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CHAP. VII.

Job goes on with his reply to Eliphaz.

{TIS there] not an appointed time to man upon earth ? an ap.

L1 pointed warfare, or struggle ? Care not] his days also like

the days of an hireling? spent in toil, but al length conring 10 a 2 period? As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, as a slave,

working in a hot day, desires a cooling shade, and as an hireling

looketh for (the reward of] his work, carnestly longs for his wa 3 ges, so do I; and the reason is, because So am I maile to possess

months of vanity, that is, of labour and sorrow, and wearisome nights are appointed to me, when others have rest from their la. bours. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawn.

ing of the day ; my nights are restless and uneasy, through pain 5 of body, or disquieting thoughts ; and no wonder, for My flesh is

clothed with worms, which breed in my sores, and clods, or scab8, 6 of dust ; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. My days

are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope ; my happy days are all gone, and there is no likelihood of their return. O remember that my life [is] wind, quickly gone : mine

eye shall no more see good, I shall no more return to prosperity. 8 The eye of him that hath seen me, shall see me no [more ;]

my friends and acquaintances shall quickly lose sight of me ; thine eyes (are] upon me, thou frownest upon me, and I (am) nut; I am suddenly vanished out of the world. (As) the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, when dispersed by the sun : so he

that goeth down to the grave shall come up no [more] to live 10 in this world. He shall return no more to his house, neither

shall his place krow him any more, but shall receive another 11 owner and inhabitant. Therefore, since there is no hope of my

condition being better here, I will not refrain my mouth ; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit ; I will complain

in the bitterness of my soul ; I will give vent 10 my sor12 rows, [Am] I a sea, or a whale, so unruly, that nothing buil

such strong chains of affliction can tame or rule me, that thou set

test a watch over me to keep me froin escaping out of my troubles. 13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall case my 14 complaint ; when I expect comfort there ; Then thou scarest

me with dreams, and terrifiest ne through visions, frightfuilime

aginations, which keep my eyes awake, or if I sleep, quickly awake 15 me in horror and confusion, So that my soul chooseth strang.

ling, (and) death rather than my life; I am almost strangled with

grief. Oh that it would fully do its cvork, and put an end to this 16 miserable life. I loath [it ;) I would not live alway; I dread a

long continuance of these afftictions : let me alone ; for my days

Care] vanity ; I have no pleasure in them ; they are continually 17 passing away ; Oh make them not more miserable! What [is]

man, that thou shouldst magnify him ? shouldst honour so izan

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considerable a creature by contending with him? and that thou 18 shouldst set thine heart upon him? And [that] thou shouldst

visit him every morning, (and) try him every moment ? shouldst

try him with new afflictions, and put his strength and courage 19 to proof so often? How long wilt thou not depart from me, 20 nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle ?* I have sin

ned; what shall I do unto thee, thou preserver of men ? teach me how to regain thy favour, O thou observer of men ! why

hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so as to level all thine 21 arrows at me, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost

thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniqui. ty ?t for now shall I sleep in the dust ; wilt thou not 80 far forgive me as that I may die and be released, and sleep comfortably in the grave ? and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I [shall] not (be ;) I shall be beyond the reach of any other calamily.

REFLECTIONS.

1. W E may observe, that Job's complaints and expostulations

V do not countenance an impatient and fretful spirit. It is necessary that we should be reminded of this, because persons in affliction are too ready to manifest such a spirit, and to think themselves vindicated in it by the example of Job; and we have often heard the example of this good man pleaded to justify rery unbecoming language from persons under afflictions. If these were Job's own words, there were no foundation for the plea. But they are to be considered as a poetical description of his imperfections ; they are only the author's words. Job might in general utter some complaints ; and the author of the book enlarges upon them, and dresses them up in poetical language ; and all with a design to illustrate the general argument and intention of the book, and the more plainly to shew us how common, and yet indecent and ungrateful, a fretful and impatient spirit is. In this light we should consider them, and to such purposes improve them.

2. We have an instructive view given us of human life, and the condition of man upon earth. He is appointed to a warfare ; a continued struggle with afflictions and temptations ; he is like a slave or day labourer, that is to work a whole day, till the evening comes, when his work shall be examined, and he shall receive his reward. Human life is short, like the wind, that passes away swiftly ; like a weaver's shuttle, thrown to and fro; the threads are continually going off, till all are gone, and the scene closes. A man's life is like a cloud or vapour, that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away. God looks upon them, and they are not ; one look of his brings men to the dust, and their places in the house, or

• This refers to the disease affecting his throat or jaws, and his desire of a short respite to swallow down his spittle.

+ Dr. Kennicctt supposes that Job addresses these words to Eliphaz, and not to God; as much as to say, You say I have sinned ; but granting this, what have I done against thee, O

haz; thou warchtal observer ! and why not rather overlook y transgressions, and pass by my iniquity? Edit,

-shop, the town, or the church, know them no more ; and are filled by others, who enter into their habitations and possessions. All this is very instructive and practical; and teaches us to fight the good fight, and work while it is day, in expectation of the promised reward ; to redeem our time, and every day to prepare for death ; and (as friends, houses, wealth, and all earthly things must be left behind us, and we return no more to them,) to lay up ireasures in heaven; to use the world as not abusing it, and to seek an house nos made with hands, eternal in the heavens,

3. The hand of God is to be acknowledged in all our afflictions. If we possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights, it is God who appoints them to us. Are our days full of labour and sickness ? are we kept awake in the might by pain? or if we sleep, are we terrified by dreams, and awake wearied and fatigued rather than refreshed ? it is God's ordering. It is good to see and consider our afflictions as the appointments of his providence ; and from thence to conclude, that they are appointed for some wise and good end. He thus gives us an opportunity of glorifying him, and adorning religion, improving our graces, and doing good to others, by patience, submission and thankfulness, If we are not thus afflicted, let us be thankful ; bless God that our days are comfortable and useful; and that we lie down at night, and our sleep is sweet unto us. Once more,

4. Whatever our afflictions are, it is good to think of our sins, and be humble and penitent for them. Job is represented as acknowledging his offences, and entreating forgiveness ; and this should be our temper. It is the design of affiiction to bring us to it. It is a good saying of Mr. BAXTER, 'when God afflicts a man, it is as if he called him by name, saying, Oh such a one, repent, be awakened, be humbled, be serious. Let our complaints be turned into penitent confessions, and we may hope for mercy and forgive. ness from him who is the preserver and saviour of men. By aj. Aiction shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged ; and this is the fruit, to take away sin,

CHAP. VIII,

Pildad, who was descended from Shuah, one of Abraham's song by Kem

turah, defend: Eliphaz's speech, and asserts that Job and his children were punished for their wickedness ; and that this is God's usual way of dealing with hypocritrs, except they repent, yet upon repentance they may expect happine88. He begins with reproving Job's ungoverned passions.

12THEN answered Bildad the Shubite, and said, How long

1 wilt thou speak these [things ?) and (how long shall the words of thy mouth (be like) a strong wind, violent and im3 petuous, not sparing even God himself. Doth God pervert judge

ment, as thy words seem to imply? or doth the Almighty, who

4 can be under no temptation to do it, pervert justice? If thy chile

dren have sinned against him in some heinous manner, and he have

cast them away, suddenly destroyed them, for their transgres. 5 sion ; yet If thou wouldst seek unto God betimes, and make thy 6 supplication to the Almighty, instead of complaining ; If thou

[wert) pure and upright; of a sincere heart and blameless life, as thou pretendest and wouldst be thought to be, surely now he would

awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness, 7 that is, thy righteous habitation, prosperous. Though thy begin

ning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase ; though thou art now reduced very low, yet thy prosperity should

be greater than ever it was. For the truth of this he appeals to 8 antiquity. For, inquire, I pray thee of the former age, and pre9 pare thyself to the search of their fathers : (For we are but of]

yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth (are) 10 a shadow, in comparison of our forefathers:) Shall not they teach

thee, (and] tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? they who

made prudent observations, and carefully set their hearts to consider 11 the meaning of Providence ? Can the rush grow up without

mire? can the fag grow without water? By this beautiful simile

he illustrates the speedy destruction of sinners ; they grow up like 12 rushes and flags, when they have mire and water, but Whilst it

[is] yet in his greenness, [and] not cut down, before the scythe cuts it down, it withereth before any (other) herb for want of

moisture ; so the prosperity of the wicked soon decays for want of 13 God's blessing. So (are) the paths of all that forget God; and 14 the hypocrite's hope shall perish : Whose hope shall be cut off,

and whose trust [shall be) a spider's web ; his vain hone like a spider's web, which he spins out of his own dowels, may spread

wide, and he may amuse himself with it, but shall be easily dissipat. 15 ed and destroyed. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not

stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure ; that is, he shall trust to che multitude of his children and servants, and his

great walih, and endeavour to strengthen himself by rich and poo 16 tent alliances, but all will disappoint him. He (is green before

the sun, and his branch shootețh forth in his garden. Nay, to

illustrate it by another comparison, though like a tree which seems 17 green before the sun, and shoots forih strong branches, His roots

are wrapped about the heap, [and] seeth the place of stones ; he takus root in the firmest earth, and knits himself to the stones

and rocks, so 'ha: it seems almost impossible to remove him ; nev. 18 ertheless, If he destroy him from his place, then [it] shall de.

ny him, [saying,] I have not seen thee. God can and will

pluck him up by the root, and there shall be no remains of him, no 19 remembrance hur he ever afyeared so strong and fair. Behold, this

[is] the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow : this is the issue of the fiourishing estate of the wicked, and the pleas. ure they took in it; and out of the earth, from whence he was pointed ull, shall others (not of his own family) grow and flourish in bis stead. Bildad ihen reminds Job of what he was a:temfiling

20 10 firove. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect (mán,] neje

ther will he help the evil doers : nor will he leave thee, if thou 21 repent and art upright, Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and

thy lips with rejoicing ; till thou shall be 80 remarkably blessed 22 and favoured, as not to be able tu contain thy joy. They that hate

thee and rejoice at thy fall, shall be clothed with shame, shall be confounded at thy returning prosperity; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought, 80 as not to be able to hurt thee.

· REFLECTIONS.

1. CINCE life is so short, it is our wisdom to trace out the senti:

ments and experience of former ages : to consult those who have lived before us, to observe their opinions, and inquire into their history of events, and their remarks upon them, and compare them with the events of our day, to illustrate the providence of God. In this view books are excellent and useful ; especially the sacred scriptures, which are an authentic history of the most ancient, and remarkable events, and were written for our instruction, that we Through patience and comfort of the scriptures mighi have hope.

2. Forgetfulness of God is at the bottom of hypocrisy and impiety. If it be asked why men are so wicked and deceitful ? the answer is, they forget God, forget that he sees and knows them, is perfectly acquainted with their words and actions, and knows the things that come into their hearts, every one of them. Let it be our care not to forget God; but to have the desire of our souls toward him, and the remembrance of his name. That we may prevent sin, and promote holiness, we should set the Lord always before us, con. tinually act as in his presence, and endure, as seeing him who is in. visible.

3. The hope of the hypocrite shall perish ; it is all cobweb, light and thin, easily broken and blown away : or, if it continue through life, will at last be utterly destroyed by the besom of destruction : yea, though it seems as firm as a deep rooted tree, and rise ever so high, and spread ever so wide, it will be plucked up by the righteous hand of God. And the higher the hypocrite's hope rises, the greater will be his disappointment and misery. Let us then dread hypocrisy ; lit integrity and uprightness fireserve us, Far, on the other hand,

4. God will not cast away an upright man. The Lord loveth and will protect the righteous ; not indeed from all temporal evils, (fir whom the Lord lovech he some way or other chasteneth, yet he will do no man any wrong, nor lay upon any men more heavy afflictions than they deserve, or than will be for their good. v. 3. Though le may cast such an one down, yet he will not cast him aray ; his af. flictions, if patiently endured, and faithfully improved, will turn to his benefit ; and at lengti (perhaps in this world, but surely in the next) God will fill his mouth with joy, and his life with rejoicing. These remarks in this chapter are confirmed by David's observa.

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