
other.?" 1 Pet. iv. 12. [2.] " Shall we not set our- 
selves to receive it aright.'" The woi-d signifies to 
receive as a gift, and denotes a pious affection and 
disposition of soul under our afflictions, neither 
despising them nor fainting under tliem, accounting 
them gifts; (Phil. i. 29.) accepting them as punish- 
ments of our iniquity; (Lev. xxvi. 41.) acquiescing 
in the will of God in them; ("Let him do with me 
as seemeth him good;") and accommodating our- 
selves to them, as those that know how to want as 
well as how to abound, Phil. iv. 12. When the 
heart is humbled, and weaned, by humbling wean- 
ing providences, then we receive correction, (Zech. 
iii. 2. ) and take up our cross. 

(2.) What he argues/ro7«; " Shall we receive so 
much good as has come' to us from the hand of God, 
during all those years of peace and prosperity that 
we have lived; and shall we not now receive evil, 
when God thinks fit to lay it on us.'" Note, The 
consideration of the mercies we receive from God, 
both past and present, should make us receive our 
afflictions with a suitable disposition of spirit. If 
we receive our share of the conmion good in the 
seven years of plenty, shall we not receive or.r 
share of the common evil in the years of famine.' 
Qui sensit commodum, sentire debet et onus — He 
who feels the privilege, should prepare for the pri- 
vation. If we have so much that pleases us, why 
should we not be content with that which pleases 
God.' If we receive so many comforts, shall we not 
receive some afflictions, which will serve as fi.ilsto 
our comforts, to make them the more valuable; (we 
are taught the worth of mercies, by being made to 
want them sometimes;) and as allays to our com- 
forts, to make them the less dangerous, to keep 
the balance e\ en, and to prevent our being liped up 
above measure? 2 Cor. xii. 7. If we receive so 
much good for the body, shall we not receive some 
good for the soul; that is, some afflictions, bv 
which we partake of God's holiness; (Heb. xii. 
10.) srimething which, by saddening the coun- 
tenance, makes the heart better.' Let murmuring, 
therefore, as well as boasting, be for ever ex- 
cluded. 
IV. Thus, in a good measui-e, Job still held fast 



'22 



JOB, II. 



his integrity; and Satan's design against him was 
ilefeated. In all this did not Job sm with his lifis; 
he not only said this well, but all he said, at this 
tinie, was under the go\ernnient of religion and 
right reason: in the midst of all these grievances, 
he did not speak a word amiss; and we have no 
reason to think, but that he also preserved a good 
temper of mind, so that though there might be 
some stirrings and risings of corruption in his heart, 
yet grace got the upper hand, and he took care that 
t:ie root of bitterness might not spring up to trouble 
him, Heb. xii. 15. The abundance of his heart 
was for God, produced good things, and suppressed 
the evil that was there, which was out-voted by the 
better side. If he did think any evil, yet he laid 
his hand ufion his mouth, (Prov. xxx. "32.) stifled 
the evil thouglit, and let it go no further; by which 
it appeared, not only that he had true grace, bat 
that It was strong, and victorious; in short, that he 
had not forfeited the cliai-acter oi ii/irrfcct and u/i- 
right mail; for so he appears to be, who, in tiie 
midst of sucl\ temptation, offends not in word, 
Jam. iii. 2. Ps. x\ii. 3. 

1 1 . Now vvlieu Job's three friends lieard 
of all this evil that was come upon him, 
they came every one from his own place ; 
Elipliaz the Temanite, and Biidad the Shu- 
hite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they 
had made an appointment together to come 
to mourn with him, and to comfort him. 
12. And when they lifted up their eyes 
afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up 
their voice and wept; and they rent every 
one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon 
their heads toward heaven. 13. So they 
sat down with him upon the ground seven 
days and seven nights, and none spake a 
word unto him : for they saw that his grief 
was very great. 

We have here an account of the kind visit which 
Job's three friends made him in his affliction. The 
news of his extraordinary troubles spread into all 
parts; he being an eminent man, both for greatness 
and goodness, and the circumstances of his troubles 
being very uncommon. Some, who were his ene- 
mies, triumphed in his calamities; (c/i. xvi. 10. — 
xix. 18. — xxx, 1, tfc.) perhaps they made ballads 
on him: but his friends concerned themselves for 
him, and endeavoured to comfort him; a friend 
loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adver- 
sity. Three of them are here named, {v. 11.) 
Eliphaz, Biidad, and Zophar. We shall meet with 
a fourth after, who, it should seem, was present at 
the whole conference, namely, Eliliu; whether he 
came as a friend of Job, or only as an auditor, does 
not appear: these three are said to be hhfrierids, 
his intimate acquaintances, as David and Solomon 
had each of them one in their court, that was called 
the king's friend. These three were eminently 
wise and good men, as appears by their discourses; 
they were old men, very old, they liad a great re- 
putation for knowledge, and much deference was 
paid to their judgment, ch. xxxii. 6. It is probable 
that they were men of figure in their country — 
princes, or heads of houses. Now observ e, 

I. That Job, in his prosperity, had contracted a 
friendship with them: if they were his equals, yet 
he had not that jealousy of them; if his inferiors, 
yet he had not that disdain of them, which was any 
hinderance to an intimate converse and correspon- 



dence with them. To have such friends, added 
more to his happiness in the day of his prospent} , 
than all the heads of cattle he was master of. 
Much of the comfort of this life lies in acquaint- 
ance and friendship witli those that are prudent and 
virtuous; and he that lias a few such friends, ought 
to value them highly. Job's three friends are sup 
posed to be all of them of the posterity of Aijra 
ham, which, for some descents, c en in the families 
that were shut out from the covenant of peculiarity, 
retained some good fruits of that pious education 
which the father of the faithful gave to thi se under 
his charge. Eliphaz descended from Tem m, the 
grandson of Esau; (Gen. xxx\i. 11.) Biidad i^it is 
probable) from Shuah, Abraham's son by Keturah, 
Gen. XXV. 2. Zophar is thought by some to be the 
same wit.i Zepho, a descendant from Esau, Gen. 
xxx\i. 11. The preserving of so much wisdom and 
piety among those that were sti'angers to the cove- 
nantsof promise, was a happy presage' of God's grace 
to the Gentiles, when the partition wall should, in the 
latter days, be taken down. Esau was rejected; yet 
many that came from him inherited some of the 
best blessuigs. 

II. That they continued their friendship with 
Job in his adversity, when most of his friends liad 
forsaken him, ch. xix. 14. Two ways they showed 
their friendship, 

1. By the kind visit they made him in his afflic- 
tion, to mourn with him, and to comfort him, v. 11. 
Probably, they had been wont to \ isit him in his 
prosperity, not to hunt or hawk with him, not to 
dance or play at cards with him, but to entertain 
and edify themselves with his learned and pious 
converse; and now, that he was in adversity, they 
came to share with him in his griefs, as formerly 
they had come to share with him in liis comforts. 
These were wise men, whose heart was i" ''"- 
house of mourning, Eccl. vii. 4. Visiting the afflict 
ed, sick or sore, fatherless or childless, in their sor- 
row, is made abranch oi pure religion and undtjikdi 
(Jam. i. 27.) and, if done from a good principle, 
will be abundantly recompensed shortly, Matth. 
XXV. 36. By visiting the sons and daughters of afflic- 
tion, we may contribute to the improvement, (].) 
Of our own graces; for many a good lesson is t(j be 
learned from the trouliles of others; we may look 
upon them, and recei\e instruction, and be made 
wise and serious. (2. ) Of their comforts; by putting 
a respect upon them, we encourage them, and some- 
good word may be spoken to them, which may help 
to make them easy. Jc^b's friends came, not to 
satisfy their curiosity with an account of his troubles, 
and the strangeness of the circumstances of them; 
much less, as David's false friends, to make invi- 
dious remarks upon him, (Ps. xli. 6.. 8.) but to 
mourn with him, to mingle their tears with his, 
and so to comfort him. It is much more pleasant 
to visit those in affliction, to whom comfort belongs, 
than those to whom we must first speak con\ iction. 

Concerning these visitants, observe, [1.] That 
they were not sent for, but came of their own ac- 
cord; {ch. vi. 22.) whence Mr. Caryl observes, that 
it is good manriei's to be an unbidden guest at the 
house of mourning, and, in comforting our friends, 
to prevent their invitations. [2.] That thev made 
an appointment to come. Note, Good people should 
make appointments among tliemselves for doing 
good, so exciting and obliging one another to it, and 
assisting and encouraging one another in it. For 
the carrying on of any pi< us design, let hand join in 
hand. [3.] That they came with a design (and 
we have reason to think it was a sincere design) to 
comfort him, and yet pnned miserable comforters, 
through their unskilful management of his case. 
Many that aim well, by mistake, come shoi t of 
their aim. 



JOB, III. 



23 



2. By their tender sympathy with him and con- 
cern fi.r hini in his affliction; when they saw him 
at sonic distance, he was so disfigured and deformed 
witli h,s sores, that they kncvj him not, f. 12. Hs 
fa.c w.ia fo'.'l iDit/t ivfefiing, {c/i. xvi. 16.) like Je- 
ms ilem's N.iza ites, that had been ruddy as the 
rubitfi, but weie now blacker than a coal. Lam. iv. 
7, 8. Wliat a change will a sore disease, or, with- 
out that, oppi'essing care and grief, make in the 
countenance, in a little time! Is this J^aomi? Ruth 
i. 19. So, Is this Joby How art thou fallen! How 
IS thy glory stained and sullied, and all thine honour 
laid in the dust! God fit us for such changes! 

Observing him thus miserably altered, they did 
not leave him, in a fright or loathing, but expressed 
so much the more tenderness toward him. 

(1.) Coming to mourn with him, they vented their 
undissernbled grief in all the then usual expressions 
of that passion; they wept aloud; the sight of them, 
(as is usual,) revived Job's grief, and set him a-weep- 
ing afresh, which fetched floods of tears from their 
eyes. They rent their clothes, and sprinkled dust 
upon their heads, as men that would strip them- 
selves, and abase themselves, with their friend that 
was stripped and abased. 

(2.) Coming to comfort him, they sat down with 
nim upon the ground, for so he received visits; and 
they, not in compliment to him, but in true com- 
passion, put themselves into the same humble and 
uneasy place and posture. They had many a time, 
it is likely, sitten with him on his couches, and at 
his table, in his prosperity, and were therefore 
willing to share with him in his grief and po\erty, 
because they had shared with him in his joy and 
plenty. It was not a modish short visit that they 
made him, just to look upon him and be gone; but, 
as those that could have no enjoyment of themselves, 
if they had returned to their place, while their 
friend was in so much misery, they resolved to stay 
with him till they saw him mend or end, and there- 
fore took lodgings near him, though he was not now 
able to entertain them as he had done, and they 
must therefore bear their own charges. Every day, 
for seven days together, at the hours in which he 
admitted company, they came and sat with him, as 
liis companions in tribulation, and exceptions from 
that rule, JVullus ad admissas ibit amicus opes — They 
•who have lost their wealth, are not to exfiect the 
visits of their friends. 

They sat with him, but none spake a word to 
him, only they all attended to the particular naiTa- 
tives he gave of his troubles. They were silent, as 
men astonished and amazed; Cures leves loquuntur, 
ingentes stufient — Our lighter griefs have a voice; 
those which are more oppressive, are mute; or, ac- 
cording to Sir R. Blackmore, 

So lung a lime they held their peace, to show 
A reverence due lo suih prodigious woe. 

They spake not a word to him, whatever they 
said one to another, by way of instruction, for the 
improvement of the present providence. They 
said nothing to that purport to which afterward 
they said much — nothing to grieve him; {ch. iv. 2.) 
because they saw his grief was very great already, 
and they were loath at first to add affliction to the 
afflicted. There is a time to keep silence, when 
either the wicked is before us, and by speaking we 
niay harden them, (Ps. xxxix. 1. ) or when by speak- 
ing we may offend the generation of God's children, 
Ps. Ixxiii. 15. Their not entering upon the follow- 
ing solemn discourses till the seventh day, may per- 
haps intimate that it was the sabbath-day, which, 
doubtless, was obser\ ed in the patriarchal age, and 
to that day they adjourned the intended conference, 
because, probably, then company resorted, as usual, 
to Job's house, to join with him in his devotions, 
who might be edified by the discourse. Or rather, 



by their silence so long, they would intimate, thi.t 
what they afterwards said was well considered and 
digested, and the result of many thoughts. 'J'/,e 
heart of the wise studies to answer. We should 
Ih nk twice before we speak once, especiallv in 
such a case as this, think long, and we sliall be' the 
belter able to speak short and to the purpose. 

CHAP. 111. 

Ye have heard of the patience of Job, says the apostle, Jav.. 
V. 11. So »ve have, and of his inipatience too. We 
wondered that a man should be so patient as he was; 
(ch. i. and ii. ) but we wondered also, that a good muii 
should be so impatient as he is here in this chapter, 
where we find him cursing his day, and, in passion, 1. 
Complaining that he was born, v. 1 . . 10. II. Complain- 
iii"^ that he did not die as soon as he was born, v. 1 1 . . 1 9. 
III. Complaining that his life was now continued when 
he was in misery, v. 20. .26. In this, it must be owned 
that Job sinned with his lips, and it is written, not for 
our imitation, but our admonition, that he who thinks 
he stands, may take heed lest he fall. 

FTER this opened Job his mouth, 
and cursed his day. 2. And Job 
spake, and said, 3. Let the day perish 
wherein 1 was born, and the nigiit m tvhich 
it was said. There is a man child conceived. 
4. Let that day be darkness ; let not God 
regard it from above, neither let the light 
shine upon it. 5. Let darkness and the 
shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell 
upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify 
it. 6. As for that night, let darkness seize 
upon it ; let it not be joined unto the days 
of the year; let it not come into the numbt r 
of the months. 7. Lo, let that night be 
solitary; let no joyful voice come thereiis. 
8. Let them curse it that curse the day, wh.o 
are ready to laise up their mourning. 9. 
Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dai k ; 
let it look for light, but have none; neither 
let it see the daVvning of the day: 10. Be- 
cause it shut not up the doors of my mother's 
womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes. 

Long was Job's heart hot within him; while he 
was musing, the fire burned, and the more for be- 
ing stifled and suppressed; at length, he spake with 
his tongue, but not such a good word as David spake 
after a long pause. Lord, make me to know my end,' 
Ps. xxxix. 3, 4. Seven days the prophet Ezekiel 
sat down astonished with the captives, and then 
(probably on the sabbath-day) the word of the Lord 
came to him, Ezek. iii. 15, 16. So long job and his 
friends sat thinking, but said nothing; they wete 
afraid of speaking what they thought, lest thev 
should grieve him, and he durst not give vent to his 
thoughts, lest he .«hould ofFend them. They came 
to comfort him, but, finding his afflictions very ex- 
traordinary, they began to think comfort did n; t 
belong to him, suspecting him to be a hvpccrite, 
and therefore they said nothing. But loset s think 
they may have leave to speak, and tlierefore Jo!) 
gives vent first to his thoughts. Unless they had 
been better, it had been well if he had kept them 
to himself. 

In short, he cursed his day, the day of his birth, 
wished he had never been born, could not think ov 
speak of his own birth without regret and vexation. 
Whereas men usually observe the annual return of 
their birth-day with rejoicing, he looked upon it as 



24 



JOB, III. 



llxe unhappiest day of the year, because the unhap- 
piest of his hfe, being the inlet into all his woe. 
Now, 

I. This was bad enough. The extremity of his 
trouble and the discomposure of liis spirits may ex- 
cuse it in part, but he can by no means be justilied 
in it. Now lie has forgotten the good he was born 
to, the lean kine have eaten up the fat ones, and he 
is filled with thoughts of the evil only, and wishes 
he had never been born. The prophet Jeremiah 
himself expressed his resentment of his calamities, 
in language not much unlike this, I foe is me, rny 
mother, t/iat thou hunt borne me! (Jer. xv. 10.) 
Cursed be the day wherein. I was born, Jer. xx. 14, 
&c. We may suppose that Job, in his prosperity, 
had many a time blessed God for the day of his 
birth, and reckoned it a happy day; yet now he 
brands it with all possible marks of infamy. When 
we consider the iniquity in which we were conceiv- 
ed and born, we have reason enciugh to reflect with 
sorrow and shame upon the day of our birth, and to 
say that the day of our death, by which we are 
freed from sin, (Rom. vi. 7.) is far better, Eccl. 
vii. 1. But to curse the day of our birth, because 
then we entered upon the calamitous scene of life, 
is to quaiTel with the God of nature, to despise the 
dignity of our being, and to indulge a passion which 
our own calm and sober thoughts will make us 
ashamed of. Certainly there is no condition of life 
a man can be in in this world, but he may, in it, 
(if it be not his own fault,) so honour God, and 
workiout his own salvation, and make sure a happi- 
ness for himself in a better world, that he will have 
no reason at all to wish he had never been born, 
but a great deal of reason to say that he had his be- 
ing to good purpose. Yet 't iimst be owned, if 
there were not another life after this, and divine 
consolations to support us in the prospects of it, so 
many are«the sorrows and troubles of this, that we 
might sometimes be tempted to say that we were 
made in vain, (Ps. Ixxxix. 47.) and to wish we had 
ne\er been. There are those in hell, who, with 
good reason, wish they had never been born, as 
Judas, Matth. xxvi. 24. But, on this side hell, 
there can ^e no reason for so vain and ungrateful a 
wish. It was Job's folly and weakness to curse his 
day; we must say of it. This was his infirmity; but 
good men have sometimes failed in the exercise of 
those graces which they have been most eminent 
for, that we may understand, that, when they are 
said to be fierftct, it is meant that they weie up- 
right, not that they were sinless. Lastly, Let us 
observe it, to the honour of the spiritual life above 
the natural, that, though many have cursed the day 
of their first birth, never any cursed the day of their 
new birth, nor wished they ne\ er had had grace, 
and the spirit of grace given them; those are the 
most excellent gifts, above life and being itself, and 
whicli will never be a burthen. 

II. Yet it was not so bad as Satan promised him- 
self: Job cursed his day, but he did not curse his 
CJod; was weary of his life, and would gladly have 
parted with that, but not weary of his religion; he 
resolutely cleaves to that, and will ne\er let it go. 
The disjnite between God and Satan concerning 
Job, was not whether Job had his infirmities, and 
whether he was suljject to like passions as we are; 
(that was granted;) but whetlier he was a hypo- 
crite, and secretly hated (iod, and, if he were pro- 
voked, would show it: upon trial, it proved that he 
was no such man. Nay, all this may consist with 
his being a pattern of patience; for though he did 
thus speak unad\ isedly with his lips, yet, ijoth be- 
fore and after, he expressed great submission and 
resignation to tlic holy will of (iod, and repented of 
his impatience; he condemned himself tor it, and 
therefore God did not condemn him; nor must we, 



but watch the more carefully over ourselves, lest 
we sin after the similitude of this transgression. 

The particular expressions which Jub used, in 
cursing his day, are full of poetical fancy, flame, and 
rapture; and cieate as much difficulty to che ci-itics 
as the thing itself does to the divine's: we need not. 
be particular in our observations upon tliem. 

When he would express his passionate wish that 
he had never been, he falls foul upon the day; and, 

1. He wished that earth might forget it; Let it 
perish, v. 3. Let it not be joined to the days of the 
year, v. 6. "Let it be not only not inserted in the 
calendar in red letters, as the day < f tlie king's na- 
tivity useih to be," (and Job was a king, ch. xxix. 
ult.) "but let it be rased and blotted out, and bu- 
ried in oblivion. Let not the world know that ever 
such a man as I was bom into it, and lived in it, 
who am made such a spectacle of misery. " 

2. That Hea\en might frown ufion it; Let not 
God regard it from above, v. 4. "E. ery thing is 
indeed as it is with God; that day is honourable on 
which he puts honour, and which he distinguishes 
and crowns with his favour and blessing, as he did 
the seventh day of the week, but let my birth-day 
never be so honoured, let it be nigro carbone notan- 
dus — marked as with a black coal, for an evil day, 
by him that determines the times before appointed. 
1 he Father and Fountain of light appouited the 
greater light to rule the day, and lesser lights to 
rule the niglit; but let that want the benefit of both. " 
(1. ) Let that day be darkness; {v. 4.) and if the 
light of the day be darkness, hoiv great is that 
darkness! It is terrible, because then we look for 
light. Let the gloominess of the day represent 
Job's condition, whose sun went down at noon. (2.) 
As for that night too, let it want the benefit rf morn 
and stars, and let darkness seize upon it, thick dark- 
ness, darkness that may be felt, which will not be- 
friend the repose of the night by its silence, but 
rather disturb it with its terroi s. 

3. That all joy might forsake it; "Let it be a 
melancholy night, solitary, and not a mei ry night 
of music or dancing; let no joyful voice c^me there- 
in;" {y. 7.) "let it be a long night, and not see the 
eye-lids of the morning," (v. 9.) "which bring joy 
with them." 

4. That all curses m\%hX. follow it; [xk 8.) "Let 
none ever desire to see it, or bid it welcome when 
it comes, but, on the contrary, let them curse it that 
curse the day. Whatever day any are tempted to 
curse, let them at the same time besti.w rue ciirse 
upon my birth-day; particularly those th;it make it 
their trade to raise up mourning a' funenls wrh 
their ditties of lamentation. Let them that curse 
the day of the death of oth.ers, in the same breath 
curse tlie day of my birth." Or, those who are so 
fierce and daring as to be ready to raise u]j the 
Leviathan, for that is the word here; who, hcivig 
about to strike the whale or crocodile, curse it \<. ith 
the bitterest curse they can invent, hoping by thi^se 
incantations to weaken it, and so to make them- 
selves masters of it. Probably some such custom 
might there be used, to which cur divine poet a'- 
ludes. Let it be as odious as the day wherein men 
bewail the greatest misfortune, or the time ivhin- 
in they see the most dreadful apparitioji: so Bishf]) 
Patrick, I supprse, taking the Levi;:than liere to 
signify the Devil, as others do, who uiulcrsta; d it 
of the curses used by conjurers and magicians in 
raising the Devil, or when they have raised a devil 
that they cannot lay. 

But what is the ground of Job's quanel with the 
day and night of his birth? It is because it shut not 
up the doors of his mother^s womb, v. 10. See the 
folly and madness of a passionate discontent, and 
how absurdly and '^vtr^.vKgantly it talks, when the 
reins are laid on the neck of it. Is this Job, who 



JOB, III. 



25 



was so much admired for his wisdom, that unto him 
men gave ear, and kefil silence at his counsel, and 
after his vjords they spuke not ugaiii? ch. xxix. 21, 
22. Surely his wisdom failed liim, ^1.) When he 
took so much pains to express his desire that he 
had ne\ er been born, whicii, at the best, was a vain 
wisii, for it is impossible to make that which has 
been, not to have been. (2.) When he was so li- 
Dei'al of his curses upon a day and a night, that could 
not be liurt, or made ever the worse for his curses. 
(3.) When he wished a thing so very barbarous to 
his own iooiher, as that she might not have brouglu 
him forth, when her full time was come; wliich 
must ine\itdbly have been her death, and a mise- 
rable death. (4.) When he despised the goodness 
of God to him, (in giving him a being, sucli a being, 
so noble and excellent a life, such a life, so far 
abovC that of any other creature in this lower 
world,) and undervalued tiie gift, as not worth the 
acceptance, only because tratmt cum onere — it was 
clogged with a firoviso of trouble, which now, at 
length, came upon him, after many years' enjoy- 
ment of its pleasures. What a foolish thing it wa* 
to wish that his eyes had never seen the light, that 
so they might not have seen sorrow, which yet he 
might hope to see through, and beyond which he 
might see joy! Did Job believe and hope that he 
should m his flesh see God at the latter day; {ch. 
xix. 26.) and yet would he wish he never had had 
a being capable of such a bliss, only because, for the 
present, he had sorrow in the flesh? God, by his 
grace, arm us against this foolish and hurtful lust 
of impatience! 

1 1. Why died I not from the womb? lohi/ 
did I not give up the ghost when I came out 
of the belly ? 12. Why did the knees pre- 
vent me ? or why the breasts that I should 
suck ? 1 3. For now should I have lain still 
and been quiet, I should have slept : then 
had I been at rest, 14. With kings and 
counsellors of the earth, which built desolate 
places for themselves; 15. Or with princes 
that had gold, who filled their houses with 
silver: 16. Or as a hidden untimely birth 
1 had not been ; as infants which never saw 
light. 17. There the wicked cea.se from 
troubling ; and there the weary be at rest. 
18. There the prisoners rest together; they 
hear not the voice of the oppressor. 19. 
The small and great are there; and the 
servant is free from his master. 

Job, perhaps reflecting upon himself for his folly 
in wishing he had never been born, follows it, and 
thinks to mend it, with another, little better, that 
he had died as soon as he was born, which he en- 
larges upon in these verses. When our Saviour 
would set forth a very calamitous state of things, he 
seems to allow such a saying as this. Blessed are 
the barren, and the wombs that Tiever bare, and the 
fiafis which never gave suck; (Luke xxiii. 29.) but 
blessing the liarren womb is one thing, and cursing 
the fruitful womb is another! It is good to make the 
best of afflictions, but it is not good to make the 
worst of mercies. Our rule is, Bless, a7id curse not. 

Life is often put for all good, and death for all evil; 
yet Job here very absurdly complains of life and its 
supports, as a curse and plague to him, and covets 
death and the grave, as the greatest and most de- 
sirable bliss. Surely Satan was deceived in Job, 
when he applied that maxim to him, jill that a man 

Vol. III.— D 



hath will he give for his life; for never any man 
valued life at a lower rate than he did. 

I. He ungratetully quarrels with life, and is an- 
gry tliut It was not taken from him as soon as 't was 
given him; {v. 11, 12.) Why died not I from the 
womb? See here, 1. What a weak and helpless 
creature man is when he comes into the woild, and 
how slender the thread of Lfe is, when it is first 
drawn. We are ready to die fion) tlie womb, and 
to breathe our last, as soon as we begin to breathe 
at all. We can dc) nothing for ourseh es, as other 
creatures can, but should drop into the grave, if 
the knees did not prevent us; and the lamp of life, 
when first lighted, would go out of itself, if the 
breasts given us, that we should suck, did not supply 
it with fresh oil. 2, What a merciful and tender 
care Divine Providence took of us, at our entrance 
into the world. It was owing to th's, that we died 
not from the womb, and did not give u/i the ghost 
when we came out of the belly. Why were we not 
cut off" as soon as we were born? Not because we 
did not deserve it; justly might such weeds ha\e 
been plucked u,) as soon as they appeared, justly 
might such cockatrices ha\ e been crushed in the 
egg: not because we did, or could, take any care of 
ourselves and our own safety; no creature comes 
into the world so shiftless as man. It was not our 
might, or the power of our hand, that preser\ ed us 
these beings; but God's power and pro\ idence up- 
held our frail lives, and his pity and patience spared 
our forfeited lives. It was owing to this that the 
knees prevented us. Natural affection is put into 
parents' hearts by the hand of the God of nature: 
and lience it was, that the blessings of the breast 
attended those of the womb. 3. What a great deal 
of vanity and vexation of spirit attends human life. 
If we had not a God to serve in this world, and bet- 
ter things to hope for in another world, considering 
the faculties we are endued whh, and the ti-oubles 
we are surrounded with, we should be st)ongly 
tenipted to wish that we had died from the womb, 
which had prevented a great deal both of sin and 
misery. 

He that is born ro-day, and dies to-morrow, 
Loses some hours of joy, but months of sorrow. 

4. The evil of impatience, fretfulness, and discon- 
tent; when they thus prevail, they aie unreason- 
able and absurd, impious and ungrateful; they are 
a slighting and under\^aluing of God's fa\ our. 'How 
much soever life is imbittered, we must say, "It 
was of the Lord's mercies that we died not from 
the womb, that we were not consumed." Hatred 
of life is a contradiction to the common sense and 
sentiments of mank'nd, and our own at anothei 
time. Let discontented people declaim ever so much 
against life, they will he loath to part with it when it 
comes to the point. When the old man in the fable, 
being tired with his burthen, threw it drwn with 
discontent, and called for death, and death came to 
him, and asked him what he would have with him, 
he then answered, "Nothing, but help me up with 
my burthen." 

IL He p issionately applauds death and the grave, 
and seems quite in "love with them. To desire to 
die, that we may be with Christ, that we may be free 
from sin, and that we may be clothed upon with 
our house which is fro7n heaven, is the effect and 
evidence of grace; but to desire to die, only that we 
may be quiet in the grave, and dcliveied "from the 
troubles of this life, sa\ ours of corruption. Job's 
considerations here may be of good use to reconcile 
us to death when it comes, and to make us easy 
under the arrest of it; but they ought not to be 
made use of as a pretence to quarrel with life while 
it is continued, or to make us uneasy under the bur- 
thens of it. It is our wisdom and duty to make the 



26 



JOB, III. 



best of that which is, be it living or dying, and so 
t(i live to the Lord, and die to the Lord, and to be 
liis in both, Rom. xiv. 8. 

Job here frets himself with thinking, that, if he 
had but died as soon as he was born, and been ear- 
ned from the womb to the grave, 

1. His condition would have been as good as that 
of the best. I should have been (says he, v. 14. ) 
with kings and counsellors of the earth, whose 
pomp, power, and policy, cannot set them out of 
the reacli of death, nor secure them from the grave, 
\\)v distinguish their's from common dust in the 
grave. Even princes, who had gold in abundance, 
I 'Mild not, with it, bribe death to overlook them 
ulien he came with commission; and though tliey 
fi'.lecl their houses with silver, yet they were forced 
to leave it all behind them, no more to return to it. 
Some, by the desolate places which the kings and 
counsellors are here said to build for themselves, 
understand the sepulchres or monuments they pre- 
])ired for themselves in their life-time; as Shebna 
(Is '. xxii. 16.) hewed him out a sefiulchre; and by 
the gold which the princes had, and the sil\ er with 
which they filled their houses, they understand the 
treasures which, they say, it was usual to deposit in 
the graves of great men. Such arts have been used 
to preserve their dignity, if possible, on the other 
side death, and to keep themselves from lying 
even with those of inferior rank; but it will not do; 
death is, and will be, an irresistible leveller; Mors 
scr/itra li^ojiibus dequat — Death mingles sce/itres 
with sfiades. Rich and fioor meet together in the 
grave; and there, 2. hidden untimely birth, {y. 16.) 
a child that either never saw light, or but just open- 
ed its eyes, and peeped into the world, and, not 
liking it, closed them again, and hastened out of it, 
lies -.s soft and easy, lies as high and safe, as kings, 
and counsellors, and princes that had gold; "And 
therefore," says Job, " would I had lain there in the 
dust, rather than live to lie here in the ashes!" 

2. His condition would have been much better 
thai n rw it was, v. 13. " Then should I have lain 
still and been quiet, which now I cannot do, I can- 
not be, but am still tossing and unquiet; then I 
should have slept, whereas now sleep departeth 
from mine eyes; then had I been at rest, whereas 
now I am restless." Now that life and immortality 
are brought to a much clearer light by the gospel 
than befoi-e they were placed in, good Christians can 
give a better account than this of the gain of death; 
" Tlien should I have been present with the Lord, 
then should I have seen his glory face to face, and 
no longer through a glass darkly;" but all that poor 
Job dreamed of, was rest and quietness in the grave, 
cut of the fear of evil tidings, and out of the feeling 
of sore boils. I'hen should I have been quiet; and 
hnd he kept his temper, his even easy temper still, 
which he was in, in the two foregoing chapters, en- 
tirely resigned to the holy will of God, and acqui- 
escing in it, he might have been quiet now ; his soul,, 
at least, might have dwelt at ease, even when his 
bodv lay in pain, Ps. xxv. 13. 

Observe how finely he describes the repose of the 
gr;(ve; which (provided the soul also l)e at rest in 
Gnfl) may much assist our triumph over it. 

(1.) Those that now are troubled, will there be 
'out of the reach of trouble; {y. 17. ) There the wick- 
ed erase from troubling: when persecutors die, they 
can no longer persecute, their hatred and envy are 
now perished. Herod had vexed the church, but 
when he became a prey for worms, he ceased from 
troiibling. When the persecuted die, they are out 
of the danger of being any further troubled. Had 
Job been at rest in his grave, he had had nodisturli- 
ance from the Sabeans and Chaldeans, none of all 
nis enemies had created him any trouble. 

(2.) Th'^se tliat arc now toiled, will there see the 



period of their toils; there th: weary are at rest 
heaven is more than a rest to the souls of the saints, 
but the grave is a rest to their bodies; their pilgri- 
mage is a weary pilgrimage; sin and the world « 
they are weary of; their services, sufferings, and 
expectations, they are wearied with; but in the 
grave they rest from all their labours, Rev. xi.. 
13. Isa. Ivii. 2. They are eusy there, i.nd make im) 
complaints; there believers sleep in Jesus. 

(3.) Those that were here enslaved, are there i;t 
liberty: death is the prisoner's discharge, the reli f 
of the oppressed, and the servant's nuitiumis.sif;n, i . 
18. There the prisoners, though thty walk nit ;.t 
large, yet they rest together, and arc net put to 
work, to grind in that pris'n-house. They aieno 
more insulted and tranii)led upon, menaced ai d 
terrified, by their cruel task-m sters; 'hey hear 7:0t 
the voice of the ojifiressor. They that were heie 
doomed to perj^etual servitude, that cou!d call no- 
thing their own, no not their own b' dies, are there 
no longer under command or c ntr( 1; there tlie ser- 
vant is free from his master; wlii^h is a gof d reason 
why those that have power should use it mode- 
rately, and those that are in subjection should bear 
it patiently, yet a little while. 

(4.) Those that were at a vast distance from all 
others, there are upon a level, v. 19. The small 
and great are there, there the same, there all one, 
all alike free among the dead. The tedious pomp 
and state, which attend the great, are at an end 
there; all the inconveniences of a poor and low con- 
dition are likewise over; death and the grave know 
no difference. 

LevelI'd by death, the conqueror and the slave, 
The wise and foolish, cowards and the brave, 
Lie mix'd and undistinguished in the grave 

Sir R. Blackmore. 

20. Wherefore is light given to him thai 
is in misery, and Ufe unto the bitter m soul \ 

21. Which long for death, but licometh not ; 
and dig for it more than for hid treasures ; 

22. Wliich rejoice exceedingly, and are glad 
when they can find the grave ? 23. Why is 
light given to a man whose way is hid, and 
whom God hath hedged in ? 24. For my 
sighing Cometh before I eat, and my roar- 
ings are poured out like the waters. 25. For 
the thing which T greatly feared is come 
upon me, and that which I was afraid of is 
come unto me. 26. I was not in safet}-, 
neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet 
trouble came. 

Job, finding it to no purpose to wish either that 
he had not been born, or had died as soon as he was 
born, here complains that his life was now con- 
tinued, and not cut off. When men are set on quar- 
relling, there is no end of it; the corrupt heart will 
carry on the humour: having cursed the day of his 
birth, here he courts the day of his death. The 
beginning of this strife and impatience is as the let- 
ting forth of water. 

1. He thinks it hard, in general, that miserable 
lives should be prolonged; (t. 20. . 22.) Wherefore 
is light in life given to them that are bitter in soul? 
Bitterness of soul, through sjiiritual grievances, 
makes life itself bitter. JVhy doth he give light k 
So it is in the original : he means God, yet does not 
name him, though the Devil had said, "He will 
curse thee to thy face;" but he tacitly reflects on the 
Divine Providence as unjust and unkind, in conti- 
nuing life, when the comforts of litV are removed. 



JOB, IV. 



27 



Life is called light, because pleasant and service- 
able for walking and working; it is candle-ligtit, the 
longer it burns, the shorter, and the nearer to the 
socket, it grows. This light is said to be gwen us; 
for if it were not daily renewed to us by a fresh 
gift, it would be lost. But Job reckons, that, to 
th'ise who are in misery, it is iZ,f,ov aSajiov — gif( and 
no gift, a gift that they had better be without, 
wiiile the light only serves them to see their own 
miser)" Ijy. Such is the vanity of human life, that 
it sometimes becomes a vexation of spirit; and so 
alterable is the property of death, that, though 
d-eadful to nature, it may become even desirable to 
nature itself. , He speaks of those here, (1.) Who 
long for death, when they have out-lived their com- 
forts and usefulness, are burthened with age and in- 
firmities, with pain or sickness, poverty or disgrace, 
ind yet it comes not; while, at the same time, it 
comes to many who dread it, and would put it far 
from them. The continuance and period of life 
must be according to God's will, not according to 
our's. It is not fit that we should be consulted how 
long we would live, and when we would die; our 
times are in a better hand than our own. (2.) Who 
dig for it as for hid treasures; that is, would give 
any thing for a fair dismission out of this world, 
which supposes that theii the thought of men's lac- 
ing their own executioners was not so much as en- 
tertained or suggested, else those who longed for 
it needed not take much pains for it, they might 
soon come at it, (as Seneca tells them,) if they 
pleased. (3. ) Who bid it welcome, and are glad 
when they can find the grave, and see themselves 
stepping into it. If the miseries of this life can 
prevail, contrary to nature, to make death itself de- 
sirable, shall not much more the hopes and pros- 
pects of a better life, to which death is our passage, 
make it so, and set us quite above the fear of it ? 
It may be a sin to long for death, but I am sure it is 
no sin to long for heaven. 

2. He thinks himself, in particular, hardly dealt 
with, that he might not be eased of his pam and 
misery by death, when he could not get ease any 
other way. To be thus impatient of life, for the 
sake of the troubles we meet with, is not only un- 
natural in itself, but ungrateful to the Giver of life, 
and argues a sinful indulgence of our own passion, 
and a sinful inconsideration of our future state. Let 
it be our great and constant care to get ready for 
another world, and then let us leave it to God to 
order the circumstances of our removal thither as 
he thinks fit; "Lord, when and how thou pleasest;" 
and this with such an indifferency, that if he should 
refer it to us, we would refer it to him again. Grace 
teaches us, in the midst of life's greatest comforts, 
to be willing to die, and, in the midst of its greatest 
crosses, to be willing to live. 

Job, to excuse himself in this earnest desire which 
he had to die, pleads the little comfort and satis- 
faction he had in life. 

(1.) In his present afflicted state, troubles were 
continually felt, and were likely to be so. He 
thoue;ht he had cause enough to be weary of living, 
for, [1.] He had no comfort of his life; My sighing 
comes before I eat, x>. 24. The sorrows of life 
prevented and anticipated the supports of life; nay, 
they took away his appetite for his necessarv food. 
His griefs returned as duly as his meals, and afflic- 
tion was his daily bread. Nay, sra great was the 
extremity of his pain and anguish, that he did not 
only sigh, but roar, and his roarings were poured 
out like the watei's in a full and constant stream. 
Our Master was acquainted with grief, and we 
must expect to be so too. [2.] He had no pros- 
pect of iiettering his condition, his way was hid, 
and God had hedged him in, v. 23. He saw no 
way open of deliverance, nor knew he what course 



to take; his way was hedged ufi with thorns, that 
he could not find his path. See ch. xxiii. 8. Lim 
iii. 7. 

(2.) Even in his former prosperous, state troubles 
were continually feared; so that theii he was ne\er 
easy, v. 25, 26. He knew so much r f the vanity 
of the world, and the troubles to which, rf course, 
he was born, that he was not in safety, neither had 
he rest then. That which made his grief now the 
more grie\ ous, was, that he was not conscious to 
himself of any great degree either of negligence or 
security in the day of his prosperity, which might 
provoke God thus to chastise him. [1.] He had 
not been negligent and unmindful of liis affairs, but 
kept up such a fear of trouble as was necessaiy to 
the maintaining of his guard: he was afraid for his 
children, when they were feasting, lest they should 
offend God; {ch. i. 5.) afraid for his ser\ants, lest 
the) should offend his neighbours; he took all the 
care he could of his own health, and managed 
himself and his affairs with all possible precaution; 
yet all would not do. [2.] He had not been se- 
cure, nor indulged himself in ease and softness, had 
not trusted in his wealth, nor flattered himself with 
the hopes of the perpetuity of his mirth; yet trou- 
ble came, to convince and remind him of the vanity 
of the world, which yet he had not forgotten when 
he lived at ease. Thus his way was hid, for he 
knew not wherefore God contended with him. 
Now this consideration, instead of aggra\ ating his 
grief, might rather serve to alleviate it: nothing 
will make trouble easy so much as the testimony 
of our consciences for us, that, in some measure, 
we did our di;*;," ,ii a day of prosperity: and an ex- 
pectation of ti'ouble will make it sit the lighter 
when it comes. The less it is a surprise, the less 
it is a terroi*. 

CHAP. IV. 

Job having warmly given vent to his passion, and so bro- 
ken the ice, his friends hore come gravely tn pive vent 
to their judgment upon his case; uhich pi ihaps they 
had communicated to one another apart, compared 
notes upon it, and talked it over amonjr themselves, and 
found they were all agreed in their verdict, that Job's 
afflictions certainly proved him to have been a hypo- 
crite; but they did not attack Job with this high charge, 
till by the expressions of his discontent and impatience, 
in which they thought he reflected on God himself, he 
had confirmed them in the bnd opinion they had before 
conceived of him and his character. Now they set upon 
him with great fear. The dispute begins, and it soon 
becomes fierce. The opponents are Job's three friends, 
Job himself is icspondcnt, Elihii appears, fir't, as mode- 
rator, and, at length, God himself gives judgment upon 
the controversy, and the management of it. The ques- 
tion in dispute, is, whether Job was an honest man or 
no? The same question that was in dispute between 
God and Satan in the two first chapters. Satan had 
yielded it, and durst not pretend that his cursing of his 
day was a constructive cursing of his God; no, he can- 
not deny but that Job still holds fast his integrity; but 
Job's friends will needs have it, that, if Job were an 
honest man, he would not have been thus sorely and 
thus tediously afflicted, and therefore urge him to con- 
fess himself a hypocrite in the profession he had made 
of religion : " No," says Job, " that 1 will never do ; I 
have offended God, but my heart, notwithstanding, has 
been upright %vith him;"" and still he holds fast the 
comfort of his integrity. Eliphaz, who, it is likely, was 
the senior, or of the best quality, begins with him in this 
chapter; in which, I. He bespeaks a patient hearing, v. 
2. II. He compliments Joh with an acknowledgment 
of the eminency and usefulness of the profession he had 
made of religion, v. S, 4. III. He charges him ivith 
hvpocrisy in his profession, grounding his charge upon 
his present troubles, and his conduct under them, v. a, 6. 
IV. To make good the inference, he maintains, that 
man's wickedness is that which always brings God's 
judgments, v. 7. .11. V. He corroborates his assertion 
by a vision which he had, in which he was reminded of 
the incontestable purity and justice of God, and th« 
meanness, weakness, and sinfulness, of man, v. 12.. 21. 



28 



JOB, IV. 



By all this he aims to bring down Job's spirit, and to jl 
make him both penitent and patient under liis afflic- ji 
tiotis. 

THEN Elipliaz the Temanite an- 
swered and said, 2. If we assay 
to commune with thee, wilt thou be griev- 
ed ? But who can withhold himself from 
speaking ? 3. Behold, thou hast instructed 
many, and thou hast strengthened the weak 
hands. 4. Thy words have upholden him 
that was falling, and thou hast strengthened 
the feeble knees. 5. But now it is come 
upon tiiee, and thou faintest; it toucheth 
thee, and thou art troubled. 6. Is not this 
thy fear, thy confidence, the uprightness of 
thy ways, and thy hope ? 

In these verses, 

1. Eliphaz excuses the trouble he is now about 
to give to Job by his discourse; (t'. 2. ) " If we assay 
a word with thee, offer a word of reproof and coun- 
sel, wilt thou be grieved, and take it ill? We have 
reason to fear thou wilt: but there is no remedy; 
Who can refrain from words?" Observe, 1. With 
what modesty he speaks of himself and his own 
attempt. He will not undertake the management 
of the cause alone, but very humbly joins his friends 
with him; "We will commune with thee:" they 
that plead God's cause, must be glad of help, lest 
it suffer through their weakness. He will not 
promise much, but begs leave to assay or attempt, 
and try if he could propose any thing that might be 
pertinent, and suit Job's case. In difficult matters, 
it becomes us to pretend no further, but only to try 
what mav be said or done. Many excellent dis- 
courses have gone under the modest title of Essays. 
2. With what tenderness he speaks of Job, and his 
present afflicted condition; **If we tell thee our 
mind, wilt thou be grieved? Wilt thou take it ill? 
Wilt thou lay it to thine own heart as thine afflic- 
tion, or to our charge as our fault? Shall we be 
reckoned unkind and cruel, if we deal plainly and 
f uthfullv with thee? We desire we may not, we 
hope we shall not, and should be sorry if that 
should be ill resented which is well intended." 
Note, We ouu;ht to be afraid of grieving any, espe- 
ciallv those that are already in grief, lest we add 
affliction to the afflicted, as David's enemies, Ps. 
Ixix. 26. We should show ourselves backward 
to say that which we foresee will be grievous, 
though ever so necessary. God himself, though 
he afflicts justly, vet he does not afflict willinglv. 
Lam. iii. S.". 3. With what assurance he speaks 
of the truth and pertinency of what he was about 
to say; Who can tvithhold himself from s/ieakirig? 
Surely it was a pious zeal for God's honour, and 
the spiritual welfare of Job, that laid him under 
this necessity of speaking; "Who can forbear 
speaking in vindication of God's honour, which we 
hear reproved, in love to thy soul, which we see 
endangei-ed?" Note, It is foolish pity not to re- 
prove our friends, even our friends in affliction, for 
what they sav or do amiss, only for fear of offend- 
ing them. Whether men take it well or ill, we 
must with wisdom and meekness do our duty, and 
discharge a Rood conscience. 

II. He exhibits a twofold charge against Job. 
1. As to his particvilar conduct under this afflic- 
tion; he charges him with weakness and faint- 
heartedness; this article of his charge there was 
too much groimd for, v. 3 . . 5. And here, 

(1.) He takes notice of .Job's former serviceable- 
ness to the comfort of others. He owns that Job 
had instructed many, not only his own children and 



ser\ants, but many others, his neighbours and 
friends, as many as fell within the sphere of his 
activity. He did not only encoui"igc tiicse who 
were teachers by office and crunteudnce them, and 
pay for the teaching of tliose who were poor, but 
he did himself instruct many: though a great man, 
he did not think it below him. King Solomon was 
a preacher: though a man of business, he ffund 
time to do it, went among his neighbours, talked to 
them about their souls, and ga\ e them good coun- 
sel. O that this example of Job were iniitated l)y 
our great men! If he met with those who were 
ready to fall into sin, or sink under their troubles, 
his words upheld them: a wonderful dcxteiity he 
had in offering that which was ])roper to foi-tify 
persons against temptations, to support them under 
their burthens, and to comfort affli ted consciences. 
He had, and used, the tongue of the learned, knew 
how to speak a word in season to them that were 
weary, and employed himself much in that good 
work. With suitable counsels and comforts he 
strengthened the weak hands for w( rk and service 
and the spiritual warfare, and the feeble knees for 
bearing up the man in his journey and under his 
load. It is not our duty only to lift up our own 
hands, that haiig down, by quickening and encou- 
raging ourselves in the way of duty, (Heb. xii. 12.) 
but we must also strengthen the weak hands of 
others, as there is occasion, and do what we can 
to confirm their feeble knees, by saying to them 
that are of a fearful heart. Be strong, Isn. xxxv. 
3, 4. 1 he expressions seem to be borrowed 
thence. Note, They who have abundance of 
spiritual riclies, should abound in spiritual charity. 
A good word, well and wisely spoken, may do 
more good than perhaps we think of. 

But why does Eliphaz mention this here? [1.] 
Perhaps he praises him thus for the good he had 
done, that he might make the intended reproof the 
more passable with him. Just commendation is a 
good preface to a just reprehension, will help to 
remove prejudices, and will show that the reiirocf 
comes not from ill-will. Paul praised the C' rin- 
thians before he chid them, 1 Cor. xi. 2. [2.] He 
remembers how Job had comforted others as a 
reason why he might justly expect to be himself 
comforted; and yet, if conviction was necessary in 
order to comfort, they nnist be excused if tliey 
applied themselves to that first: the Comforter 
shall refirove, John xvi. 8. [3.] He speaks this, 
perhaps, in away of pity, lamenting, tlnit, thrrut'h 
the extremity of his affliction, he cf uld not apj)ly 
those comforts to himself which he had formerly 
administered to others. It is easier to ^^xe good 
counsel than to take it; to preach meekness and 
patience than to practise them. Facile onnw.i, 
cum valemus, rectum concilium Fegrotis damns — 
JVe all find it easy, when in health, to gii-e good 
advice to the sick. Terent. [4.] Most think th-,t 
he mentions it as an aggravation of his present dis- 
content, upbraiding him with his knowledge, md 
the good offices he had done for others, as if he 
had said, "Thou th;it hast taught others, why dr st 
not thou teach thyself? Is not this an evidence '^f 
thine hypocrisy, that thou hast prescribed thi't 
medicine to others which thou wilt not now titke 
thyself, and so contradictcst thyself, and actest 
against thine own known principles^ Thmi th;'.t 
teachest another not to faint, dost tlnni faint? Hrm. 
ii. 21. Physician, heal thyself. " They who h:\\e 
rebuked others, must expect to hear of it, if they 
themselves become obnoxious to rcliuke. 

(2.) He upbraids him with his present low-spirit- 
edness, V. 5. "Now that it is come upon thee, 
now that it is thy turn to be afflicted, and the bitter 
cup, that goes round, is put into thy hand, now that 
it touches thee, thou faintest, thou art troubled * 



JOB, IV. 



sy 



Here, [1.] He maKes loo light of Job's afflictions; 
"It touches thee." The very word that Satan 
h.niself had used, ch. i. 11. — ii. 5. Had Eliphaz 
felt but tiie one half of Job's afflictions, he would 
have said, "It smites me, it wounds me;" but, 
spitaking of Job's afflictions, he makes a mere trifle 
of It; "It touches thee, and thou canst not bear to 
be lo iched;" jYoli me tangere — Touch me not. [2. ] 
He makes too much of Job's resentments, and ag- 
gravates them; "Thou faintest, or thou art beside 
thyself; thou ravest, and knowest not what thou 
sayest. " Men in deep distress must have grains of 
allowance, and a favourable construction put upon 
what tliey say; when we make the worst of every 
word, we do not as we would be done by. 

2. As to his general character before this afflic- 
tion, he charges hiai with wickedness and false- 
heartedness; that article of his charge was utterly 
groundless and unjust. How unkindly does he 
banter him, and upbraid him with the great pro- 
fession of religion he had made, as if it were all 
now come to nothing, and proved a sham; {v. 6.) 
"Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hofie, and 
the ujirightnesH of thy ways? Does it not all appear 
now to be a mere pretence? For, hadst thou been 
sincere in it, God would not thus have afflicted 
thee, nor wouldest thou have behaved thus under 
the affliction." This was the very thing Satan 
aimed at, to prove Job a hypocrite, and disprove 
the character God had given of hini: wlien he 
could no: himself do this to God, but He still saw 
and said. Job is fierfect and upright, then he en- 
deavoured, by his friends, to do it to Job himself, 
and to persuade him to confess himself a hypocrite: 
coald he ha\e gained tliat point, he would have 
triumphed, Hahes conjitentem reum — Out of thine 
own mouth will I cojidemn thee. But, by the 
grace of God, Job was enabled to hold fast his 
integrity, and would not bear false witness against 
himself Nijte, Those that pass rash and unchari- 
tal:)le censures upon their brethren, and condemn 
them for hypocrites, do Satan's work, and serve 
his interest, more than they are aware of, I know 
not how it comes to pass that this verse is diffe- 
rently read in several editions of our common Eng- 
lish Bibles; the original, and all the ancient ver- 
sions, put thy hope before the uprightness of thy 
ways. So does the Geneva and most of the edi- 
tions of the last translation; but I find one of the 
first, in 1612, has it. Is not this thy fear, thy confi- 
dence, the uprightness of thy ways, and thy hope? 
Both the Assembly's Annotations, and Mr. Poole's, ' 
ha^•e that reading; and an edition in 1660 reads it, 
"7s not thy fear thy confidence, and the upright- 
ness of thy ways thy hope? Does it not appear 
now, that all the religion, both of thy devotion, and 
of thy conversation, was only in hope and confi- 
dence that thiu shouldest grow rich by it? Was it 
not all mercenary^" The very thing that Satan 
suggested. Is not thy religion thy hope, and thy 
right ways thy confidence? So Mr. Broughton. 
Or, "Was it not? Didst thou not think that that 
would hive been thy protection? But thou art de- 
ceived." Or, "Would it not have been so? If it 
had been sincere, would it not have kept thee from 
this despair?" It is true, if thou faint in the day 
of adversity, thy strength, thy grace, is small; 
(Prov. xxiv. 10.) but it does not therefore follow 
that thou hast nn grace, no strength at all. A 
man's character is not to be taken from a single act. 

7. Remember, I pray thee, who ever 
perished, being innocent ? or where were 
the righteous cut off? 8. Even as I have 
seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow 
wickedness; reap the same. 9. By the 



blast of God they perish, and by the breath 
of his nostrils are they consumed. 10. Tiie 
roaring of the lion, and the voice of the 
fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, 
are broken. 1 1 . The old lion perisheth ibr 
lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps 
are scattered abroad. 

Eliphaz here advances another argument to 
prove Job a hypocrite, and will have not only his 
impatience under his afflictions to be evidence 
against him, but even his afflictions themselves, 
being so very great and extraordinary, and there be- 
ing no prospect at all of his deliverance out of them. 

To strengthen this argument, he here lays down 
these two principles, which seem plausible enough. 

I. That good men were never thus ruined: for 
the proof of this, he appeals to Job's own observa- 
titn; {v. 7.) "Remember, I pray thee; recollect all 
that thou hast seen, heard, or read, and give me 
an instance of any one that was innocent and 
righteous, and yet perished as thou dost, and w;is 
cut off as thou art." If we understand it of a final 
and eternal destniction, his principle is true. None 
that are innocent and righteous, perish for ever: it 
is only a man of sin that is a son of perdition, 2 
Thess. ii. 3. But then it is ill applied to Job; he 
did not thus perish, nor was he cut off: a man is 
never undone till he is in hell. But, if we under- 
stand it of any temporal calamity, his principle is 
not true. The righteous perish; (Isa. Ivii. 1.) There 
is one event both to the righteous and to the wicked, 
(Eccl. ix. 2.) both in life and death; the great and 
certain difference is after death. Even before Job's 
time, (as early as it was,) there were instances 
sufficient to contradict this principle. Did not righ- 
teous .4bel perish being innocent; and was not he 
cut off in the beginning of his days? Was not 
righteous Lot burnt out of house and harbour, and 
forced to retire to a melancholy cave? Was not 
righteous Jacob, a Syrian, ready to perish? Deut. 
xxvi. 5. Similar instances, no doubt, there were, 
which are not on record. 

II. That wicked men were often thus ruined: for 
the proof of this, he vouches his own observation ; 
(v. 8.) "Even as I have seen, many a time, 77ifj/ 
that plough iniquity, and sew wickedness, by the 
blast of God they perish, v. 9. We ha', e daily in- 
stances rf that; and therefore, since thou dost thus 
perish, and art consumed, we have reason to think 
that, whatever profession of religion thcu hast made, 
ihouhastbutploughed iniquity , andsown wickedness. 
Even as I have seen in others, so do I see in tlu-e." 

I. He speaks of sinners in general, politic busy 
sinners, that take pains in sin, for they plough ini- 
quity; and expect gain by sin, for they sow wicked- 
ness: they that plough, plovigh in hope; but what is 
the issuer They reap the same: they shall, of the 
fesh, reap corruptioji and ruin, Gal. vi. 7, 8. The 
harvest will l)e a heap in the day of grief and des- 
perate sorrow, Isa. xvii. 11. He shall reap the 
same, that is, the proper product of that seedness: 
that which the sinner sows, he sows not that bodv 
that shall be, but Gnd will give it a body, a brdy rf 
death, the erid of those things, Rom. vi. 21. Somi% 
by iniquity and wickedness, luiderstand wrong nnd 
injury done to others; they who plough and sow 
them, shall reap the same, that is, they shall be 
paid in their own coin. They who are trouble- 
some, shall be troubled, 2 Thess. i. 6. Josh, -v ii. 25. 
The sfioilers shall be spoiled; Isa. xxxiii. 1. (and 
they that led captive, shall go captive,) Rev. xiii. 10. 

He further describes their destruction; {v. 9.) 
By the blast of God they perish. The prcjccts; 
they take so much pains in, are defeated; God cuts 



30 



JOB, IV. 



in sunder the cords of those ploughers, Ps. cxxix. 
3, 4. They tliemseh es are destri.yl:cl, which is the 
just punish'meiit of tliea- iniquity. They perish, 
that is, tliey are destroyed utterly; they are con- 
sumed, th.it is, they are destroyed gradually; and 
this, Ijy the blast and breath of God, that is, (1.) 
By his wrath: his anger is the ruin of sinners, who 
f'.re therenire caled vessels of -wrcith, and his 
breath is said f,o Ic'mdle 'I'ofiliet, Isa. xxx. 33. Who 
knows the /iowe7- of his anger ■^ Ps. xc. 11. (2.) By 
ins word; he speaks, and it is done, easily and ef- 
fectually. The Spirit of God, in the word, con- 
sumes sinners; with that he slays them, Hos. vi. 5. 
Saying and doing are not two tilings with God. 
The man of s;n is said to be consumed with the 
breath of Christ's mouth, 2 Thess. ii. 8. Compare 
Isa. xi. 4. Rev. xix. 21. Some think, that in attri- 
buting the destruction of sinners to the blast of God, 
and the breath of his nostrils, he refers to the wind 
which blew the house down upon Job's children, as 
if they were therefore siimers above all men, be- 
cause they suffered such things, Luke xiii. 2. 

2. He speaks particularly of tyrants and cruel 
oppressors, under the similitude of lions, v. 10, 11. 
Observe, (1.) How he describes their ciuelty and 
oppression. The Hebrew tongue has five several 
names for lions, and they are all here used to set 
forth the terrible tearing power, fierceness, and 
cruelty, of pi-oud op])ressors; they roar, and rend, 
and prey, upon all about them, and bring up their 
young ones to do so too, Ezek. xix. 3. The Devil 
IS a roaring lion; and they partake of his nature, 
and do his lusts. Thev are strong as lions, and 
subtle; (Ps. x. 9. — xviii 12.) and, as far as they 
prevail, lay all desolate about them. (2.) How he 
describes their destruction; the destruction both of 
their p-nver and of their persons; they shall be re- 
strained from doing further hurt, and reckoned with 
for the hurt they h:ive done. An effectual course 
shall be taken, [1.] That they shall not terrify; the 
voice of their roaring shall be stopped. [2.] That 
they shall not tear; God will disarm them, will take 
away their power to do hurt, the teeth of the young 
liojis are broken, Ps. iii. 7. Thus shall tlie remain- 
der of wrath be restrained. [3.] That they shall 
not enrich themselves with the spoil of their neigh- 
bours. Even the old lion is famished, and perishes 
for lack of prey : they that have surfeited on spoil 
and rapine, are perhaps reduced to such straits as 
to die of !iun:i;er at last. [4.] That they shall not, 
as they promise themselves, leave a succession; the 
stout lion's whel/2s are scattered abroad, to seek for 
food themselves, which the old ones used to bring 
in for them, Nah. ii. 12. The lion did tear in pieces 
for his ".vhelps, but now they must shift for them- 
selves. Perhajjs Eliphaz intended, in this, to re- 
flect upon Job, as if he, being the greatest of all the 
men of the east, had got his estate by spoil, and 
used his power in oppressing his neighbours; but 
now, his ]30wer and estate were gone, and his fami- 
Iv scattered: if so, it was pity that a man whom 
God praised, should be thus abused. 

2. Now a thing was secretly brought to 
me, and mine ear received a httle thereof. 
1 3. In thouglits from the visions of the night, 
when deep sleep falleth on men, 1 4. Fear 
came upon me, and trembling, which made 
all my bones to shake. 15. Then a spirit 
passed before my face ; the hair of my flesh 
.stood up : 1 6. It stood still, but I could not 
discern the form thereof: an image ?/r/,9 
Ix'fore mine eyes; thnre was silence, and I 
heard a voice, saijing, 17. Shall mortal 



man be more just than God? shall [i man 
be more pure than his Maker / 1 8. Beholci, 
he put no trust in his servants; and his an- 
gels he charged with folly : 19. View nnich 
less o/< them that dwell in houses off|;iy, 
whose foundation is in the dust, 7r/iicn hiv. 
crushed before the moth ? 20. They are 
destroyed from morning to evening: they 
perish for ever, without any regarding if. 2 1 . 
Doth not their excellency it'/iich is in them 
go away? they die, even without wisdom. 

Eliphaz, having undertaken to convince Job of the 
sin and folly of his discontent and impatience, here 
vouches a vision he had been favoured with, which 
he relates to Job for his conviction. What comes 
immediately from God, all men will pay a particu- 
lar deference to, and Job, no doubt, as much as ;my. 
Some think Eliphaz had this vision now lately, since 
he came to Job, putting words into his mouth 
wherewith to reason with him; and it had been well 
if he had kept to the purport of this \ision, which 
would ser\ e for a ground on which to repro\ e Job 
for his murmuring, but not to condemn him for a 
hvpocrite. Others think he had \t formerly; for God 
dicl in this way often communicate himself to the 
children of men in those first ages of the world, ch. 
xxxiii. 15. Probably, God had sent Eliphaz this 
messenger and message some time or other, when 
he was himself in an unquiet discontented frame, to 
calm and pacify him. Note, As we should comfort 
others with that wherewith we have been comfort- 
ed, (2 Cor. i. 4.) so we should endeavour toconvince 
others with that which has been powerful to con- 
vince us. 

The people of God had not then any written word 
to quote, and therefore God sometimes notified to 
them e\ en common truths, by the exti-aordinary 
ways y.^ re\elatinn. We that have Bibles, have 
there (thai.!?s be to God) a more sure word to de- 
pend upon than even visions and voices, 2 Pet. i. 19. 

Observe, 

I. The manner in which this message was sent 
to Eliphaz, and the circumstances of the convey- 
ance of it to him. 1. It was brought him secretly, 
or by stealth; some of the sweetest communion gra- 
cious souls have with God, is in secret, where he 
only, who is all eye, can perceive. God has ways 
olt bringing conviction, counsel, and comfort, to his 
people, unobserved by the world, by private whis- 
pers, as powerfully and effectually as by the public 
ministry. His secret is vjith them, Ps. xxv. 14. As 
the evil spirit often steals good words out of the 
heart, (Matth. xiii. 19.) so the good Spirit some- 
times steals good words into the heart, or ever we 
are aware. 2. He received a little thereof x'. 12. 
And it is but little of divine knowledge that the best 
receive in this world: we know little, in comparison 
with what is to be known, and with what we sh:ill 
know when we come to heaven. How little a por- 
tion is heard of God! ch. xxvi. 14. We knonvbut in 
part, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. See his humility and m«'des- 
ty. He pretends not to have understood it fully, 
but something of it he perceived. 3. It was brought 
him in the visions of the night; {v. 13.) when he 
was retired from the world and the hurrv of it, and 
all about him was composed and quiet. Kotc, The 
more we are withdrawn from the world and the 
things of it, the fitter we are for comnumion with 
(iod. W'hen we are communing with our own 
hearts, and are still, (Ps. iv. 4.) then is a proper 
time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. 
\N hen others were aslee]>, Eliphaz was rcadv tr 
receive thisxision fi'om Heaven, and pr«b:ibly, likt 
Da\id, was meditating upon God in the night 



JOB, IV. 



31 



ivatches: in the midst ot those good thoughts, this 
tiling was brought to him. We should hear more 
from God, if we tliought more of him; yet some are 
surprised with convictions in the night, ch. xxxiii. 

14, 15. 4. It was prefaced with terrors; Fear 
rume upon him, and tremhl'mg, v. 14. It should 
seem, before he either heard or saw any thing, he 
was seized with this trembling, which shook his 
bones, and perhaps the bed under him. A holy 
awe and reverence of God and his majesty being 
struck, upon his spirit, he was thereby prepared for 
a divine visit. Whom God intends to honour, he 
first humbles and lays low, and will have us all to 
serve him with holy fear, and to rejoice with trem- 
bling. 

II. The messenger by whom it was sent; a spirit, 
one of the good angels, who are employed not only 
as the ministers of God's providence, but sometimes 
as the ministers of his word. Concerning this ap- 
parition which Eliphaz saw, we are here told, (zi. 

15, 16.) 1. That it was real, and not a dream, not 
a fancy; an image was before his eyes, he plainly 
saw it; at first, it passed and repassed before his 
face, moved up and down, but, at length, it stood 
still to speak to him. If some have been so knavish 
as to impose false \ isions on others, and some so 
foolish as to be themselves imposed upon, it does 
not, therefore, follow that there have been no ap- 
paritions of spirits, botli good and bad. 2. That it 
was indistinct, and somewhat confused. He could 
not discern the form thereof, so as to frame any ex- 
act idea of it in his own mind, much less to give a 
description of it. His conscience was to be awak- 
ened and informed, not his curiosity gratified. We 
know little of spirits, we are not capable of knowing 
much of them, nor is it fit we should; all in good 
time; we must shortly remove to the world of spi- 
rits, and shall then be better acquainted with them. 
3. That it put him into a great consternation, so 
that his hair stood .on end. Ever since man sinned, 
it has been terrible to him to receive an express from 
Heaven, as conscious to himself that he can expect 
no good tidings thence; apparitions, therefore, even 
of good spirits, have always made deep impressions 
of fear, even upon good men. How well is it for us, 
that God sends us his messages, not by spirits, but 
by men like ourselves, whose terror shall not make 
us afraid! See Dan. vii. 28. — x. 8, 9. 

III. The message itself; before it was delivered, 
there was silence, profound silence, v. 16. When 
we are to speak either from God, or to him, it be- 
comes us to address ourselves to it with a solemn 
pause, and so to set bounds about the mount on 
which God is to come down, and not be hasty to 
utter any thing. It was in a still small voice that 
the message was delivered, and this was it, {v. 17.) 
''Shall mortal 7nan be more just than God, the im- 
mortal God? Shall a man be thought to be, or pre- 
tend to be, more fiure than his Maker? Away with 
such a thought!" 1. Some think that Eliphaz aims 
hereby to prove that Job's great afflictions were a 
certain evidence of his being a wicked man; a mor- 
tal man would be thought unjust and very impure, 
if he should thus correct and punish a servant or 
subject, unless he had been guilty of some \ery 
great crime. "If, therefore, these were not some 
great crimes for which God thus punishes thee, 
man would be more just than God, which is not to 
be imagined." 2. I rather think it is onlv a reproof 
of Job's murmuring and discontent; "Shall a man 
pretend to be more just and pure than God? More 
truly to understand, and more strictly to observe, 
t'le rules and laws of equity, than God? Shall 
Enosh, mortal, miserable, man, be so insolent; nay, 
shall Geher, the strongest and most eminent man — 
man at his best estate, pretend to compare with 
God, or stand in competition with him?" Note, It 



is most impious and absurd to think either others 
or ourselves more just and pure than God. Thosi- 
that quarrel &nd find fault with the directions of the 
divine law, the dispensations of the divine grace, 
or the disposals of the divine providence, make 
themselves more just and pure than God; and they 
who thus refirove God, let them aiisnver it. What! 
sinful ma* 1 (for he had not been mortal, if he had not 
been sinful!) short-sighted man! Shall he pretend 
to be more just, more pure, than God, who, being 
his Maker, is his I..ord and Owner? Shall the clay 
contend with the potter? What justi( e and purity 
there is in man, (iod is the Author of it, and there- 
fore is himself moi-e just and pure. See Ps. xciv. 
9, 10. 

IV. The comment which Eliphaz makes upon 
this, for so it seems to be; yet some take all the 
following verses to be spoken in vision. It comes 
all to one. 

1. He shows how little the angels themselves are 
in comparison with God, v. 18. Angels are God's 
servants, waiting servants, woi'king ser\ants, they 
are his ministers; (Ps. civ. 4.) bright and blessed 
things they are; but God neither needs them, oor is 
benefitted by them, and is himself infinitelv above 
them; and therefore, (1.) He put no trust in them, 
did not repose a confidence in them, as we do in 
those we cannot live without; there is no service in 
which he employs them, but, if he pleased, he 
could have it done as well without them. He nevei 
made them his confidants, or of his cabinet-council, 
Matth. xxiv. 36. He does not leave his business 
wholly to them, bwt his own eyes ru7i to and fro 
through the earth, 2Chron. xvi. 9. See this phrase, 
ch. xxxix. 11. Some give this sense of it, "So 
mutable is even the angelical nature, that God 
would not trust angels with tlieir own integrity; if 
he had, they would all have done, as some did, left 
their first estate; but he saw it necessary to give 
them supernatural grace to confirm them. "(2.) 
He charges them with folly, vanity, weakness, in- 
firmity, and imperfection, in comparison with God. 
If the world were left to the government of tlie an 
gels, and they were trusted with the sole manage- 
ment of aflairs, they would take false steps, and 
every thing would not be done for the best, as now 
it is. Angels are intelligences, but finite ones. 
Though not chargeable with iniquity, yet with im- 
prudence. This last clause is variously rendered 
by the critics. I think it would bear this read- 
ing, repeating the negation, which is very common. 
He will put no trust in his saints. In angelis snis 
non fionet gloria/ionem — .Yor will he glory in his 
angels, or ?nake his boast of them, as if their praises 
or services added any thing to him: it is his glory, 
that he is infinitely happy without them. 

2. Thence he infers how much less man is, how 
much less to be trusted in, or gk ried in: if there is 
such distance between God and angels, what is 
there between Gvx\ and man! See how man is re- 
presented here in his meanness. 

(1.) Look upon man in his life, and he is uery 
mean, xk 19. Take man in his best estate, and he 
is a very despicable creature in comparison with the 
holy angels; though honourable, if compared with 
the brutes. It is true, angels are spirits, and tin. 
souls of men are spirits; but, [1.] Angels are pure 
j spirits, the souls of men dwell in houses of clay, 
such the bodies of men are. Angels are free, hu- 
man souls are housed, and the body is a cloud, a 
clog, to it, it is its cage, it is its prison. It is a house 
of clay, mean and mouldering; an earthen vessel, 
soon broken, as it was first formed, according to 
the good pleasure of the potter. It is a cottage,not 
a house of cedar, or a house of ivory, but of clav, 
which would soon be in ruins, if not kept in constant 
repair. [2.] Angels are fixed; but the very foun 



32 



JOB, V. 



dation of that house of clay in which man dwells, 
is in the dust. ,\ house of clay, if built upon a 
rock, might stand long; hut, if fduni'.C'd jn the dust, 
the uncertainty of the f )iuiJation will hasten its fall, 
and it will sink with its own weight. As man was 
made out of the earth, so he is maintained and sup- 
ported by that which conies out of the earth. Take 
away that, and his b' dy returns to its eartl^ We 
stand but up(<n the dust; some lia'. e a higher heap 
of dust to stand upon than others, but still it is the 
tai'th that stays us up, and will shoitly swallow us 
u]). [3.] Angels are immortal, but man is soon 
crushed, the earthly house of his tabernacle is dis- 
solved, he dies and wastes away, is crushed like a 
moth lietween one's fingers, as easily, as quickly; 
one may alinost as soon kill a man as kill a moth. A 
little thing will do it; he is crwihcd before the face 
of the moth, so the word is. If s( me lingering dis- 
temper, which consumes like a moth, be commis- 
sioned to destroy him, he can no more resist it than 
he can resist an acute distemper, which comes i-oar- 
ing upon him like a lion. See Hos. v. 12, 14. Is 
such a creature as this to be trusted in, or can any 
service be expected from him, by that God who 
puts no trust in angels themselves? 

(2.) Look upon him in his death, and he appears 
yet more despicable, and unfit tc> be trusted. Men 
are mortal, and dying, v. 20, 21. [1.] In death, 
they are destroyed, and perish for ever, as to this 
world; it is the final period of their lives, and all 
their employments and enjoyments here; their 
place will know them no more. [2.] They are 
dying daily, and continually wasting; destJ-oyed 
from moryiing to evening; death is still working in 
us, like a mole digging our grave at each remove, 
and we so continually lie exposed, that we are kill- 
ed all the dav long. [3.] Their life is short, and 
in a little time they are cut off; it lasts perhaps but 
from morning to evening. It is but a day; (so some 
understand it;) their birth and death are but the 
sun-rise and sun-set of the same day. [4.] In 
death, all their excellency passes away; beauty, 
strength, learning, not only cannot secure them 
from death, but die with them; nor shall their 
pomp, their wealth, or power, descend after them. 
[5.] Their wisdotn cannot sa\e them from death; 
they die without wisdom, die for want of wisdom, 
by their own foolish management of themselves, 
digging their graves with their own teeth. [6. ] It 
is so common a thing that nobody heeds it, or takes 
any notice of it; they perish ivithout any rcj^'arding 
it, or laying it to heart. The deaths of others are 
much the suliject of common talk, but little the 
subject of serious thought. 

Some think the eternal damnation of sinners is 
here spoken of, as well as their temporal death. 
Then are destroyed, or broken to /lieces, by death, 
from morning to evening; and if they re/tent Jiot, 
they fierish for ever, so some read it, v. 20. They 
perish for ever, because they regard not God 
and their duty, they consider not their latter end. 
Lam. i. 9. Tiicy have nn excellency but that 
which death takes away, and they die, they die the 
second death, for want of wisdom to lay hold on 
eternal life. Shall such a mean, weak, foolish, 
sinful, dying, creature as this, pretend to be niore 
just than God, and more pure than his Maker? 
No, instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let 
him wonder than he is out of hell. 

CHAP. V. 

Eliphaz, in the foresroinfr chapter, for the making good of 
his charjre ajjainst .Job, had vouched a word from Hea- 
ven, sent, him in a vision. In this chapter, he appeals to 
those that bear record on earth, to the saints, the faithful 
witnesses of God's trulh.s, in all ages, v. 1. They will 
testify, I. That the sin of sinners is their ruin, v. 2. .5. 
II. That yet affliction is the common lot of mankind, v. 



6, 7. III. That when we are in affliction, it is our wis- 
dom and dutv to apply ourselves to God, for he is able 
and ready to lielp us, v. 8 . . 16. IV. That the afflictions 
which are borne well will end well: and Job particularly 
if he would come to a better temper, mj^'ht assure hiiii- 
self that God had great mercy in store for him, v. 
17.. 27. So that he concludes his discourse in some- 
what a better humour than he besan it. 



"^ALL now, if there be any that 
will answer thee ; and to which of 
the saints wilt thou turn ? 2. For wrath kil- 
leth the foolish man, and envy slayetii the 
silly one. 3. I have seen the fbohsh taking 
root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. 
4. His children are far from safety, and they 
are crushed in the gate, neither is there any 
to deliver thctn. 5. \N'hose harvest the 
hungry eateth up, and laketh it even out 
of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up 
their substance. 

A very warm dispute being begun between Job 
and his friends, Eliphaz here makes a fair motion to 
put the matter to a reference; in all debates, per- 
liaps, the sooner that is done the better, if the con- 
tenders cannot end it between themselves. So well 
assured is Eliphaz of the goodness of his own cause, 
that he moves Job himself to choose the arbitrators; 
{v. 1.) Call now, if there be any that will an- 
swer thee; that is, 1. " If there be any that suffer 
as thou sufferest: canst thou produce an instance of 
any one, that was really a saint, that was reduced 
to such extremity as thou art now reduced to? God 
never dealt with any that love his name so as he 
deals with thee, and therefore surely thou art none 
of them." 2. "If there be any that say as thou 
sayest: did ever any good man curse his day as thou 
dost? Or, will any of the saints justify thee in these 
heats or passions, or say that these are the spots of 
God's children? Thou wilt find none of the saints 
that will be either thine advt catcs, or mine antago- 
nists. 7'o which of the saints wilt thou turn'/ Turn to 
which thou wilt, and thou wilt find they are all of 
my mind; I have the communis sensjisjidelium — 
t/te unariimous vote of all the saints on my side; 
they will all subscribe to what I am g^ing to say." 
Observe, (1.) Good people are called saints, even 
in the Old Testament; and therefore I know net 
why we should, in common speaking, (miless be- 
catise we must loqui cum vulgo — speak as our 
neighbours,) appropriate the title to those of the 
New Testament, and net say St. Abraham, St. 
Moses, and St. Isaiah, as well as St. Matthew, and 
St. Mark; and St. David the psalmist, as well as St. 
David the British Bishop. Aaron is exj)! cssly called 
the saint of the Lord. (2.) All that are themselves 
saints, will turn to those that are so; will choose 
them for their friends, and converse with them; 
will choo.se them for their judges, and ernsult with 
them. See Ps. cxix. 79. The saints sh;dly'z/rfj;-e Mr 
world, 1 Cor. vi. 1, 2. Walk in the way of good 
men, (Prov. ii. 20.) the old way, the foofsfe/is of the 
flock. Every one chooses some sort of people v\ 
other to whom he studies to recommend himseU', 
and whose sentiments are to him the test of honoui- 
and dishonour: now all true saints endeavour to i-e 
commend themselves to those that are such, and to 
stand right in their opinion. (3.) There are some 
truths so plain, and so universally known and !je- 
lieved, that one may venture to a])])eal to any c f 
the saints concerning them. However there .are 
some things, about which they unha])pily differ, 
there are many more, and more considerable, in 



JOB, V. 



33 



which the)- are agreed; as the evil of sin, the vanity 
of the world, the worth of the soul, the necessity of 
a holy life, and the like. Though they do not all 
live up, as they should, to their belief of these truths, 
yet they are all ready to bear their testimony to 
them. 

Now there are two things which Eliphaz here 
maintains, and in which he doubts not but all the 
saints concur with him. 

I. That the sin of sinners directly tends to their 
own ruin; {v. 2.) Wrath kills the foolish man, his 
own wrath, and therefore he is foolish for indulging 
it; it is a fire in his bones, in his blood, enough to 
put him into a fever; envy is the rottenness of the 
bones, and so slays the silly one that frets himself 
with it. " So it is with thee;" says Eliphaz; " while 
thou quarrellest with God, thou doest thyself the 
greatest mischief; thine anger at thine own trou- 
bles, and thine envy at our prospeiity, do but add 
to thy pain and miseiy: turn to the saints, and thou 
wilt find they understand themselves better." Job 
had told his wife she spake as the foolish women, 
now Eliphaz tells him he acted as the foolish men, 
the silly ones. Or, it may be meant thus: " If men 
are ruined and undone, it is always their own folly 
that ruins and undoes them. They kill themselves 
by some lust or other; therefore, no doubt. Job, 
thou hast done some foolish thing, by which thou 
hast brought thyself into this calamitous condition. " 
Many understand it of God's wrath and jealousy. 
Job needed not be uneasy at the prosperity of the 
wicked, for the world's smiles can never shelter 
them from God's frowns; they are foolish and silly, 
if they think they will. God's anger will be the 
death, the eternal death, of those on whom it fast- 
ens. What is hell, but God's anger without mix- 
ture or period.* 

II. That their prosperity is short, and their de- 
struction certain, -v. 3"5. He seems here to paral- 
lel Job's case with that which is commonly the case 
of wicked people. 

1. Job had prospered for a time, seemed confirm- 
ed, and was secure in his prosperity; and it is com- 
mon for foolish wicked men to do so. I have seen 
them taking root, planted, and, in their own and 
other's apprehension, fixed, and likely to continue. 
See Jer. xii. 2. Ps. xxxvii. 35, 36. We set world- 
ly men taking root in the earth; on earthly things 
they fix the standing of their hopes, and from them 
they draw the sap of their comforts. The outward 
estate may be flourishing, but the soul cannot pros- 
per that takes root in the earth. 

2. Job's prosperity was now at an end, and so 
has the prosperity of other wicked people quickly 
been. 

(1.) Eliphaz foresaw their ruin with an eye of 
faith. They who looked only at present things, 
blessed their habitation, and thought them happy, 
blessed it long, and wished themselves in their 
condition. But Eliphaz cursed it, suddenly cursed 
it, as soon as he saw them begin to take root, that 
is, he plainly foresaw and foretold their ruin; not 
that he prayed for it, (/ have not desired the nvoe- 
fulday,) but he prognosticated it. He went into 
the sanctuary, and there understood their end, and 
heard their doom read, (Ps. Ixxiii. 17, 18.) That 
the prosperity of fools will destroy them, Prov. i. 
32. They who believe the word of God, can see 
a curse in the house of the wicked, (Prov. iii. 33. ) 
though it be ever so finely and firinly built, and 
ever so full of all good things; and can foresee that 
it wiU, in time, infallibly consume it, with the 
timber thereof, and the stones thereof, Zech. v. 4. 

(2.) He saw, at length, what he had foreseen: 
he was not disappointed in his expectation concern- 
ing him, the event answered it; his family was un- 
tione, and his estate ruined. In these particulars. 

Vol. hi.— E 



he plainly and very invidiously reflects on Job's ca- 
lamities. [1.] His children were crushed, v. 4. 
They thought tliemseh es safe in their eldest bro- 
ther s house, but were far from safety, for they 
were crushed in the gate; perhaps the door cr 
gate of the house was highest built, and fell hea- 
viest upon them, and there was none to delivei- 
them from perishing in the ruins. This is com- 
monly understood of the destruction of the families 
of wicked men, by the execution of justice upon 
them to oblige them to restore what they have i.l- 
gotten. They leave it to their children; but the 
descent shall not bar the entry of the rightful i.wn- 
ers, who will ci-ush their children, and cast them 
by due course of law, (and there shall be none tc 
help them,) or perhaps by oppression, Ps. cix. 9, 
&c. [2.] His estate was plundered, v. 5. Job's 
was so; the hungry robbers, the Sabeans and Chal- 
deans, ran aw..y with it, and swallowed it; and this, 
says he, I have often observed in others. What 
has been got by spoil and rapine, has been lost the 
same way. The careful owner hedged it about with 
thorns, and then thought it safe; but the fence 
proved insignificant against the greediness of the 
spoilers, (if hunger will break through stone-walls, 
niuch more through thorn-hedges,) and against the 
divine curse, which will go through the thorns and 
biiers, and burn them together, Isa. xxvii. 4. 

6. Although affliction cometh not forth 
of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out 
of the ground, 7. Yet man is born unto 
trouble, as the sparks fly upward. 8. ] 
would seek unto God, and unto God 
would I commit my cause ; 9. Which 
doeth great things and unsearchable; mar- 
vellous things without number : 10. AY ho 
giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth 
waters upon the fields: 11. To set up on 
high those that be low; that those which 
mourn may be exalted to safety. 1 2. He 
disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so 
that their hands cannot perform their enter- 
prise. 13. He taketh the wise in their own 
craftiness ; and the counsel of the froward is 
carried headlong. 14. They meet with 
darkness in the day-time, and grope in the 
noon-day as in the night. 15. But he saveth 
the poor from the sword, from their mouth, 
and from the hand of the mighty. 1 6. So 
the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth 
her mouth. 

Eliphaz, having touched Job in a very tender 
part, in mentioning both the loss of his estate and 
the death of his children, as the just punishment of 
his sin, that he might not drive him to despair, 
here begins to encourage him, and puts him in a 
way to make himself easy. Now he very much 
changes his voice, (Gal. iv. 20.) and accosts Job 
gently, as if he would atone for the hard words he 
had given him. 

I. He reminds him, that no affliction comes by 
chance, nor is to be attributed to second causes. It 
doth not come forth of the dust, nor spring out oj 
the ground, as the grass doth, v. 6. It doth not 
come of course, at certain seasons of the year, as 
natural productions do, by a chain of second causes. 
The proportion between prosperity and adversity 



34 



JOB, V. 



is iKt so exactly observed by Providence, as thit 
between day and night, summer and winter, but 
according to the will and counsel of God, when and 
as he thinks fit. Some read it, Sm comes not forth 
of the dust, nor iniquity out of the ground. It men 
be bad, they must not lay the blame upon the soil, 
the climate, or the stars, but on themselves. If 
thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. We must 
not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they are 
from (iod, nor our sins to fate, for they are from 
ourselves; so that, whatever trouble we are in, we 
nmst own that God sends it upon us, and we pro- 
cure it to oui-selves; the former is a reason why we 
slir uld be very patient, the latter wliy we should 
be very penitent, when we are afflicted. 

II. He reminds him, that trouble and affliction 
are what we have all reason to expect in this world. 
Afan is born to trouble; {v. 7. ) not as man, (had he 
kept his innocency, he had been born to pleasure,^ 
l)ut as sinful man, as born of a woman, {ch. xiv. 1.) 
who was in the transgression. Man is born in sin, 
and thei-efore born to trouble. Even those that are 
born to honour and estate, yet are born to trouble 
in the flesh. In our fallen state, it is become natural 
to us to sin, and the natural consequence of that, is 
affliction, Rom. v. 12. There is nothing in this 
world we are born to, and can truly call our own, 
but sin and trouble; both are as the sparks that fly 
upward. Actual transgressions are the sparks that 
fly out of the furnace of original corruption; and, 
being called transgressors from the womb, no won- 
der that we deaCvery treacherously, Isa. xl\iii. 8. 
Such too is the frailty of our bodies, and the \ anity 
of all our enjoyments, that our troubles also thence 
arise as naturally as the sparks fly upward; so 
many are they, so thick and so fast does one follow 
another. Why then should we be surprised at our 
afflictions as strange, or quarrel with them as hard, 
when thev are but what we are born to? Man is 
born to labour, so it is in the margin, is sentenced 
to eat his bread in the sweat of his face, which 
should inure him to hardness, and make him bear 
his afflictions the better. 

III. He directs him how to behave himself under 
his affliction; {v. 8.) I would seek unto God; surely 
I would: so it is in the original. Here is, 1. A ta- 
cit reproof to Job for not seeking to God, but quar- 
relling with Him; "Job, if I had been in thy case, I 
would not have been so peevish and passionate as 
thou art, I would have acquiesced in the will of 
God." It is easy to say what we would do, if we 
were in such a one's case; but, when it comes to the 
trial, perhaps it will be found not so easy to do as 
we say. 2. Very good and seasonable advice to 
him, which Eliphaz transfers to himself in a figure; 
"For mv part, the best way I should think I could 
t ike, if I were in thy condition, would be to apply 
myself to God." Note, We should give our friends 
no otlier counsel than what we would take our- 
selves if we were in their case, that we may be easy 
under our afflictions, may get good l)y them, and 
may see a good issue of them. (1.) ^^'^e must by 
prayer fetch in mercy and grace from God; seek 
to liim as a Father and Friend, though he contend 
with us, as one who is alone able to support and suc- 
cour us. His favour we must seek, when we have lost 
all we have in tlie world; to him wc must address 
ourselves, as the Fountain and Father of all good, 
all consolation. Js any afflicted? Let him firay. It 
is heart's-ease, a salve for c\ery sore. (2.) We 
must by patience refer ourselves and our cause to 
him. " 7'o God would I commit my cause: having 
spread it before him, I would leave it %vith_him; 
having laid it at his feet, I would lodge it in his 
hand; Here I am, let the Lord do with me as scemeth 
him good." If our cause i)e indeed a good cause, 
we need not fear committing it to God, for he is 



both just and kind. They that would seek so as to 
speed, must refer themselves to God. 

IV. He encourages him thus to seek to God, and 
commit his cause to him. It will not be in vain to 
do so, for he is one in whom we shall find eff"ectual 
help. He recommends to his consideration Gad's, 
almighty power and sovereign dominion. 

1. In general, he doeth great tilings; {v. 9.) great 
indeed, for he can do any thing; he doth do every 
thing; and all according to the counsel of his own 
will: great indeed, for the operations of his power 
are, (1.) Unsearchable, and such as can never be 
fathomed, can never be found out /row the begin- 
ning to the end, Eccl. iii. 11. The works of nitui-e 
are mysteries; the most curious searches come fa- 
short of full discoveries, and the wisest philosophers 
have owned themselves at a loss. The designs of 
Providence are much more deep and unaccountable, 
Rom. xi. 33. (2.) Numerous, and such as never 
can be reckoned up. He doeth great things without 
number; his power is never exhausted, nor will all 
his purposes ever be fulfilled till the end of time. 
(3.) They are marvellous, and such as never can be 
sufficiently admired; eternity itself will be short 
enough to be spent in the admiration of them. Now, 
by the consideration of this, Eliphaz intends, [1.] 
To convince Job of his fault and folly in quarrelling 
with God. We must not pretend to pass a judgment 
upon his works, for they are unsearchable and above 
our inquiries; nor must we strive with our Maker, 
for he will certainly be too hard for us, and is able 
to crush us in a moment. [2.] To encourage Job 
to seek unto God, and to refer himself to him 
What more encouraging than to see that he is one 
to whom power belongs ? He can do great things 
and marvellous for our relief, when we are brought 
ever so low. 

2. He gives some instances of God's dominion 
and power. 

(1.) God doeth great things in the kingdom of na- 
ture: he gii'es rain upon the earth, {t.i. 10.) put 
here for all the gifts of common providence, all the 
fruitful seasons, by which hefilleth our hearts with 
food and gladness. Acts xi\'. 17. Observe, When 
he would show what great things God doeth, he 
speaks of his giving rain, which, because it is a 
common thing, we are apt to look upon as a little 
thing; but if we duly consider both how it is pro- 
duced, and what is produced by it, we shall see it 
to be a great work, both of power and goodness. 

(2.) He doeth great things in the affairs of the 
children of men: not only enriches the poor, and 
comforts the needy, by the rain he sends, {v. 10. ) 
but, in order to the advancing of those that are low, 
he disa/ifioints the devices of the crafty; for -i>. 11. 
is to be joined to v. 12. and compared with Luke 
i. 51 . . 53. He hath scattered the firoud in the ima- 
gination of their hearts, and so hath exalted them 
of low degree, and filled the hungry with good 
things. 

See, [1.] How he frustrates the counsels oi the 
firoud and politic, x>. 12' •14. There is a supreme 
power that mnnages and overrules men who think 
themselves free and absolute, and fulfils its own 
purposes in despite of their projects. Observe, 
First, The froward, that walk contrary to God and 
the interest of his kingdom, are often very crafty, 
for thev are the seed of the old serpent, that was 
noted for subtilty. They think themselves wise, 
but, at the end, will be fools. Secondly, The fro- 
ward enemies of God's kingdom have their devices, 
their enterprises, and their counsels, against it, and 
against the loval faithful subjects of it. They are 
restless and unwearied in their designs, close in 
their consultations, high in their hopes, deep in thei- 
l^olitics, and fast linked in their confederacies, Ps, 
ii. 1, 2. Thirdly, God easily can, and (as far as is 



JOB, V. 



35 



fir his glory) certainly will, blast and defeat all the 
designs of his and his people's enemies. How were 
the plots of Ahithophel, Sanballat, and Haman, 
baffled! The confederates of Syria and Ephraim 
against Judah, of Gebal, and Amnion, and Anialek, 
against Clod's Israel, the kings of the earth, and the 
princes, against the Lord and against his anointed, 
broken! Tlie hands tliat have been stretched out 
against God, and his church, have not performed 
their ^terprise, nor have the weapons fomied 
against Zion prospered. Fourthly, That which 
enemies liave designed for the ruin of the churcli, 
has often turned to their own ruin; {v. 13.) He 
takes the nvise in their own craftiness, and snares 
them in the work of their own hands, Ps. \ii. 15, 
16. — ix. 15, 16. This is quoted by the apostle, ( 1 
Cor. iii. 19.) to show how the learned men of the 
heathen were liefooled by their own vain philoso- 
phy. Fifthly, When God infatuates men, they are 
perplexed, :md :.t a loss, even in those things that 
seem most plain and easy; {xk 14.) They meet with 
darkness even in the day-time; nay, as it is in the 
margin. They run themselves into darkness by the 
violence and precipitation of their own counsels. 
See ch. xii. 20, 24, 25. 

[2.] Hnw he favours the cause of the poor and 
humble, and espouses that. 

First, He exnlts the humble, T'. 11. Those whom 
proud men contrive to crush, he raises from under 
their feet, and sets them in safety, Ps. xii. 5. The 
lowlv in heart, and those that mourn, he advances, 
comforts, and makes to dwell on high, in the muni- 
tions of rocks, Isa. xxxiii. 16. Zion's mourners are 
the sealed ones, marked for safety, Ezek. ix. 4. 

Secondly, He delivers the oppressed, v. 15. The 
designs of the crafty are to ruin the poor: tongue, 
and hand, and sword, and all, are at work in order 
to this; but God takes under his special protection 
those who, being poor, and unable to help them- 
selves, being his poor, and devoted to his prnise, 
have committed themselves to him. He saves them 
from the mouth that speaks hard things against 
them, and the hand that does hard things against 
them; for he can, when he pleases, tie the tongue, 
and wither the hand. 

The effect of this is, (x'. 16.) 1. That weak and 
timorous saints "re comtorted: so the fioor, that be- 
gan to despair, has hofie. The experiences rf some 
are encnarn elements to others to hope the best in 
the worst of times; f ->r it is the glory of God to send 
help to the helpless, and hnpe to the hopeless. 2. 
That daring threatening sinners are confounded; ini- 
quitv stops hermouth, being surprised at the strange- 
ness of the deliverance, ashamed of its enmity against 
those who appear to be the favourites of Heaven, 
mortified at the disappointment, and compelled to 
acknowledge the justice of God's proceedings, hav- 
ing nothing to object against them. Those that domi- 
neered over God's poor, that frightened them, me- 
naced them, and falsely accused them, will not have 
a word to sav against them when God appears for 
them. See IPs. Ixxvi. 8, 9. Isa. xxvi. 11. Mic. 
vii. 16. 

1 7. Behold, happy is the man whom God 
correcteth ; therefore despise not thou the 
chastening of the Almighty: , 18. For he 
maketh sore, and bindeth up ; he woundeth, 
and his hands make whole. 19. He shall 
deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven 
there shall no evil touch thee. 20, In famine 
he shall redeem thee from death ; and in 
war from the power of the sword. 21. Thou 
shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue ; 



neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction 
when it cometh. 22. At destruction and 
famine thou shalt laugh : neither shalt thou 
be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23. Foi 
thou shalt be in league with the stones of 
the field ; and the beasts of the field sh;dl 
be at peace with thee. 24. And thou shnlt 
know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace ; 
and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shall 
not sin. 25. Thou shalt know also that thy 
seed shall be great, and thine offspring as 
the grass of the earth. 26. Thou shalt come 
to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of 
corn cometh in in his season. 27. Lo this, 
we have searched it, so \iis; hear it, ancl 
know thou it for thy good. 

Eliphaz, in this concluding paragraph of his dis- 
course, gives Job (what he himself knew not how to 
take) a comfortable prospect of the issue of his af- 
flictions, if he did but recover his temper, and ac- 
commodate himself to them. 

Observe, 

I. The seasonable word of caution and exhorta- 
tion that he gives him; {v. 17.) " Desfiise not thou 
the chastening of the jilmighty. Call it a chastening, 
which comes from the father's love, and is designed 
for the child's good. Call it the chastening of the 
Almighty, with whom it is madness to contend, to 
whom it is wisdom and duty to submit, and who 
will be a God all-sufiicient" (for so the word signi- 
fies) " to all those that trust in him. Do not despise 
it;" it is a copious word in the original. 1. "Be not 
averse to it. Let grace conquer the antipathy 
which nature has to suffering, and reconcile thyself 
to the will of God in it." We need the rod. and we 
deserve it; and therefore we ought not to think it 
either strange or hard if we feel the smart of it. 
Let not the heart rise against a bitter pill or potion, 
when it is prescribed us for our good. 2. " Do not 
th'nk ill of it, do not put it from thee, (as that 
which is either hurtful, or, at least, not useful, 
which there is no occasion for, nor advantage by,) 
only because, for the present, it is not joyous, but 
grievous." \\'e must never scorn to stoop to Gcd, 
nor think it a thing below us to come under his dis- 
cipline, but reckon, on the contrary, that God really 
magnifies man, when he thus visits and tries him, 
ch. vii. 17, 18. 3. " Do not overlook and disregard 
it, as if it were only a chance, and the production of 
second causes, but take great notice of it as tlie 
voice of God, and a messenger from Heaven." 
More is implied than is expressed: " Feverence 
the chastening of the Lord; have an humble, awful, 
regard to his correcting hand, and tremble when 
the lion roars, Amos iii. 8. Submit to the chasten- 
ing, and study to answer the call, to answer the end 
of it, and then thou reverencest it. " When God, 
by an affliction, draws upon us for some of the ef- 
fects he has intrusted us with, we must honour his 
bill by accepting it, and subscribing it, resigning him 
his own when he calls for it. 

II. The comfortable words of encouragement 
which he gives him, thus to accommodate himself 
to his condition, and (as he himself had expressed 
it) to receive evil from the hand of God, and nrt 
despise it as a gift not worth the accepting. If his 
affliction was thus borne, 

1. The nature and property of it would be alter- 
ed: though it looked like a man's misery, it would 
really be his bliss. Hafipy is the man whom God 
correcteth, if he make but a due improvement of 
the correction. A good man is happy, though he 



JOB, V. 



be afflicted; for, whatever he has lost, he has not 
lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven j 
nay, he is happy, because he is afflicted; correction 
is an evidence of his sonship, and a means of his 
sanctification; it mortifies his corruptions, weans his 
heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, 
brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees, 
works him for, and so is working tor him, a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; Hafi- 
//(/ therefore is [he man luhom God correcteth. Jam. 
i.'l2. 

2. The issue and consequence of it would be very 
good, V. 18. (1.) Though he makes sore the body 
with sore boils, the mind with sad thoughts, yet he 
binds up at the same time; as the skilful tender 
surgeon binds up the wounds he had occasion to 
make with his incision-knife. When God makes 
sores by the rebukes of his providence, he binds up 
by the consolations of his Spirit, which oftentimes 
abound, as most afflictions do abound, and balance 
them, to the unspeakable satisfaction of the patient 
sufferers. (2.) Though he wounds, yet his hands 
make whole in due time: as he supports his people, 
and makes them easy under their afflictions, so in 
due time he delivers' them, and makes a way for 
them to escape. All is well again; and he comforts 
tliem according to the time wherein he afflicted 
them. God's usual method is first to wound, and 
then to heal, first to convince, and then to comfort, 
first to humble, and then to exalt; and (as Mr. 
Caryl observes) he never makes a wound too great, 
too deep, for his own cure. Una eadevique manus 
vulnus ofiemque tulit — The hand that injiicts the 
wound, afifxlies the cure. God tears the wicked, 
and goes away, let them heal that will, if they can; 
(Hos. v. 14.) but the humble and penitent may say. 
He has torn, and he will heal us, Hos. vi. 1. 

.This is general; but in the following verses he 
applies himself directly to Job, and gives him many 
precious promises of great and kind things which 
God would do for him, if he did but humble him- 
self under' his hand. I'hough then they had no Bi- 
bles that we know of, yet Eliphaz had sufficient 
warrant to give Job these assurances, from the 
general discoveries God had made of his good will 
to his people. And though, in every thing which 
Job's friends said, they were not directed by the 
Spirit of God, (for they spake both of God and Job 
some things that were not right,) yet the general 
doctrines they laid down spake tlie pious sense of 
the patriarchal age; and as St Paul quoted, v. 13. 
for canonical scripture, and as the command, v. 17. 
is, no doubt, bindmg on us, so these promises here 
may be, and must be, received and applied as di- 
vine promises, and we may, through patience and 
comfort of this part of scrifiture, have hofie. 

Let us therefore give diligence to make sure our 
interest in these promises, and then view the par- 
ticulars of them, and take the comfort of them. 

[1.] It is here promised, that as afflictions and 
troubles do recur, supfiorts and deliverances shall 
be graciously repeated, be it never so often. In six 
troubles, he shall be ready to delin'er thee; yea, and 
in sexien. This intimates, thiit, as long as we are 
here in this world, we must expect a succession of 
troubles, that the clouds will return after the rain; 
after six troubles mav come a seventh. After 
many, look for more; f)ut out of them all will God 
deliver those that are his. 2 Tim. iii. 11. Ps. 
xxxiv. 19. Former deliverances are earnests of, 
not, as among men, excuses from, further deliver- 
ances, Prov. xix. 19. 

[2.] That, whatever troubles good men may be 
in, there shall no evil touch them, they shall do 
?hem no real harm; the malignity of them, the 
sting, shall be taken out; they may hiss, they can- 
not "hurt, Ps, xci. 10. The evil one toucheth not 



God's children, 1 John v. 18. Being kept from sin, 
they are kept from the evil of every trouble. 

[3. ] That, when desolating judgments are abroad, 
they shall be taken under special protection, v, 20. 
Do many perish about them, for want of the neces- 
sarj" supports of hfe ? They shall be supplied. " In 
famine he shall redeem thee from deaih: whate\ er 
becomes of others, thou shalt be kept alive, Ps. 
xxxiii. 19. Verily thou shalt be fed, nay, e\ en m 
the days of famine thou shalt be satisfi^, Ps. 
xxxvii. 3, 19. In tin»e of war, when thousands fall 
on thy right and left hand, he shall redeem thee 
from the power of the sword. If God pleases, it 
shall not touch thee; or, if it wound thee, if it kill 
thee, it shall not hurt thee; it can byit kill the body, 
nor has it power to do that, unless it be given from 
above. " 

[4.] That whatever is maliciously said against 
the?n, it shall not affect them, to do them any hurt, 
V. 21. "Thou shalt not only be protected fron. the 
killing sword of war, but shalt be hid from the 
scourge of the tongue, which, like a scourge, is 
vexing and painful, though not mortal." The l)est 
men, and the most inoffensive, cannot, even with 
their innocency, secure themselves from calumny, 
reproach, and false accusation. From these a man 
cannot hide himself, but God can hide him, so that 
the most malicious slanders shall be so little heeded 
by him, as not to disturb his peace; and so little 
heeded by others, as not to blemish his reputation: 
and the remainder of his wrath God can and does 
restrain, for it is owing to the hold he has of the 
consciences of bad men, that the scourge of the 
tongue is not the ruin of all the comforts of good 
men in this world. 

[5.] That they shall have a holy security and 
serenity of mind, arising from their hope and confi 
dence in God, even in the worst of times. When 
dangers are most threatening, they shall be easy, 
believing themselves safe; and shall not be afraid 
of destiniction, no, not when they see it coming, 
{y. 21.) nor the beasts of the field, when they set 
upon them, nor of men as cruel as beasts; nay, at 
destruction and famine thou shalt laugh, {v. 22.) 
not so as to despise any of God's chastenings, or make 
a jest of his judgments, but so as to triumph in (iod, 
and his power and goodness, and therein to triumph 
over the world and all its grievances; to be not only 
easy, but cheerful and joyful, in tribulation. Bless- 
ed Paul laughed at destruction, when he said, O 
death, where is thy sting? When, in the name of 
all the saints, he defied all the calamities of this 
present time to separate from the love of God, con- 
cluding. In all these tHings we are more than con- 
querors, Rom. viii. 37, &c. See Isa. xxxvii. 22. 

[6.] That, being at peace with God, there shall 
be a covenant of friendship between them and the 
whole creation', v. 23. '* When thou walkest thy 
grounds, thou shalt not need to fear stumbling, for 
thou shalt be at league with the stones of the field, 
not to dash thy foot against any of them; nor shalt 
thou be in danger from the beasts of the field, for 
they all shall be ^kI peace with thee;^ compa-e Hos. 
ii. 18, / will make a covenant for them with the 
beasts of the field. This implies, that while man 
is at enmity with his Maker, the inferior creatures 
are at war with him; but Tranquillus Deus tran- 
quillat omnia — A recoriciled God reconciles all 
things. Our covenant with God is a covenant with 
all tVie creatures, that they shali do us no hurt, but 
be ready to serve us, and do us good. 

[7.] That their houses and families shall be com- 
fortable to them, V. 24. Peace and piety in the 
family will make it so. " Thou shalt know and be 
assured that thy tabernacle is, and shall be, in 
peace; thou may est be confident both of its j^resent 
and its future prosperity." That peace is thy ta 



JOB, VI. 



bernacle, so the word is. Peace is the house in which 
they dwell, who dwell in God, and are at home in 
him; " Thou shalt visit," that is, " inquire into, the 
affairs of thy habitation, and take a review of them, 
and shalt not sin." First, God will provide a set- 
tlement for his people, mean, perhaps, and movea- 
ble, a cottage, a tabernacle, but a fixed and quiet 
habitation. " Thou slmlt not sin," or wander, that 
is, as some understand it, " thou shalt not be a fugi- 
tive and a vagabond," (Cain's curse,) "but shalt 
dwell m the land, and verily, not uncertainly as 
vagrants, shalt thou be fed." Secondly, Their 
families shall be taken under the special protection 
of the Divine Providence, and shall prosper as far 
as is for their good. Thirdly, They shall be assured 
of peace, and of the continuance and entail of it; 
" 1 hou shalt know, to thine unspeakable satisfac- 
tion, that peace is sure to thee and tliine, having 
the word of God for it." Providence may change, 
but the promise cannot. Fourthly, They shall have 
wisdom to govern their families aright, to order 
their affairs with discretion, and to look well to the 
ways of their household, which is here called visit- 
ing their habitation; masters of families must not 
be strangers at home, but have a watchful eye over 
what they have, and what their servants do. Fifth- 
ly, Thev shall have grace to manage the concerns 
of their families after a godly sort, and not to sin in 
the management of them. They shall call their 
servants to account without passion, pride, covet- 
ousness, worldliness, or the like; they shall look 
into their affairs without discontent at what is, or 
distrust of what shall be. Family piety crowns 
family peace and prosperity. The greatest bless- 
ing, both in our employments, and in our enjoy- 
ments, is, to be kept from sin in them. When we 
are abroad, it is comfortable to hear that our taber- 
nacle is in peace; and when we return home to visit 
our habitation, with satisfaction in our success, that 
we have not failed in our business, and with a good 
conscience, that we have not offended God. 

[8.] That their posterity should be numerous and 
prosperous. Job had lost all his children; •' But," 
says Eliphaz, •* if thou return to God, he will again 
build up thy family, and thy seed shall be many, 
and as great as ever, and thine offspring increasing 
and flourishing as the grass of the earth," (v. 25.) 
'•and thou shalt know it." God has blessings in 
store for the seed of the faithful, which they shall 
have, if they do not stand in their own light, and 
forfeit them by their folly. It is a comfort to pa- 
rents to see the prosperity, especially the spiritual 
prosperity, of their children; if they are truly good, 
they are truly great, how small a figure soever they 
make in the world. 

[9.] That their death shall be seasonable, and 
they shall finish their course, at length, with Joy and 
honour, v. 26. It is a great mercy, First, To live 
to a full age, and not to have the number of our 
months cut off in the midsL If the providence of 
G id do not gi\'e us long life, if the grace of God 
give us to be satisfied with the time allotted us, we 
may be said to come to a full age. That man lives 
long enough that has done his work, and is fit for 
another world. Secondly, To be willing to die, to 
come cheerfully to the grave, and not to be forced 
thither, as he whose soul was required of him. 
Thirdly, To die seasonably, as the corn is cut and 
housed when it is full ripe; not till then, but then 
not suffered to stand a day longer, lest it shed. 
Our times are in God's hand; it is well they are so, 
for he will take care that those who are his die in 
the best time: however their death may seem to us 
untimely, it will be found not unseasonable. 

In the last verse, he recommends those promises 
to Job, 1. As faithful sayings, which he might be 
confident of the truth of: " Lo, this ive have search- 



ed, and so it is. We have indeed received thest- 
things by tradition from our fathers, but we h ,ve 
not taken them upon trust, we have carefully 
searched them, ha\e compared spiritual tilings 
with spiritual, have diligently studied them, ami 
been confirmed in our belief of them, from our own 
observation and experience; and we are all of a mind 
that so it is." Truth is a treasure that is well wortli 
digging for, diving for; and then we shall know both 
how to value it ourselves, and how to communicate 
it to others, when we have taken pains in searc hing 
for it. 2. As well worthy of all acceptation, which 
he might improve to his great advantage! " Hear 
it, and know thou it for thy good." It is not enough 
to hear and know the truth, but we must imjirove 
it, and be made wiser and better by it, recei\ e the 
impiessions of it, and submit to the commanding 
power of it. Know it for thyself, so the word is; 
with application to thyself, and thy own case; not 
only This is true, but This is true concerning me. 
That which we thus hear and know for ourselves, 
we hear and know for our good, as we are nourished 
by the meat which we digest. That is, indeed, a 
good sermon, which does us good. 

CHAP. VI. 

Eliphaz concluded his discourse with an air of assurance; 
very confident he was that what he had said was so plain 
and so pertinent, that nothing could be objected in answer 
to it. But though he that is first in his own cause, seems 
just, yet his neighbour comes and searches him. Job is 
not convinced by all he had said, but still justifies him- 
self in his complaints, and condemns him for the weak- 
ness of his arguing. I. He shows that he had just cause 
to complain as he did of his troubles, and so it would 
appear to any impartial judge, v. 2. .7. II. He coiilinues 
his passionate wish, that he might speedily be cut offbv 
the stroke of death, and so be eased of all his miseries, 
V. 8. .13. HI. He reproves his friends for their uncha- 
ritable censures of him, and their unkind treatment, 
V. 14 . . 30. It must be owned that Job, in all this, spake 
much that was reasonable, but with a mixture of passion 
and human infirmity. And in this contest, as indeed in 
most contests, there was fault on both sides. 

1. TJ UT Job answered and said, 2. Oii 
JLi that nfiy grief were thoroughly w eigh- 
ed, and my calamity laid in the balances 
together! 3. For now it would be heavier 
than the sand of the sea: therefore my 
words are swallowed up. 4. For the ar- 
rows of the Almighty are within me, the 
poison whereof drinketh up my spirit : the 
terrors of God do set themselves in array 
against me. 5. Doth the wild ass bray 
when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over 
his fodder ? 6. Can that which is unsavou- 
ry be eaten without salt? or is there 0771/ 
taste in the white of an egg ? 7. The things 
that my soul refused to touch are as my 
sorrowful meat. 

Eliphaz, in the beginning of his discourse, had 
been very sharp upon Job, and yet it does not ap- 
pear that Job gave him any interruption, but heard 
him patiently, till he had said all he had to say.- 
they that would make an impartial judgment of a 
discourse, must hear it out, and take it entire. But 
when he had concluded, he makes his reply, in 
which he speaks very feelingly. 

I. He represents his calamity, in general, as 
much heavier than either he had expressed it, or 
they had apprehended it, v. 2, 3. He could not 
fully describe it, they would not fully apprehend it, 
or, at least, not own that they did; and therefore he 



38 



JOB, VI. 



would gladly appeal to a third person, who had just 
weights and just balances with which to weigh his 
grief and calamity, and would do it with an impar- 
tial hand; he wished that they would set his grief 
in one scale, and all the expressions of it; his ca- 
lamity in the other, and all the particulars of it; 
and (though he would not altogether justify him- 
self in his grief, yet) they would find (as he says, 
ch. xxiii. 2.) that his stroke was heavier than his 
groaning; for, whatever his grief was, his calamity 
was heavier than the sand of the sea; it was compli- 
cated, it was aggravated, every grievance weighty, 
and all together numerous as the sand: Therefore 
(says he) my words are swallowed ufi; that is, 
'' Therefore you must excuse both the brokenness 
and the bitterness of my expressions; do not think 
it strange if my speech be not so fine and polite as 
that of an eloquent orator, or so grave and regular 
as that of a morose philosopher: no, in these cir- 
cumstances I can pretend neither to the one nor to 
the other; my words are, as I am, quite swallowed 
ap." 

Now, 1. He hereby complains of it as his un- 
happiness, that his friends undertook to administer 
spiritual physic to him, before they thoroughly un- 
derstood his case, and knew the worst of it. It is 
seldom that those who are at ease themselves, 
rightly weigh the afflictions of the afflicted; every 
one feels most from his own burthen, few feel from 
otlier people's. 2. He excuses the jjassionate ex- 
pressions he had used when he cursed his day. 
Though he could not himself justify all he had said, 
yet he thought his friends should not tlius violently 
condemn it, for really the case was extraordinary ; 
and that n>ight be connived at in such a man of 
sorrows as he now was, which, in any common 
grief, would by no means be allowed of. 3. He be- 
speaks the ch iritable and compassionate sympathy 
of his friends with him, and hopes, by representing 
the greatness of his calamity, to bring them to a 
Ijetter temper toward him. To those that are pain- 
ed, it is some ease to be pitied. 

II. He complains of the trouble and terror of 
mind he was in, as the sorest part of his calamity, 
V. 4. Herein he was a type of Christ, who, in his 
suflFerings, complained most of the sufferings of his 
soul; A''ow is my soul troubled, John xii. 27. My 
wul is exceeding sorrowful, Matth. xxvi. 37, 38. 
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? 
Matth. xxvii. 46. Poor Job sadly complains here, 
1. Of what he felt: The arrows of the Almighty 
arc within me. It was not so mucli the troubles 
themselves he was under that put him into tliis 
confusion, his poverty, disgrace,. and bodily pain; 
that which cut him to the heart, and put him into 
this agitation, was, to think that the Ciod he lov- 
ed, and served, had brought all this upon him, 
and laid liim undei' these marks of his displea- 
sure. Note, Trouble of mind is the sorest trou- 
ble: a wounded s/iirit who can bear? Whatever 
burthen of affliction, in body or estate, God is 
pleased to lay upon us, we may well afford to sub- 
mit to it as long as he continues to us the use of our 
reason, and the peace of our consciences; but if, in 
either of these, we be disturbed, our case is sad in- 
deed, and very pitiable. The way to prevent God's 
fiery darts of trouble, is, with the shield of faith, 
to quench Satan's fiery darts of temptation. Ob- 
serve, He calls them the ay-rows of the Almighty; 
for it is an instance of the power of God abfive that 
of any man, that lie can with his arrows reach the 
soul. He that made it can make his sword to ap- 
proach to it. The poison or heat of these arrows 
is said to drink uj) his spirit, because it disturbed 
his reason, shook his resohition, exhausted his 
vigour, and threatened his life; and therefore his 
passionate expressions, though they could not be [ 



justified, yet might be excused. 2. Of what he 
feared. He saw himself charged by the terrors of 
God, as by an army set in balde-array, and sur- 
rounded by them. God, by his terrors, fought 
against him: as he had no comfort when he retired 
inward into his own bosom, so he had none when he 
looked upward toward Heaven. He that used to 
be encouraged with the consolations of God, not 
only wanted those, but was amazed with the terrors 
of God. 

III. He reflects upon his friends for their severe 
censures of his complaints, and their unskilful ma- 
nagement of his case. 1. Their reproofs were 
causeless. He complained, it is true, now that he 
was in this affliction, but he never used to complain, 
as those do who are of a fretful unquiet spirit, when 
he was hi prosperity: he did not bray when he had 
grass, nor low over his fodder, v. 5. But now, that 
he was utterly deprived of all his comforts, he must 
be a stock or a stone, and not have the sense of an 
ox or a wild ass, if he did not give some vent to his 
grief. He was forced to eat unsavoury meats, and 
was so poor, that he had not a grain of salt, where- 
with to relish them, nor to give a little taste to the 
white of an egg, which was now the choicest dish 
he had at his table, v. 6. Even that food which once 
he would have scorned to touch, now he was glad 
of, and it was his sorrowful meat, v. 7. Note, It 
is wisdom not to use ourselves or our children to be 
nice and dainty about meat and drink, because we 
know not how we or they may be reduced, nor how 
that which we now disdain may be made acceptable 
by necessity. 2. Their comforts were sapless 
and insipid; so some understand, v. 6, 7. He com- 
plains he had nothing now offered him for his re- 
lief, that was proper for him ; no cordial, nothing to 
revive and cheer his spirits; what they had afford- 
ed, was in itself as tasteless as the white of an egg, 
and, when applied to him, as loathsome and bur- 
thensome as the most sorrowful meat. I am sorry 
he should say thus of what Eliphaz had excellently 
well said, ch. v. 8, &c. But pee\ ish spirits are too 
apt thus to abuse their comforters. 

8. Oh that I might have my request; and 
that God would grant yne the ihing that T 
long for; 9. Even that it would please God 
to destroy me ; that he would let loose his 
hand, and cut me off! 10. Then should 1 
yet have comfort; yea, I would harden 
myself in sorrow : let h'uw not spare ; for I 
have not concealed the words of the Holy 
One. 11. What is my strength, thai I 
should hope? and what is mine end, that I 
should prolong my life ? 12. Is my strength 
the strength of stones ? or is my flesh of 
brass ? 1 .3. Is not my help in me ? and is 
wisdom driven quite fiom me ?' 

Ungoverned passion often grows more violent 
when it meets with some rebuke and check: the 
troubled sea rages most when it dashes against a 
rock. Job had been courting death, as that which 
would be tlie h;.])py period of his miseries, ch. iii. 
For this, Elij)haz had gravely reproved him: but 
he, instead of unsaying it, says it here again with 
more vehemence than before; it is as ill said as al- 
most anv thing we meet with in all his discourses, 
and is recorded for our admonition, not our imi- 
tation. 

I. He is still most passionately desirous to die, as 
if it were not jiossiljle that he should ever see good 
davs again in this world, or that, by the exercise of 



JOB, VI. 



39 



grace and devotion, he might make even tliese days 
of affliction ,y;o()d days: he could see no end of his 
trouble but deiitii, and had not p.^tience to wait the 
time appointed for tliat. He has a request to make, 
tliere is a thing lie longs for: {v. 8.) and what is 
that? One would think it should be, '/Viut it would 
fileane God to deliver me, and restore me to my 
prosperity again; no, That it would Jilease God to 
destroy me, v. 9. "As once he let loose his hand 
to make nie poor, and then to make me sick, let 
him loose it once more to put an end to my life. 
Let him give the fatal stroke; it shall be to me the 
coufi de ifruce — l/ie stroke of favour," as, in France, 
they call the last blow which despatches them that 
are broken on the wheel. There was a time when 
destruction from the Almighty ivas a terror to Job; 
(ch. xxxi. 23. ) yet now he courts the destruction of 
the flesh, but in hopes that the spirit should be 
saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

Observe, Though Job was extremely desirous of 
death, and very angry at its delays, yet lie did not 
offer to destrciy himself, nor to take away his own 
life; only he begged that it would filease God to 
destroy him. Seneca's morals, which recommend 
self-murder as the lawful redress of insupportal)le 
grievances, were not then known, nor will ever be 
entertained by any that have the least regard to 
the law of God and nature. How uneasy soe\er 
the soul's confinement in the body may be, it must 
by no means break prison, but wait for a fair dis- 
charge. 

II. He puts this desiix into a prayer, that God 
would grant him this request, that it would please 
God to do this for him. It was his sin, so passion- 
ately to desire the hastening of his own death, and 
offering up that desire to God made it no better; 
nay, what looked ill in his wish, looked worse in his 
prayer; for we ought not to ask any thing of God 
but wliat we can ask in faith, and we cannot ask 
any thing in faith, but what is agreeable to the will 
of God. Passionate prayers are the worst of pas- 
sionate expressions; for we should lift up pure 
hands without wrath. 

III. He promises himself effectual relief, and tlie 
redress of all his grievances, by the stroke of death; 
{v. 10.) " Then should I yet have con fort, wliich 
now I have not, nor ever expect till then." See, 
1. The vanity of human life; so uncertain a good 
is it, that it often proves men's greatest burthen, 
and nothing is so desirable as to get clear of it. 
Let grace make us willing to part with it, when- 
ever God calls; for it may so happen, that even 
sense may make us desirous to pai't with it before 
he calls. 2. The hope which the righteous have 
in their death. If Job had not had a good con- 
science, he could not have spoken with this assu- 
rance of comfort on the other side death, that circum- 
stance which made all the difference between the 
rich man and Lazarus; Jfonv he is comforted, and 
thou art tormented. 

IV. He challenges death to do its worst. If he 
coul-d not die without the dreadful prefaces of bitter 
pains and agonies, and strong convulsions; if he 
must be racked before he be executed, yet, in 
prospect of dying at last, he would make nothing of 
dying pangs. " I would harden myself in sorrow, 
would open my breast to receive deatli's darts, and 
not shrink from them; let him not spare; I desire 
no mitigation of that pain which will put a happy 
period to all my pains. Rather than not die, let 
me die so as to feel myself die." These are pas- 
sionate words, which might better have been 
spared. We should soften ourselves in sorrow, 
that we may receive the good impressions of it, 
and, by the sadness of the countenance, our liearts, 
being made tender, may be made better; but, if we 
harden ourselves, we urovoke God to proceed in 



his controversy; /or when he judgeth, he will over- 
come. It is great presnm])i;on to dare tlie Al- 
mighty, c nd to say. Let him not spare: foi-, ^dre we 
stronger than iie'^ 1 Cor. x. 22. We are much 
indebted to sparing mercy; it is bad indeed with us 
when we are weary of that. Let us rather say, 
with David, O spare me a little. 

V. He grounds his comfoitupon the testimony 
of his cijuscience for him, that he had been faithful 
and firm to his profession of religion, and in some 
degrees useful and sei-\ iceable to the glory of God 
in his generation; I have not concealed the words of 
the Holy One. Observ e, 1. Jolj had the words of 
the Holy One committed to him. The people of 
G()d were, at tliat time, blessed with divine reve- 
lation. 2. It was his comfort, that he had not con- 
cealed them, had not recei\ed the grace of God 
therein in vain. (1.) He had not kept them from 
himself, but had given them full scope to operate 
upon him, and in every thing to guide and govern 
him. He had not stifled his convictions, imprisonea 
the truth in unrighteousness, nor done any thing to 
hinder the digestion of this spiritual food, and the 
operation of this spiritual physic. Let us never 
conceal God's word from ourselv es, but always re- 
ceive it in the light of it. (2.) He had not kept 
them to himself, but had been ready, on all occa- 
sions, to communicate his knowledge for the good 
of others; was never ashamed or afraid to own the 
word of God to be his rule, nor remiss in his en- 
deaxours to bring others into an acquaintance with 
it. Note,- Those, and those only, may promise 
themseh es comfort in death, who are good, and do 
good, while they live. 

VI. He justifies himself in this extreme desire of 
death, from the deplorable condition he was now 
in, V. 11, 12. Eliphaz, in the close of his dis- 
course, had put him in hopes that he should yet see 
a good issue of his troubles; but poor Job puts these 
cordials away from him, refuses to be comforted, 
aljandons himself to despair, and very ingeniously, 
yet perversely, argues against the encouragements 
that were gi\ en him. Disconsolate spirits will rea- 
son strangely against themselves. In answer to the 
pleasing prospects Eliphaz had flattered him with, 
he here intimates, 1. That he had no reason to ex- 
pect any such thing: " What is my strength, that 
I should hope? You see how I am weakened and 
brought low, how unable I am to grapple with my 
distempers; and therefore what re son have I to 
hope that I should outlive them, and see better 
days ? Is my strength the stre7igth of stones? Are 
my muscles brass, and sinews steel? No, they are 
not, and therefore I cannot hold out always in this 
pain and misery, but must needs sink under the 
load. Had I strength to grapple with my dis- 
temper, I might hope to look through it; but, alas! 
I have not;" the weakening of my strength in the 
way will certainly be the shortening of my days, 
Ps. cii. 23. Note, All things considered, we have 
no reason to count upon the long continuance of life 
in this world. What is our strength ? It is de- 
pending strength; we have no more strength than 
God gives us, for in him we live and mme: it is 
decaying strength; we are daily spending the stock, 
and by degrees it will be exhausted. It is dispro- 
portionable to the encounters we may meet with; 
what is our strength to be depended upon, when 
two or three days' sickness will make us weak as 
water? Instead of expecting a long life, we have 
reason to wonder that we have lived hitherto, and 
to feel that we are hastening off apace. 2. l^hat 
he had no reason to desire any such thing; " W/^at 
is my end, that I should desire to prolong my life? 
What comfort can I promise myself in life, com- 
parable to the comfort I promise myself in death?'' 
Note, Those who, through grace, are ready for an 



40 



JOB, VI. 



other world, cannot see much to invite their stay in 
this world, or to make them fond of it. That, if it 
be God's will, we may do him more service, and 
may get to be fitter and ripe f<^r heaven, is an end 
for which we may wish the prolonging of life, in 
subserviency to our chief end; but, otherwise, what 
can we propose to oui'selves in desiring to tarry 
here ? The longer life is, the more grievous will 
its burthens be, (Eccl. xii. 1.) and the longer life 
is, the less pleasant will be its delights, 2 Sam. xix. 
34, 35. We have already seen the best of this 
world, but we are not sure that we have seen the 
worst of it. 

VII. He obviates the suspicion of his being deli- 
rious; {v. 13.) Is not my help in me'/ that is, 
" Have I not the use of my reason, with which, 
I thank God, I can help myself, though you do not 
help me.'' Do you think wisdom is driven quite 
from me, and that I am gone distracted ? No, I 
am not mad, most noble Eliphaz, but sfieak the 
words of truth and soberness" Note, Those who 
have grace in them, who have the evidence of it, 
and have it in exei-cise, have wisdom in them, 
which will be their help in the worst of times. 
Sat lucis intus — They have light within. 

1 4. To him that is afflicted pity should 
be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh 
the fear of the Ahiiighty. 1 5. My brethren 
have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as 
the stream of brooks they pass away; 16. 
VVhich are blackish by reason of the ice, 
awe/ wherein the snow is hid: 17. What 
time they wax warm they vanish: when it 
is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 
18. The paths of their way are turned 
aside; they go to nothing, and perish. 19. 
The troops of Tenia looked, the companies 
of Sheba waited for them. 20. They were 
confounded because they had hoped ; they 
came thither, and were ashamed. 21. For 
now ye are nothing; ye see my casting 
down, and are afraid. 

Eliphaz had been very severe in his censures of 
Job; and his companions, though as yet they had 
said little, yet had intimated their concurrence 
with him: their unkindness therein poor Job here 
complains of, as an aggravation of his calamity, 
and a further excuse of his desire to die; for what 
satisfaction could he ever expect in this world, 
when those that should be his comfortei-s, thus 
proved his tormentors .' 

I. He shows what reason he had to expect kii-.d- 
ness from them. His expectation was grounded 
upon the common ])rinciples of humanity; {v. 14.) 
" To him that is afflicted, and that is wasting and 
melting under his affliction, pity should be showed 
from his friend; and he that does not show that 
pity, forsakes the fear of the jilmighty." Note, 1. 
Com])assion is a debt owing to those that are in 
affliction. The least which those that are at ease 
can do for those that are pained and in anguish, is, 
to pity them, to manifest tlie sincerity of a tender 
concern for them, and to sympathize with them; 
to take cognizance of their case, inquire into their 
grievances, hear their complaints, and mingle 
tears with theirs; to comfort them, and do all we 
can to help and relieve them: this well becomes 
the members of the same body, who should feel 
for the grievances of their fellow-members, not 
knowing how soon the same may be their own. 2. 
Inhumanity is impiety and ifreligion. He that 



withholds compassion from his friend, forsakes .the 
fear of the Almighty. So the Chaldee. How 
dwells the love of God in that man ? 1 John iii. 17. 
Surely those have no fear of the rod of God upon 
themselves, who have no compassion for those that 
feel the smart of it. See Jam. i. 27. 3. Troubles 
are the trials of friendship. When a man is afflict- 
ed, he will see who are his friends indeed, and who 
are but pretenders; for a brother is bom for adver- 
sity, Prov. xvii. 17. — xviii. 24. 

II. He shows how wretchedly he was disappoint- 
ed in his expectations from them; (t^. 15.) " iVf v 
brethren, who should have helped me, have dealt 
deceitfully as a brook. " They came by appoint- 
ment, with a great deal of ceremony, to mourn with 
him, and to comfort him; {ch. ii. 11.) and some ex- 
traordinary things were expected from such great 
men, such good men, such wise, learned, knowing 
men, and Job's particular friends; none questioned 
but that the drift of their discourses would be to 
comfort Job with the remembrance of his former 
piety, the assurance of God's favour to him, and 
the prospect of a glorious issue; but, instead of this, 
they most barbarously fall upon him with their re- 
proaches and censures, condemn him as a hypo- 
crite, insult over his calamities, and pour vinegar, 
instead of oil, into his wounds, and thus they dealt 
deceitfully with him. Note, 1. It is fraud and de- 
ceit not only to violate our engagements to our 
friends, but to frustrate their just expectations from 
us, especially the expectations we have raised. 2. 
It is our wisdom to cease from man; we cannot ex- 
pect too little from the creature, nor too much from 
the Creator. It is no new thing even for brethren 
to deal deceitfully; (Jer. ix. 4, 5. Mic. vii. 5.) let 
us therefore put our confidence in the Rock of ages, 
not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in 
broken cisterns. God will outdo our hopes as much 
as men come short of them. 

This disappointment which he met with, he here 
illustrates by the failing of biooks in summer. 

(1.) The similitude is very elegant, v. 15- -20. 
[1.] Their pretensions are fitly compared to the 
great show which the brooks make, when they ai-e 
swelled with the waters of a land-flood, by the 
melting of the ice and snow, which makes them 
blackish or muddy, t^. 16. [2.] His expectations 
from them, which their coming so solemnly to com- 
fort him had raised, he compares to the expecta- 
tion which the weary thirsty travellers have ot 
finding water in the summer there, where they 
have often seen it in great abundance in the winter, 
v. 19. The troops of Tema and Sheba, the cara- 
vans of the merchants of those countries, whose 
road lay through the deserts of Arabia, looked and 
waited for a supply of water from those broc ks: 
" Hard by here," says one, " A little further," 
says another, " when I last travelled this way, 
there was water enough, we shall have that to re- 
fresh us." Where we have met with relief and 
comfort, we are apt to expect it again; and yet it 
does not follow: for, [3.] The disappointment of 
his expectation is here compared to the confiisi<n 
which seizes the poor travellers, when they find 
heaps of sand where they expected floods of water. 
In the winter, when they were not thirsty, there 
was water en^uigh; every one will applaud and <.d 
mire those that are full and in prosperity: but, in 
the heat of summer, when they needed water, then 
it failed them, it was consumed, (t. 17.) it was 
turned aside, v. 18. When those who are rich 
and high, are sunk and impoverished, and stand in 
need of comfort, then those who before gathered 
about them, stand aloof from them, who before 
commended them, are forward to run them down: 
thus they who raise their expectations high from 
the creature, will find it fail them then when it 



JOB, VI. 



41 



should help them; whereas they who make God 
their confidence have help in the lime of need, 
lico. \\. 16. They who make gold their hope, 
sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their 
confidence in it; (Ezek. vii. 19.) and the greater 
their confidence was, the greater their shame will 
be; They were confounded because they had hofitd, 
V. 20. We prepare confusion for ourselves by our 
vain hopes: the reeds break under us, because we 
lean upon them. If we build a house upon the 
stmd, we shall certainly be d iifounded, for it will 
fcill in the storm, and we must thank ourselves for 
being such fools to expect it would stand. We are 
not deceived unless we deceive ourselves. 

(2.) The application is very close; {v. 21.) For 
novj ye arc nothing. They seemed to be some- 
what, but in conference they added nothing to him. 
Allude to Gal. ii. 6. He was never the wiser, 
never the better, for the visit they made him. 
Note, Whatevei- complacency we may take, or 
whatever confidence we may put, in creatures, how 
great soever they may seem, and how dear soever 
they may be, to us, one time or other we shall say 
of them, JSToiv ye are nothing. When Job was in 
prosperity, his friends were something to him, he 
took complacency in them and their society; but 
*' A''oiv ye are nothing, now I can find no ccmfoit 
but in God." It were well for us, if we had always 
such convictions of the vanity of the creature, and 
its insufficiency to make us happy, as we have 
sometimes had, or shall ha\e, on a sick-bed, a 
death-bed, or in trouble of conscience; ^^ JVow ye 
are nothing. You are not what you have been, 
what you should be, what you pretend to be, what 
I thought you would have been; for you see my 
casting down, and are ; fraid. When you saw me 
in my elevation, you caressed me; but, now that 
you see me in my dejection, you are shy of me, are 
afraid rf showing yourselves kind, lest I should 
take boldness thence, to beg something of you, or 
to borrow;" (compare v. 22.) "you are afraid, 
lest, if you own me, you should be obliged to keep 
me." Perhaps they were afraid of catching his 
distemper, or of coming within smell of the noisome- 
ness of it. It is not good, either out of pride or 
niceness, for love of our purses, or of our bodies, to 
be shy of those in distress, and afraid of coming 
near them. Their case may soon be our own. 

22. Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give 
a reward for me of your substance ? 23. 
Or, Deliver me from the enemies' hand ? 
or. Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? 
24. Teach me, and I will hold my tongue ; 
and cause me to understand wherein I have 
erred. 25. How forcible are right words! 
but what doth your arguing reprove ? 26. 
Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the 
speeches of one that is desperate, ivhich are 
as wind? 27. Yea, ye overwhelm the 
fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. 
28. Now, therefore, be content: look upon 
me : for it is evident unto you if I lie. 29. 
Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity ? 
yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. 
30. Is there iniquity in my tongue? Can- 
not my taste discern perverse things? 

Poor Job goes on here to upbraid his friends with 
their unkindness, and the hard usage they gave 
him. He here appeals to themselves concerning 
several things which tended both to justify him and 

Vol. iii.-F 



condemn them. If they would but think impar- 
tially, and speak as they thought, they could not 
but own, 

I. That though he was necessitous, yet he was 
not craving, nor burthensome to his friends. Thc^se 
that are so, whose troubles serve them to beg by, 
are commonly less pitied than the silent poor. Job 
would be glad to see his friends, but he did not say, 
Bring unto me, {y. 22. ) or, Deliver me, v. 23. He 
did not desire to put them to any expense; did not 
urge his friends, either, 1. To make a collection 
for him, to set him up again in the world, though 
he could plead that his losses came upon him by 
the hand of God, and not by any fault or folly of 
his own; that he was utterly ruined and impo- 
verished; that he had lived in good condition, and 
that, when he had wherewithal, he was charitable, 
and ready to help those that were in distress; that 
his friends were rich, and able to help him; yet he 
did not say, Give me of your substance. Note, A 
good man, when troubled himself, is afraid of being 
troublesome to his friends. Or, 2. To raise the 
country for him, to help him to recover his cattle 
out of the hands of the Sabeans and Chaldeans, or 
to make reprisals upon them; " Did I send for you 
to deliver me out of the hand of the mighty? No, 
I ne\ er expected you sh'aild either expose your- 
selves to any danger, or put yourselves to any 
charge, upon my account; I wil'l rather sit down 
content under my affliction, and make the best of 
it, than spunge upon my friends." St. Paul work- 
ed with his hands, that he might not be burthen- 
some to any. Job's not asking their help, did not 
excuse them from offering it when he needed it, 
and it was in the power of their hands to give it; 
but it much aggravated their unkindness, when he 
desired no moi e from them than a good look, and 
a good word, and yet could not obtain them. It 
often happens that fn m man, even when we ex- 
pect little, we have less, but from God, even when 
we expect much, we have more, Eph. iii. 20. 

II. That though he differed in opinion from 
them, yet he was not ol:)stinate, but ready to yield 
to conviction, and to strike sail to truth, as soon as 
ever it was made to appear to him that he was in 
an error; {v. 24, 25.) "If, instead of invidious re- 
flections and uncharitable insinuations, you will 
give me plain instructions and solid arguments, 
which shall carry their own evidence along with 
them, I am ready to acknowledge my eiTor, and 
own myself in a fault; Teach me, and I will hold 
my tongue, for I have often found, with pleasure 
and wondei-, how forcible right words are: but the 
method yf u take will never make proselytes; what 
doth your arguing reprove? Your hypothesis is 
false, your surmises are groundless, your manage- 
ment weak, and your application peevish and un- 
charitable." Note, 1. Fair reasoning has a com- 
manding power, and it is a wonder if men are not 
conquered by it; but railing and foul language is 
impotent and foolish, and it is no wonder if meii are 
exasperated and hardened by it. 2. It is the un- 
doubted character of every honest man, that he is 
truly desirous to have his mistakes rectified, and to 
be made to understand wherein he has erred* 
and that right words, when they appear to him to 
be so, though contrary to his former sentiments, 
are both forcible and acceptable. 

III. That though he had been indeed in a f ult, 
yet they ought not to have given him such hard 
usage; (i'. 26, 27.) ^' Do you imagine, or contrive 
with a great deal of art," (for so the word signi- 
fies,) *Ho r(°/?roT'(f worfi^s, some passionate expres- 
sions of mine in this desperate condition, as if they 
were certain indications of reigning impiety and 
atheism? A little candour and charity would have 
served to excuse them, and to put a better con- 



42 



JOB, VII. 



struction upon them. Shall a man's spiritual state 
be judged of by some rash and hasty words, which 
d burp rising trouble extorts from him? Is it fair, Is 
it kind, Is it just, to criticise in such a case? Would 
you youi'sehes be served thus?" Two things aggra- 
vated their unkind treatment of him. 1. That they 
took ad\ antage of his weakness, and the helpless 
condition he was in; Ye overiv helm the fatherless, 
a proverbial expression, bespeaking tliat which is 
uiost barbarous and inhuman. " The fatherless 
c-iniiot secure themselves from insults; which im- 
L) Jidens men of base and sordid spirits to insult 
tiieni and trample upon them; and you do so by 
uic." Job, being a childless father, thought him- 
self as much exposed to injury as a fatherless child, 
^^Ps. cxxvii. 5.) and had reason to take it ill at 
tnose who, therefore, triumphed over him. Let 
in.-se, wno overwhelm and overpower them that 
upon auy account may be looked upon as father- 
less, know that therein they not only put off the 
compassions of man, but fight against the compas- 
sions of God, wlio is, and will be, a Father of 
tae fatherless, and a Helper of the helpless. 2. 
That they made pretence of kindness; " You dig a 
flit for your friend; not only you are unkind to me, 
who am your friend, but, under colour of friend- 
ship, you insnare me." When they came to see 
and sit with him, he thought he might speak his 
mind freely to them, and that tlie more bitter his 
complaints to them were, the more they would 
ha\ e endeavoured to comfort him. This made 
him take a greater liberty than otherwise he would 
have done. David, though he smothered his re- 
sentments when the wicked were before him, it is 
likely, would have given vent to them, if none had 
been by but friends, Ps. xxxix. 1. But this free- 
dom of speech, which their professions of concern 
for him made him use, had exposed him to their 
censures, and so they might be said to dig a pit for 
him. Tnus, when our hearts are hot within us, 
what is ill d' me we are apt to misrepresent, as if 
done designedly. 

IV. T.iat though he had let fall some passionate 
expressions, yet, in tiie main, he was in the right, and 
th.a his afflictions, though very extraordinary, did 
not prove him to be a hypocrite, or a wicked man. 
His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let 
it go. 

For the evincing of it, he here appeals, 

1. To what they saw in him; {y. 28.) '^ Be con- 
tent, and look ujion me; what do you see in me, 
that ijespeaks me either a mad man, or a wicked 
man? Nay, look in my face, and you may discern 
there the uulications of a patient and submissive 
spirit, for all this. Let the show of my countenance 
Witness for me, that th' ugh I have cursed my day, 
I do not curse my (iod. " Or rather, "Look upon 
my ulcers and sore boils, and by them it will be 
eident to you that I do not lie; that is, "that I 
do not complain without cause. Let your own eyes 
convince you that my condition is very sad, and 
that I do not quarrel with God, by making it worse 
than it is." 

2. To what they heard from him; (v. 30.) "You 
hear what I have to say; Is there iniquity in my 
longuv? That iniquity that you charge me with? 
Have I blasphemed God, or renounced him? Are 
not my present arguings right? Do not you per- 
ceive, bv what I say, that 1 can discern perverse 
things? 1 can discover your fallacies and mistakes, 
and if I were myself in an error, I could perceive 
it. Whatev er you think of me, I know what I say. " 

3. To their own second and sober thoughts; 
{v. 29.) " Return, I pray you, consider the thing 
over again, without prejudice and ])artiality, and let 
not tlie result be iniquity, let it not be an unrighte- 
ous sentence; and you will find my righteousness 



is in it," that is, "I am in the right in this matter; 
and though I cannot keep my temper as I sliould, I 
keep my integrity, and have not said, or done, or 
suffered, any thing which will prove me other than 
an honest man. " A just cause desires nothing more 
than a iust hearing, and, if need be, are-hearing. 

CHAP. Nil. 

Job, in this chapter, goes on to express the bitter sense he 
had of his calamities, and to justify himself in his desire 
of death. I. He complains to himself and liis friends of 
his troubles, and the constant agitation he was in, v. 
1 . . 6. 11. He turns to God, and expostulates with 
him, V. 7. to the end. In which, 1. He pleads the final 
period which death puts to our present slate, v. 7 . . 10. 
2. He passionately complains of the mi-scrable condition 
he was now in, v. 11 .. 16. 3. He wonders that God will 
thus contend with him, and begs for the pardon of his 
sins, and a speedy release out of his miseries, v. 17 . . 21. 
It is hard to methodise the speeches of one who owned 
himself almost desperate, ch. vi. 26. 

1. ¥S there not an appointed time to man 
upon earlh ? are not his clays also like 
the days of a hireling / 2. As a servant 
earnestly desireth the shadow, and as a 
hireling looketh for the reheard of his work ; 
S. So am I made to possess months of va- 
nity, and wearisome nights are appointed 
to me. 4. When I lie down, J say, When 
shall I arise, and the night be gone ? and I 
am full of tossings to and fro unto the 
dawning of the day. 5. My flesh is cloth- 
ed with worms and clods of dust; my skin 
is broken, and become loathsome. 6. My 
days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, 
and are spent without hope. 

Job is here excusing what he could not justify, 
even his inordinate desire of death. W^hy should 
he not wish for the period of life, which would be 
the period of his miseries? To enforce this reason, 
he argues, 

I. From the general condition of man upon earth ; 
{v. 1.) " He is of few days, and full of trouble. 
Every man must die shortly, and every man has 
some reason (more or less) to desire to die shortly; 
and, therefore, why should yru impute it to me as 
so heinous a crime, that / wish to die shortly?" Or 
thus; " Pray mistake not my desires of death, as if 
I thought the time appointed of God could be anti- 
cipated; no, I know very well that thaf' is fixed; 
only in such language as this, I take the liberty to 
express my present uneasiness. Is there not an afi- 
fiointed time {a warfare, so the word is) to man 
ufion earth? And are not his days here like the days 
of a hireling?" Observe, 

1. Man's present place: he is upon earth, which 
God has given to the children of men, Ps. cxv. 16. 
This bespeaks man's meanness and inferiority: how 
much below the inhabitants of yonder elevated and 
refined regions is he situated! It also bespeaks 
God's mercy to him: he is yet u/ion the earth, not 
under it; nn earth, not in hell. Our time on earth 
is limited and short, according to the narrow 
bounds of this earth; but heaven cannot be mea- 
sured, nor the days of hea\ en numbered. 

2. His continuance in that place: is there not a 
time appointed for his abode here? Yes, certainly 
there is, and it is easy to say by whom the appoint- 
ment is made, even by Him that made us and set 
us here. We are not to be on this earth alwavs, 
nor long, but for a certain time, which is detei- 
mined by Him in whose hand our times are. We 
are not to think that we are governed b)' the blind 



JOB, VII. 



43 



fate of the Stoics, or by the blind fortune of the 
Epicureans, but by the wise, holy, and sovereign, 
counsel of God. 

3. His condition during that continuance: man's 
life is a ivarfare, and as the days of a hireling. We 
are every owq of us to look upon ourselves in this 
world, (1.) As soldiers, exposed to hardship, and 
in tlie midst of enemies; we must ser\e and be un- 
der command; ;>nd, when our warfare is accom- 
plished, we must be disbanded, dismissed with 
either shame or honoui-, according to what we hive 
tione in the body. (2.) As day-labourers, that have 
the work, of the day to do in its day, and must make 
up tlieir account at night. 

II. From his own condition at this time. He had 
as much reason, he thought, to wish for death, as 
a poor servant or hireling, tuat is tired with his 
work, has to wish for the shadows of the evening, 
when he shall receive his penny, and go to rest, v. 
2. The darkness of the night is as welcome to the 
labourer, as the light of the morning is to the 
watchman, Ps. cxxx. 6. The God of nature has 
provided for the repose of labourers, and no won- 
der that they desire it. The sleep of the labouring 
man is sweet, Eccl. v. 12. No pleasure more grate- 
ful, more relishing, to the luxurious, than rest to 
the labourers; nor can any rich man take so much 
satisfacrion in the return of his rent-days, as the 
hii-eling in his day's wages. The comparison is 
plain, the application is concise, and somewhat ob- 
scure; but we must supply a word or two, and then 
it is easy: exactness ot language is not to be expect- 
ed from one in Job's condition. " As a servant ear- 
nestly desires the shadow, so, and for the same rea- 
son, I earnestly desire death, for I am made to 
possess," &c. Hear his complaint: 

1. His days were useless, and had been so a great 
wliile; he was wholly taken off from business, and 
utterly unfit foi- it. Evei'y day was a burtlien to 
him, because he was in no capacity of doing good, 
or of spending it to any purpose. FJ I'itee partem non 
attigit ullam — He cnikl not Jill uji his time nvith any 
thing that would turn to accojuit; this he calls /ios- 
sessing months of vanity, v. 3. It very much in- 
creases the affliction of sickness and age, to a good 
man, that he is thereby forced from his useful- 
ness. He insists not so much upon it, that they 
are days in which he has no pleasure, as that they 
are days in which he does no good; on that account, 
they are months of vanity: but when we are dis- 
abled to work for God, if we will but sit still qui- 
etly for him, it is all one; we shall be accepted. 

2. His nights were restless, v. 3, 4. The night 
relieves the toil and fatigue of the day, not only to 
the labourers, but to the sufferers: if a sick man can 
but get a little sleep in the night, it helps nature, 
and it is hoped that he will do well, John xi. 12. 
However, be the trouble what it will, sleep gives 
some intermission to the cares, and pains, and 
griefs, that afflict us: it is the parenthesis of our 
sorrows: but poor Job could not gain this relief. 
(1.) His nights were wearisome, and, instead of 
taking any rest, he did but tire himself more with 
tossing to and fro until morning. Those that are in 
great uneasiness, through pain of body, or anguish 
of mind, think, by changing sides, changing places, 
changing postures, to get some ease; but, while the 
cause is the same within, it is all to no purpose; it is- 
but a resemblance of a fretful discontented spirit, 
that is ever shifting, but never easy. This made 
him dread the night as much as the servant desires 
it, and, when he lay down, to say, IVhen will the 
night be gone? (2. ) These wearisome nights were 
appointed to him; God, who determines the times 
before appointed, had allotted him such nights as 
t] ese. Whatever is, at any time, grievous to us, it 
is good to see it appointed for us, that we may ac- 



quiesce in the event, not only as unavoidable, 
because appointed, but as, therefore, designed for 
some hoi)- end. When we have comfortable nights, 
we must see them also appointed to us, and be 
thankful for them; many better than we have wea- 
risome nights. 

3. His body was noisome, x'. 5. His sores bred 
worms, the scabs were like clods of dust, and his 
skin was broken; so evil was the disease which 
cleaved fast to him. See what vile bodies we have, 
and what little reason we have to pamper them, or 
be proud of them; they ha\e in themselves the 
principles of their own coriuption: as fond as we 
are of them now, the time may come, when we 
may loathe them, and long to get rid of them. 

4. His life was hastening apace towards a period, 
V. 6. He thought he had no reason to expect a 
long life, f(;r he found himself declining fast; {xk 6.) 
My days are swfter than a weaver^s shuttle, that 
is, " My time is now but short, and there are but a 
few sands more in my glass, which will speedily run 
out." Natural motions are more swift near the 
centre; Job thought his days ran swiftly, because 
he thought he should soon be at his journey's end; 
he looked upon them as good as spent already, and 
he was therefore without hope of being restored to 
his former prosperity. It is applicable to maii's 
life in general; our days are like a weaver's shuttle, 
thrown from one side of the web to the other, in the 
twinkling of an eye, and then back again, to and 
fro, un'^il, at length, it is quite exhausted of the 
thread it carried; and then we cut off, like a weaver, 
our life, Isa. xxxviii. 12. Time hastens on apace, the 
motitn of it cannot be stopped, and, when it is past, 
it cannot be recalled. While we are living, we ; re 
sowing, (Gal. vi. 8.) so we are weaving; every day, 
like the shuttle, leaves a thread behind it; many 
weave the spider's web, which will fail them, ch. 
viii. 14. If we are weaving to ourselves holy gar- 
ments and robes of righteousness, we shall ha\e 
the benefit of them when our work comes to be re- 
viewed, and every man shall reap as he sowed, and 
wear as he wove. 

7. O remember that my life is wind : 
mine eye shall no more see good. 8. The 
eye of him that hath seen me shall see me 
no more : thine eyes are upon me, and I am 
not. 9. yis the cloud is consumed and va- 
nisheth away; so he that goeth down 1o 
the grave sliiill come up no more. 10. He 
shall return no more to his house, neither 
shall his place know him any more. 1 1 . 
Tiierefore I v\'ill not refrain my mouth ; I 
will speak in the anguish of my spirit ; 1 
will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 
12. Ajji I a sea, or a whale, that thou set- 
test a watch over me? 13. When I say. 
My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall 
ease my complaint; 14. Then thou scarest 
me with dreams, and terrifiest me through 
visions: 15. So that my soul choosedi 
strangling, and death rather than my life. 
1 6. I loathe it : I would not live always : 
let me alone ; for my days are vanity. 

Job, observing perhaps that his friends, though 
they would not interrupt him in his discourse, yet 
began to grow weary, and not to heed much what 
he said, here turns to God, and speaks to him. If 
men will not hear us, God will; if men cannot help 
us, he can; for his arm is not shortened, neither is 



44 



JOB, VII. 



/j/.9 ear heavy. Yet we must not go to school to 
J.-il) here, to"leam how to speak to God, for, it must 
he c;riitessed, there is a great mixture of passion 
and corruption in what he here says: but if God be 
not extreme to mark what his people say amiss, let 
ns also make the best of it. Job is here begging of 
God either to ease him or end him. 

He here represents himself to God, 

I. As a dying man, surely and speedily dying. 
It is good for us, when we are sick, to think and 
speak of death, for sickness is sent on puroose to 
put us in mind of it; and if we be duly mindful of it 
ourselves, we may, in faith, put God in mind of it, 
as Job does here; {v. 7.) remember that my life 
is vjind. He recommends himself to God as an 
object of his pity and compassion, with this con- 
sideration, that he was a very weak, frail, creature, 
his abode in this world short and uncertain, his 
removal out of it sure and speedy, and his return 
to it again impossible, and never to be expected; 
that his life was wind, as the lives of all men are, 
noisy perhaps, and blustering, like the wind, but 
vain and empty, soon gone, and, when gone, past 
recall. God had compassion on Israel, remember- 
ing that they -were but flesh, a wind that fiasseth 
away, and cometh not again, Ps. Ixxviii. 38, 39. 
Observe, 

1. The pious reflections Job makes upon his own 
life and death. Such plain truths as these con- 
cerning the shortness and vanity of life, the un- 
avoidableness and irrecoverableness of death, then 
do us good, when we think and speak of them with 
application to oursehes. Let us consider, then, 

(1.) That we must shortly take our leave of all 
the things that are seen, that are temporal. The 
eye of the body must be closed, and shall no more 
see good, the good which most men set their hearts 
upon, for their cry is, Who will make us to see 
good? Ps. iv. 6. If we be such fools as to place 
our happiness in visible good things, what will be- 
come of us when they shall be for ever hid from 
our eyes, and we shall no more see good? Let us, 
therefore, live by that faith which is the substance 
and evidence of things not seen. 

(2.) That we must then remove to an invisible 
world: the eye of him that hath here seen me, shall 
see me no more there. It is 'hStn; — aii unseen state, 
V. 8. Death removes our lovers and friends into 
darkness, (Ps. Ixxxviii. 18.) and will shortly re- 
move us out of their sight; when we go hence we 
shall be seen no more, (Ps. xxxix. 13.) but go to 
converse with the things that are not seen, that are 
eternal. 

(3.) That God can easily, and in a moment, put 
an end to our lives, and send us to another world; 
(t. 8.) "Thine eyes are u/ion me, and I am not : 
thou canst look me into eternity, frown me into the 
grave, when thou pleasest." 

Shoiild'st thou, dUpleas'd, give me a frowning look, 
I sink, I (lie, as if witli lightning struck. 

Sir R. Blackmorb. 

He takes away our breath, and we die; nay, he 
but looks on the earth, and it trembles, Ps. civ. 
29, 32. 

(4.) That when we are once removed to another 
world, we must never return to this. There is 
constant passing from this world to the other, but 
Vestigia nulla retrorsum — There is no refia/ising. 
•• Therefore, Lord, show me kindness while I am 
here, for I shall return no more to receive kindness 
in this world." Or, "Therefore, Lord, kindly 
-/ase me bv death, for that will be a perpetual ease, 
. shall return no more to the calamities of this life." 
♦\'hen we are dead, we are gone, to return no 
inore, [1.] From our house under ground, v. 9. 
He that goeth down to the grave, shall come ufi no 



more, until the general resurrection, shall come up 
no more to his place in this world. Dying is work 
that is to be done but once, and therefoi-e it had 
need be well done: an error theie is pSret retrieve. 
This is illustrated by the blotting out and scattering 
of a cloud. It is consumed, and vanisheth awav, is 
resolved into air, and never knits again: other 
clouds arise, but the same cloud never returns: so 
a new generation of the children of men is raised 
up, but the former generation is quite consuuied, 
and vanishes away. When we see a cloud which 
looks great, as if it would eclipse the sun and drown 
the earth, of a sudden dispersed and disappearing, 
let us say, "Just such a thing is the life of man; it 
is a -vapour that appears for a little while, and then 
vanishes away." [2.] To return no more to our 
house above ground, v. 10. He shall return no 
more to his house, to the possession and enjoyment 
of it, to the business and delights of it: others will 
take possession, and keep it till they also res'gn to 
another generation. The rich man in hell des'red 
Lazarus might be sent to his house, knowing it was 
to no purpose to ask that he might have leave to go 
himself. Glorified saints shall return no more to 
the cares, and burthens, and sorrows, of their 
house; nor damned sinners to the gaieties and 
pleasures of their house. Their place shall no 
more know them, no more own them, hive no 
more acquaintance with them, nor be any more 
under their influence. It concerns us to secure a 
better place when we die, for this will no more 
own us. 

2. The passionate inference he draws from it. 
From these premises he might have drawn a bet'.ei 
conclusion than this, {y. 11.) Therefore I will not 
refrain my mouth, I will speak, t will complain. 
lioly David, when he had been meditating on the 
frailty of human life, made a contrary use of it; 
(Ps. xxxix. 9. ) / was dumb, and opened not my 
mouth : but Job, finding himself near expiring, 
hastens as much to make his complaint, as if he 
had been to make his last will and testament, r r as 
if he could not die in peace until he had given vent 
to his passion. When we have but a few breaths 
to draw, we should spend them in the holy, gra- 
cious, breathings of faith and prayer, not in the 
noisome, noxious, breathings of sin and corruptirn. 
Better die praying and praising, than die complain- 
ing and quarrelling. 

II. As a distempered man, sorely and grievously 
distempered, both in body and mind. In this ]iart 
of his representation, he is verv peevish, as if God 
dealt hardly with him, and laid upon hint more 
than was meet. Am T a sea, or a whale? v. 12. 
"A raging sea, that must be kept within brunds, 
to check its proud waves, or an unruly whale, that 
must be restrained by force from devouring all the 
fishes of the sea? Am I so strong, that there needs 
so much ado to hold me? So boisterous, that i o 
less than all these mightv bonds of affliction will 
serve to tame me, and kcej) me within compass?" 
We are very apt, when we are in afflicti<'n, to 
complain of God and his providence, as if he laid 
more restraint upon us than there is occas'cn f' r; 
whereas we arc never in heaviness but when there 
is need, or beyond the just measure. 

1. He complains that he could n^t rest in his 
bed, T'. 13, 14. There we promise rursehes snne 
repose, when we are fatigued with labotir, rain, f-r 
travel; My bed shall comfort me, and my couch 
shall ease my complaint; sleep will, for a tinie, gi^ e 
me some relief; it does so; it is appointed for that 
end; many a time it has eased us, and we ha\(: 
awaked refreshed, and with new vigour. \\'beii 
it is so, we have great reason to be thankful; but it 
was not so with poor Job; his bed, instead of com 
forting him, terrified him; and his couch, instead 



JOB, VII. 



45 



of easing his complaint, added to it; for if he drop- 
ped asleep, he was disturbed with his frightful 
d I earns, and when those awaked him, still he was 
haunted with dreadful appaiitions. This was it, 
tliat made the night so unwelcome and wearisome 
to him as it was; {v. 4.) When shall I arisen Note, 
God can, when he pleases, meet us with terror 
tliere, where we promise ourselves ease and repose; 
nay, he can make us a terror to ourselves, and, as 
we have often contracted guilt, by the rovings of 
an unsanctified fancy, he can likewise, by the 
power of our own imagination, create as much 
grief, and so make that our punishment which has 
often been our sin. In Job's dreams, though they 
might jjartly arise from his distemper, (in fevers, 
or small-pox, when the body is all over sore, it is 
common for the sleep to be unquiet,) yet we ha\'e 
reas'm to think Satan had a hand in them; Satan, 
who delights to terrify those whom it is out of his 
reach to -destroy; but Job looked up to God, who 
permitted Satan to do this, ( Thou scarest me,) and 
mistook Satan's representations for the terrors of 
God setting themselves in array against him. We 
have reason to pray to God that our dreams may 
neither defile nor disquiet us, neither tempt us to 
sin, nor torment us with fear; that He who keeps 
Israel, and neither slumbers nor sleeps, may keep 
us when v^e slumber and sleep; that the Devil may 
not then do us a mischief, either as an insinuating 
serpent, oi- as a roaring lion; and to bless God if we 
lie down and our sleep is sweet, and we are not 
thus scared. 

2. He covets to rest in his grave, that bed where 
there are no tossings to and fro, nor any frightful 
dreams, v. 15, 16. (1.) He was sick of life, and 
hated the thoughts of it; "I loathe it, I have had 
enough of it, I would not live alway: not only not 
live alway in this condition, in pain and misery, but 
not live alway in the most easy and prosperous 
condition, to be continually in danger of being thus 
reduced: my days are vanity at the best, empty 
of solid comfort, exposed to real griefs; and I would 
not be for ever tied to such uncertainty." Note, 
A good man would not (if he might) live always in 
this world, no, not though it smile upon him, be- 
cause it is a world of sin and temptation, and he 
has a better world in prospect. (2.) He was fond 
of death, and pleased himself with the thoughts of 
it: his soul (his judgment, he thought, but really it 
was his passion) chose strangling and death rather; 
any death rather than such, a life as this. Doubt- 
less, this was Job's infirmity; for though a good 
man would not wish to live alway in this world, 
and would choose strangling and death rather than 
sin, as the martyrs did, yet he will be content to 
live as long as pleases God, not choose them rather 
than life, because life is our opportunity of glorify- 
ing God, and getting ready for heaven. 

17. What is man that thou shouldest 
magnify him? and that thou shouldest set 
thy heart upon him? 18. And that thou 
shouldest visit him every morning, and try 
him every moment? 19. How long wilt 
thou not depart from me, nor let me alone 
till I swallow down my spittle ? 20. I have 
sinned; what shall T do unto thee, O thou 
Preserver of men ? why hast thou set me as 
a mark against thee, so that I am a burden 
to myself? 21. And why dost thou not 
pardon my transgression, and take away 
mine iniquity ? for now shall I sleep in the 



dust ; and thou shalt seek me in the morn- 
ing, but I shall not be. 

Job here reasons with God, 

I. Concerning his dealings with man in general; 
{y. 17, 18.) What is man, that thou shouldest mag- 
nify him? This may be looked upon either, 1. As 
a passionate reflection upon the proceedings of di- 
\ine justice; as if the great God did diminish and 
disparage himself, in contending with man. Great 
men think it below them to take cognizance of 
those who are much their inferiors, so far as to 
reprove and correct their follies and indecencies; 
why then does God magnify man, by visiting him, 
and trying him, and making so much ado about 
him.' Why will he thus pour all his foi'ces upon 
one that is such an unequal match for him? W by 
will he visit him with afflictions, which, like a 
quotidian ague, return as duly and constantly as the 
morning-light, and try, every moment, what he 
can bear.' We mistake God, and the nature of his 
providence, if we think it any lessening to him, to 
take notice of the meanest of his creatures. ( )r, 
2. As a pious admiration of the condescensions cf 
divine grace, like that, Ps. viii, 4. — cxliv. 3. He 
owns God's favour to man in general, even then 
when he complains of his own particular troubles. 
"What is man, miserable man, a poor, mean, 
weak creature, that Thou, the great and glorious 
God, shouldest deal with him as thou dost? What 
is man," (1.) "That thou shouldest put such 
honour upon him; shouldest magnify him, by 
taking him into covenant and communim with 
thyself?" (2.) "That thou shouldest concern 
thyself so much about him, shouldest set thy heart 
upon him, as dear to thee, and one thou hast a 
kindness for?" (3.) "That thou shouldest visit 
him with thy compassions every morning, as we 
daily visit a particular friend, or as the physician 
visits his patients every morning, to help them?" 
(4.) "That thou shouldest try him, shouldest feel 
his pulse, and observe his looks, every moment, as 
in care about him, and jealous over him?" That 
such a worm of the earth as man is, should be the 
darling and favourite of Heaven, is what we have 
reason for ever to admire. 

II. Concerning his dealings with him in particu- 
lar. Observe, 

1. The complaint he makes of his afflictions, 
which he here aggravates, and (as we are all too 
apt to do) makes the worst of, in three expressions. 
(1.) That he was the butt to God's arrows; "Thou 
hast set me as a mark against thee" v. 20. "My 
case is singular, and none is shot at so as I am." 
(2.) That he was a burthen to himself, readv to 
sink under the load of his own life. How much 
delight soever we take in ourselves, God can, when 
he pleases, make us burthens to ourselves. What 
comfort can we take in ourseh es, if God appear 
against us as an Enemy, and we have not comfort 
in him? (3.) That he had no intermission of his 
griefs; {v. 19.) "How long will it be ere thou 
cause thy rod to defiart from me, or abate the 
rigour of the correction, at least, for so long as that 
I may swallow down my spittle?''^ It should seem, 
Job's distemper lay much in his throat, and almost 
choked him, so that he could not swallow his 
spittle. He complains, (c//. xxx. 18.) that it 
bound him about like the collar of his coat. "Lord," 
says he, "wilt not thou give me seme respite, some 
breathing time?" ch. ix. 18. 

2. The concern he is in about his sins. The 
best men have sin to complain of, and the better 
they are, the more they will complain of it. 

(i.) He ingenuously owns himself guilty before 
God; I have sinned. God had said of him, that he 



46 



JOB, VIII. 



was a pprffct. and ati ufiri^ht man; yet he says of 
hioiselt", / /lave sinned. Those m:;y l^e upright 
who yet are not sinless; and those who are sin- 
cerely penitent are accepted, through a Mediator, 
as evangcUcally perfect. Job maintained, against 
his friends, that he was not a hypocrite, not a 
wicked man; and yet owns to his God, that he had 
sinned. If we ha\ e been kept from gross acts of 
sin, it does not, therefore, follow that we are inno- 
cent. The best must acknowledge, before God, 
tliat they have sinned. His calling God the Ob- 
server, or Preserver, of men, may be looked upon 
as designed for an aggravation of his sin; "Though 
God has had his eye upon me, his eye upon me for 
good, yet I have sinned against him." When we 
are in affliction, it is seasonable to confess sin, as the 
procuring cause of our affliction. Penitent confes- 
sions would drown and silence passionate complaints. 

(2. ) He seriously inquires how he might make 
his peace with God; "What shall I do unto thee, 
having done so much against thee?" Are we con- 
vinced that we have sinned, and are we brought to 
own it? We cannot but conclude that something 
must be done, to prevent the fatal consequences of 
it. The matter must not rest as it is, but some 
course must be taken, to undo what has been ill 
done. And, if we are truly sensible of the danger 
we have run ourselves into, we shall Ijc willing to 
do any thing; to take a pardon upon any terms; and 
therefore shall be inquisitive as to what ive shall 
do, {M\'\ vi. 6, 7. ) what we shall do to God, not 
to satisfy the demands of his justice, (that is done 
only by the Mediator,) but to qualify ourselves for 
the tokens of his favour, according to the tenor of 
the gospel covenant. In making this inquiry, it is 
good to eye God as the Preserver or Saviour of 
men, not the Destroyer. In our repentance, we 
must keep up good thoughts of God, as one that 
delights not in the ruin of his creatures, but would 
ratlier they should return and live. " Thou art 
the Saviour of men; be my Sa\iour, for I cast my- 
self upon thy mercy." 

(3.) He earnestly begs for the forgiveness of his 
sins, 7'. 21. The heat of his spirit, as, on the one 
hand, it m ule his complaints the more bitter, so, 
<^n the other hand, it made his pravers the more 
lively and importunate; as here, " JVhi/ dost thou 
not jiardnn my transgression? Art not thou a God 
of infin'te mcrcv, that art ready to forgive? Hast 
not thou wrought repentance in me? Why then 
dost thou not giye me the pardon of my sin, and 
make me to hear the voice of that joy and glad- 
ness?" Sui'clv he means more than barely the 
removin:^ of his outward trouble, and is herein 
earnest for the return of God's favour, which he 
compl lined of the want of, ch, vi. 4. "Lord, 
pardon my sins, and give me the comfort of that 
pardon, and then I can easily bear my afflictions," 
Matth. ix. 2. Isa. xxxiii. 24. When the mercy 
of God pardons the transgression that is committed 
by us, the grace of God takes away the iniquity 
that reigns in us. Wherever God removes the 
guilt of sin, he breaks the power of sin. 

(4.) To (-nforce his prayer for ])ardon, he pleads 
the p'-ospect he had of clving quicklv; For now 
shall I sleep in the dust; death will lay us in the 
dust, will lay us to sleep there, and perhaps now in a 
little time. Job had been com])laining of restless 
nights, and that sleep departed from his eyes; (v. 
.'!, 4, lo, 14.) but those who cannot sleep in abed 
•)fdo\vn, will shortly sleep in a bed of dust, and not 
oe scared with dreams, nor tossed to and fro. 
"Thou shalt seek me in the morning, to show me 
I'avour, but / shall not be, it will be too late then. 
If my sins be not pardoned while I live, I am lost 
and undone for ever." Note, The consideration 



I of this, that we. must shortly die, and perhaps may 
die suddenly, should make us all veiy solicit. u> to 
get our sins pardoned, and our iniquity taken <iway. 

CHAP. vni. 

Job's friends are like Job's messcnp-ers; those followed 
one another close with evil tidinL's, these with harsh i iii- 
sures: both, uHaw;ires, served Suian's desiirn; those lo 
drive him from his integrity, these to drive him (Voiti the 
comfort of it. Eliphaz did not reply lo nhm .loli li;id 
said in answer to him, but left it to Bildad, whom he 
knew to be of the same mind with himself in this aflair 
Those are not the wisest of llie company, but the ivi'.ik 
est rather, who covet to have all the talk. Lei others 
speak in their turn, and let the first keep silence, 1 Cor. 
xiv. 30,31. Eliphnz had undertaken to show, that, be- 
cause Job was sorely afflicted, he was certainly a Avjcked 
man; Bildad is much of the same mind, and v.\\\ cor.- 
clude Job a wicked man, unless God do speedily appear 
for his relief. In this chapter, he endeavours to convince 
Job, I. That he had spoken too passionately, v. '2. II. 
That he and his children had suffered justly, v. 3, 4. 
III. That, if he were a true penitent, God would soon 
turn his captivity, v. 5.. 7. IV. That it was a usual 
thing for Providence to extinguish the joys and iiopes of 
wicked men, as his were extinguished; and therefore that 
they had reason to suspect him for a hypocrite, v. 8- .19. 
V. That they should be abundantly confirmed in iheir 
suspicion, unless God did speedily appear for his relief, 
V. 20. .22. 

1. rr^BEN answered Bildad the Shuhite, 
JL and said, 2. How long wilt thou 
speak these things? and hoin long shall the 
words of thy month he like a strong wind ? 
3. Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the 
Almighty pervert justice? 4. If thy chil- 
dren have sinned against him, and he have 
cast them away for their transgression ; 5. 
If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and 
make thy supplication to the Almighty : 6. 
If thou jDert pure and upright ; surely now 
he would awake foi" thee, and make the 
habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. 
7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy 
latter end should greatly increase. 

Here, 

I. Bildad reproves Job for what he had said; {v. 
2.) checks his passion, but perhaps, (as is too 
common,) with ijreater passion. We thought Job 
spake a great d«il of good sense, and much to the 
purpose, and that he had reason and right on his 
side; but Bildad, like an 'eager angry dis])utiiit, 
turns it all off with this. How long wilt thou s/},ak 
these things? taking it for granted that Elip'.K.z h;id 
said enough to silence him, and that therefore all 
he said was impertinent. Thus (as Caryl observes) 
reproofs are often grounded upon mistakes. Men's 
meaning is not taken aright, and then they are 
gravely rebuked, as if they were evil-doers. Bil- 
dad compares Job's discourse to a strong iririd. 
Job had excused himself vvith this, that his s/wechea 
were but as wind, (ch. vi. 26.) and therefore they 
should not make such ado about them; "Yea, but" 
(says Bildad) "they are as a strong wind, bluster 
ing and threatening, boisterous and d uigernus, and 
therefore we are concerned to fence against them." 

II. He justifies God in what he had done. This 
he had no occasion to do at this time, for Jol) did 
not condemn God, as he would have it thought he 
did: and this he might have done, without reOect 
ing upon Jol)'s children, as he does here. Could 
not he be an advocate for God, but he must be an 
accuser of his brethren? 



JOB, Vlll. 



1. He is right in general, that God doth not per- 
vert judgment, nor ever go contrary to any settled 
I'lrle oi justice, v. 3. Far be it from him that he 
should, and from us that we should suspect him. 
He never oppresses the innocent, nor lays more 
load on the guilty than they deser\e. He is God, 
the Judge; and shall not the Judge of all the earth 
do i-ight? Gen. xviii. 25. If there should be unrigh- 
teousness with God, hoiv s/tall he judge the world? 
Run. iii. 5, 6. He is Almighty, Shaddai, AU-sut- 
tii.:ieut. Men pervert justice, sometimes, for fear 
if the power of others; but God is Almighty, and 
samds in awe of none. Men ha\ e respect to the 
f.iv(,ur of others; but God is all-sufficient, and can- 
not be benefited by the favour of any. It is man's 
weakness and impotency, that he often is unjust; it 
is God's omnipotence, that he cannot be so. 

2 Yet he is not fair and candid in the application : 
he takes it for granted that Job's children (the death 
of wiiom was one of the greatest of his afflictions) 
had been guilty of some notorious wickedness, and 
tliat the unhappy circumstances of their death were 
sufficient evidence that they were sinners above all 
the children of the east, v. 4. Job readily owned 
that God did not pervei't judgment; and yet it did 
not therefore follow either that his children were 
c:ist-aways, or that they died for some great trans- 
gression. It is true that we and our children have 
sinned against God, and we ought to justify him in 
all he brings upon us and ours; but extraordinary 
afflictions are not always the punishment of extra- 
ordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordi- 
nary graces; and, in our judgment of another's case, 
(unless the contrary appears,) we ought to take the 
more favourable side, as our Saviour directs, Luke 
xiii. 2, 4. Here Bildad missed it. 

III. He puts Job in hope, that, if he were indeed 
upright, as he said he was, he should yet see a good 
issue of his present troubles; "Although thy chil- 
dren have sinned against him, and are cast away in 
their transgression, they have died in their own sin, 
yet, if thou be pure and upright thyself, and, as an 
evidence of that, wilt now seek unto God, and sub- 
mit to him, all shall be well yet," v. 5 . .7. This 
may be taken two ways: either, 

1. As designed to pro\ e Job a hypocrite, and a 
wicked man, though not by the greatness, yet by 
the continuance, of his afflictions. "When thou 
wast impoverished, and thy children killed, if thou 
hadst been pure and upright, and appi'oved thyself 
so in the trial, God would, before now, have re- 
turned in mercy to thee, and comforted thee ac- 
cording to the time of thine affliction; but because 
he does not so, we have reason to conclude thou art 
not so pure and upright as thou pretendest to be. 
If thou hadst conducted thyself well under the for- 
mer affliction, thou hadst not been struck with the 
latter." Herein Bildad was not in the right; for a 
good man may be afflicted for his ti'ial, not only 
ve'-y sorely, but \ ery long, and yet, if for life, it is, 
in comparison with eternity, but for a moment. 
But, since Bildad put it to this issue, God was pleas- 
ed to join issue with him, and proved his ser\ant 
Job an honest man, by Bildad's own argument; for, 
soon after, he blessed his latter end more than his 
beginning. Or, 

2. As designed to direct and encourage Job, that 
he might not thus run himself into despair, and give 
up all for gone; yet there might be hope, if he would 
take the right course. I am apt to think Bildad 
here intended to condemn Job, yet would be thought 
to counsel and comfort him. (1.) He gives him 
good counsel, vet perhaps not expecting lie would 
take it; the same that Eliphazhad gi\ en him, (ch. v. 
8.) to seek unto God, and that betimes, that is, 
speedily and seriouslv, and not to i)e dilatory and 
trifling in his return and repentance. He advises 



him not to compU.in, but to petition, and to make 
his supplication to the Almighty with liumility and 
faith; and to see that there was (what he feared had 
hitherto been wanting) sincerity in his heart, "Thou 
must be pure and upright;" and honestv in his 
house, " That must be the habitation of thy righ- 
teousness, and not filled with ill-gotten goods; else 
God will not hear thy prayers," Ps. Ixvi. 18. It is 
only the prayer of the upright that is the accepta- 
ble and prevailing prayer, Prov. xv. 8. (2.) He 
gives him good hopes that he should yet again see 
good days, secretly suspecting, howe\ er, that he 
was not qualified to see them. He assures him, 
That if he would be early in seeking God, God 
would awake for his relief, would I'emember him, 
and return to him, thovigh now he secnicd to forget 
him and forsake him;' That if his habitation were 
righteous it should be prosperous; for honesty is the 
best policy, and inward piety a sure friend to out- 
ward prosperity. When we return to God in a 
way of duty, we have reason to hope that he will 
return to us in a way of mercy. Let net Job object 
that he had so little left to begin the world with 
again, that it was impossible he should ever pros- 
per as he had done; no, "Though thy beginning 
should be ever so small, a little meal in the Ijarrel, 
and a little oil in the cruse, God's blessing shall 
multiply that to a great increase." This is God's 
way of enriching the souls of his people with graces 
and comforts, not per saltum — as by a bomid, but 
per gradum — step by step. The beginning is 
small, but the progress is to perfection. Dawning 
light grows to noon-day; a grain cf mustard-seed to 
a great ti-ee. Let us not'therefore despise the day 
of small things, but hope for the day of great things. 
8. For inquire, I pray thee, of" the former 
age, and prepare thyself to the search of their 
fathers ; 9. (For we arebut q/"yesteiday, and 
know nothing, because our days upon earth 
wre a shadow:) 10. Shall not they teach 
thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of 
their heart ? 11. Can the rush grow up 
without mire? can the flag grow without 
water? 12. Whilst it is yet in his green- 
ness, and not cut down, it withereth before 
any other herb. 13. So are the paths of 
all that forget God; and the hypocrite's 
hope shall perish : 1 4. Whose hope shall 
be cut off, and whose trust shall he a spi- 
der's web. 15. He shall le^n upon his 
house, but it shall not stand : he shall hold 
it fast, but it shall not endure. 16. He is 
green before the sun, and his- branch shoot- 
eth forth in his garden. 17. Flis roots are 
wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place 
of stones. 1 8. If he destroy him from his 
place, then it shall deny him, saj/ing, 1 have 
not seen thee. 1 9. Behold, this is the joy of 
his way, and out of the earth shall others grow. 
Bildad here discourses well of the sad catastro- 
phe of hypocrites and evil-doers, and the fatal pe- 
riod of all their hopes and joys. He will not be so 
bold as to say, with Eliphaz, that none that were 
righteous were ever cut off thus; {ch. iv. 7.) yet he 
takes it for granted that God, in the coui-se of his 
providence, does ordinarily bring wicked men, who 
seemed pious, and were prosperous, to shame and 
ruin in this world; and that, by making their pros- 
perity short, he discovers their piety to be counter- 
feit. ' Whether this will certainly prove that all 



48 



JOB, VIII. 



who are thus i-uined must be concluded to have 
been hypocrites, he will m.t say, but ratuer suspects 
. nd thinks the applicution is easy. 

I. He pro\ es tli.s truth, ot the certain destruction 
of all the hopes and joys oi hypocrites, by an appeal 
to antiquity, and the concurring sentiment and ob- 
servation of all wise and goud men. It is an un- 
doubted truth, if we take in the other world, that, if 
not in this life, yet in the life to come, hypocrites will 
be deprived of all their trusts and uU their triumphs. 
Whether Bildad so meant or no, we must so take it. 

Let us observe the method of his proof, v. 8- '10. 

1. He insists not on his own judgment, and that 
of his companions; iTe are but of yesterday, and 
know not/ling-, v. 9. He perceived that Job had no 
opinion of their abilities, but tliought they knew 
httle; '< We will own," says Bildad, "thatweknow 
nothing, are as ready to confess our ignorance as 
thou art to condemn it; for we are but as yesterday 
in comparison, and our days upon earth are short 
and transient, and hastening away as a shadow. 
And therefore," (1.) "We are not so near the 
fountain-head of divine revelation" (which then, for 
aught that appears, was conveyed by tradition) 
" as the former age was; and therefore we must 
inquire what they said, and recount what we have 
been told of their sentiments. " Blessed be God, 
now that we have the word of God in writing, and 
are directed to search that, we need not inquire of 
the former age, nor prepare ourselves to the search 
of their fathers; for, though we ourselves are but of 
yesterday, the word of God in the scripture is as 
high us as them; (Rom. x. 8.) and it is the most 
sure word ui prophecy, to which we must take 
heed. If we study and keep God's precepts, we 
may by them understand more than the ancients, 
Ps. cx'ix. 99, 100. (2.) "We do not live so long as 
they of the former age did, to make observations 
upon the methods of Divine Providence, and there- 
fore cannot be such competent judges as they, in a 
cause of this nature." Note, The shortness of our 
lives is a great hindrance to the improvement of 
our knowledge; and so is the frailty and weakness 
of our bodies. Fita brevis, ars longa — Life is short, 
the progress of art boundless. 

2. He refers himself to the testimony of the an- 
cients, and to the knowledge which Job himself had 
of their sentiments. "Do thou inquire of the for- 
mer age, and let them tell thee, not only their own 
judgment in this matter, but the judgment also of 
their fathers; {v. 8. ) they nvill teach thee, and in- 
form thee, (y. 10.) that,' all along, in their time, 
the judgments of God followed wicked men. This 
they will utter of their hearts, that is, as that which 
they firmly believe themselves, which they are 
greatly affected with, and desirous to acquaint and 
affect others with." Note, (1.) For the right un- 
derstanding of Div'ne Providence, and the unfolding 
of the difficulties of it, it will be of use to compare 
the observations and experiences of former ages 
with the events of our own day; and, in order there- 
unto, to consult history, especially the sacred histo- 
ry, which is the most ancient, infallibly true, and 
written designedly for our learning. (2.) They 
that would fetch knowledge from the former ages, 
must search diligently, prepare for the search, and 
take pains in the search. (3.) Those words are 
most likely to reach to the hearts of the learners, 
that come 'from the hearts of the teachers. They 
shall teach thee best, that utter words out of their 
heart, that speak by experience, and not by rote, 
of spiritual and divine things. 

The learned Bishop Patrick suggests, that Bil- 
dad, being a Shuhite, descended from Shuah, one 
of Abraham's sons by Keturah, Gen. xxv. 2. In 
this appeal which he makes to history, he has a 
J- articular respect to the rewards which the bless- 



ings of God secured to the posterity of faithful 
Abraham, who hitherto, and long after, continued 
in his religion; he refers also to the judicial extir- 
pation of those eastern people, neighbi.urs to Job, (in 
whose country they were settled,) for their wick- 
edness: whence he infers, that it is God's usual way 
to prosper the just, and mot out the w icked, though 
for a while they may flourish. 

II. He illustrates this truth by some similitudes. 
1. The hopes and joys of the hypocrites ;;re here 
compared to a rush or flag, t. 11.. 13. (1.) It 
grows up out of the mire and water. The hypo- 
crite cannot gain his liope without some fa'sc rotten 
ground or other, out of which to raise it, and with 
which to support it and keep it alive, any more 
than the rush can grow without mire. He gn und» 
it on his worldly pn-sperity, the plausible profession 
he makes of religion, the good opinion of his neigh- 
bours, and his own good conceit of himself, which 
are no solid foundation on which to build his confi- 
dence. It is all but mire and water; -and the hope 
that grows out of it, is but rush and flag. (2.) It 
may look green and gay for a while, (the rush out- 
grows the grass,) but it is light, and hollow, and 
empty, and good for nothing. It is green for show, 
but of no use. (3. ) It withers presently, before any 
other herb, v. 12. Even while it is in its green- 
ness, it is dried away, and gone in a little time. 
Note, The best state of hypocrites and evil-doers 
borders upon, withering; even when it is green, it 
is going. The grass is cut down, and withers; (Ps. 
xc. 6. ) but the rush is not cut down, and yet withers, 
withers afore it grows up.; (Ps. cxxix. 6.) as it hps 
no use, so it has no continuance. So are the paths 
of all that forget God; {y. 13.) they take the same 
way that the rush does, for the hypocrite's hopes 
shall perish. Note, [1.] Forgetfulness of God is 
at the bottom of men s hypocrisy, and of the vain 
hopes with which they natter and deceive them- 
selves in their hypocrisy. Men would not be hypo- 
crites, if they did not forget that the God with 
whom they have to do searches the heart, and re- 
quires truth there; that he is a Spirit, and has his 
eye on our spirits. Hypocrites could ha\ e no hope, 
if they did not forget that God is righteous, and will 
not be mocked with the torn and the lame. [2.] 
The hope of hypocrites is a great cheat upon them- 
selves, and though it may flourish a while, it will 
certainly perish at last, and they with it. 

2. They are here compared to a spider's web, or 
a spider's house, as it is in the margin ; a cob-web, 
V. 14,15. The hope of the hypocrite, (1.) Is woven 
out of his own bowels; it is the creature of his own 
fancy, and arises merely from a conceit of his own 
merit and sufficiency. There is a great deal of dif- 
ference between the work of the bee and that of the 
spider; a diligent Christian, like the laborious bee, 
fetches in all his comfort from the heavenly dews 
of God's word; but the hypocrite, like the subtle 
spider, weaves his out of a false hypothesis of his 
own, concerning God, as if he were, altogether such 
a one as himself. (2.) He is very fond of it, as the 
spider of her web; pleases himself with it, wraps 
himself in it, calls it his house, leans upoyi it, and 
holds it fast. It is said of the spider, that she fo/cei- 
hold with her hands, and is in ki?ig's pa faces, Prov 
XXX. 28. So does a carnal worldling hug liimself 
in the fulness and firmness of his outward prosperi- 
ty; he prides himself in that house as his palace, 
and fortifies himself in it as his castle, and makes use 
of it as the spider of her web, to insnave those he 
has a mind to prey upon. So does a formal profes- 
sor; he flatters himself in his own eyes, doubts not 
of his salvation, is secure of heavenrand cheats th* 
world with his vain confidences. (3.) It will easily 
and certainly be swept away, as the cob-web with 
the besom, when God shall come to purge his house. 



JOB, IX. 



49 



The prosperity of worldly people will fail them, 
■when they expect to find safety and happiness in it. 
1'hey seek, to hold fast their estates, but God is 
plucking them out of their hands; and whose shall 
. those thi.igs be which they have provided? or what 
the better will they be for them? The confidences 
of hypocrites will fail them; I tell you, 1 know you 
not. Tiie house built on the sand will fall in the 
St ) n», wlicn the builder most needs it, and had 
pr.jiii;.scd himself the benefit of it. When a wicked 
man dien, Iha exfiectation fierishes. The ground of 
his n pes will prove false; he will be disappointed 
of tiio tning he hoped for, and his foolish hope, with, 
which he buoyed himself up, will be turned into 
endless despair; and thus his hope will be cut off, 
h.s web, that refuge of lies, swept away, and he 
crushed in it. 

3. They are here compared to a flourishing and 
well-rooted tree, which, though it do not wither of 
itself, yet will easily be cut down, and its place 
know it no more. The secure and prospeious sin- 
ner may think himself wronged when he is com- 
pared to a rush and a flag, he thinks he has a better 
root; "We will allow him his conceit," (says Bil- 
dad,) "and give him all the advantage he can de- 
sire, and yet bring him in suddenly cut off." He is 
here represented, as Nebuchadnezzar was in his 
own dream, (Dan. iv. 10. ) by a great tree. 

(1.) See this tree fair and flourishing, {y. 16.) like 
a. green bay-tree, (Ps. xxxvii. 35.) green before the 
sun, that keeps its greenness in defiance of the 
scorching sun-beams, and his branch shoots forth 
under the protection of his garden-wall, and with 
the benefit of his garden-soil: see it fixed, and taking 
deep root, never likely to be overthrown by stormy 
winds, for his roots are interwoven with the stones; 
(f. 17.) it grows infirm ground, not as the rush, in 
mire and water. Thus does a wicked man, when 
he prospers in the world, think himself secure; his 
wealth is a high wall in his own conceit. 

(2. ) See this tree felled and forgotten notwith- 
standing; destroyed from his place, {v. 18. ) and so 
entirely extirpated, that there shall remain no sign 
or token where it grew; the very place shall say, 
/ have not seen thee; and the standers by shall say 
the same, 1 sought him, but he could not be found, 
Ps. xxxvii. 36. He made a great show and a great 
noise for a time, but he is gone of a sudden, and 
neither root nor branch left him, Mai. i\ . 1. This 
is the joy, that is, this is the end and conclusion, of 
the wicked mail's way, {v. 19.) this is that which all 
his joy comes to — 7'he way of the ungodly shall 
fxensh, Ps. i. 6. His hope, he thought, would, in 
the issue, be turned into joy, but this is the issue, 
this is the joy, The harvest shall be a heap, in the 
day of grief and of desperate sorrow, Isa. xvii. 11, 
This iS the best ot it; and what then is the worst of 
it? But shall he not leave a family behind him to 
enjoy what he has? No, out of the earth, (not out of 
his roots,) shall others grow, that are nothing akin 
to him, and shall fill up his place, and rule over 
that for which he laboured. Others, namely, of 
the same spirit and disposition, shall grow up in his 
place, and be as secure as ever he was, not warned 
by his fail. The way of wordlings is their folly, 
and yet there is a race of them that approve their 
sayings, Ps. xlix. 13. 

20. Behold, God will not cast away a 
perfect 7?m7i, neither will he help the evil- 
doers ; 21. Till he fill thy mouth with laugh- 
ing, and thy lips with rejoicing. 22. They 
that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; 
and the dwelling-place of the wicked shall 
come to nought. 

Vol. III.— G 



Bildad here, in the close of his discourse, sums 
up what he had to say, in a few words, setting be- 
fore Job life and death, the blessing and the curse; 
assuring him, that as he was, so he should fare, 
and therefore they might conclude, that as he fared, 
so he was. 

1. On the other hand, if he were a perfect upright 
man, God would not cast him away, v. 20. Though 
now he seemed forsaken of God, he would yet re- 
turn to him, and, bv degrees, would turri his mourn- 
ing into dancing, (Ps. XXX. 11.) and comforts should 
flow in upon him so plentifully, that his mouth 
should he filled with laughing, v. 21. So affecting 
should the happy change be, Ps. cxxvi. 2. They 
that loved him, would rejoice with him; but they 
that hated him, and had triumphed in his fall, 
would be ashamed of their insolence, when they 
see him restored to his former prosperity. God 
ivill not cast away c« ujjri^/ij mo/i ; he may be cast 
down for a time, but he shall not be cast away for 
ever; it is true, that, if not in this world, yet in 
another, the mouth of the righteous shall be filled 
with rejoicing. Though their sun should sit under 
a cloud, yet it shall rise again clear, ne\ er more to 
be clouded; though they go mourning to the grave, 
that shall not hinder their entrance into the joy of 
their Lord. It is true, that the enemies of 'the 
saints will be clothed with shame, when they see 
them crowned with honour. But it does not theie 
tore follow, that, if Job were not perfectly restored 
to his former prosperity, he forfeited the character 
of a perfect man. 

2. On the other hand, if he were a wicked man, 
and an evil doer, God would not help him, but 
leave him to perish in his present distresses; {v. 
20.) and his dwelling-place should come to naught, 
22. And here, also, it is true that God will not help 
the evil-doers; thev throw themselves cut of his 
protection, and forfeit his favour; he will jiot take 
the ungodly by the hand, so it is in the margin, will 
not have fellowship and communion with them; 
for what communion between light and darkness? 
He will not lend them his hand to pull them out of 
the miseries, the eternal miseries, into which they 
have plunged themselves; they will then stretch 
out their hand to him for help, but it is too late, he 
will not take them by the hand: Between us and 
you there is a great gulf fixed. It is true, that the 
dwelling-filace of the wicked, sooner or later, will 
come to naught. Those only who make God their 
dwelling-place, are safe forever, Ps. xc. 1. — xci. 1. 
They who make other things their i*efuge, will be 
disappointed. Sin brings ruin on persons and fami- 
lies. Yet to argue, (as Bildad, I doubt, slily does,) 
that because Job's family was sunk, and he himself, 
at present, seemed helpless, therefore he certainly 
was an ungodly wicked man, was neither just nor 
charitable, as long as there appeared no other evi- 
dence of his wickedness and ungodliness. Let us 
judge nothing before the time, but wail till the se- 
crets of all hearts shall be made manifest; and the 
present difficulties of Providence be solved, to uni- 
versal and everlasting satisfaction, when the mystery 
of God shall be finished. 

CHAP. IX. 

in this, and the following chapter, we have Job's answer 
to Bildad's discourse, %vherein he speaks honourably of 
God, humbly of himself, and feelingly of his troubles; 
but not one word by way of reflection upon his friends, 
or their unkindness to him, nor in direct reply to what 
Bildad had said. He wisely keeps to the merits of the 
cause, and makes no remarks upon the person that 
managed it, nor seeks occasion against him. In this 
chapter, we have, I. The doctrine of God's justice laid 
down, V. 2. II. The proof of it, from his wisdom, and 
power, and sovereign dominion, v. 3.. 13. III. The 
application of it, in which, K He condemns himself, as 



>0 



JOB, IX. 



1. 



not able to contend with God, either in law or battle, v. 
14.. 21. 2. He maintains his point, that we cannot 
judge of men's character by their outward condition, v. 
22 . . 24. 3. He complains of the greatness of his 
troubles, the confusion he was in, and the loss he was 
at what to say or do, v. 26 . . 35. 

HEN Job answered and said, 2. I 



know it is so of a truth : but how 
should man be just with God? 3. If he will 
contend with him, he cannot answer him 
one of a thousand. 4. He is wise in heart, 
and mighty in strength: who hath hardened 
himself against him, and hath prospered ? 
5. Which removeth the mountains, and they 
know not; which overturneth them in his 
anger; 6. Which shaketh the earth out of 
her place, and the pillars thereof tremble; 
7. VVhich commandeth the sun, and it riseth 
not, and sealeth up the stars; 8. Which 
alone spreadeth out the heavens, and tread- 
eth upon the waves of the sea ; 9. Which 
maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and 
the chambers of the south ; 1 0. Which doeth 
great things past finding out, yea, and won- 
ders without number. 1 1 . Lo, he goeth by 
me, and I see him not ; he passeth on also, 
but I perceive him not. 12. Behold, he 
taketh away, who can hinder him? Who 
will say unto him. What doest thou? 1 3, If 
God will not withdraw his anger, the proud 
helpers do stoop under him. 

Bildad began with a rebuke to Job for talking so 
much, ch. viii. 2. Job makes no answer to that, 
though it had been easy enough to retort it upon 
himself; but what he next lays down as his prin- 
ciple, that God never perverts judgment, Job agrees 
with him in, / know it is so of a (ruth, v. 2. Note, 
VVe should be ready to own how far we agree with 
those with whom we dispute, and we should nut 
slight, much less resist, a truth, though produced 
by an adversary, and urged against us, but receive it 
in the light and love of it, though it ha\ e been mis- 
applied. "Ids so of a truth, that wickedness brings 
men to ruin, and the godly are taken under God's 
special protection. These are truths which I sub- 
scribe to; but how can any man make good his part 
with God?" In his sight shall no Jiesh living be 
justified, Ps. cxliii. 2. How should man be just 
with God? Some understand this as a passionate 
complaint of Goti's strictness and severity, that he 
is a God whom there is no dealing with: and it 
cannot be denied that there are, in this cliapter, 
some peevish expressions, which seem to speak 
such language as that. But I take this rather as a 
pious confession of man's sinfulness, and his own in 
particular, that if God should deal with any of us 
according to the desert of our iniquities, we were 
certainly undone. 

I. He lays this down for a truth, that man is an 
unequal match for his Maker, either in dispute or 
combat. 

1. In dispute; (v. 3.) If he tvill contend with him, 
either at law or at an argument, he cannot answer 
him one of a thousand. (1.) God can ;isk a thou- 
sand puzzling questions, which those that quar- 
rel with him, and arraign his proceedings, cannot 
give an answer to. When God spake to Job out of 
the whirlwind, he asked him a great many ques- 
tions; Dost thou know this.* Camt thou do that? 



To none of which Job could give an answer, ch. 
xxx\iii. and xxxix. God can easily niunlebt the 
folly of the greatest pretenders to wisdom. (2.) 
God can lay to our charge a thousand offences, can 
draw up against us a thousand articles of impeach- 
ment, and we cannot answei- him so as to acquit 
ourselves from the imputation of any of them, out 
must, by silence, give consent that they aie all 
true; we cannot set aside one as foreign, another as 
frivolous, and another as false; we cannot, as to one, 
deny the fact, and plead not guilty, and, as to ano- 
ther, deny the fault, confess, and justify; no, we are 
not able to answer him, but must lay our hand upot, 
our mouth, as Job did, {ch. xl. 4, 5.) and cr\, 
Guilty, Guilty. 

2. In combat; {v. 4.) Who hath hardened himself 
against him, and hath firosfiered? Tlie answer is 
very easy; You cannot produce any instance, from 
the beginning of the world to this day, of any during 
sinner, who has hardened himself against God, has 
obstinately persisted in rebellion against him, wlio 
did not find God too hard for him, and pay dear for 
his folly. They have not prospered or had peace; 
they have had no comfort in it nor success. What 
did ever man get by trials of skill, or trials of titles, 
with his Maker? AH the opposition given to Gcd, 
is but setting briers and thorns before a consuming 
fire; so foolish, so fruitless, so destructive, is the 
attempt, Isa. xxvii. 4. 1 Cor. x. 22. Apostate 
angels hardened themselves against God, but did 
not prosper, 2 Pet. ii. 4. The dragon fights, but is 
cast out. Rev. xii. 8. Wricked men harden them- 
selves against God, dispute his wisdom, disobey his 
laws, are impenitent for their sins, and incorrigible, 
under their afflictions; they reject the offers of his 
grace, and resist the strivings of his Spirit; they 
make nothing of his threatenings, and make head 
against his interest in the world; but have they 
prospered? Can they prosper? No, they are but 
treasuring ufi for themselves wrath agaijist the day 
of wrath. They that roll this stone, will find it 
return upon them. 

II. He proves it by showing what a God he is, 
with whom we have to do: He is ivise in heart, and 
therefore we cannot answer him at law; he is mighty 
m strejigth, and therefore we cannot fight it out 
with him. It is the greatest madness that can be, 
to think to contend with a God of infinite wisdom 
and power, who knows every thing, and can do 
every thing; who can be neither outwitted nor over- 
powered. The Devil promised himself that Job, 
in the day of his affliction, would curse God, and 
speak ill of him, but, instead of tliat, he sets him- 
self to honour God, and to speak highly of him. 
As much pained as he is, and as much taken up 
with his own miseries, when he has occasion to 
mention the wisdom and power of God, he forgets 
his complaints, dwells with delight, and expatiates 
with a flood of eloquence, upon that noble useful 
subject. 

Evidences of the wisdom and power of God he 
fetches, 

1. From the kingdom of nature, in which the God 
of nature acts with an uncontrollable power, and 
does what he pleases; for all the orders and all the 
powers of nature are derived from him, and depend 
upon him. 

(1.) When he pleases, he alters the course of na- 
ture, and turns back its streams, v. 5"7. By the 
common law of nature, the mountains are settled, 
and are therefore called everlasting mountains; the 
earth is established, and cannot be removed, (Ps. 
xciii. 1.) and the pillars thereof are immoveably 
I fixed, the sun rises in its season, and the stars shcci 
j their influences on this lower world ; but, when 
' God pleases, he can not only drive out of tlie com 
1 nion track, but inveit the order, and change the 



JOB, IX. 



51 



law, of nature. [1.] Nothing more firm than the 
mountains: when we speak, of removing mountains, 
•we mean that which is impossible; yet the divine 
power can make them change their seat; he removes 
them, and they know not; removes them whether 
they will or no; he can make them lower their 
heads; he can level them, and overturn them in his 
ajiger; he can spread the mountains as easily as the 
husbandman spreads the mole-hills, be they ever so 
high, and large, and rocky. Men have nmch ado 
to pass over them; but God, when he pleases, can 
make them pass away. He made Sinai shake, Ps. 
Ixviii. 8. The hills skijificd, Ps. cxiv. 4. The 
everlasting rnoioitains ivere scattered, Hab. iii. 6. 
[2.] Nothing more fixed than the earth on its axle- 
tree; yet God can, when he pleases, shake that out 
of its place, heave it oft" its centre, and make even 
its pillars t > tremble; what seemed to support it, 
will itself need support, when God gi\ es it a shock. 
See h((W much we are indebted to God's patience; 
(iud lias power enougli to shake the earth from 
ur.dei- that guilty race of mankind, which makes it 
groan under the burthen of sin, and so to shake the 
ivicked out of it; {ch. xxxviii. 13.) yet he continues 
the earth, and man upon it, and makes it not still, 
as once, to swallow up the rebels. [3.] Nothing 
more constant than the rising sun, it never misses 
its appointed time; yet God, when he pleases, can 
suspend it. He that at first commanded it to rise, 
can countermand it. Once the sun was bid to stand, 
iii'.d anotlier time to retreat, to show that it is still 
under the check of its great Creator. Thus great 
is (iod's power; and how great then is his goodness, 
which causes his sun to shine even upon the evil 
and unthankful, though he could withhold it! He 
that made the stars also, can, if lie pleases, seal 
tliem up, and hide them from our eyes. By earth- 
quakes, and subterraneous fires, mountains have 
sometimes been removed, and the earth shaken: 
in very dark and cloudy days and nights, it seems 
to us as if the sun were forbidden to rise, and the 
stars were sealed up. Acts xxvii. 20. It is sufficient 
to say, that Job here speaks of what God can do; 
but if we must understand it of what he has done in 
fact, all these verses may perhaps be applied to 
Noah's flood, when the mountains of the eai'th were 
shaken, and the sun and stars were darkened. The 
world that now is, we believe to be reserved for that 
fire which will consume the mountains, and melt 
the earth with its fervent lieat, and which will turn 
the sun into darkness. 

(2.) As long as he pleases, he preserves the settled 
course and order of nature; and this is a continued 
creation. He himself alone, by his own power, and 
without the assistance of any other, [1.] S/ireads 
out the heaven; {v. 8. ) not only did spread them out 
at first, but still spreads them out, that is, keeps 
them spread out; for otherwise they would of them- 
selves roll together like a scroll of parchment. [2. ] 
He (reads u/ion the roaves of the sea; that is, he 
suppresses them and keeps them under, that they 
return not to deluge the earth; (Ps. civ. 9.) which 
is gi\en as a reason why we should all fear God, and 
stand in awe of him, Jer. v. 22. He is mightier than 
the proud waves, Ps. xciii. 4. — Ixv. 7. [3.] He 
makes the constellations; three are named for all 
the rest, {v. 9.) Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and, 
in general, the chambers of the south: the stars of 
which these are composed, he madeat first, and put 
into tliat order, and he still makes them, preserves 
them in being, and guides their motions; he makes 
them to be what they are to man, and inclines the 
hearts of men to observe them, which the beasts are 
not capable of doing. Not only those stars which 
we see and give names to, but those also in the other 
hemisphere, about the antarctic pole, which never 
come in our sight, called here the chambers of the 



south, are under the divine direction and dominion. 
How wise is he then, and how mighty! 

2. Evidences are here fetched from the kingdom 
of Providence, that special Providence which is 
conversant about the affairs of the children of men. 
Consider what God does in the government of the 
world, and you will say. He is wise in heart, aJid 
mighty in strength, 

(1. ) He does many things and great, many and 
great to admiration, v. 10. Job here says the same 
that Eliphaz had said; {ch. v. 9.) and, in the origi- 
nal, in the very same words, not declining to speak 
after him, though now his antagonist. God is a great 
God, and doeth great things, a wonder-working 
God; his works of wonder are so many that we can- 
not number them, and so mysterious that we cannot 
find them out. O the depth of his counsels! 

(2.) He acts invisibly and undiscerned, Tc. 11. He 
goes by me in his operations, and I see him not, I 
perceive him not; his way is in the sea, Ps. lxx\ ii. 
19. The operations of second causes are common- 
ly obvious to sense, but God doeth all about us, and 
yet we see him not. Acts xvii. 23. Our finite under- 
standings cannot fathom his counsels, apprehend his 
motions, or comprehend the measures he takes. 
We are therefore incompetent judges of God's pro- 
ceedings, because we know not what he doeth, or 
what he designeth. The arcana imfierii — secrets 
of government, are things above us, which therefore 
we must not pretend to expound, or comment upon. 

(3.) He acts with an incontestable sovereignty, 
V. 12. He takes away our creature-comforts and 
confidences, when and as he pleases, takes away 
health, estate, relations, friends, takes away life 
itself; whatever goes, it is he that takes it; by what 
hand soever it is removed, his hand must be ac- 
knowledged in it; the Lord takes away, and who 
can hinder him? Whocan turn him away? Marg. 
Who shall make him. restore? So some. Who can 
dissuade him, or alter his counsels.-* Who can re- 
sist him, or oppose his operations? Who can con- 
trol him, or call him to an account for it? What 
action can be brought against him? Or who will say 
unto him, JlTiat dost thou? Or, Why dost thou so? 
D m. iv. 35. God is not obliged to give us a reason 
of what he doeth. The meaning of his proceedings 
we know not now; it will be time enough to know 
hereafter, when it will appear that what seemed 
now to be done by prerogative, was done in infinite 
wisdom, and for the best. 

(4.) He acts with an irresistible power, which 
no creature can resist, v. 13. If God will not with- 
draw his anger, (which he can do when he pleases, 
for he is Lord of his anger, lets it out, or calls it in, 
according to his will,) the firoud helpers do stoop 
under him; that is. He certainly breaks and crushes 
those that proudly help one another against him; 
proud men set themselves against God and his pro- 
ceedings; in this opposition they join hand in hand. 
l^ie kings of the earth set themselves, and the 
rulers take counsel together, to throw off his yoke, 
to run down his truths, and to persecute his people; 
Men of Israel, hel/i. Acts xxi. 28. Ps. Ixxxiii. 8. If 
one enemy of God's kingdom fall under his judgment, 
the rest come proudly to help that, and think to 
deliver that out of his hand: but in vain; unless he 
pleases to withdraw his anger, (which he often does, 
for it is the day of his patience,) the proud helpers 
stoop under him, and fall with those whom they de- 
signed to help. Who knows the power of God's 
anger? They who think they have strengtii 
enough to help others, will not be able to help them- 
selves against it. 

14. How much less shall I answer him, 
rntd choose out my words to reason with him? 
15. Whom, though I were righteous, yet 



JOB, IX. 



would I not answer, hut I would make sup- 
plication to my Judge. 16. If I had called, 
and he had answered me : yet would I not 
believe that he had hearkened unto ray voice. 
1 7. For he breaketh me with a tempest, and 
multiplieth my wounds without cause. 1 8. 
He will not suffer me to take my breath, but 
filleth me with bitterness. 19. If 7 speak of 
strength, \o,he is strong : and if of judgment, 
who shall set me a time fo plead? 20. Jf 1 
justify myself, mine own mouth shall con- 
demn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall al- 
so prove me perverse. 21. Though I ivere 
perfect, yet would I not know my soul : I 
would despise my life. 

What Job had said of man's utter inability to con- 
tend with God, he here apjilies to himself, and, in 
effect, despairs of gaining his favour; which (some 
think) arises from the hard thoughts he had of God, 
as one who, having set himself against him, right or 
wrong, would be too hard for him. I rather think 
it arises from the sense he had of the imperfection 
of his own righteousness, and the dark and cloudy 
apprehensions which, at present, he had of God's 
displeasure against him. 

I. He dares not dispute with God; (v. 14.) "If 
the firoud helfiers do stoop, under him, hoiv much 
less shall I, a poor weak creature, (so far from being 
a helper, that I am very helpless,) hoiv shall I an- 
swer him? What can I say against that wliit h God 
doeth? If I go about to reason with him, he will 
certainly be too hard for me. " If th.e potter make 
■the clay into a vessel of dishonour, or breik in 
pieces the vessel he has made, shall the clay or the 
broken vessel reason with him? So absurd is the 
man who replies against God, or thinks to talk it 
out with him. No, let all flesh be silent before him. 

II. He dares not insist upon his own justification 
before God. Though he vindicated his own integ- 
rity to his friends, and would not yield thut he was 
a hypocrite and a wicked man, as they suggested, 
yet he would never plead it as his righteousness be- 
fore God. I will never venture upon the covenant 
of innocency, nor think to come oflPby virtue of that 

job knew so much of God, and knew so much of 
himself, that he durst not insist upon his own justi- 
fication before God. 

1. He knew so much of God, that he durst not 
stand a trial with him, t. 15. 19. He knew how to 
make his part good with his friends, and thought 
himself able to deal with them; but, though his 
cause had been better than it was, he knew it was 
to no purpose to debate it with God. 

(1.) God knew him better than he knew himself; 
and therefore, {v. 15.) "Though I were righteous 
in my own apprehension, and my own heart did not 
condemn me, yet God is greater than my heart, and 
knows those secret faults and errors of mine which 
I donot, and cannot, understand, and is able to charge 
me with them, and therefore I will not answer." St. 
Paul speaks to the same purport; / know nothing 
by myself, am not conscious to myself of any reign- 
ing wickedness, and yet lam not hereby justified, 
1 Cor. iv. 4. " I dare not put myself upon that issue, 
lest God charge that upon me which I did not dis- 
cover in myself. " .lob will therefore waive that plea, 
and make sufifilication to his Judge; that is, will cast 
himself upon God's mercy, and not think to come 
off bv his own merit. 

(2.) He had no reason to think that there was 
anv thing in his prwc'-s to recommend them to the 
divine acceptance, or to fetch in an answer of peace; 



no worth or worthiness at all, to which to ascribe 
their success; but it must be attributed purely to tlie 
grace and compassion of God, who answers befjre 
we call, and not because we call, and gives gracio.s 
answers to our prayers, but not jTo?- our prayers, v. 
16. " If I had called, and he had answered, had 
given the thing I called to him for, yet, so weak and 
defective are my best prayers, that I would not be- 
lieve he had therein hearkened to my voice; I covild 
not say that he had saved with his right /land, mid 
answered me," (Ps. Ix. 5.) " but that he did it pure- 
ly for his own name's sake." BislK)p Patiick ex- 
pounds it thus; "If I had made buppli Hiion, j.nd he 
had granted my desire, I wiiuld n(,t think n\y pr .ytr 
had done the business." JVot for your ■•^akes be it 
known to you. 

(3.) His present miseries, which God had Ijn u;.>ht 
him into, notwithstanding his integrity, gave liun 
too sensible a conviction, that, in the ordLrini^- iii.d 
disposing of men's outward condition in th b world, 
God acts by sovereignty, and tliough he ucn cr doth 
wrong to any, yet he doth not e\ er give full u:^iit 
to all; that is, the best do not always fare best, in r 
the worst fare worst, in this life, because he le- 
serves the full and exact d'stribution of rewards ;ind 
punishments for the future state. Job was not c n- 
scious to himself of any extraordinary guilt, and \et 
fell under extraordinary afflictions, v. \7 , 18. Every 
man must expect the wind to blow upon him, :i)id 
ruffle him, but Job was broken with a tempest; 
every man, in the midst of these tin rns and briers, 
must expect to be scratched, but Job was wounded, 
and his wounds multiplied. Every man must ex- 
pect a cross daily, and to taste sometimes of the 
bitter cup; but poor Job's troubles c n.e so thick 
up' n him, that he had no breathing time, he was 
filled with bitterness; and he presumes to say that 
all this was without cause, without any great ])ro- 
vocation given. We have made the best of what 
Job said hitherto, though contrary to thp judgment 
of many good interpreters; but here, no doubt, he 
sfiake unadvisedly with his li/is; he i-eflected on 
God's goodness, in saying that he was not s\iffej-ed 
to take his breath, while yet he hid such good use 
of his reason and speech to be able to talk thus; and 
on his justice, in saying that it was without cause. 
Yet it is true, that, as, on the one hand, there are 
many who are chargeable with moie sin than the 
common infirmities of the human nature, and yet 
feel no more sorrow than that of the common calami- 
ties of human life; so, on the other hand, there are 
many who feel more than the common calamities of 
human life, and yet are conscious to themselves of 
no more than the common infiimities of human 
nature. 

(4.) He was in no capacity at : 11 t" make his part 
good with God, v. 19. [1.] Not by force of arms; 
"I dare not enter the lists of the Almighty; for, if 
I speak of strength, and think to come off by that, 
lo, he is strong; stronger than I, and will rertninly 
overpower me." There is no disputing (said' one 
once to Csesar) with him that commands legions; 
much less with him that his legions of angels at 
command. Can thine heart endure, (thy courage 
and presence of mind,) or can thine hands be strong 
to defend thyself, in the days that I shall deal with 
thee? Ezek. xxii. 14. [2.] Not by force of anv >- 
ments: " I dare not try the merirs of the cause; if I 
speak of judgment, and insist upon my right, who 
will set me a time to plead? There i.s no higher 
power to which I may appeal, no superior court to 
appoint a hearing of the cause, for He is supreme, 
and from Him every man's judgment proceeds, 
which he must abide by." 

2. He knew so much of himself, that he durst no' 
stand a trial, v. 20, 21. "If I go about to justify 
mvself, and to plead arigh*eousnc?s of my own, my 



JOB, IX. 



53 



defence will be my offence; and mme own mouth 
«'/ ./(' coiiilf-ntn me, even when it goes about to ac- 
quit me." A good man, who knows the deceitful- 
ness of his own heart, and is jealous over it with a 
g'^d y je lio sy, and h.is often discovered that amiss 
tiierc, wiicli had long lain undiscovered, is suspi- 
cious of more evil in himself than he is really con- 
scious of, and therefore will Ijy no means think, of 
justifying himself before God. If we say, "We 
liave no sin," we not only deceive oui'selves, but 
we aff out God, for we sin in sayingso, and give the 
lie to die scripture, which has concluded all under sin. 
"If I s.iy, I am perfect, I am sinless, God has 
nothing to lay to my charge, my very sayingso shall 
prove me perverse, proud, ignorant, and presump- 
tu us. Nay, though I were perfect, though God 
suould pronounce ine just, yet would I not know 
my soul; I would not be in care about the prolong- 
ing of my life, while it is loaded with all these mi- 
series. " Or, " Though I were free from gross sin, 
though my conscience should not charge me with 
any enormous crime, yet would I not believe my 
own heart so far as to insist upon my innocency, nor 
think my life worth striving for with God." In 
short, it is folly to contend with God, and our wis- 
dom, as well as duty, to submit to him, and throw 
ourselves at his feet. 

22. Tliis is one things therefore f said z7, 
He destroyetli the perfect and the wicked. 
23. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will 
laugh at the trial of the innocent. 24. The 
earth is given into the hand of the wicked : 
he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; 
if not, where, and who is he ? 

Here Job touches briefly upon the main point now 
in dispute between him and his friends. They main- 
tained that those who are righteous and good always 
prosper m this world, and none but the wicked are 
in misery and distress; he asserted, on the contrary, 
that it is a common thing for the wicked to prosper, 
and the righteous to be greatly afflicted: this is the 
one thing, the chief thing, wherein he and his friends 
differed; and they had not proved their assertion; 
therefore he abides by his; " I said it, and say it 
again, that all things come alike to all." 

Now it must be owned, 

1. That there is very much truth in what Job 
here means; that temporal judgments, when they 
are, set abroad, fall both upon good and bad, and 
the destroying angel seldom distinguishes (though 
once he did) between the houses of the Israelites 
and the houses of the Egyptians. 

In the judgment of Sodom, indeed, which is call- 
ed the vengeance of eternal Jire, (Jude vii. ) far be 
it from (iod to slay the righteous with the wicked, 
arid that the righteous should be as the wicked; 
(Gen. xviii. 25.) but in judgments merely temporal 
the riirhteous have their share, and sometimes the 
K''eatest sh ire. The sword devours one as well as 
anotlier, Jnsiah as well as Ahab. Thus God de- 
Kfrmis the perfect and the wicked, involves them 
both in the same common ruin; good and bad were 
sent together into Babylon, Jer. xxiv. 5, 9. If the 
scourge slay suddenly, and sweep down all before 
It, God will be well pleased to see how the same 
Ncouree, which is the perdition of the wicked, is the 
trial of the innocent, and of their faith, which will 
he found unto firaUte, and honour, and glory, 1 Pet. 
1. 7. ^'s. Ixvi. 10. 

Against the just tli' Almighty's arrows fly, 
For he delisihif! ihp innocehl to try : 
To show their constant and their God-iike mind, 
Not by afflictions broken, but refin'd. 

Sir R. Blackuore 



Let this reconcile God's children to their trou- 
bles; they are but trials, designed for their honour 
and benefit; and, if God be pleased with them, let 
not them be displeased; if he laugh at the trial of 
the innocent, knowing how glorious the issue of it 
will be, at destruction and famine let them also 
laugh, {ch. V. 22. ) and triumph over them, saying, 
O death, where is thy sting! 

On the other hand, the wicked are so far from 
being made the marks of God's judgments, that the 
earth is given into their hand, v. 24. They enjoy 
large possessions and great power, have what they 
will, and do what they will. Into the hand of (he 
wicked o)ie: in the original, it is singular; the Devil, 
that wicked one, is called the god of this world, and 
boasts that into his hands it is delivered, Luke iv. 6. 
Or, into the hand of a wicked man, meaning (as 
Bishop Patrick and the Assembly's Annotations 
conjecture) some noted tyrant then living in those 
parts, whose great wickedness and great prosperity 
were well known both to Job and his friends. The 
wicked have the earth given them, but the righte- 
ous have heaven given them; and which is better — 
heaven without earth, or earth without heaven? 
God, in his providence, advances wicked men, 
while he covers the faces of those who are fit to be 
judges, who are wise and good, and qualified for 
government, and buries them alive in obscurity; 
perhaps suffers them to be run down and condemn- 
ed, and to have their faces covered as criminals, by 
those wicked ones into whose hand the earth is 
given. We daily see this is done; if it be not God 
that doeth it, where and who is he that doeth it? 
To whom can it be ascribed but to Him that rules 
in the kingdoms of men, and gives them to whom 
he will? Dan. iv. 32. 

2. Yet it must be owned that there is too much 
passion in what Job here says. The manner of ex- 
pression is peevish: when he meant that God afflicts, 
he ought not to have said. He destroys both the 
perfect and the wicked: when he meant that God 
pleases himself with the trial of the innocent, he 
ought not to ha\ e said. He laughs at it, for he doth 
not afflict willingly. When the spirit is heated, 
either with dispute or with discontent, we have 
need to set a watch before the door of our lips, that 
we may observe decorum in speaking of divine 
things. 

25. Now my days are swifter than a post : 
they flee away, they see no good. 26. They 
are passed away as the swift ships; as the 
eagle that hasteth to the prey. 27. If I say, 
I will forget my complaint, I will leave ofif 
my heaviness, and comfort myself; 28. I 
am afraid of all my sorrows, 1 know that 
thou wilt not hold me innocent. 29. If I 
be wicked, why then labour I in vain? 30. 
If I wash myself with snow-water, and 
make my hands never so clean; 31. Yet 
shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine 
own clothes shall abhor me. 32. For he is 
not a man, as I am, that I should answer 
him, and we should come together in judg- 
ment. 33. Neither is there any days-man 
betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us 
both. 34. Let him take his rod away from 
me, and let not his fear terrify me; 35. 
Then would I speak, and not fear him : but 
it is not so with me. 

Job here grows more and more querulous, and 



54 



JOB, IX. 



does not conclude this chapter with such awful ex- 
pressions of God's wisdom and justice as he began 
with. They that indulge a complaining humour, 
know not to what indecencies, nay to what impie- 
ties, it will hurry them. The beginning of that 
strife with God is as the letting forth of water; 
therefore leave jt off, before it be meddled with. 
When we are in trouble, we are allowed to com- 
plain to God, as the Psalmist, often, but must by 
no means complain q/God, as Job here. 

I. His complaint here of the passing away of the 
days of his prosperity is proper; {y. 25, 26.) "My 
days, that is, all my good days, are gone, never to 
return; gone of a sudden, gone ere I was aware: 
never did any courier that went express," (like 
Cushi and Ahimaaz,) "with good tidings, make 
such haste as all my comforts did from me; ne\er 
d'.d ship sail to its port, never did eagle fly upon his 
l)rey, with such incredible swiftness; nor does there 
1 emain any traces of my prosperity, any more than 
there does of an eagle, in the air, or a ship in the 
sea," Prov. xxx. 19. See here, 1. How swift the 
motion of time is; it is always upon the wing, h; s- 
tening to its period; it stays for no man. What lit- 
tle need have we of pastimes, and what great need 
to redeem time, when time runs out, runs on so 
fast towards eternity, which comes as time goes! 
2. How vain the enjoyments of time are, which we 
may be quite deprived of while yet time continues! 
Our day may be lou; er than the sun-shine of our 
prosperity; and when that is gone, it is as if it had 
not been. The remembrance of having done our 
duty will be pleasing afterward; so will not the re- 
membrance of our having got a great deal of world- 
ly wealth, when it is all lost and gone. They flee 
away, past recall; they see no good, andlea\e none 
behind them. 

n. His complaint of his present uneasiness is ex- 
cusable, V. '27, 28. 1. It should seem he did his 
endeavour to quiet and compose himself, as his 
friends advised him. Tliat was the good he would 
do: he would fain forget his complaints and praise 
God, would leave off his heaviness and comfort him- 
self, that he might be fit for converse both with 
'iod and man; but, 2. He found he could not do it; 
" I am afraid of all my sorrows; then when I strive 
most against my trouble, it prevails most over me, 
and proves too hard for me!" It is easier, in such 
a case, to know what we should do than to do it; to 
know what temper we should be in than to get into 
that temper, and keep in it. It is easy to preach 
patience to those that are in trouble, and to tell them 
they must forget their complaints, and comfort 
themselves; but it is not so soon done as said. Fear 
and sorrow are tyrannizing things, not easily brought 
into the subjection they ought to be kept in to reli- 
gion and right reason. 

III. But his complaint of God, as implacable and 
inexorable, was by no me;ins to be excused. It was 
the language of his corruption. He knew better 
things, and, at another time, would ha\ e been far 
from harbouring any such hard thoughts of God as 
now broke in upon his spirit, and broke out in these 
passionate complaints. Good men do not always 
speak like themselves; but God considers their 
frame, and the strength of their temptations; gives 
them leave afterward to imsay it by repentance, 
and will not lay it to their charge. 

Job seems to speak here, 

1. As if he despaired of obtaining from God any 
relief or redress of his grievances, though he should 
produce ever so good proofs of his integrity; "/ 
know thou ivilt not hold me innocent; my afflictions 
have continued so long upon me, and increased so 
fast, that I do not expect thou wilt ever clear up 
my innocency by delivering me out of them, and 
restoring me to a prosperous condition. Right or 



wrong, I must be treated as a wicked man; my 
friends will continue to think so of me, and God will 
continue upon me the afflictions which give them 
occasion to think so; why then do I labour in \ ain 
to clear myself, and maintain my own integrity.''" 
V. 29. It is to no purpose to speak in a cause that 
is already pre-judgcd. With men it is often labour 
in \ ain for the most innocent to go about to clear 
themselves; they must be adjudged guilty, though 
the evidence be ever so plain for them: but it is not 
so in cur dealings with Gcd, who is the Patron cf 
oppressed innocency, and to whom it was never in 
vain to commit a rightecus cause. 

Nay, he not only despairs of relief, but expects 
that his endeavour to clear himself would render 
him yet more obnoxious; {y. 30, 31.) " Jf I wash 
myself with snow-water, and make my integrity 
ever so evident, it will be all to no purpose, judg- 
ment must go against me, thou shalt plunge me in 
the ditch," (the pit of destruction, so some, or rather 
the filthy kennel, or sewer,) "which will make me 
so oftensi\e in the nostrils of all about me, that my 
own cli thes shall abhor me, and I-shall even loathe 
to touch myself." He saw his afflictions coming 
from God, those were the things that blackened 
him in the eye of his friends, and, upon that score, 
he complained of them, and of the continuance of 
them, as the ruin, not only of his comfoit, but of 
his reputation. Yet these words are capable of a 
good consti'uction. If we be ever so industrious to 
justify oui sel\ es before men, and to preserve cur 
credit with them, if we keep our hands ever so 
clean from the pollutions of gross sin, which fall 
under the eye of the world; yet God; who knows 
our hearts, can charge us with so much secret sin 
as will for ever take off" all our pretensions to purity 
and innocency, and make us see ourselves odious in 
the sight of the holy God. Paul, while a Pharisee, 
made his hands very clean; but when the c( m- 
mandment came, and discovered to him his heart- 
sins, made him know lust, that /ilunged him in the 
ditch. 

2. As if he despaired to have so much as a fair 
hearing with God, and that were hard indeed. 

(1.) Hecomplainsthat he wasnotupon even terms 
with God; (r. 32.) " He is not a man, as I am. I 
could venture to dispute with a man like myself, 
(the potsherds may stri\ e with the potsherds rf the 
earth,) but he is infinitely abo\e me, and thevef< re 
I dare not enter the lists with him, I shall certainly 
be cast off"if I contend with him." Note, [1.] God 
is not a man as we are. Of the greatest princes we 
may say, "They are men .is we are," but net of 
the great God. His thoughts and ways are infi- 
nitely above ours, and we must not measure l-.im 
by ourselves. Man is foolish and weak, frail and 
fickle, Ijut God is not. We are depending, (h'ing. 
creatures; he the independent and immortal Crea- 
tor. [2.] The consideration of this should keep us 
\ ery low, and very silent, before God. Let us not 
make ourselves equal with God, 'but always eye 
him as infinitely above us. 

(2.) That there was no arbitrator or umpire to 
adjust the differences between him and God, and 
to determine the controversy; (z'. 55.) A'either is 
there any daysman. This complaint that there 
was not, is, in effect, a wish that there were, and 
so the LXX read it; O that there were a mediator 
between us! Job would gladly refer the matter, 
but no creature was capable of being a referee, and 
therefore he must even refer it still to God himself, 
and resolve to acquiesce in his judgment. Our Lord 
Jesus is the blessed Daysman, who has mediated 
between Heaven and earth, has laid his hand upon 
us both; tn him the Father has committed all judg 
ment, and we must: but this nvtter was not then 
l.rought to so clear a light as it is now by the gi s- 



JOB, X. 



55 



pel, which leaves no room for such a conij)laini ;»» 
tliih. 

(3.) That the tevnjrs of God, uhich set them- 
selves in array against him, put him into such con- 
fusion, that lie knew not h( w to address himself to 
God with the confident e with which he was ft)r- 
merly wont to approach hiiTi; {v. 34, 35.) "Beside 
the distance which I am kept at by his infinite 
transcendency, his present dealings with me are 
very discouraging. LcC him take his rod away frovi 
me:" he me.\ns not so much his outward afflictions, 
as the loud which lay upon his spirit from the ap- 
prehensions of (iod's wrath; tiuit was his fear which 
terrified liim: " Let that be lemovcd, let me reco- 
ver the sight of his mercy, and not be amazed with 
the sight of nothing but his terrors, and then I would 
speak, and order my cause before him. But it is 
not so with me, the cloud does not at all scatter, 
the wrath of God still fastens upon me, and preys 
on my spirits, as much as ever; and what to do I 
kno,w not." 

From all this let us take occasion, [1.] To stand 
in awe of God, and to fear the power of his wrath. 
If ^ood men hive been put into such consternation 
by it, nuhere shall the zingodly and the aimier afi- 
fieur? [2.] To pity th<jse that are wounded in 
spirit, and pray earnestly for them, because in that 
condition they know not how to pray for themselves. 
[3.] Carefully to keep up good thoughts of God in 
our minds, for hard thoughts of him are the inlets 
of much mischief. [4.] To bless God that we are 
not in such a disconsolate condition as poor Job was 
here in, but that we walk in the light of the Lord; 
let us rejoice therein, but rejoice with trejiibling. 

CHAP. X. 

Job owns here that he was full of confusion; (v. 15.) and 
as he was, so was his discourse: he knew not what to 
say, and' perhaps sometimes scarcely knew what he said. 
In this chapter, I. He complains of the hardships he was 
under; (v. 1 . . 7.) and then comforts himself with this, 
that he was in the hand of the God that made him, and 
pleads that, v. 8 . . 13. II. He complains again of the 
severity of God's dealings with him, (v. 14. . 17.) and 
then comforts himself with this, that death would put an 
end to his troubles, v. 18 . . 22. 

1 . 1%/rY soul is weary of my life : I will 
XTJL leave my complaint upon myself; 
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2. 
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me ; 
show me wherefore thou contendest with 
me. 3. Is it good unto thee that thou 
shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest de- 
spise the work of thy hands, and shine upon 
the counsel of the wicked? 4. Hast thou 
eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? 
5, Are thy days as the days of man? are 
thy years as man's days? 6. That thou 
inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest 
after my sin? 7. Thou knowest that I am 
not wicked ; and there is none that can de- 
liver out of thy hand. 

Here is, 

I. A passionate resolution to persist in his com- 
plaint, V. 1. Being daunted vvith the dread of God's 
majesty, so that he could not plead his cause with 
him, he resolves to give himself some ease by giving 
vent to his resentments. He begins with vehement 
language, " Aly soul is weary of my life, weary of 
this body, and impatient to get clear of it, fallen out 
with life, and displeased at it, sick of it, and longing 
for death." Through the weakness of grace, he 



Went contrary to the dictates even of nature itself 
\\'e slKHild act more like men, did we act more 
like sdin:s: faith and patience would keep us from 
being weary of our li\es, (and cruel to them, as 
some I'cad it,) even then when Providence has 
made them niost wearisome to us; for that is to be 
weary of (iod's correction. Job, being weary of his 
life, and having ease no other way, resolves to coir,- 
plain, resoh es to speak: he will not give vent to his 
soul by violent hands, but he will give vent to the 
bitterness of his soul by \iolent words. Losers 
think they may have leave to speak; and unbi idled 
passions, as well as unbridled appetites, are apt to 
think it an excuse for their excursions, that they 
cannot help it; but what have we wisdom and grace 
for, but to keep the mouth as with a bridle.^ Job's 
corruption speaks here, yet grace puts in a word: 
1. He will complain, but he will leave his com- 
jjlaint upon himself: he would not impeach God, 
nor charge him with unrighteousness or unkindness; 
but, though he knew not particularly the ground ct 
God's controversy with him, and the cause of ac- 
tion, yet, in the general, he would suppc'se it to be 
in himself, and willingly bear all the blame. 2. He 
will speak, but it shall be the bitterness of his soul 
that he will express, not his settled judgment. If 
I speak amiss, it is not 1, but sin that dwells in me. 
not my soul, but its bitterness. 

U. A humble petition to God. He will speak, 
but tlie first word shall be a prayer, and, as I am 
willing to understand it, it is a good prayer, v. 2. 
1. That he might be delivered from the sting of his 
afflictions, which is sin; "Do not condemn me, do 
not separate me for ever from thee. Though I lie 
under the cross, let me not lie under the curse; 
though I smart by the rod of a Father, let me not 
be cut off by the sword of a Judge. Thou dost cor- 
rect me, I will bear that as well as I can, but O do 
not condemn me!" It is the comfort of those who 
are in Christ Jesus, that, though they are in afflic- 
tion, there is no condemnation to them, Rom. viii. 
1. Nay, they are chastened of the Lord, that they 
may not be co7idemned with the world, 1 Cor. xi. 
32. This, therefore, we should deprecate above 
any thing else, when we are in affliction; "How- 
ever thou art pleased to deal with me. Lord, do not 
condemn me; my friends condemn me, but do not 
thou. " 2. That he might be made acquainted with 
the true cause of his afflictions, and that is sin too; 
Lord, shovj me wherefore thou contendest with me. 
When God afflicts us, he contends with us; when he 
contends with us, there is always a reason. He is 
never angry without a cause, though we are, and it 
is desirable to know what the reason is, that we may 
repent of, nv rtify, and forsake, the sin for which 
God has a controversy with us: in inquiring it out, 
let conscience have leave to do its office, and to deal 
faithfully with us, as Gen. xlii. 21. 

III. A peevish expostulation with God concern- 
ing his dealings with him. Now he speaks in the 
bitterness of his soul indeed, not without some ill- 
natured reflections upon the righteousness of his 
God. 

1. He thinks it unbecoming the goodness of God, 
and the mercifulness of his nature, to deal so hardlv 
with his creature, as to lay upon him more than he 
can bear; (i-. 3.) Js it good unto thee that thou 
shouldest oppress? No, certainly it is not; what he 
approves not in men, (Lam. iii, 34.. 36.) he will not 
do himself. '* Lord, in dealing with me, thou secm- 
est to oppress thy subject, to despise thy workman- 
ship, and to countenance thine enemies. Now, 
Lprd, what is the meaning of this.'* Such is thy na- 
ture, that this cannot be a pleasure to thee; and 
such is thy name, that it cannot be an hrnour to 
thee; why then dealest thou thus with me? What 
*}r'Jlt is there in my blood?" Far be it from Job tc 



56 



JOB, X. 



think that God did him wrong, but he is quite at a 
loss how to reconcile his providences with his jus- 
tice, as good men have often been, and must wait 
until the day shall declare it. Let us, therefore, 
now hai'bour no hard thoughts of God, because we 
shall then see there was no cause for them. 

2. He thinks it unbecoming the infinite know- 
ledge of God to put a prisoner thus upon the rack, 
as it were, by torture, to extort a confession from 
him, V. 4«»6. 

(1.) He is sure that God does not discover things, 
nor judge of them, as men do; he has not eyes of 
Jlesh, {-v. 4. ) for he is a Spirit. Eyes of flesh can- 
not see in the dark, but darkness hides not from 
God. Eyes of flesh are but in one place at a time, 
and can see but a little way; but the eyes of the 
Lord are in every filace, and run to and fro 
through the whole earth. Many things are hid 
from eyes of flesh, the most curious and piercing; 
there is a fxath which even the vulture's eye hath not 
seen: but nothing is, or can be, hid from the eye of 
God, to which all things are naked and open. Eyes 
of flesh see the outward appearance only, and may 
be imposed upon, a decefitio visus — an illusion of the 
senses; but God sees every thing truly; his sight 
cannot be deceived, for he tries the heart, and is a 
Witness to the thoughts and intents of that. Eyes 
of flesh discover things gradually, and when we 
gain the sight of one thing, we lose the sight of an- 
other, but God sees every thing at one view. Eyes 
of flesh are soon tired, must be closed e\ ery night, 
that they may be refreshed, and will shortly be 
darkened by age, and shut up by death, but the 
Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps, nor 
does his sight ever decay. God sees not as man sees; 
that is, he does not judge as man judges, at the best 
secundum allegata et probata — according to what 
.is alleged and proved, as the thing appears, rather 
than as it is, and too often according to the bias of 
the affections, passions, prejudices, and interest; 
but we are sure that the judgment of God is accord- 
ing to truth, and that he knows truth, not by infor- 
mation, but by his own inspection. Men discover 
secret things by search, and examination of wit- 
nesses, comparing evidence and giving conjectures 
upon it, wheedling or forcing the parties concerned 
to confess. But God needs not any of these ways of 
discovery, he sees not as man sees. 

(2.) He is sure that, as God is not short-sighted, 
like man, so he is not short-lived ; (v. 5. ) " jire thy 
days as the days of man, few and evil? Do they roil 
onin succession, or are they subject to change, like 
the days of man? No, by no means." Men grow 
wiser by experience, and more knowing by daily 
observation; with them, truth is the daughter oiF 
time, and therefore they must take time for their 
searches, and, if one experiment fail, must try 
another; but it is not so with God, to him nothing 
is past, nothing future, but every thing present. 
The days of time, by which the life of man is mea- 
sured, are nothing to the years of eternity, in which 
the life of God is wrapt up. 

(3.) He therefore thinks it strange that God 
should thus prolong his torture, and continue him 
under the confinement of this affliction, and neither 
bring him to a trial, nor grant him a release: as if 
he must take time to inquire after his iniquity, and 
use means to search after his sin, v. 6. Not as if 
.Tob thought that God did thus torment him, that 
he might find occasion against him; but his dealings 
with him had such an aspect, which was disho- 
nourable to God, and would tempt men to think 
him a hard master. *• Now, Lord, if thou wilt not 
consult my comfort, consult thine own honour; do 
something for thy ^reat name, and do not disgrace 
the throne of thy' glory,'" Jer. xiv. 21. 
3. He thinks it looked like an abuse of his omni- 



potence, to keep a poor pi isoner in custody, whom 
he knew to be innocent, only because there was 
none that could deliver him out of his hand; {y. 7. ) 
Thou knowest that I am not wicked. He had al- 
ready owned himself a sinner, and guilty before 
God, but he here stands to it, that he was ni t 
wicked, not devoted to sin, not an enemy to God, 
not a dissembler in his religion, that fie had not 
wickedly departed from his God, Ps. xviii. 21. 
''But there is none that can deliver out of thy hand, 
and therefore there is no remedy; I must be con- 
tent to lie there, waiting thy time, and throwing 
myself on thy mercy, in submission to thy sovereign 
will." Here see, (1.) What ought to quiet us un- 
der our troubles; that it is to no purpose to contend 
with Omnipotence. (2.) What will abundantly 
comfort us, if we are able to appeal to God, as Job 
here, " Lord, thou knowest that I am not wicked. 
I cannot say that I am not wanting, or I am not 
weak; but, through grace, I can say, / am not 
wickrd: thou knowest I am not, for thou knowest I 
love thee." 

8. Thy hands have made me, and fashion- 
ed me together round about ; yet thou dost 
destroy me. 9. Remember, I beseech thee, 
that thou hast made me as the clay ; and 
wilt thou bring me into dust again ? 1 0. 
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and 
curdled me like cheese? 11. Thou hast 
clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast 
fenced me with bones and sinews. 12. 
Thou hast granted me life and favour, and 
thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 13. 
And these things hast thou hid in thy heart: 
I know that this is with thee. 

In these verses, we may observe, 

1. How Job eyes God as his Creator and Preser- 
ver, and describes his dependence upon him as the 
Author and Upholder of his being. This is one of 
the first things we are all concerned to know and 
consider. 

(1.) That God made us: he, and not our parents, 
who were only the instruments of his power and 
providence in our production. He made us, and not 
we ourselves. His hands have made and fashioned 
these bodies of ours, and e\ ery part of them ; {v. 8. ) 
and they are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
The soul also, which animates the body, is his gift. 
He takes notice of both here. [1.] The body is 
made as the clay, {jk 9.) cast into shape, into this 
shape, as the clay is formed into a vessel, accord- 
ing to the skill and will of the potter. We are 
earthen vessels: mean in our original, and soon 
broken in pieces, made as the clay; let not, there- 
fore, the tlmig formed say unto him that formed it. 
Why hast thou made me thus? We must not be 
proud of our bodies, because the matter is from the 
earth, yet not dishonour our bodies, bec:iuse the 
mould and shape are from the Divine Wisdom. 
The formation of human bodies in the womb is 
described by an elegant similitude, (t'. 10.) Thou 
hast floured me out like milk, which is coagulated 
into cheese; and by an induction of some particu- 
lars, {v. 11.) Though we come into the world 
naked, yet the body is itself both clothed and arm- 
ed; the skin and flesh are its cUnhing; the bones 
and sinews are its armour, not offensive, but defen- 
sive. The vital parts, the heart and lungs, are thus 
clothed, not to be seen; thus fenced, not to be hurt. 
The admirable structure of human bodies is an il- 
lustrious instance of the wisdom, power, and good- 
ness, of the Creator. What pity is it that these 



bodies should be instruments of unrighteousness, 
which are capable of being temples of the Holy 
Ghost! [2.] The soul is the life, the soul is the 
man, and this is the gift of God; Thou hast grant- 
ed me life, breathed into me the breath of life, 
without which the body would be but a worth- 
less carcase. God is the Father of spirits: he 
made us living souls, and endued us with the pow- 
ers of reason; he gave us life and favour; and life is 
a favour, a great favour, more than meat, more than 
raiment; a distinguishing favour, a favour that puts 
us into a capacity of receiving other favour. Now 
Job was in a better mind tha;\ he was when he 
quarrelled with life as a burthen, and asked, Why 
died I not from the ivomb? Or, by life and favour 
may be meant life and all the comforts of life, re- 
ferring to his former prosperity. Time was, when 
he walked in the light of the divine favour, and 
thought, as David, that through that favour his 
mountain stood strong. 

(2.) That God maintains us: having lighted the 
lamp of life, he does not leave it to burn upon its 
own stock, but continually supplies it with fresh 
oil; " Thy visitation has preserved my sfiirit, kept 
me alive, protected me from the adversaries of life, 
the death we are in the midst of, and the dangers 
we are continually exposed to; and blessed me with 
all the necessary supports of life, and the daily sup- 
plies it needs and craves." 

2. How he pleads this with God, and what use 
he makes of it. He reminds God of it; {v. 9. ) lie- 
member, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me. 
What then? 

(1.) "Thou hast made me, and therefore thou 
nast a perfect knowledge of me, (Ps. cxxxix. l.«13.) 
and needest not to examine me by scourging, nor to 
put me upon the rack for the discovering of what 
is within me." 

(2. ) " Thou hast made me, as the clay, by an act 
of sovereignty; and wilt thou, by a like act of sove- 
reignty, unmake me again? If so, I must submit." 

(3.) " Wilt thou destroy the work of thine own 
hands?" It is a plea the saints have often used in 

f)rayer; IVe are the clay, and thou our potter, Isa. 
xiv. 8. Thy hands 'have made me and fashioned 
me, Ps. cxix. 73. So here. Thou madest me; and 
wilt thou destroy me? v. 8. Wilt thou bring me 
into dust again?" v. 9. "Wilt thou not pity me? 
Wilt thou not spare and help me, and stand by the 
work of thine own hands? Ps. cxxxviii. 8. Thou 
madest me, and knowest my strength; wilt thou 
then suffer me to be pressed above measure? Was 
I made to be made miserable? Was I preserved 
only to endure these calamities?" If we plead this 
with ourselves as an inducement to duty, "God 
made me and maintains me, and therefore I will 
serve him and submit to him," we may plead it 
with God as an argument for mercy. Thou hast 
made tne, new make me; / am thine, save me. 
Job knew not how to reconcile God's former fa- 
vours and his present frowns, but concludes, (xi. 13. ) 
" T/ese things hast thou hid i?i thine heart; both 
are according to the counsel of thine own will, and, 
therefore, undoubtedly consistent, howe\er they 
seem." When God thus strangely changes his way, 
though we cannot account for it, we are bound to 
believe there are good reasons for it hid in his 
heart, which will be manifested shortly. It is not 
with us, or in our leach, to assign the cause, but I 
know that this is with thee. Known unto God are all 
his works. 

14. If I sin, then thou markest me, and 
thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 
15. If I be wicked, wo unto me; and if I 
be righteous, ijet will I not lift up my head. 

Vol. iii.-H 



JOB, X. 57 

I am full of confusion ; therefore see thou 
mine affliction; 16. For it increaseth. 
Thou huntest me as a fierce lion ; and 
again thou showest thyself marvellous 
upon nfie. 17. Thou renewest thy witness- 
es against me, and increasest thine indig- 
nation upon me ; changes and war are 
against me. 1 8. Wherefore then hast thou 
brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that 
I had given up the ghost, and no eye had 
seen me ! 1 9. 1 should have been as though 
I had not been ; I should have been carried 
from the womb to the grave. 20. Are not 
my days few ? cease the?!, and let me alone, 
that I may take comfort a little, 21. Be- 
fore I go iohence I shall not return, even to 
the land of darkness and the shadow of 
death; 22. A land of darkness, as darkness 
itself: and of the shadow of death, without 
any order, and lohe.re the light is as darkness. 

Here we have, 

I. Job's passionate complaints. On that harsh 
and unpleasant string he harps much, in which, 
thougli he cannot be justified, he may be excused. 
He complained not for nothing, as the murmuring 
Israelites, but had cause to complain. If we think 
it looks ill in him, let it be a warning to us to keep 
our temper better. 

1. He complains of the strictness of God's judg- 
ment, and the rigour of his proceedings against 
him, and is ready to call it Summu?n Jus — Justice 
bordering on severity. (1.) That he took all ad 
vantages against him"; " If I sin, then thou markest 
me; {v. 14.) if I do but take one false step, mis- 
place a word, or cast a look awry, I shall be sure to 
hear of it. Conscience, thy deputy, will be sure to 
upbraid me with it, and to tell me, that this gripe, 
this twitch of pain, is to punish me for that." It 
God should thus mark iniquities, we are undone; 
but he does not thus mark them; though we sin, 
God does not deal in extremity with us. (2.) That 
he prosecuted those advantages to the utmost; 
Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. While 
his troubles continued, he could not take the com- 
fort of his pardon, nor hear that \'oice of joy and 
gladness; so hard is it to see love in God's heart, 
when we see frowns in his face, and a rod in his 
hand. (3.) That, whatever was his character, h's 
case, at present, was very uncomfortable, v. 15. 
[1.] If he be wicked, he is certainly undone in the 
other world; If I be wicked, woe to me. Note, A 
sinful state is a woeful state. This we should each 
of us believe, as Job here, with application to our- 
selves; " If I be wicked, though prospei-ous, and 
living in pleasure, yet woe to me." Some especially 
have reason to dread double woes if they be wicked; 
"I that have knowledge, that have made a great 
profession of religion, that have been so often under 
strong convictions, and have made so many fair 
promises; I that was born of such good parents, 
blessed with a good education, that have lived in 
good f imilies, and long enjoyed the means of grace, 
If I be nvicked, woe, and a thousand woes, to me." 
[2.] If he be righteous, yet he dares not lift up his 
head; dares not answer as before, ch. ix. 15. He is 
so oppressed and overwhelmed with his troubles, 
that he cannot look u]i with any comfort or confi- 
dence. Without were fightings, within were fears; 
so that, between both, he was full of confusion: not 
only confusion of face, for the disgrace he was 
brought down to, and the censures of his friends. 



58 



OB, X. 



but confusion of spirit; his mind was in a constant 
hurry, and he was almost distracted, Ps. Ixxxviii. 
15. 

2. He complains of the severity of the execution. 
God (he thought) did not only punish him for every 
failui'e, but punish him in a high degree, v. 16, 17. 
His affliction was, (1.) Grievous, very grievous, 
marvellous, exceeding marvellous. God hunted 
him as a lion, as a fierce lion hunts and inins down 
his prey. God was not only strange to him, but 
showed himself marvellous upon him, by bringing 
him into uncommon troubles, and so making him a 
prodigy, a wonder unto many. All wondered that 
God would inflict, and that Job could bear, so much. 
That which made his afflictions most grievous, was, 
that he felt God's indignation in them; that was 
it that made them taste so bitter, and lie so heavy. 
They were God's witnesses against him, tokens of 
his displeasure; this made the sores of his body 
wounds in his spirit. (2.) It was growing, still 
growing, worse and worse. This he insists much 
upon; when he hoped the tide would turn, and be- 
gin to ebb, still it flowed higher and higher. His 
affliction increased, and God's indignation in the 
iffliction; he found himself no way better; these 
witnesses were renewed against him, that, if one 
did not reach to convict him, another might. 
Changes and war were against him. If there was 
any change with him, it. was not for the better; 
still he was kept in a state of war. As long as we 
are here in this world, we must expect that the 
clouds will return after the rain, and perhaps the 
sorest and sharpest trials may be reserved for the 
Jast. God was at war with him, and it was a great 
change. He did not use to be so, which aggravated 
the trouble, and made it truly marvellous. God 
usually shows himself kind to his people; if at any 
time he shows himself otherwise, it is his strange 
work, his strange act, and he doth in it show him- 
self marvellous. 

3. He complains of his life, and that ever he was 
born to all this trouble and misery; {v. 18, 19.) 
" If this was designed for my lot, why was I 
brought out of the womb, and not smothered there, 
or stifled in the birth?" This was the language of 
his passion, and it was a relapse into the sin he fell 
into before. He had just now called life a favour, 
\y. 12.^ yet now he calls it a burthen, and quarrels 
with God for giving it, or rather laying it upon 
him. Mr. Caryl gives this a good turn in favour 
of Job. " We may charitably suppose," (says he,) 
'• that that which troubled Job was, that he was in 
a condition of life which (as he conceived) hindered 
the main end of ,,is life, which was the glorifying God. 
His harp was hung on the willow-trees, and he was 
quite out of tune for praising God. Nay, he feared 
lest his troubles should reflect dishonour upon God, 
and give occasion to his enemies to blaspheme; and, 
therefore, he wishes, O that I had given ufi the 
ghost! A godly man reckons that he lives to no 
purpose, if he do not live to the praise and glory of 
God." But, if that had been his meaning, it was 
grounded on a mistake, for we may glorify the 
Lord in the fires. But this use we may make of it, 
not to be over-fond of life, since the case has been 
such, sometimes, even with wise and good men, 
that they have complained of it. Why should we 
dread giving up the ghost, or covet to be seen of 
men, since the time may come, when we may be 
ready to wish we had given up the ghost, and no 
eye had seen us? Why should we inordinately 
lament the death of our children in their infancy, 
that arc as if they liad not been, and are carried 
from the womb to the grave, when pei haps we our- 
fet-lvps miv sometimes wish it h^d been our own lot? 

II Jnl)'s humble requests. He prays, 

J That God would see f-'s afflictio7i,{v. 15.) take 



cognizance of his case, and take it into his compas- 
sionate consideration. Thus David prays, (Fs. xxv. 
18. ) Look upon mine afflictions and my /iai?i. Thus 
we should, hi our troubles, refer ourselves to God, 
and may comfort ourselves with this, that he knows 
our souls in adversity. 

2. That God would grant him some ease. If he 
could not prevail for the removal of his troubles, 
yet might he not have some intermission? "Lord, 
let me not be always upon the rack, always in ex- 
tremity; let me alone, that I may take comfort a 
little! V. 20. Grant me some respite, some breath- 
ing time, some little enjoyment of myself." This 
he would reckon a great favour. Those that are 
not duly thankful for constant ease, should think 
how welcome one hour's ease would be, if they 
were in constant pain. Two things he pleads; 

(1.) That life and its light were very short; "Are 
not my days few? v. 20. Yes, certainly, they are 
very tew; Lord, let them not be all miserable, all 
in the extremity of miseiy. I have but a little time 
to live, let me have some comfort of life while it 
does last." This plea fastens on the goodness of 
God's nature, the consideration of which is very 
comfortable to an afflicted spirit. And if we would 
use this as a plea with God for mercy, " Are not 
my days ftwf Lord, pity me;" we should use it as 
a plea with ourselves, to quicken us to duty. " Are 
not my days few? Then it concerns me to redeem 
time, to improve opportunities; what my hand 
finds to do, to do it with all my might, that I may 
be ready for the days of eternity, which shall be 
many. " 

(2. ) That death and its darkness were very near, 
and would be very long; {v. 21, 22.) "Lord, give 
me some ease before I die," that is, "lest I die, of 
my pain." Thus David pleads, (Ps. xiii. 3. ) " Lest 
I sleep, the sleep of death, and then it will be too 
late to expect relief; for. Wilt thou show wonders 
to the dead? (Ps. Ixxxviii. 10.) Let me have a 
little comfort before I die, that 1 may take leave of 
this world calmly, and not in such confusion as I am 
now in." Thus earnest should we be for grace, and 
thus should we plead; " Lord, renew me in the in- 
ward man; Lord, sanctify me before I die, for then 
it will never be done. " 

See how he speaks here of the state of the dead. 

[1.] It is a fixed state, whence we shall not re- 
turn ever again to live such a life as we now live, 
ch. vii. 10. At death, we must bid a final fareweK 
to this world. The body must then be laid where 
it will lie long, and the soul adjudged to that state 
in which it must be for ever. That had need be 
well done, which is to be done but once, and done 
for eternity. 

[2.] It is a very melancholy state; so it appears 
to us. Holy souls, at death, remove to a land of 
light, where there is no death; but their bodies 
they leave to a land of darkness, and the shadow 
of death. He heaps up expressions here of the 
same import, to show that he has as dreadful ap- 
prehensions of death and the grave as other men 
naturally have, so that it was only the extreme 
misery he was in, that made him wish for it. Come 
and let us look a little into the grave, and we shall 
find. First, That there is no order there; it is 
without any order; perpetual night, and no succes- 
sion of day. All there lie on the same level, and 
there is no distinction between prince and pea- 
sant, but the servant is there free from his master, 
ch. iii. 19. No order is observed in bringing people 
to the grave, not the eldest first, not the richest, 
not the poorest, and vet every one in his own order, 
the order appointed by the God of life. Secondly, 
That there is no light there. In the grave there 's 
thick darkness, darkness that cannot be felt indeed, 
yet cannot but be feaied by those that enjoy thi. 



JOB, XI. 



59 



light of life. In the grave there is no knowledge, 
no comfort, no joy, no praising God, no working 
out our salvation, and therefore no light. Job was 
so nmcli ashamed that others should see his sores, 
and so much afraid to see them himself, that the 
darkness of the grave, which would hide them and 
huddle them up, would, upon that account, be wel- 
come to him. Darkness comes upon us, and there- 
fore let us walk and work while we have the light 
with us. The grave being a land of darkness, it is 
well we are carried thither with our eyes closed, 
and then it is all one. The grave is a land of dark- 
ness to man; our friends that are gone thither, we 
reckon remo\ed into darkness, Ps. Ixxxviii. 18. 
But that it is not so to God, will appear by this, 
that the dust of the bodies of the saints, though 
scattered, though mingled with other dust, will 
none of it be lost, for God's eye is upon every grain 
of it, and it shall be forthcoming in the great day. 

CHAP. XI. 

Poor Job's wounds were yet bleeding, his sore still runs 
and ceases not, but none of his friends bring him any 
oil, any balm; Zophar, the third, pours into them as 
much vinegar as the two former had done. I. He exhi- 
bits a very high charge against Job, as proud and false 
in justifying himself, v. 1 . . 4. II. He appeals to God for 
his conviction, and begs that God would take him to 
task, (v. 5.) and that Job might be made sensible, 1. Of 
God's unerring wisdom, and his inviolable justice, v. 6. 
2. Of his unsearchable perfections, v. 7 . . 9. 3. Of his 
incontestable sovereignty, and uncontrollable power, v. 
10. 4. Of the cognizance he takes of the children of 
men, v. 11, 12. III. He assures him, that, upon his re- 
pentance and reformatiouj (v. 13, 14.) God would restore 
him to his former prosperity and safety; (v. 15.. 19.) but 
that if he were wicked, it was in vain to expect it, v. 20. 

I. nnHEN answered Zophar the Naama- 
JL thite, and said, 2. Should not the 
multitude of words be answered ? and 
should a man full of talk be justified ? 3. 
Should thy lies make men h(Dld their peace ? 
and when thou mockest, shall no man make 
thee ashamed ? 4. For thou hast said, My 
doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine 
eyes. 5. But oh that God would speak, 
and open his lips against thee; 6. And 
that he would show thee the secrets of wis- 
dom, that they are double to that which is ! 
Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee 
less than thine iniquity deserveth. 

It is sad to see what intemperate passions even 
wise and good men are sometimes betrayed into by 
the heat of disputation; of which Zophar here is 
an instance. Eliphaz began with a very modest 
preface, ch. iv. 2. Bildad was a little more rough 
upon Job, ch. viii. 2. But Zophar falls upon him 
without mercy, and gives him very bad language; 
Should a man full of talk be justijied? And should 
thy lies make men hold their peace? Is this the way 
to comfort Job? No, nor to convince him neither. 
Does this become one that appears as an advocate 
for God and his justice? Tantcene animis ccelestibus 
ir£? — In heavenly breasts can such resentments 
dwell? They that engage in controversy will find 
it very hard to keep their temper. All the wisdom, ^ 
caution, and resolution, they have, will be little 
enough to prevent their breaking out into such in- 
decencies as we here find Zophar guilty of. 

1. He represents Job otherwise than what he was; 
(i'. 2, 3. ) he would have him thought idle and imper- 
tinent in his discourse, and one that loved to hear 
himself talk; he gives him the lie, and calls him a 
mocker; and all this, that it might be looked upon 



as a piece of justice to chastise him. Those that 
have a mind to fall out with their brethren, and to 
fall foul upon them, find it necessary to put the worst 
colours they can upon them and their performances, 
and, right or wrong, to make them odious. We 
have read and considered Job's discourses in the 
foregoing chapters, and have found them full of 
good sense, and much to the purpose; that his 

Erinciples are right, his reasonings strong, many of 
is expressions weighty and very considerable, and 
that what there is in them of heat and passion, a 
little candour and charity will excuse and overlook; 
yet Zophar here invidiously represents him, 

(1.) As a man that never considered what he 
said, but uttered what came uppermost, only to 
make a noise with the multitude of words, hoping 
by that means to carry his cause, and run down his 
reprovers. Should not the multitude of words be 
answered? Truly, sometimes it is no great matter 
whether it be or no; silence perhaps is the best 
confutation of impertinence, and puts the greatest 
contempt upon it; Answer not a fool according to 
his folly. But, if it be answered, let reason and 
grace have the answering of it, not pride and pas- 
sion. Should a man full of talk (Marg. a man of 
lifis, that is, all tongue, vox et fireterea nihil — mere 
voice,) be justified? Should he be justified in his 
loquacity, as, in effect, he is, if he be not reproved 
for it? No, for in the multitude of words there 
wanteth not sin. Should he be justified by it? Shall 
many words pass for valid pleas? Shall he carry 
the day with the flourishes of language? No, he 
shall not be accepted with God, or any wise men, 
for his much speaking, Matth. vi. 7. 

(2. ) As a man that made no conscience of Avhat 
he said, a liar, and one that hoped, by the impu- 
dence of lies, to silence his adversaries; (Should 
thy lies make men hold their fieace?) a mocker, one 
that bantered all mankind, and knew how to put 
false colours upon any thing, and was net ashamed 
to impose upon every one that talked with him- 
JVhen thou mockest, shall no man make thee asham- 
ed? Is it not time to speak, to stem sucli a violent 
tide as this? Job was not mad, but spake the words 
of truth and soberness, and yet is thus misrepre- 
sented. Eliphaz and Bildad had answered him, 
and said what they could to make him ashamed; it 
was, therefore, no instance of Zophar's generosity, 
to set upon a man so violently, who was already 
thus harassed: here were three matched against 
one. 

2. He charges .Tnb with saying that which he had 
not said; (v. 4.) Thou hast said. My dcctrine is 
fiure. And what if he had said so? It is true that 
Job was sound in the faith, and orthodox in his 
judgment, and spake better of God than his friends 
did. If he had expressed himself unwarily, yet it 
did not therefore follow but that his doctrine was 
true; but he charges him with saying, / am clean 
in thine eyes. Job had not said so: he had, indeed, 
said. Thou knowest that I am not wicked; {ch. x. 
7. ) but he had also said, / have sinned, and never 
pretended to a spotless perfection. He had, indeed, 
maintained that he was not a hypocrite, as they 
charged him; but to infer thence that he would not 
own himself a sinner, was an unfair insinuation. 
We pught to put the best construction on the words 
and actions of our brethren that they will bear; but 
contenders are tempted to put the worst. 

3. He appeals to God, and wishes him to appear 
against Job. So very confident is he that Job is in 
the wrong, that nothing will serve him but that 
God must immediately appear to silence and con- 
demn him. We are commonly ready with too 
much assurance to interest God in our quarrels, and 
to conclude that if he would but speak, he would 
take our part, and speak for us; as Zophar here. 



60 



JOB, XL 



that God -would sjieak, for he would certainly 
ofitn hin lifis against thee; whereas, when God did 
5-pe:ili, he opened his lip3 for Job against his three 
friends. We ought indeed to leave all controver- 
sies to be determined by the judgment of God, 
which we are sure is according to truth; but they 
are not always in the right, who are most forward 
to appeal to that judgment, and prejudge it against 
their antagonists. 

Zophar despairs to convince Job himself, and 
therefore desires God would convince him of two 
things, which it is good for every one of us duly to 
consider, and under all our afflictions, cheerfully 
to confess. 

(1.) The unsearchable depth of God's counsels. 
Zophar cannot pretend to do it, but he desires that 
God himself would show Job so much of the secrets 
of the divine wisdom, as might convince him that 
they are, at least, double to that which is, x;. 6. 
Note, [1.] There are secrets in the divine wisdom; 
arcana im/ierii — state secrets. God's way is in the 
sea; clouds and darkness are round about him; he 
has reasons of state which we cannot fathom, and 
must not pry into, [2.] What we know of God, is 
nothing to what we cannot know. What is hid, is 
more than double to what appears, Eph. iii. 9. [3. ] 
By employing ourselves in adoring the depth of 
those divine counsels of which we cannot find the 
bottom, we shall very much tranquillize our minds 
under the afflicting hand of God. [4. ] God knows 
a great deal more evil of us than we do of ourselves; 
so some understand it. When God gave David a 
sight and sense of sin, he sa.id that he had in the 
hidden fiart made him to know -wisdom, Ps. li. 6. 

(2.) The unexceptionable justice of his proceed- 
ings; " Know, therefore, that how sore soever the 
correction is, that thou art under, God exacteth of 
thee less than thine iniquity deserves:" or, as some 
read it, " He remits thee part of thine iniquity, and 
does not deal with thee according to the full deme- 
rit of it." Note, [1.] When the debt of duty is 
not paid, it is justice to insist upon the debt of 
punishment. [2.] Whatever punishment is inflict- 
ed upon us in this world, we must own that it is less 
than our iniqiiities deserve, and therefore, instead 
of complaining of our troubles, we must be thank- 
ful that we are out of hell, Lam. iii. 39. Ps. ciii. 10. 

7. Canst thou by searching find out God? 
Canst thou find out the Ahiiighty unto per- 
fection? 8. // is as high as heaven ; what 
canst thou do? deeper than hell; what 
canst thou know? 9. The measure there- 
of is longer than the earth, and broader 
than the sea. 10. If he cut off, and shut 
up, or gather together, then who can hinder 
him? 11. For he knoweth vain men: he 
seeth wickedness also: will he not then 
consider it? 12. For vain man would be 
wise, though man be born like a wild ass's 
colt. 

Zophar here speaks very good things concerning 
God and his greatness and glory, concerning man 
and his vanity and folly: these two compared to- 
gether, and duly considered, will ha\ e a powerful 
influence upon our submission to all the dispensa- 
tions of the Divine Providence. 

I. See here what (iod is, and let him be adored. 

1. He is an incomprehensible Being, infinite and 
Immense, whose nature and perfection, our finite 
understandings cannot possibly form any adequate 
conceptions of, and whose counsels and actings we 
cannot therefore, without the greatest presumption, 



pass a judgment upon. We, that are so little ac- 
quainted with the divine nature, are incompetent 
judges of the Divine Providence; and, when we 
censure the dispensations of it, we talk of things 
that we do not understand. We camiot find rut 
God; how dare we then find fault with him? "Zxy- 
phar here shows, 

(1.) That God's nature infinitely exceeds the ca- 
pacities of our understandings; "Canst thou ^nd 
out God: find him out to fierfectioyi'^ No, What 
canst thou do? What canst thou kno-iv? v. 7, 8. 
Thou, a poor, weak, short-sighted creature, a worm 
of the earth, that art but of yesterday? Thou, 
though ever so inquisitive after him, ever so desi- 
rous and industrious to find him out, yet darest thou 
attempt the search, or canst thou hope to speed in 
it?" We may by searching ^rzrf God, (Acts xvii. 
27.) but we cannot find him out in any thing he is 
pleased to conceal; we may o/?prehend him, but 
cannot comprehend him; we may know that he is, 
but cannot know -what he is; the eye can see the 
ocean, but not see over it; we may, by a humble, 
diligent, and believing search, find out something of 
God, but cannot find him out to perfection; we may 
know, but cannot know fully, what God is, nor find 
out his work from the beginning to the end, Eccl. 
iii. 11. Note, God is unsearchable. The ages ot 
his eternity cannot be numbered, nor the spaces of 
his immensity measured: the depths of his wisdom 
cannot be fathomed, nor the reaches of his power 
bounded: the brightness of his glory can never be 
described, nor an inventory be made of the trea- 
sures of his goodness. This is a good reason why we 
should always speak of God with humility and cau- 
tion, and never prescribe to him or quarrel with 
him; why we should be thankful for what he has 
revealed of himself, and long to be there where we 
shall see him as he is, 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. 

(2.) That it infinitely exceeds the limits of the 
whole creation; It is higher than heaven, (so some 
read it,) deeper than hell, the great abyss, longer 
than the earth, and broader than the sea, manv 
parts of which are, to this day, undiscovered, an^ 
more were then. It is quite out of our reach to 
comprehend God's nature; such kno-w ledge is too 
ivonderful for us, Ps. cxxxix. 6. We cannot 
fathom God's designs, nor find out the reasons of 
his proceedings; his judgments are a great deep. 
St. Paul attributes such immeasurable dimensions 
to the divine love, as Zophar here attributes to the 
divine wisdom, and yet recommends it to our ac- 
quaintance, fEph. iii. 18.) That ye may knoiv the 
breadth, and length, and defith, and height, of the 
love of Christ. 

2. God is a sovereign Lord; {y. 10.) If he cut 
off by death, (Marg. If he make a change, for 
death is a change; if he make a change in nations, 
in families, in the postvire of our affairs,) if he shut 
up in prison, or in the net of affliction; (Ps. Ixvi. 
11.) if he seize any creature as a hunter his prey, 
he will gather it, (so Bishop Patrick,) and who 
shall force him to restore? Or, if he gather to- 
gether, as tares for the fire, or, if he gather to. him- 
self man* s spirit and breath, {ch. xxxiv. 14.) then 
nvho can hinder him? Who can either arrest the 
sentence, or oppose the execution? Who can con- 
trol his power, or arraign his wisdom and justice? 
If he that made all out of nothing, think fit to re- 
duce all to nothing, or to their first chaos again; if 
he that separated between light and darkness, dry 
land and sea, at first, please to gather them toge- 
ther again; if he that made, unmakes, -ivho can turn 
him a-way, alter his mind, stay his hand, impede or 
impeach his proceedings? 

3. God is a strict and just observer of the chil- 
dren of men; (v. 11.) He kno-ws vain men. We 
know little of nim, but he knows us perfectly; he 



JOB, XL 



61 



sees wickedness also, not to approve it, (Hab. i. 
13.) but to animadvert upon it. (1.) He observes 
vain men; (such all are, every man, at his best es- 
tate, is altogether vanity;) and he considers it in his 
dealings with them. He knows what the projects 
and hopes of vain men are, and can blast and defeat 
them, the workings of their foolish fancies; he sits 
in heaven, and laughs at them. He takes knowledge 
of the vanity of men, that is, their little sins, so 
some; their vain tlioughts and vain words, and un- 
steadiness in that which is good. (2. ) He observes 
bad men; he sees gross wickedness also, though 
acted ever so secretly, and ever so artfully palliated 
and disguised. All the wickedness of the wicked 
is naked and open before the all-seeing eye of God; 
ivi/l he not then consider it? Yes, certainly he will, 
and will reckon for it, though for a time he seems 
to keep silence. 

n. See here what man is; and let him be hum- 
bled; {v. 12.) God sees this concerning vain man, 
that he would be wise, would be thought so, though 
he is born like a ivild ass^s colt, so sottish and fool- 
ish, unteachable and untameable. See what man 
is: 1. He is a vain creature; empty; so the word 
is: God made him full, but he emptied himself, 
impoverished himself, and now he is raca, a crea- 
ture that has nothing in him. 2. He is a foolish 
creature, become like the beasts that perish, (Ps. 
xlix. 20. — Ixxiii. 22.) an idiot, born like an ass, the 
most stupid animal, an ass's colt, not yet brought to 
any service. If ever he come to be good for any 
thing, it is owing to the grace of Christ, who once, 
in the day of his triumph, served himself of an ass's 
colt. 3. He is a wilful ungovernable creatuie. An 
ass's colt may be made good for something, but the 
wild ass's colt will never be reclaimed, nor regards 
the crying of the driver. See Job xxxix. 5 . . 7. 
Man thinks himself as much at liberty, and his 
own master, as the wild ass's colt does, that is used 
to the wilderness, (Jer. ii. 24.) eager to gratify his 
own appetites and passions. 4. Yet he is a proud 
creature and self-conceited. He would be wise, 
would be thought so, values himself upon the ho- 
nour of wisdom, though he will not submit himself 
to the laws of wisdom. He would be wise, that is, 
he reaches after forbidden wisdom, and, like his 
first parents, aiming to be wise above what is writ- 
ten, loses the tree of life for the tree of knowledge. 
Now, is such a creature as this fit to contend with 
God, or call him to an account? Did we but better 
know God and ourselves, we should better know 
how to conduct ourselves toward God. 

1 3. If thou prepare thy heart, and stretch 
out thy hands toward hun; 14. If iniquity 
be in thy hand, put it far away, and let not 
wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 15. 
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without 
spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt 
not fear: 16. Because thou shalt forget 
thy misery, and remember it as waters that 
pass away: 17. And thine age shall be 
clearer than the noon-day ; thou shalt shine 
forth, thou shalt be as the morning. 18. 
And thou shalt be secure, because there is 
hope ; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and 
thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19. Also 
thou shalt lie down, and none shall make 
thee afraid ; yea, many shall make suit unto 
thee, 20. But the eyes of the wicked shall 
fail, and they shall not escape, and their 
hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. 



Zophar, as the other two, here encourages Job 
to hope for better times, if he would but come to a 
better temper. 

I. He gives him good counsel, {v. 13, 14.) as 
El phaz did, {ch. v. 8.) and Bildad, ch. viii. 5. He 
would have him repent, and return 'to God. Ob- 
serve the steps of that return; 

1. He must look within, and get his mind chang- 
ed, and the tree made good. He must prepare his 
heart; there the work of conversion and reforma- 
tion must begin. The heart that wandered from 
God must be reduced; that was defiled with sin and 
put into disorder, must !)e cleansed and put in order 
again; that was wavering and unfixed, must be 
settled and established: so the word here signifies. 
The heart is then prepared to seek (iod, when it 
is determined and fully resolved to make a business 
of it, and to go through with it. 

2. He must look up, and stretch out his hand to- 
ward God, that is, must stir up himself to take 
hold on God; must pray to him with earnestness 
and importunity, striving in prayer, and with ex- 
pectation to receive mercy and grace from him. 
To give the hand to the Lord, signifies to yield 
ourselves to him and to covenant with him, 2 Chron. 
XXX. 8. This Job must do, and, for the doing of it, 
must prepare his heart. Job had prayed, but Zo- 
phar would have him to pray in a better manner, 
not as an appellant, but as a petitioner and humble 
supplicant. 

3. He must amend what was amiss in his own 
conversation, else his prayers would be ineffectual; 
{v. 14.) If iniquity be in thy hand, that is, "If 
there be any sin, which thou dost yet live in the 
practice of, put it far away, forsake it with detes- 
tation and a holy indignation, steadfastly resolving 
not to return to it, nor ever to have any thing more 
to do with it, Ezek. xviii. 31. Hos. xiv. 9. Isa. 
XXX. 22. If any of the gains of iniquity, any goods 
gotten by fraud or oppression, be in thine hand, 
make restitution of it,^' (as Zaccheus, Luke xix. 
8.) I* and shake thy hands from holding \t" Isa. 
xxxiii. 15. The guilt of sin is not removed, if the 
gain of sin be not restored. 

4. He must do his utmost to reform his family 
too; *'Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles; 
let not thy house haibour or shelter anv wicked 
persons, any wicked practices, or any wealth gotten 
by wickedness." He suspected that Job's great 
household had been ill governed, and that where 
there were manv, there were many wicked, and 
the ruin of his family was the punishment of the 
wickedness of it; and therefore, if he expected God 
should return to him, he must reform what was 
amiss there, and, though wickedness might come 
into his tabernacles, he must not suifer it to dwell 
there, Ps. ex. 3, &c. 

II. He assures him of comfort if he took this 
counsel, v. 15, &c. If he would repent and re- 
form, he should, without doubt, be easy and happy, 
and all would be well. Perhaps Zophar might in- 
sinuate, that, unless God did speedily make such a 
change as this in his condition, he and his fiiends 
would be confirmed in their opinion of him as a 
hypocrite and a dissembler with God: a great truth, 
however, is conveyed, That the work of righteous- 
ness will be fieace, and the effect of righteousness 
quietness and assurance for ever, Isa. xxxii. 17. 
Those that sincerely turn to God, may expect, 
1. A holy confidence toward God; "Then shalt 
thou lift up thy face toward heaven without spot; 
thou mayest come boldly to the throne of grace," 
and not with that terror and amazement expressed, 
ch. ix. 34. If our hearts condemn us not for hypo- 
crisy and impenitency, then have we confidence in 
our approaches to God and expectations from him, 
1 John iii. 21. If we are looked uDon in the face 



b2 



JOB, XII. 



rf ihe Anointed, our fares, that were dejected, may- 
be lifted uj;; t!iat were polluted, being washed with 
tile blood of Christ, may be lifted up without spot. 
We m ly draw near in full assurance of faith, when 
we are nfirinkl^d from an evil conscience, Heb. x. 
22, Son»e understand this of the clearing up of his 
credit before men, Ps. xxxvii. 6. If we make our 
peace with God, we may with cheerfulness look 
( ur friends in the face. 

2. Aholycomposedness in themselves; Thoushalt 
be steadfast, and sfialt not fear, not be afraid of evil 
tidings, thy heart being fixed, Ps. cxii. 7. Job was 
now full of confusion, {c/i. x. 15.) while he looked 
upon God as his Enemy, and quarrelled with him; 
but Zophar assures him, that, if he would submit 
and humble himself, his mind would be stayed, 
and he would be freed from those frightful appre- 
hensions he had of God, which put him into such 
an agitation. The less we are frightened, the more 
■we are fixed; and, consequently, the more fit we 
are for our services and for our sufferings. 

3. A comfortable reflection upon their past trou- 
bles; {v. 16.) '^^Thou shall forget thy misery; (as 
the mother forgets her travailing pains, for joy that 
the child is born;) thou shalt be perfectly freed 
from the impressions it makes upon thee, and thou 
shalt remember it as nvaters that pass away, or are 
poured out of a vessel, which leave no taste or tinc- 
ture beliind them, as other liquors do. The wounds 
of thy present affliction shall be perfectly healed, 
not only without a remaining scar, but without a 
remaining pain." Job had endeavoured to forget 
his complaint, {ch. ix. 27.) but found he could not; 
his soul had still in remembrance the wormwood arid 
the gall: but here Zophar puts him in a way to for- 
get it: let him by faith and prayer bring his griefs 
and cares to God, and leave them with him, and 
then he shall forget them. Where sin sits heavily, 
affliction sits lightly. If we duly remember our sins, 
we shall, in comparison with them, forget our 
misery; much more if we obtain the comfort of 
a sealed pardon and a sealed peace. He whose ini- 
quity is forgiven shall not say, I am sick, but for- 
get that, Isa. xxxiii. 24. 

4. A comfortable prospect of their future peace. 
This Zophar here thinks to please Job with, in 
answer to the m my despairing expressions he had 
used, as if it were to no purpose for him to hope 
ever to see good days again in this world; "Yea, 
but thou mavest," (says Zophar,) "and good nights 
too." 

A blessed change he here puts him in hopes of. 

(1.) That though now his light was eclipsed, it 
should shine out again, and brighter than ever, v. 
17. That even his setting sun should out-shine his 
noon-day sun, and his evening be fair and clear as 
the morning, in respect both of honour and plea- 
sure; that his light should shine out of obscurity; 
(Isa. Iviii. 10.) and the thick and dark cloud, from 
behind which his sun should break forth, would 
serve as a foil to its lustre. That it should shine 
even in old age', and those evil days should be good 
days to him. Note, They that truly turn to God 
then begin to shine forth; their path is as the shin- 
ing light which increases, the period of their day 
■will be the perfection of it, and their evening to this 
•world their morning to a better. 

(2. ) That though now he was in a continual fear 
and terror, he should live in a holy rest and securi- 
ty, and find himself continually safe and easy; (x'. 
18.) Thou shalt be secure, because there is hope. 
Note, Those who have a good hope, through 
grace, in CTod, and of heaven, are certainly safe, 
j'.nd have reason to be secure, how difflrult soever 
the times are through which they pass in this world. 
He that walks uprightly may thus walk surely, be- 
cause, though there j"-e trouble and danger, yet 



there is hope that all will be well at last. Hope i? 
071 anchor of the soul, Heb. \ i. 19. "■Thou shalt 
dig about thee," that is, " Thou shalt be as safe as 
an aimy in its intrenchments." They thac submi 
themselves to God's government shall be taken un- 
der his protection, and then they are s;ife bi.tli day 
and night. [1.] By day, when they employ them- 
selves abroad; ''Thou shalt dig in safety, thou -and 
thy servants for thee, and not be again set upon 
by the plunderers, who fell upon thy ser, ants at 
plough," ch. i. 14. It is no part of the promised 
prosperity, that he should live in idleness, but that 
he should have a calling and follow it, and, when 
he was about the business of it, should be under the 
divine protection; Thou shalt dig and be safe, not 
rob and be safe; the way of duty is the way of safe- 
ty. [2.] By night, when they repose themselves 
at home; Ihou shalt take thy rest (and the sleep of 
the labouring 7nan is sweet) in safety, notwithstand- 
ing the dangers of the darkness. The pillar of 
cloud by day shall be a pillar of fire by night; 
"Thou shalt lie down, {v. 19.) not forced to' wander 
where there is no place to lay thy head on, not 
forced to watch and sit up in expectation of assaults; 
but thou shalt go to bed at bed-time, and not only 
shall none hurt thee, but none shall make thee 
afraid, or so much as give thee an alarm." Note, 
It is a great mercy to have quiet nights and undis- 
turbed sleeps; these say so that ai'e within the hear- 
ing of the noise of war. And the way to be quiet, 
is, to seek unto God, and keep ourselves in his love. 
Nothing needs make those afraid, who return to 
God as their rest, and take him for their habitation. 

(3.) That though now he was slighted, yet he 
should be courted; " Many shall make suit to thee, 
and think it their interest to secure thy friendship." 
Suit is made to those that are eminently wise or re- 
puted to be so, that are very rich, or in power. Zo- 
phar knew Job so well, that he foresaw, how low 
soever this present ebb was, if once the tide turned, 
it would flow as high as ever, and he would be again 
the darling of his country. They that rightly make 
suit to God, will probably see the day when others 
will make suit to them, as the foolish virgins to the 
wise, Give us of your oil. 

Lastly, Zophar concludes with a brief account of 
the doom of wicked people; (r. 20.) But the eyes of 
the ivicked shall fail. It should seem, he suspected 
that Job would not take his counsel, and here tells 
him what would then come of it, setting death as 
well as life before him. See what will come of those 
who persist in their wickedness, and will not be re- 
formed. 

1. They shall not reach the good thev flatter 
themselves with the hopes of, in this world and in 
the other. Disappointments will be their doom, 
their shame, their endless torment. Their eyes 
shall fail with expecting that which will never come. 
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation perishes, 
Prov. xi. 7. Their hope shall be as a puff of breath, 
(Marg.) vanished and gone, past recall: or their 
hope will perish and expire as a man does when he 
gives up the ghost; it will fail them when they have 
most need of it, and when they expected the ac- 
complishment of it; it will die away, and leave them 
in utter confusion. 

2. They shall not avoid the evil which sometimes 
they frighten themselves with the apprehension of; 
they shall not escape the execution of the sentence 
past upon them; can neither out -brave it, noi out- 
run it. Those that will not fly to God, will find it 
in vain to think of flying/rom him. 

CHAP. XIT. 

In this and the two following chapters, we have Job's an- 
swer to Zophar's discourse. In which, as before, he fir^t 
reasons with his friends, (see ch. 13. 19.) and then turns 



JOB xri. 



63 



to his God, and directs liis expostulations to him, from 
thence to the end of his discourse. In this chapter, he 
addresses himself to his friends, and, I. He condemns what 
they had said of him, and the judgment they had given of 
his character, v. 1 , . 5. II. He contradicts and confronts 
what they had said of the destruction of wiclfed people 
in this world, showing- that tiiey often prosper, v. 6 . . II. 
in. He consents to what they had said of the wisdom, 
power, and sovereignty, of God, and the dominion of his 
providence over the children of men and all their affairs; 
ne confirms this, and enlarges upon it, v. 12 ..25. 

1. 4 ND Job answered and said, 2. No 
/5l doubt but ye are the people, and wis- 
dom shall die with you. 3. But I have un- 
derstanding as well as you ; I am not inferior 
to you : yea, who knoweth not such things 
as these ? 4. I am as one mocked of his 
neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he an- 
swereth him : the just upright man is laugh- 
e,d to scorn. 5. He that is ready to slip 
with his feet is as a lamp despised in the 
thought of him that is at ease. 

The reproofs Job here gives to his friends, whe- 
ther they were just or no, were very sharp, and may 
ser\ e for a rebuke to all that are proud and scorn- 
ful, and an exposing of their folly. 

I. He upbraids them with their conceitedness of 
themselves, and the good opinion they seemed to 
have'of their own wisdom in comparison with him; 
than which nothing is more weak and unbecoming, 
nor better deserves to be ridiculed, as it is here. 

1. He represents them as claiming the monopoly 
of wisdom, v. 2. He speaks ironically, " JVo doubt, 
you are the peofile; you think yourselves fit to dic- 
tate and give law to all mankind, and your own judg- 
ment to be the standard by which every man's opi- 
nion must be measured and tried; as if nobody could 
discern between truth and falsehood, good and evil, 
but you only; and therefore every top-sail must 
lower to you, and, right or wrong, we must all say 
as you say, and you three must be the people, the 
majority, to have the casting vote." Note, It is a 
very foolish sinful thing for any to think themselves 
wiser than all mankind besides, or to speak and act 
confidently and imperiously, as if they thought so. 
Nay, he goes further; "You not only think there 
are none, but that there nvill be none, as wise as you, 
and therefore that wisdom must die with you, and 
all the world must be fools when you are gone, and 
in the dark when your sun is set." Note, It is folly 
for us to think that there will be any great irrepa- 
rable loss of us when we are gone, or that we can be 
ill-spared, since God has the residue of the Spirit, 
and can raise up others more fit than we are, to do 
his work. When wise men and good men die, it is 
a comfort to think that wisdom and goodness shall 
not die with them. Some think Job here reflects 
upon Zophar's comparing him (as he thought) and 
others to the wild ass's colt, ch. xi. 12. " Yes," says 
he, " 've must be asses, you are the only men. " 

2. He does himself the justice to put in his claim 
as a sharer in the gifts of wisdom; {y. 3.) " But I 
have understanding, a heart, as well as you; nay, 
I fall not lower than you;" (as it is in the margin;) 
'• I am as well able to judge of the methods and 
meanings of the Divine Providence, and to construe 
the hard chapters of it, as you are. " He says not 
this, to magnify himself; it was no great applause 
of himself to say, I have understanding as ivell as 
you; no, nor to sav, "I understand this matter as 
well as you;" for what reason had either he or they 
to be proud of understanding that which was obvi- 
ous and level to the capacity of the meanest; " Yea, 
•who knows not such things as these? What things 



you have said, that are true, are plain truths, and 
common themes, which there are many that can talk 
as excellently of as either you or I:" but he says it, 
to humble them, and check the value they had for 
themselves as doctors of the chair. Note, (1.) It 
may justly keep us from being proud of our know- 
ledge, to consider how many there are that know as 
much as we do, and perhaps much more, and to 
better purpose. (2.) When we are tempted to be 
harsh in our censures of those we differ from and 
dispute with, we ought to consider that they also 
ha\e understandings as well as we, a capacity of 
judging, and a right of judging, for themselves; nay, 
perhaps they are not mferior to us, but iujjerior, arid 
it is possible that they may be in the right, and we 
in the wrong; and therefore we ought not to judge 
or despise them, (Rom. xiv. 3. ) nor pretend to be 
masters, (Jam. iii. 1.) while all we are brethren, 
Matth. xxiii. 8. It is a very reasonable allowance 
to be made to all we converse with, all we contend 
with, that they are rational creatures as well as we. 
II. He complains of the great contempt with which 
they had treated him. Those that are haughty and 
think too well of themselves, are commonly scorn- 
ful, and ready to trample upon all about them : Job 
found it so, at least he thought he did; {v. 4.) lam 
as one mocked. I cannot say there was cause for 
this charge; we will not think Job's friends designed 
him any abuse, nor aimed at any thing but to con- 
vince him, and so, in the right method, to comfort 
him; yet he cries out, I am as one mocked. Note, 
We are apt to call reproofs refiroaches, and to think 
ourselves mocked when we are but advised and ad- 
monished; this peevishness is our folly, and a great 
wrong to ourselves and to our friends. Yet we can- 
not but say there was a colour for this charge; they 
came to comfort him, but they vexed him ; gave him 
counsels and encouragements, but with no great 
.opinion that either the one or the other would take 
effect; and therefore he thought they mocked him, 
and it added much to his grief. Nothing is more 
grievous to those that are fallen from the height of 
prosperity into the depth of adversity, than to be 
trodden on, and insulted o\er, when they are down; 
and on this head they are too apt to be suspicious. 
Observe, 1. WViat aggravated this grievance to 
him. Two things: (1.) That they were his neigh- 
bours, his friends, his com])anions, so the word sig- 
nifies; and the scoflFs of such are often most spiteful- 
ly given, and always most indignantly received; (Ps. 
Iv. 12, 13.) It was not an enemy that refiroached 
me; then I could have slighted it, and so borne it; 
but it was thou, a man mine equal. (2. ) That they 
were professors of religion, such as called upon God, 
and said that he answered them; for some under- 
stand that of the persons mocking; "They are such 
as have a regard to Heaven, and an interest in 
Heaven, whose prayers I would therefore be glad 
of and thankful for, and whose good opinion I can- 
not but covet, and therefore whose censures are the 
more grievous." Note, It is sad that any who call 
upon (xod should mock their brethren; (Jam. iii. 9, 
10.) audit cannot but lie heavily on a good man to be 
thought ill of by those whom he thinks well of; yet 
this is no new thing. 

2. What supported him under it. (1.) That he 
had a God to go to, with whom he could lodge his 
appeal; for some understand those Avords of the 
person mocked, that he calls ufioyi God, and he 
answers hi?n ; and so it agrees with ch. xvi. 20. Jlfy 
friends scorn me, but mine eye poureth out tears to 
God. If our friends be deaf to our complaints, God 
is not; if they condemn us, God knows our integri 
ty; if they make the worst of us, he will make the 
best of us; if they give us cross answers, he will 
give us kind ones. (2.) That his case was not sin- 
gular, but very common: The just upright nmn is 



64 



JOB, XII. 



laughed to scorn; by many he is laughed at even 
for his justice and his uprightness, his honesty to- 
ward men, and his piety toward God; these are de- 
rided as foolish things, which silly people needless- 
ly hamper themselves with: as if religion were a 
jest, and therefore to be made a jest of. By most 
he is laughed at for any little infirmity or weakness, 
notwithstanding his justice and uprightness, with- 
out any consideraticin had of that which is so much 
his lionour. Note, It was of old the lot of honest 
good people to be despised and derided; we are not 
therefore to think it strange, (1 Pet. iv. 12.) no nor 
to think it hard, if it be our lot; so persecuted they 
not only the prophets, but even the saints of the pa- 
triarchal age, Matth. v. 12. And can we expect to 
fare better than they? 

3. What he suspected to be the true cause of it, 
and that was, in short, this; they were themselves 
rich and at ease, and therefore they despised him 
who was fallen into poverty. It is the way of the 
world, we see instances of it daily; they that pros- 
per are praised, but of them that are going down it 
IS said, "Down with them." He that is ready to 
slifi with hiffeet, and fall into trouble, though he has 
formerly shone as alamj), is then looked upon as a 
lamp going out, like the snufF of a candle, which 
we throw to the ground, and tread upon, and is ac- 
cordingly despised in the thought of him that is at 
ease, v. 5. Even the just upright man, that is in 
his generation as a burning and shining light, if he 
enter into ibmptation, (Ps. Ixxiii. 2.) or come under 
a cloud, is looked upon with contempt. See here, (1.) 
What is the common fault of those that live in pros- 
perity ; being full and easy and merry themselves, 
thev look scornfully upon those that are in want, 
pain, and sorrow; they overlook them, take no no- 
tice of them, and study to forget them. SeePs. cxxiii. 
4.) The chief butler drinks wine in bowls, but 
makes nothing of the afflictions of Joseph. Wealth 
without grace often makes men thus haughty, thus 
careless of their poor neighbours. (2.) What is the 
common fate of those that fall into adversity. Po- 
verty serves to eclipse all their lustre; though they 
are lamps, yet, if taken out of golden candlesticks, 
and put, like Gideon's, into earthen pitchers, no- 
body values them as formerly, but they that live at 
ease despise them. 

6. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and 
they that provoke God are secure ; into whose 
hand God bringeth ahundanthj. 7. But 
ask now the beasts, and they shall teach 
thee ; and the fowls of the air, and they shall 
tell thee: 8. Or speak to the earth, and 
It shall teach thee ; and the fishes of the sea 
shall declare unto thee. 9. Who knoweth 
not in all these, that the hand of the Lord 
hath wrought this ? 10. In whose hand is 
the soul of every living thing, and the breath 
of all mankind. 11. Doth not the ear try 
words ? and the mouth taste his meat ? 

Job's friends, all of them, went upon this princi- 
ple, that wicked people cannot prosper long in this 
world, but some remarkable judgment or other will 
suddenly light on them: Zophar had concluded 
with it, that the eyes of the ivicked shall fail, ch. xi. 
20. This principle Job here opposes, and maintains, 
that God, in disposing men's outward affairs, acts as 
a Sovereign, reserving the exact distribution of re- 
wards and punishments for the future state. 

I. He asserts it as an undoubted truth, that wick- 
ed people may, and often do, prosper long in this 
world, V. 6. Even great sinners may enjoy great 



prosperity. Observe, 1. How he describes the sin 
ners; they are robbers, and such as provoke God, 
the worst kind of sinners, blasphemers and persecu- 
tors; perhaps he refers to the Sabeans and Chal- 
deans, who had robbed him, and had always lived 
by spoil and rapine, and yet tliey prospered; all the 
world saw they did, and there is no disputing against 
sense; one observation built upon matter of fact is 
worth twenty notions framed by an hypothesis. Or, 
more generally. All proud oppressors are robbers 
and pirates. It is supposed that what is injurious to 
men, is provoking to God, the Patron of right, and 
the Protector of mankind. It is not strange, if those 
that \ iolate the bonds of justice, break thr< ugh the 
obligations of all religion, bid defiance even to God 
himself, and make nothing of provoking him. 2. 
How he describes their prosperity: it is very great; 
for, (1.) Even their tabernacles prosper, these that 
live with them, and those that come after them, and 
descend from them. It seems as if a blessing were 
entailed upon their families; and that is preserved 
sometimes to succeeding generations, which was got 
by fraud. (2. ) They are secure, and not only feel 
no hurt, but fear none, are under no apprehensions 
of danger, either from threatening providences, or 
an awakened conscience. But those that provoke 
God are never the more safe for their being secure. 
(3.) Into their hand God brings abundantly. They 
have more than heart could wish, Ps. Ixxiii. 7- 
They have, not for necessity only, but for delight; 
not for themselves only, but for others; not for the 
present only, but for hereafter; and this from the 
hand of Providence too. God brings plentifully to 
them ; we cannot therefore judge of men's piety by 
their plenty, nor of what they have in their heart 
by what they have in their hand. 

II. He app)eals even to the inferior creatures foi 
the proof of this — the beasts, and fowls, and trees, 
and even the earth itself; consult these, and they 
shall tell thee; {v. 7, 8.) many a good lesson we 
may learn from them; but what are they here to 
teach us.' 

1. We may learn from them that the tabemacle& 
of robbers prosper; so some. For, (1.) Even among 
the brute creatures, the greater devour the lesser, 
and the stronger prey upon the weaker, and men 
are as the fishes of the sea, Hab. i. 14. If sin had 
not entered, we may suppose there had been no such 
disorder among the creatures, but the wolf and the 
lamb had lain down together. (2.) These crea- 
tures are serviceable to wicked men, and so they 
declare their prosperity. Ask the herds and the 
flocks, to whom they belong, and they will tell yon 
that such a robber, such an oppressor, is their 
owner: the fishes and fowls will tell you that they 
are served up to the tables, and feed the luxury, ol 
proud sinners: the earth brings forth her fruits to 
them, {ch. ix. 24.) and the whole creation groans 
under the burthen of their tyranny, Rom. viii. 20, 
22. Note, All the creatures which wicked men 
abuse, by making them the food and fuel of theii 
lusts, will witness against them, another day. 
Jam. v. 3, 4. 

2. We may from them leam the wisdom, power, 
and goodness, of God, and that sovereign domin'on 
of his, into which plain and self-evident truth all 
these difficult dispensations must be resolved. 
Zophar had made a vast mystery of it, ch. xi. 7, 
"So far from that," (says Job,) "that what we are 
concerned to know, we may learn even from the 
inferior creatures; for who knows not from all 
these? Any one may easily gather from the book 
of the creatures, that the hand of the Lord has 
wrought this," (_x>. 9.) that is, "that there is a wise 
providence which guides and governs all these 
things by rules which we are neither acquainted 
with, nor are competent judges of." Note. Fron. 



JOB, XII. 



fi5 



God's sovereign dominion over the inferior crea- 
tures, we should learn to acquiesce in all his dis- 
posals of the affairs of the children of men, though 
xoiitrary to our measures. 

III. He resolves all into the absolute propriety 
which God has in all the creatures; (v. 10.) In 
whose hand is (he soul of every living thing: All 
the creatures, and mankind particularly, derive 
their being from him, owe their being to him, 
depend upon him for the support of it, lie at his 
mercy, are under his direction and dominion, and 
'•ntirelv at his disposal, and at his summons must 
resign their lives. All souls are his; and may he 
not do what he will with his own? The name 
Jehovah is used here, {v. 9.) and it is the only 
time that we meet with it in all the discourses 
between Job and his friends; for God was, in that 
age, more known by the name of Shaddai, the 
Almighty. 

Those words, {v. 11.) Doth not the ear try 
•words, as the mouth tastes meat? may be taken 
either as the conclusion to the foregoing discourse, 
or the preface to what follows. The mind of man 
has as good a faculty of discerning between ti'uth 
and error, when duly stated, as the palate has of 
discerning between what is sweet and what is 
bitter. He therefore demands from his friends a 
liberty to judge for himself of what they had said; 
and desires them to use the same liberty in judging 
of what he had said; nay, he seems to appeal to 
any man's impartial judgment in this controversy; 
let the ear try the words on both sides, and it would 
be found that he was in the right. Note, The ear 
must try words before it receives them so as to 
subscribe to them. As by the taste we judge what 
food is wholesome to the body, and what not, so by 
the spirit of discerning we must judge what doctrine 
is sound, and savoury, and wholesome, and what 
• not, 1 Cor. X. 15. — xi. 13. 

12. With the ancw&nt is wisdom; and in 
length of days understanding. 13. With 
him is wisdom and strength, he hath coun- 
sel and understanding. 14. Behold, he 
breaketh down, and it caimot be built 
again ; he shutteth up a man, and there 
can be no opening. 15. Behold, he with- 
holdeth the waters, and they dry up ; also 
he sendeth them out, and they overturn the 
earth. 1 6. With him is strength and wis- 
dom : the deceived and the deceiver are 
his. 17. He leadeth counsellors away 
spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. 18. 
He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth 
their loins with a girdle. 1 9. He leadeth 
princes away spoiled, and overthroweth 
the mighty. 20. He removeth away the 
speech of the trusty, and taketh away the 
understanding of the aged. 21. He poureth 
contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the 
strength of the mighty. 22. He discover- 
eth deep things out of darkness, and bring- 
eth out to light the shadow of death. 23. 
He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth 
them: he enlargeth the nations, and strait- 
eneth them again. 24. He taketh away 
the heart of the chief of the people of the 
ea.rth, and causeth them to wander in a 
wilderness where there is no way. 25. 

Vol. III. — I 



They grope in the dark without light, and 
he maketh them to stagger like a drunken 
man. 

This is a noble discourse of Job's concerning the 
wisdom, power, and sovereignty, of God, in order- 
ing and disposing of all the affairs of the children 
of men, according to the counsel of his own will, 
which none dares gainsay, or can resist. Take 
both him and them out of the controversy in which 
they were so waimly engaged, and they all spake 
admirably well;- but in that, we sometimes scarcely 
know what to make of them. It were well if wise 
and good men, that differ in their apprehensions 
about lesser things, would see it to be for their 
honour and comfort, and the edification of others, 
to dwell most upon those great things in which they 
are agreed. On this subject. Job speaks like him- 
self; here are no passionate complaints, no peevish 
reflections, but every thing masculine and great. 

I. He asserts the unsearchable wisdom, and ir- 
resistible power, of God. It is allowed that among 
men there is wisdom and understanding, v. 12. 
But it is to be found only with some few, with the 
ancient, and those who are blessed with length of 
days, who get it by long experience and constant 
experience; and, when they have got the wisdom, 
they have lost their strength, and are unable to 
execute the results of their wisdom: but now with 
God there are both wisdom and strength, wisdom 
to design the best, and strength to accomplish 
what is designed; he does not get counsel and 
understanding, as we do, by observation, but he 
has it essentially and eternally in himself, v. 13. 
What is the wisdom of ancient men compared 
with the wisdom of the Ancient of days! It is 
but little that we know, and less that we can 
do; but God can do every thing, and no thought 
can be withholden from fiim. Happy they who 
haN e this God for their God, for they have infinite 
wisdom and strength engaged for them! Foolish 
and fruitless are all the attempts of men against 

i him, V. 14. He breaketh down, and it cannot be 
built again. Note, There is no contending with 
the Divine Providence, nor breaking the measures' 
of it. As he had said before; {ch. ix'. 12. ) He takes 
away, and who can hinder him? So he says again, 
What (iod says, cannot be gainsayed, nor what he 
does, undone. There is no rebuilding what God 
will have to lie in ruins; witness the tower of Ba- 
bel, which the undertakers could not go on with; 
and the desolations of Sodom and Gomorrah, which 
could ne\er be repaired. See Isa. xxv. 2. Ezek. 
xxvi. 15. Rev. xviii. 21. There is no releasing 
of those whom God has condemned to a perpetual 
imprisonment; if he shut up a man by sickness, re- 
duce him to straits, and embarrass him in his af- 
fairs, there can be no opening. He shuts up in the 
grave, and none can break open those sealed doors; 
shuts up in hell, in chains of darkness, and none 
can pass that great gulf fixed. 

II. He gives an instance, for the proof of it, in 
nature, v. 15. He has the command of the waters, 
binds them as in a garment, (Prov. xxx. 4.) holds 
them in the hollow of his hand; (Isa. xl. 12.) and 
he can punish the children of men either by the 
defect, or by the excess of them: as men break the 
laws of virtue by extremes on each hand, both de- 
fects and excesses, while virtue is in the mean, so 
God corrects them bv extremes, and denies them 
the mercy which is in the mean. 1. Great droughts 
are sometiires great judgments; he withholds the 
waters, and they dry ufi; if the heaven be as brass, 
the earth is as iron; if the rain be denied, fountains 
dr}^ up, and their streams are wanted, fields are 
parched, and their fruits are wanted, Amos iv. 7. 
2. Great wet is sometimes a great judgment; he 



06 



JOB, Xll. 



:aises the waters, and overturns the earth, the pro- 
ductions of it, the buildings upon it. A sweeping 
rain is said to leave no food, Prov. xxviii. 3. See 
how many ways God has of contending with a sin- 
ful people, and taking from them abused, forfeited, 
mercies; and how utterly unable we are to contend 
with him ! If we might invert the order, this verse 
would fitly refer to Noah's flood, that ever-me- 
morable instance of the divine power. God then, 
in wrath, sent the waters out, and they overturn- 
ed the earth; but, in mercy, he withheld them, 
shut the windows of heaven, and the fountains of 
the great deep, and then, in a little time, they 
dried up. 

III. He gives many instances of it in God's pow- 
erful management of the children of men, crossing 
their purposes, and serving his own by them and 
upon them, overruling all their counsels, overpow- 
ering all their attempts, and overcoming all their 
oppositions. What changes does God make with 
men, what turns does he give to them; how easily, 
how surprisingly! • 

In general, {y. 16.) With him is strength and 
reason, so some translate it; strength and consis- 
tency with himself: it is an elegant word in the 
original. With him are the very quintessence and 
extract of wisdom. With him are power and all 
that is, so some read it. He is what he is himself, 
and by him, and in him, all things subsist. Having 
this strength and wisdom, he knows how to make 
use, not only of those who are wise and good, who 
willingly and designedly serve him, but even of 
those who are foolish and bad, who, one would 
think, could be made no way serviceable to the de- 
signs of his providence: the deceived and the deceiv- 
er are his; the simplest men that are deceived, are 
not below his notice, the subtlest men that deceive, 
cannot, with all their subtilty, escape his cogni- 
zance. The world is full of deceit, the one half of 
mankind cheats the other, and God suffers it, and 
from both will, at last, bring glory to himself. The 
deceivers make tools of the deceived, but the great 
God makes tools of them both, wherewith he 
works, and none can let him. He has wisdom and 
might enough to manage all the fools and knaves 
in the world, and knows how to serve his own pur- 
poses by them, notwithstanding the weakness of 
the one,' and the wickedness of the other. When 
Jacob by a fraud got the blessing, the design of 
God's grace was served; when Ahab was drawn by 
a false prophecy into an expedition that was his 
ruin, the design of God's justice was served; and in 
both the deceived and the deceiver were at his dis- 
posal. See Ezek. xiv. 9. God would not suffer 
the sin of the deceiver, nor the misery of the de- 
ceived, if he knew not how to set bounds to both, 
and bring glory to himself out of both. Hallelujah, 
the Lord God omnifiotent thus reigns; and it is 
well he does, for otherwise there is so little wisdom, 
and so little honesty, in the world, that it had all 
been in confusion and ruin long ago. 

He next descends to the particular instances of 
the wisdom and power of God in the revolutions of 
states and kingdoms: for thence he fetches his 
proofs, rather than from the like operations of Pro- 
vidence concerning private persons and families; 
because the more high and public the station is, in 
which men are placed, the more the changes that 
befall them are taken notice of, and, consequently, 
the more illustriously does Providence shine forth 
in them. And it is easy to argue. If God can thus 
turn and toss the great pnes of the earth, like a ball 
in a large place, (as the projjhet speaks, Isa. xxii. 
18.) much more the little ones; and with him, to 
whom states and kingdoms must submit, it is surely 
the greitest ma-ine'ss for us to contend. Some 
think that Job here refers to the extirpation of those 



powerful nations, the Rephaim, the Zuzim, the 
Emim, and the Horites, (mentioned Gen. xi\ 5, 
6. Deut. ii. 10. 20. ) in which, perhaps, it was par- 
ticularly noticed, how strangely they were infatuat- 
ed and enfeebled; if so, it is designed to show, that, 
whenever the like is done in the affairs of nations, 
it is God that doeth it, and we must therein observe 
his so\ ereign dominion, even over those that think 
themselves most powerful, politic, and absolute. 
Compare this with that of Eliphaz, ch, v. 12, &c. 
Let us gather up the particular changes here 
specified, which God maltes upon peisons, either 
for the destruction of nations, and the planting of 
others in their room, or for the turning out of a 
particular government and ministry, and the eleva- 
tion of another in its room, which may be a blessing 
to the kingdom; witness the glorious Revolution in 
our own land twenty years ago, in which we saw 
as happy an exposition as ever was given of this 
discourse of Job s. 

1. Those that were wise, are sometimes strange- 
ly infatuated; and in that the hand of God must be 
acknowledged; [y. 17.) He leadeth counsellors 
away sfioiled, as trophies of his victory over them, 
spoiled of all the honour and wealth they have got 
by their policy, nay, spoiled of the wisdom itself for 
which they have been celebrated, and the success 
they promised themselves in their projects: his 
counsels stand, while all their devices are bn ught 
to nought, and their designs baffled, and so they are 
spoiled both of the satisfaction and the reputation 
of their wisdom. He maketh the judges fools: by 
a work on their minds he deprives them of theii 
qualifications for business, and so they become real- 
ly fools; and by his disposal of their affairs he makes 
the issue and event of their projects to be quite 
contrary to what they themselves intended, and 
so he makes them look like fools. The counsel of 
Ahithophel, one in whom this scripture was re- 
markably fulfilled, became foolishness, and he, ac- 
cording to his name, the brother of a fool. See 
Isa. xix. 13, The firinces of Zoan are become fools, 
they have seduced Egyfit, even they that are the 
stay of the tribes thereof Let not the wise man, 
therefore, glory in his wisdom, nor the ablest coun- 
sellors and judges be proud of their station, but 
humbly depend upon God for the continuance nf 
their abilities. Even the aged, who seem to hold 
their wisdom by prescription, and think they have 
got it by their own industry, and therefore have an 
indefeisible title to it, may yet be deprived of it, 
and often are, by the infirmities of age, which make 
them twice children; he taketh away the under- 
standing of the aged, v. 20. The aged, who were 
most depended on for advice, fail those that de- 
pended on them. We read of an old and yet fool- 
ish king, Eccl. iv. 13. 

2. Those that were high and in authority, arc 
strangely brought down, impoverished, and enslav- 
ed; and it is God that humbles them; (v. 18.) He 
looseth the bond of kings, and taketh from them 
the power wherewith they ruled their subjects, 
perhaps enslaved them, and ruled them with rigour,- 
stnps them of all the ensigns of their honour and 
authority, and all the supports of their tyranny; 
unbuckles their belts, so that the sword drops from 
their side, and then no marvel if the crown quickly 
drops from their heads; on which, immediately fol- 
lows the girding of their loins with a girdle, a badge 
of servitude, for servants went with their loins girt. 
Thus he leads great princes away si^oiled of all 
their power and wealth, and that in which they 
pleased and prided themselves, v. 19. Note, Kings 
are not exempt from God's jurisdiction. To us 
thev are gods, but men to him, and subject to more 
than the common changes of human life. 

3. Those that were strong, are strangelv weak- 



JOB XIII. 



67 



ened; and it is God that weakens them, (v. 21.) 
and overthroivs the mighty, v. 19. Strong bodies 
are weakened by age and sickness, powerful armies 
moulder and come to nothing, and their strength 
will not secure them from a fatal overthrow. No 
force can stand before Omnipotence, no not that of 
Go iath. 

4. Those that were famed for eloquence, and 
entrusted with public business, are strangely silenc- 
ed, and h.ive nothing to say; {v. 20.) He removeth 
away the f/ieech of the trusty, so that they cannot 
speak as they intended, and as they used to do, 
with freedom and clearness, but blunder and falter, 
and make not.iing of it. Or, they cannot speak 
what they intended, but the contrary, as Balaam, 
who blessed those whom he was called to curse. 
Let not the ui-ator therefore be proud of his rheto- 
ric, nor use it to any bad purposes, lest God take 
it away, whri made man's mouth. 

5. Those th.it were honoured and admired, 
strangely fall into disgrace; (x". 21.) He fioureth 
contemfit iifion princes. He leaves them to them- 
selves to do mean tilings, or alters the opinions of 
men concerning them. If princes themselves dis- 
honour G k1, and despise him, if they do indignities 
to the people of God, and trample upon them, they 
shall be lightly esteemed, and God will pour con- 
tempt upon them. See Ps. cvii. 40. Commonly, 
none more abject in themseh es, nor more abused 
by others when they are down, than those who 
were haughty and insolent when they were in 
power. 

6. That which was secret, and lay hid, is strangely 
brought to light, and laid open; {y. 22.) He dis- 
covers dec/i thing's out of darkness. Plots closely 
laid are discovered and defeated; wickedness closely 
committed, and artfully concealed, is discovered, 
and the guilty brought to condign punishment; 
secret treasons, (Eccl. x. 20.) secret murders, se- 
cret whoredoms. The cabinet-councils of princes 
are before God's eye, 2 Kings vi. 11. 

7. Kingdoms have their ebbings and Rowings, 
their waxings and wanings; and both are from 
God; (f. 23.) He sometimes increases their num- 
bers, and enlarges their bounds, so that they make 
a figure among the nations, and become formidable; 
but, after a while, by some undiscerned cause, per- 
haps, they are destroyed and straitened, made few 
and poor, cut short, and many of them cut off, and 
so they are rendered despicable among their neigh- 
bours; and they that were the head, become the 
tail, of the nations. See Ps. cvii. 38, 39. 

8. They that were bold and courageous, and 
made nothing of dangers, are strangely cowed and 
dispirited; and this also is the Lord's doing; {v. 
24.) He takcth 'away the heart of the chief of the 
peofile, that were their leaders and commanders, 
and were most famed for their martial fire and 
great achievements; when any thing was to be 
done, they were heartless, and ready to flee at the 
shaking of a leaf. Ps. Ixxvi. 5. 

9. They that were driving on their projects with 
full speedi, are strangely bewildered and at a loss; 
they know not where they are, nor what they do, 

' are unsteady in their counsels, and uncertain in 
their motions, off and on, this way and that way, 
wandering like men in a desert, {y. 24. ) groping 
like men in the dark, and staggering like men in 
drink, v. 25. Isa. lix. 10. Note, God can soon 
non-plus the deepest politicians, and bring the 
greatest wits to their wit's end; to show that where- 
in they deal proudly, he is above them. 

Thus are the revolutions of kingdoms wonder- 
fully brought about by an overruling Providence. 
Heaven and earth are shaken, but the Lord sits 
King for ever, and with him we look for u kingdom 
that cannot be shaken. 



CHAP. XIII. 

Job here comes to make application of what he had said in 
the foregoing chapter ; and now we have him not in so 
good a temper as he was in then ; for, I. He is very 
bold with his friends, comparing himself with them, 
notwithstanding the mortifications he was under, y. 1,2. 
Condemning them for their falsehood, their iorwardness 
to judgCj their partiality and deceitfulness, under colour 
of pleading God's cause, (v. 4. . 8) and threatening them 
with the judgments of God for their so doing, (v. 9 . . 
12.) desiring them to be silent, (v. 5, 13, 17.) Ard, 
turning from them to God, v. 3. II. He is very bold 
with his God. I. In some expressions, his faith is very 
bold, yet that is not more bold than welcome, v. 15, 16, 
18. But, 2. In other expressions, his passion is rather 
too bold in expostulations with God concerning the de- 
plorable condition he was in, (v. 14, 19, &c.) complain- 
ing of the confusion he was in, (v. 20 . . 22.) and the loss 
he was at to find out the sin that provoked God thus to 
afflict him ; and, in short, of the rigour of God's pro- 
ceedings against him, v. 23 . . 28. 

I. T O, mine eye hath seen all this., mine 
jLA ear hath heard and understood it. 2. 
What ye know, the same do I know also: 1 
am not inferior unto you. 3. Surely I would 
speak to the Almighty, and I desire to rea- 
son with God. 4. But ye are forgers of lies, 
ye are all physicians of no value. 3. Oh 
that you would altogether hold your peace ! 
and it should be your wisdom. 6. Hear 
now my reasoning, and hearken to the 
pleadings of my lips. 7. Will you speak 
wickedly for God ? and talk deceitfully 
for him ? 8. Will ye accept his person ? 
will ye contend for God ? 9. Is it good thai 
he should search you put ? or, as one man 
mocketh another, do ye so mock him ? 1 0. 
He will surely reprove you, if ye do secret- 
ly accept persons. 11. Shall not his ex- 
cellency make you afraid ? and his dread 
fall upon you? 12. Your remembrances 
are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies 
of clay. 

Job here warmly expresses his resentments of the 
unkindness of his friends. 

I. He comes up with them as Cne that understood 
the matter in dispute as well as they, and did not 
need to be taught by them, v. 1, 2. They com- 
pelled him, as the Corinthians did Paul, to com- 
mend himself and his own knowledge, yet not in a 
way of self-applause, but of self-justification. All 
he had said before, his eye had seen confirmed by 
many instances, and his ear had heard seconded by 
many authorities, and he well understood it, and 
what use to make of it. Happy they, who do not 
only see and hear, but understand, "the greatness, 
glory, and sovereignty, of God. This, he thought, 
would justify what he had said before, {ch. xii. 3.) 
which he repeats here; {v. 2.) ** JVhat ye know, 
the same do I know also, so that I need not come to 
you to be taught; lam not inferior unto you in wis- 
dom." Note, Those who enter into disputation, 
enter into temptation to magnify themselves, and 
vilify their brethren, more than is fit, and therefore 
ought to watch and pray against the workings of 
pride. ,v, 

n. He turns from them lb God; {v. 3.) Surely I 
would speak to the Abnighty; as if he had said. 
'* I can promise myself no satisfaction in talking to 
you; O that I might have liberty to reason with 
God! He would not be so hard upon me as ycu 
are,"* The prince himself will perhaps give au- 



68 



JOB, XIII. 



dience to a poor petitioner with more mildness, pa- 
tience, and condescension, than the servants will. Job 
would rather argue with God himself than with his 
friends. See here, 1. What confidence they have 
toward God, whose hearts coiyiemn them not of 
reigning hypocrisy: they can, with humble bold- 
ness, appear before him and appeal to him. 2. 
What comfort they have in God, whose neighbours 
unjustly condemn them: if they may not speak to 
them with any hopes of a fair hearing, yet they 
may speak to the Almighty, they have easy access 
to him, and shall find acceptance with him. 

III. He condemns them for their unjust and un- 
charitable treatment of him, v. 4. 1. They falsely 
accused him, and that was unjust; Ye are forgers 
of lies. They framed a wrong hypothesis con- 
cerning the Divine Providence, and misrepresented 
it, as if it did never remarkably afflict any but 
wicked men in this world; and from thence they 
drew a false judgment concerning Job, that he was 
certainly a hypocrite. For this gross mistake, both 
in doctrine and application, he thinks an indictment 
of forgery lies against them. To speak lies is bad 
enough, though but at second hand, but to forge 
them with contrivance and deliberation is much 
worse: yet against this wrong neither innocency 
nor excellency will be a fence. 2. They basely 
deceived him, and that was unkind. They under- 
took his cure, and pretended to be his physicians, 
but they were all physicians of no value; "idol- 
physicians, who can do me no more good than an 
idol can." They were worthless physicians, who 
neither understood his case, nor knew how to pre- 
scribe to him; mere empirics, who pretended to 
great things, but in conference added nothing to 
him — ^he was never the wiser for all they said. 
Thus, to broken hearts and wounded consciences, 
all creatures, without Christ, are physicians of no 
value, on which one may spend all, and be never 
the better, but rather grow worse, Mark v. 26. 

IV. He begs they would be silent, and give him 
a patient hearing, v. 5, 6. 1. He thinks it would 
be a credit to themselves, if they would say no 
more, having said too much ah-eady; " Hold your 
fieace, and it shall be your ivisdom, for thereby )^ou 
will conceal your ignorance and ill-nature, which 
now appear in all you say. " They pleaded that 
they could not forbear speaking; {ch. iv. 2. — xi. 2, 
3.) but he tells them that they had more consulted 
their own reputation, if they had enjoined them- 
selves silence. Better say nothing than nothing to 
the purpose, or that which tends to the dishonour 
of God, and the grief of our brethren. Even a 
fool, when he holds his fieace, is counted wise, be- 
cause nothing appears to the contrary, Prov. xvii. 
28. And as silence is an evidence of wisdom, so it 
IS a means of it, as it gives time to think and hear. 
2. He thinks it would be a piece of justice to him, 
to hear what he had to say; Hear novj my reason- 
ing. Perhaps, though they did not interrupt him 
in his discourse, yet they seemed careless, and did 
not much heed what he said; he therefore begs 
they would not only hear, but hearken. Note, We 
should be verv willing and glad to hear what those 
have to say for themselves, whom, upon any ac- 
count, we are tempted to have hard thoughts of. 
Many a man, if he cculd but be fairly heard, would 
be fairly acquitted, even in the consciences of those 
that run him down. 

V. He endeavours Jo convince them of the wrong 
they did to God's honour, while they pretended to 
])lead for him, v. 7{Sl*- They valued themselves 
upon it, that they spaKe^for God, were advocates 
for him, and had undertaken to justify him and his 
proceedings against Job. And being (as they 
thought) of counsel for the Sovereign, they ex- 
pected not only the ear of the court, and the last 



word, but judgment on their side. But Job tells 
them plainly, 1. That God and his cause did not 
need such advocates; "Will you think to contend 
for God, as if his justice were clouded, and wanted 
to be cleared up, or as if he were at a loss what to 
say, and wanted you to speak for him? Will you, 
who are so weak and passionate, put in for the ho- 
nour of pleading God's cause.""' Good work ought 
not to be put into bad hands. Will you accept hia 
fierson? If those who have not right on their side, 
carry their cause, it is by the partiality of the judge 
in favour of their persons; but God's cause is so 
just, that it needs no such methods for the support 
of it. He is a God, and can plead for liimseU"; 
(Judg. vi. 31.) and if you were for e\er silent, the 
heavens would declare his righteousness. 2. That 
God's cause suffered by such management. Under 
pretence ( f justifying God in afflicting Job, they 
magisterially condemn him as a hypocrite and a 
bad man. "This" (says he) "is speaking wickedly," 
(for uncharitableness and censoriousness are wick- 
edness, great wickedness; it is an offence to God to 
wrong our brethren,) " it is talking deceitfully, for 
you condemn one whom yet perhaps your own con- 
sciences, at the same time, cannot but acquit. Your 
principles are false, and your arguings fallacious; 
and will it excuse you, to say. It is for God?" No, 
for a good intention will not justify, much less will 
it sanctify, a bad word or action. God's truth needs 
not our lie, nor God's cause either our sinful policies 
or our sinful passions. The wrath of man works 
not the righteousness of God, nor may we do evil, 
that good may come, Rom. iii. 7, 8. "Pious frauds 
(as they call them) are impious cheats; and devciit 
persecutions horrid profanations of the name of 
God, as theirs who hated their brethren, and cast 
them out, saying. Let the Lord be glorified, Isa. 
Ixvi. 5. John xvi. 2. 

VI. He endeavours to possess them with a feiir 
of God's judgment, and so to bring them to a better 
temper. Let them not think to impose upon God 
as they might upon a man like themseh es, nor ex- 
pect to gain his countenance in their bad practices, 
by pretending a zeal for him ond his honour. " As 
one man mocks another by flattering him, do you 
think so to mock him and d'eceiv e him?" Assured- 
ly, those who think to put a cheat upon God, will 
prove to have put a cheat upon themselves; Be not 
deceived, God is not mocked. 

That they might not think thus to jest with God, 
and affront him, he would have them to consider 
both God and themselves, and then they would find 
themselves unable to enter into judgment with him. 

1. I^et them consider what a God he is, into 
whose service they had thus thrust themselves, and 
to whom they really did so much disservice, and 
inquire whether they could give him a good account 
of what thev did. 

Consider,' (1.) The strictness rf his scrutiny and 
inquiries concerning them; (f. 9.) ".Is it good that 
he should search yoti out? Can you bear to ha\ e 
the principles looked into, which you go upi n in 
your censures, and to have the bottom of the mat- 
ter found out?" Note, It concerns us all seriously 
to consider whether it will be to our advantage or 
no, that God searches the heart. It is good to an 
upright man, who means honestly, that God should 
search him, therefore he prays 'for it; Search me, 
O God, and know my heart. God's omniscience is 
a witness of his sincerity; but it is bad to him who 
looks one wav and rows another, that God should 
search him o'ut, and lay him open to his confusion, 

(2.) The severity of his rebukes and displeasure 
against them; (r. 'lO.) If ye do accept fierson.^, 
though but secretly and in heart, he will surebi vr 
prove you; he will be so far from being pleased 
with vo\ir censures of me, tho\igh under rnh ur of 



JOB, XIII. 



C9 



vindicating him, that he will resent them as a great 
jjrovocation, hs any prince or great man would, if a 
base action were done under the sanction of his 
name, and under the colour of advancing his inte- 
rest." N(,ite, What we do amiss, we shall certainly 
be reproved for, one way or other, one time or 
other, though it be done ever so secretly. 

(3.) The ternn- of his majesty, which, if they 
would duly stand in awe of, they would not do that 
which would make them obnoxious to his wrath; 
{v. 11.) " Shall not /lis excellency make you afraid? 
You that ha\ e great knowledge of God, and profess 
religion and a fear t.f him, how dare you talk at 
this rate, and give yoursel.es so great a liberty of 
speech? Ought ye not to ivalk and talk in the fear 
of God? Nell. v. 9. Should not his dread fall ufion 
you, and give cheek to your passions?" Methinks, 
Job speaks this as one that did himself know the 
terror of the Lord, and lived in a holy fear of him, 
whate\'er his fi-iends suggested to the contraiy. 
Note, [1.] There is in (iod a dreadful excellency. 
He is the most excellent Being, has all excellencies 
in himself, and in each infinitely excels any crea- 
ture. His excellencies in themselves are amiable 
and lovely. He is the most beautiful Being; but, 
considering man's distance from God by nature, 
and his detection and degeneracy by sin, his excel- 
lencies are dreadful. His power, holiness, justice, 
yea, and his goodness too, are dreadful excellencies. 
They shall fear the Lord and his goodness. [2.] 
A holy awe of this dreadful excellency should fall 
up^n us, and make us afraid. This would awaken 
impenitent sinners, and bring them to repentance, 
and would influence all to be careful to please him, 
and afraid of offending him. 

2. Let them consider themselves, and what an 
unequal match they were for this great God; {x>. 
12.) "Your remembrances (all that in you for 
which you hope to be remembered when you are 
gone) are like unto ashes, worthless and weak, and 
easily trampled on and blown away; your bodies are 
like bodies of clay, mouldering and coming to no- 
thing; your memories, you think, will survive your 
bodies; but, alas! they are like ashes which will be 
shovelled up with your dust." Note, The conside- 
ration of our own meanness and mortality should 
make us afraid of offending God, and is a good rea- 
son why we should not despise and trample upon 
our brethren. ■* Bishop Patrick gives another sense 
of this verse: "Your remonstrances on God's be- 
half are no better than dust, and the arguments 
you accumulate, but like so many heaps of dirt." 

1 3. Hold your peace, let me alone, that 
I may speak, and let come on me what 
will. 14, Wherefore do T take my flesh in 
my teeth, and put my life in my hand ? 1 5. 
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: 
but I will maintain mine own ways before 
him. 1 6. He also shall be my salvation : 
for a hypocrite shall not come before him. 
1 7. Hear diligently my speech and my de- 
claration with your ears. 1 8. Behold now, 
I have ordered my cause; I know that I 
shall be justified. 19. Who zs he ^Aa^ will 
plead with me ? for now, if I hold my 
tongue, I shall give up the ghost. 20. Only 
do not two things unto me ; then will I not 
hide myself from thee. 21. Withdraw thy 
hand far from me ; and let not thy dread 
make me afraid : 22. Then call thou, and I 



will answer; or let me speak, and answer 
thou me. 

Job here takes hold, fast hold, of his integrity, as 
one that was resolved not to let it go, nor suffer it to 
be wrested from him: his firmness in this matter is 
commendable, and his warmness excusable. 

I. He entreats his friends and all the company to 
let him alone, and not inteirupt him in what he 
was about to say, (t;. 13. ) but diligently to hearken 
to it, V. 17. He would have his own protestation to 
be decisive, for none but God and himself knew his 
heart; " Be silent, therefore, and let me hear no 
more of you, but hearken diligently to what I say, 
and let my own oath for confirmation be an end of 
the strife." 

II. He resolves to adhere to the testimony his 
own conscience gave of his integrity; and though 
his friends called it obstinacy, that should not shake 
his constancy; "I will speak in my own aefence, 
and let come on me what will, v. 13. Let my friends 
put what construction they pilease upon it, and think 
the worse of me for it, I hope God will not make 
my necessary defence to be my o/fence, as you do: 
he will justify me, (f. 18.) and then nothing can 
come amiss to me." Note, Those that are upright, 
and have the assurance of their uprightness, may 
cheerfully welcome every event. Come what will, 
bene firse/iaratum pectus — they are ready for it. 
He resolves {v. 15.) that he will maintain his own 
ways; he will never part with the satisfaction he 
had in having walked uprightly with Gcd; but, 
though he could not justify every word he had 
spoken, yet, in the general, his ways were good, 
and he would maintain it; and why should he not, 
since that was his great support under his present 
exercises, as it was Hezekiah's, A^ow, Lord, re- 
member how I have walked before tfiee! Nav, he 
would n(t only not betray his own cause, oi- give it 
up, but he would openly avow his sincerity, fc t-, 
{v. 19.) "If I hold my tongue, and do not speak 
for myself, my silence now will for ever silence me, 
for I shall certainly give up the ghost," v. 19. " If 
I cannot be cleared, yet let me be eased by what I 
sav," as Elihu, ch. xxxii. 17, 20. 

ill. He complains rf the extremity cf pain and 
misery he was in; {x>. 14.) Wherefore do J take my 
flesh in my teeth? That is, 1. "Why do I suffer 
such agonies? I cannot but wonder that God should 
lay so much upon me, when he knows I am not a 
wicked man." He was ready, not only to rend his 
clothes, but even to tear his flesh, through the 
greatness of his affliction, and saw himself at the 
brink of death, and his life in his hand, yet his 
friends could not charge him with any enormous 
crime, nor could he himself discover any; no mar- 
vel then that he was in such confusion. 2. "Why 
do I stifle and smother the protestations of my in- 
nocency?" When a man with great difficulty keeps 
in what he would say, he bites his lips: "Now," 
says he, " why may not I take liberty to speak, 
since I do but vex myself, add to my torment, and 
endanger my life, by refraining?" Note, It would 
vex the most patient man, when he has lost every 
thing else, to be denied the comfort (if he deserves 
it) of a good crnscience and a good name. 

IV. He comforts himself in God, and still keeps 
hold of his confidenj[:e in him. Obserxe here, 

1. What he dep|^nds u pj|^ God for: Justification 
and Salvation, the two S^H things we hope for 
through Christ. (1.) Jufl^Etion; {y. 18.) I have 
ordered my cause, a'nd,^^|Pthe whole matter, I 
know that I shall be iust'Jied. This he knew, be- 
cause he knew that his Redeemer lived, ch. xix. 25. 
They whose hearts are upright with God, in walk- 
ing not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, may be 



70 



JOB, XIII. 



sure that through Christ there shall be no condem- 
nation to them, but that, whoever lays any thing to 
their charge, they shall be justified. (2.) Salva- 
tion; {v. 16.) He also shall be my salvation. He 
means it not of temporal salvation, he had little ex- 
pectation of that, but, concerning his eternal salva- 
tion, he was very confident that God would not 
only be his Saviour to make him happy, but his 
Salvation, in the vision and fruition of whom he 
should be happy. And the reason why he depended 
on God for salvation, is, Because a hypocrite shall 
not come before him. He knew himself not to be a 
hypocrite, and that none but hypocrites are reject- 
ed of God, and therefore concluded he should not 
be rejected. Sincerity is our evangelical perfection, 
nothing will ruin us but the want of that. 

2. With what constancy he depends upon him; 
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, v. 15. 
This is a high expression of faith, and what we 
sliould all labour to come up to; to trust in God, 
though he slay us. That is, we must be well 
pleased with God as a Friend, e\ en then when he 
seems to come forth against us as an Enemy, ch. 
xxiii. 8- -10. We must believe that all shall work 
for good to us, e\en then when all seems to make 
against us, Jer. xxiv. 5. We must proceed and 
persevere in the way of our duty, though it costs us 
uU that is dear to us in this world, even life itself, 
Heb. xi. 35. We must depend upon the peiform- 
aiice of the promise, when all the ways leading 
to it are shut up, Rom. i\ . 18. We must rejoice in 
Ciod, when we have nothing else to rejoice in, 
and cleave to him, yea, though we cannot for the 
present find comfort in him. In a dying hour, we 
must derive from him li\ ing comforts; and this is 
to trust in him, though he slay us. 

V. He wishes to argue the case even with God 
himself, if he might but have leave to settle the 
preliminaries of the treaty, v. 20«'22. He had 
desired {v. 3. ) to reason with God, and is still of 
the same mind; he will not hide himself, that is, he 
will not decline the trial, nor dread the issue of it, 
but under two provisos, 1. That his body might 
not be tortured with this exquisite pain; *' With- 
draw thine hand far from me; for, while I am in 
this extremity, I am fit for nothing. I can make a 
shift to talk with my friends, but I know not how to 
address myself to thee." When we are to converse 
with God, we have need to be composed, and as 
free as possible from every thing that may make us 
uneasy. 2. That his mind might not be terrified 
with the tremendous majesty of God; *' Let not 
thy dread make me afraid; either let the manifes- 
.ations of thy presence be familiar, or let me be 
enabled to bear them without disorder and disturb- 
ance." Moses himself trembled before God, so 
did Isaiah and Habakkuk; O God, thou art terrible 
even in thy holy places. "Lord," says Job, '• let 
me not be put into such a consternation of spirit, 
together Avith this bodily affliction, for then I must 
certainly drop the cause, and shall make nothing 
of it." See what a folly it is for men t(. put off 
their repentance and conversion to a sick-bed, and 
a death-bed! How can even a good man, much less 
a bad man, reason with God, so as to be justified 
before him, when he is upon the rack of pain, and 
under the terror of the arrests of death? At such a 
time, it is very bad to have rfhe great work to do, 
but very comfortable trf have it done, as it was to 
Job, who, if he migl^But havA a little breathing 
time, was ready eithe^H^ Td near God speaking 
to him by his won^^^K-eturn an answer; Call 
thou, and I will ans^^mr, (2.) To speak to him 
by prayer, and expect an answer; Let me speak, 
and answer thou me, v. 22. Compare this with 
ch. ix. 34, 35. where he speaks to the same purport. 
In short, the badness of his case was at present such 



a damp upon him, as he could not get over; othei 
wise he was well assured of the goodness c;f hi^ 
cause, and doubted not but to have the comfort of it 
at last, when the present cloud was over. With 
such holy boldness may the upright come to the 
throne of grace, not doubting but to find mercy 
there. 

23. How many are mine iniquities and 
sins ! make me to know my transgression 
and my sin. 24. Wherefore hidest thou 
thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy ? 

25. Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and 
fro ? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble ? 

26. For thou writest bitter things against 
me, and makest me to possess the iniquities 
of my youth. 27. Thou puttest my feet also 
in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all 
my paths ; thou settest a print upon the 
heels of my feet. 28. And he, as a rotten 
thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth- 
eaten. 

Here, 

I. Job inquires after his sins, and begs to have 
them discovered to him: he looks up to God, and 
asks him what was the number of them; How many 
are mine iniquities, and what the particulars ( f 
them.'* Make me to know my transgressioyis, v. 23. 
His friends were ready enough to tell him how nu 
merous and how heinous they were, ch. xxii. 5. 
" But, Lord," says he, *• Let me know them from 
Thee, for thy judgment is according to truth, 
theirs is not." This may be taken, either, 1. As a 
passionate complaint of hard usage, that he was 
punished for his faults, and yet was not told what 
his faults were. Or, 2. As a prudent appeal to God 
from the censures of his friends; he desired that all 
his sins might be brought to light, as knowing they 
would then appear not so many, nor so mighty, as 
his friends suspected him to be guilty of. Or, 3. 
As a pious request, to the same purport with that 
which Elihu directed him to; ch. xxxiv. 32, 'J'hat 
which I see not, teach thou me. Note, A true jjeni- 
tent is willing to know the worst of himself; and we 
should all desire to know what our transgressions 
are, that we may be particular in the confessic n (^f 
them, and on our guard against them for the future. 

II. He bitterly complains of God's withdrawings 
from him; {y. 24.) Wherefore hidest thcu thy face'^ 
This must be meant of something more than h'S 
outward afflictions; for the loss of estate, children, 
health, might well consist with God's lo\ e; when 
that was all, he blessed the name of the Lord; but 
his soul was also sore vexed, and that is it which he 
here laments. 1. That the favours of the Almighty 
were suspended; God hid his face as one strange to 
him, displeased with him, shy and" regardless of 
him. 2. That the terrors of the Almighty were in- 
flicted and impressed upon him; God held him for 
his Enemy; shot his arrows at him, (ch. vi. 4.) and 
set him as a mark, ch. vii. 20. Note, The holy God 
sometimes denies his favours, and discovers his ter- 
rors, to the best and dearest of his saints and ser- 
vants in this world. This case occurs, not only in 
the production, but sometimes in the progress, of 
the divine life; evidences fi^- heaven are eclipsed, 
sensible communions interrupted, dread of divine 
wrath impressed, and the returns of comfort, for 
the present, despaired of, Ps. Ixxvii. 7- -9. — Ixxxviii. 
7,15,16. These are grievous burthens to a gra- 
cious soul, that values God's loving-kindness as 
better than life, Prov. XA'iii. 14. ./f wounded spvu 



JOB. XIV. 



71 



w.nc can bear? Job, by asking here, Why hidest 
thou thy facc'^ teaches us, that when, at any time, 
we are uiidei' tiie sense of (rod's withdravvings, we 
are concerned to inquire into the leason of them; 
what is the sin for which he corrects us; and what 
the good he designs us. Job's sufferings weie ty- 
pical of the sufferings of Christ, from whom not 
only men hid their faces, (Isa. liii. o. ) but God hid 
his. Witness the darkness which surrounded him 
on the cross, when he cried out, My God, my God, 
•why hast thou forsaken me? If this were done to 
tliese green trees, what shall be done to the dry.-" 
They will for ever be forsaken. 

III. He humbly pleads with God his own utter 
inability to stand before him: (xf. 25.) "'■Wilt thou 
break a leaf, fiursue the dry stubble? Lord, is it for 
thine honour to trample upon one that is down al- 
ready? Or to crush one that neither has, nor pre- 
tends to, any power to resist thee?" Note, We 
ought to have such an apprehension of the goodness 
and compassion of God, as to believe that he will 
not break the bruised reed, Matth. xii. 20. 

IV. He sadly complains of God's severe dealings 
with him: he owns it was for his sins that God thus 
contended with him, but thinks it hard, 

1. That his former sins, long since committed, 
should now be remembered against him, and he 
should be reckoned with for the old scores; {tj. 26. ) 
Thou ivritest bitter things against me. Afflictions 
are bitter things; writing of them denotes delibera- 
tion and determination, written as a warrant for 
execution; it denotes also the continuance of his 
affliction, for that which is written remains, and, 
** Herein thou makest me to possess the iniquities of 
my youth," that is, " thou punishest me tor them, 
and thereby puttest me in mind of them, and 
obligest me to renew my repentance for them." 
Note, (].) God sometimes writes very bitter things 
against the best and dearest of his saints and ser- 
vants, both in outward afflictions and inward dis- 
quiet; trouble in body and trouble in mind, that he 
may humble them and prove them, and do them 
good in their latter end. (2.) That the sins of 
youth are often the smart of age, both in respect of 
sorrow within, (Jer. xxxi. 18, 19.) and suffering 
without, ch. XX. 11. Time does not wear out the 
^uilt of sin. (3.) That when God writes bitter 
things against us, his design therein is, to make us 
possess our iniquities, to bring forgotten sins to 
mind, and so to bring us to remorse for them, as to 
break us off from them. This is all the fruit, to 
take away our sin. 

2. That his present mistakes and miscarriages 
should be so strictly taken notice of, and so severely 
animadverted upon; (t'. 27. ) "Thou flattest my 
feet also in the stocks, not only to afflict me, and 
expose me to shame, not only to keep me from 
escaping the strokes of thy wrath, but that thou 
mayest critically remark all my motions, and look 
narrowly to all my paths, to correct me for every 
false step, nay, for but a look awry, or a word mis- 
applied; nay, thou settest a print upon the heels of 
my feet, sc(>rest down every thing I do amiss, to 
reckon for it; or, no sooner have I ti-odden wrong, 
though ever so little, than immediately I smart for 
it; the punishment treads upon the very heels of the 
sin. Guilt, both of the oldest and of the freshest 
date, is put together, to make up the cause of my 
calamity." No^y, (1.) It was not true that God did 
thus seek advantages against him; he is not thus 
extreme to mark what we do amiss; if he were, 
there were no abiding for us, Ps. cxxx. 3. But he 
is so far from this, that he deals not with us accord- 
ing to the desert, no not of our manifest sins which 
are not found by secret search, Jer. ii. 34. This 
therefore was the language of Job's melancholy; 
his sober thoughts never represented God thus as a 



i hard Master. (2.) But we should keep such a 

I strict and jealous eye as this upon oursehesand 

our cAvn steps, both for the discovery of sin j)ast, 

and the prevention of it for the futui e. It is good 

for us ;dl to ponder the path of our feet. 

V. He finds himself wasting away apace under 
the heav}' hand of God, v. 28. He, that is, man, as 
a rotten thing, the principle of whose putrefaction is 
in itself, consumes, even like a moth-eaten garment, 
^vhich becomes continually worse and worse. Or, 
He, that is, God, like rottenness, and like a moth, 
consumes me. Compare this with Hos. v. 12. / 
will be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of 
Judah as rottenness: and see Ps. xxxix. 11. Note, 
Man, at the best, wears fast; but, under God's re- 
bukes especially, he is soon gone. While there is 
so little soundness in the soul, no marvel there is so 
little soundness in the flesh, Ps. xxxviii. 3. 

CHAP. XIV. 

Job had turned from speaking to his friends, finding: it to no 
purpose to reason with them, and here goes on to speak 
to God and himself. He had reminded his friends of 
their frailty and mortality; (ch. xiii. 12.) here he reminds 
himself of his own, and pleads it with God for some mi- 
tigation of his miseries. We have here an account, I. 
Of man's life, that it is, I. Short, v. 1. 2. Sorrowful, v. 
2. 3. Sinful, V. 4. 4. Stinted, v. 5, 14. II. Of man's 
death, that it puts a final period to our present life, to 
which we shall not a^ain return, v. 7. . 12. That it 
hides us from the calamities of life; (v. 13.) destroys the 
hopes of life; (v. 18, 19.) sends us away from the busi- 
ness of life; (v. 20.) and keeps us in the dark concern- 
ing our relations in this life, how much soever we have 
formerly been in care about them, v. 21, 22. III. The 
use Job makes of all this. 1. He pleads it with God, 
who, he thought, was too strict and severe with him; (v. 
16, 17.) begging that, in consideration of his frailty, he 
would not contend with him; (v. 3.) but grant him 
some respite, v. 6. 2. He engages himself to prepare 
for death, (v. 14.) and encourages himself to hope that 
it would be comfortable to him, v. 15. This chapter is 
proper for funeral solemnities; and serious meditations 
on it will help us both to get good by the death of others, 
and to get ready for our own. 



1- T^MT^N that is born of a woman is of 
1tJ_ few clays, and full of trouble. 2. 
He Cometh forth like a flower, and is cut 
down : he fleeth also as a shadow, and con- 
tinueth not. 3. And dost thou open thine 
eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into 
judgment with thee ? 4. Who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean ? not one. 

5. Seeing liis days are determined, the num- 
ber of his months are with thee ; thou hast 
appointed his bounds that he cannot pass: 

6. Turn from him that he may rest, till he 
shall accomplish, as a hireling, his day. 

We are here led to think, 

I. Of the original of human life; God is isdeed 
its great Original, for he breathed into man the 
breath of life, and in him we live; but we date it 
from our biith, and thence we must date both its 
frailty and its pollu tion. 1 Its frailty; Man, that is 
born of a ivomaii^j^tfgmdore of few days, v. 1. It 
may refer to ^'^^ J^^^B|h ^^'^ was called Eve, 
because she wa^^HBlTOie\)f all living-: of her, 
who, being decel^ByLthe tdtoter, was first in the 
transgression, we l||H|H||9»d consequently de- 
rive from her that^BBP|Fruptinn which 'both, 
shorten our days, and sadcTen them. Or it may re- 
fer to every man's immediate mother. The woman 
is the weaker vessel, and we know that Partus se- 
quitur ventrem — The child takes after the mother. 



72 



JOB, XIV. 



Lei not the strong man therefore glory in his 
strength, or in the strength of his father, but re- 
member that he is born of a woman, and that, when 
God pleases, the mighty mtn become as women, 
Jer. li. 30. 2. Its pollution; {v, 4.) JVho can bring 
a clean thing out of an unclean? If man be born of 
a woman that is a sinner, how can it be otherwise 
than that he should be a sinner? See ch. xxv. 4, 
HoTV can he be clean that is born of a ivoman? 
Clean children cannot come from unclean parents, 
any more tlian pure streams from an impure spring, 
or grapes from thorns. Our habitual corruption is 
derived, with our nature, from our parents, and is 
therefore bred in the bone: our blood is not only at- 
tainted by a legal conviction, but tainted with an 
hereditary disease. Our Lord Jesus, being made 
sin for us, is said to be made of a woman. Gal. iv. 4. 

IL Of the nature of human life; it is a flower, 
it is a shadow, i;. 2. The flower is fading, and all 
its beauty soon withers and is gone. The shadow 
is fleeting, and its very being will soon be lost and 
drowned in the shadows of the night: of neither do 
we make any account, in neither do we put any 
confidence. 

in. Of the shortness and uncertainty of human 
life; man is of few days. Life is computed, not by 
months or years, but by days, for we cannot be sure 
of any day but that it may be our last. These days 
are few, fewer than we think of; few, at the most, 
in comparison with the days of the first patriarchs, 
much more, in comparison with the days of eter- 
nity; but much fewer to most, who come short of 
what we call the age of man. Man sometimes no 
sooner comes forth, than he is cut down, comes 
forth out of the womb, than he dies in the cradle, 
comes forth into the world and enters into the busi- 
ness of it, than he is hurried away as soon as he has 
laid his hand to the plough. If not cut down imme- 
diately, yet it flees as a shadow, and never conti- 
nues in one stay, in one shape, but the fashion of it 
passes away : so does this world and our life in it, 
1 Cor. vii. 31. 

IV. Of the calamitous state of human life; man, 
as he is short-lived, so he is sad-li\ ed. Though he 
had but a few days to spend here, yet if he might 
rejoice in those few, it were well; (a short life and 
a merry, is the boast of some;) but it is not so; 
during these few days, he is full of trouble, not 
only troubled, but full of trouble, either toiling or 
fretting, grieving or fearing; no day passes without 
some vexation, some hurry, some disorder or other. 
They that are fond of the'world, shall have enough 
of it. He is satur tremore^ull of commotion. 
The fewness of his days creates him a continual 
trouble and uneasiness in expectation of the period 
of them, and he always hangs in doubt of his life. 
Yet since man's days are so full of trouble, it is well 
that tliey arc few, that the soul's imprisonment in 
the body, and banishment from the Lord, are not 
perpetu il, are not long. When we come to heaven, 
our davs will be many, and perfectly free from 
trouV)lc, and, in the mean time, faith, hope, and 
lovcHbalance the present grievances. 

V. Of the sinfulness of human life, arising from 
the sinfulness of the human nature. So some un- 
derstand that question; (y. 4.) Who can bring a 
clean thing out of an un clean? A clean performance 
from an unclean princJaMM|^|e, actual transgres- 
sions are the natural OTHJ!|SPMtl>itual corruption; 
which is therefore ('.'aitcn onginM?^\\, because it is 
the original of alljfur sins. 'Thrfholv Job here la- 
ments, as all that^re sanctpBWo, running up the 
streams to the fouXaiiMjsEff li. 5.) and some think 
he intends it as a plea witli God for compassion; 
"Lord, be not extreme to mark my sins of human 
frailty and infirmity, for thou knowest my weak- 
ness;' remember that I amjleah." The Chaldee 



paraphrase has an observable reading of this verse-, 
Who can make a man clean, that is polluted with 
sin? Cannot one? that is, God. Or who but God, 
who is one, and will sfiare him? God, by his al- 
mighty grace, can change the skin of the Ethiopian, 
the skin of Job, though clothed with worms. 

VI. Of the settled period of human life, v. 5. 
We are here assured, 1. That our life will come to 
an end; our days upon earth are not numberless, 
are not endless, no, they are numbered, and will 
soon be finished, Dan. v. 26. 2. That it is deter 
mined, in the counsel and decree of God, how long 
we shall live, and when we shall die. The number 
of our months is with God, at the disposal of his 
power which JTannot be controlled, and under the 
view of his omniscience which cannot be deceived. 
It is certain that God's providence has the ordering 
of the period of our lives, our times are in his hand, 
the powers of nature depend upon him, and act un- 
der him; in him we live and move, diseases are his 
servants, he kills and makes alive, nothing comes 
to pass by chance, no not the execution done by a 
bow drawn at a venture ; it is therefore certain that 
God's prescience has determined it before, for 
known unto God are all his works. Whatever he 
does, he determined, yet with a regard partly to 
the settled course of nature, (the end and the means 
are determined together,) and to the settled rules 
of moral government, punishing evil, and reward- 
ing good, in this life; we are no more governed by 
the Stoic's blind fate than by the Epicurean's blind 
fortune. 3. That the bounds God has fixed, we 
cannot pass, for his counsels are unalterable, his 
foresight being infallible. 

These considerations Job here urges as reasons, 

(1.) Why God should not be so strict in taking 
cognizance of him, and of his slips, and failings; 
{v. 3.) "Since I have such a corrupt nature with- 
in, and am liable to so much trouble, which is a 
constant temptation from without, dost thou open 
thine eyes and fasten them upon such a one, ex- 
tremely to mark what I do amiss? ch. xiii. 27. And 
dost thou bring me, such a worthless worm as I 
am, into judgment with thee who art so quick- 
sighted to discover the least failing, so holy to hate 
it, so just to condemn it, and so mighty to punish 
it?" I'he consideration of our own inability to con- 
tend with (iod, of our own sinfulness and weakness, 
should engage us to pray. Lord, enter not into judg- 
ment with thy servant. 

(2.) Whv he should not be so severe in his deal- 
ings with him; "Lord, I have but a little time to 
live, I must certainly and shortly go hence, and the 
few days I have to spend here are, at the best, full 
of trouble. O let me have a little respite, v. 6. 
Turn from afflicting a poor creature thus, and let 
him rest a while; allow him some breathing time, 
until he .thall accomplish, as a hireling, his day. It 
is appointed to me once to die, let that one day suf- 
fice me, and let me not thus be continually dying, 
dying a thousand deaths. Let it suffi.ce th it my life, 
at best, is as the day of a hireling, a day of toil and 
labour; I am content to accomplish that, and will 
make the best of the common hardships of human 
life, the burthen and heat of the day; but let me 
not feel those uncommon tortures, let not my life be 
as the dav of a malefactor, all exerution-dav." 
Thus may we find some relief under gi-eat troubles 
by recommending ourselves to the compassion of 
that God who knows our frame, will consider it, 
and our being out of frame too. 

7. For there is hope of a tree, if it he cut 
down, that it will sprout a£:ain, and that the 
tender hranch thereof will not cease. 8 
Though the root thereof wax old in the 



JOB, XIV. 



73 



earth, and the stock thereof die in the 
ground ; 9. Yel through the scent of water 
It will bud, and bring forth boughs like a 
plant. 10. But man dieth, and wasteth 
away ; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and 
where is hel 11. As the waters fail from 
the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth 
up; 12. So man lieth down, and riseth 
not : till the heavens be no more, they shall 
not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 
1.3. Oh that thou wouldest h\d§ me in the 
grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret 
until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest 
appoint me a set time, and remember me! 
14. If a man die, shall Ue Wve again? All 
the days of my appointed time will I wait, 
till my change come. 15. Thou shalt call; 
and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a de- 
sire to the work of thy hands. 

We have seen what Job has to say concerning 
life, let us now see what he h;!S to say concerning 
death, which his thoughts were veiy much conver- 
sant with, now that he was sick and sore. It is not 
unseasonable, when we are in health, to think of 
d) 'ng; but it is an inexcusable incogitancy, if, when 
we are already taken into the custody of death's 
messengers, we look upon it as a thing at a distance. 
Job had already showed that death will come, and 
that its hour is already fixed. Now here he shows, 

1. That death is a removal for ever out of this 
world. This he had spoken of before, (cA. vii. 9, 
10.) and now he mentions it again: for though it be 
a truth that needs not be proved, yet it needs to be 
much considered, that it may be duly jwproved. 

1. A man cut down by death, will not revive 
again, as a tree cut down will. What hope there 
is of a tree, he shows very elegantly, v. 7"9. If 
the body of the tree be cut down, and only the stem 
or stump left in the ground, though it seem dead 
and dry, yet it will shoot out young boughs again, 
as if it were but newly planted. The moisture of 
the earth and the rain of heaven are, as it were, 
scented and perceived by tlie stump of a tree, and 
they have an influence upon it to revive it: but the 
dead bodv of a man would not perceive them, nor 
be in the least affected by them. In Nebuchadnez- 
zar's dream, when his being deprived of the use of 
his reason was signified by the cutting down of a 
tree, his retnvn to it again was signified by the 
leaving of the stump in the earth, with a band of 
iron and brass, to be ivct with the dew of heaven. 
Dan. iv. 15. But man has no such prospect of a 
return to life. The vegetable life is a cheap and 
easy thing, the scent of water will recover it; the 
animal life, in some insects and fowls, is so, the heat 
of the sun retrieves it; but the rational soul, when 
once retired, is too great, too noble, a thing to be 
recalled by any of the powers of nature; it is out of 
the reach of sun or rain, and cannot be restored but 
by the immediate operations of Omnipotence itself; 
for, (t'. 10.) Man dieth and wasteth away; yea, 
man giveth ufi the ghont, and where is he? Two 
words are here used for man. Geber, a mighty 
man, though mighty, dies; yidam, a man of the 
earth, because earthy, gives up the ghost. Note, 
Man is a dying creature; he is here described by 
what occurs, (1. ) Before death; he wastes away, he 
is continually wasting, dying daily, spending upon 
the quick stock of life; sickness and old age are 
wasting things to the flesh, the strength, the beauty. 
(2.) In death; he gives up the ghost, the soul leaves 

Vol. Ill — K 



the body, and returns to God who gave it, the Fa- 
ther of spirits. (3.) jlfter death; Where is he.' 
He is not where he was, his place knows him no 
more; but. Is he nowhere? So some read it. Yes, 
he is somewhere; and it is a very awful considera- 
tion to think where they are that have given up the 
ghost, and where we shall be, when we give it up, 
It is gone to the world of spirits, gone into eternity, 
gone to return no more to this world. 

2. A man laid down in the gra\ e will not rise up 
again, v. 11, 12. Every night, we lie down to sleep, 
and in the morning, we awake and rise again; but, 
at death, we must lie down in the grave, not to 
awake or rise again to such a world, such a state, 
as we are now in, never to awake or arise until the 
heavens, the faithful measures of time, shall be no 
more, and, consequently, time itself shall come to 
an end, and be swallowed up in eteinity ; so that the 
life of man may fitly be compared to the waters 
of a land-flood, which spread far and make a great 
show, but they are shallow, and, when they are 
cut off from the sea or river, the swelling and over- 
flowing of which was the cause of them, they soon 
decay and dry up, and their place knows them no 
more. The waters of life are soon exhaled, and 
disappear; the body, like some of those waters, 
sinks and soaks into the earth, and is buried there; 
the soul, like others of them, is drawn upward, to 
mingle with the waters above the firmament. The 
learned Sir Richard Blackmore makes this also to 
be a dissimilitude; if the waters decay and be dried 
up in the summer, yet they will return again in the 
winter; but it is not so with the life of man. Take 
part of his paraphrase in his own words: 

A flowing river, or a standing lake, 
May their dry banks and naked sliores forsake ; 
Their waters may exhale and upward move, 
Their channel leave to roll in clouds ;ibove ; 
But the reluming winter will restore 
What in the summer Ihey had lost bel'ore: 
But if, O man, thy vital stieanis desert 
Their purple channels, and defraud the heart, 
With frcBli recruits they ne'er will be supply'd, 
Nor feel their leaping life's returning tide. 

11. That yet ther^ will be a return of man to life 
again in another world, at the end of time, when 
the heavens are no more. Then they shall awake, 
and be raised out of their sleep. The resurrection 
of the dead was, doubtless, an article of Job's creed, 
as appears, ch. xix. 26. and to that, it should seem, 
he has an eye here; where, in the belief of that, we 
have three things: 

1. An humble petition for a hiding-place in the 
grave, i'. 13. It was not only in a passionate wea- 
riness of this life, that he wished to die, but in a 
pious assurance of a better life, to which, ''t length, 
he should arise. O that thou wouldest hide me in 
the grave! The grave is not only a resting-place, 
but a hiding-place, to the people of God. God has 
the key of the grave, to let in now, and to let out at 
the resurrection. He hides men in the grave, as we 
hide our treasure in a place of secrecy and safety; 
and he who hides will find, and nothing shall be 
lost. "O that thou wouldest hide me, not only 
from the storms and troubles of this life, but foPthe 
bliss and glory of a better life; let me lie in the 
grave, reserved for ipimortalitv, in secret from all the 
world, but not from thee, not from those eves which 



saw my substance 
in the lowest fiar^ 
\5, 16. There 1 
fiast. As long as' 
grave, so long the 
which they were b 
are under some of the 

body is raised, it is wholly past; death, the last ene- 
my, will then be totally destroyed. (2.) Until the 
set time comes for my being remembered, as Noah 
was remembered in the ark, (Gen. viii. 1. ) where 




rst curi'^usly wrought 

•arth," Ps. cxxxix. 

Utitil thy wrath be 

he saints lie in the 

tins of that wrath 

n of, so long they 

sin; but when the 



74 JOB, XIV. 

God not only hid him from the destruction of the 
old world, but reserved him for the reparation ot 
a new world. The bodies of the saints shall not be 
forgotten in the gra\ e; there is a time appointed, a 
time set, for their being inquired after. We can- 
not be sure that we shall look through the darkness 
of our present troubles, and see good days after 
them in this world; but if we can but get well to 
the grave, we may with an eye of faith look through 
the darkness of that, as Job here, and see better 
days on the other side it, in a better world. 

2. A holv resolution patiently to attend the will 
of God both in his death and in his resurrection; 
{v. 14.) If a man die, shall he live agaitJ all (he 
days of my afifiointed time will I wait until my 
change come. Job's friends proving miserable com- 
forters, he set himself to be the more his own com- 
forter; his case was now bad, but he pleases himself 
with the expectation of a change. I think it can- 
not be meant of his return to a prosperous condition 
in this world. His friends indeed flattered him with 
the hopes of that, but he himself all along despaired 
of it. Comforts founded upon uncertainties, at best, 
m\ist needs be uncertain comforts; and therefore, no 
doubt, it is something more sure than that which he 
here bears up himself with the expectation of. The 
change he waits for must, therefore, be understood, 
either, (1.) Of the change of the resurrection, 
when the vile body shall be changed, (Phil. iii. 
21.) and a great and glorious change it will be; and 
tlien that question. If a man die, shall he live again? 
must be taken by way of admiration. "Strange! 
Shall these dry bones hve! If so, all the time ap- 
pointed for the continuance of the separation be- 
tween soul and body, my separate soul shall wait 
until that change comes, when it shall be united 
again to the body, and my flesh also shall rest in 
hofie," Ps. xvi. 9. Or, (2.) Of the chance at death. 
" If a man die, shall he live again? No, not such 
a life as he now lives; and therefore I will patiently 
wait until that change comes, which will put a pe- 
riod to my calamities, and not impatiently wish for 
the anticipation of it, as I have done." Observe 
here, [1.] That it is a serioMs thing to die, it is a 
work by itself. It is a cliange; there is a visible 
change'in the body, its appearance altered, its ac- 
tions brought to an end, but a greater change with 
the soul, which quits the body, and removes to the 
world of spirits, finishes its state of probation, and 
enters upon that of retribution. This change will 
come, and it will be a final change, not like the 
transmutations of the elements, which return to 
their former state. No, we must die, not thus to 
live again. It is but once to die, and that had need 
be well done that is to be done but once. An error 
here is fatal, conclusive, and not again to be recti- 
fied. [2.] That therefore it is the duty of every 
one of us to wait for that change, and to continue 
waiting all the days of our appointed time. The 
time of life is an appointed time; that time is to be 
reckoned by days, and those days are to be spent 
in waiting for our change. That is. First, We must 
expect that it will come, and think much of it. Se- 
condly, We must desire that it would come, as 
those "that long to be with Christ. Thirdly, We 
must be willing to tarry until it does come, as those 
that believe God's time to be the best. Fourthly, 
We must give dilig^|Mh^et ready against it 
comes, that it m ay jAniyPsB^h an ge to us. 

3. A joyful expa^Bon of blijp and satisfaction in 
this; (x>. 15.) Tli^HgJ0|B[^//, and I wi/l an- 
swer thee. NoN^^^^^^^PPR* such a cloud, that 
he could not, he a|HPi^»^swer; {ch. ix. 15, 35. 

xiii. 22.) l)ut he comforted himself with this, that 

there would come a time when God would call, and 
he should answer; then, that is, (1.) At the resur- 
rection; "Thou shalt call me out of the grave, by 



the voice of the archangel, and I will answer, and 
come at the call." The body is the work of God'n 
hands, and he will have a desire to that, having 
prepared a glory for it. Or, (2. ) At death; " Thou 
shalt call my body to the grave, and my soul to 
thyself, and I will answer. Ready, Lord, ready, 
coming, coming; here I am." Gracious souls can 
cheerfully answer death's summons, and appear to 
his writ. Their spirits arc not forcibly required 
from them, (as Luke xii. 20. ) but willingly resigned 
by them, and the earthly tabernacle not violently 
pulled down, but voluntarily laid down; with this 
assurance, "Thou wilt have a desire to the work 
of thy hands; thou hast mercy in store for me, not 
only as mad# by thy providence, but new-made by 
thy grace; otherwise he that made them will not 
save the?n. Note, Grace in the soul is the work of 
God's own hands, and theiefoie he will not forsake 
it in this world, (Ps. cxxxviii. 8. ) but will have a 
desire to it, to perfect it in the other, and to crown 
it with endless glory. 

16. For now thou numberest my steps, 
dost thou not watch over my sin? 17. My 
transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou 
sewest up mine iniquity. 18. And surely 
the mountain falling cometh to nought, and 
the rock is removed out of 'his place. 19. 
The waters wear the stones : thou washest - 
away the things which grow out of the dust 
of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope 
of man. 20. Thou prevailest for ever against 
him ; and he passeth : thou changest his 
countenance, and sendest him away. 21. 
His sons come to honour, and he knoweth 
it not; and they are brought low, but he 
perceiveth it not of them. 22. But his flesh 
upon him shall have pain, and his soul within 
him shall mourn. 

Job here returns to his complaints; and though he 
is not without hope of future bliss, he finds it very 
hard to get over his present grievances. 

I. He complains of the particular hardships he 
apprehendfed himself under from the strictness of 
God's justice, v. 16, 17. Therefore he longed to 
go hence to that world where God's wrath will be 
past, because now he was under the continual 
tokens of it, as a child, under the severe discipline 
of the rod, longs to be of age. "When shall my 
change come? For now thou seemest to me to 
number my steps, and watch over my sin, and seal 
it up in a bag, as bills of indictment are kept safe, 
to be produced against the prisoner." See Deut. 
xxxii. 34. "Thou takest all advantages against 
me, old scores are called over, every infirmity is 
animadverted upon, and no sooner is a false step 
taken, than I am beaten for it. " Now, 1, Job does 
right to the divine justice, in owning that he smart- 
ed for his sins and transgressions, that he had done 
enough to deserve all that was laid upon him ; for 
there was sin in all his steps, and he was guilty of 
transgression enough to bring all this ruin upon him, 
if it were strictly inquired into: he is far from sav- 
ing that he perishes being innocent. But, 2. He 
does wrong to the divine goodness, in suggesting that 
God was extreme tc mark what he did amiss, and 
made the worst of eveiT thing: he spake to this 
pui-port, ch. xiii. 27. It was unadvisedly said, and 
therefore we will not dwell too much upon it. God 
does indeed see all our sins, he sees sin in his own 
people, but he is not severe in reckoning with us, 
nor is the law ever stretched against us, but we are 



JOB, XV 



punished less than our iniquities deserve. God 
does indeed seal and sow up, against the day of 
wrath, the transgression of the impenitent, but the 
'sins of his people he blots out as a cloud. 

II. He complains of the wasting condition of man- 
kind in general: we live in a dying world; who 
knows the fiower of God's anger, by ivhich we are 
consumed and troubled, and in which all our days 
are passed away? See Ps. xc. 7- -9, 11. And who 
can bear up against his rebukes? Ps. xxxix. 11. 

1. We see the decays of the earth itself. (1. ) Of 
the strongest parts of it, v. 18. Nothing will last 
always, for we see even mountains moulder and 
come to nought, they wither and fall as a leaf, rocks 
wax old and pass away by the contintal beating of 
the sea against them. The waters wear the stones 
with constant dropping, 7ion vi, sed scs/ie cadendo — 
not by the violence, but by the consta?icy, with which 
they fall. On this earth every thing is the worse 
for the wearing; Temfias edax rerum — Time de- 
vours all things. It is not so with the heavenly 
bodies. (2.) Of the natural products of it: the 
things which grow out of the earth, and seem to be 
firmly rooted in it, are sometimes, by an excess of 
rain, washed away, v. 19. Some think he pleads 
this for relief: "Lord, my patience will not hold 
out always, even rocks and mountains will fail at 
last; therefore cease the controversy." 

2. No marvel, then, if we see the decays of man 
upon the earth, for he is of the earth, earthy. Job 
begins to think his case is not singular, and there- 
fore he ought to reconcile himself to the common lot. 
We perceive by many instances, 
(1.) How vain it is to expect much from the en- 
joyments of life; " Thou destroyest the hope of 
man," that is, " puttest an end to all the projects 
he had framed, and all the prospects of satisfaction 
he had flattered himself with." Death will be the 
destruction of all those hopes which are built upon 
worldly confidences, and confined to worldly com- 
forts. Hope in Christ, and hope \\\ heaven, death 
will consummate, and not destroy. 

(2. ) How vain it is to struggle against the assaults 
of death; (x;. 20. ) Thou prevailest for ever against 
him. Note, [1.] Man is an unequal match for 
God; whom God contends with, he will certainly 
prevail against, prevail for ever against, so that 
they shall never be able to make head again. [2. ] 
The stroke of death is irresistible; it is to no pur- 
pose to dispute its summons; God prevails against 
man, and he passes away, and, lo, he is not. Look 
upon a dying man, and see, 

First, How his looks are altered. Thou changest 
his countenance, two ways. 1. By the disease of 
his body. When a man has been a few days sick, 
what a change is there in his countenance ! How 
much more when he has been a few minutes dead! 
The countenance which was majestic and awful, 
becomes mean and despicable; that which was 
lovely and amiable, becomes ghastly and frightful: 
Bury my dead out of my sight. Where then is 
the admired beauty? Death changes the counte- 
nance, and then sends us away out of this world, 
gives us one dismission hence, never to return. 2. 
By the discomposure of his mind. Note, The ap- 
proach of death will make the strongest and stoutest 
to change countenance; it will make the most merry 
smiling countenance to look grave and serious, and 
the most bold daring countenance to look pale and 
timorous. 

Secondly, How little he is concerned in the affairs 
of his family, which once lay so near his heart. 
W'hen he is in the hands of the harbingers of death, 
suppose struck with a palsy or apoplexy, or deliiious 
'\n a fever, or in conflict with death, tell him then 



76 

he perceives it not, v. 21. He is going to that 
world where he will be a perfect stranger to all 
those thmgs which here filled and affected him. 
1 he consideration of this should moderate our cares 
concerning our children and families. God will 
know what comes of them when we are gone, to 
him therefore let us commit them, with him let us 
leave them, and not burthen ourselves with need- 
less, fruitless, cares concerning them. 

Thirdly, How dreadful the agonies of death are; 
(x-. 22.) While his flesh is upon him, (so it may be 
read,) that is, the body he is so loath to lay down. 
It shall have pain; and while his soul is within him, 
that is, the spirit he is so loath to resign, it shall 
mourn. Note, Dying work is hard work; dyine 
pangs are, commonly, sore pangs. It is folly, there- 
tore, for men to defer their repentance to a death- 
bed, and to have that to dc, which is the one thin? 
needful, when they are really unfit to do any thingi 
but it IS true wisdom, by making our peace with 
God in Christ, and keeping a good conscience, to 
treasure up comforts which will support and relieve 
us against the pains and sorrows of a dying hour. 



... V. »^ . ._. , ^,. ... ^v^.....vvv .. .u.i .^.^(.fcVll, VV^»» XXltll tllCIl 

the most agreeable, news, or the most painful, con- 
cerning his children, it is all alike, he knows it not, I 



CHAP. XV. 

Perhaps Job was so clear, and so well satisfied, in the <rood- 
ness of his own cause, that he thought if he had norcon- 
vinced, yet he had, at least, silenced^ all his three friends • 
but, it seems, he had not ; in this chapter, they be-rin a 
second attack upon him, each of them chargino-^'him 
alresh, with as much vehemence as before. It is n'atural 
to us to be fond of our own sentiments, and therefore to 
be firm to them, and with difficulty to be brouo-ht to re- 
cede from them. Eliphaz here keeps close to the princi- 
pies upon which he had condemned Job, and I He re- 
proves him for justifying himself, and fathers on him 
many evil things which are unfairly inferred from thence 
V. 2. .13. II. He persuades him to humble himsell be' 
lore Uod, and to take shame to himself, v. 14 . . 16. Ill 
He reads him a long lecture concerning the woeful es^ 
tate ol wicked people, who harden their hearts ao-ainst 
C>od and the judoments which are prepared for them v 
17 . ,35. A good use may be made both of his reproofs, 
u u ^ ^'"^ plain,) and of his doctrine, (for ii is sound,) 
though both the one and the other are misapplied to Job. 

1. ^HEN answered Eliphaz the Tema- 

X nite, and said, 2. Sliould a wise ♦ 
man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly 
with the east wind ? 3. Should he reason 
with unprofitable talk ? or with speeches 
wherewith he can do no good ? 4. Yea, 
thou easiest off fear, and restrainest prayer 
before God. 5. For thy mouth uttereth 
thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue 
of the crafty. 6. Thine own mouth con 
demneth thee, and not I; yea, thine owu 
hps testify against thee. 7. Art thou the 
first man ihat was born ? or wast thou made 
before the hills ? 8. Hast thou heard the 
secret of God ? and dost thou restrain wis- 
dom to thyself? 9. What knowest thou, 
that we know not ? what understandest 
thou, which is not in us ? 10. With us are 
both the gray-headed and very aged men, 
much elder than tby father. 11. Are the 
consolations of GM small with thee ? is 
there any secret th!j% with jfiee ? 1 2. Why 
doth thy heart cany thee, away ? and what 
do thine eyes- wink at, 13. That thou 
turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest 
such words go out of thy mouth ? 1 4. What 



76 



JOB, XV. 



IS man, that he should be clean ? and he 
ivliicli is born of a woman, that he should 
be righteous? 15. Behold, he putteth no 
trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not 
clean in his sight: 16. How much more 
abominable and filthy is man, which drink- 
eth iniquity like water ? 

Eliphaz here falls very foul upon Job, because he 
contradicted what he and his colleagues had said, 
and did not acquiesce in it, and applaud it, as they 
expected. Proud people are apt thus to take it 
very much amiss, if they may not have leave to 
dictate and give law to all about them, and to cen- 
sure those as ignorant and obstinate, and all that is 
naught, who cannot, in every thing, say as they say. 

Several great crimes Eliphaz here charges Job 
with, only because he would not own himself a 
hvpocrite. 

I. He charges him with folly and absurdity; (v. 
2, 3.) That whereas he had been reputed a wise 
man, he had now quite forfeited his reputation; any 
one would say that his wisdom was departed from 
him, he talked so extravagantly, and so little to the 
purpose. Bildad began thus, {ch. viii. 2. ) and Zo- 
phai-. ch. xi. 2, 3. It is common for angry dis- 
putants thus to represent one another's reasonings 
as impertinent and ridiculous, more than there is 
cause, forgetting the doom of him that calls his 
brother liaca, and Thou Fool. It is true, 1. That 
there is in the world a great deal of vain knowledge, 
science falsely so called, that is useless, and there- 
fore worthless. 2. That this is the knowledge that 
puffs up, with which men swell in a fond conceit of 
their own accomplishments. 3. That whatever 
vain knowledge a man may have in his head, if he 
would be thought a wise man, he must not utter it, 
but let it die with himself, as it deserves. 4. Un- 
profitable talk is evil talk: we must give an account, 
m the great day, not only for -wicked words, but for 
idle words. Speeches, therefore, which do no good, 
which do no service either to God or our neighbour, 
or no justice to ourselves, which are no way to the 
use of edifying, were better unspoken. Those 
words which are as wind, light and empty, espe- 
cially which are as the east wind, hurtful and per- 
nicious, it will be wrong to fill either oursehes or 
others with, for they will pass very ill in the ac- 
count. 5. Vain knowledge and unprofitable talk 
ought to be reproved and checked, especially in a 
wise man, whom it worst becomes, and who does 
most hurt by the bad example of it. 

II. He charges him with impiety and irreligion; 
(v. 4.) " 77ioii easiest off fear," that is, "the fear 
of God, and that regard to him which thou shouldest 
have; and then thou restrainest prayer." See what 
religion is summed up in — fearing God, and praying 
to him; the former the most needful principle, the 
latter the most needful practice. Where no fear 
of God is, no good is to be expected; and those who 
live without prayer, certainly li\e without (iod in 
the world. Those who restrain prayer, prove that 
they cast off fear. Surely those ha\ e no reverence 
of Clod's majesty, no dread of his wrath, and are in 
no care about their souls and eternity, who make 
no applications to God for his grace. Those who 
are prayerless, are fearleaf 4p^ graceless. When 
the fear of God is cast o^^ll sin is let in, and a 
door open to all rnanner of wijofaneness. It is espe- 
cially bad with tlilie who'^ave had some fear of 
God, but have now cast it off, have been frequent 
in prayer, but now restrain it. How are they fallen! 
How is their first love lost! It denotes a kind of 
force put upon thcmseh es. The fear of God would 
cleave to them, but they throw it off; prayer would 



be uttered, but thev restrain it, and, in brth, baffle 
their convictions. Those who either omit prayer, 
or straiten and abridge themselves in it, quenching 
the spirit of adoption, and denynig themselves the' 
liberty they might take in the duty, restrain prayer: 
this is bad enough, but it is worse to restrain ethers 
from prayer, to prohibit and discourage prayer, as 
Darius, Dan. vi. 7. 

Now Eliphaz charges this upon Job, either, 1. 
As that which was his own practice. He thought 
that Job talked of God with such liberty as if he 
had been his equal, and that he charged him sc 
vehemently with hai'd usage of him, and chullenged 
him so often to a fair trial, that he had quite thrown 
off all religious regard to him. This charge was 
utterly false, and yet wanted not some colour. We 
ought not only to take care that we keep up prayer 
and the fear of God, but that we never drop any 
unwary expressions, which may give occasion to 
those who seek occasion to question our sincerity 
and constancy in religion. Or, 2. As that which 
others would infer from the doctrine he maintain- 
ed. " If this be true," (thinks Eliphaz,) "which 
Job says, that a man may be thus sorely afflicted, 
and yet be a good man, then farewell all religion, 
farewell prayer and the fear of God. If all things 
come alike to all, and the best men may have the 
worst treatment in this world, every one will be 
ready to say. It is vain to serve God; and ivhat pro- 
Jit is it to keep, his ordinances? (Mai. iii. 14.) Verily 
I have cleansed my hands in vain, (Ps. Ixxiii. 13, 
14.) Who will be honest, if the tabernacles of 
robbers prosper? (ch. xii. 6.) If there be no for- 
giveness with God, {ch. vii. 21.) who will fear him? 
(Ps. cxxx. 4.) If he laugh at the trial of the inno- 
cent, {ch. ix. 23.) if he be so difficult of access, {ch. 
ix. 32.) who will pray to him?" Note, It is a piece 
of injustice, which even wise and good men are too 
often guilty of, in the heat of disputation, to charge 
upon their adversaries those consequences of their 
opinions, which are not fairly drawn from them, 
and which really they abhor. This is not doing as 
we would be done by. 

Upon this strained inuendo Eliphaz grounds that 
high charge of impiety; {v. 5.) Thy mouth utters 
thine iniquity, teaches it, so the word is. "Thou 
teachest others to have the same hard thoughts of 
God and religion that thou thyself hast." It is bad 
to break even the least of the commandments, but 
worse to teach men so, Matth. v. 19. If we ever 
thought evil, let us lay our hand upon our mouth 
to suppress the evil thought, (Prov. xxx. 32.) and 
let us by no means utter it, that is putting an impri- 
matur to it, publishing it with allowance, to the dis- 
honour of God, and the damage of others. Obser\ e. 
When men have cast off fear and prayer, theii 
mouths utter iniquity. They that cease to do good, 
socn learn to do evil. What can we expect but all 
manner of iniquity from those that arm nnt them- 
selves witli the grace of God against it? But, thou 
choosest the tongue of the frq/?t/, that is, "Thru 
utterest thine iniquity with some show and pretence 
of piety, mixing some good words with the bad, as 
tradesmen do with their wares to help them off." 
The mouth of iniquity could not do so much mis 
chief as it does, without the tongue of the craft\ 
The sei-pent beguiled E\e through his subtilt ,• 
Rom. xvi. 18. The tongue of the crafty speaks 
with design and deliberation; and therefore the> 
that use it may be said to choose it, as that which 
will serve their purpose better than the tongue of 
the upright: but it will be found, at last, that ho 
nesty is the best policy. 

Eliphaz, in his first discourse, had proceeded 
against Job upon mere surmise; (ch, iv, 6, 7.) but 
now he has got proof against him from his own dis- 
courses; {v. 6.) Thine own mouth condemns theCt 



JOB, XV. 



77 



n7id not I. But he should have considered that he 
and his fellows had provoked him to say that 
which now they took advantage of; and that was 
not fair. Those are most eifectually condemned, 
tiiat are condemned by themselves, Tit. iii. 11. 
Luke xix. 22. Many a man needs no more to sink 
him, than for his own tongue to fall upon him. 

in. He charges him with intolerable arrogancy 
;ind self-conceitedness. It was a just, and reasona- 
ble, and modest, demand that Job had made; {ch. 
xii. 3.) AUonv that 1 have understaTiding as well as 
you: but see how they seek occasion against him; 
that is misconstrued, as if he pretended to be wiser 
than any man. Because he will not grant to them, 
tliey will have it thought that he claims to himself, 
the monopoly of wisdom, x'. 7* '9. As if he thought 
he had tlie advantage of all mankind, 1. In length 
of acquaintance with the world, which furnishes 
men with so much the more experience; "jirt thou 
the first man that was born, and, consequently, 
senior to us, and better able to give the sense of an- 
tiquity, and the judgment of the tirst and earliest, 
tiie wisest and purest, ages? Art thou prior to 
Adam?" (So it may be read. ) " Did not he suffer 
for sin; and yet wilt not thou, who art so great a suf- 
ferer, own thyself a smner? JVast thou made before 
MeA/7/s, as Wisdom herself was? (Prov.viii. 23, occ.) 
Must God's counsels, which are as the great moun- 
tains, (Ps. xxxvi. 6.) and immoveable as the ever- 
lasting hills, be subject to thy notions, and bow to 
them? Dost thou know more of the world than 
any of us do? No, thou art but of yesterday, even 
as we are," ch. viii. 9. Or, 2. In intimacy of ac- 
quaintance with God; {v. 8.) "■Hast thou heard the 
secret of God? Dost thou pretend to be of the ca- 
binet-council of Heaven, that thou canst gi\ e better 
reasons than others can for God's proceedings?" 
There are secret things of God, which belong not 
1 1 us, and which, therefore, we must not pretend 
to account for: those are daringly presumptuous 
who do. He also represents him, (1. ) As assuming 
to himself such knowledge as none else had; "Dost 
thou restrain wisdom to thyself, as if none were wise 
besides?" Job had said, {ch. xiii. 2.) What ye 
know, the same do I know also; and now they return 
upon him, according to the usage of eager dispu- 
tants, who think they have a privilege to com- 
mend themselves; What knowest thou that we know 
not? How natural are such replies as these, in the 
heat of argument! But how simple do they look 
afterward, upon the review ! (2. ) As opposing the 
stream of antiquity, a venerable name, under the 
shade of which all contending parties strive to shel- 
ter themselves; " With us are the gray-headed, and 
very aged men, v. 10. We have the fathers on 
our side; all the ancient doctors of the church are 
of our opinion." A thing soon said, but not so soon 
proved; and, when proved, truth is not so soon dis- 
covered and proved by it, as most people imagine. 
David preferred right scripture-knowledge before 
that of antiquity; (Ps. cxix. 100.) / understand 
more than the ancients, because I keep, thy firecepts. 
Or perhaps one or more, if not all three, of these 
friends of Job, were elder than he, {ch. xxxii. 6. ) 
and therefore they thought he was bound to ac- 
knowledge them to be in the right. This also serves 
contenders to make a noise with, to very little pur- 
pose. If they are elder than their adversaries, and 
can say they knew such a thing before they were 
born, it will serve to make them arrogant and 
overbearing; whereas the eldest are not always 
the wisest, ch. xxxii. 9. 

IV. He charges him with a contempt of the 
counsels and comforts that were given him by his 
friends; {v. 11.) Are the consolations of God small 
with thee? 1. Eliphaz takes it ill that Job did not 
value the cctiforts, which he and his friends admi- 



nisterea to him, more than it seems he did, and did 
not welcome every word they said as true and im- 
portant. It is true, they had said some very good 
things, but, in their application to Job, thev were 
miserable comforters. Note, We are apt to think 
that gieat and considerable, which we oursehes 
say, when others perhaps, with good reason, think 
it small and trifling. Paul found that those who 
seemed to be somewhat, yet, in conference, added 
nothing to him. Gal. ii. 6. 2. He represents tliis as 
a slight put upon divine consolations in general, as 
if they were of small account with him, whereas 
really they were not: if he had not highly valued 
them, he could not have borne up as he did under 
his sufferings. Note, (1. ) The consolations of God 
are not in themselves small. Divine comforts are 
great things, that is, the comfort which \% from 
God, especially the comfort which is in God. (2.) 
The consolations of God not being small in them- 
selves, it is very bad if they be small with us. It 
is a great affront to God, and an evidence of a de- 
generate, atpraved, mind, to disesteem and under- 
value spiritual delights, and despise the pleasant 
land. "What!" (says Eliphaz,) "is there any 
secret thing with thee? Hast thou some cordial to 
support thyself with, that is a Proprium, an Ar- 
canum, that no body else can pretend to, or knows 
any thing of?" Or, " Is there some secret sin har- 
boured and indulged in thy bosom, which hinders 
the operation of divine comforts?" None disesteem 
divine comforts but those that secretly affect the 
world and the flesh. 
i V. He charges him with opposition to God him- 
self, and to reUgion; (x*. 12, 13.) " Why doth thine 
heart carry thee away into such indecent, irreli- 
gious, expressions?" Note, Every man is tempted, 
when he is drawn away of his own lust. Jam. i. 14. 
If we fly off from God and our duty, or fly out into 
any thing amiss, it is our own heart that carries us 
away. If thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. 
There is a violence, an ungovernable impetus, in 
the turnings of the soul; the corrupt heart carries 
men away, as it were, by force, against their con- 
victions. "What is it that thine eyes wink -At} 
Why so careless and mindless of what is said to 
thee, hearing it as if thou wert half asleep? Why 
so scornful, disdaining what we sav, as if it were 
below thee to take notice of it? What have we 
said, that deserves to be thus slighted > Nay, that 
thou turnest thy spirit against God.?" It was bi'd 
that his heart was carried away from God, t)ut 
much worse that it was turned against God. But 
they that forsake God will soon break out in open 
enmity to him. But how did this appear? "Thou 
lettest such words go out of thy mouth, reflc'-.ting 
on God, and his justice and goodness." It is the 
character of the wicked, that they set their ?nouth 
against the heavens, (Ps. Ixxiii. 9.) which is a 
certain indication that the spirit is turned against 
God. He thought Job's spirit was soured against 
God, and so turned from what it had been, and exas- 
perated at his dealings with him. Eliphaz wanted 
candour and charity, else he would not have put 
such a harsh construction upon the speeches of one 
that had such a settled reputation for piety, and 
was now in temptation. This was, in effect, to give 
the cause on Satan's side, and to own that Job had 
done as Satan said he would, had ciosed God to his 
face. 

VI. He charges hinj with justifying himself to 
that degree as even to deny his sharein the com- 
mon corruption and pollution of. the human nature, 
{v. 14.) What is man, that he should be clean? 
that is, that he should pretend to be so, or that an<5 
should expect to find him so. What is he, that is 
born of a woman, a sinful woman, that he should 
be righteous? Note, 1. Righteousness is cleanness; 



18 



JOB, XV. 



it makes us acceptable to God, and easy to our- 
selves, Ps. xviii. 24. 2. Man, in his fallen state, 
cannot pretend to be clean and righteous before 
God, either to acquit himself to God's justice, or 
recommend himself to his favour. 3. He is there- 
fore to be adjudged unclean and unrighteous, be- 
cause born of a woman, from whom he derives a 
corrupt nature, which is both his guilt and his pol- 
lution. With these plain truths Eliphaz thinks to 
convince Job, whereas he had just now said the 
same; (ch. xi\. 4.) Who can bring a clean thing 
out of an unclean? But does it therefore follow 
that Job is a hypocrite, and a wicked man, which 
is all that he denied.' By no means. Thougli man, 
as born of a woman, is not clean, yet, as born again 
of the Spirit, he is. 
Further to evince this, he here shows, 
(1.) That the brightest creatures aie imperfect 
and impure before God, v. 15. God places no con- 
fidence in saints and angels; he employs both, but 
trusts neither with his service, without giving them 
fresh supplies of strength and wisdom for it, as 
knowing they are not sufficient of themselves, nei- 
ther more nor better than his grace makes them. 
He takes no complacency in the heavens them- 
selves. How pure soever they seem to us, in his 
eye they have many a speck and many a flaw; 
The heavens are not clean in his sight. If the stars 
(says Mr. Caryl) have no light in the sight of the 
sun, what light has the sun in the sight of God? 
See Isa. xxiv. 23. 

(2.) That man is much more so; {v. 16.) Hotv 
much more abominable and filthy is man.' If saints 
ai-e not to be trusted, much less sinners. If the 
hea\ens are not pure, which are as God made 
them, much less man, who is degenerated. Nay, 
he is abominable and filthy in the sight of God, 
and, if ever he repent, he is so in his own sight, 
and therefore he abhors himself. Sin is an odious 
thing, it makes men hateful. The body of sin is so, 
and is therefore called a dead body, a loathsome 
thing. Such is the filthiness of man, that he drinks 
iniquity (that abominable thing which the Lord 
hates) as greedily, and with as much pleasure, as a 
man drinks water when he is thirsty. It is his con- 
stant di-ink; it is natural to sinners to commit ini- 
quity. It gratifies, but does not satisfy, the appetites 
of the old man. It is like water to a man in a dropsy. 
The more men sin, the more they would sin, 

17. 1 will show thee, hear me; and that 
which I have seen I will declare ; 1 8. 
Which wise men have told from their fa- 
thers, and have not hid it : 1 9. Unto 
whom alone the earth was given, and no 
stranger passed among them. 20. The 
wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, 
and the number of years is hidden to the 
oppressor. 21. A dreadful sound is in his 
ears : in prosperity the destroyer shall come 
upon him. 22. He believeth not that he 
shall return out of darkness, and he is wait- 
ed for of the sword. 23. He wandereth 
abroad for bread, saying., Where is it? he 
knoweth that the day of darkness is ready 
nt his hand. 24. Trouble and anguish shall 
make him afraid ; they shall prevail against 
him, as a king ready to the battle. 25. 
For he strotrheth out his hand against God, 
and strengthcnoth himself against the Al- 
mighty. 26. He runneth upon him, even 



on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his 
bucklers ; 27. Because he covereth his face 
with his fatness, and maketh collops of fal 
on his flanks. 28. And he dwelleth in 
desolate cities, and in houses which no man 
inhabiteth, v\hich are ready to become 
heaps. 29. He shall not be rich, neither 
shall liis substance continue, neither shall 
he prolong the perfection thereof upon the 
earth. 30. He shall not depart out of dark- 
ness : the flame shall diy up his branches, 
and by the breath of his mouth shall he go 
away. 31. Let not him that is deceived 
trust in vanity ; for vanity shall be his re- 
compense. 32. It shall be accomplished 
before his time, and his branch shall not be 
green. 33. He shall shake off his unripe 
grape as the vine, and shall cast off his 
flower as the olive. 34. For the congrega- 
tion of hypocrites shall he desolate, and fire 
shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. 
35. They conceive mischief, and bring forth 
vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit. 

Eliphaz, having reproved Job for his answers, 
here comes to maintain his own thesis, upon which 
he built his censure of Job. His opinion is. That 
those who are wicked are certainly miserable; 
whence he would infer, that those who are misera- 
ble are certainly wicked, and that therefore Job 
was so. Observe, 

I. His solemn preface to this discourse, in which 
he bespeaks Job's attention, which he had little 
reason to expect, he having given so little heed to, 
and put so little value upon, what Job had said; 
{y. 17.) "I will show thee that which is worth 
hearing, and not reason, as thou dost, with unpro- 
fitable talk. " Thus apt are men, when they condemn 
the reasonings of others, to commend their own. 
He promises to teach him, 1. From his own expe- 
rience and observation; " That which I have my- 
self seen in divers instances, I will declare." It ib 
of good use to take notice of the providences of 
God concerning the children of men, from which 
many a good lesson may be learned. What gord 
observations we have made, and ha\ e found benefit 
by ourselves, we should be ready to communicate 
for the benefit of others: and we may then speak 
boldly, when we declare what we have seen. 2. 
From the wisdom of the ancients, {y. 18.) ivhich 
wise men have told from their fathers. Note, The 
wisdom and learning of the modems are ^ ery much 
derived from that of the ancients. Good children 
will learn a good deal from their good parents: and 
what we have learned from our ancestors we must 
transmit to our posterity, and not hide from the 
generations to come. See Ps. Ixxviii. 3- -6. If the 
thread of the knowledge of many ages be cutoff by 
the carelessness of one, and nothing be done to pre 
serve it pure and entire, all that succeed, fare the 
worse. The authorities Eliphaz vouched, were au- 
thorities indeed, men of rank and figure, (t. 19.) 
unto whom alone the earth was given, and there- 
fore you mav svippose them fiivourites (>f Heaven, 
and best capable of making observations concerning 
the affairs of this earth. The dictates of wisdom 
come with advantage from those who are in places 
of dignity and power, as Solomon; yet there is a 
wisdom vjhich none of the firinces of this world 
knew, 1 Cor. ii. 7, 8. 
II. The discourse itself. He here aims to show 



JOB, XV. 



79 



1. Th?.t those who are wise and good do ordina- 
rily prosper in this world. This he only hints at, 
c 19. That those of whose mind he was, were 
such as had the earth given to them, and to them 
only; they enjoyed it entirely and peaceably, and no 
stranger passed among them, either to share with 
them, or to give disturbance to them. Job had said. 
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, 
ch. ix. 24. "No," says Eliphaz, " it is given into 
the hands of the saints, and runs along with the faith 
committed unto them. And they are not robbed 
and plundered by strangers and enemies making in- 
roads upon them, as thou art by the Sabean's and 
Chaldeans." But because many of God's people 
have remarkably prospered in this world, as Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob, it does not therefore follow, 
that those who are crossed and impoverished, as 
Job, are not God's people. 

2. That wicked people, and particularly oppres- 
sors, and tyrannizing rulers, are subject to continual 
terrors, live very uncomfortably, and perish very 
miserably. On this head he enlarges, showing that 
even they who impiously dare God's judgments, yet 
cannot but dread them, and will feel them at last. 
He speaks in the singular number, the wicked man, 
meaning, as some think, Nimrod, or perhaps Che- 
dorlaomer, or some such mighty hunter before the 
Lord. I fear he meant Job himself, whom he ex- 
pressly charges both with the tyranny, and with 
the timorousness, here described, ch, xxii. 9, 10. 
Here he thinks the application easy, and that Job 
might, in this description, as in a glass, see his own 
face. Now, 

(1.) Let us see how he describes the sinner who 
lives thus miserably. He does not begin with that, 
but brings it in as a reason of his doom, v. 25. •28. 
It is no ordinary sinner, but one of the first rate, an 
nfi/iressor, {v. 20. ) a blasfihemer, and a fiersecutor, 
one that neither fears God, nor regards man. 

[1.] He bids defiance to God, and to his authori- 
ty and power, v. 25. Tell him of the divine law, 
and its obligations; he breaks those bonds asunder, 
and will not have, no not him that made him, to re- 
strain him or rule over him. Tell him of the divine 
wrath, and its terrors; he bids the Almighty do his 
worst, he will have his will, he will have his way, 
in spite of him, and will not be controlled by law, or 
conscience, or the notices of a judgment to come. 
He stretches out his hand against God, in defiance 
of him, and of the power of his wrath. God is in- 
deed out of his reach, but he stretches out his hand 
against him, to show, that, if it were in his power, 
he would ungod him. 

This applies to the audacious impiety of some 
sinners, who are really haters of God, (Rom. i. 30.) 
and whose carnal mind is not only an enemy to him, 
but enmity itself, Rom. viii. 7. But, alas! the sin- 
ner's malice is as impotent as it is impudent; what 
can he do? He strengthens himself (he would be 
valiant, so some read it) against the Almighty; he 
thinks with his exorbitant despotic power to change 
times and laws, (Dan. vii. 25. ) and, in spite of Pro- 
vidence, to carry the day for rapine and wrong, 
clear of the check of conscience. Note, It is the 
prodigious madness of presumptuous sinners, that 
they enter the lists with Omnipotence. Woe unto 
him that strives with hi<i IVTaker. That is generally 
taken for a further description of the sinner's daring 
presumption; (x'. 26.) He m.-is ufion him, upon 
God himself, in a direct opposition to him, to his 
precepts and providences, even upon his neck, as a 
desperate combatant, wher t*^ finds himself an un- 
equal match for his adversary, flies in his face, 
though, at the same time, he tails on his sword's 
point, or the shai-p spike of his buckler. Sinners, in 
general, run from God; but the presumptuous sin- 
ner, who sins with a high hand, runs ufion him. 



fights against him, and bids defiance to him ; and it is 
easy to foretell what will be the issue. 

[2.] He wraps himself up in security and sensu- 
ality; {v. 27.) He covers hi^ face with hi^ fatness. 
This signifies both the pampering of his fiesh with 
daily delicious fare, and the hardening of his heart 
thereby against the judgments of God. Note, The 
gratifying of the appetites of the body, feeding and 
feasting that to the full, often turns to the damage (f 
the soul and its interests. Why is God forgotten 
and slighted, but because the belly is made a god of, 
and happiness placed in the delights of sense? They 
that fill themselves with wine and strong drink, 
abandon all that is serious, and flatter themselves 
with hopes that to-morrow shall be as this day, Isa, 
Ivi. 12. Woe to them that are thus at ease in Zion, 
Amos vi. 1, 3, 4. Luke xii. 19. The fat that co- 
vers his fare, makes him look bold and haughty, 
and that which covers his flanks, makes him lie 
easy and soft, and feel little; but this will prove 
poor shelter against the darts of God's wrath. 

[3.] He enriches himself with the spoils of all 
about him, v. 28. He dwellsin cities which he him- 
self has made desolate by expelling the inhabitants 
out of them, that he might be placed alone in them, 
Isa. V. 8. Proud and cruel men take a strange 
pleasure in ruins, when they are of their own mak- 
ing; in destroying cities, (Ps. ix. 6.) and triumph- 
ing in the destruction, since they cannot make them 
their own, but by making them ready to become 
heaps, and frightening the inhabitants out of them. 
Note, Those that aim to engross the world to them- 
selves, and grasp at all, lose the comfort of all, and 
make themselves miserable in the midst of all. How 
does this tj^rant gain his point, and make himself 
master of cities that have all the marks of antiquity 
upon them? We are told, (v. 35.) he does it by 
malice and falsehood, the two chief ingredients of 
his wickedness, who was a liar and a murderer from 
the beginning; they conceive mischief, and then they 
effect it by preparing deceit, pretending to protect 
those whom they design to subdue, and making 
leagues of peace, the more effectually to carry on 
the operations of war. From such wicked men 
God deliver all good men. 

(2.) Let us see now what is the miserable condi- 
tion of this wicked man, both in spiritual and tem- 
poral judgments. 

[1.] His inward peace is continually disturbed. 
He seems to those about him to be easy, who, there- 
fore, envy him, and wish themselves in his condi- 
tion, but He who knows what is in men, tells usthat 
a wicked man has so little comfort and satisfaction 
in his own bi'east, that he is rather to be pitied than 
envied. 

First, His own conscience accuses him, and, with 
the pangs and throes of that, he travaileth in fiain 
all his da^, x<. 20. He is continually uneasy at the 
thought of the cruelties he has been guilty of, and 
the blood in which he has imbued his hands; his 
sins stare him in the face at every turn. Diri con- 
scia facti mens habet attonitos — Conscious guilt as- 
tonishes and confounds. 

Secondly, He is vexed at the uncertainty of the 
continuance of his wealth and power; the number 
of years is hidden to the opfiressor. He knows, 
whatever- he pretends, that it will not last always, 
and has reason to fear that it will not last long, and 
this he frets at. 

Thirdly, He is under a certain fearfil expectation 
of judgment and fiery indignation, (Heb. x. 27.) 
which puts him into, and keeps him in, a continual 
terror and consternation, so that he dwells with 
Cain in the land of Nod, or commotion, (Gen. iv. 
16.) and is made like Pashur, Magor-mis^abib — A 
terror round about, Jer. xx. 3, 4. A dreadful sound 
is in his ears, v. 21. He knows that both Heaven 



80 



JOB, XV. 



and earth are i.^censed against him, that God is 
angry with him, and that all the world hates him; 
he has done nothing to make his peace with either, 
and therefore he thinks that every r ne who meets 
him ivill i/ay him, (ien. i\ . 14. Or, like u m;m ab- 
sronding for debt, wlio thinks every man a bailiff. 
Fear r;ime in, at first, with sin, (Gen. iii. 10.) and 
still attends it. Even in prosperity, he is appre- 
hensive that the destroyer will come upon him, 
cither some destroying angel sent of God to avenge 
his quarrel, or snnne of his injured subjects who will 
be their own avengers. Those who are the terror 
of the mighty in the land of the living, usually go 
down slain to the pit, (Ezek. xxxii. 25.) the ex- 
pectation of wliich makes them a terror to them- 
selves. This is further set forth, v. 22. that he is, 
in his own apprehension, waited for of the sword; 
for he knows that he who killeth with the sword, 
must be killed with the sword. Rev. xiii. 10. A 
guilty conscience represents to the sinner a flammg 
sword turning everu way, (Gen. iii. 24.) and him- 
self inevitably running on it. Again, {v. 23.) He 
knows that the day of darkness, (or the night of 
darkness rather) is ready at his hand, that it is ap- 

Eointed to him, and cannot be put by, that it is 
astening on apace, and cannot be put oflT. This 
day of darkness is something beyond death ; it is that 
day of the Lord which, to all wicked people, will 
be darkness and not light, and in which they will be 
doomed to utter, endless, darkness. Note, Some 
wicked people, though they seem secure, have al- 
ready received the sentence of death, eternal death, 
withm themselves, and plainly see hell gaping for 
them. No marvel that it follows, {v. 24.) Trouble 
and anguish (that inward tribulation and anguish of 
soul spoken of, Rom. ii. 8, 9. which is the effect of 
God's indignation and wrath fastening upon the 
conscience) shall make him afraid of worse to come. 
What is the hell before him, if this be the hell with- 
mhim? And though he would fain shake off his 
feais, drink them away, and jest them away, it will 
not do; they shall firex>ail against him, and over- 
power him, as a king ready to the battle, with forces 
too strong to be resisted. He that would keep his 
peace, let him keep a good conscience. , 

Fourthly, If at any time he be in trouble, he de- 
spairs of getting out; (t'. 22.) He believeth not that 
he shall return out of darkness, but he gives him- 
self up for gone and lost in an endless night. Good 
men expect light at evening time, light out of 
darkness; but what reason have they to expect that 
they shall return out of the darkness of trouble, who 
would not return from the darkness of sin, but went 
on in it? Ps. Ixxxii. 5. It is the misery of damned 
sinners, that thev know they shall never return out 
of that utter darkness, nor pass the gulf there fixed. 

Fifthly, He perplexes himself with continual 
care, especially if Prov'dence ever so Sttle frown 
upon him, t. 2". Such a dread he has of poverty, 
and svich a waste docs he discern upon his estate, 
that. he is already, in his own imagination, wander- 
ing abroad for bread, going ri-bei^ging for a meal's 
meat, and saying, JVhere is it? The rich man, in 
his abundance, cried out. What shall I do? Luke 
xii. 17. Perhaps he pretends fear of wanting, as an 
excuse of his covetous practices; jnstlv m;iy he be 
brought to tliis extremity at last We read of those 
who TOr7r full, but have hired out themselves for 
bread, (1 Snm. ii. 5.) which this sinner will not do; 
he cannot dig, he is too fat, {v. 27.) but to beg he 
may well be ashamed. See Ps. cix. 10. David 
never saw the righteous so far forsaken as to beg 
their bread, for, verilv, they shall be fed by the 
charitable, unasked, Ps. xxxvii. 3, 25. But the 
wicked want it, and cannot expect it should be 
readily sriven them. How should they find mercy, 
who never showed mercy.'' 



[2.] Hi J outward prosperity will so<ni ccme fi 
an end, and all his confidence, and all his comfoit, 
will come to an end with it. How can he j)ro^per, 
when God runs upon him? So some understand 
that, V. 26. Whom God runs ufion, he will cer 
tainly run down; for when he judges, he will o\ er- 
come. See how the judgments of God cross this 
worldly wicked man in all his cares, desires, and 
projects, and so complete his misery. 

First, He is in care to get, but he shallnot be rich, 
V. 29. His own covetous mind keeps him from be- 
ing truly rich. He is not rich, that has not enough; 
and he has not enough, that does not think he has. 
It is contentment only that is great gain. Provi 
dence remarkably keeps some from being rich, de- 
feating their enterprises, breaking their measures, 
and keeping them always behind-hi'.nd. Many that 
get much by fraud and injustice, yet do not grow 
rich; it goes as it comes, it is got by one sin, and 
spent upon another. 

Secondly, He is in care to keep what he has got, 
but in vain, his substance shall not continue; it will 
dwindle and come to nothing, God blasts it, and what 
came up in a night, fierish/s in a night. Health, got- 
ten by vanity, will certainly be diminished. Some 
have themselves lived to see the ruin of those estates 
which have been raised by oppression; it goes, how- 
ever, with a curse to those who succeed. De male 
quBesitis vix gaudet tertius heeres — Ill-gotten pro- 
perty will scarcely be enjoyed by the third genera- 
tion. He purchases estates to him and his heirs for 
ever; but to what purpose? He shall not prolong 
the perfection thereof upon the earth; neither the 
credit nor the comfort of his riches shall be pro- 
longed; and, when those are gone, where is the per- 
fection of them? How indeed can we expect the 
perfection of any thing to be prolonged upon the 
earth, where every thing is transitory, and we soon 
see the end of all perfection? 

Thirdly, He is in care to leave what he has got 
and kept, to his children after him; but in this he 
is crossed, the branches of his family shall perish, 
in whom he hoped to have lived and flourished, and 
to have had the reputation of making them all great 
men. They shall not be green, v. 32. The Jlamt 
shall dry them up, v. 30. He shall shake them off 
as blossoms that never knit, or as the unripe grape, 
V. 33. They shall die in the beginningof their days, 
and never come to maturity Many a man's fami- 
ly is ruined by his iniquity. 

Fourthly, He is in care to enjoy it a great while 
himself; but in that also he is crossed. 1. He may 
perhaps be taken from it; {v. 30.) By the breath 
of God's mouth — (that is, by his wrath, which, like 
a stream of brimstone, kindles the fire that devours 
him, Isa. xxx. 33. Or, by his word; he spe:\ks, and 
it is done immediately) — shall he go away, and leave 
his wealth to others. This night, thy soul shali 
be required of thee; and so the wicked is driven 
away in his wickedness, the worldling in his world- 
liness. 2. It may perhaps be taken from him, and 
fly away like an eagle toward heaven: It shall be 
accomplished (or cut off) before his time, {v. 32.) 
that is. He shall survive his prosperity, and see him- 
self stripped of it. 

Fifthly, He is in care, when he is in trouble, how 
to get out of it; (not how to get good by it;) but in 
this also he is crossed; {v. 30.) He shall not depart 
out of darkness; when he begins to fall, like Hn- 
man, down with him. It was said of him, {v. 22.) 
He believeth not that he shall return out of dark- 
ness; he frightened himself with the perpetuity d 
his calamity, and God also shall choose his delusir-vs, 
and bring his fears upon him, (Isn. lx\i. 4.) as lu- 
did upon Israel, Numb. xiv. 28. God snys, Am.en, 
to his distrust and despair. 

Sixthly, He is in care to secure his partners, anrl 



hopes to secure himself by his partnership with 
them; but that is in vain too, x'. 34, 35. The con- 
gregation of them, the whole confederacy, they, 
and all their tabernacles, shall be desolate, and con- 
sumed with fire. Hypocrisy and bribery are here 
charged upon them; that is, deceitful dealing both 
with God and man: God affronted, under colour of 
religion, man wronged, under colour of justice. It 
:s impossible that these should end well. Though 
hand join in hand for the support of these pei-fidi- 
ous practices, yet shall not the wicked go unfiunished. 
(3. ) Tlie use and application of all this. Will the 
pi-osperitv of presumptuous sinners end thus mise- 
rably? Then, {y. 31.) Let not him that is deceived 
trust in vanity. Let the mischiefs which befall 
others be our warnings, and let not us rest on that 
broken reed which always failed those who leaned 
on it. [1.] Those who trust to their sinful ways of 
getting wealth, trust in vanity, and vanity will be 
(heir recomfiense, for they shill not get what they 
expected. Their arts will deceive them, and per- 
haps ruin them in this world. [2.] Those who 
trust to their wealth when they have gotten it, es- 
pecially to the wealth they have gotten dishonestly, 
trust in vanity, for it will yield them no satisfaction. 
The guilt that cleaves to it, will ruin the joy of it. 
They sow the wind, and will reap the whirlwind, 
and will own, at length, with the utmost confusion, 
that a deceived heart turned them aside, and that 
they cheated themselves with a lie in their right 
hand, 

CHAP. XVI. 

Thi.s chapter begins Job's reply to that discourse of Eliphaz 
which we had in the foregoin<r ehapterj it is but the se- 
cond part of the same song of lamentation with which he 
had before bemoaned himself, and set to the same me- 
lancholy tune. I. He upbraids his friends with their un- 
kind usage of him, v. 1 . . 6. II. He represents his own 
case as very deplorable upon all accounts, v. 6 . . 16. III. 
He still holds fast his integrity, concerning which he 
appeals to God's righteous judgment, from the unrigh- 
teous censures of his friends, v. 17 . . 22. 



1. rj^HEN Job answered and said, 2. I 
JL have heard many such things : mise- 
rable comforters cnr ye all. 3. Shall vain 
words have an end? or what emboldeneth 
ihee that thou answerest? 4. I also could 
speak as ye do : if your soul were in my 
^uPs stead, I could heap up words against 
you, and shake my head at you. 5. But 
I would strengthen you with my mouth, 
and the moving of my lips should assuage 
i/our grief. 

Both Job and his friends took the same way that 
disputants commonly take, which is, to undervalue 
one another's sense, and wisdom, and management. 
The longer the saw. of contention is drawn, the 
hotter it grows; and the beginning of this sort of 
strife is as the letting forth of water, therefore leave 
it: off before it be meddled with. Eliphaz had re- 
presented Job's discourses as idle and unprofitable, 
and nothing to the purpose; and Job here gives his 
the same character. Those who are free in passing 
such censures, must expect to have them retoited; 
it is easy, it is endless: but Cut bono? — What good 
does it do? It will stir up men's passions, but will 
never convince their judgments, nor set truth in a 
clear light. 

Job here reproves Eliphaz, 

1 For needless repetitions; {v. 2.) "/ have 
heard many such things. You tell me nothing but 
what I knew before; nothing but what you your- 
selves ha\ e before said; you offer nothing new, it is 

Vol. III. — L 



JOB, XVI. 81 

the same thing over and over again;" which Job 
thinks as great a trial of his patience as almost any 
of his troubles. The inculcating of the same thmgs 
thus by an adversary, is indeed provoking and 
nauseous, but by a teacher it is often necessary, 
and must not be grievous to the learner, to whom 
firece/it must be u/ion precept, and line upon line. 
Many things we have heard, which it is good for 
us to hear again, that we may understand and re- 
member them belter, and be more affected with 
them, and influenced by them. 

2. For unskilful applications. They came with 
a design to comfoi-t him, but they went about it very 
awkwardly, and, when they touched Job's case, 
quite mistook it; " Miserable comforters are ye all, 
who, instead of offering any thing to alleviate the 
affliction, add affliction to it, and make it yet 
more grievous." The patient's case is sad indeed, 
when his medicines are poisons, and his physicians 
his worst disease. What Job says here of his 
friends, is ti-ue of all creatures, in comparison with 
God, and, one time or other, we shall be made to 
see it and own it, that miserable comforters are 
they all. When we are under convictions of sin, 
terrors of conscience, and the arrests of death, it is 
only the blessed Spirit that can comfort effectually; 
all others, without him, do it miserably, and sing 
songs to a heavy heart, to no purpose. 

3. For endless impertinence. Job wishes that 
vain words might have an end, x'. 3. If vain, it 
were well that they were never begun, and the 
sooner they are ended the better. Those who are 
so wise as to speak to the purpose, will be so wise 
as to know when they have said enough of a thing, 
and when it is time to break off. 

4. For causeless obstinacy. JVhat emboldeneth 
thee, that thou answerest?' It is very rash and 
unjust confidence, with Eliphaz, to charge men 
with those crimes which we cannot prove upon 
them, to pass a judgment on men's spiritual state, 
upon the view of their outward condition, and to 
re-advance those objections which have been again 
and again answered. 

5. For the violation of the sacred laws of friend- 
ship; doing by his brother as he would not have 
been done by, and as his brother would not have 
done by him. This is a cutting reproof, and very- 
affecting, V. 4, 5. 

(1.) He desires his friends, in imagination, for a 
little while, to change conditions with him, to put 
their souls in his soul's stead; to suppose themselves 
in misery like him. and him at ease like them. 
This was no absurd or foreign supposition, but what 
might quickly become true in fact; so strange, so 
sudden, frequently, are the vicissitudes of human 
affairs, and such the turns of the wheel, that the 
spokes soon change places. Whatever our bre- 
thren's sorrows are, we ought by sympathv to make 
them our own, because we know not how "soon they 
may be so. 

(2.) He represents the unkindness of their con- 
duct toward him, by showing what he could do to 
them, if they were in his condition. I could speak 
as ye do. It is an easy thhig to trample upon those 
that are down, and to find faidt with what those say 
that are in extremity of pain and affliction. "1 
could heap up words against you, as you do against 
me; and how would you like it? How would vou 
bear it.'" ^ 

(3.) He shows them what they should do, by 
telling them what, in that case, he would do; {v. 5.) 
" I would strengthen you, and say all I could to 
assuage your grief, but nothing to aggravate it." 
It is natural to sufferers to think what' they would 
do, if the tables were turned; but perhaps our 
hearts may deceive us; we know not what we 
should do. We find it easier to discern the reason 



q^ 



JOB, XVI. 



ableness and importance of a command, when we 
have occasion to claim the benefit of it, than when 
we have occasion to do the duty of it. See what is the 
duty we owe to our brethren in affliction. [1.] We 
should say and do all we can to strengthen them, 
suggesting to them such considerations as are pro- 
per to encourage their confidence in God, and to 
support their sinking spirits. Faith and patience 
are the strength of the afflicted; what helps these 
graces, confirms the feeble knees. [2.] To as- 
suage their grief, the causes of their grief, if pos- 
siblej_pr, however, their resentment of those causes. 
Good words cost nothing; but they may be of good 
service to those that are in sorrow, not only as it is 
some comfort to them to see their friends concerned 
for them, but as they may be so reminded of that 
which, through the prevalency of grief, was for- 
gotten. Though hard words (we say) break no 
bones, yet kind words may help to make broken 
bones rejoice; and those have the tojigue of the 
'.earned, that know how to speak a word in season 
to the weary. 

6. Though I speak, my grief is not as- 
suaged ; and though I forbear, what am I 
3ased? 7. But now he hath made me 
weary : thou hast made desolate all my 
company. 8. And thou hast filled me with 
wrinkles, which is a witness against me : 
and my leanness rising up in me beareth 
witness to my face. 9. He teareth me in 
his wrath who hateth me : he gnasheth upon 
me with his teeth ; mine enemy sharpeneth 
hi? eyes upon me. 10. They have gaped 
upon me with their mouth ; they have smitten 
me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have 
gathered themselves together against me. 
11. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, 
and turned me over into the hands of the 
wicked. 12. I was at ease, but he hath 
broken me asunder : he hath also taken me 
by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and 
set me up for his mark. 13, His archers 
compass me round about ; he cleaveth my 
reins asunder, and doth not spare ; he pour- 
eth out my gall upon the ground. 14. He 
breaketli me with breach upon breach ; he 
runneth upon me like a giant. 1 5. I have 
sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled 
my horn in the dust. 16. My face is foul 
with weeping, and on mine eyelids is the 
shadow of death ; 

Job's complaint is here as bitter as any where in 
all his discourses, and he is at a stand whether to 
smother it or to give it vent. Sometimes the one, 
and sometimes the other, is a relief to the afflicted, 
according as the temper or the circumstances are; 
but Jol) found help by neither, v. 6. (1.) Some- 
times giving vent to grief gives ease; but, " Though 
I sficafc," (says Job,) " nuj grief is not assuaged, 
my spirit is never the lighter for the pouring out of 
my complaint; nay, what I speak is so misconstrued 
as to be turned to the aggravation of my grief." 
(2.) At other times, kec])ing silence makes the 
trouble the easier and the sooner forgotten; but 
(says Job) though T forbear, I am never the nearer; 
irhat am leased? If he complained, he was cen- 
sured as passionate; if not, as sullen. If he main- 



tained his integrity, that was his crime; if he made 
no answer to their accusations, his silence v^as taken 
for a confession of his guilt. 

Here is a doleful representation of Job's grie- 
vances. O what reason ha\ e we to bless God, that 
we are not making such complaints! He complains, 

1. That his family was scattered; {v. 7.) "He 
hath made me weary, weary of speaking, weary of 
forbearing, weary of my friends, weary of life it- 
self; my journey through the world proves so very 
uncomfortable, that I am quite tired with it:" this 
made it as tiresome as any thing, that all his com- 
pany was made desolate; his children and servants 
being killed, and the poor remains of his great 
household dispersed. The company of good peo 
pie, that used to meet at his house for religious 
worship, was now scattered, and he spent his sab- 
baths in silence and solitude. He had company in- 
deed, but such as he would rather have been v» ith- 
out, for they seemed to triumph in his desolation. 
If lovers and friends are put far from us, we must 
see and own God's hand in it, making our company 
desolate. 

2. That his body was worn away with diseases 
and pains, so that he was become a perfect skele- 
ton, nothing but skin and bones, v. 8. His face was 
furrowed, not with age, but sickness; l^hou hast 
filled me with wrinkles. His flesh was wasted with 
the running of his sore boils, so that his leanness 
rose up in him, that is, his bones, that were not 
seen, stuck out, ch. xxxiii. 21. These are called 
witnesses against him, witnesses of God's displea- 
sure against him, and such witnesses as his friends 
produced against him to prove him a wicked man. 
Or, "They are witnesses ^br me, that my com- 
plaint is not causeless," or, " witnesses to me, that 
I am a dying man, and must be gone shortly." 

3. That his enemy was a terror to him, threat- 
ened him, frightened him, looked stern upon him, 
and gave all the indications of rage against him ; (v. 
9. ) He tears me in his wrath. But who is this enemy? 
Either, (1.) Eli/ihaz; who showed himself very 
much exasperated against him, and perhaps, had 
expressed himself with such marks of indignation 
as are here mentioned: at least, what he said tore 
Job's good name, and thundered nothing but terror 
to him; his eyes were sharpened to spy out matter 
of reproach against Job, and very barbarously both 
he and the rest of them used him. Or, (2.) ISatan; 
he was his enemy, that hated him, and perhaps, by 
the divine permission, terrified him with appari-' 
tions, as (some think) he terrified our Saviour, 
which put him into his agonies in the garden; and 
thus he aimed to make him curse God. It is not 
improbable that this is the enemy he means. Or, 
(3.) God himself: if we understand it of him, tht 
expressions are indeed as rash as any he used. 
God hates none of his creatures; but Job's melan- 
choly did thus represent to him the terrors of the 
Almighty: and nothing can be more grievous to a 
good man, than to apprehend God to. be his enemy. 
If the wrath of a king be as messengers of death, 
what is the wrath of the King of kings ! 

4. That all about him were abusive to him; {v. 
10.) They came upon him with open mouth to de- 
vour him, as if they would swallow him alive, so 
terrible were their threats, and so scornful was 
their conduct to him. They offered him all the 
indignities they could invent, and even smote him 
on the cheek; and herein many were confederate, 
they gathered themselves together against him, ever 
the' abjects, Ps. xxxv. 15. Herein Job was a type 
of Christ, as many of the ancients make him: these 
very expressions are used in the predictions of his 
sufferings; (Ps. xxii. 13.) They gafied upon me 
with their mouths; and (Mic. v. 1.) Thry shall 

I smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek, 



JOB, XVI. 



which was literally fulfilled, Matth. xxvi. 67. How 
were the\ increased that troubled him! 

5. That God, instead of delivering him out of 
their hands, as he hoped, delivered him into their 
hands; {v. 11.) He hath turned me over into the 
hands of the %uicked. They could have had no 
power against him, if it had not been given them 
from above; he therefore looks beyond them to 
God, who gave them their commission, as David 
did when Shimei cursed him; but he thinks it 
strange, and almost thinks it hard, that those 
should have power against him, who were God's 
enemies as much as his. God sometimes makes use 
of wicked men as his sword to one another, (Ps. 
xvii. 13. ) and his rod to his own children, Isa. x. 5. 
Herein also Job was a type of Christ, who was de- 
livered into wicked hands, to be crucified and slain, 
by the determinate counsel and fore-knoiviedge of 
God, Acts ii. 23. 

6. That God not only delivered him into the 
hands of the wicked, but took him into his own 
hands too, into which it is a fearful thing to fall; {v. 
12.) " I was at ease, in the comfortable enjoyment 
of the gifts of God's bounty, not fretting and un- 
easy, as some are in the midst of their prosperity, 
who thereby pro\oke God to strip, them; yet he 
has broken me asunder, put me upon the rack of 
pain, and torn me limb from limb. God, in afflict- 
mg him, had seemed, (1.) As if he were furious: 
though fury is not in God, he thought it was, when 
he took him by the neck, (as a strong man in a pas- 
sion would take a child,) and shook him to pieces, 
triumphing in the irresistible power he had to do 
what he would with him. (2.) As if he were par- 
tial; "He has distinguished me from the rest of 
mankind by this hard usage of me; he has set me 
up for his mark, the butt at which he is pleased to 
let fly all his arrows: at me they are directed, and 
they come not by chance; against me they are 
levelled, as if I were the greatest sinner of all the 
men of the east, or were singled out to be made an 
example." When God set him up for a mark, his 
archers presently compassed him round. God has 
archers at command, who will be sure to hit the 
mark that he sets up. Whoever are our enemies, 
we must look upon them as God's archers, and see 
him directing the arrow. It is the Lord; let him do 
what seemeth him good. (3.) As if he were cruel, 
and his wrath as relentless as his power was resist- 
less. As if lie contrived to touch him in the ten- 
derest part, cleaving his reins asunder with acute 
pains, perhaps they were nephritic pains, those of 
the stone, which lie in the region of the kidneys. As 
if he had no mercy in reserve for him, he does not 
spare, nor abate any thing of the extremity. And, 
as if he aimed at nothing but his death, and his 
death in the midst of the most grievous tortures, he 
flours out my gall ufion the ground. As when men 
have taken a wild beast, and killed it, they open it, 
and pour out the gall Avith a loathing of it. He 
thought his blood was poured out, as if it were not 
only not precious, but nauseous. (4.) As if he were 
unreasonable and insatiable in his executions; (v. 
14.) "He breaketh me with breach upon Oreach, 
follows me with one wound after another." So his 
troubles came at first; while one messenger of evil 
tidings was speaking, another came; and so it was 
still, new boils were rising every day, so that he 
had no prospect of the end of his troubles. Thus 
he thought that God ran upon him like a giant, 
whom he could not possibly stand before or con- 
front; as the giants of old ran down all their poor 
neighbours, and were tno hard for them. Note, 
Even good men, when they are in great and extra- 
ordinary troubles, have much ado not to entertain 
hard thoughts of God. 

7. That he had divested himself of all his honour. 



and all his comfort, in compliance with the affiicl- 
ing providences that surrounded him. Some <,aii 
lessen their own troubles by concealing them, hoki- 
ing their heads as high, and putting as good a face 
upon them, as ever; but Job could not do so; he 
received the impressions of them, and, as one truly 
penitent, and truly patient, he humbled himseli 
under the mighty hand of God, v. 15, 16. (1.) He 
now laid aside all his ornaments and soft clothing, 
consulted not either his ease or finery in his dress, 
but sewed sackcloth upon his skin; that clothing lie 
thought good enough for such a defiled distempered 
body as he had. Silks upon sores, such sores, he 
thought, would be unsuitable, sackcloth would be 
more becoming. Those are fond indeed of gay 
clothing, that will not be weaned from it by sick- 
j ness and old age, and, as Job was, {y. 8. ) bv ivrin- 
j kles and leanness. He not only fiut on sackcloth, 
but seived it on, as one that resolved to continue his 
humiliation as long as the affliction continued. (2.) 
He insisted not upon any points of honour, but 
humbled himself under humbling providences; he 
defiled his hor?i in the dust, and refused the respect 
that used to be paid to his dignity, power, and emi- 
nency. Note, When God brings down our condi- 
tion, that should bring down our spirits. Better lay 
the horn in the dust, than lift it up in contradiction 
to the designs of Providence, and have it broken at 
last. Eliphaz had represented Job as high and 
haughty, and unhumbled under his affliction; "No," 
says Job, " I know better things; the dust is now 
the fittest place for me." (3.) He banished mirth 
as utterly unseasonable, and set himself to sow in 
tears; {v. 16.) *' My face is foul with weeping no 
constantly for my sins, f(.r God's displeasure against 
me, and for my friends' unkindness; this has brought 
a shadow of death upon my eye-lids." He had not 
only wept away all his beauty, but almost wept his 
eyes out. In this also, he was a type of Christ, who 
was a man of sorrows, and much in tears, and pro- 
nounced those blessed that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted. 

1 7. Not for ani/ injustice in my hands : 
also my prayer is pure. 18. O earth, cover 
not thou my blood, and let my cry have no 
place. 19. Also now, behold, my witness 
is in lieaven, and my record is on high. 20. 
My friends scorn me ; but mine eye poureth 
out fem^s unto God. 21. Oh that one might 
plead for a man with God, as a man plead- 
eth for his neighbour! 22. When a few 
years are come, then I shall go the way 
whence I shall not return. 

Job's condition was very deplorable; but had he 
nothing to support him, nothing to comfort him? 
Yes, and he here tells us what it was. 

I. He had the testimony of his conscience for him, 
that he had walked uprightly, and had never al- 
lowed himself in any gross sin. None was ever 
more ready than he to acknowledge his sins of in- 
firmity; but, upon search, he could not charge 
himself with any enormous crime, for which he 
should be made more miserable than other men, t. 
17. He had kept a conscience void of ofl'ence, 
1. Toward men. " J\''ot for any injustice in my 
hands, any wealth that 1 have unjustly got or 
kept." Eliphaz had represented him as a tyrant 
and an oppressor; "No," says he, "I never did 
any wrong to any man, but always despised the 
gain of oppression." 2. Toward God. Jllso my 
prayer is pure; but prayer cannot be pure, as 
long as there is injustice in our hands, Isa. i. 15. 
Eliphaz had charged him with hypocrisy in reli 



84 



JOB, XVII. 



i,ion, but he specifies prayer, the great act of reli- 
i^ion, and professes that in that he was pure, though 
not from all infirmity, yet from reigning and allowed j 
guile: it was not like the prayers of the Pharisees, 
who looked no further than to be seen of men, and 
to serve a turn. I 

This assertion of his own integrity he backs with I 
a solemn imprecation of shame and confusion to ' 
himself, if it were not true, v. 18. (1.) If there 
were any injustice in his hands, he wishes it might 
not be concealed, O earth, covernot thou my blood, 
that is, "the innocent blood of others, which 1 am 
suspected to have shed." Murder will out; and 
"Let it," says Job, " if I have ever been guilty of 
it," Gen. iv. 10, 11. The day is coming when the 
earth shall diacloae her blood; (Isa. xxvi. 21.) and 
a good man is fur from dreading that day. (2. ) If 
there were any impurity in his prayers, he wishes 
they might not be accepted, Let my cry have no 1 
filace. He was willing to be judged by that rule. 
If I regard iniquity in my heart, (iod will not hear i 
me, Ps. lx\i. 18. There is another probable sense I 
of these words, that he does hereby, as it were, lay j 
his death upon his friends, who broke his heart 
with their harsh censures, and charges the guilt of 
his blood upon them, begging of God to avenge it, 
and that the cry of his blood might have no place 
in which to lie hid, but might come up to heaven, 
and be heard by him that makes inquisition for 
blood. 

II. He could appeal to God's omniscience con- 
cerning his integrity, v. 19. The witness in our 
own bosoms for us will stand us in little stead, if 
we have not a witness in heaven for us too, for God 
is greater than our hearts, and we are not to be our 
own judges; this, therefore, is Job's triumph. My 
Witness is in heaven. Note, It is an unspeakable 
comfort to a good man, when he lies under the cen- 
sure of his brethren, that there is a God in heaven, 
who knows his integrity, and will clear it up sooner 
or later. See John v. 31, 37. This one Witness 
is instead of a thousand. 

III. He had a God to go to, before whom he 
might unbosom himself, v. 20, 21. See here, 1. 
How the case stood between him and his friends; 
he knew not how to be free with them, nor could 
he expect either a fair hearing with them, or fair 
dealing from them ; " My friends (so they call them- 
selves) scorn me; they set themselves not only to 
resist me, but to expose me; they are of counsel 
against me, and use all their art and eloquence," 
(so the word signifies,) "to run me down." The 
scorns of friends are more cutting than those of 
enemies; but we must expect them, and provide 
accordingly. 2. How it stood between him and 
God. He doubted not but that, (1.) God did now 
take cognizance of his sorrows, il/me eye pours 
out tears to God. He had said, {v. 16.) that he 
wept much; here he tells us in what channel his 
tears ran, and which way they were directed: his 
sorrow was not that of the world, but he sorrowed 
after a godly sort, wept before the Lord, and offer- 
ed to him the sacrifice of a broken heart. Note, 
Even tears, when sanctified to God, give ease to 
troubled spirits; and, if men slight our grief, this 
may comfort us, that God regards them. (2.) That 
he would in due time clear up his innocency ; {v. 
21.) that one might plead for a man with God! 
If he could but now have the same freedom at 
God's bar, that men commonly have at the bar of 
the civil magistrate, he doubted not but to carry his 
cause, for the Judge himself was a witness to liis 
integrity. The language of this wish is, that (Isa. 
1. 7, 8.) I knoiv that I shall not be ashamed, for he 
is near that justifies me. Some give a gospel-sense 
cf th;s verse, and the original will very well bear 
It: and he will plead (that is, there is one that will 



plead)/o7- man with God, ex'en the Son of man, for 
fiiis friend, or neighbour. Those who pour out tear«i 
before God, though they cannot plead for them- 
selves, by reason of their distance and defects, have 
a Friend to plead for them, even the Son of man, 
and on this we must bottom all our hopes of accept- 
ance with (iod. 

IV. He had a prospect of death, which would 
put a period to all his troubles: such confidence had 
he toward God, that he could take pleasure in 
thinking cf the approach of death, when he should 
be determined to his e\ erlasting state, as one that 
doubted not but it would be well with him then: 
Whe7i a few years are come, (the years ofnumbir 
whiih are determined and appointed to nie,) 'hen J 
shall go the way whence I shall not return. Note, 
1. To die is to go the way whence we shall not re- 
turti; it is to go a journey, a long journey, a jiurney 
for good and all; to remove from this to tinother 
country, from the world of sense to the woild of 
spirits; it is a journey to our long home; there will 
be no coming back to our state in this world, nor 
any change of our state in the other world. 2. We 
must all of us, very certainly, and very shortly, go 
this journey; and it is comfortable to those who 
keep a good conscience, to think of it, for it is the 
crown of their integrity. 

CHAP. XVII. 

In this chapter, I. Job reflects upon the harsh censures 
which his friends had passed upon him, and, looking 
upon himself as a dying man, (v. 1.) he appeals to God, 
and begs of him speedily to appear for him, and right 
him, because they had wronged him, and he knew not 
how to right himself, y. 2.. 7. But he hopes, that, 
though it should be a surprise, it will be no stumbling- 
block, to good people, to see nim thus abused, v. 8, 9. 
II. He reflects upon the vain hopes they had fed him 
with, that he should yet see good days; shelving that 
his days were just at an end, and with his body all his 
hopes would be buried in the dust, v. 10.. 16. His 
friends becoming strange to him, which greatly grieved 
him, he makes death and the grave familiar to him, 
which yielded him some comfort. 

l."M/rY breath is coirupt, my days are 
ItJ- extinct, the graves are ready for 
me. 2. Are there not mockers with me? 
and doth not mine eye continue in their pro- 
vocation ? 3, Lay down now, put me in 
a surety with thee ; who is he that will 
strike hands with me ? 4. For thou hast 
hid their heart from understanding : there- 
fore shalt thou not exalt them. 5. He that 
speaketh flattery to his friends, even the 
eyes of his children shall fail. 6. He hath 
made me also a by-word of the people, and 
aforetime I was as a tabret. 7. Mine eye 
also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my 
members are as a shadow. 8. Upright 
men shall be astonished at this, and the in- 
nocent shall stir up himself against ihe hy- 
pocrite. 9. The righteous also shall hold 
on his way, and he that hath clean hands 
shall be stronger and stronger. 

Job's discourse 1 ere is somewhat broken and in- 
terrupted, and he passes suddenly from one thing 
to another, as is usual with men in trouble: but we 
may reduce what is said here to three heads. 

I. The deplorable condition which poor Job was 
now in, which he describes, to aggravate the great 



JOB, XVII. 



85 



unkindness of his friends to him, and to justify his 
own con)plaints. Let us see what his case was. 

1. He was a dying man, v. 1. He had said, (cA. 
xvi. 22.) " When a feiv years are come, I shall go 
that long journey. " But here he corrects himself, 
"Why do I talk of years to come.'' Alas! I am just 
setting out on that journey, am now ready to be of- 
fei-ed, and the time of my departure is at hand; my 
breath is already corrupt, or broken off, my spirits 
aj"e spent, I am a gone man." It is good for e\ery 
one <^f us thus to look upon ourselves as dying, and 
especially to think of it when we are sick. We are 
dying, that is, (1.) Our life is going, for the breath 
of life is going. It is continually going forth, it is in 
our nostrils, (Isa. ii. 22.) the door at which it en- 
tered; (Gen. ii. 7.) there it is upon the threshold, 
ready to depart. Perhaps, Job's distemper obstructed 
his breathing, and short breath will, after a while, 
be no breath. Let the jlnointed of (he Lord be the 
breach of our nostrils, and let us get spiritual life 
breathed into us, and that breath will never be cor- 
rupted. (2.) Our time is ending; My days are 
extinct, are put out, as a candle, which, from the 
first lighting, is continually wasting and burning 
down, and will by degrees burn out of itself, but 
may by a thousand accidents be extinguished. Such 
is life. It concerns us, therefore, Carefully to re- 
deem the days of time, and to spend them in get- 
ting ready for the days of eternity, which will never 
be extinct. (3. ) We are expected in our long home; 
The graves are ready for me. But would not one 
gra\ e serve? Yes, but he speaks of the sepulchres of 
his fathers, to which he must be gathered: "The 
graves where they are laid, are ready for me also," 
graves in consort, the congregation of the dead. 
Wherever we go, there is but a step between us 
and the gra\ e. Whatever is unready, that is ready; 
it is a bed soon made. If the graves be ready for 
us, it concerns us to be ready for the graves. The 
graves for me, so it runs; denoting not only his ex- 
pectation of death, but his desire of it; "I have 
done with the world, and have nothing now to wish 
for but a grave." 

2. He was a desfiised man; {v. 6.) " He," (that 
is, Eliphaz, so some, or rather God, whom he all 
along acknowledges to be the Author of his calami- 
ties) •' has made ?ne a by-word of the fieofile, the 
talk of the country, a laughing-stock to many, a 
gazing-stock to all; and aforetime, or, to men's 
faces, publicly, I was as a tabret, that whoever 
chose might play upon;" tlicy made ballads of him; 
his name became a proverb; it is so still, .//s poor 
as Job. He has now made me a by-word, a reproach 
of men, whereas, aforetime, in my prosperity, I 
was as a tabret, Deliciee humani generis — The dar- 
ling of the human race, whom they were all pleased 
with. It is common for those who were honoured 
in their wealth, to be despised in their poverty. 

3. He was a man of sorrows, v. 7. He wept so 
much, that he had almost lost his sight; Mine eye 
is dim by reason of sorrow, ch. xvi. 16. The sor- 
row of the world thus works darkness and death. 
He vexed so much, that he had fretted all the flesh 
away, and was become a perfect skeleton; nothing 
but skin and bones; *' jill my members are as a sha- 
dow. I am grown so poor and thin, that I am not 
to be called a man, but the shadow of a man." 

II. The ill use which his friends made of his mi- 
series; they trampled upon him, and insulted over 
him, and condemned him as a hypocrite, because 
he was thus grievously afflicted. Hard usage! Now 
observe, 

1. How Job describes it, and what construction 
he puts upon their discourses with him. He looks 
upon himself as basely abused by them. (1.) They 
abused him with their foul censures, condemning 
hjm as ?. bad man, justly reduced thus, and exposed [ 



to contempt, v. 2. " They are mockers, who de- 
ride my calamities, and insult over me, because I 
am thus brought low. They are so with me, abusing 
me to my face, pretending friendship in their visit, 
but intending mischief. I cannot get clear of them; 
j they are continually tearing me, and thej^ will not 
" be wrought upon, either by reason or pity, to let 
fall the prosecution." (2.) They abused him too 
with their fail- promises, for in them they did but 
banter him. He reckons them {v. 5. ) among those 
that speak flattery to their friends. They all ca.ne 
to mourn with him; Eliphaz began with a commen- 
dation of him, ch. iv. 3. They had all promised 
him that he would be happy, if he would take their 
advice. Now all this he looked upon as flattery, 
and as designed to vex him so much the more. All 
this he calls their firovocation, v. 2. They did 
what they could to provoke him, and then con- 
demned him for his resentment of it; but he thinks 
himself excusable when his eye continued thus in 
their firovocation; it never ceased, and he could 
never look off it. Note, The unkindness of those 
that trample upon their friends in affliction, that 
banter and abuse them then, is enough to try, if not 
to tire, the patience even of Job himself. 

2. How he condemns it. (1.) It was a sign that 
God had hid their heart from understanding, {v. 
4.) and that in this matter they were infatuated, 
and their wonted wisdom was departed from them. 
Wisdom is a gift of God, which he grants to some, 
and withholds from others, grants at some times, 
and withholds at other times. Those that are void 
of compassion, are so far void of understanding. 
Where there is not the tenderness of a man, < ne 
may question whether there be the understanding 
of a man. (2. ) It would be a lasting reproach and 
diminution to them; Therefore shalt thou not exalt 
them. Those are certainly kept back from lionr.ur, 
whose hearts are hid from understanding. \Mien 
God infatuates men, he will abase them. Surely 
they who discover st little acquaintance with the 
methods of Providence, shall not have the honour 
of deciding this controversy! That is reserved for 
a man of better sense, and better temper, such an 
one as Elihu afterward appeared to be. (3.) It 
would entail a curse upon their families. He that 
thus violates the sacred laws of friendship, forfeits 
the benefit of it, not only for himself, but for his 
posterity. " Even the eyes of his children shall fail, 
and when they look for succour and comfort from 
their own and' their father's friends, they shall look 
in vain, as I have done, and be as much disappoint- 
ed Hs I am in you." Note, Those that wrong their 
neighbours, may, in the end, wrong their own chil- 
dren more than they are aware of. 

3. How he appeals from them to God; {y. 3.) 
Lay down now, fiut me in a surety with thee, that 
is, "Let me be assured that God will take the hear- 
ing and determining of the cause into his own hands, 
and I desire no more. Let some one engage for 
God to bring on this .matter. " Thus they whose 
heaits condemn them not, have confidence toward 
God, and can, with humble and believing boldness, 
beg of him to search and try them. Some make 
Job here to glance at the mediation of Christ, foi 
he speaks of a Surety with God, without whom he 
durst not appear before God, nor try his cause at 
his bar; for though his friends' accusations of him 
were utterly false, yet he could not justify himself 
before God but in a Mediator. Our English anno 
tations give this reading of the verse, " J/ifioint, 
I firay thee, my Surety with thee, namely, Christ, 
who is with thee in heaven, and has undertaken to 
be rny Surety: let him plead my cause, and stand 
up for me; and vjho is he then that will strike ufion 
mine hand!-'" that is, "Who dares then contend 
with me.'' Who shall lay any thi.ng to my charge. 



djS 



JOB, XVII. 



if Christ be an advocate for me?" Rom. viii. 32, 33. 
Christ is the Surety of the better testament, (Heb. 
vii. 22.) a Surety of God's appointing; and if he 
undertake for us, we need not fear what can be 
done against us. 

III. The good use which the righteous should 
make of Job's afflictions from God, from his ene- 
mies, and from his friends, v. 8, 9. Observe here, ^ 

1, How the saints are described. (1.) They are 
upright men, honest, and sincere, and that act from 
a steady principle, with a single eye. This was 
Job's own character; {c/i. i. 1.) and, probably, he 
speaks of such upright men especially as had been 
his intimates and associates. (2.) They are the 
^ innocent; not perfectly so, but it is what they aim 
at, and press toward. Sincerity is evangelical inno- 
cency, and they that ai-e upright are said to be i?i- 
nocent from the great trayisgression, Ps. xix. 13. 
(3.) They are the righteous, who walk in the way 
of righteousness. (4.) They have clean hands, 
kept clean from the gross pollutions of sin, and, 
when spotied with infirmities, washed with iiino- 
cencii, Ps. xxvi. 6. 

2.' How they should be affected with the account 
of Job's troubles. Great inquiry, no doubt, would 
be made concerning him, and every one would 
speak of him and his case; and what use will good 
people make of it? 

(1.) It will amaze them; Ufiright men shall be 
astonished at this; they will wonder to hear that so 
good a man as Job should be so grievously afflicted 
in body, name, and estate; that God should lay his 
hand so heavy upon-him, and that his friends, who 
ought to have comforted him, should add to his 
grief; that such a remarkable saint should be such 
a remarkable sufferer, and so useful a man laid 
aside in the midst of his usefulness; what shall we 
say to these things? Upright men, though satisfied, 
in general, that God is wise and holy in all he does, 
yet cannot but be astonishefl at such dispensations 
of Providence; paradoxes which will not be un- 
folded till the mystery of God shall be finished. 

(2.) It will animate them. Instead of being de- 
terred from, and discouraged in, the service of 
God, by the hard usage which this faithful ser- 
vant of God met with, they shall be so much the 
more imboldened to proceed and persevere in it. 
That which was St. Paul's care, (1 Thess. iii. 3.) 
was Job's, that no good man should be moved 
either from his holiness, or his comfort, by these 
afflictions, that none should, for the sake hereof, 
think the worse of the ways or work of God. And 
that which was St. Paul's comfort, was his too, that 
the brethren of the Lord would wax confident by 
his bonds, Philip i. 14. They would hereby be 
animated, 

[1.] To oppose sin, and to confront the corrupt 
and pernicious inferences which evil men would 
draw from Job's sufferings, as, That God has for- 
saken the earth, That it is in vain to serve him ; and 
the like; The innocent shall stir ufi himself against 
the hy/iocrife, will not bear to hear this, (Rev. ii. 2.) 
but will withstand him to his face; will stir up 
himself to search into the meaning of such provi- 
dences, and study these hard chapters, that he may 
read them readily; will stir up himself to maintain 
religion's just, biit injured, cause against all its op- 
posers. Note, The boldness of the attacks which 
profane people make upon religion, should sharpen 
*he courage and resolution of its friends and advo- 
cates. It is time to stir, when proclamation is made 
■.n the gate of the camp, Who is on the Lord's side? 
When vice is daring, it is no time for virtue, 
through fear, to hide itself. 

[2.] To persevere in religion. The righteous, 
instead of drawing back, or so much as starting 
back, at this frightful spectacle, or standing still to 



deliberate whether he should proceed or no, (allude 
to 2 Sam. ii. 23. ) shall, with so much the more con- 
stancy and resolution, hold on his way, and press 
forward. Though, in me, he foresees that bonds 
and afflictions abide him, yet none of those things 
shall move him. Acts xx. 24. Those who keep their 
eye upon heaven as their end, will keep their feet 
in the paths of religion as their way, whatever diffi- 
culties and discouragements they meet with in it. 

[3.] In order thereunto, to grow in grace. He 
will not only hold on his way notwithstanding, but 
will grow stronger and stronger, and, by the sight 
of other good men's trials, and the experience of 
his own, he will be made more vigorous and lively 
in his duty, more warm and affectionate, more reso- 
lute and undaunted: the worse others are, the bet- 
ter he will be; that which dismays others, im- 
boldens him. The blustering wind makes the tra- 
veller gather his cloak the closer about him, and 
gird it the faster. They that are truly wise and 
good, will be continually growing wiser and better. 
Proficiency in religion is a good sign of sincerity 
hi it. 

10. But as for you all, do you' return, 
and come now : for 1 cannot find 07ie wise 
man among you. 11. My days are past, my 
pui-poses are broken off, eveji the thoughts 
of my heart. 12. They change the night 
into day : the light is short because of dark- 
ness. 1 3. If I wait, the grave is my house : 
I have made my bed in the darkness. 14. 
1 have said to corruption. Thou art my fa- 
ther: to the worm. Thou art my mother 
and my sister. 15. And where is now my 
hope ? as for my hope, who shall see it ? 
^6. They shall go down to the bars of the 
pit, when our rest together is in the dust. 

Job's friends had pretended to comfort him with 
the hopes of his return to a prosperous estate again; 
now he here shows, 

I. That it was their folly to talk so; {v. 10.) 
" Return, and come now, be convinced that you 
are in an error, and let me persuade you to be of 
my mind; for / cannot find any wise man among 
you, that knows how to explain the difficulties oT 
God's pro\ idence, or how to apply the consolations 
of his promises." Those do not go wisely about 
the work of comforting the afflicted, who fetch 
their comforts from the possibility of their reco\ ery 
and enlargement in this world; though that is not to 
be despaired of, it is, at the best, uncertain, and if it 
should fail, as perhaps it may, the comfort built 
upon it will fail too. It is therefore our wisdom to 
comfort ourselves, and others, in distress, with that 
which will not fail, the promise of God, his love 
and grace, and a well-grounded hope of eternal 
life. 

11. That it would be much more his folly to 
heed them; for, 

1. All his measures were already broken, and he 
was full of confusion, T. 11, 12. He owns he had, 
in his prosperity, often pleased himself both with 
projects of what he should do, and prospects of 
what he should enjoy; but now that he looked 
upon his days as past", and drawing towards a pe- 
riod, all those purposes were broken off", and those 
expectations daslied. He had had thoughts about 
enlarging his border, incrensing his stock, and set- 
tling his children, and many pious thoughts, it i? 
likelv, of promoting religion in his cruntry, re- 
dressing grievances, reforming the profane, reliev- 



JOB, XVllL 



ing the poor, and raising funds, perhaps, for chari- 
table uses; but all these thoughts of his heart were 
now at an end, and he would never have the satis- 
faction of seeing his designs effected. Note, The 
period of our days will be the period of all our con- 
trivances and hopes for this world; but if with full 
purpose of heart we cleave to the Lord, death will 
not break off that purpose. 

Job, being thus put upon new counsels, was under 
a constant uneasiness; {v. 12. ) 7'Ae thoughts of his 
heart being broken, thejj changed the flight into 
day, and shortened the light. Some, in their vunity 
and riot, turn night into day and day into night; but 
Job did so, through trouble and anguish of spirit, 
which was a hindei'ance, (1.) To the repose of the 
night; keeping his eyes waking, so that tlie night 
was as wearisume to him as the day, and the tosses 
of the night tired him as much as the toils of the 
day. (2. ) To the entertainments of the day. ' ' The 
light of the morning is welcome, but, by reason of 
this inward darkness, tlie comfort of it is soon 
gone, and the day is to me as dismal as the black 
and dark night," Deut. xxviii. 67. See what reason 
we have to be thankful for the health and ease 
which enable us to welcome both the shadows of 
the evening and the light of the morning. 

2. All his expectations from this world would 
very shortly be buried in the grave with him; so 
that it was a jest for him to think of such mighty 
things as they had flattered him with the hopes of; 
{ch. V. 19. — viii. 21. — xi. 17.) "Alas, you do but 
make a fool of me. " 

(1.) He saw himself just dropping into the grave. 
A convenient house, an easy bed, and agreeable re- 
lations, are some of those things which we take sa- 
tisfaction in in this world: Job expected not any of 
these above ground; all he felt, and all he had in 
view, was unpleasing and disagreeable, but under 
ground he expected them. 

[1.] He counted upon no house but the grave; 
{y. 13.) " If I wait, if there be any place where 1 
shall ever be easy again, it must be in the grave. I 
should deceive myself, if I should count upon any 
outlet from my trouble but what death will give 
me. Nothing is so sure as that. " Note, In all our 
prosperity, it is good to keep death in prospect. 
Whatever we expect, let us be sure to expect that; 
for that may pre\ ent other things which we expect, 
but nothing will prevent that. But see how he en- 
deavours not only to reconcile himself to the grave, 
but to recommend it to himself: "It is my house." 
The grave is a house; to the wicked it is a prison- 
house; {ch. xxiv. 19, 20.) to the godly it is Betha- 
bara, a fiassage-house in their way home. "It is 
my house, mine by descent, I am born to it; it is my 
father's house; mine by purchase, I have made 
myself obnoxious to it." We must every one of us 
shortly remove to this house, and it is our wisdom 
to provide accordingly; let us think of removing, 
and send before to our long home. 

[2. ] He counted upon no quiet bed but in the 
darkness; "There," says he, " I have made my 
bed. It is made, for it is ready, and I am just going 
to it." The grave is a bed, for we shall rest in it 
the evening of our day on earth, and rise from it in 
the morning of our everlasting day, Isa. Ivii. 2. 
Let this make good people willing to die; it is but 
going to bed, they ai'e weary and sleepy, and it is 
time that they were in their beds; why should 
they not go willingly, when their Father calls? 
" Nay, / have made my bed, by preparation for it; 
have endeavoured to make it easy, by keeping 
conscience pure, by seeing Christ lymg in this bed, 
and so turning it into a bed of spices, and by looking 
bevond it to the resurrection. " 

[3.] He counted upon no agreeable relations but 
wiiai he had m the grave; (f. 14.) / have cried to 



corruption, that is, to the grave, where the body 
will corrupt. Thou art my father, for our bodies 
were formed out of the earth, and to the worms 
there. Ye are my mother and my sister, to whom I 
am allied, for 7nan is a worm, and with whom I 
must be conversant, for the worms shall cover us, 
ch. xxi. 26. Job complained that his kindred were 
estranged from him, {ch. xix. 13, 14.) therefore 
here he claims acquaintance with other relations, 
that would cleave to him, when those disowned 
him. Note, First, We are all of us near akin to 
corruption and the worms. Secondly, It is, there- 
fore, good to make ourselves familiar with them, by 
conversing much with them in our thoughts and 
meditations, which would very much help us above 
the inordinate lo\ e of life and fear of death. 

(2. ) He saw all his hopes from this world drop- 
ping into the grave with him; {y. 15, 16.) "Seeing 
1 must shortly leave the world, where is now m.y 
hofie? How can I expect to prosper, who do not ex- 
pect to live?" He is not hopeless, but his hope is 
not there where they would have it be. If in this 
life only he had ho/ie, he were of all men most mi- 
serable: " No, as for my hope, that hope which I 
comfort and support myself with, who shall see it? 
It is something out ot sight that I hope for, not 
things that are seen, that are temporal, but things 
not seen, that are eternal. " What is his hope, he will 
tell us, ch, xix. 25. JVon est mortale quod o/tto, 
immortale fieto — J seek not for that which fierishes, 
but for that which abides for ever. " But as for the 
hopes you would buoy me up with, they shall go 
down with me to the bars of the pit; you are dying 
men, and cannot make good your promises, I am a 
dying man, and cannot enjoy the good you promise. 
Since, therefore, our rest will be together in the 
dust, let us all lay aside the thouglits of this world, 
and set our hearts upon another." We must shortly 
be in the dust, for dust we are, dust and ashes in 
the pit, under the bars of the pit, held fast t'nei-e, 
never to loose the bands of death till the general 
resurrection. But we shall rest there, we shall rest 
together there. Job and his friends could not agree 
now, but they will both be quiet in the grave; the 
dust of that will shortly stop their mouths, and put 
an end to the controversy. Let the foresight of this 
cool the heat of all contenders, and moderate the 
disputers of this world. 

CHAP. XVIII. 

In this chapter, Bildad makes a second assault upon Job. 
hi his first discourse (ch. viii.) he had given him en- 
couragement to hope that all should yet be well with 
him. But here, there is not a word of that ; he is grown 
more peevish, and is so far from being convinced by 
Job's reasonings, that he is but more exasperated. I. 
He sharply reproves Job, as haughty and passionate, 
and obstinate in his opinion, v. 1 . . 4. II. He enlarges 
upon ihe doctrine he had before maintained, concerning 
the misery of wicked people, and the ruin that attends 
them, V. 5. .21. In which he seems, all along, to have 
an eye to Job's complaints of the miserable condition he 
was in, that he was in the dark, bewildered, ensnared, 
terrified, and hastening out of the world. " This," says 
Bildad, " is the condition of a wicked man ; and, there- 
fore, thou art one." 

l.npHEN answered Bildad the Sluihite, 
JL and said, 2. How long loill it be 
ere you lYiake an end of words ? mark, and 
afterwards we will speak. 3. Wlierefoie 
are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile 
in your sight ? 4. He teareth himself in his 
anger : shall the earth be forsaken for thee ? 
and shall the rock be removed out of his 
place ? 



88 



JOB, XVIII. 



Bildad here shoots his arrows, even bitter words, 
against poor Job, little thinking, that, though he 
was a wise and good man, in this instance he was 
serving Satan's design, in adding to his affliction. 

1. He charges him with idle, endless, talk, as 
Eliphaz had done; {cli. xv, 2, 3. ) How long ivill it 
be ere ye make an end of words? v. 2. Here he re- 
flects, not only upon Job himself, but either upon 
all the managers of the conference, (thinking, per- 
haps, that Eliphaz and Zophar did not speak so 
close to the purpose as they might have done,) or 
upon some that were present, who, possibly, took 
part with Job, and put in a word now and then in 
his favour, though it be not recorded. Bildad was 
weary of hearing others speak, and impatient till it 
came to his turn; which cannot be observed to any 
man's praise, for we ought to be swift to hear, and 
slow to speak. It is common for contenders to mo- 
nopolize the reputation of wisdom, and then to in- 
sist upon it as their privilege to be dictators. How 
unbecoming that is in others, e\ ery one can see; 
but few that are guilty of it can see it in thenri- 
selves. Time was, when Job had the last word in 
all debates; {c/i. xxix. 22.) Jfter my words they 
sfiake not again. Then he was in power and pros- 
perity; but now that he was impoverished and 
brouglit low, he could scarcely be allowed to speak 
at all, and every thing he said was as much vilihed 
as formerlv it had been magnified. Wisdom, 
therefore, (as the world goes) is good with an inhe- 
ritance; (Eccl. vii. 11.) tor the floor man's wisdom 
is despised, and, because he is poor, his words are 
r.ot heard, Eccl. ix. 16. 

2. With a regardlessness of what was said to 
him, intimated in that, Mark, and afterwards we 
will sfieak. And it is to no purpose to speak, 
though what is said be ever so much to the purpose, 
if those to whom it is spoken will not mark and 
obser\e it. Let the ear be ofiened to hear as the 
learned, and then the tongues of the learned will do 
good service, (Isa. 1. 4.) and not otherwise. It is 
an encouragement to those that speak of the things 
of God, to see the hearers attentive. 

3. With a haughty contempt and disdain of his 
friends, and of that which they offered; (r. 3.) 
IVhcrrfore are we counted as beasts? This was in- 
vidious: Job had indeed called them mockers, had 
represented them both as unwise and as unkind, 
wanting both in the reason and tenderness of men, 
but he did not count them beasts; yet Bildad so repre- 
sents it, (1.) Bee luse his high spirit resented what 
Job had said, as if it had been the greatest affront 
imagln ible. Proud men are apt to think themselves 
slighted more than really they are. (2.) Because 
his liot spiiit was willing to find a pretence to be 
hard upon Jol). Those that incline to be severe 
upon others, will have it thought that they have 
first been so upon them. 

4. WiMi outrageous passion; He teareth himself 
in his ani^er, v. 4. Herein he seems to reflect upon 
what Job had said, {ch. xiii. 14.) Wherefore do J 
take mu, flesh in my teeth? " It is thine own fault," 
says Bildad; or he reflected upon what he said, {ch. 
xvi. 9.) where he seemed to charge it up'n God; 
or, as some think, upon Eliphaz; He teareth me in 
his wrath. "No," says Bildad, "thou alone shalt 
bear it." He teareth himself in his anger. Note, 
Anger is a sin tliat is its own punishment. Fretful, 
passionate, people tear and torment themselves. 
He tearrth his soul, so the word is; every sin wounds 
the soul, tears th it, wrongs that, (Prov. viii. 36.) 
unbridled passions particularly. 

5. With a proud and arrogant expectation to give 
law even to Providence itself; "Shall the earth be 
fjrsaken for thee? Surely not; there is no reason 

for that, that tlie course of nature should be changed, 
and the settled rules of government violated, to gra- 



tify the humour of one man. Job, dos^ thou think 
the world cannot stand without thee; but that, if 
thou art ruined, all the world is ruined and forsaken 
with thee?" Some make it a reproof of Job's jus- 
tification of himself, falsely insinuating, that either 
Job was a wicked man, or we must deny a Provi- 
dence, and suppose that God has forsaken the earth, 
and the Rock of ages is removed. It is rather a 
just reproof of his passionate complaints; when we 
quarrel with the events of Providence, we forget, 
that, whatever befalls u|, it is, (1.) According to 
the eternal purpose and counsel of God. (2. ) Ac- 
cording to the written word. Thus it is written, 
that in the world we must have tribulation, that 
since we sin daily, we must expect to smart for it; 
and, (3.) According to the usual way and custom, 
the tracK. of Providence, nothing but what is com- 
mon to men: and to expect that God's counsels 
should change, his method alter, and his word fail, 
to please us, is as absurd and unreasonable as to 
think that the earth should be forsaken for us, and 
the rock removed out of its place. 

5. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be 
put out, and the spark of his fire shall not 
shine. 6. The light shall be dark in his 
tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out 
with him. 7. The steps of his strength 
shall be straitened, and his own counsel 
shall cast him down. 8. For he is cast into 
a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon 
a snare. 9. The gin shall take him by the 
heel, and the robber shall prevail against 
him. 10. The snare is laid for him in the 
ground, and a trap for him in the way. 

The rest of Bildad's discourse is entirely taken 
up in an elegant description of the miserable condi- 
tion of a wicked man, in which there is a great 
deal of certain truth, and which will be of excellent 
use, if duly considered, that a sinful condition is a 
sad condition, and that iniquity will be men's ruin, 
if they do not repent of it. But, 1. It is not true 
that all wicked people are visibly and openly made 
thus miserable in this world; nor, 2. 1 hat all who 
are brought into great distress and trouble in this 
world, are therefore to be deemed and adjudged 
wicked men, though no other proof njipears against 
them ; and therefore, though Bildad thought the ap- 
plication of it to Job was easy, yet it was not safe 
nor just. In these verses we have, 

(1.) The destruction of the wicked foreseen and 
foretold, underthe similitude of darkness; (t. 5, 6.) 
Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out. E' en 
his light, the best and brightest part of him, shall 
be put out; even that which he rejoiced in, shall 
fail him. Or, the yea may refer to Job's complaints 
of the great distress he was in, and the darkness he 
should shortly make his bed in. "Yea," says Bil- 
dad, "so it is, thou art clouded, and straitened, and 
made miserable, and no better could be expected; 
for the light of the wicked shall be put out, and 
therefore thine shall." Observe here, [1.] The 
wicked may have some light for a while, some 
pleasure, some joy, some hope, within, as well as 
wealth, and honour, and power, without. But his 
light is but a spark, {v. 5.) a little thing, and soon 
extinguished. It is but a candle, {v. 6.) wasting 
and burning down, and easily blown out. It is not 
the light of the Lord, (that is, sun-light,) but the 
light of his own fire, and sparks of his own kindling, 
Isa. 1. 11. [2.'] Light will certainly be put out at 
! length, quite put out, so that not the least spark of 



it shall remain, with which to kindle another tire. 
Even while he is in his tabernacle, while he is in the 
body, which is the tabernacle of the soul, (2 Cor. v. 
1.) the light shall be dark, he shall have no true 
solid comfort, no joy that is satisfying, no hope that 
IS supporting; even the light that is in him is 
darkness; and how great is that darkness.' But, 
when he is put out of this tabernacle by death, his 
candle shall be fiut out with him. The period of 
his life will be the final period of all his days, and 
will turn all his hopes into endless despair. Jt'hen 
a wicked man dies, his exjiectation shall perish, 
Prov. xi. 7. He shall lie down in sorrow. 

(2. ) The preparatives for that destruction repre- 
sented under the similitude of a beast or bird caught 
in a snare, or a malefactor arrested and taken into 
custody,, in oider to his punishment, v. 7 • -lO. 

[1.] Sitan is prep iiing for his destruction. He 
is the robber that shall fir ev ail against him; {y. 9.) 
for as he was a murderer, so he was a robber, from 
the beginning. He, as the tempter, lays snares for 
sinners in the way, wherever they go, and he shall 
prevail. If he make them sinful like himself, he 
will make them miserable like himself. He hunts 
for the firecioiis life. 

[2. ] He is himself preparing for his own destruc- 
tion, by going on in sin, and so treasuring ufi wrath 
against the day of wrath. God gives him up, as he 
deserves and desires, to his own counsels, and then 
his own counsels cast him down, v. 7. His sinful 
projects and pursuits bring him into mischief. He 
IS cast into a net by his own feet, (i;. 8.) runs upon 
his own destruction, is snared in the work of hia 
own hands, (Ps. ix. 16.) his own tongue falls upon 
him, Ps. Ixiv. 8. In the transgression of an evil 
man there is a snare. 

[3. ] God is preparing for his destruction. The 
sinner by his sin is preparing the fuel, and then God 
by his wrath is preparing the fire. See here, First, 
How the sinner is infatuated, to run himself into the 
snare; whom God will destroy, he infatuates. Se- 
condly, How he is embarrassed; the steps of his 
strength, his mighty designs and efforts, shall be 
straitened, so that he shall not compass what he 
intended; and the more he strives to extricate him- 
self, the more will he be entangled. Evil men wax 
worse and worse. Thirdly, How he is secured and 
kept from outrunning the judgments of God that 
are in pursuit of him; the gin shall take him by the 
heel. He can no more escape the divine wrath that 
is in pursuit of him, than a man, so held, can flee 
from the pursuer. God knows how to reserve the 
wicked for the day of judgment, 2 Pet. ii. 9. 

1 1 . Terrors shall make him afraid on 
every side, and shall drive him to his feet. 

12, His strength shall be hunger-bitten, 
and destruction shall he ready at his side. 

1 3, It shall devour the strength of his skin : 
even the first-born of death shall devour his 
strength. 14. His confidence shall be root- 
ed out of his tabernacle ; and it shall bring 
him to the king of terrors. 15, It shall 
dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none 
of his : brimstone shall be scattered upon his 
habitation. 16. His roots shall be dried up 
beneath, and above shall his branch be cut 
off, 17. His remembrance shall perish 
from the earth, and he shall have no name 
in the street. 18. He shall be driven from 
light into darkness, and chased out of the 
vvoild. 1 9, He shall neither have son nor 

Vol. III.— M 



JOB, XVIIl. 89 

nephew among his people, nor any remain- 
ing in his dwellings. 20. They that conH; 
after him shall be astonished at his day, as 
tliey that went before were affrighted. 21 
Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, 
and this is the place of him that knoweth 
not God. 



Bildad here describes the destruction itself which 
wicked people are reserved for in the other world, 
and which, in some degree, often seizes them in 
this world. Come, and see what a miserable con- 
dition the sinner is in, when his day comes to fall. 

I. See him disheartened and weakened by conti- 
nual terrors, arising from the sense of his own guilt 
and the dread of God's wrath; (f. 11, 12.) Terror 
.shall 7nake him afraid 07i every side: the terrors of 
his own conscience shall haunt him, so that he shall 
never be easy; wherever he goes, these shall follow 
him, which way soever he looks, these shall stare 
him in the face. It will make him tremble to see 
himself fought against by the whole creation, to see 
Heaven frowning on him, hell gaping for him, and 
earth sick of him. He that carries his own accuser, 
and his own tormentors, always in his bosom, can- 
not but be afraid on every side. This will drive 
him to his feet, like the malefactor, who, being con- 
scious of his guilt, flees when none pursues, rxow 
xxviii. 1. But his feet will do him no service, they 
are fast in the snare, v. 9. The sinner may as soon 
overpower the divine omnipotence, as overrun the 
divine omniscience, Amos ix. 2, 3. 

No marvel that the sinner is dispirited, and dis- 
tracted with fear, for, 1. He sees his ruin ap- 
proaching; destruction shall be ready at his side, to 
seize him whenever justice gives the word, so that 
he is brought into desolation in a moment, Ps. Ixxiii. 
19. 2. He feels himself utterly unable to grapple 
with it, either to escape it, or to bear up under it. 
That which he relied upon as his strength, (his 
wealth, power, pomp, friends, and the hardiness 
of his own spirit,) shall fail him in the time of need, 
and be hungei--bitten, that is, it shall do him no 
more service than a famished man, pining away for 
hunger, would do in work or war. The case being 
thus with him, no marvel that he is a terror to him- 
self. Note, The way of sin is a way of fear, and 
leads to everlasting confusion, of which the present 
teri'ors of an imjjure and unpacified conscience are 
earnests, as they were to Cain and Judas. 

II. See him devoured and swallowed up by a 
miserable death; and miserable indeed a wicked 
man's death is, how secure and jovial soever his 
life was. 

1. See him dying, arrested by the first bom of 
death, some disease, or some stroke that has in it 
a more than ordinary resemblance of death itself; 
so great a death, as it is called, (2 Cor. i. 10.) a 
messenger of death, that has in it an uncommon 
strength and terror: the harbingers of death rferour 
the strength of his skin, they bring rottenness into 
his bones, and consume them. His confidence shall 
then be rooted out of his tabernacle; {x>. 14.) that is, 
all that he trusts to, for his support, shall be taken 
from him, and he shall have nothing to rely upon, 
no not his own tabernacle. His own soul was his 
confidence, but that shall be rooted out of the ta- 
bernacle of the body, as a tree that cumbered the 
ground. Thy soul shall be required of thee. 

2. See him dead, and see his case then with an 
eye of faith. (1.) He is then brought to the king 
of terrors. He was surrounded with terrors while 
he lived, (x'. 11.) and death was the king of all 
those terrors; they fought against the sinner in 
death's name, for it is by reason of death that sin- 



90 



JOB, XIX. 



ners are, all their lifetime, subject to bondage, (Heb. 
ii. 15. ) and, at length, they will be brought to that 
which they so long feared, as a captive to the con- 
queror. Death is terrible to nature; our Saviour 
himself prayed, Father, save me from this hour; 
but to the wicked it is, in a special manner, the king- 
of terrors, both as it is a period to that life in which 
they placed their happiness, and a passage to that 
life where they will find their endless misery. How 
happy then are the saints, and how much indebted 
to the Lord Jesus, by whom death is so far abolish- 
ed, and the pi'operty of it altered, that this king of 
terrors is become a friend and servant! (2.) He is 
then driven from light into darkness; (y. 18.) from 
the light of this world, and his prosperous condition 
in it, into darkness, the darkness of the grave, the 
darkness of hell, into utter darkness, never to see 
light, (Ps. xlix. 19.) not the least gleam, nor any 
hopes of it. (3. ) He is then chased out of the world, 
hurried and dragged away by the messengers of 
death, sore against his will; chased as Adam out of 
paradise, for the world is his paradise. It intimates 
that he would fain stay here, he is loath to depart, 
but go he must; all the world is weary of him, and 
therefore chases him out, as glad to be rid of him. 
This is death to a wicked man. 

III. See his family sunk and cut off, v. 15. The 
wrath and curse of God light and lie, not only upon 
his head and heart, but upon his house too, to con- 
sume it, with the timber and atones thereof, Zech. 
v. 4. Death itself shall dwell in his tabernacle, and, 
having expelled him, shall take possession of his 
house, to the terror and destruction of all that he 
leaves behind; even the dwelling shall be ruined 
for the sake of its owner, brimstone shall be scat- 
tered ufion his habitation, rained upon it as upon 
Sodom, to the destruction of which this seems to 
have reference. Some think he here upbraids Job 
with the burning of his sheep and servants with fire 
from heaven. The reason is here given why his 
tabernacle is thus marked for ruin, because it is 
none of his; that is, it was unjustly got, and kept 
from the rightful owner, and therefore let him not 
pr;pect either the comfort or the continuance of it. 

His children shall perish, either with him or after 
him, V. 16. So that his roots being in his own person 
dried up. beneath, above, his branch, every child of 
his family, shall be cut off. Thus the houses of Jero- 
boam, Baasha, and Ahab were cut off; none that de- 
scended from them were left alive. They who take 
root in the earth, may expect it will thus be dried 
up; but if we be rooted in Christ, even our leaf shall 
not wither, much less shall our branch be cut off. 
Those who consult the true honour of their family, 
and the welfare of its branches, will be afraid of 
withering it by sin. The extirpation of the sinner's 
family is mentioned again ; (y. 19. ) He shall nei- 
ther have son nor nefihenv, child nor grandchild, to 
enjoy his estate, and bear up his name, nor shall 
there be any remaining in his dwelling akin to him. 
Sin entails a curse upon posterity, and the iniquity 
of the fathers is often visited upon the children. 
Herein, also, it is probable that Bildad reflects upon 
the death of Job's children and servants, as a fur- 
ther proof of his being a wicked man; whereas all 
that are written childless, are not thereby written 
graceless; there is a name better than that of sons 
and daughters. 

IV. See his memory buried with him, or made 
odious; he shall either be forgotten or spoken of 
with dishonour; {v. 17.) His remembrance shall 
tierish from the earth; and if it perish from thence, 
it perishes wholly, for it was never written in hea- 
ven, as the names of the saints are, Luke x. 20. 
^11 his honour shall he laid and lost in the dust, or 
stVmed with perpetual infamv, so that hesh '11 have 
no name in the street, departing without being de- 



sired. Thus the judgments of God follow him, af- 
ter death, in this world, as an indication of the 
misery his soul is in after death, and an earnest of 
that everlasting shame and contempt to which he 
shall rise in the great day. The memory of the 
just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot, 
rrov. X. 7. 

V. See a universal amazement at his fall, v, 20. 
They that see it are affrighted, so sudden is the 
change, so dreadful the execution, so threatening 
to all about him; and they that come after, and 
hear the report of it, are astonished at it; their ears 
are made to tingle, and their hearts to tremble, and 
they cry out, J^ord, how terrible art thou in thy 
judgments! A place or person, utterly ruined, is 
said to be made an astonishment, Deut. xxviii. 37. 
2 Chron. vii. 21. Jer. xxv. 9, 18. Horrible sins 
bring strange punishments. 

Lastly, See all this averred as the unanimous 
sense of the patriarchal age, grounded upon their 
knowledge? of God, and their many observations of 
his providence; {v. 21.) Surely such are the dwel- 
lings of the wicked, and this is the place, this the 
condition, of him that knows not God! See here 
what is the beginning, and what is the end, of the 
wickedness of this wicked world. 1. The beginning 
of it is ignorance of God, and it is a wilful ignorance, 
for there is that to be known of him which is suffi- 
cient to leave them for ever inexcusable. They 
know not God, and then they commit all sin; Pha- 
raoh knows not the Lord, and therefore will net 
obey his voice. 2. The end of it, and that is utter 
destruction. Such, so miserable, are the dwellings 
of the wicked. Vengeance will be taken of those 
that know not God, 2 Thess. i. 8. For those whom 
he has not honour from, he will get him honour 
upon. Let us therefore stand in awe and not sin, 
for it will certainly be bitterness in the latter end. 

CHAP. XIX. " 

This chapter is Job's answer to Bildad's discourse in the 
foregoing chapter. Though his spirit was grieved and 
much heated, and Bildad was very peevish, 3 et he gave 
him leave to say all he designed to say, and did not break 
in upon him in the midst of his argument; but, when he 
had done, he gave him a fair answer; in which, I. He 
complains of unkind usage. And very unkindly he 
takes it, 1. That his comforters added to his alHiction, 
v. 2. . 7. 2. That his God was the Author of his afflic- 
tion, v. 8 . . 12. 3. That his relations and friends were 
strange to him, and shy of him, in his affliction, v. 13 . . 19. 
4. That he had no compassion shown him in his affliction, 
V. 20.. 22. II. He comforts himself with the believing 
hopes of happiness in the other world, though he had so 
little comfort in this, making a very solemn confession 
of his faith, with a desire that it might be recorded as an 
evidence of his sincerity, v. 23 . . 27. HI. He concludes 
with a caution to his friends not to persist in their hard 
censures of him, v. 28, 29. If the remonstrance Job 
here makes of his grievances may serve sometimes to 
justify our complaints, yet his cheerful views of the fu- 
ture state, at the same time, may shame us Christians, 
and may serve to silence our complaints, or, at least, to 
balance them. 

1 . f I "^HEN Job answered and said, 2. 
JL How long will ye vex my soul, and 
break me in pieces with words ? 3. These 
ten times have ye reproached me : you are 
not ashamed that you make yourselves 
strange to me. 4. And be it indeed that 1 
have erred, mine error remaineth with my- 
self. 5. If indeed ye will mn^mfy i/07irselves 
against me, and plead against me my re- 
proach ; 6. Know now that God hath 
overthrown me, and hath compassed me 
with his net. 7. Behold, I cry out of wrong, 



JOB, XIX. 



but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there 
is no judgment. 

Job's friends had passed a very severe censure 
upon him as a wicked man, because he was so 
gi'ie\oiisly afliicted; now here he tells them how 
ill he took it to be so censured. Bildad had twice 
begun with a How long; {ch. xviii. 2.) and there- 
fore Job, being now to answer him particularly, be- 
guis with a Honv long too, v, 2. What is not liked, 
is commonly thought long; but Job had more reason 
to think tliem long who assaulted him, than they 
had to think him long, who only vindicated himself. 
Better cause may be shown for defending ourselves, 
if we have right on our side, than for offending our 
bretliren, though we have right on our side. Now 
observe here, 

I. How he describes their unkindness to him, and 
what account he gives of it. 1. They vexed his 
soul, and that is more grievous than tlie vexation of 
the bones, Ps. \ i. 2, 3. They were his friends, they 
came to comfort him, pretended to counsel him for 
the best; but, with a great deal of gravity, and af- 
fectation of wisdom and piety, they set themselves 
to rob him of the only comfort he had now left him 
in a good God, a good conscience, and a good name; 
and this vexed him to the heart. 2. I'liey drake 
him in fiieces with words, and those were surely 
hard and very cruel words that would break a man 
to pieces: they grieved him, and so brake him; and 
therefore there will be a reckoning hereafter for 
all the hard speeches spoken against Christ and his 
people, Jude 15. 3. They reproached him, {v. 3.) 
gave him a bad character, and laid to his charge 
tilings that he knew not. To an ingenuous mind 
reproach is a cutting thing. 4. They made them- 
selves strange to him, were shy of him, now that he 
was in his troubles; they did not know him, {ch. ii. 
12.) were not free with him, as they used to be 
when he was in his prosperity. Those are govern- 
ed by the spirit of the world, and not by any princi- 
ples of true honour or love, who make themselves 
strange to their friends, or God's friends, when they 
are in trouble: a friend loves at all times. 5. They 
not only estranged themselves from him, but mag- 
nijied themselves against him; {y. 5.) not only 
looked shy of him, but looked big upon him, and 
insulted over him, magnifying themselves, to de- 
press him. It is a mean thing, it is a base thing, 
thus to trample upon those that are down. 6. They 
fileaded against him his reproach, that is, they made 
use of his affliction as an argument against him to 
prove him a wicked man. They should have plead- 
ed for him his integrity, and helped him to take the 
comfort of that under his affliction, and so have 
pleaded that against his reproach, as St. Paul; 
(2 Cor. i. 12. ) but, instead of that, they pleaded his 
reproach against his integrity, which was not only 
unkind, but very unjust; for where shall we find an 
nonest man, if reproach may be admitted for a plea 
against him? 

II. How he aggravates their unkindness. 1. They 
Had thus abused him often; {v. 3.) These ten times 
ye have reproached me, that is, very often, as Gen. 
xxxi. 7. Numb. xiv. 22. Five times they had 
spoken, and eveiy speech was a double reproach. 
He spake as if he had kept a particular account of 
their reproaches, and could tell just how many they 
were: it is but a peevish and unfriendly thing to do 
so, and looks like a design of retaliation and revenge: 
we better befriend our own peace by forgetting in- 
juries and unkindnesses, than by remembering them 
and scoring them up. 2. They continued still to do 
it, and seemed resolved to persist in it; "How long 
will ye do it ?" v. 2, 5. "I see you will magnify 
yourselves against me, notwithstanding all I have 
said in mine own justification. " Those that speak 



91 

too much, seldom tnink they have said enough; 
and, when the mouth is opened in passion, the ear 
IS shut to reason. 3. Tliey were not ashamed of 
what they did, v. 3. They had reason to be ashamed 
of their hard-heaitedness, so ill becoming men, and 
their uncharitableness, so ill becoming good men, and 
their deceitfulness, so ill becoming friends; but were 
they ashamed? No, though they were told of it again 
and again, yet they could not blush. 

III. How he answers their harsh censures, by 
showing them that what they condemned was capa- 
ble of excuse, which they ought to have considered. 

1. The errorsof his judgment were excusable; {v. 
4. ) "Beit indeed that I have erred, that I am in the 
wrong through ignorance or mistake," which may 
well be supposed concerning men, concerning good 
men; Humanum est 'errare — Error cleaves to hu- 
manity; and we must be willing to suppose it con- 
cerning ourseh es. It is folly to think ourselves in- 
fallible. " But be it so," said Job, '• mine error re- 
maineth with myself," that is, "1 speak according 
to the best of my judgment, with all sincerity, and 
not from a spirit of contradiction." Or, "If I be 
in an error, I keep it to myself, and do not impose 
it upon others as you do. I only prove myself and 
my own work by it, I meddle not with other people, 
either to teach them or to judge them." Men's 
errors are the more excusable, if they keep them 
to themselves, and do not disturb others with them. 
Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself. Some give this 
sense of these words; "If I be in an error, it is I 
that must smart for it; and therefore you need not 
concern yourselves; nay, it is I that do smart, and 
smart severely, for it; and therefore you need not 
add to my misery by your reproaches." 

2. The breakings out of his passion, though net 
justifiable, yet were excusable, considering the vast- 
ness of his grief, and the extremity of his misery. 
"It you will go on to cavil at every complaining 
word I speak, will make the worst of it, and im- 
prove it against me, yet take the cause of the com- 
plaint along with you, and weigh that, before you 
pass a judgment upon the complaint, and turn it to 
my reproach: know then that God has overcome 
me." v. 6. Three things he would have them con- 
sider, (1.) That his trouble was very great. He 
was overthrown, and could not help himself, en- 
closed as in a net, and could not get out. (2. ) That 
God was the Author of it, and that in it he fought 
against him: " It was his hand that overthrew me, 
it is in his net that I am enclosed; and therefore ycu 
need not appear against me thus; I have enough to 
do to grapple with God's displeasure, let me not 
have yours also. Let God's controversy with me 
be ended, before you begin yours." It is barbarous 
to persecute him whom God hath smitten, and to 
talk to the grief of one whom he hath wounded, Ps. 
Ixix. 26. (3. ) That he could not obtain any hope 
of the redress of his grievances, v. 7. He com- 
plained of his pain, but got no ease; begged to know 
the cause of his afflictions, but could not discover it; 
appealed to God's tribunal for the clearing of his 
innocency, but could not obtain a hearing, much 
less a judgment, upon his appfeal ; I cry out of wrong, 
but I am not heard. God, for a time, may seem to 
turn away his ear from his people, to be angry at 
their prayers, and overlook their appeals to him, 
and they must be excused if, in that case, they com- 
plain bitterly. Woe unto us if God be against us! 

8. He hath fenced up my way that I can- 
not pass, and he hath set darkness in my 
paths. 9. He hath stripped me of my glory, 
and taken the crown from my head. 1 0. 
He hath destroyed me on every side, and 1 
am gone: and mv hope hath he removed 



92 



JOB, XIX. 



like a tree. 11. He hath also khidled his 
wrath against me, and lie counteth me unto 
him as one of his enemies. 1 2. His troops 
come together, and raise up their way 
against me, and encamp round about my 
tabernacle. 1 3. He hath put my brethren 
far from me, and mine acquaintance are 
verily estranged from me. 1 4. iVJy kinsfolk 
have failed, and my familiar friends have 
foi gotten me. 15. They that dwell in my 
house, and my maids, count me for a stran- 
ger: I am an alien in their sight. 16. I 
called my servant, and he gave me no an- 
swer: I entreated him with my mouth. 17. 
My breath is strange to my wife, though I 
enti-eated for the children's sake of mine own 
body. 18. Yea, young children despised 
me; I arose, and they spake against me. 
1 9. All my inward friends abhorred me : 
and they whom I loved are turned against 
me. 20. My bone cleaveth to my skin and 
to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin 
of my teeth. 21. Have pity upon me, have 
pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the 
hand of God hath touched me. 22. Why 
do ye persecute me as God, and are not 
satisfied with my flesh ? 

Bildad had very disingenuously perverted Job's 
complaints, by making them the description of the 
miserable condition of a wicked man; and yet lie 
repeats them here, to move their pity, and to work 
upon their good nature, if they had any left in them. 

I. He complains of the tokens of God's displeasure 
which he was under, and which infused the worm- 
wood and gall into the affliction and misery. How 
doleful are the accents of his complaints; {v. 11.) 
" He hath kindled his wrath against me, which 
flames and terrifies me, which burns and pains me. " 
What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God? Sear- 
ed consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear 
it now. Enlightened consciences fear it now, but 
shall not feel it hereafter. Job's present apprehen- 
sion was, that God counted him as one of his ene- 
mies; and yet, at the same time, God lo\'ed him, 
and gloried in him, as his faithful friend. It is a 
gross mistake, but a very common one, to think 
that whom God afflicts, he treats as his enemies; 
whereas, on the contrary, as many as he loves, he 
rebukes arid chastens; it is the discipline of his sons. 

Which way soever Job looked, he thought he saw 
the tokens of God's displeasure against him. 

1. Did he look back upon his former prosperity? 
He saw God's hand putting an end to that; {v. 9.) 
" He has strifified me of my glory, my wealth, 
honour, power, and all the opportunity I had of 
doing good; my children were my glory, but I have 
lost them ; and whatevernvas a crown to my head, 
he has taken it from me, and has laid all mine 
honour in the dust." See the vanity of worldly 
glory, it is what we may be soon stripped of; and 
whatever strips us, we must see and own God's 
hand in it, and comply with his design. 

2. Did he look down upon his present troubles? 
He saw God giving them their commission, and 
their orders to attack him. They are his troops, 
that act by his direction, which encamfi against me, 
V. 12. It did not so much trouble him, that his 
miseries came upon him in troops, as that they 



were Gcd's troops, m whom it seemed as if God 
fouglit against him, and intended liis dtst iictirn. 
(iod's troops encamfied rAiud hm tar.('v:uviv, .;S 
soldiers lay siege to a strong city, cutting i ff"all pn - 
visions from being brought into it, and battering it 
continually ; thus was Job's tabernacle besieged 
Time was when God's hosts encamped round him 
for safety; Hast thou not made a hedge about him/ 
Now, on the contrary, they surrounded hin>, to his 
terror, and destroyed him on every side, v. 10. 

3. Did he look forward for deliverance? He saw 
the hand of God cutting off all hopes of that; {v. 8. ) 
*'//(? hath fenced ufi my way, that I cannot fiass; 
I have now no way left to help myself, either to 
extricate myself out of my tn ubles, or to ease my- 
self under them. Would I make any motion, take 
any steps, toward deliverance? I find my way hedged 
ufi; I cannot do what I would; nay, if 1 would please 
myself with the prospect of a deli\ erance herei.fter, 
I cannot do it; it is not only out of my reacli, but 
out of my sight; God hath set darkness in my paths, 
and there is none to tell me how long," Ps. Ixxiv. 
9. He concludes; {y. 10.) "I am gone, quite lest 
and undone for this world; my hofxe hath he removed 
like a tree, cut down, or plucked up by the roots, 
which will ne\ er grow again." Hope in this life is a 
perishing thing, but the hope of good men, when it 
is cut off from this world, is but removed like a tree, 
transplanted from this nursery to the garden of the 
Lord. We shall have no reason to complain, if 
God thus remove our hopes from the sand to the 
rock, from things temporal to things eternal. 

II. He complains of the imkindness of his reh.- 
tions, and of all his old acquaintance. In this also 
he owns the hand of God; {v. 13.) He has put my 
brethren far from me, that is, " He has laid those 
afflictions upon me, which frighten them from me, 
and make them stand aloof from my sores." As it 
was their sin, God was not the Author of it; it s 
Satan that alienates men's minds from their brethren 
in affliction; but as it was Job's trouble, (lod ordered 
it for the completing of his trial. As we must eye 
the hand of God in all the injuries we recei\ e from 
our enemies, (the Lord bade Shimei curse Da\ id,) 
so also in all the slights and unkindnesses we receive 
from our friends, which will help us to bear them 
the more patiently. Every creature is that to us, 
(kind or unkind, comfortable or uncomfortable,) 
which God makes it to be: yet this does not excu^e 
Job's relations and friends from the guilt of horrid 
ingratitude and injustice to him, which he had rea- 
son to complain of; few could have borne it so well 
as he did. He takes notice of the unkindness, 

1. Of his kindred and acquaintance, his neigh- 
bors, and such as he had formerly been familiar with, 
who were bound by all the laws of friendship and 
civility to concern themselves for him, to visit hint, 
and inquire after him, and to be ready to do liim alt 
the good offices that lay in their power; yet these 
were estranged from him, {v. 13.) they took no 
more care about him than if he had been a strangei 
whom they never knew. His kinsfolk, who chiim- 
ed relation to him when he was in ])rosperity, imw 
failed him; they came short of their former profts- 
sions of friendship to him, and his present exyiec- 
tations of kindness from them. Even his fimil'ar 
fi'iends, whom he was mindful of, had now f rgotten 
him, had forgotten both his former friendliness to 
them and his present miseries: they had heard of his 
troubles, and designed him a visit; but truly they 
forgot it, so little affected were they with it. 

Nay, his inward friends, the men of his secret, 
whom he was most intimate with, and laid in his 
bosom, not only forgot him, but abhorred him, kept 
as far off him as they could, because he was poor, 
and could not entertain them as he used to do, ami 
because he was sore, and a loathsome spcctpclc 



JOB, XIX. 



93 



I'hose whom he loved, and who therefore were 
worse tlian publicans if they did not love him now 
that he was in distress, not only turned from him, i)ut 
were turned against him, and did all they could to 
make him odious, so to justify themselves in being so 
strange to him, v. 19. So uncertain is the friend- 
ship of men; but, if God be our Friend, he will not 
fail us in a time of need. But let none that pretend 
either to humanity or Christianity, ever use their 
friends as Job's friends used him: adversity is the 
proof of friendship. 

2. Of his domestics and family-relations. Some- 
times, indeed, we find that, beyond our expectation, 
there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother; 
but, at least, the master of a family expects to be at- 
lended on, and taken care of, by those of his family, 
e\ en then when, through weakness of body or mind, 
he is become despicable to others. But poor Job was 
misused ijy his own family, and some of his worst 
foes were those of his own house. He mentions not 
his childi-en, they were all dead, and we may sup- 
pose that the unkindness of his surviving relations 
made him lament the death of his children so much 
the more: "If they had been alive," (would he 
think,) "I should have had comfort in them." As 
for those that were now about him, 

(1.) His own servants slighted him: his maids did 
not attend him in his illness, but counted him for a 
stranger and an alien, v. 15. His other servants 
never heeded him; if he called to them they would 
not come at his call, but pretended that they did 
not hear him. It he asked them a question, they 
would not vouchsafe to give him an answer, v. 16. 
Job had been a good master to them, and did not 
desfiise their cause when they fileaded with him, 
(ch. xxxi. 13. ) and yet they were rude to him now, 
and despised his cause when he pleaded with them. 
We must not think it strange if we receive evil at 
the hand of those from whom we have deserved 
well. Though he was now sickly, yet he was not 
cross with his servants, and imperious, as is too com- 
mon, but he entreated his servants with his mouth, 
when he had authority to command: and yet they 
would not be civil to him, neither kind nor just. 
Note, Those that are sick and in sorrow are apt to 
take things ill, and be jealous of a slight, and to lay 
to heart the least unkindness done to them: when 
Job was in affliction, even his servants' neglect of 
him troubled him. 

(2.) But, one would think, when all forsook him, 
the wife of his bosom should have been tender of 
him: no, because he would not curse God and die, 
as she persuaded him, his breath was strange to her 
too, she did not care for coming near him, nor took 
any notice of what he said, v. 17. Though he spake 
to her, not with the authority, but with the tender- 
ness, of a husband, did not command, but entreated 
her by that conjugal love which their children were 
the pledges of, yet she regarded him not. Some 
read it, '• Though I lamented, or bemoaned my- 
self, for the children," that is, " for the death of the 
children of my own body;" an affliction in which 
she was equally concerned with him. Now, it ap- 
peared, the Devil spared her to him, not only to be 
tiis tempter, but to be his tormentor. By what she 
said to him at first. Curse God and die, it appeared 
that she had little religion in her; and what can one 
expect that is kind and good from those that have 
not the fear of God before their eyes, and are not 
governed by conscience? 

(3. ) Even the little children who were born in his 
house, the children of his own servants, who were 
his servants by birth, despised him, and spake 
against him; (t'. 18.) though he arose in civility to 
speak friendly to them, or with authority to check 
them, they let him know, that they neither feared 
him, nor loved him. 



III. He complams of the decay of his body; all 
the beauty and strength of that were gi nv. \\ hen 
those about him slighted him, if he had been in 
health, and at ease, he might have enjoyed himself. 
But he could take as little pleasure in himself as 
others took in him; {v. 20.) il/j/ bone cleaves now 
to my skin, as formerly it did to my flesh; this was 
it that filled him with wrinkles; {ch. xvi, 8.) he was 
a perfect skeleton, nothing but skin and bones. 
Nay, his skin too was almost gone, little remained 
unbroken but the skin of his teeth, his gums, and 
perhaps his lips, all the rest was fetched off by his 
sore boils. See what little reason we ha\ e to in- 
dulge the body, which, after all our care, may be 
thus consumed by the diseases which it has in itself 
the seeds of. 

Lastly, Upon all these accounts, he recommends 
himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly 
blames their harshness with him. From tnis re- 
presentation of his deplorable case, it was easy to 
infer, 

1, That they ought to fiity him, v. 21. This he 
begs in the most moving, melting, language that 
could be, enough (one would think) to break a heart 
of stone: " Have fiity upon me, have pity upon me, 
ye my friends; if ye will do nothing else for me, 
be sorry for me, and show some concern for me; 
have pity upon me, for the hand of God hath touched 
me; my case is sad indeed, for I am fallen into 
the hands of the living God, my spirit is touched 
with the sense of his wrath, a calamity of all other 
the most piteous." Note, It becomes friends to 
pity one another when they are in any trouble, and 
not to shut up the bowels of compassion. 

2. That, however, they ought not to persecute 
him: if they would not ease his affliction by their 
pity, yet they must not be so barbarous as to add to 
it by their censures and reproaches; {v. 22.) ''Why 
do ye persecute me as God'^ Surely his rebukes are 
enough for one man to bear, you need not add your 
wormwood and gall to the cup of affliction he puts 
into my hand, it is bitter enough without that: Gcd 
has a sovereign power over me, and may do what he 
pleases with me; but do you think that you may do 
so too?" No, we must aim to be like the Most 
Holy and the Most Merciful, but not like the Most 
High and Most Mighty. God gives not account t f 
any of his matters, but we must. If they did de- 
light in his calamity, let them be satisfied with his 
flesh, which was wasted and gone, but let them not, 
as if that were too little, wound his spirit, and ruin 
his good name. Great tenderness is owing to those 
that are in affliction, especially to those that are 
troubled in mind. 

23. Oh that my words were now written ! 
oh that they were printed in a book ! 24. 
That they were graven with an iron pen and 
lead in the rock for ever! 25. For I know 
that my Redeemer hveth, and that he shall 
stand at the latter dajj upon the earth : 26., 
And though, after my skin, irorms destroy 
this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God : 
27. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine 
eyes shall behold, and not another ; tho?/gh 
my reins be consimied within me, 28. But 
ye should say, Why persecute we him ? see- 
ing the root of the matter is found in me. 
29. Be ye afraid of the sword : for wrath 
bringeth the punishments of the sword, that 
ye may know there is a judgment. 

In all the conferences between Job and his fnends, 
we do not find any more weighty and considerable 



04 



JOB, XIX. 



lines than these; would one have expected it? Here 
is much both of Christ and heaven in these verses: 
and he that said such things as these, declared plain- 
ly that he sought the better country; that is, the hea- 
venly; as the patri trchs of that age did, Heb. xi. 
14. We have here Job's creed, or confession of faith : 
his belief in God the Father Almighty, the Maker 
of heaven and earth, and the principles of natural 
religion, he had often professed; but here we find 
him no stranger to revealed religion. Though the 
revelation of the Promised Seed, and the promised 
inheritance, was then discerned only like the dawn- 
ing of the day, yet Job was taught of God to believe 
in a living Redeemer, and to look for the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, and the life of the world to come, 
for oif these, doubtless, he miast be understood to 
speak: these were the things he comforted himself 
with the expectation of, and not a deliverance from 
his trouble, or revival of his happiness, in this world, 
as some would understand him. For, beside that 
the expressions he here uses, of the Redeemer's 
standing at the latter day upon the earth, of his see- 
ing God, and seeing him' for himself are wretchedly 
forced, if they be understood of any temporal de- 
liverance, it is very plain that he had no expectation 
at all of his return to a prosperous condition in this 
world. He had just now said, that his way ivas 
fenced up, {y. 8.) and his hope removed like a tree, 
V. 10. IS ay, and after this, he expressed his despair 
of anv comfort in this life, ch. xxiii. 8, 9. — xxx. 23. 
So that we must necessarily understand him of the 
redemption of his soul froni the power of the grave, 
and his reception to glory, which is spoken of, Ps. 
xlix. 15. We have reason to think that Job was just 
now under an extraordinary impulse of the blessed 
Spirit, which raised him above himself, gave him 
light, and gave him utterance, even to his own sur- 
prise. And some observe, that, after this, we do 
not find in Job's discourses such passionate, peevish, 
unbecoming, complaints of God and his providence, 
as we have before met with: this hope quieted his 
spirit, stilled the storm, and, having here cast an- 
chor within the veil, his mind was kept steady from 
this time forward. Let us observe, 

I. To what intent Job makes this confession of his 
faith here; never did any thing come in more per- 
tinently, or to better purpose. 1. Job was now ac- 
cused, and this was his appeal. His friends re- 
proached him as a hypocrite, and contemned him as 
a wicked man; but he appeals to his creed, to his 
faith, to his hope, and to his own conscience; which 
not onlv acquitted him from reigning sin, but com- 
forted him with the expectation of a blessed resur- 
rection: these are not the words of him that has a 
devil. He appeals to the coining of the Redeemer, 
from this wrangle at the bar to the judgment of the 
bench, even to Him to whom all judgment is com- 
mitted, who, he knew, would right him. The con- 
sideration of God's day coming, will make it a. very 
imall thing with us to he judged of man's judgment, 
1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. How easily may we bear the un- 
just calumnies and reproaches of men, while we ex- 
pect the glorious appearance of our Redeemer, and 
his redeemed, at the last day; and that there will 
then be a resurrection of names as well as bodies! 
2. Job was now afflicted, and this was his cordial; 
when he was pressed above measure, this kept him 
from fainting; he believed that he should see the 
goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; not 
in this world, for that is the land of the dying. 

IT. With what a solemn preface he-introduces it, 
V. 23, 24. He breaks off his complaints abrnptlv, 
Co triumph in his comforts; which he does, not only 
f->r his own satisfaction, but for the edification of 
others. Those now about him, he feared, would 
little rogird what he said, and so it proved; he 
therefore wished it might be recorded for the gene- 



rations to come. that my words were now written 
the words I am now about to say ! As if he h:'.d said, 
"1 own I ha\ e spoken many un;idvised words, which 
I could wish might be fcrgotten, for they will nei- 
ther do me credit, nor do others good. But I air 
now going to speak deliberately, and th.it whicli I 
desire may be pul)lished to all the world, and pre- 
served for the generations to come, in perpetuam 
ret memoriam — for an abiding memorial, and tliere- 
fore that it may be written plain, drawn out in large 
and legible characters, so that he that runs may 
read it; and that it may not be left in loose papers, 
but put into a book; or, if that should perish, that 
it may be engraven like an inscription upon a monu- 
ment, with an iron pen, in lead, or in the stone; 
let the engraver use all his art to make it a durable 
appeal to posterity. " That which Job here some- 
what passionately wished for, God graciously grant- 
ed him; his words are written, they are printed in 
God's book; so that wherever that book is read, 
there shall this be told for a memorial concerning 
Job, He iielieved, therefore he spake. 

III. What his confession itself is; what are the 
words which he would have to be written. We 
here have them written, v. 25- '27. Let us observe 
them. 

1. He believes the glory of the Redeemer, and 
his own interest in him; (i'. 25.) / know that my 
Redeemer liveth; that he is in being, and is my 
Life, and that he shall stand at last, or stand the 
last, or at the latter day, upon (or above) the earth. 
He shall be raised up, or. He shall be (at the latter 
day, that is, in the fulness of time; the gospel-dav 
is called the last time, because that is the last dis- 
pensation) upon the earth : so it points at his incar 
nation; or. He shall be lifted up from the earth; (so 
it points at his crucifixion;) or, raised up out of the 
earth; so it is applicable to his resurrection; or, as 
we commonly understand it. At the end of time, 
he shall appear over the earth, for he shall come in 
the clouds, and every eye shall see liim, so close stall 
he come to this earth. He shall stand upon the 
dust, so the word is; upon all his enemies, which 
shall be put as dust under his feet; and he shall 
tread upon them and triumph over them. 

Observe here, (1. ) That there is a Redeemer pro- 
vided for fallen man, and Jesus Christ is that Re- 
deemer. The word is Goel, which is used for thf 
next of kin, to whom, by the law of Moses, the 
right of redeeming a mortgaged estate did belong. 
Lev. XXV. 25. Our heavenly inheritance was mort- 
gaged by sin, we are ourselves utterly unable to re- 
deem it,' Christ is near of kin to us, the next Kins- 
man that is able to redeem; he has paid our debt, 
satisfied God's justice for sin, and so has taken off 
the mortgage, and made a new settlement of the 
inheritance! Our persons also want a Redeemer, 
we are sold for sin, and sold under sin ; our Lord 
Jesus has wrought out a redemption for us, and pro- 
claims redemption to us, and so he is truly the Re- 
deemer. (2.) He is a living Redeemer: as we are 
made by a living God, so we are saved by a living 
Redeemer, who is both almighty and eternal, and is 
therefore able to save to the uttermost. Of him ?> 
is witnessed that he liveth; Heb. vii. 8. Rev. i. 18 
We are dying, but he liveth, and hath assured us, 
that because he lrx>es, we shall live also, John xiv. 19. 
(3.) There are those that, through grace, have at 
interest in this Redeemer, and can, upon gooc 
grounds, call him theirs. When Job had lost all hi? 
wealth, and all his friends, yet he was not separated 
from Christ, nor cut off from his relation to r.im. 
"Still he is my Redeemer." That next Kinsman 
adhered to him when all his other kindred forsook 
him, and he had the comfort of it. (4.) Our inte 
rest in the Redeemer is a thing that may be known, 
and, where it is known, it may be triumphed in, .i« 



JOB, XTX. 



95 



sufficient to balance all our griefs; I know. Observe 
witli what an air of assurance he speaks it, as one 
confident of this very thing; / know that my Re- 
deemer lives. His friends had often charged him 
with ignorance or vain knowledge; but lie knows 
enough, and knows to good purpose, who knows 
Christ to be his Redeemer. (5.) There will be a 
latter day, a last day, a day when time shall be no 
more, Rev. x. 6. That is a day we are concerned 
to think of every day. (6.) Our Redeemer will, at 
that day, stand upon the earth, or over the earth, 
to summon the dead out of their graves, and deter- 
mine them to an unchangeable state, for to him all 
judgment is committed. He shall stand, at the last, 
on the dust to which this earth will be reduced by 
the conflagration. 

2. He believes the happiness of the redeemed, 
and his own title to that happiness, that, at Christ's 
second coming, believers shall be raised up in glory, 
and so made pei-fectly blessed in the vision and frui- 
tion of God; and this he believes with application 
to himself. 

(1.) He counts upon the corrupting of his body in 
the grave, and speaks of it with a holy carelessness 
andimconcernedness; Though, after my skin (which 
is already wasted and gone, none of it remaining but 
the skin of my teeth, v. 20. ) they destroy (they that 
are appointed to destroy it, the gra\ e, and the worms 
in it, of whom he had spoken, ch. xvii. 14.) this body. 
The word body is added: "Though they destroy 
this, this skeleton, this shadow, (cA. xvii. 7.) this 
that I lay my hand upon," or (pointing perhaps to 
his weak and withered limbs) "this that you see, 
call it what you will, I expect that shortly it will be 
a feast for the worms." Christ's body saw not cor- 
ruption, but ours must ! And Job mentions this, that 
the glory of the resurrection he believed and hoped 
for might shine the more bright. Note, It is good 
for us often to think, not only of the approaching 
death of our bodies, but of their destruction and dis- 
solution m the grave; yet let not that discourage our 
hope of their resurrection, for the same power that 
made man's body at first, out of common dust, can 
raise it out of its own dust This body, which we 
now take such care about, and make such provision 
for, will, in a little time, be destroyed; Even my 
reins (says Job) shall be consumed within me; 
{%'. 27. ) the innermost part of the body, which per- 
haps putrifies first. 

(2.) He comforts himself with the hopes of hap- 
piness on the other side death and the grave; After 
I shall avjake, (so the margin reads it,) though this 
body be destroyed, yet out of myjtesh shall I see God. 

[i.] Soul and body shall come together again. 
That body which must be destroyed in the grave, 
shall be raised again, a glorious body; Yet in my 
flesh I shall see God. The separate soul has eves 
wherewith to see God, eyes of the mind; but Job 
speaks of seeing him with eyes of flesh, in my flesh, 
with mine eyes; the same body that died shall rise 
again, a true body, but a glorified body, fit for the 
employments and entertainmentsof that world; and 
therefore a spiritual body, 1 Cor. xv. 44. Let us 
therefore glorify God with our bodies, because there 
is such a glory designed for them. 

[2."] Job and God shall come together again; In 
my flesh shall I see God, that is, the glorified Re- 
deemer, who is God. / shall see God in mv flesh, 
so some read it; the Son of God clothed with a bodv 
which will be visible even to eyes of flesh. Though 
the body, in the grave, seem despicable and mise- 
r ible, yet it shall be dignified and made happv in 
the vision of God. Job now complained that he 
could not get a sight of God, {ch. xxiii. 8, 9.) but 
hopes to see him shortly, never more to lose the 
siTht of him, and that sight of him will be the more 
welcome after the present darkness and distance. 



Note, It is the blessedness of the blessed that they 
shall see God, shall see him as he is, see him face 
to face, and no longer through a glass darkly. See 
with what pleasure holy Job enlarges upon this; 
{y. 27.) "Tapiom I shall see for inyself" that is, 
"see and enjoy, .see to my own unspeakable com- 
fort and satisfaction. I shall see him as mine, as 
mine with an appropriating sight," Rev. xxi. 3. 
God himself shall be with them, and be their God, 
they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he 
is, that is, seeing for themselves, 1 John iii. 2. Mine 
eyes shall behold him, and not anothei-. First, 
"He, and not another for him, shall be seen, not a 
type or figure of him, but he himself" Glorified 
saints are perfectly sure that they are not imposed 
upon, it is no decefitio visus — illusion of the senses. 
Secondly, "I, and not another for me, shall see 
him. Though my flesh and body be consumed, 
yet I shall not need a proxy, I shall see him with 
my own eyes-." This was what Job hoped for, and 
what he earnestly desired; which, some think, is 
the meaning of the last clause, Afy reins are sfient 
in my bosom, that is, " All my desires are summed 
up and concluded in this; this will crown and com- 
plete them all; let me have this, and I shall have 
nothing more to desire; it is enough, it is all." 
With this the prayers of David, the son of Jesse, 
are ended. 

IV. The application of this to his friends. His 
creed spake comfort to himself, but warning and 
terror to them that set themselves against him. 

1. It was a word of caution to them, net to pro- 
ceed and persist in their unkind usage of him, v. 
28. He had repro\ed them for what they had 
said, and now tells them what they should say for 
the reducing of themselves and one another to a bet- 
ter temper. "Why persecute we him thus? Why 
do we grieve him and vex him, by censuring and 
condemning him, seeing the root of the matter, or 
the root of the word, is found in him?" Let this 
direct us, (1.) In our care concerning ourselves. 
We are all concerned to see to it, that the root 
of the matter be found in us. A living, quicken- 
ing, commanding, principle of grace in the heart, 
is the root of the matter, as necessary to our re- 
ligion as the root to the tree, to which it owes 
both its fixedness and its fruitfulness: love to God 
and our brethren, faith in Christ, hatred of sin — 
these are the root of the matter, other things are 
but leaves in comparison with this; serious godli- 
ness is the one thing needful. (2.) In our conduct 
toward our brethren. We are to believe that 
many have the root of the matter in them, who are 
not in every thing of our mind, who have their fol- 
lies, and weaknesses, and mistakes: and, to con- 
clude, it is at our peril if we persecute any such. 
Woe be to him that offends one of those little ones! 
God will resent and revenge it. Job and his friends 
differed in some notions concerning the methods of 
Pro\idence, but they agreed in the root of the mat- 
ter, the belief of another world, and therefore should 
not persecute one another for these difl'erences. 

2. It was a word of terror to them. Christ's 
second coming will be very dreadful to those that 
are found smiting their fellow serxmnts; (Matth. 
xxiv. 49.) and therefore, {v. 29.) ''Be ye afraid of 
the sword, the flaming sword of God's justice, which 
turns every way; fear lest you make yourselves 
obnoxious to it." Good men need to be frightened 
from sin by the terrors of the Almighty, particular- 
Iv from the sin of rashly judging their brethren, 
Matth. vii. 1. Jam. iii. 1. Those that arc peevish 
and passionate with their brethren, censorious of 
them, and malicious toward them, should know, 
not only that their wrath, whatever it pretends, 
works not the righteousness of God, but, (1.) Thev 
may expect to smart for it in this world; it bnn!*TS 



96 



JOB, XX. 



the fiunUhments of the fi'ivord: wrath leads to such 
crimes as expose men to the sword of the magis- 
trate; however, God often takes \engeHnce for it, 
and those that showed no mercy, shall find no mer- 
cv. (2.) If tliey repent not, that will be an earnest 
of worse. By these you may know there is a judg- 
ment, not only a present government, but a future 
judgment, in which hard speeches must be ac- 
counted for. 

CHAP. XX. 

One would have thought that such an excellent confession 
of faith as Job made in the close of the foregoing chap- 
ter, should have saiisfied his friends, or, at least, have 
mollified them ; but they do not seem to have taken any 
notice of it, and therefore Zophar here takes his turn, 
enters the lists with Joh, and attacks him with as much 
vehemence as before. 1. His preface is short, but hot, 
T. 2, 3. II. His discourse is lung, and all upon one sub- 
ject, the very same that Bildad was large upon,(ch. xviii.) 
the certain misery of wicked people, and the ruin that 
awaits them. 1. He asserts in general, that the pros- 
perity of a wicked person is short, and his ruin sure, v. 
4 . . 9. 2. He proves the misery of his condition by many 
instances — That he should have a diseased body, a trou- 
bled conscience, a ruined estate, a beggared family, an 
infamous name, and that he himself shall perish under 
the weight of divine wrath. All this is most curiously 
described here in lofty expressions and lively similitudes; 
and it often proves true in this world, and always in 
another, without repentance, v. 10. . 29. But the great 
mistake was, and (as Bishop Patrick expresses it) all 
the flaw in his discourse, (which was common to him 
with the rest,) that he imagined God never varied from 
this method, and therefore Job was, without doubt, a 
very bad man, though it did not appear he was, any other 
way than by his infelicity. 

] . npHEN answered Zophar the Naama- 
jL thite, and said, 2. Therefore do my 
thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I 
make haste. 3. I have heard the check of 
my reproach, and the spirit of my under- 
standing causeth me to answer. 4. Know- 
est thou not this of old, since man was 
placed upon earth, 5. That the triumphing 
of the wicked is short, and the joy of the 
hypocrite kit for a moment? 6. Though 
his excellency mount up to the heavens, 
and his head reach unto the clouds: 7. 
Yet he shall perish for ever like his own 
dung : they which have seen him shall say. 
Where is he? 8. He shall fly away as a 
dream, and shall not be found ; yea, he 
shall be chased away as a vision of the 
night. 9. The eye also which saw him 
shall see him. no more ; neither shall his 
place any more behold him. 

Here, 

I. Zophar begins very passionately, and seems to 
be in a great heat at what Job had said- Being 
resolved to condenm Job for a bad man, he was 
much disjjlcHsed that he talked so like a good man, 
und, as it should seem, brake in u])on him, and be- 
gin abruptly; {v. 2.) Therefore do my thoughts 
rau.se 77ie to answer. He takes no notice of what 
Job had said, to move their pity, or to evidence his 
nwn integrity, but fastens upon the reproof he gave 
them in the close of his discourse, counts that a 
re])roach, and thinks himself therefore obliged to 
answer, because Job had bidden thein be afraid of 
the sword, that he inight not seem to be frightened 
bv his menaces. The best counsel is too often ill 
taken from an antagonist, and therefore usually 



may be well spared. Zophar seemed more in haste 
to speak than became a wise mm; but he excuses 
it with two things. 1. That Job had gi\en him a 
strong provocation; (t'. 3.) "I have heard the chick 
of my refiroach, and cannot bear to hear.it any 
longer." Job's friends, I doubt, had spirits too 
high to deal with a man in his low condition; and 
high spirits are impatient of contradiction, and think 
themselves affronted, if all about them do not S'V 
as they say : they cannot bear a check, but they call 
it the check of their refiroach, and then they are 
bound in honour to return it, if not to draw upon 
him that gave it. 2. That his own heart gave him 
a strong instigation. His thoughts caused him tc 
answer, {y. 2. ) for out of the abundance of the hear' 
the mouth speaks; but he fathers it {v. 3.) upon the 
spirit of his understanding: that indeed should cause 
us to answer, we should rightly apprehend a thing, 
and duly consider it, before we speak to it; but 
whether it did so here or no, is a question: men of- 
ten mistake the dictates of their passion for the dic- 
tates of their reason, and therefore think they do 
well to be angry. 

II. Zophar proceeds very plainly to show the 
ruin and destruction of wicked people, insinuating 
that because Job was destroyed and ruined, he was 
certainly a wicked man, and a hypocrite. 

Observe, 

1. How this doctrine is introduced; (t;. 4.) where 
he appeals, (1.) To Job's own knowledge and con- 
viction; "Knoivest thou not this? Canst thou be 
ignorant of a truth so plain.'' Or canst thou doubt 
of a truth which has been confirmed by the suffrage 
of all mankind?" Those know little, who do not 
know that the wages of sin is death. (2.) To the 
experience of all ages. It was known of old, since 
man was placed upon the earth, that is, ever since 
man was made, he has had this truth written in his 
heart, that the sin of sinners will be their ruin; and 
ever since there were instances of wickedness, 
(which there were soon after man was placed on the 
earth,) there were instances of the punishments of 
it, witness the exclusions of Adam and Cain. When 
sin entered into the world, death entered with it: 
all the world knows that evil pursues sinners, whom 
vengeance suffers not to live, (Acts xxviii. 4.) and 
subscribes to that, (Isa. iii. 11.) Woe to the wicked, 
it shall be ill with him, sooner or later. 

2. How it is laid down; (t. 5.) The triumfihing 
of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hyfiocrite 
out for a m.oment. Observe, (1.) He asserts the 
misery, not only of those who are openly wicked 
and profane, but of hypocrites, who secretly prac- 
tise wickedness imder a show and profession of 're- 
ligion, because such a wicked man he looked upon 
Job to be; and it is true that a form of godliness, if 
it be made use of for a cloak of maliciousness, does 
but make bad worse; dissembled piety is doul)1e 
iniquity, and the ruin that attends it will be accoi-d- 
ingly. The hottest place in hell will be the portion 
of hypocrites, as our Saviour intimates, Matth 
xxiv. 5\. (2.) He grants that wicked men may, 
for a time, prosper, may be secure and easv, imd 
very merry ; you may see them in triumph and jny, 
triumphing and rejoicing in their wealth artd power, 
their gi'andeur and success, triumphing and rei"ic- 
ing over their poor honest neighl)ours whoni they 
vex and oppress: they feel no evil, they fear none. 
Job's friends were loath to own, at first, that wick- 
ed people might prosper at all, {ch. iv. 9.) until 
Job proved it plainly; (cA. ix. 24. — xii. 6.) and now 
Zophar yields it: but, (3.) He lays it down for a 
certain truth, that they will not prosper long. 
Their joy is but for a moment, and will quicklv 
end in endless sorrow; though he be c\cr so great, 
and rich, and jovial, he will be humbled, and mor 
tified, and made miserable. 



JOB, XX. 



97 



3. How it is illustrated, v. 6, &c. 

(1.) He supposes his prosperity to be very high, 
as hiijU as you can imagine, v. 6. It is not his wis- 
dom and virtue, but his worldly wealth and great- 
ness, tliat lie accounts his excellency, and values 
himself upon: we will suppose those to mount up to 
the heavens, and, since his spirit always rises with 
his condition, you may suppose that with it his 
head reaches to the clouds. He is every way ad- 
vanced, the world has done the utmost it can for 
him, he looks down upon all about him with disdain, 
while they look up to him with admiration, envy, 
or fear; we will suppose him to bid fair for a uni- 
versal monarchy. And though he cannot but have 
made himself many enemies before he arrived to 
this pitch of prosperity, yet he thinks himself as 
much out of the reach of tlieir darts as if he were in 
tie clouds. 

(2. ) He is confident that his ruin will, according- 
ly, be very great, and his fall the more dreadful for 
his having risen so high; He shall jierish for ever, 
V. 7. His pride and security were the certain pre- 
sages of his misery. This will certainly be true of 
all impenitent sinners in the other world, they shall 
be undone, for e\ er undone; but Zophar means his 
ruin in this world: and indeed sometimes notorious 
sinners are remarkably cut off by present judg- 
ments, they have reason enough to fear what Zo- 
phar here threatens even the triumphant sinner 
with. [1.] A s/zame/u/ destruction. He shall per- 
ish like his own dung or dunghill, so loathsome is 
he to God and all good men, and so willing will the 
world be to part with him, Ps. cxix. 119. Isa. Ixvi. 
24. [2.] A sur/irising destruction. He will be 
brought into desolation in a moment, (Ps. Ixxiii. 
19.) so that those about him, that saw him but just 
now, will ask, "iVhere is he? Could he that made 
so gieat a figure vanish and expire so suddenly?" 
[3.] A swift destruction, -v. 8. He shall fly away 
upon the wings of his own terrors, and be chased 
away by the just imprecations of all about him, who 
would gladly be rid of him. [4 ] An utter destruc- 
tion. It will be total; he shall go away like a 
dream, or vision of the night, which was a mere 
phantasm, Jind, whate\er in it pleased the fancy, 
it is quite gone, and nothing of it remains, but what 
serves us to laugh at the folly of. It will be final, 
V. 9. The eye that saw him, and was ready to 
adore him, shall see him no more, and the place he 
filled shall no more behold him, having given him 
an eternal farewell when he went to his own place, 
as Judas, Acts i. 25. 

1 0. His children shall seek to please the 
poor, and his liands shall restore their goods. 

1 1 . His bones are full of the sin of his youth, 
which shall lie down with him in the dust. 

12. Though wickedness be sweet in his 
mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; 

1 3. Thongh he spare it, and forsake it not, 
but keep it still within his mouth ; 1 4. Yet 
his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the 
gall of asps within him. 1 5. He hath swal- 
lowed down riches, and he shall vomit them 
up again : God shall cast them out of his 
belly. 16. He shall suck the poison of 
asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him. 17. 
He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the 
brooks of honey and butter. 18. That 
which he laboured for shall he restore, and 
shall not swallow it down : according to 
his substance shall the restitution he^ and ho 

Vol. III.— N 



shall not rejoice therein. 19. Because he 
hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor , 
because he hath violently taken away a 
house which he builded not; 20. Surely 
he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he 
shall not save of that which he desired. 21 , 
There shall none of his meat be loft : there- 
fore shall no man look for his goods. 22, 
In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall bo 
in straits: every hand of the wicked shall 
come upon him. 

The instances here gi\ en nf the miserable condi- 
tion of the wicked man in this world, are expressed 
with a great fulness and fluency of language, and 
the same thing returned to again, and repeated in 
other words. Let us therefore reduce the particu- 
lars to their proper heads; and observe, 

I. What his wickedness is, for which he is pu 
nished. 

1. The lusts of the flesh, here called the sins oj 
his youth; {v. 11.) for those are the sins which, at 
that age, people are most tempted to. The forbid ■ 
den pleasures of sense are said to be sivect in hit, 
tnouth; {v. 12.) he indulges himself in all the gru 
tifications of the carnal appetite, and takes an inor- 
dinate complacency in them, as yielding the mosl 
agreeable delights. That is the satisfaction which 
he hides under his tongue, and rolls there, as the 
most dainty delicate thing that can be: he keeps it 
still within his mouth; (v. 13.) let him have that, 
and he desires no more; he will never part with 
that for the spiritual and di\jne pleasures of re- 
ligion, which he has no relish of, nor affection for. 
His keeping it still in his mouth, denotes both his 
obstinate persisting in his sin, (he sjjares it when he 
should kill and mortify it, and forsakes it not, but 
holds it fast, and goes on frowardly in it,) and also 
his re-acting of his sin, by revolving it, and remem- 
bering it with pleasure^ as that adulterous woman, 
(Ezek. xxiii. 19.) \sho muUiplied her ivhorcdoms by 
calling to remembrance the days of her yonth; so 
does this wicked man here. Or, his hiding it and 
keeping it under his tongue denotes his industrious 
concealment of his beloved lust: being a hypocrite, 
that he may save the credit of his profession, he 
has secret haunts of sin; but he who knows what is 
in the heart, knows what is under the tongue too, 
and will discover it shortly. 

2. The love of the world and the wealth of it; 
that is it in which he places his happiness, and 
which therefore he sets his heart upon. See here, 
(1.) How greedy he is of it, x>. 15. He has swal- 
lowed down riches, as eagerly as ever a hungry 
man swallowed down meat; and is still crying, 
" Give, give." It is that which he desired; {v. 20.) 
it was, in his eye, the best gift, and that which he 
coveted earnestly. (2.) What pains he takes for 
it; it is that which he laboured for, {v. 18.) not by 
honest diligence in a lawful calling, but by an un- 
wearied prosecution of all ways and methods, per 
fas, per nefas — right or ivrong, to be rich. We. 
must labour, not to be rich, (Prov. xxiii. 4. ) but to 
be charitable, that toe may have to give, (Eph. i\-. 
28.) not to spend. (3.) What great things he pro- 
mises himself from it, intimated in the rivers, the 
floods, the brooks of honey and butter; {y. 17.) h's 
being disappointed of them supposes tliat he hfid 
flattered himself with the hopes of them: he ex- 
pected rivers of sensual delights. 

3. Violence, and oppression, and injustice, to his 
poor neighbours, xk 19. This was the sin of the 
giants of the old world, and a sin that, as much as 
any other, bnitgs God*s judgments upon nations and 



93 



JOB, XX. 



f milies. It is charged upon this wicked man, (1.) 
That he has forsaken tlie poor, taken no care of 
them, showed no kindness to them, nor made any 
pro\ ision for them. At first, perhaps, for a pre- 
tence, he gave alms like the Pharisees, to gain a 
reputation; but, when he had served his turn with 
it, he left it oflF, and forsook the poor, whom before 
he seemed to be concerned for. Those who do 
good, but not from a good principle, though they 
may abound in it, will not abide in it. (2. ) That 
he has oppressed them, crushed them, taken all 
advantages against them to do them a mischief: to 
enrich himself, he has made the poor poorer. (3.) 
Tlidt he has violently taken away their houses, which 
he liad no right to, as Ahab took Naboth's vineyard, 
not by secret fraud, by forgery, perjury, or some 
trick in law, but avowedly, and by open violence. 
11. What his punishment is, for this wickedness. 

1. He shall be disappointed in his expectations, 
and shall not find that satisfaction in his worldly 
wealth which he vainly promised himself; {v. 17.) 
He shall never see (he rivers, the Jloods, the brooks 
of honey and butter, with which he hoped to glut 
himself. The world is not that to those who love 
it, and court it, and admire it, which they fancy it 
will be. The enjoyment sinks far below the raised 
expectation. 

2. He shall be diseased and distempered in his 
body; and how little comfort a man has in riches, 
if he has not health ! Sickness and pain, especially 
if they be in extremity, imbitter all his enjoyments. 
This wicked man has all the delights of sense 
wound up to the height of pleasurableness; but 
what real happiness can he enjoy, when his bones 
are full of the sins of his youth, {v. 11.) that is, of 
the effects of those sins? By his drunkenness and 
gluttony, his uncleanness and wantonness, when he 
was young, he contracted those diseases which are 
painful to him long after, and, perhaps, make his 
life very miserable, and, as Solomon speaks, con- 
sume his flesh and his body, Prov. v. 11. Perhaps 
he was given to fight when he was young, and then 
made nothing of a cut or a bruise in a fray; but he 
feels it in his bones long after. But can he get no 
ease, m relief? No, he is likely to carry his pains 
and diseases with him to the grave, or rather, they 
are likely to carry him thitlier, and so the sins of his 
youth shall tie down with him in the dust: the very 
putrifying of his body in the grave is to him the 
effect of sin; (c//. xxiV. 19.) so that his iniquity is 
upon his bones there, Ezek. xxxii. 27. The sin 
of sinners fvillows them to the other side death; 

3. He shall be disquieted and troubled in his 
mind; Surely he shall not f el (/uietness in hut belly, 
V. 20. He has not that ease in his own mind that 
pe-'ple think he has, but is in continual agitation. 
The ill-gotten wealth which he has swallowed 
down, makes him sick, and, like undigested meat, is 
always upbraiding him. Let none expect to enjoy 
that 'comfortably which they have gotten unjustly. 
The unquietness of his mind arises, (1.) From his 
conscience looking back, and filling him with the 
fear of the wrath of God against him, for his wick- 
edness. Even that wickedness which was sweet in 
the commission, and was rolled under the tongue as 
a delicate morsel, becomes bitter in the reflection, 
and, when it is reviewed, fills him with horror and 
vexation. In his bowels, it is turned, {v. 14. ) like 
John's book; in his mouth as sweet as honey, but, 
when he had eaten it, his belly was bitter, Rev, x. 
10. Such a thing is sin; it is turned into the gall 
of asi^s, than which notliing is more bitter, the poi- 
son of asps, (i'. 16.) than which nothing more fatal, 
aiTid so it will be to him; what he sucked so sweetly, 
awd with so mucli i)leasnre, will prove to him the 
p'lis'^iii of asps; so will all unlawful gains be. The 
t.w.iljy^ tongue will prove the >iper's tongue. All 



the charming giaces that are thought to be in sin, 
when conscience is awakened, wi.l turn into sc 
many raging furies. (2.) From his cares looking 
forward, v. 22. In the fulness of his sufficiency, 
when he thinks himself most h^ppy, and most sure 
of the continuance of his h..ppiuess, he shall be in 
straits, that is, he shall think himself so, through 
the anxieties and perplexities of his own mind, as 
that rich man who, when his ground brought forth 
plentifully, cried out, what shall I do? Luke xii. 17. 
4. He shall be dispossessed of his estate; that 
shall sink and dwindle away to nothing, so that he 
shall not rejoice therein, v,. 18. He shall not cnly 
never rejoice truly, but not long rejiice at all. 

(1.) What he has unjustly swallowed, he shall 
be compelled to disgorge; {v. 15.) He swallowcc' 
down riches, and then thought himself sure of 
them, and that they were as much his own as the 
meat he has eaten, but he is deceived, he shall 
vomit them up again; his own conscience perhaps 
may make him so uneasy in tlie keeping of what ne 
has gotten, that, for the quiet of his own mind, he 
shall make restitution, and that not with the plea- 
sure of a virtue, but the pain of a vomit, and with 
the utmost reluctancy. Or, if he do not himself re- 
fund what he has violently taken away, God shall, 
by his providence, force him to it, and bring it about, 
one way or other, that ill-gotten goods shall return 
to the right owners. God shall cast them out of his 
belly, while yet the love of the sin is not cast out 
of his heart. So loud shall the clamours of the poor, 
whom he has impoverished, be against him, that 
he shall be forced to send his children to them, to 
sooth them, and beg their pardon; {y. 10.) His 
children shall seek to please the fioor, while his own 
hands shall restore them their goods with shame, 
V. 18. That which he laboured for, by all the art? 
of oppression, shall he restore, and shall not sc 
swallow it down as to digest it; it shall not stay 
with him, but according to his sham'e shall the re- 
stitution be; having gotten a great deal unjustly, 
he shall restore a great deal, so that when every 
one has his own, he will have but a little left for 
himself. To be made to restore what was unjustly 
gotten, by the sanctifying grace of God, as Zaccheus 
was, is a great mercy; he voluntarily and cheerfully 
restored four-fold, and yet had a great deal left to 
give to the poor, Luke xix. 8. But to be forced to 
restore, as Judas was, merely by the horrors of a 
despairing conscience, has none of that benefit and 
comfort attending it, for he threw down the pieces 
of silver, and went and hanged himself 

(2. ) He shall be stripped of all he has, and be- 
come a beggar. He that spoiled others, shall him- 
self be spoiled; (Isa. xxxiii. 1.) for every hayid of 
the wicked shall be upon him. The innocent, whom 
he has wronged, sit down by their loss, saying, as 
David, Wickedness proceedeth from thevjicked,but 
my hand shall not be upon him, 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. 
But though they have forgiven him, though they 
will make no reprisals, divine justice will, and often 
makes the wicked to avenge the 'quarrel of the 
righteous, ;ind squeezes and crushes one bad man 
bv the hand of another upon him. Thus when he 
is plucked on iill sides, he shall not save of that 
which he desired; (i'. 20.) not only he shall not 
save it all, but he shall save nothing of it. There 
shall none of his meat (which he coveted so much, 
and fed upon with so much pleasure) be left, t. 21. 
All his neighbours and relations shall look upon 
him to be in such bad circumstances, that, when he 
is dead, no man shall look for his goods, none of his 
k iidrcd shall expect to be a ])enny the l)etter for 
him, nor be willing to take out letters of adminis- 
tration for what he leaves behind him. In i'' this 
Zophar reflects upon Job, who had lost aV, a •'' was 
reduced to the last extremity. 



JOB, XX. 



99 



23. Tf'icen ne is about to fill his belly, God 
shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, 
and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 
'■24. He shall flee from the iron weapon, aiid 
the bow of steel shall strike hirii through. 

25. It is drawn, and cometh out of the 
body ; yea, the glittering sword cometh out 
of his gall : terrors are upon him. 26. All 
darkness shall be hid in his secret places; a 
fire not blown out shall consume him; it 
shall go ill with him that is left in his taber- 
nacle. 27. Tiie heaven shall reveal his ini- 
quity; and the earth shall rise up against 
him. 28. The increase of his house shall 
depart, and Ins goods shall flow away in the 
day of his wrath. 29. This is the portion of 
a wicked man from God, and the heritage 
appointed unto him by God. 

Zophar, ha\ing described the many embaiTass- 
ments and vexations which commonly attend the 
■wicked practices of oppressors and cruel men, here 
comes to show their utter ruin at last. 

1. Their ruin will take its rise from God's wrath 
and \engeance, f. 23. The hand of the wicked 
was upon him; {v. 22.) e\ ery hand of the wicked. 
His hand was against every one, and therefore e\ery 
man's hand will be against him — yet, in grappling 
with these, he might go near to make his part 
good; but his he irt cannot endure, nor his hands 
be strong, when God shall deal with him, (Ezek. 
xxii. 14. ) when God shall cast the fury of his wrath 
upon him, and rnin it upon him. Every word here 
speaks terror. It is not only the justice of God, 
that is engaged against him, but his wrath, the deep 
resentment of provocations gi> en to himself: it is 
the fury of his vjrath, incensed to the highest de- 
gree; it is cast upon him with force and fierceness; 
it is rained upon him in abundance; it comes on his 
head like the fire and brimstone upon Sodom, to 
which the psilmist also refers, (Ps. xi. 6.) On the 
ivicked God shall rain fire and brimstone. There 
is no fence against this, but in Christ, who is the 
only Covert from the storm and tempest, Isa. xxxii. 
2. This wr ith shall be cast upon him, when he is 
about to fill his belly, just going to glut himself with 
what he has gotten, and promising himself abun- 
dant satisfaction in it. Then, when he is eating, 
shall tliis tempest surprise him, when he is secure 
and easy, and in apprehension of no danger; as the 
ruin of the old world and Sodom came, when they 
were jn the depth of their security, and the height 
of their sensuality, as Christ observes, Luke xvii. 

26, Sec. Perhaps Zophar here reflects on the death 
of Job's children, when they were eating and drinking. 

2. Their ruin will be inevitable, and there will 
be no possibility of escaping it; (i;. 24.) He shall 
flee from the iron weapon. Flight argues guilt: he 
will not humble himself under the judgments of 
God, nor seek means to make his peace with him; 
all his care is to escape the vengeance that pursues 
him, but in vain: if he escape the sword, yet the 
bow of steel shall strike him through. God has 
weapons of all sorts, he has both whet his sword, 
and bent his bow; (Ps. vii. 12, 13.) he can deal with 
his enemies cominns or eminus — at hand or afar 
off. He has a sword for those that think to fight it 
out with him by their strength, and a bow for those 
that think to avoid him bv their craft. See Isaiah 
x\iv. 17, 18. Jer. xlviii. 43, 44. He that is mark- 
ed for ruin, though he may escape one judgment, 
will find another ready for him. 



3. It will be a total, terrible, ruin. When thi- 
dart that has sti-uck him through, (for when Ci<.(i 
shoots, he is sure to hit his mark, when he strikes, 
he strikes home,) comes to be drawn out of his body, 
when the glittering sword, (the lightning, so the 
word is,) the flaming sword, the sword that is bath- 
ed in heaven, (Isa. xxxiv. 5.) when this comes out 
of his gall, O what terrors are upon him! How- 
strong are the convulsions, how violent are the d)'- 
ing agonies! How terrible are the arrests of deatli 
to a wicked man! 

4. Sometimes it i,s a ruin that comes upon him 
insensibly, -v. 26. (1.) The darkness he is wrap- 
ped up in, is a hidden darkness: it is all darkness, 
utter darkness, without the least mixture of light, 
and it is hid in his secret place, whither he is re- 
treated, and where he hopes to shelter himself; he 
never retires into his own conscience, but he finds 
himself in the dark, and utterly at a loss. (2.) The 
fire he is consumed by is a fire not blown, kindled 
without noise, a consumption which every body 
sees the effect of, but nobody sees the cause of; it is 
jjlain that the gourd is withered, but the worm at 
the root, that causes it to wither, is out of sight. 
He is wasted by a soft gentle fire; surely, but very 
slowly. When the fuel is very combustible, the 
fire needs no blowing, and that is his case; he is 
ripe for ruin; the firoud, and they that do wickedly, 
shall be stubble, Mai. iv. 1. An vniquenchable fire 
shall consume him, so some read it; and that is cer- 
tainly true of hell-fire. 

5. It is a ruin, not only to himself, but to his fa- 
mily; It shall go ill with him that is left in his taber- 
nacle, for the curse shall reach him, and he shall 
be cut off perhaps by the same grievous disease; 
there is an entail of wrath upon the family, which 
will destroy both his heirs and his inheritance, v. 
28. (1.) His posterity will be rooted out. The 
increase of his house shall depart; shall either be 
cut off" by untimely deaths, or forced to run their 
country. Numerous and growing families, if wick- 
ed and vile, are soon reduced, dispersed, and extir- 
pated, by the judgments of God. (2.) His estate 
will be sunk. His goods shall flow away from his 
family as fast as ever they flowed in to it, when the 
day of God's wrath comes, for which, all the while 
his estate was in the getting by fraud and oppression, 
he was treasuring up wrath. 

6. It is a ruin which will manifestly appear to 
be just and righteous, and what he has brought 
upon himself by his own wickedness; for, (x'. 27.) 
the heaven shall reveal his iniquity, that is, the God 
of heaven, who sees all the secret wickedness of the 
wicked, will, by some means or other, let all the 
world know what a base man he has been, that 
they may own the justice of God in all that is 
brought upon him. The earth also shall rise up 
against him, both to discover his wickedness, and 
to avenge it. The earth shall disclose her blood, 
Isa. xxvi. 21. The earth rises'vfi agai7ist him, (as 
the stomach rises against that which is loathsome,) 
and will no longer keep him : the Heaven reveals 
his iniquity, and therefore will not receive him: 
whither then must he go but to hell? If the God 
of heaven and earth be his enemy, neither heaven 
nor earth will show him any kindness, but all the 
hosts of both are, and will be, at war with him. 

Lastly, Zophar concludes like an orator; {v. 29. ) 
This is the portion of a wicked man from God; it is 
allotted him, it is designed him as his portion. He 
will ha\e it at last, as a child hr-.s his portion, and 
he will have it for a perpetuitv, it is what he must 
abide by: this is the heritage of his decree from God; 
it is the settled rule of his judgment, and fair warn ■ 
ing is given of it. O wicked man, thou shalt surelh 
die! Ezek. xxxiii. 8. Though impenitent sinners 
do not always fall under such temporal judgments 



100 



JOB, XXI. 



is are here described, (therein Zophar was mis- 
taken,) yet the wrath of God abides upon them, 
and they are made miserable by spiritual judg- 
ments, which are much worse, their consciences 
being either, on the one hand, a terror to them, and 
tlien they are in continual amazement, or, on the 
.ither hand, seared and silenced, and then they are 
gi\ en up to a reprobate sense, and bound over to 
eternal ruin. Never was any doctrine better ex- 
plained, or worse applied, than this by Zophar, who 
intended by all this to prove Job a hypocrite. Let 
us receive the good explication, and make a better 
ff/iplication, for warning to ourselves, to stand in 
awe, and not to sin. 

CHAP. XXI. 

This is Job's reply lo Zophar's discourse ; in which he 
complains less of his own miseries than he had done in 
his former discourses, (finding that his friends were not 
moved by his complaints, lo pity him in the least,) and 
comes closer to the general question that was in dispute 
betwixt him and them, AVhelher outward prosperity, and 
the continuance of it, were a mark of the true church, 
and the true members of it, so that the ruin of a man's 
prosperity is sufficient to prove him a hypocrite, though 
no other evidence appear against him: this they asserted, 
but Job denied. 1. His preface here is designed for 
the moving of their affections, that he might gain their 
attention, v. 1 . .6. II. His discourse is designed for the 
convincing of their judgments, and the rectifying of their 
mistakes. He owns that God does sometimes hang up 
a wicked man as it were in chains, tji lerrorem — as a 
terror lo others, by some visible remarkable judgment in 
this life, but denies that he always does so ; nay, he 
maintains that commonly he does otherwise, suffering 
even the worst of sinners to live all their days in pros- 
perity, and to go out of the world without any visible 
mark of his wrath upon them. I. He describes the 
great prosperity of wicked people, v. 7.. 13. 2. He 
shows their great impiety, in which they are har- 
dened by their prosperity, v. 14.. 16. 3. He foretells 
their ruin, at length, but afler a long reprieve, v. 17. .21. 
4. He observes a very great variety in the ways of God's 
providence toward men, ej-en toward bad men, v. 22 . , 26. 
5.' He overthrows the ground of tFieir severe censures of 
him, by showing that destruction is reserved for the other 
world, and that the wicked often escape to the last in 
this world, v. 27. to the end. In this, Job was clearly in 
the right. 

1 . XI UT Job answered and said, 2. Hear 

XJ diligently nfiy speech ; and let this 
be your consolations. 3. Suffer me that I 
may speak ; and after that I have spoken, 
•nock on. 4. As for me, is my complaint 
to man ? and if it ivere so, why should not 
my spirit be troubled ? 5. Mark me, and 
be astonished, and lay 7/our haivl upon 7/our 
mouth. 6. Even when I remember I am 
afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my 
flesh. 

Job here recommends himself, both his case and 
his discourse, both what he suflFered, and what he 
said, to the compassionate consideration of his 
friends. 

1. That which he entreats of them is very fair, 
that they would suffer him to speak, {v. 3. ) and not 
break' in upon him, as Zophar had done, in the 
midst of his discourse. Losers, of all men, may 
have leave to speak; and if those that are accused 
and censured may not speak for themselves, they 
are wronged witiinut remedy, and have no way to 
come at tlieir right. He entreats that they would 
hear diligently his s])eech, {v. 2. ) as those that were 
willing to understand h.m, and, if they were under 
a mistake, to have it rectified; and that they would 
rnaj-k him; {v. 5.) for we may as well not hear as 
'jot heed and observe what we hear. 

? That which he urges for this is very reason- 



I able. (1.) They came to comfort him; "Nov.," 

[ says he, "/er t/iin be your c-jnuolations; (v. 2. , if 

you ha\ e no other comforts to administer to i..t, 

yet deny me not this; be so kind, so just, as to t,ive 

me a patient hearing, and that shall pass for your 

I consolations. " Nay, they could not know how to 

! comfort him, if they would not give him leave to 

! open his case, and tell his own stt.ry. Or, " It will 

be a consol iti.in to yourselves, in the reflection, to 

have dealt tenderly with your afflicted friend, and 

not harshly." 

(2.) He would hear them speak, when it came 
to t'leir turn. " After I have spoken, yni may go on 
■with what you have to say, nnd I will not hinder 
you, though you go on to mock me." Thobe that 
engage in comro\ ersy, must count upon ha\ ing hard 
words gi\en tliem, and res( Ive to bear it p.itienUy; 
for, generally, they that mock, will mock on, w!t,it- 
ever is said to them. 

(3.) He hoped tocoinince them; " If you will but 
give me a fair hearing, mock on if you can, but I 
believe I shall say that which will change your note, 
and make you pity me, rather than mock nie." 

(4.) They were not his judges; (t. 4.) "In my 
comfilaint to man? No, if it were, I see it would 
be to little purpose to complain. But my complaint 
is to God, and to him do I appeal. Let him be 
Judge between you and me! Before him we stand 
upon even terms, and therefore I have the privi- 
lege of being heard as well as you. If my complaint 
were to men, my spirit would be troubled, for they 
would not regard me, nor rightly understand me; 
but my complaint is to God, wlio will suffer me to 
speak, though you will not." It wtaild be sad iH 
(iod should deal as unkindly with us as our fiiendsl 
sometimes do. 

(5.) There was that in his case, which was very 
surprising and astonishing, and therefore l)oth need- 
ed and deserved tlieir most serious consideration. 
It was not a common case, but a very extraordinary 
one. 

[1.] He himself was amazed at it, at the trou- 
bles God had laid u])on him, and the censures of 
his friends concerning him; (7». 6.) " ]\'hen I re- 
member th^Lt terrible day, in which I was on a sud- 
den stripped of all my comforts, that day in which 
I was stricken with sore boils; when I remember 
all the hard speeches with which you ha^ c grieved 
me, I confess I am afraid, and trembling takes hold 
of my flesh, especially when I compare this with 
the prosperous condition of many wicked people, 
and the applauses of their neighbours, with which 
they pass through the world." Note, The provi- 
dences of God, in the government of the world, are 
sometimes very astonishing, even to wise and good 
men, and bring them to their wit's end. 

[2.] He would have them wonder at it; {v. 5.) 
"Mark me, and be astonished. Instead of expound- 
ing my troubles, you should awfully adore the \\n ■ 
searchable mysteries of Providence in afflicting on» 
thus, of whom you know no evil; you should t'ere 
fore lay your hand ufton your mouth; silently v/ait 
the issue, and judge nothing before the time." 
God's way is in the sea, and his jiath in the great 
waters. When we cannot account for what he d es, 
in suflTering the wicked to pros])er, and the gndly 
to be afflicted, nor fathom the deptli (^f those pro 
ceedings, it becomes us to sit down and adniirt 
them. U/iright men shall be astonished at this, ch. 
xvii. 8. Be you so. 

7. \^^lercfore do the wicked live, become 
old, yea, are mighty in po\yer ? 8. Thoii 
seed is established in their sight with them, 
and their offspring before their ey.'s. 
Their honses are safe from fear, nc-itlur is 



JOB, XXL 



Ol 



the rod of God upon them. 10. Their bull 
^(^ndereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, 
and casteth not her calf. 11. They send 
Ibrth their little ones like a flock, and their 
children dance. 12. They take the timbrel 
and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the or- 
^an 1 3. They spend their days in wealth, 
an. I in a moment go down to the grave. 1 4. 
Therefore they say unto God, Depart from 
us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways. 15. What ^5 the Almighty, that we 
s'lould serve him ? and what profit should 
we have, if we pray unto him? 16. Lo, 
their good is'not in their hand : the counsel 
of the wicked is far from me. 

All Job's three friends, in their last discourses, 
had been very large in describing the miserable 
condition of a wicked nnan in this world; " It is 
true," says Job, " remarkable judgnrients are some- 
times brought upon notorious sinners, but not al- 
ways; for we have many instances of the great and 
lung prosperity of those that are openly and avow- 
ed: y wicked; though they are liardened in their 
wickedness by their prosperity, yet they are still 
buffered to prosper." 

I. He here describes their prosperity, to the 
height, and breadth, and length, of it. '• If this be 
true, as you say, pray tell me wherefore do the wick- 
ed live?" V. 7. The matter of fact is taken for grant- 
ed, for we see instances of it every day. 1. They live, 
and are not suddenly cut off by the strokes of divine 
vengeance. They yet speak, who have set their 
mouths against the heavens. Theyyetact, whohave 
stretched out their hands against God. Not only they 
live, that is, they are reprieved, but they live in pros- 
fin-inj. 1 Sam. xxv. 6. Nay, 2. They become old, 
they have the honour, satisfaction, and advantage, 
of living long, time enough to raise their families 
and estates. We read of a sinner a hundred years 
old, Isa. Ixv. 20. But this is not all. 3. They are 
m ghty in power, are preferred to places of autho- 
rity and trust, and not only make a great figure, 
hut betr a great sway. Vivit imo, et in senatum 
-I'fnif — He not only lives, but walks into the senate- 
hodfte. Now wherefore is it so.'' Note, It is worth 
wh le to inquire into the reasons of the outward pros- 
perity f'f wicked people. It is not because God has 
f rsaken the earth, because he does not see, or does 
iiot hate, or cannot punish, their wickedness; but 
it s because the measure of their iniquities is not 
full. This is the day of God's patience, and in some 
\v y or other he makes use of them, and their pros- 
perity, to serve his own counsels, while it ripens 
ihrm for ruin; but the chief reason is, because he 
w 11 make it to appear there is another world, 
wivch is the world of retribution, and not this. 

The prosperity of the wicked is here described 
t''^ he, 

(1.) Complete and consummate. [1.] They are 
multiplied, and their family is built up, and thev 
have the satisfaction of seeing it; {y. 8.) Their seed 
;> -stahlis/ied in their sight. This is put first, as that 
which gives both a pleasant enjoyment, andapleas- 
ina- pospect. [2.] They are easy and quiet, v. 9. 
^Vheieas Zophar had spoken of their continual 
fritrhts and terrors. Job siys. Their houses are safe, 
both from danger and from the fear of it; (y. 9. ) and 
so fir are they from the killing wounds of God's 
sword or arrows, that they do not feel the smart of 
so much as (he rod of God upon them. [3.] They 
are rich, and thrive in their estates; of this he gives 
only one instance, v. 10. Their cattle increase, 



and they meet with no disappointment in them; not 
so much as a cow casts her calf, and then their 
much must needs grow more. This is promised, 
Exod. xxiii. 26. Deut. vii. 14. [4.] They are mer- 
ry, and live a jovial life; {v. 11, 12.) They semi 
forth their little ones abroad among their neigh 
bours, like a flock, in great numbers, to sport them 
selves. They have their balls and music-meeting?, 
at which their children dance; and dancing is fitti. tt 
for children, who know not better how to sper.d 
their time, and whose innocency guards them 
against the mischiefs that commonly attend it. 
Though the parents are not so very youthful and 
frolicsome as to dance themselves, yet they t.;ke 
the timbrel and harp; they pipe, and their children 
dance after their pipe, and they know no gref to 
put their instruments out of tune, or to withhold 
their hearts from any joy. Some observe that th s 
is an instance of their vanity, as well as of their 
prosperity. Here is none of that care taken of the r 
children.'which Abraham took of his, to ^eacA them 
the way of the Lord, Gen. xviii. 19. Their chil- 
dren do not pray, or say their catechism, but dance, 
and sing, and rejoice at the sound of the orgur. 
Sensual pleasures are all the delights of carnal peo- 
ple; and as men are themselves, so they breed their 
children. 

(2.) Continuing and constant; {v. 13.) They 
spend their days, all their days, in wealth, and ne- 
ver know what it is to want; in mirth, and neA er 
know what sadness means; and at last, without any 
previous alarms to frighten them, without any an- 
guish, or agony, in a moment they go down to the 
grave, and there are no bands in their death. If 
there were not another life after this, it were most 
desirable to die by the quickest, shortest strt kes i f 
death. Since we must go down to the grave, it 
that were the furthest of our journey, we wi uhi 
wish to go down in a moment, to swallow the I);;- 
ter pill, and not chew it. 

II. He shows how they abuse their prosperity, 
and are confirmed and hardened by it in their im- 
piety, v. 14, 15. Their gold and silver serve to 
steel them, to make them more insolent, and mere 
impudent, in their wickedness. Now he mentions 
this, either, 1. To increase the difficulty. It is 
strange that any wicked people should prosper thus, 
but especially that those should prosper, who are 
arrived at such a pitch of wickedness as openly to 
bid defiance to God himself, and tell him to his face 
that they care not for him: nay, and that their pros- 
perity should be continued, though they bear up 
themselves upon that, in their opposition to God; 
with that weapon they fight against him, and yet 
are not disarmed. Or, 2. To lessen the difficulty. 
God suffers them to prosper; but let us not wonder 
at it, for the prosperity of fools destroys them, by 
hardening them in sin, Prov. i. 32. Ps. Ixxiii. 7* '9. 
See how light these prospering sinners make rf 
God and religion, as if, because they have so much 
of this world, they had no need to look after an- 
other. 

(1.) See how ill affected they are to God and re- 
ligion; thev abandon them, and cast off the thoughts 
of them. [1-] They dread the presence of God, 
they say unto him, *' Depart from us, let us never 
be troubled with the apprehension of our being un- 
der God's eye, nor be restrained by the fear rf 
him." Or, They bid him depart, as one they do 
not need, nor have any occasion to make use rf. 
The world is the portion they have chosen, and 
take up with, and think themselves happy in; while 
they ha\e that, they can live without God. Justly 
will God say to them, Depart, (Matth. xxv. 41.) 
who have bid him depart; justly does he now take 
them at their word. [2.] Thev dread the know- 
ledge of God, and of his will, and of their duty to 



102 



JOB, XXI. 



him; We desire not the knowledge of thy ways. 
They that are resolved not to walk in God's ways, 
desire not to know them, because tlieir knowledge 
will be a continual reproach to their disobedience, 
John iii. 19. 

(2.) See how they argue against God and reli- 
gion; {y. 15.) What is the Almighty? Strange, that 
ever creatures should speak so insolently, that ever 
reasonable creatures should speak so absurdly and 
unreasonably. The two great bonds by which we 
are drawn and held to religion, are those of duty 
and interest; now they here endea\ our to break 
both these bonds asunder. [1.] They will not be- 
lieve it is their duty to be religious. What is the 
4lmighty, that we should serve him? Like Pharaoh, 
(Exod. V, 2.) Who is the Lord, that I should obey 
his voice? Observe how slightly they speak of God; 
What is the Almighty? As if he were a mere name, 
a mere cypher, or one they have nothing to do with, 
and that has nothing to do with them. How hardly 
they speak of religion! They call it aservia-, and 
mean a hard service. Is it not enc.ugh, they think, 
t > keep up a fair correspondence with the Almighty, 
but they nmst serve him, which they look upon as 
u task and drudgery. Observe also how highly they 
speak of themselves; "jyiat we should serve hmi: 
we, who are rich and mighty in power, shall we be 
subject and accountable to himi* No, we are Lords," 
Jer. ii. .31. [2.] They will not believe it is tlieir 
interest to be religious; What projit shall we have 
if we pray unto him? All the world are for what 
thev can get, and therefore wisdom's merchandise 
is neglected, because they think there is nothing to 
be g it by it; It is vain to serve God, Mai. iii. 13, 14. 
Praying will not pay debts, nor portion children; 
nay, perhaps serious godliness may hinder a man's 
preferment, and expose him to losses; and what 
then^ Is nothing to be called gain but the wealth 
and honour of this world.!* If we obtain the favour 
of God, and spiritual and eternal blessings, we have 
no reason to complain of losing by our religion. But 
if we have not profit by prayer, it is our own fault, 
(Isa. Iviii. 3, 4.) it is because we ask amiss. Jam. 
iv. 3. Religion itself is not a vain thing; if it be so 
to us, we may thank ourselves for resting in the 
outside of it. Jam. i. 26. 

III. He shows their folly herein, and utterly dis- 
claims all concurrence with them; {v. 19.) Lo, 
their good is not in their hand, that is. They did not 
get it without God, and therefore they are very un- 
grateful to slight him thus: it was not their might, 
nor the power of their hand, that got them this 
wealth, and therefore they ought to remember God 
who gave it them. Nor can they keep it without 
God, and therefore they are very unwise to lose 
tlieir interest in him, and bid him to depart from 
them. Some give this sense of it; "Their good is 
in their barns and their bags, hoarded up there; it 
:S not in their hand, to do good to others with it; 
and then, what good does it do them?" "There- 
fore," says Job, ''the counsel of the wicked is far 
from me. Far l)e it from me tluit I should be of 
their mind, s ly as they s^y. do as they do, and take 
my measures from them. Their posterity ap- 
prove their sayings, though their way be their 
folly i (Ps. xlix. 13.) but I know better things than 
to walk in their counsel." 

17. How oft is llio candle of the wicked 
put out? and hovj oft cometli their destruc- 
tion upon them? God distrihuteth sorrows 
In liis anger. 1 8. They are as stubhle be- 
fore the wind, and as chaff that the storm 
carrieth away. 19. God layeth up his ini- 
quity for his children: he rewardeth him. 



and he shall know it. 20. His eyes shall 
see his destruction, and he shall drink of 
the wrath of the Almighty. 21. For what 
pleasure hath he in his house after him, 
when the number of his months is cut off 
in the midst? 22. Shall any teach God 
knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that 
are high. 23. One dieth in his full strength, 
being wholly at ease and cjuiet : 24. His 
breasts are full of milk, and his bones are 
moistened with marrow. 25. And anothei 
dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never 
eateth with pleasure. 26. TUey shall lie 
down alike in the dust, and the worms shall 
cover them. 

Job had largely desciibed the prosperity of wick, 
ed people; now, in these verses, 

I. He opposes this to what his friends had main 
tained concerning their certain ruin in this life. 
"Tell me how often do you see the candle of the 
wicked put out. Do ycu not as often see it burn 
down to the socket, until it goes out of itself? v. 17. 
How often do you see their destruction con>e upon 
them, or God distributing sorrows in his anger 
among themi' Do you not as often see their mirth 
and prosperity continuing to the last?" Perhaps 
there are as many instances of notorious sinners 
ending their days in pomp, as ending them in mise- 
ry; which observation is sufficient to invalidate 
their arguments against Job, and to show that no 
certain judgment can be made of men's character 
by their outward condition. 

II. He reconciles this to the holiness and justice 
of God; though wicked people pr< sper thus all 
their days, yet we are not theref<n-e to think th.it 
God will let their wickedness always go unpunish- 
ed. No, 

1. Even while they prosper thus, they are as 
stubble and chaff before the stormy wind, v. 18. 
They are light and worthless, and of no account 
either with God, or with wise and good men. They 
are fitted to destruction, and continually lie exposed 
to it; and, in the height of tlieir pomp and power, 
there is but a step between them and ruin. 

2. Though they spend all their days in wealth, 
God is laying up their iniquity for their children, 
{v. 19.) and he will visit it upon their postei-ity 
when they are gone. The oppressor lays up his 
goods for his children, to make them gentlemen, 
but God lays up his iniquity for them, to make 
them beggars: he keeps an exact account of the fa- 
thers' sins; seals them up among his trrasurrs, 
(Deut. xxxii. 34.) and will justly punish the chil- 
dren, while the riches, to which the curse cleaves, 
are found as assets in their hands. 

3. Though they prosper in this woMd, yet they 
shall be reckoned with in another world. Ciod re- 
wards him according to his deeds at last, {v. 19.) 
though tlie sentence passed against his evil works 
be not executed si)eedily. Perhaps he may not now 
be made to fear the wrath to come, but he may 
flatter himself with hopes that he shall have peace, 
tlwough he go on; but he shall be made to feel it ii. 
the day of the revelation of the riftliteous judgment 
of God. He shall know it; {v. 19.) His eyes shall 
see his destruction, which he would not be persn;idcd 
to believe. They will not see, but they shall see, 
Isa. xxvi. 11. The eyes that have been wilfully 
shut against tlie grace of Ciod, shall he o])ened to 
see his destruction. He shall drink of the wrath of 
the Almighty; that shall he the portion rf his cup. 
Compare Ps. xi. 6. with Rev. xi\'. 10. The misery 



JOB, XXI. 



103 



of damned sinners is here set forth in a few words, 
but they are very terrible ones: they he under the 
wrath of an Almigh ly God, who, in their desti'uc- 
tion, both shows his wrath, and makes known his 
power. 

If this will be his condition in the other world, 
what good will his prosperity in this world do him? 
(y. 21.) What pleasure has he in his house after 
him? Our Saviour has let us know how little plea- 
sure the rich man in hell had in his house after him, 
when the remembrance of the good things he had 
received in his life-time, would not cool his tongue, 
but added much to his misery, as did also the sor- 
row he was in, lest his five brethren, whom he left 
in his house after him, should follow him to that 
place of torment, Luke xvi. 25- -28. So little will 
the gain of the world profit him that has lost his soul. 

Ili. He resolves this difference, which Providence 
makes between one wicked man and another, into the 
wisdom and sovereignty of (iod; {v. 22.) Shall any 
tiretend to teach God knowledge? Dare we arraign 
God's proceedings, or blame his conduct? Shall we 
take upon us to tell God how he should govern the 
world, what sinner he should spare, and what he 
should punish? He has both authority and ability 
to judge those that are high. Angels in heaven, 
princes and magistrates on earth, are accountable 
to God, and must receive their doom from him; 
he manages them, and makes what use he pleases 
of them: shall he then be accountable to us, or re- 
ceive advice from us? He is the Judge of all the 
earth, and tlierefore, no doubt, he shall do right, 
(Gen. xviii. 25. Rom. iii. 6.) and those prf ceedings 
of his providence which seem to contradict one 
another, he can make, not only mutually to agree, 
but iointly to serve his own purposes. 

The little difference there is between one wicked 
man's dying impenitent in peace and pomp, and 
another wicked man's dying so in pain and misery, 
when both will, at Jast, meet in hell, he illustrates 
by the little difference there is between one man's 
dying suddenly and another's dying slowly, when 
they will both meet shortly in the grave. So \ ast 
is the disproportion between time and eternity, that, 
if hell be the fot of every sinner at last, it makes 
little difference, if one goes singing thither, and 
another sighing. See, 

1. How various the circumstances of people's 
dying are. There is one way into the world, we 
say, but many f^ut; yet, as some are born by quick 
and easy labour, others by that which is hard and 
lingering, so dying is to some much more terrible 
than to others; and, since the death of the body is 
the birth of the soul into another world, death-bed 
agonies may not unfitly be compared to child-bed 
tliroes. Observe the difference. 

(1.) One dies suddenly, in his full strength, not 
weakened by age or sickness, {v. 23.) being wholly 
at ease and quiet, under no apprehension at all of 
the approach of death, nor in any fear of it; but, 
on the contrary, because his breasts are full of milk, 
and his bones moistened with marrow, {v. 24.) that 
is, he is healthful and vigorous, and of a good con- 
stitution, (like a milch-cow that is fat and in good 
liking,) he counts upon nothing but to live many 
years in mirth and pleasure. Thus fair does he bid 
For life, and yet he is cut off in a moment by the 
stroke of death. Note, It is a common thing for 
persons to be taken away by death when they are 
in tlieir full strength, in the highest degree of health, 
when they least expect death, and think themselves 
best armed against it, and are ready not only to set 
death at a distance, but to set it at defiance. Let us 
therefore never be secure; for we have known 
many well and dead in the same week, the same 
day, the same hour, nay, perhaps, the same minute, 
Let us therefore be always ready 



(2. ) Another dies slowly, and with a great deal 
of previous pain and misery, (t. 2j.) In the bitter- 
ness of his soul, such as poor Job was himself now 
in, and never eats with pleasure, has no appetite to 
his food, nor any relish of it, through sickness, or 
age, or sorrow ot' mind. What great reason ha\e 
those to be thankful, that are in health, and alvva\s 
eat with pleasure! And what little reason have 
they to complain, who sometimes do not eat thus 
when they hear of many that never do! 

2. How undiscernible this difference is in the 
grave: as rich and poor, so healthful and unhealtli- 
ful, meet there; {v. 26.) 7'heij shall lie donvn ali^e 
in the dunt, and the worms shall cover them, and 
feed sweetly en them. Thus, if one wicked man 
die in a palace, and another in a dungeon, they will 
meet in the congregation of the dead and damned, 
and the worm that dies not, and the fire that is n(X 
quenched, will be the same to them, which makes 
those differences inconsiderable, and not wortli pei- 
plexing ourseh es about. 

27. Behoid, I know your thoughts, and 
the devices which ye wrongfully iniagino 
against me. 28. For ye say, Where is the 
house of the prince? and where are the 
dwelling-places of the wicked? 29. Have 
ye not asked them that go by the way ? and 
do ye not know their tokens, 30. That 
the wicked is reserved to the day of de 
struction ? they shall be brought forth lo 
the day of wrath. 31. Who shall declare 
his way to his face? and who shall repa}- 
him what he hath done ? 32. Yet shall hv 
be brought to the grave, and shall remain 
in the tomb. 33. The clods of the valK^}' 
shall be sweet unto him, and every nidn 
shall draw after him, as there are innume- 
rable before him. 34. How then comfort 
ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there 
remaineth falsehood ? 

In these \ erses, 

I. Job opposes the opinion of his friends, which 
he saw they still adhered to, That the wicked are 
sure to fall into such visible and remarkable ruin, 
as Job was now fallen into, and none but the wicked; 
upon which principle, they condemned Job as a 
wicked man. "I know your thoughts," says Job, 
{v. 27.) «' I know you will not agree with me; for 
your judgments are tinctured and biassed by your 
piques and prejudices against me, and the devices 
which you wningfuUy imagine against my comfort 
and honour: and how can such men be cf nvinced?" 

Job's friends were ready to say, in answer to his 
discourse concerning the prosperity of the wicked, 
" Where is the house of the prince?\v. 28.) Where 
is Job's house, or the house of his eldest son, in 
which his children were feasting: inquire into the 
circumstances of Job's house and family, and then 
ask. Where are the dzvelling-filaces of the wickid? 
and compare them together, and you will soon see 
that Job's house is in the same predicament with 
the houses of tyrants and oppressors, and may 
therefore conclude that doubtless he was such a 
one." 

II. He lays down his own judgment to the con- 
trary, and, for proof of it, appeals to the sentiments 
and observations of all mankind. So confident is he 
that he is in the right, that he is willing to refer the 
cause to the next man that comes by; (v. 29.) 
" Have ye not asked them that go by the way — any 



104 



JOB, XXII. 



indifferent pei*son, any that will answer jou? I say 
not, as Eliphaz, (cA. v. 1.) To which of the Saints 
— I ask, To which of the children of men, will you 
turn? Turn to which you will, you will find them 
all of my mind; that the punishment of sinners is 
designed more for the other world than for this, 
according to the prophecy of Enoch, the seventh 
from Adam, Jude 14. Do you not know the tokens 
of this truth, which all that have made any obser- 
vations upon the providences of God concerning 
mankind in this world, can furnish you with?" 

Now what is it that Job here asserts? Two 
things, 

1. That impenitent sinners will certainly be 
punished in the other world, and, usually, their 
punishment is put off until then. 

2. That therefore we are not to think it strange 
if they prosper greatly in this world, and fall under 
no visible token of God's wrath. Therefore they 
are spared now, because they are to be punished 
then; therefore the workers of iniquity flourish, 
that they may be destroyed for ever, Ps. xcii. 7. 
The sinner is here supposed, 

(1.) To live in a great deal of power, so as to be 
not only the terror of the mighty in the land of the 
Irving, (Ezek. xxxii. 27.) but the terror of the 
wise and good too, whom he keeps in such awe, 
that none dares declare his way to his face, -v. 31. 
None will take the liberty to I'eprove him, to tell 
him of the wickedness ot his way, and what will 
be in the end thereof; so that he sins securely, and 
is not made to know either shame or fear. The 
prosperity of fools destroys them, by setting them 
(in their own conceit) above reproofs, by which 
they might be brought to that repentance which 
aloiie will prevent their ruin. Those are marked 
for destruction that are let alone in sin, Hos. iv. 17. 
And if none dares declare his way to his face, much 
less dare any repay him what he has done, and 
make him refund there where he has done wrong. 
He is one of those great flies which break through 
the cobwebs ot the law, that hold only the little 
ones: this imboldens sinners in their sinful ways, 
that they can brow-beat justice, and make it afraid 
to meddle with them. But there is a day coming 
when those shall be told of their faults, who now 
would not bear to hear of them; shall have their 
sins set in order before them, and their way de- 
clared to their face, to their everlasting confusion, 
who would not have it done here, to their convic- 
tion; when those who would not repay the wrongs 
thev had done, shall have them repaid to them. 

('2.) To die, and be buried in a great deal of 
])omp and magnificence, u. 52, 33. There is no 
remedy; he must die; that is the lot of all men; 
but every thing vou can think of shall be done to 
t ;ke off the reproach of death. [1.] He shall have 
a splendid funeral; a poor thing for any man to be 
proud of the prospect of; yet with some it passes for 
a mighty thhig: well, he shall be brought unto the 
grave in state, surrounded with all the honours of 
the Heralds' office, and all the respect his friends 
can then pay to his remains: the rich man died, and 
was burird, but no mention is made of the poor 
man's burial, Luke xvi. 22. [2.] He shall have a 
statelv monument erected over him, he shall re- 
main in the tomb with a Hie jacet — Here lies, over 
him, and a large encomium. Perhaps it is meant 
of the embalming of his body, to preserve it, which 
was a piece of honour anciently done by the Egyp- 
tians to their great men. He shall watch in the 
tomb, so the word is, shall abide solitary and quiet 
there, as a watchman in his tower. [3.^ The clods 
of the vallei/ shall be sweet to him; there shall be 
as much doiie as can be with rich odours, to take 
tiff the noisomcness of the grave, as by lamps to set 
ttside the darkness of it, which perhaps was refer- 



red to in the foregoing phrase of watching in the 
tomb: but it is all a jest; what is the light, or what 
the perfume, to a man that is dead? [4. J It shall 
be alleged, for the lessening of the disgrace of death, 
that it is the common lot; he has only yielded to fate, 
and every man shall draw after him, as there are in- 
numerable before him. Note, Death is the way of all 
the earth: when we are to cross that darksome %al- 
ley, we must consider. First, That there are innu- 
merable before us, it is a tracked road; which may 
help to take off the terror of it. To die is ire ad 
filures — to go to the great majority. Secondly, 
That every man shall draw after us: as there is a 
plain track before, so there is a long train behind; 
we are neither the first, nor the last, that pass 
through that dark entry. Every one must go in 
his own order, the order appointed of God. 

Lastly, From all this Job infers the impertinency 
of their discourses, v. 34. 1. Their foundation is 
rotten, and they went upon a wrong hypothesis; 
"In your answers there remaineth falsehood; what 
you have said, stands not only unproved but dis 
proved, and lies under such an imputation of false 
hood as you cannot clear it from." 2. Their build-- 
ing was therefore weak and tottering: "You com 
fort me in vain. All you have said, gives me no 
relief; you tell me that I shall prosper again, if I 
turn to God, but you go upon this presumption, 
that piety shall certainly be crowned with prospe- 
rity, which is false; and therefore how can your in- 
ference from it yield me any comfort''" Note, 
Where there is not truth, there is little comfort to 
be expected. 

CHAP. XXII. 

Eliphaz here leads on a third attack upon poor Job, in 
which Bildad followed him, but Zophar drew back, and 
quitted the field. It was one of the unhappinesses of Job, 
as it is of many an honest man, to be misunderstood by 
his friends. He had spoken of tWe prosperity of wicked 
men in this world as a mystery of Providence, but they 
took it for a reflection upon Providence, as countenancing 
their wickedness; and they reproached him accordintrly. 
In this chapter, I. Eliphaz checks him for his complain's 
of God, and of his dealings with him, as if he thousjht 
God had done him wron<r, v. 2.. 4. II. He charpes 
him with many hifjh crimes and misdemeanors, for 
which he supposes God was now punishinsr him. 1. Op- 
pression and injustice, V. 5 .. 11. 2. Atheism and infi- 
delity, v. 12.. 14. III. He compared his case to that 
of the old world, V. 15.. 20. IV. He gives him very 
pood counsel, assuring him thai, if he would take it, 
God would return in mercy to him, and he should return 
to his former prosperity, v. 21 . . 30. 

l.rr^HEN Eliphaz the Temanite an- 

1 swered and said, 2. Can a man be 
profitable unto God, as he that is wise may 
be profitable vinto himself? 3. h it any 
pleasure to the Almighty that thou art 
righteous? or is it gain to him tliat thou 
makest thy ways perfect? 4. Will he re- 
prove thee for fear of thee? will he enter 
with thee into judgment? 

Eliphaz here insinuates that, because Job com- 
plained so much of his afHictions, he thought Ciod 
was unjust in afflicting him; but it was a strained 
innuendo. Job was far from thinking so. What 
Eliphaz says here, is therefore unjustly applied to 
Job, but in itself it is very true and good; 

1. That when God does us good, it is not because 
he is indebted to us; if he were, there might be 
some colour to say, when he afflicts us, " He docs 
not deal fairly with us:" but whoever pretends that 
he has by any meritorious action made (Jod his 
Debtor, let him prove this debt, and he EJiall be 



JOB, XXII. 



105 



sure not to lose it; (Rom. xi. 35.) pyTio has given Co 
him, and it shall be recomfiensed to him again? But 
Eliphaz here shows that the righteousness and per- 
fection of the best man in the world are no real 
benefit or advantage to God, and therefore cannot 
be thought to merit any thing from him. 

(1.) Man's piety is no profit to God, no gain, v. 
1, 2. If we could by any thing merit from God, it 
would be by our piety, our being righteous, and 
making our way perfect. If that will not merit, 
surely nothing else will : if a man cannot make God 
his debtor by his godliness, and honesty, and obe- 
dience to his laws, much less can he by his wit, and 
learning, and worldly policy. Now E'.iphaz here 
isks, whether any man can possibly be profitable 
to God? It is certain that man cannot. By no 
means: he that is wise may be firojitable to himself. 
No>e, Our wisdom and piety are that by which we 
ourselves are, and are likely to be, great gainers. 
Wisdom is /irof table to direct, Eccl. x. 10. God- 
liness is profitable to all things, 1 Tim. iv. 8. If 
thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself, Pro\ . 
ix. 12. The gains of religion are infinitely greater 
than the losses of it, and so it will appear when they 
are balanced. But can a man be thus profitable to 
God? No, for such is the perfection of God, that 
he cannot receive any benefit or advantage by men; 
what can be added to that which is infinite? And 
such is the weakness and imperfection of man, that 
he cannot offer any benefit or advantage to God. 
Can the light of a candle be profitable to the sun, 
or the drop of the bucket to the ocean? He that is 
wise, is profitable to himself, for his own direction 
and defence, liis own credit and comfort; he can 
with his wisdom entertain himself, and enrich him- 
6elf; but can he so be profitable to God? No; 
God needs not us or our services. We are undone, 
for e\ er undone, without him; but he is happy, for 
ever h ippy, without us. Is it any gain to him, any 
real addition to his glory or wealth, if we make our 
way perfect? Suppose it were absolutely perfect, 
yet what is God the better? Much less when it is 
so far short of Iieing perfect. 

(2.) It is no /ileasure to h.\m. God has indeed 
expressed himself in his word well pleased with the 
righteous; his countenance beholds them, and his 
delight is in them and their prayers; but all that 
adds nothing to the infinite satisfaction and com- 
placency which the Eternal Mind has in itself 
God can enjoy himself without us, though we could 
have but little enjoyment nf ourselves without our 
friends. This magnifies his condescension, in that, 
though our services be no real profit or pleasure to 
him, vet he invites, encourages, and accepts, them. 
2. That, when God restrains or rebukes us, it is 
not because he is in danger fronn us, or jealous of us; 
{v. 4. ) " Will he refirove thee for fear of thee, and 
take thee down from thy prosperity, lest thou 
shouldest grow too great for him ; as princes some- 
times have thought it a piece of policy to curb the 
growing greatness of a subject, lest he should be- 
came formidable?" Satan indeed suggested to our 
first parents, that God forbade them the tree of 
knowledge, for fear of them, lest they should be as 
!c:nds, and so become rivals with him; but it was a 
base insinuation. God rebukes the good because 
he loves them, but he never rebukes the great be- 
cause he fears them. He does not enter into judg- 
ment with men, that is, pick a quarrel with them, 
and seek occasi-^n against them, through fear they 
should eclipse his honour, or endanger his interest. 
Magistrates punish offenders for fear of them; Pha- 
raoh oppressed Israel because he feared them; it 
was for fear that Herod slew the children of Beth- 
lehem; that the Jews persecuted Christ and his 
apostles. But God does not, as they did, pervert 
justice for fear 'f any. See ch. xxxvi. 5««8. 

Vol hi.— O 



5. Is not thy wickedness great? and thine 
iniquities infinite? 6. For thou hast taken 
a pledge from thy brother for nought, and 
stripped the naked of their clothing. 7. 
Thou hast not given water to tlie weary to 
drink, and thou hast withholden bread from 
the hungry. 8. But as for the mighty man, 
he had the earth ; and the honourable man 
dwelt in it. 9. Thou hast sent widows 
away empty ; and the arms of the fatherless 
have been broken : 1 0. Therefore snares 
are round about thee, and sudden fear trou- 
bleth thee ; 11 . Or darkness, that thou 
canst not see ; and abundance of waters 
cover thee. 1 2. Is not God in the height 
of heaven? and, behold, the height of the 
stars, how high they are! 13. And thou 
sayest. How doth God know? can he judge 
through the dark cloud? 14. Thickdouds 
are a covering to him, that he seeth not ; 
and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. 

Eliphaz and his companions had condemned Job, 
in general, as a wicked man and a hypocrite; but 
none of them had descended to particulars, nor 
drawn up any articles of impeachment against him, 
until Eliphaz did it here, where he positively and 
expressly charges him with many high crimes and 
misdemeanors, which if he had really been guilty 
of, they might well have justified themselves in 
their harsh censures of him. "Come," (says Eli- 
phaz,) "we ha\e been too tender of Job, and afraid 
of grie\ ing him, which has but confirmed him in 
his self-justification; it is high time to deal plainly 
with him; we have condemned him by parables, 
but that does not answer the end; he is not prevail- 
ed with to condemn hiniself; we must therefore 
plainly tell him, ''Thou art the man, the tyrant, 
the oppressor, the atheist, we have been speaking 
of all this while. Is not thy wickedness great? Cer- 
tainly it is, or else tliy troubles would not be so 
great. I appeal to thyself, and thy own conscience; 
are not thine iniquities infinite, both in number and 
heinousness?" Strictly taken, nothing is infinite 
but God: but he means' this, that his sins were more 
than could be counted; and more heinous than 
could be conceived. Sin, being committed against 
Infinite Majesty, has in it a kind of infinite malignity. 
But when Eliphaz charges Job thus high, and ven- 
tures to f'escend to particulars too, laying to his 
charge that which he knew not, we may take occa- 
sion hence, 1. To be angry at those who unjustly 
censure and condemn their brethren. For aught I 
know, Eliphaz, in accusing Job falsely, as he does 
here, was guilty of as great a sin, and as great a 
wrong to Job, as the Sabeans and Chaldeans that 
robbed him; for a man's good name is more pre- 
cious and valuable than his wealth. It is against all 
the laws of justice, charity, and friendship, either 
to raise, or receive, calumnies, jealousies, and evil 
surmises, concerning others; and it is the more base 
and disingenuous, if we thus vex those that are in 
distress, and add to their affliction. Eliphaz could 
produce no instances of Job's guilt in any of the par- 
ticulars that fol'ow here, biit seems resolved to 
calumniate boldly, and throw all the reproach he 
could on Job, not doubting but that some would 
clea\ e to him. 2. To pitv those who are thus cen- 
sured and condemned. Innocency itself will be no 
security against a false and foul tongue. Job, whom 
God himself praised as the best man in the world. 



106 



JOB, XXII. 



IS here represented by one of his friends, and him a 
wise and good man too, as one of the greatest villains 
in nature. Let us not think it strange, if at any 
time we be thus blackened, but learn how to pass 
hy evil report as well as good, and commit our 
( ause, as Job did, to him that judgeth righteously. 

Let us see the particular articles of this charge. 

L He charges him with oppression and injustice; 
that, when he was in prosperity, he not only did no 
good with his wealth and power, but did a great 
deal of hurt with it. This was utterly false, as ap- 
pears by the account Job gives of himself, {ch. 
xxix, 12, 8cc.) and the character God gave of him, 
th. i. And yet, 

1. Eliphaz branches out this charge into divers 
particulars, with as much assurance as if he could 
call witnesses to prove upon oath every article of it. 
He tells him, (1.) That he had been cruel and un- 
merciful to the poor. As a magistrate, he ought to 
have protected them, and seen them provided for; 
but Eliphaz suspects that he never did them any 
kindness, but all the mischief his power enabled 
him to do; that, for an inconsiderable debt, he de- 
manded, and carried away by violence, a pawn of 
great value, even from his brother, whose honesty 
and sufficiency he could not but know; [y. 6. ) Thou 
hast taken a pledge from thy brother for naught; 
or, as the LXX read it. Thou hast taken thy bre- 
thren for pledges, and that for naught; imprisoned 
them, enslaved them, because they had nothing to 
pay; that he had taken the very clothes of his in- 
solvent tenants and debtors, so that he had stripped 
them naked, and left them so: the law of. Moses 
forbade this; (Exod. xxii. 26. Deut. xxiv. 13.) that 
he had not been charitable to the poor, no not to 
poor travellers, and poor widows. "Thou hast not 
given so much as a cup of cold water, (which 
would have cost thee nothing,) to the weary to 
drink, when he begged for it, {v. 7.) and was ready 
to perish for want of it: nay, thou hast withholden 
bread from the hungry in their extremity, hast not 
only not given it, but hast forbidden the giving of it; 
which is withholding good from those to ivhom it is 
really due, Prov. iii. 27. Poof widows, who, while 
their husbands were living, troubled nobody, but 
now weie forced to seek relief, thou hast sent away 
empty from thy doors with a sad heart, v. 9. Those 
who came to thee for justice, thou didst send away 
unheard, unhelped; nay, though they came to thee 
full, thou didst squeeze them, and send them away 
empty; and, worst of all, the arms of tlie fatherless 
have been broken; those that could help them- 
selves but little, thou hast (juite disabled to help 
themselves." This, which is the blackest part of 
the charge, is but insinuated; The arms of the fa- 
therless have been broken: he does not say, " Thou 
hast broken them," but he would have it understood 
so: and, if they be broken, and those who have 
power do not relieve them, they are chargeable 
with it. " They have been broken by those under 
thee, and thou hast connived at it, which brings 
thee under the guilt. " (2. ) That he had been par- 
tial to the rich and great; {v. 8.) "M for the 
mighty man, if he was guilty of any crime, he was 
never questioned for it; he had the earth, he dwelt 
in it: if he brought an action ever so unjustly, or if 
an action were ever so justly brought against him, 
yet he was sure to carry his cause in thy courts. 
The poor were not fed at thv door, while the rich 
were feasting at thy table.'' Contrary to this is 
Christ's rule for hospitality; (Luke xiv. 12.. U.) 
and Solomon s.iys. He that gives to the rich shall 
come to poverty. 

2. He attributes all his present troubles to these 
supposed sins; (i'. 10, 11.) "Those th it are guilty 
of such pnictices as these, commonly tiring them 
iclvcs into just su£h a condition as thou art now in; 



and therefore we conclude thou hast been thus 
guilty." (1.) "It is the manner of God to cross 
and embarrass such; and snares are, accordingly, 
round about thee, so that, which way soever thou 
steppest or lookest, thou findest thyself in distress; 
and others are as hard upon thee as thou hast been 
upon the poor." (2.) " Their own consciences ma) 
be expected to terrify and accuse them: no sin 
makes a louder cry there than unmercifulness: and, 
accordingly, suddenfear troubles thee; and, though 
thou wilt not own it, it is guilt of this kind that 
creates thee all this terjjor. " Zophar had insinuated 
this, ch. XX. 19,20. (3.) "They are brought to 
their wits' end, so amazed and bewildered, th;it 
they know not what to do, and that also is thy case; 
for thou art in darkness, that thou canst not see 
wherefoie God contends with thee, nor what is the 
best course for thee to take; for abundance of -wa- 
ters cover thee," that is, "thou art in a mist, in the 
midst of dark waters, in the thick clouds of the 
sky." Note, Those that have not showed mercy 
may justly be denied the comfortable hope that they 
shall find mercy; and then what can they expect 
but snares, and darkness, and continual fear? 

n. He charges him with atheism, infidelity, and 
gross impiety; and thought this was at the bottom 
of his injustice and oppressiveness: he that did not 
fear God did not regard man. He would have it 
thought that Job was an Epicurean, who did indeed 
own the being of God, but denied his providence, 
and fancied that he confined himself to the enter- 
tainments of the upper world, and never concerned 
himself in the inhabitants and atfairs of this. 

1. Eliphaz observes a good truth, which, he 
thought, if Job would duly consider, he would not 
be so passionate in his complaints, nor so bold in 
justifying himself; (v. 12.) Is not God in the height 
of heaven? Yes, no doubt he is: no heaven so high 
but God is there; and in the highest heavens, the 
heavens of the blessed, the residence of his glory, 
he is, in a special manner; there he is pleased to 
manifest himself in a way peculiar to the upper 
world, and thence he is pleased to manifest himself 
in a way suited to this lower world. There is his 
throne; there is his court: he is called the Heavens, 
Dan. iv. 26. Thus Eliphaz proves that a man can- 
not be profitable to God, {v. 2. ) that he ought not 
to contend with God; (it is his folly if he does;) and 
that we ought always to address ourseh es to God 
with veiy great reverence; for when we behold the 
height of the stars, how high they are, we might, 
at the same time, also consider the transcendent 
majesty of God, who is above the stars, and how 
high he is. 

2. He charges it upon Job, that he made a bad 
use of this doctrine, which he might have made so 
good a use of; {y. 13.) "Th\s'\s, holding the truth 
in unrighteousness, fighting against religion with its 
own weapons, and turning its own artillery upon 
itself: Thou art willing to own that God is in the 
height of heaven, but thence thou' inferrest, Hoio 
doth God know?" Bad men expel the fear of God 
out of their hearts, by banishing the eye of God 
out of the world; (Ezek. viii. 12.) and care n't 
what they do, if they can but persuade themselves 
that God does not know. Eliphaz suspects that 
Job had such a notion of God as this, that, because 
he is in the height of heaven, (1.) It is therefore 
impossible for him to see and hear what is done at so 
great a distance as this earth: especially since there 
is a dark cloud, (y. 13.) many thick clouds, (v. 14.) 
that come between him and us, and are a covering to 
him, so that he cannot see, much less can he judge of, 
the affairs of this lower world; as if God had eyes of 
flfsh, ch. X. 4. The interposing firmament is to him 
as transparent crvstal, Ezek. i. 22. Distance ot 

I place createsnodifficultvtohim who is immense, anv 



JOB, XXII. 



10? 



more t'jan distance of time to him who is eternal. 
Or, (2.) That it is therefore below him, and a di- 
minution to his glory, to take cognizance of this in- 
ferior part of the creation: he walks in the circuit 
of heaven, and has enough to do, to enjoy himself 
and his own perfections and glory, in that bright 
and quiet world; why should he trouble himself 
about us? This is gross absurdity, as well as gross 
'.oipiety, which Eliphaz here fathers upon Job; for 
it supposes that the administration of government 
is a burthen and disparagement to the Supreme 
Governor; and the acts of justice and mercy were 
a toil to a mind infinitely wise, holy, and good. If 
the sun, a creature, and inanimate, can with his 
light and influence reach this earth, and every part 
of it, (Ps. xix. 6.) even from that vast height of the 
visible heavens in which he is, and in the circuit of 
which he walks, and through many a thick and 
dark cloud, shall we question it concerning the 
Creator? 

1 5. Hast thou marked the old way which 
wicked men have trodden ; 16. Which were 
cut down out of time, whose foundation 
was overflown with a flood; 17. Which 
said unto God, Depart from us: and what 
can the Ahuighty do for them? 18. Yet 
he filled their houses with good things : but 
the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 
19. The righteous see z7, and are glad; and 
the innocent laugh them to scorn. 20. 
Whereas our substance is not cut down: 
but the remnant of them the fire consumeth. 

Eliphaz, having endeavoured to convict Job, by 
setting his sins (as he thought) in order before him, 
here endeavours to awaken him to a sight and sense 
of his misery and danger, by reason of sin; and this 
he does, by comparing his case with that of the 
sinners of the old world; as if he had said, "Thy 
condition is bad now, but, unless thou repent, it will 
be worse, as theirs was; theirs ivho were overfloivn 
•with a Jloody as the old world, (z;. 16.) and theirs 
the remnant of whom the Jire consumed," {v. 20.) 
namely the Sodomites, who, in conip.irison of the 
old world, were but a remnant. And these two in- 
stances of the wrath of God against sin and sinners, 
ai'C more than once put together, for warning to a 
careless world: as by our Saviour, Luke xvii. 26, 
&c. and the apostle, 2 Pet. ii. 5, 6. Eliphaz would 
have Job to mark the old way which wicked men 
have trodden, {v. 15.) and see what came of it, 
what the end of their way was. Note, There is 
an old way which wicked men have trodden. Reli- 
gion had but newly entered, when sin immediately 
followed it: but though it is an old way, a broad 
way, a tracked way, it is a dangerous way, and it 
leads to destruction; and it is good for us to mark 
it, that we may not dare to walk in it. 

Eliphaz here puts Job in mind of it, perhaps in 
opposition to what he had said of the prosperity of 
the wicked; as if he had said, "Thou canst find 
out here and there a single instance, it may be, of a 
wicked man ending his days in peace; but what is 
that to those two great instances of the final perdi- 
tion oi ungodly men — the drowning of the whole 
world, and the burning of Sodom?" Destructions 
by wholesale, in which he thinks Job may, as in a 
glass, see his own face. 

Observe, 1. The ruin of those sinners; {v. 16.) 
They were cut down out of time; that is, they were 
cut off in the midst of their days, when, as man's 
time then went, many of them might, in the course 
of nature, have lived some hundreds of years longer, 



which made their immature extirpation the more 
grievous. They were cut down out of time, to be 
hurried into eternity. And their foundation, the 
earth on which they built themselves, and all their 
hopes, was overflown with a food, the flood which 
was brought in ufion the world of the ungodly^ 
2 Pet. ii. 5. Note, Those who build" upon the sand, 
choose a foundation which will be overflown, when 
the rains descend, and the floods come; (Matth. vii. 
27. ) and then their building must needs fall, and 
they perish in the ruins of it, and repent of their 
folly when it is too late, 

2. The sin of those sinners, which brought that 
ruin; (v. 17.) They said unto God, Defiart from 
us. Job had spoken of some who said so, and yet 
prospered, ch. xxi. 14, But these did not; (says 
Eliphaz ;) they found, to their costs, what it was to 
set God at defiance. Those who were resolved to 
lay the reins on the neck of their appetites and pas- 
sions, began with this; they said unto God, Defiart; 
they abandoned all religion, hated the thoughts of 
it, and desired to live without God in the world; 
they shunned his word, and silenced conscience, his 
deputy ! And what can the Almighty do for them? 
Some make this to denote the justness of their 
punishment. They said to God, Defiart from us; 
and then what could the Almighty do with them, 
but cut them of? Those who will not submit to 
God's golden sceptre, must expect to be broken to 
pieces with his iron rod. Others make it to denote 
the injustice of their sin; But, wAa; hath the Al- 
mighty done against them? What iniquity have 
they found in him? or. Wherein has he wearied 
them? Mic. vi, 3. Jer. ii. 5. Others make it to 
denote the reason of their sin; They say unto God, 
Defiart, asking what the Almighty can do to them? 
"What has he done to oblige us? What can he do, 
in a way of wrath, to make us miserable, or, in a 
way of favour, to make us happy?" As they argue, 
(Zeph. i, 12.) The Lord will not do good, neither 
will he do evil. Eliphaz shows the absurdity of this 
in one word, and that is, calling God The Almighty; 
for, if he be so, what cannnt he do? But it is not 
strange if those cast off all .religion, who neither 
dread God's wrath, nor desire his favour, 

3. The aggravation of this sin; Yet he had filled 
their houses with good things, v. 18, Both those 
of the old world, and those of Sodom, had great 
plenty of all the delights of sense; for they ate, they 
drank, they bought, they sold, Isfc. (Luke xvii. 27.) 
so that they had no reason to ask what the Almighty 
could do for them? for they lived upon his bounty; 
no reason to bid him depart from them, who had 
been so kind to them. Many have their houses full 
of goods, but their hearts' empty of grace, and 
thereby are marked for ruin. 

4. The protestation which Eliphaz makes against 
the principles and practices of those wicked people; 
But the counsel of the wicked is far from me. Job 
had said so, {ch. xxi. 16.) and Eliphaz will not be 
behind with him. If they cannot agree in their own 
principles concerning God, yet they agree in re- 
nouncing the principles of those that live without 
God in the world. Note, Those that differ from 
each other in some matters of religion, and are en- 
gaged in disputes about them, yet ought unanimously 
and vigorously to appear against atheism and irre- 
ligion, and to take great care that their disputes do 
not hinder either their vigour or unanimity, in that 
common cause of God, that righteous cause. 

5. The pleasure and satisfaction which the righ- 
teous shall have in this. (1.) In seeing the wicked 
destroyed, v. 19. They shall see it, that is, observe 
it, and take notice of it; (Hos. xiv. 9.) and they 
shall be glad, not to see their fellow-creatures 
miserable, or any secular turn of their own served, 
01' point gained, but to see God glorified, the word 



108 



JOB, XXII. 



of (iod fulfilled, the power of oppressors broken, 
and thereby the oppressed relieved; to see sin 
s iH.i.ed, atheists and infidels confounded, und fair 
warning given to all others to shun such wicked 
courses. Nay, they shall laugh them to scorn, that 
is, they justly might do it; they shall do it, as God 
does it, in a holy manner, Ps. ii. 4. Prov. i. 26. 
They shall take occasion thence to expose the folly 
cf sinners, and show how ridiculous their principles 
are, though they call themselves wits. Lo, this is 
the man that made not God his strength, and see 
what comes of it, Ps. lii. 7. Some understand this 
of i-ighteous Noah and his family, who beheld the 
destruction of the old world, and rejoiced in it, as 
he had grieved for their impiety. Lot, who saw the 
ruin of Sodom, had the same reason to rdoice, 
2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. (2. ) In seeing themselves distin- 
guished; {y. 20.) " Whereas our substance is not 
cut down, as theirs was, and as thine is, we con- 
tinue to prosper, which is a sign that we are the 
favourites of Heaven, and in the right." The same 
rule that served him to condejnn Job by, served him 
to magnify himself and his companions by. His 
substance is cut down, therefore he is a wicked 
man; ours is not, therefore we are righteous. But 
it is a deceitful rule to judge by; for none knows 
love or hatred by all that is before him. If others 
be consumed, if the very remnant of them be con- 
sumed, and we be not, instead of censuring them, 
and lifting up ourselves, as Eliphaz does here, we 
ought to be thankful to God, and take it for a warn- 
ing to ourselves to prepare for the like calamities. 

21. Acquaint now thyself with liim, and 
be at peace : thereby good shall come unto 
thee. 22. Receive, I pray thee, the law 
from his mouth, and lay up his words in 
thy lieart. 23. U thoa return to the Al- 
mighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt 
put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. 
24. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, 
and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the 
brooks. 25. Yea', the Almighty shall be 
lliy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of 
silver. 26. For then shalt thou have thy 
delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up 
thy face unto God. 27. Thou shalt make 
thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, 
and thou shalt pay thy vows. 28. Thou 
shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be 
established unto thee; and the light shall 
shine upon thy ways. 29. When men are 
cast down, then thou shalt say. There is 
lifting up; and he shall save the humble 
person. 30. He shall deliver the island of 
the innocent; and it is delivered by the 
pureness of thy hands. 

Methinks I can almost, forgive Eliphaz his hard 
censures of Job, which we had in the beginning of 
the chapter, though they were very unjust and un- 
kind, for this good counsel and encouragement which 
he gives him in these verses with which he closes 
his discourse, and than which nothing could be bet- 
ter said, or more to the purpose. Though he thought 
him a bad man, yet he saw reasons to have hope 
concerning him, that, for all this, he would be both 
pious and prosperous. But it is strange, that out of 
the same mouth, and almost in the same breath, 
both sweet waters and bitter should proceed. Good 
men, though they may perhaps be put into a heat, 



yet sometimes will talk themselves into abetter 
temper, and, it may be, sooner than another could 
talk them into it. 

Eliphaz had laid before Jub the miserable condi- 
tion of a wicked man, that he might frighten him 
into repentance. Here, on the other hand, he 
shows him the happiness which those may be sure 
of, that do repent, that he might allure and encou- 
rage him to it. Ministers must try both ways in 
dealing with people, nmst speak to them from 
mount Sinai by the terrors ot the law, and from 
mount Zion by the comforts of the gospel, must set 
before them both life and death, good and evil, the 
blessing and the curse. Now here observe, 

I. The good counsel which Eliphaz gives to Job; 
and good ci unsel it is to us all, though, as to Job, 
it was built upon a false supposition that he was a 
wicked man, and now a stranger and enemy to God. 

1. Acquaint now thyself with God. Acquiesce in 
God; so some. It is our duty, at all times, espe- 
cially when we are in affliction, to accommodate 
ourselves to, and quiet ourselves in, all the disposals 
of the Divine Providence. Join thyself to him; so 
some; Fall in with his interests, and act no longer 
in opposition to him. Our translators render it well; 
" Acquaint thyself with him; be not such a stranger 
to him as thou hast made thyself by casting off the 
fear of him, and restraining prayer before him." 
It is the duty and interest of every one of us, to ac- 
quaint ourselxes with God. We must get the 
knowledge of him, fix our affections on him, join 
ourselves to him in a covenant of friendship, and 
then set up, and keep up, a constant correspondence 
with him in the ways he has appointed. It is our 
honour, that we are made capable of this acquaint- 
ance; our misery, that by sin we have lost it; our 
privilege, that through Christ we are invited to re- 
turn to it; and it will be our unspeakable happiness 
to contract and cultivate this acquaintance. 

2. '^ Be at fieace; at peace with thyself, not fret- 
ful, uneasy, and in confusion; let not thy heart be 
troubled, but be quiet and calm, and well composed. 
Be at peace with thy God; be reconciled to him. 
Uo not carry on this unholy war. Thou complainest 
that God is thine Enemy; be thou his friend." It is 
the great concern of every one of us to make our 
peace with God, and it is necessary in order to our 
comfortable acquaintance with him ; for can two 
walk together, excejit they be agreed? Amos iii. 3. 
This we must do quickly; now, before it be too late. 
A^ree with thine adversary, while thou art in the 
way. This we are earnestly urged to do. Some 
read it, "Acquaint thyself, I pray thee, with him, 
and be at peace." God himself beseeches us, minis- 
ters in Christ's stead, pray us, to be reconciled. 
Can we gainsiy such entreaties? 

3. Receive the law from his mouth; {y. 22.) " Hav- 
ing made thy peace with God, submit to his govem- 
ment, and resolve to be ruled by him, that thnu 
mayest keep thyself in his love." We receive our 
being and maintenance from God. From him we 
hope to receiN e our bliss, and from him we must 
receive law; Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? 
Acts ix. 6. Which way soever we receive the in- 
timations of his will, we must have our eye to him; 
whether he speaks by scripture, ministers, con- 
science, or providence, we must take the word as 
from his mouth, and bow our souls to it. Thoup-h, 
in Job's time, we do not know that there was any 
written word, yet there was a revelation of God s 
will to be received. Eliphaz looked upon Job as a 
wicked man; and was pressing him to repent and 
reform. Herein consists the conversion of a sinner 
— his receiving the law from God's mouth, and no 
longer from the world and the flesh. Eliphaz, be- 
ing now in contest with Job, appeals to the word of 
God for the ending of the controversy; Receive that. 



JOB, XXII. 



109 



and be determined by it. To the law and to the tes- 
limony. 

4. Lay ufi his word in thine heart. It is not enough 
to receive it, but we must retain it, Prov. iii. 18. 
We must lay it up as a thing of great value, that it 
may be sate: and we must lay it up in our hearts, as 
a thing of great use, that it may be ready to us when 
there is occasion, and we may neither lose it wholly, 
nor be at a loss for it in a time of need. 

5. Return to the Almighty; {v. 23.) "Do not only 
turn from sin, but turn to God and thy duty. Do 
not only turn toward the Almighty in some good 
inclinations and good beginnings, but return to him; 

eturn home to him, quite to him, so as to reach to 
the Almighty, by a universal reformation, an effec- 
tual thorough change of thy heart and life, and a 
tirm resolution to cleave to him;" so Mr. Poole. 

6. Put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle. 
This was the advice Zophar gave him; (cA. xi. 14. ) 
" Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacle. Put 
iniquity far off, the farther the better, not only from 
thy heart and hand, but from thy house. Thou 
must not only not be wicked thyself, but reprove and 
restrain sin in those that are under thy charge. " 
Note, Family reformation is needful reformation; 
we and our house must serve the Lord. 

II. The good encouragement which Eliphaz gives 
Job, that he should be very happy, if he would but 
take this good counsel. In general, " Thereby good 
shall come unto thee; {v. 21.) the good that is now 
departed from thee; all the good thy heart can de- 
sire, temporal, spiritual, eternal, good shall come 
to thee. God shall come to thee, into covenant and 
communion with thee; and he brings all good with 
him, all good in him. Thou art now ruined and 
brought down, but if thou return to God, thou shalt 
be built ufi again, and thy present ruins shall be re- 
paired. Thy family shall be built up in children, 
thy estate in wealth, and thy soul in holiness and 
comfort. " 

The promises which Eliphaz here encourages Job 
with, are reducible to three heads; 

1. That his esm?e should prosper, and temporal 
l)lessings should be bestowed abundantly upon him; 
for godliness has the promise of the life that now is. 
It is promised, 

(1. ) That he shall be very rich, {v. 24.) " Thou 
shalt lay ufi gold as dust, in such great abundance, 
and shalt have plenty of silver; {v. 25.) whereas 
now thou art poor and stripped of all. " Job had 
been rich; Eliphaz suspected he got his riches by 
fraud and oppression, and therefore they were taken 
from him; but if he would return to God and duty, 
[1.] He should have more wealth than ever he had; 
lot only thousands of sheep and oxen, the wealth 
of farmers, but thousands of gold and silver, the 
wealth of princes, ch. iii. 15. Abundantly more 
riches, tnae riches, are to be got by the service of 
Ciod than by the service of the woi'ld. [2.] He 
should have it more sure to him; Thou shalt lay it 
iifi in good hands, and hold that which is got by thy 
piety, by a surer tenure than that which thou didst 
icet by thine iniquity." Thou shalt have silver of 
strength, (for so the word is,) which, being honestly 
got, will wear well; silver like steel. [3.] He 
should, by the grace of God, be kept from setting 
his heart so much upon it, as Eliphaz thought he 
had done. Then wealth is a blessing indeed, when 
we are not insnared with the love of it. Thou shalt 
lay ufi gold; but how? Not as thy treasure and 
portion, but as dust, and as the stones of the brooks. 
So little shalt thou value it or expect from it, that 
thou shalt lay it at thy feet, (Acts iv. 35. ) not m thy 
bosom. 

(2.) That yet he shall be very safe; whereas 
men's riches usually expose them to danger, and he 
liad owned that in his prosperity he was not in safe- 



ty, {ch. iii. 26.) now he might be secure; for thr 
Almighty shall be thy Defender; nay, he shall be 
thy Defence, v. 25. He shall be thy gold; so it .s 
in the margin, and it is the same word that is used 
{v. 24. ) for gold, but it signifies also a strong hold, 
because money is a defence, Eccl. vii. 12. World- 
lings make gold their god, saints make God their 
gold; and they that are enriched with his favour 
and grace, may truly be said to have abundance of 
the best gold, and best laid up. We understand it, 
" He shall be thy Defence against the incursions of 
neighbouring spoilers: thy wealth shall not then lie 
exposed as it did to Sabeans and Chaldeans;" which, 
some think, is the meaning of that. Thou shalt put 
away iniquity far from thy tabernacle; taking it as 
a promise. "1 he iniquity or wrong designed against 
thee shall be put off, and shall not reach thee." 
Note, Those must needs be safe, that have Omnipo- 
tence itself for their defence, Ps. xci. l-«3. 

2. That his sow/ should prosper, and he should be 
enriched with spiritual blessings, wkich are the best 
blessings. 

(1.) That he should live a life of complacency in 
God; {v. 26.) ''For then shalt thou have thy de- 
light in the Almighty; and thus the Almighty comes 
to be thy gold, by thy delighting in him, as worldly 
people delight in their money. He shall be thy 
Wealth, thy Defence, thy Dignity; for he shall be 
thy Delight." The way to have our heart's desire, 
is to make God our heart's Delight, Ps. xxxvii. 4. 
If God give us himself to be our Joy, he will deny 
us nothing that is good for us. "Now, God is a 
Terror to thee, he is so, by thine own confession; 
{ch. vi. 4. — xvi. 9. — xix. 11.) but if thou wilt retum 
to him, then, not tUl then, he will be thy Delight; 
and it shall be as much a pleasure to thee to think 
of him, as ever it was a pain." No delight is com- 
parable to the delight which gracious souls have in 
the Almighty; and those that acquaint themselves 
with him, and submit themselves entirely to him, 
shall find his favour to be, not only their strength, 
but their song. 

(2.) That he should have a humble, holy, confi- 
dence toward God; such as they are said to have, 
whose hearts condemn them not; 1 John iii. 21. 
" Then shalt thou lift up thy face to God with bold- 
ness, and not be afraid, as thou now art, to draw 
near to him. Thy countenance is now fallen, and 
thou lookest dejected; but when thou hast made thy 
peace with God, thou shalt blush no more, tremble 
no more, and hang thy head no more, as thou dost 
now, but shalt cheerfully, and with a gracious as- 
surance, show thyself to him, pray before him, and 
expect blessings from him." 

(3.) That he should maintain a constant commu- 
nion with God; "The correspondence, once settled, 
shall be kept up to thine unspeakable satisfaction. 
Letters shall be both statedly and occasionally in- 
terchanged between thee and Heaven," v. 27. [1. ] 
" Thou shalt by prayer send letters to God; Thou 
shalt make thy prayer" (the word is. Thou shalt 
multiply thy prayers) "imto him, and he will not 
think thy letters troublesome, though many and 
long. The oftener we come to the throne of grace, 
the more welcome. Under all thy burthens, in all 
thy wants, cares, and fears, thou shalt send to hea- 
ven for guidance and strength, wisdom, comfort, 
and good success." [2.] " He shall, by his provi- 
dence and grace, answer those letters, and give thee 
what thou askest of him, either in kind or kindness; 
he shall hear thee, and make it to appear he does 
so, by what he does for thee and in thee." [3.] 
" Then thou shalt by thy praises reply to the gra- 
cious answers which he sent thee: thou shalt pay 
thy vows, and that shall be acceptable to him, and 
fetch in further mercy." Note, When God per- 
forms that which in our distress we prayed foi-, wf 



110 



30B, XXIII. 



mubt make conscience of performing that which we 
liien pronused, else we do not deal honestly. If 
we promised notiiing else, we promised to be 
thankful, and that is enough, for it includes all, Ps. 
cxvi. 14. 

(4.) That he should have inward satisfaction in 
the management of all his outward affairs; {v. 28.) 
IViou s/ialt decree a thing, and it shall be established 
unto thee,^' that is, "Thou shalt frame all thy pro- 
jects and purposes with so much wisdom and grace, 
and resignation to the will of God, that the issue of 
them shall be to thy heart's content, just as thou 
wouldest have it to be. Thou shalt commit thy works 
unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and then thy 
thoughts shall be established; thou shalt be easy and 
pleased, whatsoever occurs, Prov. xvi. 3. This the 
grace of God shall work in thee; nay, sometimes 
the providence of God shall give thee the very 
thing thou didst desire and pray for, and give it 
thee in thine own way, and manner, and time; be it 
unto thee, even as thou wilt," When, at any time, 
an affair succeeds Just according to the scheme we 
laid, and our measures are in nothing broken,, nor 
are we put upon new counsels, then we must ewn 
the performance of this promise, 7'hou shalt de- 
cree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee. 
" Whereas now thou complainest of darkness round 
about thee, then the light shall shine on thy ways;" 
that is, '• God shall guide and direct thee, and then 
it will follow, of course, that he shall prosper and 
succeed thee in all thine undertakings. God's wis- 
dom shall be thy guide, his fa\our thy comfort, and 
th)- ways shall be so under both those lights, that 
thou shalt liave a comfortable enjoyment of what is 
present, and a comfortable prospect of what is fu- 
ture," Ps. xc. 17. 

(5. ) I'hat, e\ en in times of common calamity and 
danger, he should have abundance of joy and hope; 
(t. 29.) " When men are cast down round about 
thee, cast down in their affairs, cast down in their 
spirits, sinking, desponding, and ready to despair, 
then shalt thou say, There is lifting 2ifi. Thou shalt 
find that in thyself, which will not only bear thee 
u]) under thy ti"oul)les, and keep thee from fainting, 
!)ut lift thee up abox'e thy troubles, and enable thee 
to rejoice ^\ermore. When men's hearts fail them 
for /^nr, then shall Christ's disciples lift ufi their 
heads for joy, Luke xxi. 26.. 28. Thus are they 
made to ride ufion the high filaces of the earth; 
(Isa. Iviii. 14.) and that which will lift them up, is, 
the belief of this, that God will save the humble 
]Hrson. Thcv that humble themselves shall be ex- 
i.ltecl, not only in honour, but in comfort. 

3. That he should be a blessing to his country, 
rnid nn instrument of good to many; {v. 30.) God 
shall, in answer to thv prayers, deliver the island 
of the innoce?2t, and have a regard therein to the 
yiureness of thy hands, which is necessary to the 
acce])tableness of our prayers, 1 Tim. ii. 8. But, 
l)ccause we may suppose the innocent not to need 
deliverance, (it was guilty Sodom that wanted the 
benefit of Abraham's intercession,) I incline to the 
marginal reading. The innocent shall deliver the 
island, by their advice, (Eccl. ix. 14, 15.) and by 
iheir prayers, and their interest in hea\en. Acts 
xxvii. 24. Or, He shall deliver (hose that are not in- 
nocent, and they are delivered by the /iureness of 
thy hands; so it may be read, and most probably. 
Note, h good man is a public good. Sinners fare 
the better for saints, whether they are aware of it 
or no. If Eliphaz intended hereby, (as some think 
he did,) to insinuate that Job's prayers were not 
prevailing, nor his hands pure, (for then he would 
h-ive relieved others, much more himself,) he was 
.Tftcrward made to sec his error, when it api)earcd 
ui it .Tdb had a better interest in heaven than he 
nad; f(,r he and his three friends, whOj-in this mat- 



ter, were not innocent, were deVnered by the fiure 
ness of Job's hands, ch. xlii. 8. 

CHAP. XXIII. 

This chapter begins Job's reply to Eliphaz; in this reply 
he lakes no notice of his friends; either because he saw 
it was to no purpose, or because he liked the ffood coun- 
sel Eliphaz jrave him in the close of his discourse so well, 
that he would make no answer to the peevish reflections 
he began with; but he appeals to God; begs to have his 
cause heard, and doubts not but to make it good, having 
the testimony of his own conscience concerning his in- 
tegrity. Here seems to be a struggle between flesh and 
spirit, fear and faith, throughout this chapter. I. He 
complains of his calamitous condition, and especially of 
God's withdrawincrs from him, so that he could not get 
his appeal heard, (v. 2. . 5.) nor discern the meaning of 
God's dealings with him, (v. 8, 9.) nor gain any hope of 
relief, v. 13, 14. This made deep impressions of trouble 
and terror upon him, v. 15.. 17. But, H. In the midst 
of these complaints, he comforts himself with the as- 
surance of God's clemency, (v. 6, 7.) and his own inte- 
grity, which God himself was a Witness to, v. 10 . . 12. 
Thus was the light of his day like that spoken of, (Zech. 
xiv. 6, 7. ) neither perfectly clear nor perfectly dark, hut 
at evening time it tvas light 

1 . nr^HEN Job answered and said, 2. 
JL Even to-day is my complaint hitter : 
my stroke is lieavier than my groaning. 3. 
Oh that I knew where I miglit find him ! 
that I might come eveji to his seat ! 4. I 
would order m?/ cause before him, and fill 
my mouth with arguments. 5. I would 
know the words ir/iich he would answer me, 
and understand what he would say unto me. 
G. Will he plead against me with his great 
power? no; but he would put strength in 
me. 7. There the righteous might dispute 
with him ; so should I be delivered for ever 
from my judge. 

Job is confident that he has wrong done him by 
his friends, and therefore, ill as he is, he will not 
give up the cause, nor let them have the last word. 
Here, 

I. He justifies his own resentments and repre- 
sentations of his trouble; (t. 2.) Even to-day, I 
own, my complaint is bitter; for the affliction, the 
cause of the complaint, is so. There are worm- 
wood and gall in the affliction and misery, my soul 
has them still in remembrance, and is imbittered by 
them. Lam. iii. 19, 20. Even to-day is my com- 
plaint counted rebellion; so some read it; his friends 
construed the innocent expressions of his grief into 
reflections upon God and his providence, and called 
them rebellion. "But," says he, "I do not com- 
plain more than there is cause, for my stroke w 
heavier than my groaning. Even to-day, after all 
you have said to convince and comfort me, still the 
pains of my body, and the wounds of my spirit, are 
such, that I have reason enough for my complaints, 
if they were more bitter than they are. " We wrong 
God, if our groaning be heavier than our stroke; 
like froward children, who, when they cry for no- 
thing, have justly something given them to cry for; 
but we do not wrong ourselves, though our stroke 
he heavier than our groaning, for little said is soon 
amended. 

II. He apperds from the censures of his friends to 
the just judgment of God; and this he thought was 
an evidence for him that he was not a hypocrite, 
for tluMi he durst not have made such an appeal as 
this. St. Paul comforts himself in this, that he that 
judged liim was the Lord, and therefore he valued 
not man's judgment, (1 Cor. iv. 3 /•- ". hut he was 



JOB, XXI] 1. 



Ill 



willing to wait till the rippointed day of decision 
comes; whereas Job is impatient, and passionately 
wishes to have the judgment-day anticipated, and 
to have his cause tried quickly, as it were, by a 
special commission. The apostle found it necessa- 
ry to press it much upon suffering Christians pa- 
tiently topxpect the Judge's coming, James v. 7- -9. 

1. He is so sure of the equity of God's tribunal, 
that he longs to appear before it; (v. 3.) Oh that I 
knew where I might find him! This may properly 
express the pious breathings of a soul convinced 
that it has, by sin, lost God, and is undone for ever 
if it recover not its interest in his favour. *' Oli 
that I knew how I might recover his favour! How 
I might come into covenant and communion with 
him!" Mic. vi. 6, 7. It is the cry of a poor desert- 
ed soul, " Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? Oh 
that I knew where I might find him! Oh that he 
who has laid open the way to him, would direct me 
into it, and lead me in it!" But Job here seems to 
speak it too boldly, that his friends wronged him, 
and he knew not which way to apply himself to 
God, to have justice done him, else he would go 
even to his seat, to demand it. A patient waiting 
for death and judgment is our wisdom and duty; 
and, if we duly consider things, that cannot be with- 
out a holy fear and trembling; but a passionate 
wishing for death or judgment, without any such 
fear and trembling, is our sin and folly, and ill be- 
comes us. Do we know what death and judgment 
are, and are we so very ready for them, that we 
need not time to get readier? Woe to them that, thus 
in a heat, denire the day of the Lord, Amos v. 18. 

2. He is so sure of the goodness of his own cause, 
that he longs to be opening it at God's bar, {v. 4. ) 
" / would order 7ny cause before him, and set it in 
a true light; I would produce the evidences of my 
sincerity in a proper method, and would fill my 
mouth with arguments to prove it." We may ap- 
ply this to the duty of prayer, in which we have 
boldness to enter into the holiest, and to come even 
to the footstool of the throne of grace. We have 
not only liberty of access, but liberty of speech. 
We have leave, (1.) To be particular in our re- 
quests, to order our cause before God, to speak the 
whole matter, to lay before him all our grievances, 
in what method we think most proper; we durst 
not be so free with earthly princes, as an humble 
holy soul may be with God. (2. ) To be importu- 
nate in our requests. We are allowed, not only to 
pray, but to plead; not only to ask, but to argue; 
nay, to fill our mouths with arguments: not to move 
God, (he is perfectly apprized of the merits of the 
cause without our showing,) but to move ourselves, 
to excite our fervency, and encourage our faith, in 
prayer. 

3. He is so sure of a sentence in favour of him, 
that he even longed to hear it; (x;. 5.) "/ would 
know the words which he would answer me," that 
is, "I would gladly hear what God will say to this 
matter in dispute between you and me; and will 
entirely acquiesce in his judgment." This becomes 
us, in all controversies; let the word of God deter- 
mine them; let us know what he answers, and un- 
derstand what he says. Job knew well enough what 
his friends would answer him; they would condemn 
him, and run him down; "But," (says he,) "/ 
would fain know what God would answer me; for 
I am sure his judgment is according to truth, which 
theirs is not. I cannot understand them, they talk 
so little to the purpose; but what he says I should 
understand, and therefore be fully satisfied in." 

in. He comforts himself with the hope that God 
would deal favourably with him in this matter, v. 
f, 7. Note, It is of great use to us, in every thing 
wherein we have to do with God, to keep up good 
thoughts of him. He believes, 



1. That God would not ovei-power him; that he 
would not deal with him either by absolute sove- 
reignty, or in strict justice; not with a high hand, 
not with a strong hand: TVill he filead against me 
with his great flower? No, Job's friends pleaded 
against him with all the power they had; but will 
God do so.> No, his power is all just and holy, 
whatever men's is: against those that are obstinate 
in their unbelief and impenitency, God will filead 
with his great fiower, their desti'uction will come 
from the glory of his fiower ; but with his own peo- 
ple, that love him and trust in him, he will deal in 
tender compassion. 

2. That, on the contrary, he would empower him 
to plead his own cause before God; " He would fiut 
strength in me, to support me and bear me up, in 
maintaining mine integrity." Note, The same pow- 
er that is engaged against proud sinners, is engaged 
for humble saints, who prevail with God by streng:th 
derived from him, as Jacob did, Hos. xii. 3. See Ps. 
Ixviii. 35. 

3. That the issue would certainly be comfortable; 
(xK 7.) There, in the court of heaven, when the 
final sentence is to be given, the righteous might 
disfiute with him, and come off in his righteousness. 
Now, even the upright are often chastened of the 
Lord, and they cannot dispute against it; integrity 
itself is no fence either against calamity or calumny; 
but in that day, thev shall not be condemned with 
the world, though God may afflict by prerogative. 
Then you shall discern between the righteous and 
the wicked, Mai. iii. 18. So vast will be the dif- 
ference between them in their everlasting state; 
whereas now we can scarcely distinguish tnem, so 
little is the difference between them as to their out- 
ward condition, for all things come alike to all. 
Then, when the final doom is given, " / shall be 
delivered for ever from my Judge," that is, " I shall 
be saved from the unjust censures of my friends, 
and from that divine sentence which is now so much 
a terror to me." Those that are delivered up to 
God as their Owner and Ruler shall be for ever de- 
livered from him as their Judge and Avenger: and 
there is no flying from his justice, but by flying to 
his mercy. 

8. Behold, T go forward, but he is not 
there; and backward, but I cannot perceive 
him : 9. On the left hand, where he doth 
work, but I cannot behold him : he hideth 
himself on the right hand, that I cannot see 
him : 10. But he knoweth the way that I 
take : 7vhen he hath tried me, I shall come 
forth as gold. 1 1 . My foot hath held his 
steps : his way have I kept, and not declin- 
ed. 1 2. Neither have I gone back from the 
commandment of his lips ; I have esteemed 
the words of his mouth more than my ne- 
cessRry food. 

Here, 

I. Job complains that he cannot understand the 
meaning of God's providences concerning him, but 
was quite at a loss about them; (v. 8, 9.) I go for- 
ward, but he is not there, &c. Eliphaz had bid 
him acquaint himself with God; " So I would, with 
all my heart," says Job, " if I knew how to get ac- 
quainted with him." He had himself a great dcsii e 
to appear before God, and get a hearing of his case, 
but the Judge was not to be found; look which way 
he would, he could see no sign of God's appearing 
for him to clear up his innocency. Job, no douln, 
believed that God is everywhere present; but three 



112 



JOB, XXIII. 



things he seems to complain of here, 1. That he 
could not fix his thoughts, nor form any clear judg- 
ment of things in his own mind: his mind was so 
hurried and discomposed with his troubles, that he 
was like a man in a fright, or at his wit's end, who 
i"uns this way, and that way, but, being in confusion, 
brings nothing to a head. By reason of the disor- 
der and tumult his spirit was in, he could not fasten 
upon that which he knew to be in God, and which, 
if he could but have mixed faith with it, and dwelt 
upon it in his thoughts, would have been a support 
to him. It is the common complaint of those who 
are sick or melancholy, that, when they would 
think of that which is good, they can make nothing 
of it. 2. That he could not find out the cause of his 
troubles, nor the sin which provoked God to con- 
tend with him: he took a view of his whole conver- 
sation, turned to every side of it, and could not 
f»erceive wherein he had sinned more than others, 
or which he should thus be punished more than 
others; nor could he discern what other end God 
should aim at in afflicting him thus. 3. That he 
could not foresee what would be in the end hereof, 
whether God would deliver him at all, nor, if he 
did, when, or which way; he saw not his signs, nor 
was there any to tell him how long; as the church 
complains, Ps. Ixxiv. 9. He was quite at a loss to 
know what God designed to do with him; and what- 
ever conjecture he advanced, still something or 
other appeared against it. 

II. He satisfies himself with this, that God him- 
self was a Witness to his integrity, and therefore 
did not doubt but the issue would be good. After 
Job had almost lost himself in the labyrinth of the 
divine counsels, how contentedly does he sit down, 
at length, with this thought, "Though /know not 
the way that he takes, (for his way is in the sea, and 
his fiat h in the great waters, his thoughts and ways 
are infinitely above ours, and it would be presump- 
tion in us to pretend to judge of them,) yet he knows 
the way that I take," v. 10. That is, 1. He is ac- 
quainted with it. His friends judged of that which 
they did not know, and therefore charged him with 
that which he was never guilty of; but God, who 
knows every step he had taken, would not do so, 
Ps. cxxxix. 3. Note, It is a great comfort to those 
who mean honestly, that God understands their 
meaning, though men do not, cannot, or will not. 
2. He approves of it: " He knows that however I 
may sometimes have taken a false ste/i, yet I have 
still taken a good way; have chosen the way of 
truth, and therefore he knows it," that is, He ac- 
cepts it, and is well pleased with it, as he is said to 
knoiv the way of the righteous, Ps. i. 6. This com- 
forted the prophet; (Jer. xii. 3. ) Thou hast tried my 
heart toward thee. From this Job infers. When he 
hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. They 
that keefi the way of the Lord, may comfort them- 
selves, when they are in affliction, with these three 
things, (1. ) That thcv are but tried; it is not intend- 
ed for their hurt, but for their honour and benefit; 
it is the trial of their faith, 1 Pet. i. 7. (2.) That, 
when they are sufficiently tried, they shall come 
forth out of the furnace, and not be left to consume 
in it as dmss or reprobate silver. The trial will 
have an end; Ciod will ?iof contend for ever. (3.) 
That they shall come forth as gold, pure in itself, 
and precious to the refiner: they shall come forth 
as gold rt/iproved and improved; found to be good, 
and made to he better. Afflictions are to us, as we 
are; those that go gold into the furnace, will come 
out no worse. 

Now that which encouraged Job to hope that his 
present troubles would thus end well, was, the tes- 
timony of his conscience for him, that he had lived 
a good life in the fear of God. 

f 1.] That God's way was the way he walked in; 



(v. 11.) "My foot hath held his ste/is," that is, 
"held to them, held close to them; the steps he 
takes. I have endeavoured to conform myself to 
his example." Good people are followers of God: 
or, " I have accommodated myself to his provi- 
dence, and endeavoured to answer all the inten- 
tions of that; to follow Providence step, by step. " 
Or, " His steps are the steps he has appointed me 
to take; the way of religion and serious godliness — 
that way I have kept, and have not declined from 
it; not only not turned back from it by a total apos- 
tasy, but not turned aside out of it by any wilful 
transgression." His holding God's steps, and keep- 
ing his way, intimate that the tempter had used all 
his arts by fraud and force to draw him aside; but, 
with care and resolution, he had, by the grace of 
God hitherto persevered, and those that will do so, 
must hold and keep, hold with resolution, and keep 
with watchfulness. 

[2.] That God's word was the rule he walked 
by; (v. 12.) he governed himself by the command- 
ment of God's li/is, and would not go back from 
that, but go forward according to it. Whatever 
difficulties we may meet with in the way of God's 
commandments, though they lead us through a wil- 
derness, yet we must never think of going back, 
but must press on toward the mark; Job kept close 
to the law of God in his conversation, for both his 
judgment and his affection led him to it. / have 
esteemed the words of his mouth more than my ne- 
cessary food; that is, He looked upon it as his ne- 
cessary food; he could as well have lived without 
his daily bread as without the word of God. I have 
laid it u/i; so the word is, as those that lay up pro- 
^ ision for a siege, or as Joseph laid up com before 
the famine. Eliphaz had bid him lay u/i God's 
words in his heart, ch. xxii. 22. "I do," says he, 
" and always did, that I might not sin against him, 
and that, like the good householder, I might bring 
forth for the good of others. " Note, The word of 
God is to our souls as our necessary food is to our 
bodies; it sustains the spiritual life, and strengthens 
us for the actions of life; it is that which we cannot 
subsist without, and which nothing else can make 
up the want of: and we ought therefore so to esteem 
it, to take pains for it, hunger after it, feed upon it 
with delight, and nourish our souls with it; and this 
will be our rejoicing in the day of evil, as it was 
Job's here. 

1 3. But he is in one mind, and who car 
turn him ? and lohat his soul desireth, even 
that he doeth. 1 4, For he performeth the 
thing that is appointed for me : and many 
such things are with him. 15. Therefore 
am I troubled at his presence ; when I con- 
sider, I am afraid of him. 16. For God 
maketh my heart soft, and the Almiglity 
troubleth me: 17. Because I was not cut 
off before the darkness, neither hath he co- 
vered the darkness from my face. 

Some make Job to complain here, that Gf d 
dealt unjustly and unfairly with him, in proceeding 
to punish him without the least relenting or relaxa- 
tion, though he had such incontestable evidences to 
produce of his innocency. I am loath to think holy 
Job would charge the holy God with iniquity; but 
his complaint is indeed bitter and peevish, and he 
reasons himself into a sort of a patience per force, 
which he cannot do without reflecting upon God, ;■* 
dealing hardly with him: but he must bear it, be- 
cause he cannot help it; the worst he says, is, that 
God deals unaccountably with him. 



JOB, XXIV. 



113 



1. He lays clown good truths, which were capable 
'if a good improvement, v. 13, 14. 

(1. ) That God's counsels are immutable; He is in 
one miyid, and who can turn him? He is one. So 
some i-ead it, or in one; he has no counsellors by 
whose intei'est he might be prevailed with to alter 
his purpose: he is one with himself, and never 
alters his mind, never alters his measures. Prayer 
has prevailed to change God's way and his provi- 
dence, but never was his will or purpose changed; 
for known inito God are all his works. 

(2.) That his power is irresistible; What his soul 
desires or designs, even that he does, and nothing 
can stand in his way, or put him upon new counsels. 
Men desire many things, which either they may 
not do, or cannot do, or dare not do; but God has 
an incontestable sovereignty; his will is so perfectly 
pure and right, that it is highly fit he should pur- 
sue all its determinations; and he has an uncontrol- 
lable power; none can stay his hand. Whatever 
the Lord fileased, that did he, (Ps. cxxxv. 6. ) and 
always will, for it is always best. 

(3. ) That all he does, is according to the counsel 
of his will; {v. 14.) He fierforms the thing that is 
apfiointed for me; whatever happens to us, it is 
God that performs it; (Ps. Ivii. 2.) and an admira- 
ble performance the whole will appear to be, when 
the mystery of God shall be finislied. He performs 
all that, and that only, which was appointed, and 
in the appointed time and method; this may silence 
us, for what is appointed cannot be altered. But to 
consider, that, when God was appointing us to eter- 
nal life and glory as our end, he was appointing to 
this condition, this affliction, whatever it is, in our 
way, this may do more than silence us, it may sa- 
tisfy us that it is all for the best; though what he 
does we know not now, we shall know hereafter. 

(4.) That all he does, is according to the custom 
of his providence; Many such tilings are with him, 
that is, He does many things in the course of his 
providence, which we can gi\ e no account of, but 
must resolve into his absolute sovereignty. What- 
ever trouble we are in, others have been in the like; 
our case is not singular, the same afflictions are ac- 
comfilished in our brethren, 1 Pet. v. 9. Are we 
sick or sore, impoverished and stripped, children 
removed by death, or friends unkind? This is what 
God has afifiointed for us, and many such things are 
with him. Shall the earth be forsaken for us? 

2. He makes but a bad use of these good truths; 
had he duly considered them, he might have said, 
" Therefore am I easy and pleased, and well recon- 
ciled to the way of my God concerning me; there- 
fore will I rejoice, in hope that my troubles will 
issue well at last." But he said. Therefore am I 
troubled at his firesence, v. 15. Those are indeed 
of troubled spirits, who are troubled at the pre- 
sence of God; as the psalmist, who remembered 
God, and was troubled, Ps. Ixxvii. 3. See what 
confusion poor Job was now in, for he contradicted 
himself: just now, he was troubled for God's ab- 
sence; {v. 8, 9.) now he is troubled at his presence; 
When I consider, I am afraid of him. What he 
now felt, made him fear worse: there is indeed that 
which, if we consider it, will show that we have 
cause to be afraid of God — his infinite justice and 
purity, compared with our own sinfulness and vile- 
ness; but if, withal, we consider his grace in a Re- 
deemer, and our compliance with that grace, the 
fears will vanish, and we shall see cause to hope in 
him. 

See what impressions were made upon him by 
the wounds of his spirit. (1.) He was very fearful; 
(v, 16.) The Almighty troubled him, and so made 
his heart soft, that is, utterly unable to bear any 
thing, and afraid of every thing that stirred. There 
is a gracious softness, like that of Josiah, whose 

Vol. III.— P 



heart was tender, and trembled at the word of 
God; this is meant of a grievous softness, which 
apprehends every thing that is present to be press- 
ing, and every thing future to be threatening. (2.) 
He was very fretful, peevish indeed, for he quar- 
rels with God, V. 17. [1.] Because he did not die 
before his troubles, that he miglit never have seen 
them; f Because I was iiot cut off before the dark- 
ness;) and yet if in the height of his prosperity he 
had received a summons to the grave, he would 
have thought it h;ird. This may help to reconcile 
us to death whenever it comes, that we do not know 
what evil we may be taken away from. But when 
trouble is come, it is folly to wish we had not lived 
to see it, and it is better to make the best of it. [2. ] 
Because he was left to live so lung in his troubles, 
and the darkness was not covered from his face by 
his being hid in the grave. We should bear the 
darkness better than this if we would but remem- 
ber, that to the upright there sometimes arises a 
marvellous light m the darkness; however, thei-e is 
reserved for them a more marvellous liglit after it. 

CHAP. XXIV. 

Job^ having, by his complaints in the foregoing chapter, 

fiven vent to his passion, and thereby gained some ease, 
reaks them oft' abruptly, and noiv applies himself to a 
further discussion of the doctrinal controversy between 
him and his friends, concerning Ihe prosperity of wicked 
people. That many live al ease, who yet are ungodly 
and profane, and despise all the exercises of devotion, 
he had showed, ch. 21. Now here he goes further, and 
shows that many who are mischievous to mankind, and 
live in open defiance to all the laws of justice and com- 
mon honesly, yet thrive and succeed in their unrighteous 
practices- and we do not see them reckoned with in this 
world. What he had said before, {ch. xii. 6.) Tlu ta- 
bernacles of robbers prosper, he here enlarges upon. He 
lays down his general proposition, (v. "l.) That the 
punishment of wicked people is not so visible and appa- 
rent as his friends supposed; and then proves it by an 
induction of particulars. I. Those that openly do wrong 
to their poor neighbours, are not reckoned with, nor the 
injured righted, (v. 2. .12.) though the former are very 
barbarous, v. 21, 22. II. Those that secretly practise 
mischief, often go undiscovered and unpunished, v. 
13.. 17. III. That God punishes such by secret judg- 
ments, and reserves them for future judgments, v. 18. .20. 
and v, 23. .25. So that, upon the whole matter, we can- 
not say, thkt all who are in trouble are wicked; for it is 
certain, that all who are in prosperity are not righteous. 

1 • "V^-^^^' ^^^'"S times are not hidden 
T T from the Ahnighty, do they that 
know liim not see his days ? 2. Some re- 
move the land-marks ; they violently take 
away flocks, and feed thereof^ 3. They 
drive away the ass of the fatherless ; they 
take the widow's ox for a pledge ; 4. Thev 
turn the needy out of the wayT the poor oT 
the earth hide themselves together. 5. Be- 
hold, as wild asses in the desert, go they 
forth to their work, rising betimes for a prey : 
the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for 
their children. 6. They reap everij one his 
corn in the field, and they gather the vintage 
of the wicked ; 7. They cause the naked 
to lodge without clothing, that they have no 
covering in the cold ; 8. They are wet 
with the showers of the mountains, and em- 
brace the rock for wantof a shelter ; 9. They 
pluck the fatherless from the breast, and 
take a pledge of the poor ; \ 0. They cause 
him to go naked without clothing, and they 



114 



JOB, XXIV. 



take away the sheaf /row the hungiy ; 11. 
Which make oil within their walls, and 
tread their wine-presses, and suffer thirst. 
1 2. Men groan from out of the city, and the 
soul of the wounded ciieth out ; yet God 
iayeth not folly to them. 

Job's fi-iends had been very positive in it, that 
they should soon see the fall of wicked people, how 
much soever they might prosper for a while. By 
no means, says Job, though times are not hidden 
from the Almighty, yet they that ktiow him. do not 
firesently see hisday,v. 1. 1. He takes it for granted, 
that times are not hid from the Almighty: past 
times are not hid from his judgment, (Eccl. iii. 15.) 
present times are not hid from his providence, 
CMatth, X. 29.) future times are not hid from his 
prescience. Acts xv. 18. God governs the world, 
and therefore we may be sure he takes cognizance 
of it : bad times are not hid from him, though 
the bad men, that make the times bad, say one to 
another that he has/orsa^ew the earth, Ps. xciv. 6, 7. 
Every man's times are in his hand and under his 
eye, and therefore it is in his power to make the 
times of wicked men in this world miserable; he 
foresees the time of every man's death, and there- 
fore, if wicked men die before they are nunished 
for their wickedness, we cannot say, "They es- 
caped him by surprise;" he foresaw it, nay, he 
ordered it. Before Job will inquire into the reasons 
of the prosperity of wicked men, he asserts (iod's 
omniscience, as one prophet, in a like case, asserts 
his righteousness, (Jer. xii. 1.) another his holiness, 
(Hab. i. 13.) another his goodness to his own peo- 
ple, Ps. Ixxiii. 1. General truths must be held fast, 
though we may find it difficult to reconcile them to 
particular events. 2. He yet asserts, that they who 
Know him, that is, wise and good people who are 
acquainted with him, and with whom his secret is, 
do Jiot see his days, not the day of his judging for 
them; this was the thing he complained of in his 
own case, (ch. xxiii. 8.) That he could not see God 
appearing on his behalf to plead his cause; n^^r the 
day of his judging against open and notorious sinners, 
that is called his day, Ps. xxxvii, 13. We believe 
that day will come, but we do not see it, because it 
is future, and its presages secret. 3, Though this 
is a mystery of Providence, yet there is a reason 
for it, and we shall shortly know why the judgment 
is deferred; even the wisest, and those wlio know 
God best, do not yet see it. God will exercise 
their faith and patience, and excite their prayers 
for the coming of his kingdom, for which they are 
to c?-y dan and night to him, Luke xviii. 7. 
, FoV the proof of this, that wicked people prosper, 
he specifies two sorts of unrighteous ones, whom all 
the world saw thriving in their iniquity. 

I. Tyrants, and those that do wrong under pre- 
tence • f 1 :w and authority. It is a melancholy sight, 
which has often been seen loider the sun, nvicked- 
ness in the filaci- of judgment, Eccl. iii. 16. The 
\mregarded tears of the o/i/iressed, while on the side 
of the ofifiressors there was poiver, Eccl. iv, 1. 
The violent fierverting of justice and judgment, 
Ecc'. V. 8. 

1. They disseize their neighl^oui-s of their real 
estates, which came to them by descent from tlieir 
ancestors. They remove the land-marks, under 
pretence that they were mis])laced; {v. 2.) and so 
thev encroach upon their neighbours' rights, and 
think they efTectually secure that to their posterity, 
which they have got wrongfully, by making that to 
be an evidence for them, which should have been 
an evidence for the rightful owner. This was for- 
biddtrn by the law of Moses, (Ueut. kix. 14.) under 



a curse, Deut. xxvii. 17. Forging cr destroying 
deeds is now a ci ime equivalent to this. 

2. They dispo^'sesst!iem of tlieir personal estates, 
under colour of justice; they \ iolently take away 
flocks, pretending they are forfeited, and feed 
thereof; as the rich man took the poor man's ewe 
lamb, 2 Sam. xii. 4. If a poor fatherless child has 
but an ass of his own to get a little money with, they 
find some colour or other to take it away, because 
the owner is not able to contest with them. It is 
all one if a widow has but an ox for what little hus- 
bandry she has; under pretence of distraining for 
some small debt, or arrears of rent, this ox shall be 
taken for a pledge, though perhaps it is the widow's 
all. God has taken it among the titles of his honour 
to be a Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the 
widows; and therefore those will not be reckoned 
his friends, that do not do their utmost to protect 
and help them; but those he will certainly reckon 
with as his enemies, that vex and oppress them. 

3. They take all occasions to offer personal abuses 
to them, V. 4. They will mislead them if they can, 
when they meet them on the highway, so that the 
poor and needy are forced to hide themselves from 
them ; having no other way to secure themselves from 
them. They love in their hearts to banter people, 
and to make fools of them, and do them a mischief 
if they can, especially to triumph over a poor per- 
son, whom they turn out of the way of getting relief, 
threaten to punish them as vagabonds, and so force 
them to abscond, and laugh at them when they 
have done. 

Some understand those barbarous actions {v. 9, 
10.) to be done by those oppressors that pretf:nd 
law for what they do. They pluck the fatherless 
from the breast; that is, having made poor infants 
fatherless, they make them motherless too; having 
taken away the father's life, they break the mo- 
ther's heart, and so starve the children, and leave 
them to perish. Pharaoh and Herod plucked the 
children yrow the breast to the sword; and we read 
of children brought forth to the murderers, Hos. ix. 
13. Those are inhuman murderers indeed that can 
with so much pleasure suck innocent blood. They 
take a pledge of the poor; nay, they take the poor 
themselves for a pledge, as some read it, and, pro- 
bably, it was under this pretence that they plucked 
the fatherless from the breast, distraining them for 
sla\-es, as Neh. v. 5. Cruelty to the poor is great 
wickedness, and cries aloud for vengeance. Those 
who show no mercy to them that lie at their mercy, 
shall themselves have judgment without mercy. 

Another instance of their barbarous treatment of 
those they have advantage against, is, that they take 
from them even their necessary food and raiment: 
they squeeze them so with their extortion, that they 
make them go naked without clothing, {v. 10.) and 
so catch their death. And, if a poor hvingry family 
has gleaned a sheaf of corn, to make a little cake oi, 
that they may eat it and die, even that they take away 
from them, being well please'd to see them perish 
for want, while they themselves are fed to the full. 

4. They are very oppressive to the labourers they 
employ in their service; they not only give them no 
wages, though the labourer is worthy of his hire; 
(and this is a crying sin. Jam. v. 4.) but they will 
not so much as give them meat and drink: those 
that carry their sheaves are hungry; so some read 
it, (v. 10.) and it agrees with xk 11. that those who 
make oil within their walls, and with a great deal 
of toil labour at the wine-presses, yet suffer thirst, 
which was worse than muzzling the mouth of the 
ox that treads out the corn. Those masters forget 
that they have a M;ister in heaven, who will not 
allow the necessary suppoj-ts of life to their sei"vants 
and labourers, not caring whether they can live bv 
their labour or no. 



JOB, XXIV. 



5. It is not only among the poor countiy people, 
but in the cities also, that we see the tears of the 
oppressed, {v, 12.) meii groan from out of the city, 
where the rich merchants and traders are as cruel 
■with their poor debtors, as the landlords in the 
country are with their poor tenants. In cities, such 
cruel actions as tliese are more obseived than in 
obscure corners of the country, and the wronged 
have easier access to justice to right themselves; 
and yet the oppressors there fear neither the re- 
straints of the law, nor the just censures of their 
neighbours, but the oppressed groan and cry out 
like wounded men, and c.n no more ease and help 
themselves, for the oppressors are inexorable, and 
deaf to their groans. 

II. He speaks of robbers, and those that do 
wrong by downright force, as tlie bands of the Sa- 
beans and Chaldeans, whii h had lately plundered 
him; he does not mention them particularly, lest 
he sh- uld seem partial to his own cause, and to 
judge of men (as we are apt to do) by what they 
are to us; but among the Arabians, the children of 
the east, (Job's country,) there were those that lived 
by spoil and rapine, making incursions upon their 
neighbours, and robbing travellers. See how they 
are described liere, and what mischief they do, v. 
5' -8. 1. Their character is, that they are as wild 
asses in the desert, untamed, untractable, unrea- 
sonable, Ishmael's character; (Gen. xvi, 12.) fierce 
and furious, and under no restraint of law or go- 
vernment, Jer. ii. 23, 24. They choose the deserts 
for their dwelling, that they may be lawless and un- 
S'^ciable, and that they may have oppoitunity of 
doing the more mischief. The desert is indeed the 
fittest place for such wild people, ch. xxxix. 6. 
But no desert can set men out of the reach of God's 
eye and hand. 2. Their trade is to steal, and to 
make a prey of all about them. They have chosen 
it as their trade; it is their work, because there is 
more to be got by it, and it is got more easily than 
by an honest calling. They follow it as their trade, 
they follow it closely; they go forth to it as their 
work, as man goes forth to his labour, Ps. civ. 23. 
They are diligent, and take pains at it; they rise 
Detimes for a prey; if a traveller be out eai'ly, they 
will be out as soon to rob him; they live by it as a 
man lives by his trade; the wilderness (not the 
grounds there, but the roads there) yieldeth food 
for them mid for thtir children; they maintain 
themselves and their families by robbing on the 
highway, and bless themselves in it without any re- 
morse of compassion or conscience, and with as 
much security asif it werehonestlv got; asEphraim, 
Hos. xii. 7, 8. 3. See the mischief they do to the 
country. They not only rob travellers, but they 
make incursions upon their neighbours, and reafi 
evfry one his corn in the field, {v. 6. ) that is. They 
enter upon other people's ground, cut their corn, 
and carry it away as freely as if it were their own: 
even the wicked gather the vintage, and it is their 
wickedness; or, as we read it. They gather the vin- 
tage of the wicked; and so one wicked man is made 
a scourge to another. What the wicked got by ex- 
tortion, (which is their way of stealing,) these rob- 
bers get from them in their way of stealing; thus 
oftentimes are the spoilers spoiled, Isa. xxxiii. 1. 
4. The misery of those that fall into their hands; 
{v. 7, 8.) They cause the naked, whom they have 
stripped, not leaving them the clothes to their 
backs, to lodge, in the cold nights, without clothing, 
so th it the}' are wet with the showers of the moun- 
tains, and, for want of a better shelter, embrace the 
iock, and are glad of a cave or den in it to preserve 
them from the injuries of the weather. Eliphaz 
had charged Job with such inhumanity as this, con- 
cluding that Providence would not thus have strip- 
ped hhn if he had not first stripfied the naked o/ 



their clothing, ch. xxii. 6. Job here tells him, there 
were those that were really guilty of these crimes 
with which he was unjustly charged, and yet protr 
pered and had success in their villanies; tlie curst 
they laid themselves underworking in\isibly; and 
Job thinks it more just to argue, as he did, from an 
open notorious course of wickedness to a secret and 
future punishment, than to argue, as Elipliaz did, 
from nothing but present trouble, to a course cf past 
secret iniquity. 

The impunity of these oppressors and spoilers is 
expressed in one word; {v. 12. ) Yet God layeth not 
folly to them, that is, he does not immediately pro- 
secute them with his judgments for these crimfcs, 
nor make them examples, and so evince their folly 
to all the world. He that gets riches, and not b'u 
right, at his end shall be a fool, Jer. xvii. ll. But 
while he prospers he passes for a wise man, and 
God lays not folly to him until he saith, Thou fool, 
this night thy soul shall be required of thee, Luke 
xii. 20. 

1 3. They are of those that rebel against 
the hght ; they know not the ways thereof, 
nor abide in the paths thereof 14. The 
murderer, rising with the light, killeth the 
poor and needy, and in the night is as a 
thief 15. The eye also of the adulterer 
waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye 
shall see me; and disguiseth his face. 16. 
In the dark they dig through houses, ichich 
they had marked for themselves in the day- 
time : they know not the light. 1 7. For 
the morning is to them even as the shadow 
of death : if one know them., they are in the 
terrors of the shadow of death. 

These verses describe another sort of sinners, 
who therefore go unpunished, because they go un- 
discovered. Ihty rebel against the light, v. 13. 
Some understand it figuratively : they sin against the 
light of nature, the light of God's law, and that of 
their own consciences; they profess to know God, 
but they rebel against the knowledge they have of 
him,.and will not be guided and governed, com- 
manded and controlled, by it. Others understand 
it literally: they have the day-light, and choose the 
night as the most advantageous season for their 
wickedness. Sinful works are therefore called " 
works of darkness, because he that does evil, hates 
the light, (Johniii. 20.) knows not the watjs thereof, 
that is, keeps out of the way of it, or, if he happen 
to be seen, abides not where bethinks he is known.' 
So that he here describes the worst of sinners, 1. 
That sin wilfully, and against the convictions of 
their own consciences, whereby they add rebellion 
to their sin. 2. That sin delitierately, and with a 
great deal of plot and contrivance, using a thousand 
arts to conceal their villanies, fondly imagining, 
that, if they can but hide them from the eye of 
men, they are safe, but forgetting that there' is no 
darkness, or shadow of death, in which the workers 
of iniquity can hide themselves from God's eye, ch. 
xxxiv. 22. 

He specifies three sorts of sinners, that shun the 
light. 

(1.) Murderers, v. 14. They rise with the light, 
as soon as ever the day breaks, to kill the poor trn- 
\ellers that are up early, and abroad about their 
business, going to market with a little money or 
goods; and though it is so little, that they are really 
to be called poor and needy, who with much ado 
get a sorry livelihood bv their marketings, yet, t<i 



IR- 



JOB, XXIV. 



{^et It, tha murderer will both take his neighbour's 
life and venture his own; will rather play at such 
small game than not play at all; nay, he kills for 
rdUing sake, thirsting more for blood than booty. 
See what care and pains wicked rrien take to com- 
pass their wicked designs, and let it shame us out 
of our negligence and slothfulness in doing good. 

Ut jugiilent homines, sureunl de nocte latrones, 
Tuque ut te serves non expcrgisceiis? 

Rogues iiiiihilyrise to murder men for pelf: 
Will you not rouse you to preserve yourself 7 

(2. ) Adulterers; the eyes that Are full ofadvlterij, 
(2 Pet. ii. 14.) the unclean and wanton eyes, wait 
for the twilight, v. 15. The eye of the adulteress 
did so, Prov. vii. 9. Adultery hides its head for 
shame: the sinners themselves, even the most im- 
pudent, do what they can to hide it: si non caste, 
tamen caute — if not chastely, yet cautiously, and 
after all the wretched endeavours of the factors fov 
hell to take away the reproach of it, it is and ever 
will be a shame even to speak of those things which 
are done of them in secret, Eph. v. 12. It hides its 
head also for fear, knowing that yVo/o?/*;/ is the rage 
of a husband, who will not sfiare in the day of ven- 
geance, Prov. vi. 34, 35. See what pains those take 
that make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lust of 
it; pains to compass, and then to conceal, that pro- 
vision, which, after all, will be death and hell :it 
last! Less pains would serve to mortify and cmci- 
ij the flesh, and would be life and heaven at last. 
Let the sinner change his heart, and then he needs 
not disguise his face, but may lift it up without spot. 

(3.) House-breakers, x'. 16. These mark houses 
in the day-time, mark the avenues of a house, and 
on which side they can most easily force their en- 
trance, and then, in the night, dig through them, 
either to kill, or steal, or commit adultery. The 
night favours the assault, and makes the defence the 
more difficult; for the good man of the house knows 
not what hour the thief will come, and therefore is 
asleep, (Luke xii. 39.) and he and his lie exposed. 
For this reason, our law makes burglary, which is 
the J)reaking and entering of a dwelling-house in the 
night-time with a felonious intent, to be felony with- 
out benefit of clergy. 

And lastly. Job obsen^es, (and perhaps observes 
it as part of the present, though secret, punish- 
ment of such sinners as these,) that they are in a con- 
tinual terror for fear of being discovered; (7'. 17.) 
The morning is to them even as the shadow of death. 
The light of the day, which is weK.ome to honest 
people, is a terror to bad people. They curse the 
sun, not as the Moors, because it scorches them, but 
because it discovers them. If one know them, their 
consciences fly in their faces, and they are ready to 
l)ecome their own accusers; for they are m the ter- 
rors of the shadow of death. Shame came in with 
sin, and everlasting shame is at the end of it. See 
the misery of sinners, they are exposed to continual 
frights; and yet see their folly, they are afraid of 
coming under the eye of men, but have no dread of 
God's eye, which is always upon them : they are not 
afraid of doing that which yet they are so terribly 
afraid of being known to do. 

1 8. He is swift as the waters ; their por- 
tion is cursed in the earth : he beholdeth not 
the way of the vineyards. 1 9. Drought and 
heat consume tlie snow-waters ; so doth the 
2;rave those, which have sinned. 20. The 
u omb shall forget him ; the v.'orm shall feed 
sweetly on him : he shall be no more re- 
membered ; and wickedness shall be broken 
as 1 tree 21 He evil entreateth the barren 



that beareth not, and doeth not good to the 
widow. 22. He draweth also the mighty 
with his power : he riseth up, and no man 
is sure of life. 23. Though it be given him 
to be in safety, whereon he resteth ; yet his 
eyes are upon their ways. 24. 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. 2.5. And if it he not so now, who 
will make me a liar, and make my speech 
nothing worth? 

Job here, in the conclusion of his discourse, 

I. Gives some further instances of the wickedness 
of these cruel bloody men. 1. Some are pirates 
and robbers at sea. To this many learned inter- 
preters apply those difficult expressions; {y. 18.) 
He is swift upon the waters. Privateers choose those 
ships that are the best sailers: in these swift ships, 
they cruise from one channel to another, to pick up 
prizes; and this brings them in so much wealth, that 
their /?or^/on is cursed in the earth, and they behold 
not the way of the vineyards, that is, as Bishop 
Patrick explains it. They despise the employment 
of those who till the ground, and plant vineyards, as 
poor and unprofitable. But others make this a fur- 
ther description of the conduct of those sinners that 
are afraid of the light: if they be discovered, they 
get away as fast as they can, and choose to look, not 
in the vineyards, for fear of being discovered, but 
in some cursed portion, a lonely desolate place, 
which nobody looks after. 2. Some are abusive to 
those that are in trouble, and add affliction to the 
afllicted. Barrenness was looked upon as a great 
reproach, and those that fall under that affliction 
they upbraid with it, as Penninah did Hannah, on 
purpose to vex them and make tliem to fret, which 
is a barbarous thing; this is evil entreating the 
barren that beareth not, {v. 21.) or those that are 
childless, and so want the arrows others have in 
their quiver, which enable them to deal with their 
enemy in the gate, Ps. cxxvii. 5. He takes that 
advantage against, and is oppressive to, them : as the 
fatherless, so the childless, are in some degree help- 
less. For the same reason, it is a cruel thing to hurt 
the widow, to whom he ought to do good; and not 
doing good, when it is in our power, is doing hurt. 
There are those who, by inuring themselves to 
cruelty, come, at last, to be so exceeding boisterous, 
that they arc the terror of the mighty in the land of 
the living, v. 22. He draws the mighty into a snare 
with his power; even the greatest are not able to 
stand before him when he is in his mad fits: he 
rises up in his passion, and lays about him with so 
much lury, that no man is sure of his life; nor can 
he at the same time be sure of his own, for his hand 
is against every man, and rvenj ma?i's hand against 
him. Gen. xvi. 12. One would wonder how any 
man can take pleasure in making all about him 
afraid of him, yet there are those that do. 

II. He shows that these daring sinners prosper, 
and are at ease for a while, nay, and often end their 
days in peace, as Ishmael, who, though he was a 
man of such a character as is here given, yet both 
lived and died in the presence of all his brethren, as 
we are told. Gen. xvi. 12. — xxv. 18. Of these sin- 
ners here it is said, 1. That it is given them to be in 
safety, v. 23. They seem to be under the specia 
protection of the Divine Providence, and one would 
wonder how they escape with life through so many 
dangers as they run themselves into. 2. That thev 
rest upon this, that is, they rely upon this, as suf- 
ficient to wan ant all their violences: because sentence 



JOB, XXV. 



17 



against their evil works is not executed sfieedily, they 
tliiiik. that there is no great e. il in them, and that 
God is not displeised with them, nor will ever call 
them to an account. Their prosperity is their se- 
curity. 3. Tliat they are exalted for a while; they 
seem to be the favourites of Heaven, and value 
themselves as making the best figure on earth. They 
ave set up in honour, set up (as they think) out of 
the reach of danger, and lifted up in the pride of 
their own spirits. 4. That, at length, they are 
carried out of the world very silently and gently, 
and without any remarkable disgrace or terror. 
" They go down to the grave as easily as snow-water 
sinks into the dry ground, when it is melted by the 
sun." So Bishop Patrick explains,!'. 19. To the 
same purport he paraphrases v. 20, The womb shall 
forget him, Isfc. " God sets no such mark of his dis- 
])leasure upon him, but that his mother may soon 
forget him: the hand of justice does not hang him 
on a giljbet for the birds to feed on; but he is carried 
to his grave like other men, to Ije the sweet food of 
worms: there he lies quietly, and neither he nor his 
wickedness is any more remembeied than a tree 
which is broken to shivers." And, v. 24, They are 
taken out of the way as all other, that is, " They 
are shut up in their graves like all other men; nay, 
they die as easily (without those tedious ])ains which 
some endure) ;!S an ear of corn is cropped with 
your hand." Compare this with Solomon's ob- 
servation; (Eccl. viii. 10.) I saw the wicked buried 
who had come and gone from the place of the holy, 
and they were forgotten. 

ill. He foresees their fall, however, and that 
their death, though they die in ease and honour, will 
be their ruin. God's eyes are ufion their ways; 
(v. 23. ) Though he keep silence, and seem to con- 
nive at them, yet he takes notice, and keeps-account, 
of all their wickedness, and will make it to appear 
shortly, that their most secret sins, which they 
thought no eye should see, {v. 15.) were under his 
eve, and will be called over again. Here is no men- 
tion of the punishment of these sinners in the other 
world, but it is intimated in the particular notice 
taken of the consequences of his death. 1. The 
consumption of the body in the grave, though com- 
mon to all, yet to him is in the nature of a punish- 
ment for his sin. The grave shall consume those 
that have sinned; that land of darkness will be the 
lot of those that love darkness rather than light. 
The bodies they pampered shall be a feast for 
worms, which shall feed as sweetly on them as ever 
thev fed on the pleasures and gains of their sins. 
2. Though they thought to make themselves a 
great name by their wealth, and power, and mighty 
achiev ements, yet their memorial is perished with 
them, Ps. ix. 6. He that made himself so much 
t liked of, when he is dead, shall be no more remem- 
bered with honour; his name shall rot, Prov. x. 7. 
They that durst not gi\e him his due character 
while he lived, shall not spare him when he is dead; 
so that the womb that bare him, his own mother, 
shall forget him, that is, shall avoid making mention 
of him, and shall think that the greatest kindness 
she can do him, since no good can be said of him. 
That honour which is got by sin will soon turn into 
shame. 3. The wickedness they thought to estab- 
lish in their families, shall be broken as a tree; all 
their wicked projects shall be blasted, and all their 
wicked hopes dashed and buried with them. 4. Their 
pride shall be brought down, and laid in the dust; 
{v. 24.) and, in mercy to the world, they shall be 
taken out of the way, and all their power and pros- 
perity shall be cut off; you may seek him, and he 
shall not be found. Job owns that wicked people 
will be miserable at last, miserable on the other side 
death, but utterly denies what his friends asserted, 
that they are, usually, miserable in this life. 



Lastly, He concludes with a bold challenge lo ;ill 
that were present, to disprove what he had said, ir 
they could; {y. 25.) " If it be not so now, as I hav(;- 
declared, and if it do not thence follow that I am i:n - 
justly condemned and censured, let them that can, 
undertake to prove that my discourse is either, 

1. False in itself, and then they prove me a liai-; <.r, 

2. Foreign, and nothing to the purpose, and then 
they pro\ e my speech frivolous and nothing worth. " 
That, indeed, which is false, is nothing worth; where 
there is not truth, how can there be goodness? But 
they that speak the words of truth and soberness, 
need not fear having what they say brought to the 
test, but can cheerfully submit it to a fair examina- 
tion, as Job does here. 

CHAR XXV. 

Bildad here makes a very short reply to Job's last discourse, 
as one that began to be tired of the cause. He drops Ihe 
main question concerning the prosperity of wicked men, 
as being unable to answer the proofs Job had produced 
in the foregoing chapter: but, because he thought Job had 
made too bold with the Divine Majesty in his appeals to 
the divine tribunal, [ch. xxiii. ) he, in a few words, shows 
the infinite distance there is between God and man, 
teaching us, I. To think highly and honourably of God, 
V. 2, 3, 3. II. To think meanly of ourselves; "(v. 4, 6.) 
which, however misapplied to Job, are two good lessons 
for us all to learn. 

1. npHEN answered Bildad the Shuhitc, 
JL and said, 2. Dominion and fear arc 
witli him; he maketh peace in his high 
places. 3. Is there anj^ number of his ar- 
mies ? and upon whom doth not his light 
arise ? 4. How then can man be justified 
with God ? oi how can he be clean that is 
born of a woman 1 5. Behold, even to the 
moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars arc 
not pure in his sight: 6. How much less 
man, that is a worm, and the son of man, 
tohich is a worm ? 

Bildad is to be commended here for two things: 
1. For speaking no more on the subject about which 
Job and he differed. Perhaps he began to think 
Job was in the right, and then it was justice to say 
no more concerning it, as one that contended for 
truth, not for victory; and therefore, for the finding 
of truth, would be content to lose the victory: or if 
he still thought himself in the right, yet he knew 
when he had said enough, and would not wrangle 
endlessly for the last word. Perhaps, indeed, one 
reason why he and the rest of them let fall this de- 
bate, was because they perceixed that Job and they 
did not differ so much in opinion as they thought: 
they owned that wicked people might prosper a 
while, and Job owned that they would be destroyed 
at last; how little then was the difference! If dis- 
putants would understand one another better, per- 
haps they would find themselves nearer one another 
than they imagined. 2. For speaking so well on the 
matter about which Job and he were agreed. If we 
would al uet our hearts filled with awful thoughts 
of God, and humble thoughts of ourselves, we should 
not be so apt as we are to fall out about matters of 
doubtful disputation, which are trifling or intricate. 

Two ways Bildad takes here to exalt God and 
abase man. 

I. He shows how glorious God is, and thence in- 
fers how guilty and impure man is before him, 
V. 2" -4. Let us see then, 

1. What great things are here said of God, de- 
signed to possess Job with a reverence of him, and 
to check his reflections upon him, and upon his 
dealings with him. 



118 



JOB, XXV. 



(1.) God is the sovereign Lord of all, and with 
him is terrible majesty. Dominion and fear are 
ivilh him, v. 2. He that gave being, has an incon- 
testable authority to give laws, and can enforce the 
laws he gives. He that made all, has a right to dis- 
pose of all according to his own will, with an abso- 
lute sovereignty. Whatever he will do, he does, 
and may do; and none can say unto him. What doest 
thou? or Why doest thou so? Dan. iv. 35. His 
luiving dominion (or being Dominus — Lord) be- 
speaks him both Owner and Ruler of all the crea- 
tures. They are all his, and they are all under his 
direction, and at his disposal. Hence it follows that 
he is to be feared, tluit is, reverenced and obeyed, 
and that he is feai-ed by all that know him; the se- 
r iphims cover their faces before him; it follows too, 
th.it, first or last, all will be made to fear him. 
Men's dominion is often despicable, often despised, 
but God is always terrible. 

(2.) The glorious inhabitants of the upper world 
are all perfectly observ mt of him, and entirely ac- 
quiesce in his 'will. He maketh peace in his high 
fiiaces. He enjoys himself in a perfect tranquillity : 
the holy angels never quarrel with him, nor with 
one another, but entirely acquiesce in his will, and 
unanimously execute it, without murmuring or dis- 
puting: thus the will of God is done in heaven; and 
thus we pray it may be done by us and others on 
eai-th. The sun, moon, and stars, keep their 
courses, and never clash with one another: nay, 
even in this lower region, which is often disturbed 
with storms and tempests, yet, when God pleases, 
be commands peace, by making the storm a calm, 
Ps. cvii. 29. — Ixv. 7. ()bserve. The high places are 
his high places; for the heavens, even the heavens, 
are the Lord's in a peculiar manner: peace is God's 
work; where it is made, it is he that makes it, Isa. 
Ivii. 19. In heaven there is perfect peace; for there 
is perfect lioliness, and there is God, wlio is love. 

(3.) He is a (iod of irresistible power; Is there 
any number of his arniies? v. 3. The greatness 
and power of princes is judged of by their armies. 
God is not only himself almighty, but he has num- 
berless numbers of armies at his beck and disposal; 
standing armies that are never disbanded; regular 
troops, and well disciplined, that are never at a loss, 
that never mutiny; veteran troops, that have been 
long in his service; victorious troops, that never 
failed of success, nor were ever foiled. All the 
creatures are his hosts, angels especially. He is 
Lord of all. Lord of hosts. He has nimiberless 
armies, and yet makes peice; he could make war 
upon us, but is willing to be at peace with us; and 
evtn the heavenly hosts were sent to proclaim peace 
on earth and good will to'iVard men, Luke ii. 14. 

(4.) His providence extends itself to all; Ufion 
whom does not his li{^ht arise? The light of the 
?un is communicated to all parts of the world, and, 
take the year round, to all equally. See Ps. xix. 6. 
That is a faint resemblance of the univers.al cog- 
nizance and care God takes of the whole crea- 
tion, Matth. V. 45. All are under the liu;ht of his 
knowledge, and ar&naked and open before him. All 
partake of thclip;ht of his goodness: it seems espe- 
cially to be meant of that. He is good to all; the 
earth is full of his s;oodness. He is Dens Ofitimiis 
-God, the best of beings, as well as maximus — the 
greatest: he has power to destroy; but his pleasure 
is, to show merry. All the creatures live upon his 
bounty. 

2. What low thinjjjs are here said of man, and 
very truly and iustly; {v. 4.) How then can man be 
justified with (iod? '^r how can he be clean? Man is 
not only mean, but vile, not only earthy, but filthv: 
he cannot be instificd, he cannot be clean, (1.) In 
comparison with God. Man's righteousness and 
holiness, at the best, are nothing to God's, Ps. 



Ixxxix. 6. (2.) In debate with God. He that will 
quarrel with the word and providence of God, must 
unavoidably go by the worst. God will be justified, 
and then man will be condemned, Ps. li. 4. Rom. 
iii. 4. There is no error in God's judgment, and 
therefore there lies no exception against it, nor ap- 
peal from it. (3.) In the sight of God. If God is 
so great and glorious, how can man, who is guilty 
and impure, appear before him? Note, [1.] Man, 
by reason of his actual transgressions, is obnoxious 
to God's justice, and cannot in himself be justified 
before hirti: he can neither plead JVot guilty, nor 
plead any merit of his own to balance or extenuate 
his guilt. The scripture has concluded all under 
sin. [2.] Man, by reason of his original corrup- 
tion, as he is born of a woman, is odious to God's 
holiness, and cannot be clean in his sight. God sees 
his impurity, and it is certain that by it he is rendered 
utterly unfit for communion and fellowship with God 
in grace here, and for the vision and fruition of him 
in glory hereafter. We have need, therefore, to be 
born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, and to 
be bathed again and again in the blood of Christ, 
that fountain opened. 

II. He shows how dark and defective even the 
heavenly bodies are, in the sight of God, and in 
comparison with him; and thence infers how little, 
and mean, and worthless, man is. 

1. The lights of heaven, though beauteous crea- 
tures, are before God as clods of earth; {v. 5. ) Be- 
hold even to (he moon, walking in brightness, and 
the stars, those glorious lamps of heaven, which 
the heathen were so charmed with the lustie of, 
that they worshipped them — yet, in God's sight, in 
comparison with him, they shine not, they are not 
pure; they have no glory, by reason of the glory 
which excelleth. As a candle, though it burn, 
yet does not shine when it is set in the clear light 
of the sun. The glory of God, shining in his pro- 
vidences, eclipses the glory of the brightest crea- 
tures; (Isa. xxiv. 23.) 7 'he moon shall be con- 
founded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of 
Hosts shall reign in mount Zion. The heavenly 
bodies are often clouded; we plainly see spots in 
the moon, and, with the help of glasses, may some- 
times discern spots upon the sun too; but God sees 
spots in them, that we do not see. How durst Job 
then so confidently appeal to God, who would dis 
cover that amiss in him, which he was not aware ol 
in himseU? 

2. The children of men, though noble creatures, 
are before God but as worms of the earth; (r. 6.) 
How much less does man shine in honour, how much 
less is he pure in righteousness, that is a worm, and 
the son of man, whoever he be, that is a worm! A 
vermin, so some; not only mean and despicable, but 
noxious and detestable. A mite, so others; the 
smallest animal, which cannot be discerned with the 
naked eye, but through a magnifying glass: such a 
thing is man. (1.) So mean, and little, and incon- 
siderable, in comparison with God, and with the 
holy angels: so worthless and despicable, having his 
original in corruption, and hastening to corruption. 
What little reason has man then to be proud, and 
what great reason to be humble! (2.) So weak 
and impotent, aixl so easily crushed, and therefore 
a very unequal match for Almighty God. Shall 
man be such a fool to contend with his Maker, who 
can tread him to pieces more easily than we can a 
worm? (3.) So sordid and filthy. Man is not pure, 
for he is a worm, hatched in putrefaction, and there- 
fore odious to God. Let us therefore wonder a' 
God's condescension, in taking such worms as we 
are into covenant and communion with himself, 
especially at the condescension of the Son of God, 
in emptying himself so far as to say, I am a worm, 
and no man, Ps. xxii. 6, 



JOB, XXVI. 



I'if 



CHAP. XXVI. 

This is Job's short reply to Bildad's short discourse, in 
which he is so far from contradicting him, that he con- 
firms what he had said, and outdoes him in magnifying 
God, and setting forth his power, to show what reason 
he had still to say as he did, (ch. xiii. 2.) What ye ktioio, 
the same do Iknoio also- I. He shows that Bildad's dis- 
course was foreign to the matter he was discoursing of: 
though very true and good, yet not to the purpose, v. 2. .4. 
II. That it was needless to the person he was discoursing 
with; for he knew it, and believed it, and could speak of 
it as well as he, and better, and could add to the proofs 
which he had produced of God's power and greatness, 
which he does in the rest of his discourse, (v. 5. .13.) 
concluding, that, when they had both said what they 
could, all came short of the merit of the subject, and it 
was still far from being exhausted, v. 14. 

1 . XJ UT Job answered and said, 2. How 
33 hast thou helped him that is without 
power ? how savest thou the aiTU that hath 
no strength ? 3. How hast thou counselled 
him that hath no wisdom ? and hojo hast thou 
plentifully declared the thing as it is ? 4. To 
whom hast thou uttered words ? and whose 
spirit came from thee ? 

One would not have thought that Job, now that he 
was in so much pain and misery, could have ban- 
tered his friend as he does here, and made himself 
merry with the impertinency of his discourse. Bil- 
dad thought that he had made a fine speech, that 
the matter was so weighty, and the language so fine, 
that he had gained the reputation both of an oracle 
and of an orator; but Job pee\ishly enough shows 
that his performance was not so valuable as he 
thought it, and ridicules him for it. He shows, 

1. That there was no great matter to be found in 
it; (v. 3.) How hast thou filentifully declared the 
thing as it is? This is spoken ironically, upbraiding 
Bildad with the good conceit he himself had of what 
he had said. (1.) He thought he hod spoken very 
clearly, had declared the thing as it is. He was very 
fond (as we are all ;<pt to be) of his own notions, and 
thought they only were right, and true, and intelli- 
gible, and all other notions of the thing were false, 
mistaken, and confused; whereas, when we speak 
of the glory of God, we cannot declare tlie thing as 
it is; for we see it through a glass darkly, or but by 
reflection, and sh^ll not see him as he is, till we 
come to heaven. Here ive cannot order our speech i 
concerning him, ch. xxxvii. 19. (2.) He thought j 
he had sp ken ven' fully, though in few words, that 
he had plentifully decl ired it; and, alas! it was but 
poorly and scantily that he declared it, in compari- 
son with the vast compass and copiousness oi the 
subject. 

2. That there was no great use to be made of it; 
Cui bono — What good hast thou done by all that thou 
hast said.'' {v. 2. ) How hast thou, with all this mighty 
flourish, helfied him that is ivithout fiower? {v. 3.) 
Hotv hast thou, with thy grave dictates, counselled 
him that has no wisdom^ Job would convince him, 
(1.) That he had done God no service by it, nor 
made him in the least beholden to him. It is indeed 
our duty, and will be our honour, to speak on God's 
behalf; but we must not think that he needs our 
service, or is indebted to us for it,, nor will he ac- 
cept it, if it come from a spirit of contention and 
contradiction, and not from a sincere regard to God's 
glory. (2. ■) That he had done his cause no service 
bv it. He thought his friends were mightily behold- 
en to him, for helping them, at a dead lift, to make 
their part go^d against Job, when they were quite at 
a loss, and had no strength, no wisdom. Even weak 
disputants, when warm, are apt to think truth more 



beholden to them than really it is. (3. ) That he 
had done him no service by it. He pretended to 
convince, instruct, and comfort, Job; but, alas! what 
he had said was so little to the purpose, that it 
would not avail to rectify any mistakes, nor to assist 
him either in bearing his afflictions, or in getting 
good bv them; (t. 4. ) " To whom hast thou uttered 
words? Was it to me that thou didst direct thy dis- 
course.'' And dost thou take me for such a child as 
to need these instructions.'' Or dost thou think them 
proper for one in my condition.?" E\ery thing that 
is true and good is not suitable and seasonable. To 
one that was humbled, and broken, and grieved in 
spirit, as Job was, he ought to have preached of the 
grace and mercy of God, rather than of his great- 
ness and majesty, to have laid before him the con- 
solations, rather than the terrors, of the Almighty. 
Christ knows how to speak what is proper for the 
weary; (Isa. I. 4.) and his ministers should learn 
rightly to divide the word of truth, and not make 
those sad, whom God would not ha\e made sad; as 
Bildad did: and therefore Job asks him. Whose sfiirit 
came from thee? that is, "What troubled soul would 
ever be re\ ived and relieved, and brought to itself, 
by such discourses as these.'"' Thus are we often 
disappointed in our expectations from our friends 
who should comfort us, but the Comforter, which is 
the Holy Ghost, never mistakes in his operations, 
nor misses of his end. 

5. Dead things are formed from under the 
waters, and the inhabitants thereof. 6. Hell 
is naked before him, and destruction hath no 
coveting. 7. He stretcheth out the north over 
the empty place, and hangeth the cartii 
upon nothing. 8. He bindeth up the waters 
in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not 
rent under them. 9. He holdeth back tlie 
face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud 
upon it. 1 0. He hath compassed the watei-s 
with bounds, until the day and night come 
to an end. 1 1 . The pillars of heaven trem- 
ble, and are astonished at his reproof. 1 2. 
He divideth the sea with his power, and by 
his understanding he smiteth through the 
proud. 13. By his Spirit he hath garnished 
the heavens; his hand hath foniied the 
crooked serpent. 1 4. Lo, these are parts 
of his ways ; but how little a portion is heard 
of him ? but the thunder of his power who 
can understand 1 

The truth recei\ ed a great deal of light from the 
dispute between Job and his friends, concerning 
those points about which they differed; but now they 
are upon a subject in which they were all agreed, 
the infinite glory and power of God. How does 
truth triumph, and how bright does it shine, when 
there appears no other strife between the contend- 
ers, than which shall speak most highly and honour- 
ably of God, and be most large in showing forth his 
praise! It were well if all disputes about matters of 
religion might end thus, in glorifying God as Lord of 
all, and our Lord, with one mind and one mouth; 
(Rom. XV. 6. ) for to that we have all attained, in 
that we are all agreed. 

I. Many illustrious instances are here gi\ en of the 
wisdom and power of God, in the creation and pre- 
servation of the world. 

1. If we look about us, to the earth and waters 
here below, we sh:\l see striking instances of om- 
nipotence, which we may gather out of these verses. 



120 



JOB, XXVI. 



(1. ) He hangs the earth tifion notning, v. i . The 
vast terraqueous globe neither rests upon any pillars, 
nor hangs upon any axle-tree; and yet, by the al- 
mighty power of God, is fii'nily fixed in its place, 
poised with its own weight. The art of man could 
not hang a feather upon nothing, vet the Divine 
Wisdom hangs the whole earth so. It \s ponderibus 
librata suis — poised by its own "weight, so says the 
poet; it is upheld by the -word of God's power, so 
says the apostle. What is hung upon nothing may 
serve us to set our feet on, and bear the weight of 
our bodies, but it will never serve us to set our 
heai-ts on, nor bear the weight of our souls. 

(2.) He sets bounds to the waters of the sea, and 
compasses them in, {v. 10. ) that they may not re- 
turn to cover the earth; and these bounds shall con- 
tinue unmoved, unshaken, unworn, till the day and 
night come to an end, when time shall be no more. 
Herein appears the dominion which Providence has 
over the raging waters of the sea, and so it is an in- 
stance of his power, Jer. v. 22. We see too the 
care which Providence takes of the poor sinful in- 
habitants of the earth, who, though obnoxious to his 
justice, and lying at his mercy, are thus preserved 
from being o\'erwhelmed, as they were once, by the 
waters of a flood, and will continue to be so, because 
they are reserved unto fire. 

(3. ) Reforms dead things under the waters. Re- 
phaim, giants, are formed under the waters, that is, 
vast creatures, of prodigious bulk, as whales, giant- 
like creatures, among the innumerable inhabitants 
of the water. So Bishop Patrick. 

(4.) By mightv storms and tempests he shakes 
the mountains, which are here called the pillars of 
heaven, (v. 11.) and even divides the sea, and smites 
through its proud waves, v. 12. At the presence of 
the Lord, the sea flies, and the mountains skip, 
Ps. cxiv. 3, 4. See' Hab. iii. 6, &c. A storm fur- 
rows the waters, and does, as it were, divide them; 
and then a calm smites through the waves, and lays 
them flat again. See Ps. Ixxxix. 9, 10. Those who 
think J(^b lived at, or after, the time of Moses, ap- 
ply this to the dividing of the Red sea before the 
children of Israel, and the drowning of the Egyp- 
tians in it. By his understanding he smiteth through 
Rahab, so the word is, and Rahab is often put for 
Egypt; as Ps. Ixxxvii. 4. Isa. li. 9. 

2. If we consider hell beneath, though it is out of 
our sight, yet we may conceive the instances of God's 
power there. By hell and destruction, {v. 6.) we 
may understand' the grave, and those who are 
buried in it, that they are under the eye of God, 
though laid out of our sight, which may strengthen 
our belief of the resurrection of the dead. God 
knows where to find, and whence to fetch, all the 
scattered atoms of the consumed body. We may 
also consider the grave as the place of the damned, 
where the separate souls of the wicked are in mi- 
serv and torment. That is hell and destruction, 
which are said to be before the Lord, (Prov. xy. 11.) 
and here to be naked before him, to which it is pro- 
bable there is an allusion, (Rev. xiv. 10.) where sin- 
ners are said to be tormented in the presence of the 
holy angels, (who attended the Shechinah,) and in 
the presence of the Lamb. And this may give light 
to V. 5. which some ancient versions read thus; (and 
I think more agreeable to the signification of the 
word Repliaim;) Behold, the giants groan under the 
waters, and those that dwell with them; and then 
follows, Hell is naked before him, typified by the 
drowning nf the giants of the old world; so the 
learned Mr .Tnseph Mede understands it, and with 
it illustrates Pmv. xxi. 16. where hell is called the 
congregation of the dead; and it is the same woi-d 
which is here iised, and which he would there have 
rendered the congregation of the giants, in allusion 
to the drowning of the sinners of the old world. 



And is there any thing in which the majesty ot God 
appears more dreadful than in the eternal ruin of 
the ungodly, and the groans of the inhabitants of 
the land of darkness? Those that will not with 
angel's fear and worship, shall for ever with devils 
fear and tremble, and God therein will be glorified, 

3. If we look up to hea\ en above, we shall see 
instances of God's sovereignty and power. 

(1.) He stretches out the north over the empty 
place, V. 7. So he did at first, then he stretched out 
the heavens like a curtain, (Ps. civ. 2.) and still con- 
tinues to keep them stretched out, and will do so 
till the general conflagration, when they shall be 
rolled together as a scroll. Rev. vi. 14. He mentions 
the north, because his country (as ours) lay in the 
northern hemisphere; and the air is the empty 
place over which it is stretched out. See rs. 
Ixxxix. 12. What an empty place is this world, in 
comparison with the other: 

(2. ) He keeps the waters that are said to be above 
the firmament from pouring down upon the earth, 
as once they did; (t. 8.) He binds up the waters in 
his thick clouds, as if they were tied close in a bag, 
till there is occasion to use them ; and, notwithstand- 
ing the vast weight of water so raised and laid up, 
yet the cloud is not rent under them, for then they 
would burst, and pour out as a spout; but they do, as 
it were, distil through the cloud, and so come drop 
by drop, in mercy to the earth, in small rain, or 
great rain, as he pleases. 

(3.) He conceals the glory of the upper world, 
the dazzling lustre of which we poor mortals could 
not bear; (z^. 9.) He holds back the face of his throne, 
that light in which he dwells, ana spreads a cloud 
upon it, through which he judges, ch. xxii. 13. 
God will have us to live by faith, not by sense; for 
this is agreeable to a state of probation. It were 
not a fair trial, if the face of God's throne were as 
visible now, as it will be in the great day. 

Lest his hi?li throne, above expression bright, 
With deadly glory should oppress our sight, 
To break the dazzling force, he draws a screen 
Of sable shades, and spreads his clouds between. 

Sir R. Blackmore. 

(4.) The bright ornaments of heaven are the 
work of his hands; (v. 13.) By his Spirit, the eter- 
nal Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters, 
the breath of his mouth, (Ps. xxxiii. 6.) he has gar- 
nished the heavens, not only made them, but beauti- 
fied them; has curiouslv bespangled them with stars 
by night, and painted them with the light of the sun 
by day. God, having made man to look upward, 
{Os homini sublime dedit — To man he gave an erect 
countenance,') has therefore garnished the heavens, 
to invite him to look upward, that, by pleasing his 
eve with the dazzling light of the sun, and the 
sparkling light of the stars, their number, order, 
and various magnitudes, which, as so many golden 
studs, beautify the canopy drawn over our heads, he 
may be led to admire the gi-eat Creator, the Father 
and Fountain of lights, and to say, " If.the pavement 
be so richly inlaid, what must the palace be! If 
the visible heavens be so glorious, what are those 
that are out of sight!" From the beauteous garni- 
ture of the ante-chamber, we may infer the precious 
furniture of the presence-chamber. If stars be 
so bright, what are angels! What is meant here 
by the crooked serpent which his hands have 
formed is not certain. Some make it part of the 
garnishing of the heavens, the milky-way, say 
some; some particular constellation, so called, say 
others. It is the same word that is used for levia- 
than, (Isa. xxvii. 1.) and, probably, may be meant of 
the whale or crocodile, in which appears much of 
the power of the Creator; and why may not Job 
conclude with that inference, when God himselt 
does so? ch. xli. 



JOB, xxvn. 



131 



II. He concludes, at last, with an awful et csetera; 

tv. 14.) Lo, these are fiarts of his ways, the out- 
goings of his wisdom and power, the ways in which 
he walks, and by which he makes himself known 
to the children of men. Here, 1. He acknow- 
ledges, with adoration, the discoveries that were 
•Tiade of God. These things which he himself had 
said, and which Bildad had said, are his ways, and 
this is lieard of him; this is something of God. 
But, 2. He admires the depth of that which is un- 
discovered. This that we have said is but part of 
his ways, a small part. What we know of God, is 
nothing in comparison with what is in God, and 
what God is. After all the discoveries which Gc:d 
has made to us, and all the inquiries we have made 
after God, still we are much in the dark concerning 
him, and must conclude, Jm, these are but parts of 
his ways. Something we hear of him by his works 
and by his word; but, alas, how little a fiortion is 
heard of him.' heard Ai/ us, heard ^rom us! We 
know but in part, we prophesy but in part. When 
we ha\e said all we can concerning God, we must 
even do as St. Paul does; (Rom. xi. 33.) despairing 
CO find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink, 
and adore the depth; O the defith of the wisdom 
and knovjiedge of God! It is but a little portion 
that we hear and know of God in our present state. 
He is infinite and incomprehensible; our under- 
standings and capacities are weak and shallow, and 
the full discoveries of the divine glory are reserved 
for the future state. Even the thunder of his power, 
that is, his powerful thunder, one of the lowest of 
his ways here in our own region, we cannot under- 
stand. See ch. xxxvii. 4, 5. Much less can we 
understand the utmost force and extent of his 
power, the terrible efforts and operations of it, and 
particularly the power of his anger, Ps. xc. 11. 
God is great, and we know him not. 

CHAP. XXVII. 

Job hud sometimes complained of his friends, that they 
ivere so eager in disputing-, that they would scarcely let 
him put in a word; Suffer me tliat I may speak, and Oil 
that you toould hold your peace! But now, it seems, they 
were out of breath, and left him room to say what he 
would: either they were themselves convinced that Job 
was in the rifrht, or they despaired of convincing- him 
that he was in the wrong; and therefore they threw 
away their weapons, and gave up the cause. Job was 
too hard for them, and forced them to quit the field; for 
<,'reat is the truth, and will prevail. What Job hud said 
(ch. xxvi.) was a sufficient answer to Bildad's discourse: 
and now Job paused a while to see whether Zophar 
would take his turn again; but he declining it. Job him- 
self went on, and, without any interruption or vexation 
given him, said all he desired to say in this matter. I. 
He besxins with a solemn protestation of his intcfrritv, 
and of his resolution to hold it fast, v. 2.. 6. IL He 
expresses the dread he had of that hypocrisy which they 
charged him with, v. 7 . . 10. IH. He shows the mise- 
rable end of wicked people, notwithstanding their long 
prosperitv, and the curse that attends them, and is en- 
tailed upon their families, v. II . . 23. 

1. "^/|"OREOVER, .Tol) continued his pa- 
!▼ J_ lablo, and said, 'i. As God liveth, 
who hath taken away my judgment; and 
the Almighty, /r/?ohath vexed my soul; 3. 
All the while my breath is in me, and the 
spirit of God is in my nostrils, 4. My lips 
shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue 
utter deceit. 5. God forbid that I should 
justify you : till I die I will not remove 
mine integrity from me. 6. My righteous- 
ness I hold fast, and will not let it go : my 
heart shall not reproach vie so long as I live. 
Vol. hi. — Q, 



Job's discourse here is called a parable, {ma- 
shal,) the title of Solomon's proverbs, because it 
was grave and weighty, and very instructive; and 
he spake as one having authority. It comes from 
a word that signifies to rule, or have dominion; and 
some think it intimates that Job now triumphed 
over his opponents, and spake as one that had baf- 
fled them. We say of an excellent preacher, that 
he knows how dominariin concionibus — to command, 
his hearers. Job did so here. 

A long strife there had been between Job and his 
friends; they seemed disposed to have the matter 
compromised; and therefore, since an oath for con- 
firmation is an end of strife, (Heb. vi. 16.) Job here 
backs all he had said, in maintenance of his own 
integrity, with a solemn oath, to silence contradic 
tion, and take the blame entirely upon himself, it 
he prevaricated. Observe, 

1. The form of his oath; (r. 2.) As God Irvetky 
who hath taken away my judgment. Here, (1.) 
He speaks highly of God, in calling him the living 
God, (which means ever-living, the eternal God, 
that has life in himself,) and in appealing to him as 
the sole and sovereign Judge. We can swear by 
no greater, and it is an affront to him to swear by 
any other. (2.) Yet he speaks hardly of him, and 
unbecomingly, in saying that he had taken away 
his judgment, that is, refused to do him justice in 
this controversy, Mnd to appear in defence of him, 
and that, by continuing his troubles, on which his 
friends grounded their censures of him, he had 
taken from him the opportunity he hoped ere now 
to have had of clearing himself. Elihu reproved 
him for this word; {ch. xxxiv. 5.) for God is righ- 
teous in all his ways, and takes away no man's judg 
ment. But see how apt we are to despair of favour, 
if it be not showed us immediately; so poor spirited 
are ife, and so soon weary of waiting God's time. 
He also charges it upon God, that he had vexed his 
soul; had not only not appeared for him, but had 
appeared against him, and, by laying such grievous 
afflictions upon him, had quite imbittered his life to 
him, and ali the comforts of it. We, by our im- 
patience, vex our own souls, and then complain of 
God that he has vexed them. Yet see Job's con- 
fidence in the goodness both of his cause and of his 
God; that, though God seemed to be angry with 
him, and to act against him, for the present, yet he 
could cheerfully commit his cause to him. 

2. The matter of his oath, v. 3, 4. (1.) That he 
would not speak wickedness, nor utter deceit. That, 
in general, he would never allow himself in the way 
of lying; that, as in this debate he had all along 
spoken as he thought, so he would never wrong his 
conscience by speaking otherwise: he would never 
maintain any doctrine, nor assert any matter of fact, 
but what he iielieved to be true; nor would he deny 
the truth, how much soever it might make against 
him: and, whereas his friends charged him with 
being a hypocrite, he was ready to answer, upon 
oath, to all their interrogatories, if called to it. On 
the one hand, he would not, for all the world, deny 
the charge, if he knew himself guilty, but would 
declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but 
the truth, and take to himself the shame of his hy- 
pocrisy: on the other hand, since he was conscious 
to himself of his integrity, and that he was not such 
a man as his friends i-epresented him, he would 
never betray his integrity, nor charge himself with 
that which he was innocent of; he would not be 
brought, no not by the rack of their unjust censures, 
falsely to accuse himself. If we must not bear false 
witness against our neighbour, then not against our- 
selves. (2.) That he would adhere to this resolu 
tion as long as he lived; (t^. 3.) All the while my 
breath is in me. Our resolutions against sin should 
be thus constant, resolutions for life: in things 



122 



JOB, XXVU. 



doubtful and indifferent, it is not safe to be thus 
j)ereniptoiy; we know not what reason we may see 
to change our mind, God may reveal to us that 
which we now are not aware of; but in so plain a 
thing as this, we cannot be too positive, that we 
will never speak wickedness. Something of a rea- 
son for his resolution is here implied — that our 
breath will not be always in us; we must shortly 
breathe our last, and therefore, while our breath is 
in us, we must never breathe wickedness and de- 
ceit, nor allow ourselves to say or do any thing 
which will make against us, when our breath shall 
depart. The breath in us is called the s/iirit of 
God, because he breathed it into us; and that is 
another reason why we must not speak wickedness. 
It is Gud that gives us life and breath, and there- 
fore, while we have breath, we must praise him. 

3. The explication of his oath; {v. 5, 6.) "Gorf 
forbid that I should justify you in your uncharita- 
ble censures of me, by owning myself a hypocrite: 
no, uniU I die, I -will not remove my integrity from 
me; my righteousness J hold fast, and will riot let it 
go." (1.) He would always be tin honest man, 
would hold fast his integrity, and not curse God, 
as Satan, by his wife, urged him to do, ch. ii. 9. 
Job here thinks of dying, and of getting i-eady for 
death, and therefore resolves never to part with his 
religion, though he had lost all he had in tlie world. 
Note, The best preparative for death, is, perse- 
verance to death in our integrity. "Until I die," 
that is, "though I die by this affliction, I will not 
thereby be put out of conceit with my God and niy 
religion. Though he slay me, yet will J trust in 
him." (2.) He would always stand to it, that he 
was an honest man; he would not remove, he would 
not part with, the conscience, and comfort, and 
credit, of his integrity; he was resolved to defend 
it to the last. "God knows, and my own heart 
knows, th it I always meant well, and did not allow 
myself in the omission of any known duty, or the 
commission of any known sin. This is my rejoic- 
ing, and no man shall rob me of it; I will never lie 
against my right." It has often been the lot of 
upright men to be censured and condemned as 
hypocrites; but it well becomes them to bear up 
boldly against such censures, and not to be dis- 
couraged by them, or think the worse of themselves 
for them; as the apostle, (Heb. xiii. 18.) We have 
a good conscience in all things, willing to live 
honestly. 

Hie inurus ahoneus esto, nilconacire sibi. 

Be this thv brazen bulwark ot'ilefence, 
Still to |ireserve thy consc-.ious innocence. 

Job complained much of the reproaches of his 
friends; But (says he) my heart shall not re/iroach 
me; that is, "I will never give my heart cause to 
reproach me, but will keep a conscience void of 
oflFence: and, while I do so, I will not give my heart 
leave to reproach me." Who shall lay any thing 
to the charge of God's elect? Jt is God that justi- 
fies. To resolve that our hearts shall not reproach 
us, when we give them cause to do so, is to affront 
God, whose deputy conscience is, and to wrong 
ourselves; for it is'a good thing, when a man has 
sinned, to ha\ e a heart within him to smite him for 
it, 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. But to resolve that our hearts 
shall not reproach us, while we still hold fast our 
integrity, is to bafHe the designs of the evil spirit, 
(who tempts !!;ood Christians to question their adop- 
tion, If thou be the Son of God,) and to concur with 
the operations of the good Spirit, who witnesses to 
their adoption, 

7. 1 iOt mine enemy be as the wicked, and 
he that riseth np against me as the unrigh- 
teous. 8. For what is the hope of the hypo- 



crite, though he hath ga«ned, when God 
taketh away his soul? 9. Will God hear 
his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 
10. Will he delight himself in the Almigh- 
ty? will he always call upon God? 

Job, having solemnly protested the satisfaction 
he had in his integrity, for the further clearing of 
himself, here expresses the dread he had of being 
found a hypocrite. 

I. He tells us how he startled at the thought of 
it, for he looked upon the condition of a hypocrite 
and a wicked man, to be certainly the most misera- 
ble condition that any man could be in; {v. 7.) Let 
mine enemy be as the wicked; a pro\ erbial expres- 
sion, like that, (Dan. iv. 19.) The dream be to them 
that hate thee. Job was so far from indulging him- 
self in any wicked way, and flattering himself in it, 
that, if he might have lea\ e to wish the greatest 
evil he could think of to the worst enemy he had in 
the world, he would wish him the portion of a 
wicked man, knowing that worse lie could not wish 
him. Not that we may lawfully wish any man to 
be wicked, or that any man who is not wicked 
should be treated as wicked; but we should all 
choose to be in the condition of a beggar, an out- 
law, a galley-slave, any thing, rather than in the 
condition of the wicked, though in ever so much 
pomp and outward prosperity. 

II. He gives us the reasons of it. 

1. Because the hypocrite's hopes will not be crown- 
ed; {v. 8.) For what is the hope of the hypocrite? 
Bildad had condemned it, {ch. viii. 13, 14.) and 
Zophar, {ch. xi. 20.) Job here concuis with them, 
and reads the death of the hypocrite's hope with as 
much assurance as they had done; and this fitly 
comes in as a reason why he would not remove his 
integrity, but still hold it fast. Note, The conside- 
ration of the miserable condition of wicked people, 
and especially hypocrites, should engage us to be 
upright, (for we are undone, for ever undone, if we 
be not,) and also to get the comfortable evidence of 
our uprightness; for how can we be easy, if the 
great concern lie at uncertainties? Job's friends 
would persuade him that all his hope was but the 
hope of the hypocrite; {ch. iv. 6.) "Nav," says 
he, " I would not, for all the world, be so foolish as 
to build upon such a rotten foundation ; for what is 
the hope of the hypocrite?" See here, (1.) The 
hypocrite deceived. He has gained, and he has 
hope; this is his bright side; it is allowed that he 
has gained by his hypocrisy, has gained the praise 
and applause of men, and the wealth of this world- 
Jehu gained a kingdom by his hypocrisy, and the 
Pharisees many a widow's house. Upon this gain 
he builds his hope, such as it is; he hopes he is in 
good circumstances for another world, because he 
ifinds he is so for this, and he blesses himself in his 
own way. (2.) The hypocrite undeceived; he will 
at last see himself wretchedly cheated: for, [1.] 
God shall take away his soul, sorely against his 
will; (Luke xii. 20.) Thy soul shall be required of 
thee. God, as the Judge, takes it away to be tried 
and determined to its everlasting state. He shall 
then fall into the hands of the living God, to be 
dealt with immediately. [2.] What will his hope 
be then? It will be vanity and a lie; it will stand 
him in no stead. The wealth of this world, which 
he hoped in, he must leave behind him, Ps. xlix. 
17. The happiness of the other world, which he 
hoped for, he will certainly miss of: he hoped to 
go to heaven, but he will be shamefully disappoint- 
ed; he will plead his external profession, privileges, 
and performances, but all his jjleas will be over- 
ruled as frivolous; Depart from me, I know you not. 
So that, upon the whole, it is certain, a fornrial 



JOB, XXVIl. 



123 



hypocrite, with all his gains, and all his hopes, will 
be miserable in a dying hour. 

2. Because the hypocrite's prayer will not be 
he Td; (i'. 9.) IVill God hear his cry, ivhen trouble 
comes ufion him'^ No, he will not, it cannot be ex- 
pected he should. If true repentance come upon 
him, God will hear his cry, and accept him; (Isa. 
i. 18.) but if he continue impenitent and unchanged, 
let him not think tofind favourwith God. Observe, 
(1.) Trouble ivill come ufion him, certainly it will. 
Troubles in the world often surprise tliose that are 
most secure of an uninterrupted j)rosperity. How- 
ever, death will come, and trouble with it, when he 
must leave the world and all his delights in it. The 
judgment of the great day will come; fearfulness 
will surprise the hypocrites, Isa. xxxiii. 14. (2.) 
Tlien he will cry to God; will pray, and pray 
earnestly. Those who in prosperity slighted God, 
Cither prayed not at all, or were cold and careless 
in prayer, when trouble comes, will make their ap- 
p.ication to him, and cry as men in earnest. But, 
(3.) Will God hear him then? in the troubles of this 
life.'' God has told us that he will not hear the 
prayers of those who regard iniquity in their heails, 
(Ps.' Ixvi. 18.) and set up their idols there, (Ezek. 
xiv. 4.) nor of those who turn away their ear from 
hearing the law, Prov. xxviii. 9. Get you to the 
gods whom ye have served, Judg. x. 14. In the 
judgment to come, it is certain, God will not hear 
the cry of those who lived and died in their hypo- 
ci'isy. Their doleful lamentations will all be unpitied ; 
I ivill laugh at your calainity. Their importunate 
petitions will all be thrown out, and their pleas re- 
jected. Inflexible justice cannot be biassed, nor the 
M'veversible sentence revoked. See Matth. vii. 22, 
23. Luke xiii. 26, and the case of the foolish vir- 
gins, Matth. XXV. 11. 

3. Because the hypocrite's religion is neither corn- 
finable nor constant; (t'. 10.) Will he delight him- 
self m thp Almighty? No, not at any time, (for his 
delight is in the profits of the world, and the plea- 
sures of the flesh, more than in Gud,) especially 
not in the time of trouble. Will he always call 
ufion God? No, in prosperity he will not call upon 
God, but slight him; in adversity, he will not call 
upon God, but curse him; he is we;iry of his religion, 
when he gets nothing by it, or is in danger of losing. 
Note, (1.) Those are hypocrites, who, though they 
profess religion, neither take pleasure in it, nor 
persevere in it; who reckon their religion a task 
and a drudgery, a weariness, and snufF at it; who 
make use of it only to serve a turn, and lay it 
aside when the turn is ser\ed; who will call upon 
God while it is in fashion, or while the pang of de- 
votion lasts, but leave it off when they fall into other 
company, or when the hot fit is over. (2.) The 
reason whv hypocrites do not persevere in religion, 
is, because they have no pleasure in it. They that 
do not delight themselves in the Almighty, will not 
always call upon him. The more comfort we find 
in our religion, the more closely we shall cleave to it. 
Those who have no delight in God, are easily in- 
veigled by the pleasures of sense, and so drawn away 
from their religion; and they are easily run down 
bv the crosses of this life, and so driven away from 
their religion, and will not always call upon God. 

1 1 . I will teach you by the hand of God : 
that which is with the Almighty will I not 
conceal. 12. Belwld, all ye yourselves 
have seen it; why then are ye thus alto- 
gether vain? 13. This is the portion of a 
kicked man with God, and the heritage of 
oppressors, which they shall receive of the 
Almighty. 14. If his children be multiplied, 



it is for the sword; and his offspring shall 
not be satisfied with bread. 1 5. Those that 
remain of him shall be buried in death; and 
his widows shall not weep. 16. Thougli 
he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare 
raiment as the clay; 17. He may prepare 
z7, but the just shall put it on, and the inno- 
cent shall divide the silver. 18. He build- 
eth his house as a moth, and as a booth thai 
the keeper maketh. 19. The rich man 
shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered . 
he openeth his eyes, and he is not. 20. 
Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tem- 
pest stealeth him away in the night. 21. 
The east wind carrieth him away, and he 
departeth ; and, as a storm, hurleth him out 
of his place. 22. For God shall cast upon 
him, and not spare : he would fain flee out 
of his hand. 23. Men shall clap their hands 
at him, and shall hiss him out of his place. 

Job's friends had seen a great deal of the misery 
and destruction that attend wicked people, espe- 
cially oppressors; and Job, while the heat of dis- 
putation lasted, had said as much, and with as 
much assurance, of their prosperity; but now, that 
the heat of the battle was nearly over, he was wil- 
ling to own how far he agreed with them, and 
where the difference between his opinion and theirs 
lay. 1. He agreed with them, that wicked people 
are miserable people; that God will surely reckon 
with cruel oppressors, and, one time or othei-, one 
way or other, his justice will make reprisals upon 
them for all the affronts they have put upon God, 
and all the wrongs they have done to their neigh- 
bours. This truth is abmidantly confirmed by the 
entire concurrence even of these angry disputants 
in it. But, 2. In this they differed. They held 
that these deserved judgments are presently and 
visibly brought upon wicked oppressors; that they 
trax'ail with pain all their days; that in prosperity 
the destroyer comes upon them; that they shall not 
be rich, nor their branch green; and that their de- 
struction shall be accom/ilinhed before their time; 
so Eliphaz; (ch. xv. 20, 21, 29, 32.) that the steps of 
their strength shall be straitened; that terrors shall 
make them afraid on every side; so Bildad; (ch. 
xviii. 7, 11.) that he himself shall vomit u/i his 
riches, and that in the fulness of his sufficiency he 
shall be in straits; so Zophar, ch. xx. 15, 22. Now 
Job held that, in many cases, judgments do not fall 
upon them quickly, but are deferred for some time. 
That vengeance strikes slowly, he had already 
showed; (ch. xxi. and xxiv. ) now he comes to show 
that it strikes surely and severely, and that re- 
prieves are no pardons. 

I. Job here undertakes to set this matter in a true 
light; (y. 11, 12.) / will teach you. We must not 
disdain to learn even from those who are sick and 
poor, yea, and peevish too, if they deliver what is 
true and good. Observe, 1. What he would teach 
them; "That which is with the Almighty," that is, 
"the counsels and purposes of God concerning 
wicked people, which are hid with him, and which 
you cannot hastily judge of; and the usual methods 
of his providence concerning them:" This, says 
Job, tvill I not conceal. What God has not con- 
cealed from us, we must not conceal from those we 
are concerned to teach. Things revealed belong to 
us and our children. 2. How he would teach them; 
By the hand of God, that is. by his strength and 



124 



JOB, XXVIl. 



asb'stance. Those who undertake {.o teach others 
must look to the hand of God to direct then, to 
.ipc-n their ear, (Isa. 1. 4.) and to open their lips. 
I'a se whom God teaches with a strong hand, are 
best able to teach others, Isa. viii. 11. 3. What 
reason they had to learn those thin.e;s which he was 
about to teach them; {y. 12.) that it was confirmed 
by their own observation; You yourselves have 
si'/'n it; (but what we have heard, and seen, and 
known, we have need to be taught, that we may be 
perfect in our lesson;) and that it would set them to 
r!.',iits in their judgment concerning him; "Why 
then are ye thus altogether vain, to condemn me 
for a wicked man because I am afflicted?" Truth, 
r ghtly understood and applied, would cure us of 
that vanity of mind which arises from our mistakes. 
That particularly which he offers now to lay be- 
fore them, is, the portion of a -wicked man with 
God, particularly of opfiressors, v. 13. Compare 
ch. XX. 29. Their portion in the world may be 
wealth and preferment, but their portion with God 
is nun and misery. They are above the control 
of any earthly power, it may be, but the Almighty 
can deal with them. 

II. He does it, by showing that wicked people 
may, in some instances, prosper, but that ruin fol- 
lows them in those very instances; and that is their 
portion, that is their heritage, that is it which they 
must abide by. 

1. They may prosper in their children, but ruin 
attends them. His children perhaps are multifilied, 
{v. 14.) or magnijied, so some; they are very nu- 
merous, and are raised to honour and great estates. 
Worldly people are said to be full of children; 
(Ps. xvii. 14.) and, as it is in the margin there, 
their children are full. In them the parents hope 
to li\e, and in their preferment to be honoured. 
But the more children they leave, and the greater 
prosperity they leave them in, the more and the 
fairer marks do they leave for the arrows of God's 
judgments to be levelled at: his three sore judg- 
ments, sword, famine, and fiestilence, 2 Sam. xxiv. 
13. (1.) Some of them shall c'.e by the sword, the 
sword of war, perhaps; they brought them up to 
live by their sword, as Esau; (Gen. xxvii. 40.) and 
these that do so, commonly die by the sword, first 
or last: or by the sword of justice for their crimes, 
or the sword of the murderer for their estates. (2. ) 
Others of them shall die by famine; {v. 14.) His 
offsfiring shall not he >-alisfied with bread. He 
thought he had secured to tliem large estates, but 
it may happen that they may be reduced to poverty, 
so as not to have the necessary supports of life, at 
least not to live comfortably. They shall be so 
needy, that they shall not have a competency of 
necessary food, 'and so greedy, or so discontented, 
that what they have they shall not be satisfied with, 
because not so much, or not so dainty, as what they 
liave been used to. Ye eat, but ye have not enough. 
Has. i- 6. (3.) Those that remain shall be buried 
in death, that is, shall die of the plague, which is 
called c/ca/'/i, (Rev.vi. 8.) and be buried privately and 
in haste, as soon as they are dead, without any soleni- 
nitv : buried with the burial of an ass; and even their 
widows shall not weefi; they shall not have where- 
withal to put them in mourning. Or it denotes, that 
these wicked men, as they live undesired, so they 
die unlamented, and even their widows will think 
themselves happy that they are got rid of them. 

2. They may prosper in their estates, but ruin 
attends them too, tj. 16-. 18. (1.) We vnW sup- 
l)ose them to be rich in money and plate, in cloth- 
ing and furniture; They heafi ufi silver, in abun- 
dance as the dust, and firefiare raiment as the clay; 
♦.ney have heaps of clothes about them, as plentiful 
as heaps of clay: or it intimates that they have such 
abundance of clothes, that they are even a burthen 



to them; they lade themselves with thick clay, Hab. 
ii. 6. See what is the care and business of worldly 
people — To heap up worldly wealth. Much would 
have more, until the silver is cankered, and the 
garments moth-eaten, Jam. v. 2, 3. But what 
comes of it.-* He shall never be the better for it 
himself; death will strip him, death will rob him, 
if he be not robbed and stripped sooner, Luke xii. 
20. Nay, God will so order it, that the just shall 
wear his raiment, and the innocent shall divide his 
silver. [1.] They shall have it, and divide it 
among themselves; some way or other, Providence 
shall so order it, that good men shall come honestly 
by that wealth which the wicked man came dis- 
honestly by. 7%e wealth of the sinner is laid ufi 
for the just, Prov. xiii. 22. God disposes of men's 
estates as he pleases, and often makes their wills, 
against their will. The just, whom he hated and 
persecuted, shall have rule over all his labour, and, 
in due time, recover with interest what was violent- 
ly taken from him. The Egyptians' jewels were 
the Israelites' pay. Solomon observes, (Eccl. ii. 
26.) that God makes the sinners drudges to the 
righteous; for to the sinner he gives travail to 
gather and heap, ufi, that he may give to him that 
is good before God. [2.] They shall do good with 
it; the innocent shall not hoard the silver, as he did 
that gathered it, but shall di\'ide it to the poor, shall 

C've a fiortion to seven, and also to eight, which is 
ying up the best securities. Money is like ma- 
nure, good for nothing if it be not spread. When 
God enriches good men, they must remember they 
are but stewards, and must give an account. What 
bad men bring a curse upon their families with the 
ill-getting of, good men bring a blessing upon their 
families with the well-using of. He that by unjust 
gain increaseth his substance, shall gather it for him 
that will fiity the fioor, Prov. xxviii. 8. (2.) We 
will suppose them to have built them strong and 
stately houses; but they are like the house which 
the moth makes for herself in an old garment, out 
of which she will soon be shaken, v. 18. He is 
very secure in it, as a moth, and has no apprehen- 
sion of danger; but it will prove of as short continu- 
ance as a booth which the keeper makes, which 
will quickly be taken down and gone, and his place 
shall know him no more. 

3. Destruction attends their persons, though they 
lived long in health, and at ease; {y. 19.) The rich 
man shall lie down to sleep, to repose himself in 
the abundance of his wealth. Soul, take thine ease; 
shall lie down in it as his strong city, and seem to 
others to be very happy and very easy; but he shall 
not be gathered, that is, he shall not have his mind 
composed, and settled, and gathered in, to enjoy his 
wealth. He does not sleep so contentedly as peo- 
ple think he does. He lies down, but his abundance 
will not suffer him to slecfi, at least not so sweetly 
as the labouring mail, Eccl. v. 12. He lies down, 
but he is full of tossings to and fro till the dawning 
of the day, and then he opens his eyes, and he is 
not; he sees himself, and all he has, hastening awnv, 
as it were, in the twinkling of an eye. His cares 
increase his fears, and both together make him 
uneasy; so that, when we attend him to his bed, 
we do not find him happy there. But, in the close, 
we are called to attend his exit, and see how mise- 
rable he is in death, and after death. 

(1.) He is miserable in death. It is to him the 
king of terrors, v. 20, 21. When some mortal dis- 
ease seizes him, what a fright is he in! Terrors 
take hold on him, as waters, as if he were surround- 
ed by the flowing tides. He trembles to think of 
leaving this world, and much more of removing to 
another. This mingles sorrow and wrath with his 
sickness, as Solomon observes, Eccl. v. 17. These 
terrors put him either, [1.] Into a silent and sullen 



JOB, xxvrii. 



125 



despair; and then the tempest of God's wrath, the 
tempest of death, may be said to steal him away in 
tht night, when no one is aware, or takes any no- 
tice of it. Or, [2.] Into an open and clamorous 
despair; and then he is said to be carried away, and 
hurled out of his place, as with a storm, and with 
an east wind, violent, and noisy, and very dreadful. 
Death, to a godly man, is like a fair gale of wind, 
to con\ ey him to the heavenly country, but, to a 
wicked man, it is Hke an east wind, a storm, a 
tempest, that hurries him away, in confusion and 
amazement, to destruction. 

(2.) He is miserable a/?i?r death. [1.] His soul 
falls under the just indignation of God; and the 
terror of that puts him into such amazement at the 
approach of death; (r. 22.) For God shall cast 
xifion him, and not sjiare. While he lived, he had 
the benefit of sparing mercy; but now the day of 
(iod's patience is over, and he will not spare, but 
j)our out upon him the full vials of his wrath. What 
God casts down upon a man, there is no flying from, 
nor bearing up under. We read of his casting down 
great stones from heaven upon the Canaanites, 
(Josh. X. 11.) which made terrible execution 
among them; but what was that to his casting down 
his anger in its full weight upon the sinner's con- 
science, like the talent of lead? Zech. v. 7, 8. The 
damned sinner, seeing the wrath of God break in 
upon him, would fain flee out of his hand; but he 
cannot; the gates of hell are locked and barfed, and 
the great gulf fixed, and it will be in vain to call for 
the shelter of rocks and mountains. Those who 
will not be persuaded now to fly to the arms of di- 
vine grace, which are stretched out to receive 
them, will not be able to flee from the arms of divine 
wrath, which will shortly be stretched out to de- 
stroy them. [2.] His memory falls under the just 
indignation ojall mankind ; {y. 23.) Men shall clap, 
their hands at him, that is, they shall rejoice in the 
judgments of God, by which he is cut off, and be 
well pleased in his fall. When the wicked fierish, 
there is shouting, Prov. xi. 10. Wlien God buries 
him, men shall hiss him out of his place, and leave 
on his name perpetual marks of infamy. In the 
same place where he has been caressed and cried 
up, lie shall be laughed at, (Ps. lii. 6.) and his ashes 
shall be trampled on. 

CHAP. XXVIII. 

The strain of this chapter is very unlike the rest of this 
book. Job forgets his sores, and all his sorrows, and 
talks like a philosopher, or a virtuoso. Here is a great 
deal both of natural philosophy and moral in this dis- 
course; but the question is, How does it come here? 
Doubtless, it was not merely for an amusement, or di- 
version from the controversy; though, if it had been 
only so, perhaps it had not been much amiss. When 
disputes grow hot, better lose the question than lose our 
temper. But this is pertinent, and to the business in 
band. Job and his friends had been discoursing about 
tne dispensations of Providence toward the wicked and 
the righteous. Job had showed that some wicked men 
live and die in prosperity, while others are presently and 
C'penly arrested by the judgments of God. But, if any 
ask the reason why some are punished in this world, and 
not others, they must be told it is a question that cannot 
be resolved. The knowledge of the reasons of state, in 
• iod's government of the world, is kept from us, and we 
must neither pretend to it, nor reach after it. Zophar 
had wished that God would show Job the secrets of wis- 
dom, ch. xi. 6. No, says Job, secret things belong not 
to us, but things revealed, Deut. xxis. 29. And here 
he shows, I. Concerning worldly wealth, how industri- 
ously that is sought for, and pursued, by the children of 
men, what pains they take, what contrivances they have, 
and what hazards they run, to get it, v. 1 . . 11. II. 
Concerning wisdom, v. 12. In general, the price of it is 
very great; it is of inestimable value, v. 15.. 19. The 
place of it is very secret, v. 14, 20, 22. In particular, 
there is a wisdom which is hid in God, (v. 23. .27.) and 
'here is a wisdom which is revealed to the children of 



men, v. 28. Our inquiries into the former must be 
checked, into the latter must be quickened, for that is it 
which is our concern. 

1. CI URELY there is a vein for the sil- 
1^ ver, and a place for gold ivhere they 
fine it. 2. Iron is taken out of the earth, 
and brass is molten out of the stone. 3. 
He setteth an end to darkness, and search- 
eth out all perfection: the stones of dark- 
ness, and the shadow of death. 4. The 
flood breaketh out from the inhabitant ; 
even the waters forgotten of the foot : they 
are dried up, they are gone away from 
men. 5. As for the earth, out of it cometh 
bread ; and under it is turned up as it were 
fire. 6. The stones of it are the place of 
sapphires; and it hath dust of gold. 7. 
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and 
which the vulture's eye hath not seen : 8. 
The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor 
the fierce lion passed by it. 9. He putteth 
forth his hand upon the rock ; he overturn- 
eth the mountains by the roots. 10. He 
cutteth out rivers among the rocks ; and his 
eye seeth every precious thing. 11. He 
bindeth the floods from overflowing; and 
the thin^ that is hid bringeth he forth to 
light. 

Here Job shows, 1. What a great way the wit 
of man may go, in diving into the depths of nature, 
and seizing the riches of it; what a great deal of 
knowledge and wealth men may, by their ingenious 
and industrious searches, make themselves mas- 
ters of. But does it therefore follow that men may, 
by their wit,comprehend the I'easons why some wick- 
ed people prosper, and others are punished, why 
some good people prosper, and others are afflicted? 
No, by no means. The caverns of the earth may 
be discovered, but not the counsels of heaven. 2. 
What a great deal of care and pains worldly men 
take to get riches. He had observed concerning the 
wicked man, {ch. xxvii. 16. ) that he heaped ufi silver 
as the dust; now here he shows whence that silver 
came, and how it was come by, which he is so fond 
of, to show what little reason wicked rich men have 
to be proud of their wealth and pomp. Observe 
here, 

I. The wealth of this world is hid in the earth. 
Thence the silver and the gold, which afterward 
they refine, are fetched, v. 1. There it lay mixed 
with a great deal of dirt and dross, like a worthless 
thing, of no more account than common earth; and 
abundance of it will so lie neglected, till the earth 
and all the works therein shall be burned up. Holy 
Mr. Herbert, in his poem called Avarice, takes no- 
tice of Inis, to shame men out of the love of money 

Money, thou bane of bliss, thou source of woe, 
Whence com'st thou, that thou an so fresh and fine? 

t know thy pareotapio is base and low ; 
Man found thee poor and dirty in a mine. 

Surely thou did'st so little contribute 
To this creat kingdom which thou now hast got. 

That he was fain, when thou wast destitute. 
To dig thee out of thy dark cave and grot. 

Man calleth thee his wealth; who made thee rich, 
And while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch. 

Iron and brass, less costly, but more ser\ iceable, 
metals, are taken out of the earth, (t. 2.) and are 



126 



JOB, xxvm. 



there found in great abundance, which abates their 
price indeed, but is a gre.it kindness to man, who 
could much better be without gold than without iron. 
Nay, one of the earth comes bread, that is, l)read- 
corn, the necessary support of life, v. 5. Thence 
man's maintenance is fetched, to remind him of his 
own original; he is of the earth, and is hastening to 
the eartli. Under it is turned ufi as it were Jire; 
precious stones, that sparkle as fire; brimstone, that 
IS apt to take fire; coal, that is proper to feed fire. 
As we have our food, so we have our fuel, cut out 
of the e.irth. There the sapphires and other i^ems 
are, and thence gold-dust is digged up, v. 6. The 
wisdom of the Creatoi- has placed these things, 1. 
Out of our sight, to teach us not to set our eyes ui)on 
them, Prov. xxiii. 5. 2. Under our feet, to teach 
us not to lav them in our bosoms, nor to set our hearts 
upon them, l)ut to trample upon them, with a holy 
contempt. See how full the earth is of God's riches, 
(Ps. civ. 24.) and infer thence, not only how 
great a God he is, whose the earth is, and the fulness 
thereof, (Ps. xxiv. 1.) but how full heaven must 
needs be of God's riches, which is the city of the great 
King, in comparison with which this earth is a poor 
countrv. 

II. The wealth that is hid in the earth cannot be 
come at but with a great deal of difficulty. It is 
hard to be found out; there is but here and there a 
vein for the silver, V. 1. The precious stones, though 
bright tliemselves, yet, because buried in obscurity 
and out of sight, are called stones of darkness, and 
the shadow of death. Men may search long before 
they light on them; when found out, they are hard 
to be fetched out; men's wits must be set on work 
to contrive ways and means to get this hid treasure 
into their hands; they must, with their lamps, set an 
end to darkness; and if one expedient miscarry, one 
method fail, they must try another, till they have 
searched out all perfection, and turned every stone 
to effect it, v. 3. They must grapple with subtei'- 
raneous waters, {v. 4, 10, 11.) and force their way 
througli rocks which are, as it were, the roots of the 
mountains, v, 9. Now Ciod has made the getting of 
gold and silver, and precious stones, so difficult, (1.) 
For the exciting and engaging of industry. Dii la- 
boribus ovinia vendmit — JMbour is the price which 
the i^ods affix to all things. If valuable things 
were too easilv come bv, men would never learn to 
lake pains. But the difficulty of gaining the riches 
of this earth, may suggest to us what violence the 
kingdom of heaven suffers. (2.) For the checking 
and restraining of pomp and luxury. What is for 
necessity is had with a little labour from the surface 
of the earth; but what is for ornament must be dug 
with a great deal of pains out of the bowels of it. 
To be fed is chea]), but to be fine is chargeable. 

III. Though the suljterraneous wealth is thus 
hard to come by, yet men will have it. He that 
loves silver, is not satisfied with silver, and yet is not 
satisfied without it; but they that have much must 
needs have more. See here, 1. What inventions 
men have to get this wealth. They search out all 
fierfecticn, v. 3. They have arts and engines to dry 
up the waters, and carry them off, when they break 
in upon them in their mines, and threaten to dix)wn 
the work, v. 4. They have pumps, and pipes, and 
canals, to clear their way, and, obstacles being re- 
moved, they tread the fiath which no fowl Icnoweth, 
(r. 7, 8. ) unseen by the vulture's eye, which is pier- 
cing and quick-sighted, and untrodden by the lion's 
whelps, whicli traverse all the paths of the wilder- 
ness. 2. Wliat pains men take, and what vast charge 
they are at, to get Miis wealth. They work their 
way througii the rorks, and undermine the moun- 
tains, V. 10. 3. Whit hazards thev run. They 
that dig in tlie mines have tlieir lives in their hands; 
for they are obliged to bind the floods from overflow- 



ing, {v. 11.) and are continually in danger of bemg 
suffocated by damps, or cruslied or buiicd alive by 
the fall of the earth upon them. See how foolish 
man adds to his own burthen; lie is sentenced to 
eat bread in the sweat of his face. But as if th.tt 
were not enough, he will get gold and sih er at the 
peril of his life; thougli the more is gotten, tlie less 
valuable it is; fur, in Solomon's time, silver was as 
stones. But, 4. Ot)ser\ e what it is tliat carries men 
through all this toil and peril. Their eye sees every 
ftrecious thing, v. 10. Silver and gold are precious 
things with them; and they have them in their eye 
in all their pursuits; they fancy they see them glit- 
tering Ijefore their faces, and, in the prospect of lay- 
ing hold on them, they make nothing of all these dif- 
ficulties; for they make something of it at last; that 
which is hid bringeth he forth to light, v. 11. What 
was hid under ground, is laid upon the iiank; the 
metal that was hid in the ore, is refined from its 
dross, and brought forth pure out of the furnace; 
and then he thinks his pains well bestowed. Go to 
the miners, then, thou sluggard in religion, consider 
their ways, and be wise. Let their courage, dili- 
gence, and constancy in seeking the wealth that 
perisheth, shame us out of slothfulness and faint- 
heartedness in laboring for the true riches. How 
much better is it to get wisdom than gold! How 
much easier and safer! Yet gold is sought for, but 
grace neglected. Will the hopes oi firecious things 
out of the earth, (so they call them, though really 
they are paltry and perishing,) be such a spur to 
industry, and shall not the certain prospect of truly 
precious things in heaven be much more so? 

1 2. But wlieie shall wisdom be found? and 
where is the place of understanding? 13. 
Man knoweth not the price thereof; nei- 
ther is it found in the land of the living. 
14. The depth saith, // /> not in me: and 
the sea saith, // is not with me. 1 5. It can- 
not be gotten for gold, neither shall silvei 
be weighed for the price thereof. 1 6. It 
cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, 
with the precious onyx, or the sapjihire. 1 7. 
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it : 
and the exchange of it s/in// vol i«/b/' jewels 
of fine gold. 1 8, No mention shall be made 
of coral, or of pearls : for the price of wisdom 
is above rubies. 1 9. The topaz of Ethio- 
pia shall not equal it, neither shall it be va- 
lued with pure gold. 

Job, having spoken of the wealth of the world, 
which men put such a value upon, and take so much 
pains for, here comes to speak of another more va- 
luable jewel, and that \s,wisdom and understanding, 
the knowing and enjoying of God and ourselves. 
They that found out all those ways and means to en- 
rich themselves, thought themselves very wise; but 
Job will not own that to be wisdom: he supposes 
them to gain their point, and to bring to light what 
they sought for, (x;. 11.) and yet asks. Where is wis- 
dotn? For it is not here; this their way is their 
folly. We must therefore seek it somewhere else, 
and it will be found nowhere but in the principles 
and practices of religion. There is more tnie know- 
ledge, satisfaction, and happiness, in sound divinity, 
which shows us the way to the joys of heaven, than 
in natural philosophy, or mathematics, which help 
us to find a way into the bowels of the earth. 

Two things cannot be found out concerning this 
wisdom. 

1. The price of it, for that is inestimable; its 



JOB, XXVIII. 



191 



worth is infinitely more than all the riches in this 
world. Man knows not the price thereof, [y. 13.) 
that is, 1. Few put a due value upon it. Men know 
not the woith of it, its innate excellency, their need 
of it, and of what unspeakable advantage it will be 
to them; and therefore, though they ha\e many a 
price in their hand to get this wisdom, yet they 
have 710 heart to it, Prov. xvii. 16. The cock in 
the fable knew not the value of the precious stone 
he found in the dunghill, and therefore would rather 
ha\ e lighted on a barley-corn. Men know not the 
worth of grace, and therefore will take no pains to 
get it. 2. None can possibly give a valuable con- 
sideration for it, with all the wealth this world can 
furnish them with. This Job is large upon, (x*. 15,&c.) 
where he makes an inventory of the Bona notabilia 
^The most valuable treasures of this world: gold 
is five times mentioned, sil\ er comes in also, and 
then divers precious stones, the onyx and sapphire, 
pearls and rubies, and the topaz of Ethiopia; these 
are the things that are highest prized in the world's 
markets: but if a man would give, not only these, 
heaps of these, but all the substance of his house, 
all he is worth in the world, for wisdom, it would 
utterly be contemned: these may give a man some 
advantage in seeking wisdom, as they did to Solo- 
mon, but there is no purchasing wisdom with these. 
It IS a gift of the Holy Ghost, which cannot be bought 
ivith money, Acts viii. 20. As it does not run in the 
blood, and thus come to us by descent, so it cannot 
be got for money, nor does it come to us by purchase. 
Spiritual gifts are conferred without money and 
without price, because no money can be a price for 
them. Wisdom is likewise a more valuable gift to 
him that has it, makes him richer and happier, than 
gold or precious stones. It is better to get wisdom 
than gold. Gold is another's, wisdom our own; gold 
is for the body and time, wisdom is for the soul and 
eternity. Let that which is most precious in God's 
account, be so in ours. See Prov. iii. 14, &c. 

II. The place of it, for that is undiscoverable. 
Where shall wisdom be found? v. 12. He asks this, 

1. As one that truly desired to find it. This is a 
question we should all put; while the most of men 
are asking, "Where shall money be found?" we 
should ask, Where may wisdom be found? that we 
may seek it and find it; not vain philosophy, or car- 
nal policy, but true religion; for that is the only true 
wisdom, that is it which best improves our faculties, 
and best secures our spiritual and eternal welfare. 
This is that which we should cry after, and dig for, 
Prov, ii. 3, 4. 

2. As one that utterly despaired of finding it any 
where but in God, and any way but by di\ ine reve- 
lation. It is not found in this land of the living, v. 13. 
We cannot attain to a right understanding of God 
and his will, of ourselves, and our duty, and inte- 
rest, by reading any books or men, but by reading 
God's book and the men of God. Such is the de- 
generacy of human nature, that there is no true 
wisdom to be found with any but those who are born 
again, and who, through grace, partake of the di- 
vine nature. As for others, even the most mge- 
nious and industrious, they can tell us no tidings of 
this lost wisdom. (1. ) Ask the miners, and by them 
the depth will say, It is not in me, v. 14. Those who 
dig into the bowels of the earth, to rifle the treasures 
there, cannot in these dark recesses find this rare 
jewel, nor with all their art make themselves mas- 
ters of it. (2.) Ask the mariners, and by them the 
sea will say. It is not in me. It can never be got 
either by trading on the waters, or diving into them; 
can never he sucked from the abundance of the seas, 
or the treasures hid in the sand. Where there is a 
ve'n for the silver, there is no vein for wisdom, none 
for grace. Men can more easily break through the 
difficulties they meet with in getting worldly wealth, 



than through those they meet with in getting hea- 
venly wisdom; and they will take more pains to 
learn how to live in this world, than how to live 
forever in a better world. So blind and foolish is 
man become, that it is in vain to ask him. Where 
is the place of wisdom, and which is the road thai 
leads to it? 

20. Whence then cometh wisdom? and 
where w the- place of understanding? 21. 
Seeing it is hid from the eyes of- all living, 
and kept close from the fowls of the air. 
22. Destruction and death say, We have 
heard the fame thereof with our ears. 23. 
God understandeth the way thereof, and he 
knoweth the place thereof. 24. For he 
looketh to the ends of the earth, and s^eth 
under the whole heaven ; 25. To make the 
weight for the winds ; and he weigheth the 
waters by measure. 26. When he made a 
decree for the rain, and a way for the light- 
ning of the thunder; 27. Then did he see 
it, and declare it ; he prepared it, yea, and 
searched it out. 28. And unto man he said, 
Behold, the fear of the Lo rd, that is wisdom ; 
and to depart from evil is understanding. 

The question which he had asked, {v. 12. ) he asks 
again here; for it is too worthy, too weighty, to be 
let fall, until we speed in the inquiry. Concerning 
this, we must seek till we find, till we get some sa- 
tisfactory account of it. By a diligent prosecution 
of this inquiry, he brings it,' at length, to this issue; 
that there is a twofold wisdom; one hid in God, 
which is secret, and belongs not to us; the other 
made known by him, and revealed to man, which 
belongs to us and to our children. 

I. The knowledge of God's secret will, the will of 
his providence, is out of our reach, and what God 
has reserved to himself: it belongs to the Lord our 
God. To know the particulars of what God will 
do hereafter, and the reasons of what he is doing 
now, is the knowledge he first speaks of. 

1. This knowledge is hid from us: it is high, 
we cannot attain unto it; (v. 21, 22.) It is hid from 
the eyes of all lix'ing, even of philosophers, politi- 
cians, and saints; it is kept close from the fowls of 
the air; though they fly high and in the open firma- 
ment of heaven, though they seem somewhat nearer 
that upper world where the source of this wisdom is, 
though their eyes behold afar off, (cA. xxxix. 29. ) yet 
they cannot penetrate into the counsels of God. No; 
man is wiser than the fowls of heaven, and yet comes 
short of this wisdom. Even those who, in their specu- 
lations, soar highest, and think themselves, like the 
fowls of the air, above the heads of other people, 
yet cannot pretend to this knowledge. Job and his 
friends had been arguing about the methods and 
reasons of the dispensations of Providence in the 
government of the world: "What fools are we" 
(says Job) " to fight in the dark thus; to dispute 
about that which we do not understand!" The line 
and plummet of human reason can never fathom the 
abyss of the divine counsels. Who can undertake 
to give the rationale of Providence, or account for 
the maxims, measure, and methods, of God's govern- 
ment, those arcana imperii — the cabinet counsels of 
divine wisdom? Let us then be content not to know 
the future events of Providence, until time discover 
them, (Acts i. 7. ) and not to know the secret reasons 
of Providence, until eternity discover them. God 
is now a God that hideth himself; (Isa. xlv. 15.) 
clouds and darkness are round about hiin. Though 



128 



JOB, xxvin. 



this wisdom be hid from all living, yet destruction 
and death say, We have heard the fame of it; though 
they cannot give an account of it themselves, (for 
there is no wisdom, nor device, nor knonvledge at 
allin the grave, much lessthis,)yet there is a world 
on the other side death and the grave, on which 
those dark regions border, and to which we must 
pass through them, and there we shall see clearly 
Avhat we are now in the dark about. " Have a little 
patience," says death to the inquisitive soul, " I will 
letch thee shortly to a place wliere even this wis- 
dom will be found." When the mystery of God 
shall be finished, it will be laid open, and we shall 
know as we are known; when the veil of flesh is rent, 
and the interposing clouds are scattei'ed, we shall 
know what God does, though we know not now, 
John xiii. 7. 

2. This knowledge is hid in God, as the apostle 
speaks, (Eph. iii. 9.) Known unto God are all his 
•works, thf ugh they are not known to us, Acts xv. 
18. There are good reasons for what he does, though 
we cannot assign them; {v. 23.) God understands 
the way thereof. Men sometimes do they know not 
what, but God never does. Men do what they did 
not design to do; new occurrences put them upon 
new counsels, and oblige them to take new mea- 
sures: but God does all according to the purpose 
which he purposed in himself, and which he never 
alters. Men sometimes do that which they cannot 
give a good reason for, but in every will of God 
there is a counsel: he knows both what he does, 
and why he does it; the whole series of events, and 
the order and place of every occurrence. This 
knowledge he has in perfection, but keeps to him- 
self 

Two reasons are here given why God must needs 
understand his own way, and he only; 

(1.) Because all events are now directed by an 
all-seeing and almighty Providence, v. 24, 25. He 
that governs the world, is [1.] Omniscient : /or Ae 
looks to the ends of the earth, both in place and time; 
distant ages, distant regions, are under his view. 
We do not understand our own way, much less can 
we understand God's way, because we are short- 
sighted; how little do we know of what is doing in 
the world, much less of what will be done ! But the 
eyes of the Lord are in every place; nay, they run 
to and fro through the earth: nothing is, or can be, 
hid from him; and tlierefore the reasons why some 
wicked people prosper remarkably, and others are 
remarkablv punished in this world, which are secret 
to us, are known to him. One day's events, and 
one man's aflFairs, have such a reference to, and such 
a dependence upon, another's, that He only, to whom 
all events and all affairs are naked and open, and 
who sees the whole at one entire and certain view, 
is a competent Judge of every part. [2.] He is om- 
nipotent; he can do every thing, and is \'ery exact in 
all he does. For proof of this, he mentions the winds 
and waters, v. 25. What is lighter than the wind? 
Yet God liath ways of poising it; he knows how 
to make the ivcight for the winds, which he brings 
out of his treasuries, (Ps. cxxxv. 7.) keeping a very 
particular account of what he draws out, as men do 
of what they pay out of their treasuries, not at ran- 
dom, as men bring out of their tr;ish. Nothing sen- 
sible is to us more unaccountable than the wind; we 
hear the sound of it, yet cannot tell whence it comes, 
or whither it goes: but God gives it out by weight, 
wisely ordering both from what point it shall 
blow, and with what strength. The waters of the 
sea, and the rain waters, he both weighs and mea- 
sures; allotting the proportion of every tide and 
every shower. A great and constant communica- 
tion there is between clouds and seas, the waters 
above the firmament and those under it; vapours go 
up, rains come down, air is condensed into water. 



water rarified into air: but the gi-eat God keeps an 
exact account of all the stock with which this trade 
is carried on for the public benefit, and sees that 
none of it be lost. Now if, in these things. Provi- 
dence be so exact, how much more in dispensing 
fiowns and favours, rewards and punishments, to 
the children of men, according to the i-ules of equity ! 

(2.) Because all events were, from eternity, de- 
signed and determined by an infallible prescience, 
and immutable decree, v. 26, 27. When he settled 
the course of nature, he foreordained all the ope- 
rations of his government. 

[1.] He settled the course of nature; for this, he 
mentions a decree for the rain, and a way for the 
thunder and lightning: the general manner and me- 
thod, and the particular uses and tendencies, of these 
strange performances, b<~th their causes and their 
effects, were appointed by the divine purpose; hence 
he is said to fire/iare lightnings for the rain, Ps. 
cxxxv. 7. Jer. x. 13. 

[2.] When he did that, he laid all the measures 
of his providence, and drew an exact scheme of the 
whole work from first to last: then, from eternity, 
did he see in himself, and declare to himself, the plan 
of his proceedings; then he prepared it, fixed it, 
and established it, set every thing in readiness for 
all his works; so that, when any thing was to be 
done, nothing was to seek, nor could any thing \m- 
foreseen occur, to put it either out of its method, or 
out of its time, for all was ordered as exactly as if he 
had studied it, and searched it out; so that, what 
ever he does, nothing can be put to it, or *aken from 
it, and therefore shall be for ener, Eccl. iii. 14. 
Some make Job to speak of wisdom here as a per- 
son, and translate it. Then he saw her, and showed 
her, ijfc. and then it is parallel with that of Solomon, 
concerning the essential Wisdom of the Father, the 
eternal Word, Prov. viii. 22, &c. Before the earth 
was, then was I by him, John i. 1, 2. 

n. The knowledge of God's revealed will, the 
will of his precept, and this is within our reach; it 
is level to our capacity, and will do us good; {x>. 28.) 
Unto man he said. Behold, the fear of the Lord, that 
is wisdom. Let it not be said, that, when God con- 
cealed his counsels from man, and forbade him that 
tree of knowledge, it was because he grudged him 
any thing that would contribute to his real bliss and 
satisfaction; no, he let him know as much as he was 
concerned to know in order to his duty and happi- 
ness: he shall be intrusted with as much of his 
sovereign mind as was needful and fit for a subject, 
but he must not think himself fit to be a privy-coun 
sellor. He said toj^dam, so some, to the first man, 
in the day in which he was created; he toid him 
plainly, it was not for him to amuse himself with 
over-curious searches into the mysteries of creation, 
nor to pretend to solve all the phenomena of nature; 
he would find it neither possible nor profitable to do 
so. No less wisdom (says Archbishop Tillotson) 
than that which made the world, can thoroutrhlv 
understand the philosophy of it. But let him look 
upon this as his wisdom, To fear the I^ord nnd to 
depart from evil; let him learn that, and he is 
learned enough, let this knowledge serve his turn. 
When God forbade man the tree of knowledge, he 
allowed him the tree of life, and this is that tvfc. 
Prov. iii. 18. We cannot attain t'ue wisdom hut hv 
divine revelation; The Lord giveth wisdom, Pro\ . 
ii. 6. Now the matter of that, is not the secrets of 
nature or providence, but the rules of our own prac- 
tice: unto man he said not, " Go up to heaven, to 
fetch happiness thence;" or, "Go down to the deep, 
to draw it up thence." No, the word is nigh fhre; 
(Deut. XXX. 14.) He hath showed thee, wan, not 
what is great, but what is good, not whit the Lord 
thy God designs to do with thee, but what he re- 
quires of thee, Mic. vi. 8. Unto you. Omen, I cull. 



JOB, XXIX. 



I2» 



Prov. viii. 4. Lord, what is man that he should be 
tliiis minded, thus visited! Behold, mark, take no- 
tice, of this; he that has ears, let him hear what 
the God of heaven says to the children of men; The 
fear of the Lord, that is the -wisdom. Here is, 1. 
The descnption of true religion, pure religion, and 
undefiled; it is to fear the Lord, and de/iart from 
evil, which agrees with God's character of Job, ch. 
i. 1. The fear of the Lord is the spring and sum- 
mary of all religion. There is a slavish fear of God, 
springing {mm hard thoughts of him, which is con- 
trary to religion, Matth. xxv. 24. There is a selfish 
fear of God, springing from dreadful thoughts of 
him, which may be a good step toward religion. 
Acts ix. 5. But there is a filial fear of God, spring- 
ing from great and high thoughts of him, which is 
the life and soul of all religion. And wherever this 
reigns in the heart, it will appear by a constant care 
to depart from evil, Prov. xvi. 6. This is essential 
to religion; we must first cease to do evil, or we 
shall never learn to do well. Virtus est vitium fugere 
— E'en in our flight from vice some virtue lies. 2. 
The commendation of religion; it is wisdom and un- 
derstanding: to be truly religious, is to be truly wise: 
as the wisdom of God appears in the institution of 
it, so the wisdom of man appears in the practice 
and observance of it; it is understanding, for it is the 
best knowledge of truth; it is wisdom, for it is the 
best conduct of our affairs: nothing more surely 
guides our way, and gains our end, than being reli- 
gious. 

CHAP. XXIX. 

.\fter that excellent discourse concerninor wisdom in the 
foregoing chapter, Job sat down and paused a while, not 
because ne had talked himself out of breath, but because 
he would not, without the leave of the company, engross 
the talk to himself, but would give room for his friends, 
if they pleased, to make their remarks on what he had 
said; but they had nothing to say, and therefore, after he 
had recollected himself a littlcj he went on with his dis- 
course concerning his own affairs, in this and the two 
following chapters; in which, I. He describes the height 
of the prosperity /roDi which he was fallen. And, II. The 
depth of the adversity into which he was fallen; and this 
he does, to move the pity of his friends, and to juslifv, or, 
at least, excuse, his own complaints. But then, III. To 
obviate his friends' censures of him, he makes a very am- 
ple and particular protestation of his own integrity not- 
withstanding. In this chapter, he looks back to the days 
of his prosperity, and shows, I. What comfort and satis- 
faction he had in his house and family, v. I ..6. 2. What 
a great deal of honour and power he had in his country, 
and what respect was paid him by all sorts of people, v. 
7.. 10. 3. What abundance of good he did in his place, 
as a magistrate, v. 11.. 17. 4. What a just prospect he 
had of the continuance of his comfort at home, (v. 18. . 
20.) and of his interest abroad, v. 21. .25. All this he 
enlarges upon, to aggravate his present calamities; like 
J^aomi, I ivejit out full, but am brought home again 
empty. 

MOREOVER, Job continued his pa- 
rable, and said, 2. Oh that I were 
as in months past, as in tlie days ivheji God 
preserved me ; 3. When his candle shined 
upon my head, and when by his light I 
walked through darkness ; 4. As I was in 
the days of my youth, when the secret of 
God mns upon my tabernacle ; 5. When the 
Almighty urns yet with me, lohen my chil- 
dren ii:ere about me ; 6. When I washed 
my steps with butter, and the rock poui'ed 
me out rivers of oil ; 

Losers miy have leave to speak, and there is no- 
thing thev speak of more feelingly than of the com- 

Vol.111.— R 



forts they are stripped of. Their former prosperity 
is one of the most pleasing subjects of their thoughts 
and talk. It was so to Job here, who begins with a 
wish, {v. 2. ) Oh that I were as in months past! 
So he brings in this account of his prosperity. His 
wish is, 1. " Oh that I were in as good a state as 1 
was then; that I had as much wealth, honour, and 
pleasure, as I had then!" This he wishes, from a 
concern he had, not so much for his ease, as for his 
reputation, and the glory of his God, which, he 
thought, was eclipsed by his present sufferings. 
" Oh that I might be restored to my prosperity, 
and then the censures and reproaches of my friends 
would be effectually silenced, even upon their own 
principles, and for ever rolled away !^' If this be 
our end in desiring life, health, and prosperity, that 
God may be glorified, and the credit of our holy 
profession rescued, preserved, and advanced, the 
desire is not only natural, but spiritual. 2. "Oh 
that I were in as good a frame of spirit, as I was 
then!" That which Job complained most of now, 
was a load upon his spirits, through God's with- 
drawing from him; and therefore he wishes he had 
now his spirit as much ei\larged and encouraged in 
the service of God, as he had then, and that he hart 
as much freedom and fellowship with him, as "he 
then thought himself happy in. This was ni the 
days of his youth, {v. 4.) when he was in the prime 
of "his time for the enjoyment of those things, and 
could relish them with the highest gust. Note, 
Those that prosper in the days of their youth, 
know not what black and cloudy days they are yet 
reser\'ed for. 

Two things made the months pass pleasant to 
Job; 

I. That he had comfort in his God. This was 
the chief thing he rejoiced in, in his prosperity, as 
the spring of it and the sweetness of it; that he had 
the favour of God, and the tokens of that favour. 
He did not attribute his prosperity to a happy turn 
of fortune, or to his own might, or to the power of 
his own hand, but makes the same acknowledgment 
that David does; (Ps. xxx. 7.) Thou, by thy favour, 
hast made my mountain stand strong. A gracious 
soul delights in God's smiles, not in the smiles of 
this world. 

Four things were then very pleasant to holy Job: 

1. The confidence he had in the divine pi-otec- 
tion. They were the days when God preserved me, 
V. 2. Even then he saw himself exposed, and did 
not make his wealth his strong city, nor trusted in 
the abundance of his riches, but the name of the 
Lord was his strong to-wer, and in that only he 
thought himself safe, and to that he ascribed it that 
he was then safe, and his comforts were preserved 
to him. The Devil saw a hedge about him of God's 
making, (cA. i. 10.) and Job saw it himself, and 
owned it was God^s visitation that preserved hit 
spirit, ch. x. 12. Those only whom God protects 
are safe, and may be secure; and therefore those 
who have ever so much of this world, must not 
think themselves safe, unless God preserve them. 

2. The complacency he had in the divine favour; 
(t*. 3.) God's candle shined upon his head, that is, 
God lifted up the light of his countenance upon 
him, gave him the assui^ances and sweet relishes of 
his love. The best of the communications of the 
divine favour to the saints in this world, is but the 
candle-light, compared with what is reserved for 
them in the future state. But such abundant satis- 
faction did Job take in the di\ine favour, that, by 
the light of thit, he walked through darkness; th .t 
guided him in his doubts, comfortetl him in his 
griefs, bare him up under his burthens, and helped 
him through all his difficulties. Those that have 
the brightest sun-shine of outward prosperity, must 
yet expect some moments of darkness: they are 



130 



JOB, XXIX. 



sometimes crossed, sometimes at a loss, sometimes 
melancholy; but those that are interested in the 
favour of 'God, and know how to \alue it, can, by 
the light of that, walk cheerfully and comfortably 
through all the darkness of this vale of tears. That 
puts gladness into the heart, enough to balance all 
•■he grievances of this present time. 

3. The communion he had with the divine word; 
(x;. 4. ) The secret of God was ujion my tabernacle. 
that is, When God" conversed freely with him, as 
one bosom friend with another. He knew God's 
mind, and was not in the dark about it, as, of late, 
he had been. The secret of the Lord is said to be 
•with them that fear him, for he shows them that 
in his covenant, which others see not, Ps. xxv. 
14. God communicates his favour and grace to his 
people, and receives the returns of their devotion 
in a -way seci-et to the world. Some read it, iVhen 
the society of God was in my tabernacle; which 
Rabbi Solomon understands of an assembly of God's 
people, that used to meet at Job's house for reli- j 
gious worship, in which he presided; this he took a ■ 
great deal of pleasure in, and the scattering of it j 
was a trouble to him. Or, it may be understood of I 
the angels of God pitching their tents about his ha- j 
bitation. i 

4. The assurance he had of the divine presence; ' 
{v. 5.) The Jlmighty was yet with me. Now, he ] 
thought God was departed from him, but, in those i 
days, he was with liim, and that was all in all to him. I 
God's presence with a man in his house, though it be ! 
but a cottage, makes it both a castle and a palace. ' 

II. That he had comfort in his famil)', every thing j 
was agreeable there: he had both mouths for his ; 
meat, and meat for his mouths; the want of either 
is a great affliction. 1. He had a numerous offspring : 
to enjoy his estate; My children were abortt me. He 
had many children, enough to compass him round, 
and they' were observant of him, and obsequious to i 
him; they were about him, to know what he would 
have, and wherein they might serve him. It is a 
comfort to tender parents to see their children about 
them ; Job speaks \ ery feelinglv of tliis comfort, now 
that he was deprived of it. He thought it an in- 
stance of God's being with him, that his children 
were about him; and yet we reckon wrong, if, when 
we have lost our children, we cannot comfort our- 
selves with this, that we have not lost our (xod. 2. He 
had a plentiful estate for the support of this nume- 
rous family, v. 6. His dairy abounded to that de- 
gree, that'he might, if he pleased, wash his ste/is 
with butter; and his oli\e-yards were so fruitful, be- 
yond expectation, that it seemed as if the rock 
poured him out rivers of oil. He reckons his wealth, 
not by his siher and go'ld, which were for hoarding, 
but by his butter and oil, which were for use; for 
what is an estate good for, unless we take the good 
of it ourselves, and do good with it to others? 

7. When T went out to the gate, through 
the city, when I prepared my seat in tlie 
street; 8. The young men saw me, and hid 
themselves: and the aged arose, and stood 
up. 9. The princes refrained talking, and 
laid flirir hand on their mouth. 10. The 
nobles held their peace, and their tongue 
cleaved to the roof of their mouth. 1 1 . 
When the ear heard inr, then it blessed 
me; and when the eye saw viP., it gave wit- 
ness to me: 12. Because T delivered the 
poor that cried, and the fatherless, and /im 
that had none to help him. l.'i. The bless- 
ing of liim that was ready to perish came 



upon )ne : and T caused the widow's heart 
to sing for joy. 1 4. 1 put on righteousness, 
and it clothed me : my judgment was as a 
robe and a diadem. 1 5. J was eyes to the 
blind, and feet /ms I to the lame. 16. \ was 
a father to the poor : and the cause ivhich i 
knew not 1 searched out. 1 7. And I brake 
the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the 
spoil out of his teeth. 

We have here Job in a post of honour and power; 
though he had comfort enough in his own house, yet 
he did not confine himself to that; we are not bom 
for ourselves, but for the public. When any busi- 
ness was to be done in the gate, the place of judg- 
ment. Job went out to it through the city, {v. 7. ) not 
in an affectation of pomj), but in an affection to jus- 
tice. Observe, Judgment was administered in the 
gate, in the street, in the places of concourse, to 
which every man might have a free access; that 
every one who would might be a witness to all that 
was said and done; and that, when judgment war. 
given against the guilty, others might hear and fear. 

Job being a prince, a judge, a magistrate, a man 
in authority, among the children of the east, we are 
here told, 

I. What respect was paid him by all sorts of peo- 
ple, not only for the dignity of his place, but for his 
personal merit, his eminent prudence, integrity, and 
good management. 1. The people honoured him, 
and stood in awe of him, v. 8. The gravity and 
majesty of his looks and mien, and his known strict- 
ness in animad\erting upon every thing that was 
evil and indecent, commanded all about him into 
due decorum. The young men, who could not keep 
their countenances, or, it may be, were conscious to 
themselves of something amiss, hid themselves, and 
got out of his way; and the aged, though they kept 
their ground, yet would not keep their seats, they 
arose and stood up to do obeisance to him; they who 
expected honour from others, ga\e honour to him. 
Virtue and piety challenge respect from all, and 
usually have it; but they that not only are good, but 
do good, are worthy of double honour. Modesty 
becomes those that are young and in subjection, as 
much as majesty becomes those that are aged and 
in power. Honour and fear are due to magistrates, 
and must be rendered to them, Rom. xiii. 7. But if 
a great and good man was thus re\ erenced, how is 
the great and good God to be feared! 2. The 
princes and nobles paid great deference to him, 
V. 9, 10. Some think that these were inferior ma- 
gistrates under him, and that the respect they paid 
him was due to his place, as their sovereign and 
supreme; it should rather seem that they were his 
equals in place, and joined in commission with him, 
and that the peculiar honour they gave him was 
gained by his extraordinary abilities and services. 
It was agi'eed, that he excelled them all in quick- 
ness of apprehension, soundness of judgment, close- 
ness of application, clearness and copiousness of ex- 
pression; and therefore he was, among his fellows, 
an oi'acle of law, and counsel, and justice, and what 
he said all attended to, and acquiesced in. When 
he came into court, especially when he stood up to 
speak to any business, the princes refrained talking, 
the nobles held their peace, that they might tlie more 
diligently hearken to what he said, and might be 
sure to take his menning. They that had been for- 
ward to speak their own thoughts, loved to hear 
themselves talk, and cared not much what any body 
else said, when it came to Job's turn to speak, were 
as desii'ous lo know his thoughts, as ever they had 
been to vent their own. They that suspected their 
own judgment were satisfied in his, and admired 



JOB, XXIX. 



13] 



with what dexterity he split the hair, and untied 
the knots which puzzled them, and whicli they 
knew not wiiat to make of. When the princes and 
nobles wrangled among themselves, all agreed to 
refer the matters in dispute to Job, and to abide by 
his judgment Happy the men that are blessed with 
such eminent gifts as these; they have great oppor- 
tunities of honouring God, and doing good, but have 
great need to watcli against pride: happy the people 
that are Ijlessed with such eminent men; it is a token 
for good to them. 

II. What good he did in his place. He was very 
serviceable to liis country with the power he had; 
and here we shall see what it was which Job valued 
himself by in the day of his prosperity. It is natural 
to men, to have some value for themselves, and we 
may judge something of our own character, by ob- 
serving what that is upon which we \alue ourselves. 
Job valued liimself, not by the honour of his family, 
the great estate he had, his large income, his full 
table, the many servants he had at his command, 
the ensigns of his dignity, his equipage and retinue, 
the splendid entenainments lie gave, and the court 
that was made to him, but by his usefulness. Good- 
ness is God's glory, and it will be ours; if we be 
merciful as frod is, we are perfect as he is. 

1. He valued himself by the interest he had in 
the esteem, affections, and prayers, of sober people; 
not by the studied panegyrics of the wits and poets, 
but the natural praises of all about h.im. All that 
heard what he said, and saw what he did, how he 
laid out himself for the public good with all the 
authority and tender affection of a father to his 
country, blessed him, and gave witness to him, t'. 11. 
Many a good word they said of him, mid many a good 
prayer they put up for him: he did not tliink it an 
honour to make eN erv body fear him, {Odcrint dum 
mftuant — Let them hate, firovided they also fear,) 
nor to be nrbitrarv, and to have his own will and 
way, not caring what people said of him; but, like 
\Tordecai, to be accefited of the multitude of his 
brethren. Est. x. 3. He did not so much \'alue the 
applauses of those at a distance, as the attestations 
of those that were the witnesses of his conduct, that 
constantly attended him, saw him, and heard him, 
and could speak of their own knowledge; especially 
theirs who had themselves been the better for him, 
and could sneak bv their own experience; such Avas 
tlie blessing of him who wns ready to perish, {xk 13. ) 
and who l>v JobV means was rescued from perishing. 
Let great men, and meyi of estates, thus do good, 
and thev shall have praise of the same; and let 
those who have good done them, look upon it as a 
just debt thev owe to their protectors and benefac- 
tors, to bless them and give witness to them; to use 
their interest on earth for their honour, and in 
heaven for their comfort, to praise them, and pray 
for them. Those are ungrateful indeed, who grudge 
these small returns. 

2. He valued himself by the care he took of those 
that were least able to help themselves, the poor and 
the needv, the widows and the fatherless, the blind 
and lame, who could not be supposed either to merit 
his favour, or ever to be in a capacity to recom- 
pense it. (1. ) If the poor were injured or oppressed, 
thev might cry to Job, and, if he found the allegations 
of their petitions true, they had not only his ear and 
his bowels, but his hand too; he deliv-ered the poor 
that cried, (t'. 12.) and would not suffer them to be 
trampled upon and i-un down. Nay, (t'. 16.) he 
was a father to the fioor, not only a judge to pro- 
tect them, and to see that they were not Avronged, 
but a father to provide for them, and to see that 
they did not want, to counsel and direct them, and 
to appear and act for them upon all occasions. It is 
no disparagement to the son of a prince to be a 
father to the poor, (2.) The fatherless, that had 



none to help them, found Job ready to help them, 
and, if they were in straits, to deliver them. He 
helped them to make the best of what little they 
had, helped them to pay what they owed, and to 
get in what was owing to them, helped them out 
into the world, helped them into business, helped 
them to it, and helped them in it; thus should tht 
fatherless be helped. (3.) Those that were ready 
to perish he saved from perishing, relieving tliern 
that were hungry and ready to perish for want, 
taking care of them that were sick, that were out- 
casts, that were falsely accused, or in danger of 
being turned out of their estates unjustly, or, upon 
any other account, were ready to perish: the ex 
tremity of the peril, as it quickened Job to appear 
the more vigorously for them, so it made his season- 
able kindness the more affecting and the more 
obliging, and brought their blessings the more abun- 
dantly upon him. (4. ) The widows that were sigh- 
ing for grief, and trembling for fear, he made to sins; 
for joy; so carefully did he protect them, and prr- 
vide for them, and so heartily did he espouse their 
interest; it is a pleasure to a good man, and should 
be so to a great man, to give those occasion to 
rejoice, that are most acquainted with grief. (5.) 
Those that were upon any account ,at a loss. Job 
gave suital)le and seasonable relief to; (z\ 15.) I was 
eyes to the blind, counselling and advising those for 
the best, that knew not what to do; and feet to the 
lame; assisting those with money and friends, that 
knew what they should do, but knew not how to 
compass it. Those we best help, whom we help 
out in that very thing wherein they are defective, 
and most need help. We may come to be blind or 
lame ourselves, and therefore should pity and suc- 
cour tliose that are so, Isa. xxxv. 3, 4. Heb. xii. 13. 
3. He valued himself by the conscience he made 
of justice and equity in all his proceedings: his 
friends had unjustly censured him as an oppressor; 
"So far from that," (says he,) " that I always made 
it my business to maintain and support right." 
(1.) He devoted himself to the administration of 
justice; {v. 14.) I put on righteousness, and it clothed 
me, that is. He had an habitual disposition to exe- 
cute justice, and put on a fixed resolution to do it. It 
was the girdle of his loins, Isa. xi. 5. It kept him 
tight and steady in all his motions; he always ap- 
peared in it, as in his clothing, and never without it. 
Righteousness will clothe them that put it on ; it will 
keep them warm, and be comfortable to them; it 
will keep them safe, and fence them against the in- 
juries of the season; it will adorn them, and recom- 
mend them to the favour both of God and man. 
(2.) He took pleasure in it, and, as I may say, a 
holy* pride: he looked upon it as his greatest glory 
to do justice to all, and injury to none. Illy Judg- 
ment was a robe and a diadem. Perhaps he did not 
himself wear a robe and a diadem, he was very in- 
different to those ensigns of honour; they were most 
fond of them who had least intrinsic worth to re- 
commend them; but the settled principles of justice, 
by which he was governed and did govern, were to 
him instead of all those ornaments. If a magistrate 
do the duty of his place, that is an honour to him 
far beyond his gold or purple, and should be, accor- 
dingly, his delight; and truly, if he do not make 
conscience of his duty, and, in some measure, an- 
swer the end of his elevation, his robe and diadem, 
his goAvn and cap, his sword and mace, are but a 
reproach, like the pui-ple robe and crown of thorns 
with which the Jews studied to ridicule our Sa^•iour: 
for as clothes on a dead man will ne\er make him 
warm, so robes on a bad man will never make liiin 
honourable. (3.) He took pains in the business rf 

♦ We 1)0^ Icavp to |irolest against associatine with rriJe anv cpitli-'' 
that implies it to bo in any case allowable. Sec (lisbonie's !-'ermoHt 
and Mrs. Move's Strictures, vol. I. chap. 11. — Eu. 



i;i'2 



JOB, XXIX. 



his place; (v. 16.) The cause which I knew not I 
urarched out. He diligently inquired into the mat- 
tf fs of fact, patiently and impartially heard both 
sides, set e\ery thing in its time light, and cleared it 
from false colours; he laid all circumstances to- 
gether, that he might find out the tmth, and the 
merits of every cause, and then, and. not till then, 
gave judgment upon it; he never answered a matter 
before he heard it, nor did he judge a man to be 
righteous, however he seemed, for his hem^ Jirst in 
/lis own cause, Prov. xviii. 17. 

4. He valued himself by the check he gave to the 
violence of proud and evil men; {v. 17.) / brake the 
Jaws of the wicked; he does not say that he brake 
their hecks; he did not take away their li\ es, but 
he brake their jaws; he took away their power of 
doing mischief, he humbled them, mortified thenri, 
and curbed their insolence, and so plucked the spoil 
out of their teeth; delivered tlie persons and estates 
of honest men from being made a prey of by them; 
when they had got the spoil between their teeth, 
and were greedily swallowing it down, he bravely 
rescued it, as David did the lamb out of the mouth 
of the lion, not fearing, though they roared and 
raged like a lion disap])ointed of his prey, (iood 
magistrates must thus be a terror and restraint to 
evil-doers, and a protection to tlie innocent, and, in 
order to this, they have need to arm themselves with 
zeal and resolution, and an undaunted courage: a 
judge upon the bench has as much need to be bold 
and brave, as a commander in the field. 

1 8. Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and 
I shall multiply mij days as the sand. 1 9. 
My root nms spread out by the waters, and 
the dew lay all night upon my branch. 20. 
My glory ivas fresh in me, and my bow was 
renewed in my hand. 21. Unto me meji 
gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my 
counsel. 22. After my words they spake 
not again; and my speech diopped upon 
them. 23. And they waited for me as for 
the rain ; and they opened their mouth wide 
js for the latter rain. 24. Tf I laughed on 
them, they believed it not ; and the light of 
my countenance they cast not down. 25. I 
chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt 
as a king in the army, as one that comforteth 
the mourners. 

That which crowned Job's prosperity, was, the 
pleasing prospect he had of the continuance of it; 
though he knew, in general, that he was liable to 
trouble, and therefore was not secure; (ch. iii. 26.) 
/ was not in safety, neither had I rest, yet he had no 
particular occasion for fear, but as much reason as 
ever any man had to count upon the lengthening out 
of his tranquillity. 

1 See here what his thoughts were in his pros- 
perity; {v. 18.) Then I said, I shall die in my nest. 
Having made himself a warm and easy nest, he 
hoped nothing would disturb him in it, nor move him 
out of it, till death removed him. He knew lie had 
never stolen any coal from the altar, which might 
fire his nest: he saw no storm arising to shake down 
his nest, and therefore concluded. To-morrow ahall 
he as this iayi as David; (Ps. xxx. 6.) My moun- 
tain stands strong, and shall not be moved. Ob- 
serve, ' In the midst of his prosperity, he thought 
of dyiiig, and the thought was not uneasy to him. 
He knew that though his nest was high, it did not set 
1 im out of the reach of the darts of death. 2. Yet 
li2 flattered himself with vain hopes, (1.) That he 



should live long, should multifily his daya as the 
sand. He means as the sand on the sea-shore; 
whereas we should rather reckon our days by the 
sand in the hour-glass, which will be run out in a 
little time. See how apt even good people are to 
think of death as a thing at a distance, and. to put 
far from them that evil day, which will really be to 
them a good d.y. (2.) That he should die in the 
same prosperous state in which he had lived. If 
such an expectation as this arise from a li\ ely faith 
in the providence and promise of God, it is well, 
!)ut if fiom a conceit of our own wisdom, and the 
stabil ty of these earthly things, it is ill-grcunded, 
and turns into sin. We hope Job's confidence was 
like David's; (Ps. xxvii. 1.) Whom shall I fear? not 
like the rich fool's, (Luke xii. 19.) Soul, take thine 
ease. 
II. See what was the ground of these thoughts. 
1. If he looked at home, he found he had a good 
foundation. His stock was all his own, and none of 
all his neighbours had a demand upon him. He 
found no bodily distemper growing upon him, his 
estate did not lie under any incumbrance, nor was 
he sensible of any worm at the root of it. He was 
getting forward in his affairs, and not going behind- 
hand; he lost no reputation, but gained rather; he 
knew no rival that threatened either to eclipse his 
honour, or abridge his power: see how he descril)es 
this, V. 19, 20. He was like a tree whose root is not 
only spread out, whicli fixes it and keeps it firm, so 
that it is in nndangerof being overturned, but spread 
out by the waters, which feed it, and make it fruit- 
ful and flourishing, so that it is in no danger of with- 
ering. And as he thought himself blessed with the 
fatness of the earth, so also with the kind influences 
of Hea\ en too; for the dew lay all night upon his 
branch. Providence favoured him, and made all 
his enjoyments comfortable, and all his enterprises 
successful. Let none think to support their pn s- 
perity with what they draw from this earth, with- 
out that blessing which is derived from above. 
God's favour being continued to Job, in the virtue (^f 
that, his glory was still fresh in him: those about h m 
had still something new to say in his praise, and 
needed not to repeat the old stories: and it is c^nly 
by constant goodness that men's glory is thus pre- 
served fresh, and kept from withering and growing 
stale. His bow also was renewed in his hand, that 
is, his power to protect himself, and annoy those 
that assailed him, still increased, so that he thought 
he had as little reason as any man to fear the insults 
of the Sabeans and Chaldeans. 

2. If he looked abroad, he found he had a good 
interest and well confirmed. As he had no reason 
to dread the power of his enemies, so neither had 
he any reason to distrust the fidelity of his friends: 
to the last moment of his prosperity they continued 
their respects to him, and their dependence on him. 
What had he to fear, who so gave counsel, as, in 
effect, to give law to all his neighbours? Nothing 
surely cotild be done against him, when really no- 
thing was done without him. 

(1.) He was the oracle of his country. He was 
consulted as an oracle, and his dictates were acqui- 
esced in as oracles, v. 2l. When others could not 
be heard, all men gave ear to him, and kept silence 
at his counsel, knowing that, as nothing could he 
said against it, so nothing needed to be added to it. 
And therefore, after his words they spake not again, 
V. 22. Why should men meddle with a subject 
that has already been exhausted .> 

(2.) He was the rfar/w.e of his country. All about 
him were well-pleased with every thing he said and 
did, as David's people were with him, 2 Sam. iii. "6. 
He had the hearts and affections of all his neigh- 
bours, all his servants, tenants, subjects; nevei- was 
man so much admired, nor so well beloved. [ 1 . ] They 



JOB, XXX. 



138 



were thought happy to whom he spake, and they 
thought themselves so: never were the dews of 
heaven so acceptable to the parched ground, as 
his wise discourses were to them that attended on 
them, especially to whom they were particularly 
accommodated and directed. His speech dropped 
upon them, and they waited for it as for the rain; 
{v. 22, 23.) wondering at the gracious words which 
proceeded out of his mouth, catching at them, lay- 
ing hold on them, and treasuring them up as apoph- 
thegms. His servants, that stood continually before 
him to hear his wisdom, would not have envied So- 
lomon's. Those are wise, or are likely to be so, 
that know how to value wise discourse, that wish 
for it, and wait for it, and drink it in as the earth 
does the rain that comes often upon it, Heb. vi. 7. 
And those who have such an interest as Job had in 
the esteem of others, whose ifise dtjcit — bare asser- 
tion goes so far, as they have a great opportunity of 
doing good, so they must take great care lest they 
do hurt, for a bad word out of their m<iuths is very 
infectious. [2.] Much more happy were they 
thought on whom he smiled, and they thought them- 
selves so, 'v. 24. " If I laughed on them, designing 
thereby to show myself pleased in them, or pleasant 
with them, it was such a favour, that they believed 
it not for joy, or because it was so rare a thing to see 
this grave man smile. Many seek the ruler's favour; 
Job was a ruler whose favour was courted, and va- 
lued at a high rate. He to whom a great prince 
gave a kiss, was envied by another to whom he only 
gave a golden cup. Familiarity often breeds con- 
tempt, but if Job at any time saw fit, for his own 
diversion, to make himself free with those about 
him, yet it did not in the least diminish the venera- 
tion they had for him: the light of his countenance 
they cast not down. So wisely did he dispense his 
f vours, as not to make them cheap, and so wisely 
did they receive them, as not to make themselves 
unworthy of them another time. 

(3.) He was the sovereign of his country, v. 25. 
He chose out their way, sat at the helm, and steered 
for them, all referring themselves to his conduct, 
and submitting themselves to his command. To 
this perhaps, in many countries, monarchy owed 
its rise; such a man as Job, that so far excelled all 
his neighbours in wisdom and integrity, could not 
but sit chief, and the fool will, of course, be servant 
to the wise in heart: and if the wisdom did but for 
a while run in the blood, the honour and power 
would certainh' attend ii, and so by degrees become 
hereditary. Two things recommended Job to the 
sovereignty. [1.] That he had the authority of a 
commander, or general; he dwelt as a king m the 
army, giving orders which were not to be disputed. 
Every one that has the spirit of wisdom, has not the 
spirit of go\ ernment, but Job had both, and, when 
there was occasion, could assume state, as the king 
in the army does, and s:iy. Go, Come, and, Do this, 
M<itth. viii. 9. [2. ] That yet he had the tenderness 
of a comforter. He was as ready to succour those 
in distress, as if it had been his office to comfort the 
mourners. Eliphaz himself owned he liad been 
\ery good in that respect; {ch. iv. 3.) Thou hast 
strengthened the •weak hands. And this he now re- 
flected upon with pleasure, when he was himself a 
mourner; but we find it easier to comfort others 
with the comforts wherewith we ourselves have 
been formerly comforted, than to com-fort ourselves 
with those comforts wherewith we have formerly 
comforted others. 

I know not but we may look upon Job as a type 
and figure of Christ, in his power and prosperity i 
our Lord Jesus is such a King as Job was; the poor 
man's King, who loves righteousness and hates ini- 
quity, and upon whom the blessing of a world ready 
tQ perish eomesj see Ps, Ixxij, 2, &c, To him 



therefore let us give ear, and let him sit chief in our 
hearts. 

CHAP. XXX. 

Il is amelancholy But jiow, which this chapter begins with. 
Adversity is here described as much to the life as pros- 
perity was there, and the height of that did but increase 
the depth of this. God sets the one over-against the 
other, and so did Job, that his afflictions might appear 
the more grievous, and, consequently, his case the more 
pitiable. I. He had lived in great honour, but now he 
had fallen into disgrace, and was as much vilified, even 
by the meanest, as ever he had been niapnified by the 
greatest; this he insists much on, v. I . . 14. II. He had had 
much inward comfort and delight, but now he was a ter- 
ror and burthen to himself, (v. 15, 16.) and overwhelmed 
with sorrow, v. 28. .31. 111. He had long enjoyed a 
good stale of health, but now he was sick and in pain, 
V. 17 . .19, 29, 30. IV. Time was, when the secret of 
God was with him, but now his communication with 
Heaven was cut oft", v. 20,. 22. V. He had promised 
himself a long life, but now he saw death at the door, 
V. 23. One thing he mentions which aggravated his af- 
fliction, that it surprised him when he looked for peace. 
But two things gave him some relief; 1. That his trou- 
bles would not follow him to the grave, v. 24. 2. That 
his conscience witnessed for him, that, in his prosperity, 
he had sympathized with those that were in misery, v. 25. 

I. 13 UT now the?/ that are younger than 
33 1 have nie in derision, whose fathers 

I would have disdained to have set with 
tlie dogs of my flock. 2. Yea, whereto 
might the strength of their hands projit me, 
in whom old age was perished? 3. For 
want and famine the?/ were solitary; fleeing 
into the wilderness in former time desolate 
and waste : 4. Who cut up mallows by the 
bushes, and juniper-roots yb?' their meat. 5. 
They were driven forth from among vic7i 
(they cried after them as after a thief,) C\ 
To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, hi 
caves of the earth, and in the rocks. 7. 
Among the bushes they brayed ; under the 
nettles they were gathered together. 8. Thei/ 
icere children of fools, yeu, children of base 
men ; they were viler than the earth. 9. And 
now am I their song , yea, I am their by- 
word. 10. They abhor me, they flee far 
from me, and spare not to spit in my face. 

II. Because he hath loosed my cord, and 
afflicted me, they have also let loose the 
bridle before me. 1€. Vt^ow my n^i hand 
rise the youth; the}' push away my feet, 
and they raise up against me the ways of 
their destruction. 1 3. They mar my path, 
they set fonvard my calamity, they have no 
helper. 1 4. They came upon me as a wide 
breaking-in of waters: in the desolation 
they rolled themselves vpon me. 

Here Job makes a very large and sad complaint 
of the great disgrace he was fallen into, from the 
height of honour and reputation, which- was exceed- 
ingly grievous and cutting to such an ingenuous 
spirit as Job's was. Two things he insists upon as 
very aggravating. 

I. The meanness of the persons that affronted 
him, As it added much to his honour, in the day of 
his prosperity, that princes and nobles showed him 
respect, and paid a deference to him, so it added no 
less to his disgrace in his adversity, that he was 
spurned by the footmen, attd trampled upon by those 



134 



JOB, XXX. 



that were not only every way his inferiors, but were 
the meanest and most contemptible of all mankind. 
None can be represented as more base than they are 
here represented, whoinsultedJob,upon all acconnts, 

1. They were young, younger than he; (f. 1.) the 
youth, (j>. 12. ) who ought to have behaved them- 
selves respectfully toward him, for his age and gra- 
vity. Even the children, in their play, played upon 
him, as the children of Beth-el upon the prophet. 
Go u/2, thou bald-head. Children soon learn to be 
scornful, when they see their parents so. 

2. They were of a mean extraction; their fathers 
were so very despicable, that such a man as Job 
would have disdained to take them into the lowest 
service about his house, as that nf tending his sheep, 
and attending the shepherds with the d'gs of his 
flock, V. 1. They were so shabby, that they were 
nnt fit to be seen among his servants, so silly, th it 
they were not fit to be employed, and so f ilse, that 
they were not fit to be trusted in the me incst post. 
.T )b here speaks of what he might have duie, not of 
what he did: he was not of such a spirit as to set an^' 
of the children of men with the dogs of his flock ; he 
knew the dignity of human nature better than to 
do so. 

3. They and their families were the unpvofitahle 
burthens of the earth, and good for nothing; Job 
IiiiTiself, with all his prudence and patience, could 
m ^ke nothing of them, x>. 2. The young were not 
fit fnr labour, they were so lazy, and went about their 
work so awkwardly; Whereto mi^ht the strength of 
their hands projit me? The old were not to be ad- 
vised with in the smallest matters; for in them was 
old age indeed, but their old age was perished, they 
were twice chiVdren. 

4. They were extremely poor; (t. 3.) they were 
ready to starve, for they would not dig, and to beg 
they were ashamed. Had they been brought to 
necessity by the providence of God, their neighbours 
would have sought them out as proper objects of 
charity, and would have reheved them; but, being 
brought into straits by their own slnthfulness and 
wastefulness, nobody was forward to relieve them; 
hence they were forced to flee into the deserts both 
tor shelter and sustenance,and were put to sorry shifts 
indeed, when they cut up mallows by the bushes, 
and were glad to eat them, for want of food that 
was fit for them, i>. 4. See what hunger will bring 
men to : one half of the world does mt know how 
the other half lives; yet those that have abundance 
ought to think sometimes of those whose fare is very 
coarse, and who are brought to a short allowance of 
that too; but we must own the righteousness of God, 
•,md not think it strange, if slothfulness clothe men 
Afith rags, and the idle soul be made to suffer hun- 
ger. This beggarly world is full of the Devil's poor. 

5. Thev were very scandalous wicked people, 
not only the burthens, but the plagues, of the places 
where thev lived, the scum of the country; they 
tvere driven forth from among men, t. 5. They 
v/ere such lying.thieving, lurking, mischievous, peo- 
ple, th?t, ihf best service die magistrates could do, 
was, to rid the country of them, while the verv mob 
cried after them, as after a thief, Jway ivith such 

fellows from the earth, it is not fit they should lix>e. 
They were lazy and would not work, and therefore 
they were exclaimed against as thieves, and justly, 
for they that do not earn their own bread by honest 
labour, do, in effect, steal the bread out of other 
people's mouths; an idle fellow is a public nuisance; 
b it it is better to drive such inton work-house, than, 
as here, into a wilderness, which will punish them 
indeed, but never reform them. They were forred 
to d veil in caves of the earth, and they brayed like 
asses among the bushes, v. 6, 7. See what is the 
lot of those that have the crv of the countrv, the crv 
of their own conscience, against them; they cannot 



but be in a continual terror and confusion; they 
groan among the trees, (so Broughton,) and smart 
among the nettles; they are stung and scratched 
there, where they hoped to be sheltered and pro- 
tected. See what miseries wicked people bring 
themselves to in this world; yet this is nothing tc 
what is in reserve for them in the other world. 

6. They were all that is base, v. 8. They had 
nothing at all in them to recommend them to any 
man's esteem: they were a vile kind; yea, a kind 
without fame; people that nobody could give a good 
word to, nor had a good wish for; they were ba- 
nished from the earth, as being viler than the earth. 
One would not think it possible that ever the hu- 
man nature should sink so low, and degenerate so 
far, as it did in these people. When we thank God 
that we are men, we have reason to thank him that 
we are not such men. But such as these were abu- 
sive to Job, (1.) In revenge; because, when he was 
in prosperity and power, like a good magistrate, he 
put the laws in execution, which were in force 
against vagabonds, and rogues, and sturdy beggars, 
which these base people now remembered against 
him. (2. ) In triumph over him, because they thought 
he was now become like one of them, Isa. xiv. 10,11. 
The abjects, men of mean spirits, insult over the 
miserable, Ps. xxxv. 15. 

II. The greatness of the affronts that were given 
him: it cannot be imagined how abusive they were. 

1. They made ballads on him, with which they 
made themselves and their companions merry; 
(i'. 9.) I am their song, and their by-nvord. Those 
have a \ ery base spirit, that turn the calamities of 
their honest neighbours into a jest, and can sport 
themseh es with their griefs. 

2. They shunned him as a loathsome spectacle, 
abhorred him, fled far from him, {%'. 10.) as an ugly 
monster, or as one infected; they that were them- 
selves driven out from among men, would have 
driven him out. For, 

3. They expressed the greatest sconi and indig- 
nation against him. They spit in his face, or were 
ready to do so; they tripped up his heels, pushed 
away his feet, {v. 12.) kicked him, either in wrath, 
because they hated him, or in sport, to make them- 
selves merry with him, as they did with their cm- 
panions at foot-ball. The best of saints have s'~me- 
times received the worst of injuries and indignities, 
from a spiteful, scornful, wicked, world, and must 
not think it strange; our Master himself was thus 
abused. 

4. They were very malicious ag.unst him, and 
not only made a jest of him, but made a prey of 
him; not only affronted him, but set themselves to 
do him all the real mischief they could devise. 
They raise up. against me the ivays of their destruc- 
tion; or, as some read it. They cast upon me the 
cause of their woe; that is, " They lay the blame 
of their being driven out, upon me;" and it is com- 
mon for criminals to hate the judges and laws by 
which they are punished. But, under this pre- 
tence, (1.) They accused him falsely, and misre- 
presented his former conversation, which is here 
called marring his path. They reflected upon him 
as a tyrant and an oppressor, because he had done 
justice upon them; and perhaps Job's friends ground- 
ed their uncharitable censures of him (r//. xxii. 6, 
See.) upon the unjust and unreasonable clamours of 
these sorrv people; and it was an instance of their 
great weakness and inconsideration; for who can be 
innocent, if the arcus>ti"ns of such persons may be 
heeded? (2.) Thev not only triumphed in his ca- 
lamitv, hut set it forward, and did all they could to 
add to his miseries, and make them more grievous 
to him. It is a great sin to forward the calamity 
of anv, especiallv of cood people: in this they have 
no helper, nobody to set them on, or to countenance 



. OB, XXX. 



135 



them in it; nobody to bear them out, or to protect 
them, but they do it of their own accord; they ai-e 
fools in other things, but wise enough to do mis- 
chief, and need no help in inventing that. Some 
read it thus, They hold my heaviness a firqfil, 
though they be never the better. Wicked people, 
though they get nothing by the calamities of others, 
yet rejoice in them. 

5. They that did him all this mischief, were nu- 
merous, unanimous, and violent; {v. 14.) They 
came ufion me as a wide breaking in of waters, 
when the dam is broken; or, "They came as sol- 
diers into a broad breach which they have made in 
the wall of a besieged city, pouring in upon me with 
the utmost fury;" and in this they took a pride and a 
pleasure; they rolled themselves in the des ilation, 
as a man rolls himself in a soft and easy bed; and 
they rolled themselves upon him with all the weight 
of their malice. 

Lastly, All this contempt put upon him, was 
caused by the troubles he was in; {v. 11.) "Be- 
cause he has loosed my cord; has taken away the 
honour and power with whicli I was girded, {ch. 
xii. 18.) has scattered whit I had got together, and 
untwisted all my affairs, because he has afflicted 
me, therefore they have let loose the bridle before 
Wf," that is, "have given themselves a liberty to 
say and do what they please against me." They 
that by Providence are stripped of their honour, 
may expect to be loaded with contempt by incon- 
siderate ill-natured people. *' Because he hatli 
loosed /its- cord," (the original has that reading also,) 
that is, " because he has taken off his bridle of re- 
straint from off their malice, they cast away the 
bridle from me," tluit is, " they make no account of 
my authority, nor stand in any awe of me. " It is owing 
to the hold God has of the consciences even of bad 
men, and the restraints he lays upon them, that we 
are not continually thus insulted and abused; and if 
at any time we meet with such ill treatment, we 
must acknowledge the hand of God in taking off 
those restraints; as David did, when Shimei cursed 
him; So let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him. 

Now in all this, (1.) We may see the uncertainty 
of worldly honour, and particularly of popular ap- 
plause; how suddenly a man may fall from the height 
of dignity into the depth of disgrace. What little 
cause therefore have men to be ambitious or proud 
of th it which may be so easily lost, and what little 
confidence is to be put in it! They that, to-day, cry, 
Hosannah, may, to-morrow, cry, Crucfy. But 
there is an honour which comes from God, which, 
if we secure, we shall find it not thus changeable 
and loseable. (2.) We may see that it has often 
been the lot of very wise and good men, to be tram- 
pled upon and abused. And, (3.) That those who 
look only at the things that are seen, despise those 
whom the world frowns upon, though they are ever 
so much the favouintes of Heaven. Nothing is more 
grievous in poverty than that it renders men con- 
temptible: Turba Remi sequitur fortunam, ut 
semper odit damnatos — The Eoman fiopulace, faith- 
ful to the turns of fortune, still fiersecutes thf fallen. 
(4.) We may see in Job a type of Christ, who was 
thus made a reproach of ?nen, and despised of the 
people, (Ps. xxii. 6. Isa. liii. 3.) and who hid not 
his face from shame, and spitting, but bore it better 
than Job did. 

1 5. Terrors are turned upon me : they 
pursue my soul as the wind ; and my wel- 
fare passeth away as a cloud. 1 6. And now 
mv soul is poured out upon me : the days 
of affliction have taken hold upon me. 17, 
My bones are pierced in me in the night- 



season ; and my sinews take no rest. 1 8. 
By the great force of my disease is my gar- 
ment changed : it bindeth me about as the 
collar of my coat. 1 9. He hath cast me 
into the mire, and I am become hke dust 
and ashes. 20. I cry unto thee, and thou 
dost not hear me : I stand up, and thou re- 
regardest me not. 21. Thou art become 
cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou 
opposest . thyself against me. 22. Thou 
liltest me up to the wind ; thou causest me 
to ride upon it., and dissolvest my substance. 
23. For 1 know that thou wilt bring me to 
death, and to the house appointed for all 
living. 24. Howbeit he will not stretch out 
his hand to the grave, though they cry in his 
destruction. 25, Did not I weep for him 
that was in trouble? was no^ my soul grieved 
for the poor? 26. When I looked for good, 
then evil came unto me; and when I waited 
for light, there came darkness. 27. My 
bowels boiled, and rested not ; the days of 
at¥iiction prevented me. 28. I went mourn- 
ing without the sun : I stood up, and I cried 
in the congregation. 29. I am a brother to 
dragons, and a companion to owls. 30. 
My skin is black upon me, and my bones 
are burnt with heat. 31. My harp also is 
turned to mourning, and my organ into the 
voice of them that weep. 

In this second part of Job's complaint, which is 
very bitter, and has a great many sorrowful accents 
in it, we may observe a great deal that he complains 
of, and some little that he comforts himself with. 

I. Here is much that he complains of. 

1. In general, it was a day of great affliction and 
son-ow. (1.) Affliction seized him, and surprised 
him. \V seized \\\m; {v. 16.) The days of affliction 
have taken hold upon me; have caught me, so some; 
they have arrested me, as the bailiff arrests the 
debt(^r, and by violence secures him. When trou- 
ble comes with commission, it will take fast hold, 
and not lose its hold. It surprised him; {v. 27.) 
"TIse days of affliction prevented me," that is, 
"they came upon me without giving me any pre- 
vious warning; I did not expect them, nor made 
any provision for such an evil day." Observe, He 
reckons his iiffliction by days, which will soon be 
numbered and finished, and are nothing to the ages 
of eternity, 2 Cor. iv. 17. (2.) He was in great 
sorrow by reason of it. His bowels boiled. with 
grief, and rested not, v. 17. The sense of his ca- 
lamiiies was continually preying upon his spirits, 
without any intermission: he went mourning from 
day to day, always sighing, always weeping; and 
such a cloud was constantly upon his mind, that he 
went, in effect, without the sun, v. 28. He had 
nothing that he could take any comfort in; he aban- 
doned himself to pei-petual sorrow, as one that, like 
Jacob, resolved to go to the grave mourning: he 
walked out of the sun, (so some,) in dark shady 
places, as melancholy people use to do. If he went 
into the congregation, to join with them in solemn 
worshi]); instead of standing up calmly to desire 
theii- pravers, he stood up and cried aloud, through 
pain of body, or anguish of mind, like one half dis- 
tracted. If he appeared in public, to receive visits, 
when the fit came upon him, he could not contain 



136 



JOB, XXX. 



himself, nor preserve due decorum, but stood up, 
and shrieked aloud. Thus he was a brother to dra- 
gons and owls, {v. 29.) both in choosing solitude and 
retirement, as they do, (Isa. xxxiv. 13.) and in 
making a fearful hideous noise, as they do; his in- 
considerate complaints were fitly compared to their 
inarticulate ones. 

2. The terror and trouble that seized his soul, 
were the sorest part of his calamity, v. 15, 16. (1.) 
If he looked forward, he saw every thing frightful 
before him: if he endeavoured to shake off his ter- 
rors, they turned furiously upon him : if he endea- 
voured to escape from them, they pursued his soul 
as swiftly and violently as the wind. He complained, 
at first, of the terrors of God sttting themselves in 
array against him, ch. vi. 4. And still, which way 
soever he looked, they turned upon hin>; which way 
soever he fled, they pursued him. My soul. — Heb. 
My firincifial one. My princess; for the soul is 
the principal part of the man; it is our glory; it is 
every way more excellent than the body, and there- 
fore that which pursues the soul, and threatens 
that, should be most dreaded. (2.) If he looked 
back, he saw all the good he had formerly enjoyed 
removed from him, and nothing left him but the 
bitter remembrance of it; My welfare fiasseth 
away, as suddenly, swiftly, and irrecoverably, as a 
cloud. (3.) If he looked within, he found his spirit 
quite sunk, and unable to bear his infirmity, not 
only wounded, hnt fioured out upon him, v. 16. He 
was not only weak as water, but, in his own appie- 
hension, lost as water spilt upon the ground. Com- 
pare Ps. xxii. 14, My heart is melted like wax. 

3. His bodily diseases were \ ery grievous; for, 
(1.) He was full of pain, piercing pain, pain that 
went to the bo; e, to all his bones, x<. 17. It was a 
sword in his bones, which pierced him in the night 
season, when he sliould have been refreshed with 
sleep; his nerves were affected with strong convul- 
sions, his sinews took no rest. By reason of his 
pain, he could take no rest, but sleep departed 
from his eyes. His bones were burnt with heat; {v. 
30.) He was in a constant fever, which dred up 
the radical moisture, and even consumed the mar- 
row in his bones. See how frail our Ijodies are, 
which carry in themselves the seedsof our own dis- 
ease and death. (2.) He was full of sores. Some, 
that are pained in their bones, yet sleep in a whole 
skin, but Satan's commission against Job extending 
both to his bone and to his flesh, he spared neither. 
His skin was black upon him, v. 30. The blood 
settled, and the sores suppurated, which made his 
skin look blick. Even his garment had its colour 
changed with the continual running of his boils, and 
the soft clothing he used to wear was now grown so 
stiff, that all his garments were like his collar, v. 
18. It wotdd be nnisome to describe what a condi- 
tion poor Job was in, for want of clean linen and 
good attendance, and what filthy rags all his clothes 
were. Some think, that, among other diseases. Job 
was ill of a quinsy, or swelling in his throat, and that 
thnt was it which bound him about like a stiff collar. 

Thus was he cast into the inire, (i'. 19.) comf\ar- 
ed to mire, so some: his body looked more like a 
heap of dirt tlian any thing else. Let none be proud 
nf tlieir cldtliing, nor proud of their cleanness; they 
know not but some disease or other may change 
their garmeiits, and e\ en throw them into the mire. 
and mike them noisome b-^Hh to themseUcs and 
others; instrad of sweet smell, there shall be a 
stench, Isa. iii. 24. We are but dust and ashes at 
the best, and our bodies vile bodies; but we are apt 
to forget it, till God, by some sore disease, makes 
us sensibly to feel and own what we are; "lam 
become already like that dust and ashes into which I 
must shortly be resolved: wherever I gn, I carry 
my grave about with me." 



4. That which afflicted him most of all, was, mat 
Gi d seemed to be his Enemy, and to fight against 
him. It was he that cast him into the mire, {v. 19.) 
and seemed to trample on him when he had him 
there. This cut him to the heart more than any 
thing else. ( 1. ) That God did not appear for him. 
He addressed himself to him, but gamed no grant; 
appealed to him, but gained no sentence; he was 
very importunate in his applications, but in vain; 
{v. 20.) ''I cry unto thee, as one in earnest, I stand 
up and cry, as one waiting for an answer, but thou 
hearest not, thou regardest not, for any thing I can 
perceive. " If our most fervent prayers bring not in 
speedy and sensible returns, we must not think it 
strange. Though the seed of Jacob did never seek 
in vain, yet they have often thought that they did, 
and that God has not only been deaf, but angry, at 
the prayers of his people, Ps. Ixxx. 4. (2.) That 
God did appear against him. We have here one of 
the worst words that ever Job spake; {y, 21.) Thou 
art become cruel to me; far be it from the God of 
mercy and grace, that he should be cruel to any; 
his compassions fail not; but especially that he 
should be so to his own children: Job was unjust and 
ungrateful, when he said so of him, but harbouring 
hard thoughts of God was the sin which did, at this 
time, most easily beset him. Here, [1.] He thought 
God fought against him, and stirred up his whole 
strength to ruin him; With thy strong hand thou 
opposest thyself, or art an Adversary against 
me. He had better thoughts of God, {ch. xxiii. 
6. ) when he concluded he would not plead against 
him with his great power. God has an absolute 
sovereignty, and an irresistible strength, but he 
ne\ er uses either the one or the other for the crush- 
ing or oppressing of any. [2.] He thought he in- 
sulted over him; {v. 22.) Thou liftest me up to the 
wind, as a feather or the chaff which the wind plays 
with; so unequal a match did Job think himself for 
Onmipotence, and so unable was he to help himself, 
when he was made to ride, not in triumph, but in 
terror, upon the wings of the wind, and the judg- 
ments of God did e\ en dissolve his substance, ; s a 
cloud is dissolved and dispersed by the wind. Man's 
substance, take him in his best estate, is nothing 
before the power of God, it is soon dissolved. 

5. He expected no other now, than that God, 
by these troubles, would shortly make an end of 
h'lm. "If I be made to ride upon the wind, I can 
count upon no other tlian to break my neck shortly; 
and he speaks as if God had no other design upon 
him than th;it, in all his dealings with him; '^ I know 
that thou wilt bring me, with so much the more 
terror, to death, though I might have been brought 
thither without all this ado, for it is the house ap- 
pointed for all lii'ing," v. 23. The grave is a 
house, a narrow, dark, cold, ill-furnished, house, 
but it will be our residence, where we shall rest 
and be safe; it is our long home, our own home, U-r 
it is our mother's lap, and in it we are gathered to 
our fathers. It is a house appointed for us, by him 
that has appointed us the bounds of all our habita- 
tions. It is appointed for all living. It is the com- 
mon receptacle, where rich and poor meet, it is ap- 
pointed for the general rendezvous; we must all be 
brought thither shortly; it is God that l)rings ns, 
for the keys of death and the grave are in his hand, 
and we may all know that, sooner or later, he will 
bring us thither; it would he well for us, if we 
would duly consider it. The lix'ing know that they 
shall die; let us, each of us, know it with application. 

6. There were two things that aggravated his 
trouble, and made it the less tolerable. (1.) That 
it was a verv great disappointment to his expecta- 
tion; {v. 26.) "When I looked for good, for more 
good, or, at least, for the continuance of what I had, 
then evil came:" such uncertain things are all our 



JOB, XXXI. 



137 



worldly enjoyments, and such a folly is it to feed 
ourselves with great expectations from them. They 
that wait for light from the sparks of their crea- 
ture-comforts, will be wretchedly disappointed, and 
will make their bed in the darkness. (2. ) That it 
was a very great change in his condition ; (r. 31.) 
" My harp is not only laid oy, and hung upon the 
willow-trees, but it is turned to mourning, and my 
organ into the voice of them that iveefi." Job, in his 
prosperity, had taken the timbrel and harp, and 
rejoiced at the sound of the organ, ch. xxi. 12. Not- 
withstanding his gravity and grace, he had found 
time to be cheerful; but now his tune was altered. 
Let those, therefore, that rejoice, be as though they 
rejoiced not, for they know not how soon their 
laughter will be turned into mourning, and their 
joy into heaviness. Thus we see how much Job 
complains of: but, 

II. Heie is something, in the midst of all, with 
which he comforts himself, and it is but a little. 1. 
He foresees, with comfort, that death will be the 
period of his calamities; {v. 24. ) Though God now, 
with a strong hand, ofxposed himself against him, 
yet, says he, he will not stretch out his hand to the 
grave. The hand of God's wrath would bring him 
to death, but would not follow him beyond death; 
his soul would be safe and happy in the world of 
spirits, his body safe and easy in the dust. Though 
men cry in his destruction; though, when they are 
dying, there is a great deal of agony and outcry, 
many a sigh, and groan, and complaint, yet in the 
grave they feel nothing, they fear nothing, but all is 
quiet there. " Though in hell, which is called de- 
struction, they cry, yet not in the grave; and I being 
delivered from the second death, the first to me will 
be an effectual relief." Therefore he wished he 
might be hid in the grave, ch. xiv. 13. 2. He re- 
flects with comfort upon the concern he always had 
f ^r the calamities of others, when he was himself at 
ease; (v. 25.) Did not I ivee/i for him that was in 
trouble'^ Some think he herein complains of God, 
thinking it very hard, that he, who had showed 
mercy to others, should not himself find mercy. I 
would rather take it as a quieting consideration to 
himself; his conscience witnessed for him, that he 
had always sympathized with persons in misery, 
and done what he could to help them, and therefore 
had reason to expect that, at length, both God and 
his friends would pity him. They who mourn with 
them th;it mourn, will bear their own sorrows the 
better, when it comes to their turn to drink of the 
bitter cup. Did not 7ny soul burn for the floor? So 
some read it, comparing it with that of St. Paul, 
(2 Cor. xi. 29.) IVho is offended, and I burn not? 
As they who have been unmerciful and hard-hearted 
to others, may expect to hear of it from their own 
consciences, when they are themselves in trouble, 
so they who have considered the poor and suc- 
coured them, shall ha\ e the remembrance of that 
to make their bed easy in their sickness, Ps. xli. 1,3. 

CHAP. XXXI. 

Job had often protested his integrity in general, here he 
does it in particular instances; not in a way of commen- 
dation, (for he does not here proclaim his good deeds,) 
but in his own just and necessary vindication, to clear 
himself from those crimes with which his friends had 
falsely charged him, which is a debt every man owes to 
his own reputation. Job's friends had been particular 
in their articles of impeachment against him, and there- 
fore he is so in his protestation, which seems to refer 
especially to what Eliphaz had accused him of, ch. xxii. 
6, &c. They had produced no witnesses against him, 
-either could they prove the things whereof they now 
accused him, and therefore he may well be admitted to 
purge himself upon oath, which he does very solemnly, 
and with many awful imprecations of God's wrath, if he 
were guilty of those crimes; this protestation confirms 

Vol. III. — S 



God's character of him, that there was none like him in 
the earth; perhaps some of his accusers durst not have 
joined with him; for he not only acquits himself from those 
gross sins which lie open to the eye of the world, but from 
many secret sins, which, though he had been guilty of them, 
nobody could have charged him with, because he will 
prove himself no hypocrite. Nor does he only maintain 
the cleanness of His practices, but shows also that in 
them he went upon good principles; that the reason of 
his eschewing evil, was, because he feared God, and his 
piety was at the bottom of his justice and charity; and 
this crowns the proof of his sincerity. The sins from 
which he here acquits himself, are, 1. Wantonness and 
uncleanness of heart, v. 1..4. 2. Fraud and injustice in 
commerce, v. 4. -8. 3. Adultery, v. 9 ..12. 4. Haughtiness 
and severity toward his servants, v. 13. .15. 6. Unmer- 
cifulness to the poor, the widows, and the fatherless, v. 
16. .23. 6. Confidence in his worldly wealth, v. 24, 25. 
7. Idolatry, v. 26. .28. 8. Revenge, v. 29 .. 31. 9. Ne- 
glect of poor strangers, v. 32. 10. Hypocrisy in conceal- 
mg his own sins, and cowardice in conniving at the sins 
of others, v. 33, 34. II. Oppression, and the violent in- 
vasion of other people's rights, v. 38. . 40. And, toward 
the close, he appeals to God's judgment concerning his 
integrity, v. 35.. 37. Now, in all this, we may see, (I.) 
The sense of the patriarchal age concerning p;ood ^nd 
evil, and what was so long ago condemned as sinful, that 
is, both hateful and hurtful. (2.) A noble pattern of piety 
and virtue proposed to us for our imitation, which, if our 
consciences can witness for us that we conform to it, will 
be our rejoicing, as it was Job's, in the day of evil. 

1 . T MADE a covenant with mine eyes ; 
JL why then should I think upon a maid ? 

2. For what portion of God is there from 
above ? and ivhot inheritance of tlie Al- 
mighty from on high ? 3. /s not destruction 
to the wicked ? and a strange pmiishment to 
the workers of iniquity ? 4. Doth not he see 
my ways, and count all my steps ? 5. [f 1 
have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath 
hasted to deceit ; 6. Let me be weighed in 
an even balance, that God may know mine 
integrity. 7. If my step hath turned out of 
the way, and my heart walked after mine 
eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to my 
hands ; 8. Then let me sow, and let another 
eat ; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. 

The lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world, 
are the two fatal rocks on which multitudes split; 
against these Job protests he was always careful to 
stand upon his guard. 

I. Against the lusts of the flesh. He not only 
kept himself clear from adultery, from defiling his 
neighbours' wives, {v. 9.) but from all lewdness 
with .any women whatsoever. He kept no concu- 
bine, but was inviolably faithful to the marriage- 
bed, though his wife was none of the wisest, best, 
or kindest. From the beginning it was so, that a 
man should have but one wife, and cleave to her 
only; and Job kept close to that institution, and ab- 
horred the thought of transgressing it; for, though 
his greatness might tempt him to it, his goodness 
kept him from it. Job was now in pain and sickness 
of body, and under that aflfliction it is in a particular 
manner comfortable, if our conscience can witness 
for us, that we have been careful to preserve our 
bodies in chastity, and to possess those vessels in 
sanctification and honour, pure from the lusts of un- 
cleanness. Now observe here, 

1. What the resolutions were, which, in this 
matter, he kept to; (t-. 1.) I made a covenant with 
fnine eyes, that is, " I watched against the occa- 
sions of the sin; why then should I think upon a 
?naid?" that is, " By that means, through the grace 
of God, I kept myself from the very first step to- 



138 



JOB, XXXI. 



wards it, " So far was he from wanton dalliances, 
or any act of lasciviousness, that, (1.) He would 
not so much as admit a wanton look. He made a 
covenant with his eyes, made this bargain with them, 
that he would allow them the pleasure of beholding 
the light of the sun, and the glory of God shining 
in the visible creation, provided they would never 
fasten upon any object that might occasion any im- 
pute imaginations, much less any impure desires, 
ill his mind; and, under this penalty, that if they 
did, they must smart for it in penitential tears. 
Note, Those that would keep their heai'ts pure, 
must guard their eyes, which are both the outlets 
and inlets of uncleanness. Hence we read of wanton 
eyes, (Isa. iii. 16.) and eyes full of adultery , 2 Pet. 
i'. 14. The first sin began in the eye, Gen. iii. 6. 
What we must not meddle with, we must not lust 
liter; and what we must not lust after, we must not 
look at; not the forbidden wealth, (Prov. xxiii. 5.) 
not the forbidden wine, (Prov. xxiii. 31.) not the 
forbidden woman, Matth. v. 28. (2.) He would not 
so much as allow a wanton thought; " Why then 
should I think ufion a maid, with any unchaste fancy 
or desire toward her?" Shame and sense of honour 
might i-estrain him from soliciting the chastity of a 
beautiful virgin, but only grace and the fear of God 
would restrain him from so much as thinking of it. 
Those are not chaste, that are not so in spirit as 
well as body, 1 Cor. vii. 34. See how Christ's ex- 
position of the seventh commandment agrees with 
the ancient sense of it, and how much better Job 
understood it than the Pharisees, though they sat 
in Moses's chair. 

2. Wh:it the reasons were, which, in this matter, 
he was governed by. It was not for fear of reproach 
pmnng men, though that is to be considered, (Prov. 
vi. 33. ) but for fear of the wrath and curse of God. 
He knew very well, 

(1.) That uncleanness is a sin that forfeits all 
good, and shuts us out from the hope of it; {y. 2.) 
W^hat fiortion of God is there from above? What 
blessing can such impure sinners expect from the 
pure and holy God, or what token of his favour.'' 
What inheritance of the Almighty can they look 
for from on high? There is no portion, no inheri- 
tance, no true happiness, for a soul, but what is in 
God, in t!ie Almighty, and what comes from above, 
from on high. Those that wallow in uncleanness, 
render themselves utterly unfit for communion with 
God, either in grace here, or in glory hereafter, 
and become allied to unclean spirits, which are for 
ever separated from him; and then what portion, 
what inheritance, can they have with God? Noun- 
clean thing shall enter into the New Jerusalem, that 
holy city. 

(2.) It is a sin that incurs divine vengeance, v. 3. 
It will certainly be the sinner's ruin, if it be not re- 
pented of in time. Is not destruction a swift and 
sure destruction to those wicked people, and a 
strange punishment to the workers of this iniquity? 
Fools make a mock at this sin, make a jest of it, it 
is with them a peccadillo, a trick of youth; but they 
deceive themselves with vain words, for, because of 
these things, how light soever they make of tliem, 
the wrath of God, the insupportable wrath of the 
eternal God, comes ufion the children of disobedience, 
Eph. v. 6. There are some sinners whom God 
sometimes goes out of the common road of provi- 
dence to meet with; such are these. The destruc- 
tion of Sodom is a strange punishment. Is there not 
alienation (so some read it) to the workers of ini- 
quity? This is the siTifulness of the sin, that it alie- 
nates the m'nd from God; (Eph. iv. 18, 19.) and this 
is the pvmishment of the sinners, that they shall be 
cternallv set at a distance from him. Rev. xxii. 15. 

(3.) It cannot be hid from the all-seeing God. A 
wanton thought cannot be so close, nor a wanton 



look so quick, as to escape his cognizance, much less 
any act of uncleanness so secretly done, as to be out 
of his sight. If Job was at any time tempted to this 
sin, he restrained himself from it, and all approaches 
to it, with this pertinent thought, {v. 4.) Doth not 
he see my ways? as Joseph did, (Gen. xxxix. 9.) 
How can I do it, and sin against God? Two things 
Job had an eye to. [1.] God's omniscience. It is 
a great truth, that God's eyes are u/ion all the ways 
of men; (Prov, v. 20, 21.) but Job here mentions it 
with application to himself and his own actions; 
Doth not he see my ways? O God, thou hast search 
ed me arid known me. God sees what rule we walk 
by, what company we walk with, what end we walk 
toward, and therefore what ways we walk in. [2.] 
His observance. " He not only sees, but takes no- 
tice; he counts all my steps, all my false steps in 
the way of duty, all my by-steps mto the way of 
sin." He not only sees our ways in general, but 
takes cognizance of our particular steps in these 
ways, every action, every motion. He keeps count 
of all, because he will call us to account, will bring 
every work into judgment. God takes a more exact 
notice of us than we do of ourselves; for who ever 
counted his own steps? Yet God counts them; let 
us therefore walk circumspectly. 

II. He stood upon his guard against the love of 
the world, and carefully avoided all sinful indi- 
i-ect means of getting wealth. He dreaded all for- 
bidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure. Let 
us see, 

1. What his protestation is: in general, that he 
had been honest and just in all his dealings, and 
never, to his knowledge, did any body any wrong. 
(1. ) He never walked with vanity, that is, he never 
durst tell a lie, to get a good bargain. It was never 
his way to banter, or equivocate, or make many 
words, in his dealings. Some men's constant walk 
is a constant cheat. They either make what they 
have more than it is, that they may be trusted; or 
less than it is, that nothing may be expected from 
them. But Job was a different man. His wealth 
was not gotten by vanity, though now diminished, 
Prov. xiii. 11. (2.) He never hasted to deceit. 
Those that deceive, must be quick and sharp, but 
Job's quickness and sharpness were never turned 
that way. He never made haste to be rich by de- 
ceit, but always acted cautiously, lest, through in- 
consideration, he should do an unjust thing. Note, 
What we have in the world, may be either used 
with comfort, or lost with comfort, if it was honestly 
got. (3.) His steps never turned out of the way, 
the way of justice and fair dealing; from that he 
never deviated, v. 7. He not only took care not to 
walk in a constant course and way of deceit, but 
he did not so much as take one step out of the way 
of honesty. In every particular action and affair, 
we must closely tie ourselves up to the rules of 
righteousness. (4. ) His heart aid not walk after 
his eyes, that is, he did not covet what he saw, that 
was another's, nor wish it his own." Covetousness 
is called the lust of the eye, 1 John ii. 16. Achan 
saw, and then took, the accursed thing. That heart 
must needs wander, that walks after the eyes; for 
then it looks no further than the things that are 
seen; whereas it ought to be in heaven, whither the 
eyes cannot reach: it should follow the dictates of 
religion and right reason: if it follow the eye, it will 
be misled to that for which God will bring men into 
judgment, Eccl. xi. 9. (5.) That no blot had cleavea 
to his hands, that is, he was not chargeable with 
getting any thing dishonestly, or keeping that which 
was another's, whenever it appeared to be so. In- 
justice is a blot, a blot to the estate, a blot to the 
owner; it spoils the beauty of both, and therefore is 
to be dreaded. Those that deal iinicli m the world 
may perhaps have a blot come upon their hands. 



JOB, XXXT. 



139 



but they must wash it off again by repentance and 
restitution, and not let it cleave to theirhands. See 
Isa. xxxiii. 15. 

2. How he ratifies his protestation. So confident 
is he of his own honesty, that, (1.) He is willing to 
have his goods searched; {y. 6.) Let me be weighed 
in an even balance, that is, "Let what I have got 
be inquired into, and it will be found to weigh well;" 
a sign that it was not gotten by vanity, for then Tekel 
had been written on it — weighed in the balance, and 
found too light. An honest man is so far from dread- 
ing a trial, that he desires it rather, being well as- 
sured that God knows his integrity, and will approve 
it, and that the trial of it will be to his praise and 
honour. (2. ) He is willing to forfeit the whole cargo, 
if there were found any prohibited, contraband, 
goods, any thing but what he came honestly by; 
\v. 8.) " Let me sow, and let another eat," which 
was already agreed to be the doom of oppressors; 
{ch. V. 5.) "and let my offspring, all the trees that I 
have planted, be rooted out." This intimates, that 
he believed the sin did deserve this punishment, 
that, usually, it is thus punished; but that, though 
now his estate was ruined, (and at such a time, if 
ever, his conscience would have brought his sin to 
his mind,) yet he knew himself innocent, and would 
venture all the poor remains of his estate upon the 
issue of the trial. 

9. If my heart have been deceived by a 
woman ; or if I have laid wait at my neigh- 
bour's door; 10. Then let my wife grind 
unto another, and let others bow down upon 
her. 1 1. For this is a heinous crime ; yea, it 
is an iniquity to he punished hy the judges. 

12. For it is a fire ^^a^consumeth to destruc- 
tion, and would root out all mine increase. 

1 3. tf I did despise the cause of my man- 
servant, or of my maid-servant, when they 
contended with me ; 1 4. What then shall I 
do when God riseth up ? and, when he visit- 
eth, what shall I answer him ? 1 5. Did not 
he that made me in the womb make him ? 
md did not one fashion us in the womb ? 

Two more instances we have here of Job's integ- 
'itv. 

I. That he had a very great abhorrence of the 
iin of adultery. As he did not wrong his own mar- 
•iage-bed, by keeping a concubine, (he did not so 
Tiuch as think upon a maid, v. 1. ) so he was careful 
4ot to offer any injury to his neighbour's marriage- 
•jed. 

Let us see here, 

1. How clear he was from this sin, v. 9. (1.) 
He did not so much as covet his neighbour's wife, 
for even his heart was not deceived by a woman. 
The beauty of another man's wife did not kindle in 
him any unchaste desires, nor was he ever moved 
by the allurements of an adulterous woman, such as 
is described, Prov. vii. 6, &c. See the original of 
all the defilements of this life; they come from a 
deceived heart. Every sin is deceitful, and none 
more so than the sin of uncleanness. (2. ) He never 
compassed or imagined any unchaste design. He 
never laid wait at his neighbour's door, to get an 
opportunity to debiuch his wife in his absence, 
when the good man was not at home, Prov. vii. 19. 
See ch. xxiv. 15. 

2. What a dread he had of this sin, and what 
frightful apprehensi'ins he hul concerning the ma- 
lignitv of it — That it was a heinous crime, (v. 11.) 
('ue of the greatest vilest sins a man can be smilty 



of, highly provoking to God, and destructive to the 
prosperity of the soul. With respect to the mis- 
chievousness of it, and the punishment it deserved, 
he owns that, if he were guilty of that heinous crime, 
(1.) Hisfamily might justly be made infamous in the 
highest degree; {v. 10.) Let my wife grind to ano- 
ther. Let her be a slave, so some; aharlot, so others. 
God often punishes the sins of one with the sin of 
another, the adultery of the husband with the adul- 
tery of the wife, as in David's case, (2 Sam. xii. 11. ) 
which does not in the least excuse the ti-eachery of 
the adulterous wife; but, how unrighteous soever she 
is, God is righteous. See Hos. iv. 13, Your spouses 
shall commit adultery. Note, Those who are not 
just and faithful to their relations, must not think it 
strange, if their relations be unjust and unfaithful to 
them. (2. ) He himself might justly be made a pub- 
lic example; L'or it is an iniquity to be punished hy 
the judges; yea, though they who are guilty f f it 
are themselves judges, as Job was. Note, Adultery 
is a crime which the civil magistrate ought to take 
cognizance of, and punish: so it was adjudged even 
in the patriarchal age, before the law of Moses made 
it capital. It is an evil work, to which the sword 
of justice ought to be a terror. (3.) It might justly 
become the ruin of his estate; nay, he knew it would 
be so; {y. 12.) It is afire. Lust is afire in the 
soul: they that indulge it, are said to burn. It con- 
sumes all that is good there, (the convictions, the 
comforts,) and lays the conscience waste. It kin- 
dles the fire of God's wrath, which, if not extin- 
guished by the blood of Christ, will bum to the 
lowest hell. It will consume even to that eternal 
destruction. It consumes the body, (Prov. v. 11.) 
it consumes the substance, it roots out all the in- 
crease. Burning lusts bring burning judgments. 
Perhaps it alludes to the burning of Sodom, which 
was intended for an example to those who should 
afterward, in like ma