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God in the dispensations of his providence; or the secrets of his wisdom in the plan and glories of redemption, in bis counsels, purposes, and designs of salvation by Christ, in whom the secrets or treasures of his wisdom shine forth, in the blessings of election, adoption, justification, life, peace, pardon, and salvation, which was the secret or " mystery ibat was bid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to the saints.”
Ver. 7. “ Canst thou find out the Almighty unto per. fection }”]-Such is the immensity, infinity, glory, and incomprehensibility of JEHOVAH, that the utmost thoughts of the mind are perfectly lost when they attempt to think or describe what God is; for when we think of a Being without beginning or end, who is unoriginated in all his perfections, infinite in his nature, self-existent in 'bis glory, and eternal in his essence, then are all our thoughts lost, and swallowed up in his incomprehensible glories. But, blessed be his name, though he neither is, nor can be known or conceived of in the perfections of his essence, yet he is known and found communicatively in the perfection of his grace and love in Christ, in whom all bis perfections sbine forth; and every promise and blessing is accomplished in him, .who is “ the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person :" as all the divine attributes are glorified in him as man and mediator, cvery step of salvation is taken in Christ, and all the blessings of the covenant come through bim ; so that whatever knowledge we have of God in his names, perfections, promises, and blessings, is through the person of the divine Immanuel : he is the glass wherein we behold the glories of the Godhead, and the medium of all communion with him, and knowledge of him for time and eternity. . : Ver. 9. “The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.”]—There is a depth in God, in bis thoughts, in his wisdom, that is displayed in nature, providence, and grace; that is unfathomable, which we cannot know, but as it is revealed in Christ; in wbom there appears a display of wisdom and love that is higher than the hea. vens, deeper than the sea, broader than the earth, and more boundless than the mighty waters; see Eph, iii. 18.
In this and the two following chapters we have Job's answer to Zophar's
discourse. In which, as before, he first reasous with bis friends, see chap. xiii. 19. and then turns to his God, and directs bis expostula. tious to him, from thence to the end of his discourse. In this chapter be addresseth himself to his friends; and, (1.) He condemns what they had said of him, and the judgment they had given of his character, ver. 1-5. (2.) He contradicts and confronts what they had said of the destruction of wicked people in this world, shewing that they often prosper, ver. 6-11. (3.) He consents to what they had said of the wisdom and power, and sovereignty of God, and the dominion of his providence over the children of men and all their affairs; he confirms this, and enlargeth upon it, ver. 12--25.
VER. 11. “ Doth not the mouth taste his meat?"] That is, whether it be good or bad, savoury or unsavoury; and as the natural appetite thus discerneth between good and bad in temporal food, so does the spiritual appetite of the christian discern between the meat that perisheth, and tbat which endureth to eternal life;" for such as have • tasted that the Lord is gracious," will desire to feed upon the sincere milk of the world : they only can relish Christ, the bread of life, and feed upon the precious fruits of his death, righteousness, and resurrection, which is “sweet to their taste.”
Ver. 13. With bim is wisdom and strength."]-This is to be understood of God, and may respect his wisdom in creation and providence; but more especially the wisdom that is displayed in the plan of redemption, in fixing upon one that is mighty to save, wherein the glory of all his at tributes is exalted, and his grace abounds to his people in all wisdom and prudence.
“He hath counsel and understanding.”] This appears in the counsel of peace that was made with Christ, who is “ wonderful in counsel :” for the plan, purposes, and promises of God, are accomplished by him; his person, life, death, and resurrection, being ordained in the counsel of God for the redemption of his people; and his understand. ing appears, in his knowledge of their names, cases, and distresses, and likewise in relieving, helping, and comforting them under all their troubles.
Job here comes to make application of what he had said in the foregoing
chapter, and now we haye bim not in so good a temper as then; for, (1.) He is very bold with his friends, comparing himself with them, notwithstanding the mortifications he was under, ver. 1, 2. Condemning them for their falsehood, their forwardness to judge, their partiality and deceitfulness, under colour of pleading God's cause, ver. 4-8. and threatening them with the judgments of God for their so doing, ver. 9-12. desiring them to be silent, ver. 5, 13, 17. and turning from them to God, ver. 3. 2. He is very bold with his God. (1.) In some expressions his faith is very bold, yet that is not more bold than welcome, ver, 15, 16, 18. But (2.) In other expressions his passion is rather too bold in expostulations with God concerning the deplorable condition he was in, ver. 14, 19, &c. complaining of the confusion he was in, ver. 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 proceedings against him, ver. 23—28.
VER. 4. “ Ye are all physicians of no value."] Those legal preachers that set poor souls to heal the wounds and diseases that sin has made in their souls by their tears, their prayers, and their obedience, are in spiritual cases physicians of no value; for their tears of repentance, though applied with their rags of righteousness, can never heal one single wound that sin bas made. Christ is the only soul-saving physician, for with the balmy blessings of his blood, which are pardon, peace, and salvation, he binds up “ the broken in heart, and heals all their wounds;" thereby a sense of guilt is removed, atonement is applied, pardon and forgiveness is revealed, and salvation sealed ; because Christ's rigbteousness is answerable to the demands of the law, and his death is a full atonement to divine justice. Rom. iii. 25.
Ver. 15. “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in bim."]—The word trust in the original signifies to hope or expect to receive from the hands of another under the great. est distress. Though the children of God are seemingly at times slain by trials, afflictions, and sorrows, yet through grace they are enabled to trust on God for the blessings of bis covenant which are unseen; for faith beholds the promise of God, his word, and oath, as its stay and support in a time of darkness and tribulation under the most distressing dispensations of providence.
Ver. 16. “ He also shall be my salvation."]These words are expressive of the strength of Job's faith in the Messiab as his salvation, for Job knew him to be bis Saviour and living Redeemer, and would acknowledge no other but him, and therefore he claims his interest in bim, which was his joy and support under all his troubles. :
Ver. 18. “ I know that I shall be justified.")-This may literally be understood of his justification from the ac. cusation of his friends, but spiritually, of his justification by Christ, whose righteousness is suitable, sufficient, and answerable, for the whole of justification and salvation ; this Job knew and was well acquainted with ; " I know, (saith he) that my Redeemer livetb." Though justification is a past act as it is in God's mind, yet it is present as it terminates upon the conscience, and future as it will be sealed and ratified before men and angels at the great day, Isaiah xiv. 25. This the believer knows and is well acá quaioted with from the word of God, and therefore speaks of it with such satisfaction and assurance of faith.
Ver. 24. “ Wherefore hidest thou thy face?"]-The greatest blessing that the christian can enjoy, is the gracious presence of God; and the loss of it is the greatest grief that can befal him. Sin is often the cause of affliction, but not always, as was the case of Job; which was for the trial of bis faith and patience, and the display of God's power and faithfulness.
There is no greater trial of grace than the withdrawing of comfort; and in that state where we shall bave all comfort, we shall never be pat to the trial of any gràce; yea, the graces which act in trials shall bave no existence there. Faith, and hope, and patience, have no place in heaven, because they have no work in heaven, as God will never hide his face, and satan shall never shew his face there. For between the appearing of satan's face, and thie hiding of God's face, lieth the work of these graces, Isaiab viii. 17. “I will wait upon God who bideth his face :" there is the trial of patience, to keep close to God, when God seemeth to depart from us.
God hides his face that we might be in love with that state where his face shall never be hid. It is best of all to be dissolved and to be with Christ, because then we and our joys shall never be divided. That joy which depends upon changeable things, must needs be changeable. The joy of heaven is a dependent joy, yet because God on whom it depends will never change a look towards us, therefore our joy shall be unchangeable. God will not vary his aspect toward the saints in heaven, for one moment, to alt eternity, and therefore the joy of saints in beaven will be for ever at the full. There is a double difference between the manifestation of God here upon earth, and in heaven. First, a difference in the degree, the manifestations in beaven are clearer; here in a glass, there face to face, as the apostle speaks. Secondly, the manifestations of God to the saints in heaven are without intermission, ibere shall not come one cloud between the face of God and our souls for ever. So the joy of the saints in heaven shall be the same. Now God hides bis face, and puts us to this question, “Wherefore bidest thou thy face ?” that we may long for that estate where this question shall never be put.
Note, by the face of God we may understand the Lord Jesus, who is the angel of God's face or presence; and a learned christian among the ancients gives this as one reason why Christ took our nature upon him, and so be. came God manisested in the flesh, that God, who in himself is altogether invisible, night be visible in his Son; God is more visible in Christ, than he is in all the creatures; the apostle calleth him “ the brightness of his glory, and tbe express image of his person," Heb. i. 3. Jesus Christ is the brightness, the sent forth light, or the beams and splendour of bis Father's glory, and the imprinted image of his essence or person; (for the words are a metaphor drawn from a lightsotne body, whiçb sends forth beams of light, and from a seal, which leaves its own impression or image where it is stampt ;) Christ Jesus is all this, not only in regard of his divine nature, but also in respect of his incar. nation, and sending, in the similitude of sinful flesh. For in Cbrist manifested in the flesh, the glory and excellency of God the Father shined forth ; who as he is in himself altogeber invisible, so he is in nothing so visible as in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and therefore all the former ways of manifesting God under the law have been abolished, since God manifested bimself to us by his Son : the excellency of this being so great beyond the former, that to look for them would be but like calling for star-light after the sun is risen. It appears by all this, that the manifestation of God to the soul is our highest privilege and comfort, and that the hiding of his face is our greatest loss and sorrow.
Ver. 26. “ For thou writest bitter things against me."] -This is to be understood not in a way of justice, wrath, and condemnation, but in a way of providence and great afflictions. Thus it is the pleasure of the Lord by the hand of providence to write bitter things, that is, appoint sore afflictions and distresses for his ową children, which are