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soul; which acquaintance is carried on by prayer, and is the soul's intercourse or acquaintance with God, as the God of peace; and this is likewisc carried on by hear. ing, reading, and attending upon the word and worship of God, and the ordinances of his house. The saints stand often in need of renewed spiritual acquaintance with God, to enjoy fresh manifestations of peace to their souls. Be. lievers, after great sins and follies committed, are not forward to come into the presence of God; they have a kind of listlessness to duty, to prayer, and to all acts of commu. nion with God : and God bimself appears at a distance when they come; they have not those communications from God which he usually vouchsafed them: God doth not give them the meeting as formerly; they do not find the Lord presently, thougb they seck him earnestly; so that both ways there is an estrangement.
But it may be said, how can we, who are at such a distance, acquaint ourselves with God? I answer, we, who of ourselves are afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ; and being thus made nigh in our state, we draw nigh or acquaint ourselves with him. As first, to think or meditate of God, is to acquaint ourselves with and draw nigh to God: meditation is an inward discourse and converse with God; it is a soliloquy between God and the soul. Acquaintance is got by conference: when friends meet and confer, that doth not only begin, but confirm, strengthen, and heighten their acquaintance. Saints have many thouglıts of God, and that is their acquaintance with God. “How precious are thy thoughts to me, O God!” (saith David, Psalm cxxxix. 17.) how great is the sum of them! when I awake I am still with thee." How was David still with God? He was so in his thoughts and meditations, in the actings and goings forth of his soul to him, Now he that is still or ever with a person, must needs be acquainted with bim, “I am still with thee," always meditating upon thee. We find him again in the same holy frame, Psalm Ixiii. 5, 6. “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; wbile I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches,” God's people think of God, what he is in his nature, they think what he is in all his perfections; they meditate of all his glory, of his justice, of his mercy, of his faithfulness, of his power, of his truth, of his unchangeableness, of his all-sufficiency; they acquaint themselves with God
in all these ; for indeed we are never acquainted with hiin' till we come to a distinct knowledge of him in all these parts of his glory, which yet are all but one and the same glorious God.' To know only in general that there is a God, is not to acquaint ourselves with God; our acquaintance with him consists in a spiritual and fiducial knowledge of all his revealed perfections. We acquaint ourselves with God in the study of his word: there he hath made a full discovery of himself and of bis will; “ O bow I love thy law, (saith David,) my meditation is in it night and day.” The word of God is the demonstration of his boli. Dess. There he hath set forth himself, how just, how pure, and bow gracious he is. The word is a glass in which God is seen, therefore acquaiot thyself with his word: reading and bearing is our going to him for counsel : as we acquaint ourselves with a man when we go to him, and ask his advice and counsel in any matter, so every time we either read or hear the word of God in faith, we are asking counsel of God, and acquainting ourselves with him.
66 And be at peace.”]-Some render the words a pro. mise; ' and thou shalt be at peace;' which is only to be enjoyed in the person, blood, righteousness, and sacri. fice of the Lord Jesus, by whom acquaintance with God is opened and maintained, and continued by walking in his ways, which are the ways of peace, Others understand the words, not as a promise, but as an exhortation ; “ Be at peace ;' that is, be quiet and content under the chasten. ing hand of God; do not murmur, do not repine. Thou hast struggled enough already; now lay aside all passion, all discontent; do not rage and discompose thyself as thou hast done : there is a storm upon thee, but be thou of a calm and quiet spirit; kiss the rod, be not angry with it. We may express this frame by that which the apostle Peter makes the chief adorning or ornament of a woman, that she be of " a meck and quiet spirit; which with God is of great price.” There is no acquaintance with God that can produce peace but that wbich is by Jesus Christ: he is the peace-maker, who is also the mediator: neither sinners nor saints can have peace by any immediate acquaintance with God, for he is a consuming fire, and sinners or saints, standing alonc, are but as dry stubble before him. When we are made nigh to or acquainted with God by the blood of Jesus Christ, then we are at peace with him. “ Acquaint thyself with him, and be at peace.” No peace
piritual and '; therefore n God, no acom.
without acquaintance with God, no acquaintance with God but by Christ; therefore no peace but by Christ, and then spiritual and eternal good follows us.
Ver. 29. “ And he shall save the humble person.")This shews that God hath engaged himself in word and promise to save those that are cast down, whether it be in providence or in grace ; that such as through grace are brought to lie low at the feet of mercy, under a sense of their own sinfulness, and to cast themselves entirely upon the grace and mercy of God in Christ, will be saved out of their distress; for Christ hath promised rest, peace, and pardon to such; therefore he will not forget their cry, but remember them and save them with an everlasting salvation ; he will raise them from the dust; though there has been a casting down, yet there shall be a lifting up; for be exalls such among the princes of his people, he will make them meet for glory, and receive them to the enjoyment of it.
The chapter begins Job's reply to Eliphaz; and in this reply he takes no
notice of his friends, either because he saw it was to no purpose; or because he liked the good counsel Eliphaz gave him in the close of bis discourse so well, that he would make no answer to his peevish reflec. tions, but he appeals to God, begs to have his canse heard, and doubts not but to make it good, having the testimony of his own conscience concerning his integrity. Here seems to be a struggle between flesh and spirit, fear and faith, throughout this chapter, (1.) He complains of his calamitons condition, and especially of God's withdrawings from him, so that he could not get bis appeal beard, ver. 9--5. nor discern the meaning of God's dealings with him, ver. 8, 9. nor gain any hope of relief, ver. 13, 14. And this made dtep impressions of trouble and terror upon him, ver. 15–17. (2.) in the midst of these complaints, he comforts himself with the assurance of God's clemency, ver. 6, 7. and his own integrity, which God himself was a witness to, ver. 10–12. Thus was the light of this day like that spoken of, Zech. xiv. 6, 7. neither perfectly clear vor perfectly dark, but at evening time it was light."
VER. S. 66 That I might come even to his seat!"By which we are to understand the mercy-seat, where God is said to dwell, and from whence he communes with bis people, and dispenses the riches, glories, and promiscs of his grace and blessings through the sacrifice of Christ. The absence of God, wbich is very afflicting to a gracious soul, excites it with earnestness to seck bis presence, and to enjoy ncarness and liberty at the throne of grace; hence let
be found artistanceous
the disconsolate soul above all “ scek God in Christ;" the Father is only to be found in the Son; look to Jesus Christ, and in him you cannot but behold God; for be is “ the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” Heb. i. 3. and therefore, as he that hath the Son, hath the Father also, so he tbat, by an eye of faith, and in the light of the word and Spirit, beholdeth the Son, beholdeth the Father also ; " For the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is given us in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv, 6. The light of the knowledge of God's goodness, mercy, justice, and holiness, which are his glory, shineth forth from Jesus Christ; that is, in and by Christ it appears gloriously that God is exceeding good and merciful: therefore to every wearied soul complaining of the loss of God, and crying out, “ O that I knew wbere I might find him !" the sum of all the counsel tbat can be given is this, Seek God in Christ, and be will be found. In this passage Job doth put forth the noble and bigh act of his faith, and speaks this, not as forgetting the distance of dust and ashes from the glory of God, or from the glorious God; but as remembering the promise, and as insisting upon bis privilege as a believer who is invited to come, and to “ come with boldness to the throne of grace :” for though that promise was not given out as to ibe form of it in those times, yet the virtue of it was, though in a lower degree. To 56 come with boldness to the throne of grace," sounds mucb like this, " to come even to bis seat;" and this Job did, not as emboldened by the clearness of his conscience towards men, but as by the freeness of tbe grace of God in Cbrist towards him. In pursuance whereof it is well conceived by a learned interpreter, that there is a me. tonymy in the word which sigoifies a prepared seat, that is, such a seat as that whereon God presents himself to poor sioners, prepared and ready to give them both admittance to himself, and a gracious audience of their requests and suits. The word which we translate seat, signifieth a prepared place, a place filled to display promises, blessings, and mercies to the poor and needy, Heb. iv. 16. Heaven is called " the babitation of his holiness and glory," Isaiah Ixiii. 15. yet wheresoever the Lord is, he makes it a beaven: tbus also he can make any place where he is a hell. “ The wicked shall be punished with everlasting fire from the presence of the Lord," 2 Thess. i. 9. that is, the very presence of the Lord shall be a hell and torment to thein. The Lord can be both terrible and gracious in his presence
any where; yet he is some where more graciously, some where more terribly present. Some cannot bear those expressions, The throne of God, the seat of God, hea. ven and hell; as if these were but the imaginations of man's brain : but the Lord bas his seats and dwelling. places, whence and where he declares himself, both in mercy and in judgment, both in his holiness and in his glory, Isaiah vi. l. "I saw also the Lord sitting upon his ihrone, high and listed up.” Thus the Lord manifested himself in vision to the prophet; and David confessetli, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," Psalm xlv. 6. that is, thy power and sovereignty. David speaks not of a material throne, such as kings have; the power and sove. reignty of God are his throne wheresoever he is, and is pleased to declare bimself in his sovereignty and power: so that when Job says, “ O that I might come even to his seat or throne,” the meaning is, o that I might come as near him as possibly I may. I would not stand at a distance, or keep aloof, as a malefactor, but draw near to him in a holy and well grounded confidence. Thus Job speaks, in answer to tbat charge of Elipbaz in the former chapter, “ Is not thy wickedness great, and thine iniquitien infinite ?" Now, says Job, you shall see what my sins are, and what my guilt, seeing I dare venture even to the very throne of God, where no hypocrite dare appear. Wbile Job professes that if God, after the manner of men, should sit in open judgment, (such as will be at the last day) be would come near to him, and not be afraid ; be seems fully assured of his own integrity, or of the goodness of his cause, as also that God would be good unto him.
Ver. 6. “ But he would put strength into me."]—This shews that the Lord strengthens his people, both to plead and prevail with bim, like Jacob, for the blessings wbich he bas promised ; and if the Lord calls us to go through any trial, or to labour in his service, he engages our bearts and hands in the work, and then gives us grace and strength to go on in it; so that a believer should, like Paul and Job, rely on Christ's power under every trial.
Ver. 10. " When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”] This shews that Job knew that his affliction would be for his spiritual advantage, and that he should appear like gold that had been tried in the fire; for gold is the most precious, the most honourable, the most weighty, and the most desirable metal: every one covets it. So wben Job says, “ I shall come forth as gold," his meaning