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dust upon their heads toward heaven. and none spake a word unto him: for 13 So they sat down with him upon they saw that his grief was very great. the ground "seven days and seven nights,

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ing him to despair, and to blasphemy as its never failing effect.

V. 12, 13. Job seems to have been at this time in the open air; when his friends, astonished at what they saw, and perceiving him so altered that they could not know him, expressed their grief by every emphatical_token, and burst out into loud lamentations. It should not, however, be concluded from the language here used, that he and his friends remained together in the same place, all the time preceding their debate, and during its continuance. At proper seasons they came to Job, and sat by him as mourners; but they were so affected by a view of his misery, that they remained silent before him. It is probable, they suspected that his unprecedented calamities were judgments on him for some enormous crimes, which he had veiled under a hypocritical profession of religion: but they did not choose to augment his grief, by abruptly bringing this charge against him; yet they could not use the ordinary topics of consolation. Perhaps they conferred among themselves on the subject, and agreed to wait and observe his conduct, and to take an opportunity of speaking, as circumstances might appear to them. Perhaps also Job suspected the cause of their silence; and his anguish on that account, might give Satan an occasion of tempting him to use the passionate language recorded in the ensuing chapter, which confirmed his friends in their harsh suspicions, and gave rise to the subsequent debate.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V. 1-8.

n 4:2. Ps. 77:4.

change, that we may learn to love God and out neighbor. And as men will give all they have to save their lives; we should argue, that it is true wisdom to part with our property, or liberty, or country, nay, with our very lives, to secure the salvation of our immortal souls. But to infer, that all men are alike mercenary, and that the most excellent actions of pious persons spring from the same carnal and selfish principles, as the most atrocious crimes of the profane; manifests the malice of Satan himself, tends to render the vilest characters contented in their wickedness, subserves the cause of infidelity, and insinuates that all religion is pretence and imposture. Yet, who does not often hear such suggestions, from those who would not be thought to stand forth as the avowed advocates of impiety or atheism? To confute such accusations by stubborn facts, the Lord is pleased to give leave to malice, to exert her utmost power, in putting this matter to the trial; in the midst of afflictions and persecutions he enables the believer to retain his integrity; and, while the men of the world give up honor, conscience, and their souls, to save their lives, the servant of God renounces all, and even lays down his life, rather than disobey and dishonor his Lord. Thus, in innumerable in stances, have the patient and constant sufferings of godly men confounded, rather than gratified, the malice of their slanderous persecutors; and proved to a demonstration an essential difference between those, who are only "born of the flesh," and those who "are born again of the Spirit.”— We cannot know how far the Lord, in his un-. searchable counsels may see fit to suffer our enemies to prevail. They may be permitted, not only to tear from us all earthly comforts, and to fill our bodies and souls with most exquisite agony; but even to seduce our beloved friends to become our tempters, or accusers: we should therefore stand prepared for trials, and "rejoice with trembling" in every external advantage.When we are most healthy and vigorous, we should remember to what loathsome diseases our bodies are liable; and that they may shortly become a mass of putrefaction, which could scarcely be known or endured by our most affectionate friends. Instead then of being vain of thein, or bestowing pains in decorating or pampering them; let us seek for the incorruptible ornaments and unfading beauties of holiness. Let us be thank

Holy angels are not more unwearied in serving God and in doing good, than evil spirits are in rebellion and mischief: and when baffled in their attempts, they are pushed on, by pride and enmity, to still further disappointment and disgrace.-As Satan persists in accusing the people of God, notwithstanding the evidences which they give of piety and integrity: so will his servants upon earth persist in slandering them, in defiance of demonstration itself. From "their father" they learn to put a bad construction upon the best actions of good men, and to ascribe them to base motives. (Notes, John 8:37-47.) The piety of believers is called hypocrisy; their self-denial, affectation; their liberality, ostentation; their resignation, want of natural affection; their meekness, want of spirit; and their contempt of world-ful for our present measure of health, or the atly pleasure, and dislike to trifling and profane tendance which we receive in sickness: and let company, are ascribed to want of taste, and to a us look through the grave, to the risen and glorimorose, unsociable disposition. But the Lord fied Jesus, and expect his second coming, when will vindicate the character of his servants; and "he shall change our vile bodies, that they may he delights in their constancy and submission be fashioned like unto his glorious body, accordamidst trials and temptations, because they glorifying to the working, whereby he is able even to the power of his grace. He will therefore, at subdue all things unto himself."-In humiliating some times, without any other peculiar cause, circumstances, a humble deportment should be give their enemies permission to prove them in observed: and when we are in great pain and various ways. They mean to destroy them; but sickness, deserted, insulted, destitute of neceshe intends to purify their hearts, to exalt their saries or convenient attendance, or laboring ungraces, and to enhance their glorious recompense: der a complication of every distress; we should and, though the trial may be severe; yet it is the meditate on the sufferings of Job, on his patience, post of honor, and the event will be unspeakably on the love of God to him, and on his happy dehappy. (Notes, Gen. 50:20. Is. 10:7. Hab. 1: liverance: and we should also look unto the suf12-17. Rom. 8:35--39. 1 Pet. 4:12-16.)-The||fering Savior, and compare our light afflictions insinuations of Satan and his factors are most dangerous, when most plausible, and when they are sophistical inferences from undoubted truths. Men are indeed naturally selfish, and prone to disregard all others in comparison of themselves, The temporal comforts reserved to us, when their own ease, interest, or indulgence. Hence others are removed, often prove the sources of it is evident we all need an inward and gracious lour severest anguish. The enemy knows how to

with his unknown sufferings, "lest we be wearied and faint in our minds." (Notes, Heb. 12:2,3. Jam. 5:7—11.)

V. 9-13.

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suit his temptations to our circumstances, and is changed to poetry, which is adorned by bold to send them by those persons that possess most figures, according to the genius of the East. influence over us: we should then consider, not For seven days Job's friends had come, and sat who proposes, but what is proposed to us. (Note, by him, without either speaking consolation to Matt. 16:21-23. P. O. 21-28.)-No temptation him, or mentioning their suspicions: but doubtis so dangerous to the afflicted, as that to despair. less their distant and reserved behavior inWhen a man is induced to regard God as an ir- creased his inward anguish. At the same time, reconcilable enemy, his heart naturally rises in we may suppose, Satan assaulted his mind with enmity, and vents this in blasphemy; every means all possible temptations, to fill him with hard of grace is neglected, any crime ventured on thoughts of God, as if he were severe, unjust, with eagerness, and suicide may probably close and his enemy; to shake his confidence and hope; the horrid career. Let us then "watch and pray, and, by filling him with horror and dismay, to that we enter not into temptation." (Notes, 1 urge him to "curse God to his face." His perSam. 28:12-25. 31:3-6. Matt. 27:3-5. 2 Cor. mission seems to have extended to this, as well 2:5-11.)-We ought not to judge of the Lord's as to the torturing of his body; provided he did love to us, by outward events or present feelings, not kill him, or deprive him of reason. In this, but should rest our hopes upon his holy word; and Job was an especial type of Christ, whose inward consider every hard thought of God, as a "fiery sufferings, both in the garden and on the cross, dart" of the enemy, which must be "quenched" are generally allowed to have been far the most without a moment's delay, by whatever means it dreadful, and in a great degree occasioned by may have been excited. It is also desirable, to the assaults of the devil in that hour of darkness: possess our souls in meekness, and to answer even (Notes. Matt. 26:36-39. Luke 22:39-53.) and our tempters with calmness and reason, as well when Job's trial was come to its extremity, we as with decided abhorrence of sin.-None but may conclude, that he was deprived of all comthe foolish will habitually say, that there is no fortable sense of God's favor, and filled with ground for hope in God, nor any benefit in serv- dread of his wrath. Unless we bring these ining him: none but the ungodly can deliberately ward trials into the account, we shall not readily persuade us to despair, blasphemy, or self-murder. comprehend the change which took place in his But if any one who has appeared to be a pious conduct, from the entire resignation of the preChristian, should once, under urgent distresses, ceding chapters, to the impatience which apdrop a hint which tends to such conclusions; we pears here, and in the subsequent part of the should remind him, whose work he is doing, and book. But this consideration solves the difficulwhose language he speaks.-Did we duly re- ty: Job's inward conflict and anguish, added to member our sins against God, we should not all his outward sufferings, caused in-dwelling wonder, that amidst our many blessings, we had sin to work powerfully, and at length it burst also heavy afflictions: we should rather say, "It forth in many improper expressions. He had is of the LORD's mercies that we are not con-long repressed the thoughts of his heart: but at sumed;" and receive the severest of them with thankfulness as well as patience: and thus they would become our richest gain.-Those friends, who crush the afflicted believer with hard censures and suspicions, are as real tempters, as those who persuade him to blasphemy and apostacy.It is an indispensable duty of the Christian to visit and comfort his afflicted brethren, as he has opportunity; for it is equally useful to him, as to them: and the greatest as well as the meanest should attend upon it, without shrinking from inconveniences, or disagreeables. But alas! we often prove miserable comforters of each other, augmenting instead of alleviating one another's grief. So that our whole dependence for consolation, must be placed on God alone.

NOTES.

last "he opened his mouth;" not, (as that expression generally imports,) to utter wise instructions, deliberately and gravely, but bitter execrations upon the day of his birth. For he vainly hoped to ease his mind by giving vent to the fire which burned within.-The experienced believer, however, knows that a few drops of this bitter cup are more dreadful than the sharpes afflictions, under which he is preserved from in ward temptation, and favored with the sweet sense of the love and presence of God. He will not therefore be much surprised, to find that Job proved himself "a man of like passions" with others, and prone to folly and impatience; but will rejoice that Satan was disappointed, and could not prove him a hypocrite: for though he cursed the day of his birth, he did not curse his

CHAP. III. V. 1. Here the style of the book God. (Note, 1:9—11.)

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vented, and in time the soul recovers its composure. (Note, Gal. 5:16-18.)-Doubtless, Job was afterwards heartily ashamed of this language: but what must his judgment of it be now, in the full enjoyment of unchangeable felicity! Does he now curse the day of his birth? Does he now wish that he had never been born? His own reproof of his wife belonged also to himself, though not in the same degree: for on this occasion he spake, as "one of the foolish men," (Note, 2:10.) and thus he confirmed his friends in their unfa

V. 2-10. Here we find Job giving utterance to his anguish, by a variety of curses on the day of his birth, (a day generally remembered on its annual return, with tokens of joy,) because he would thus declare a vain wish that he had never been born. He would have the day and night, on which he was born, to the joy of his parents, expunged from the year; or at least to be one continued and dreary night. He would have it marked with tokens of God's abhorrence, and by every terrifying appearance; that men might dread its approach, spend it in solitude, and re-vorable opinion of him. joice when it was over; that it might even be V. 11-19. When Job had exhausted his such a season, as the Egyptians experienced rhetoric in cursing the day of his birth, he next during the plague of darkness. (Notes, Ex. 10: inquired, why he did not die as soon as he was 21,23. Ps. 78:46-49.) He would have it cursed born: and thus he not only murmured against by those, who superstitiously marked certain God for sparing his life; but expostulated with days as ominous; and employed in wailings, by those who were present at his birth, as if now those who were engaged to mourn at funerals; before him, for their tender attention to him in or, as some interpret it, spent in horrid incanta- that helpless state! For had none nursed and tions, by those who dealt with Satan, and brought suckled him, when a new-born infant, he should him up by their witchcrafts: for the original is not have lived to endure his present sufferings. literally, "those who are ready to raise up Levia- The event of his afflictions, to himself, and to than." (Note, Is. 27:1.) And all this, because the church, through successive ages, fully rethe day did not prevent his being born, and, by solves his questions, and shews for what impormaking his mother's womb his grave, preserve tant purposes he was preserved. But under him from his present misery. (Note, Jer. 20:14 this temptation, he thought of nothing but relief -18.)-The wildness, absurdity, and impossi- from anguish and distress: he knew that in the bility of these wishes, denote the tempest of his grave no pain was felt, and, for the moment, he soul: the cruelty to his mother, whose miserable scarcely looked any further; though in more ludeath should, as he thought, have prevented his cid intervals, he expressed a faith and hope conwretched life; and the ill will to mankind to cerning the eternal world. (Notes, 14:7-12. whom he would bequeath such a dreadful day,|| 19:23-27.) His present misery made him, at may properly be noticed: but such exclamations, the time, think insensibility most desirable: and being the language of passion, cannot be measur- he amused himself with imagining, that if he had ed by the standard of reason. They imply, how- died from the womb, he should have lain as quiet ever, an ungrateful contempt of God's gifts, and in the grave, as the most mighty monarchs, conrebellion against his will; and are utterly unbe- querors, or politicians; or as the most wealthy coming a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, or princes, who retained nothing of their acquisia believer in a state of grace. But during inward tions but a desolate tomb, and were not a whit darkness and temptation, Satan so stirs up the superior to a still-born infant: he considered lacorruption of the heart, that the plainest truths borers, prisoners, and slaves, as there rescued and promises are forgotten; former and present from their oppressors, free as their masters, and mercies are disregarded; future prospects are at rest from their labor and pain. His words inclouded; and the soul verges to despondency and deed contain important truths: but if exemption blasphemy. Yet it is held back by the counter- from present suffering were all that can be exacting efficacy of divine grace, which subsists pected, there would be little reason to look forand operates, though it does not decidedly pre-ward to death with comfort, or to want delivervail; and thus the more dreadful effects are pre- ||ance from the sorrows of this present life.

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Built desolate places, &c. (14) Many explain under urgent troubles and temptations, the evil this of the sepulchres, which princes and nobles of the heart frequently bursts forth in very culoften built for themselves. (Notes, Is. 22:16. || pable words and actions. None but the Savior Matt. 27:57-61.) ever endured the extremity of anguish and temp

V. 20-23. Finding the vanity of his impossi-tation, without any abatement of his love, any ble wishes, Job next complained that he was still|| mixture of sin, or any indications of impatience. forced to live, though weary of life: and he in--The pious reader will doubtless recollect seaquired the reason, why light, that is, life, was sons when, under afflictions comparatively light, given to the miserable. He did not mention the his heart has risen into the same kind of peevishname of God, perhaps out of reverence to him, ness, ingratitude, rebellion, and despondency, for his better judgment checked the vehemence which Job discovered. Many will with shame of his passion; but he evidently reflected upon remember, that they have conceived and uttered him as unkind, in not at once terminating his || rash and foolish wishes not wholly dissimilar to sufferings by death. He dared not rush uncalled those of Job: nay, some will be conscious, that into the presence of his Judge, by an act of des- half the burden which was laid on Job would perate rebellion and murder: (Notes, 2:9.10.) have extorted from them still more desperate but he should exceedingly rejoice, if the Lord complaints; and these reflections should lay us would cut him off, and be more glad of a grave low in humiliation before God. We should also than of hid treasures; and he supposed that many take shame to ourselves, when we consider the others were of the same judgment. (Note, 6:8 |folly and impossibility of those things, for which -13.) He could not conceive, that any good we have often wished. In our sober moments end could be answered by the continuance of his we should meditate on the consequences which life: for every thing in Providence, and in the would have resulted, had our vain and impatient frame of his mind, was so dark and dismal, that wishes been granted, to ourselves, our relatives, he was like a man who had lost his way, or who and our neighbors; and we shall often find that was so enclosed by powerful enemies on every they were unnatural and cruel, as well as impiside, that he had no prospect of escape.-The ous, and destructive to our own happiness. Intempter seems to have kept the thought of the deed, the habit of wishing is altogether foolish eternal world from his mind: but the event and sinful. Those wishes which respect the past, fully shewed, why the Lord continued his can only express our impatience: and, if the oblife, both for his own good, and for that of mil-ject of our desires at the present, or for the fulions.

V. 24-26. By way of apology for his vehement complaints, Job at length mentioned the excess of his sufferings. Nothing but sighs and groans occupied his time: his very food, which prolonged his miserable life, was mingled with groans, and even roarings; (Notes, Ps. 22:1. 32: 3-5.) and they flowed forth incessantly, like waters from a fountain. He was, however, conscious, that in prosperity he had not indulged carnal security; he had feared a change, and watched against those sins, in himself and his family, which might provoke the divine displeasure: (Note, 1:5.) yet his solicitude had not prevented his calamities, which equalled the worst of his fears. His former expectation of trials, and preparation for them, should have been a comfort to him under his sufferings: but, through the power of Satan and the prevalence of corruption, this seemed an aggravation of his misery. (Note, 27:7-10.)

I was not, &c. (26) This is rendered by some interrogatively; "Was I not in safety? had I not rest? was I not quiet? yet trouble came."-This is very pathetic.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V. 1-10.

There is an essential difference between the true believer, and every hypocrite; and the former will not finally apostatize or despair: yet

ture, be lawful, we should make it the subject of
our prayers; if not, we should silence ourselves
and the tempter, by saying, "It is written,
Thou shalt not covet."-When our passions over-
power reason, the soul becomes as a ship in a
violent storm, without compass, rudder, or pilot;
and, if it be possible, we ought to cast anchor
till the storm subsides. Profound silence, inter-
rupted only by ejaculations, should be observed:
as we can in such a case do no good, but must
get harm, by either speaking or acting; though
we shall naturally be very earnest in both.-In-
deed, we are born in sin, and to sorrow; and, if
left to ourselves and the tendency of our own
corruptions, without remedy or mercy, it “had
been good for us, if we had not been born:" yet
even in that case it would be diabolical rage and
enmity, to charge our guilt and misery upon God,
from whom "every good and perfect gift," and
nothing else, can proceed. But, blessed be his
name! even "the earth is full of his goodness."
This present life may be made very tolerable, if
we accommodate ourselves to our circumstances,
and attend to our duty: and we are under a dis-
pensation of mercy, and may hope for the favor
of God and eternal felicity, whatever our former
lives have been, if now willing to accept of Jesus
Christ, as our Savior from wrath and from sin.
By "giving diligence to make our calling and
election sure,"
that we are "born of God:" and his children are
we may obtain good evidence
heirs of everlasting glory. In that case we cer-
tainly can have no cause to "curse the day of

CHAP. IV.

Eliphaz reproves Job for impatience, and want of confidence in God, 1-6. He states that divine judgments come not on the righteous, but on the wicked, 7-11. He relates his vision. confirming this doctrine, 12-21.

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and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strength

HEN Eliphaz the Temanite b an- ened the feeble knees. swered and said,

2 If we assay

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to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can t withhold himself from speaking?

d

3 Behold, thou hast instructed many,

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5 But now it is come upon thee and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

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d Gen. 18:19. Prov. 10:21. 15:7.
16:21. 1s. 50:4. Eph. 4:29. Heb. bowing knees. Is. 35:3,
4. Dan. 5:6. Heb. 12:12.

Col. 4:6.

our birth;" and if a thought of that kind intrude, we should treat it as a temptation of the enemy, and reject it immediately.-But what a day, or rather what an eternal night, will that be which awaits impenitent sinners! Condemned to outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth; banished for ever from the favor and presence of God; surrounded with horror and despair; employed in curses and imprecations; wearied of existence, and in vain longing for annihilation; and associated with the devil and his angels! That day "God will not regard from above," no light will shine upon it for ever. Who then can help feeling the propriety, yea the necessity, of praying, 'From this destruction, good Lord, deliver us! May all, who read these remarks, take warning "to flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold for refuge on the hope set before us" in the gospel!

V. 11-26.

If, in this accepted time and day of salvation, we in good earnest seek and serve God, we may regard the formation of our bodies, the gift of our immortal souls, the care taken of us in infancy and childhood, and all the Lord's protection of us and long-suffering towards us ever since, as being in order to our everlasting happiness. Then indeed we may well cease to envy kings or princes, and all the wise and wealthy of the world; who will soon be levelled in the grave, with the infant which died from the womb, but who will have an awful account to render of their stewardship, before the tribunal of God. (Notes and P. O. Luke 16:1-13.) We should indeed habituate ourselves to view the grave without terror; for we shall there feel no pain or uneasiness, and be out of the reach of every oppressor and persecutor. But "there remaineth a" better "rest for the people of God;" a rest from sin, temptation, and conflict, and from sorrows and labors, in the immediate presence and ineffable enjoyment of God. Thence both wicked men and evil spirits will be excluded, and cease from troubling us for ever; "there the weary will" indeed "be at rest," and the poor slave and prisoner enjoy "the glorious liberty of the children of God." Nay, as far as we trust and obey the Lord Jesus, we here find rest to our souls; though "in the world we have tribulation." It is indeed far "better to depart, and to be with him:" but we must not undervalue life, though spent in sufferings; seeing they will work for our good at last, and some way or other subserve his glory and the good of our brethren. Let us then learn to keep the eternal world more constantly in view; that we may not be much disconcerted about temporal things.-And should any take up these pages, who are longing for death, and tempted to suicide; let them compare their present sufferings, not with the quiet of the grave, but

h Prov. 24:10. 2 Cor. 4:1 16 Heb. 12:3,5.

i 1:11. 2:5. 19:21.
1:1,9,10. 2 Kings 20:3.
k 13:15. Prov. 3.26. 14:26.

with the scriptural declarations of the state of the damned; which must be the lot of all, who die in rebellion and despair, and by an act of deliberate murder. (Note, Ex. 20:13, conclusion.) Let them remember that this desperation is the suggestion of the "old liar" and "murderer from the beginning:" it is the very object at which he aimed, in respect of Job, by all his temptations. Let them stop their ears to his suggestions, and hearken to the Savior's inviting voice: let them come to him with their burdens and sorrows; and they shall find rest to their souls, and learn to bless God for temporal life as the means of eternal salvation.-Finally, in prosperity let us all watch against carnal security: and under trials let us pray for patience; looking to him, "who suffered being tempted, that he might be able to succor them that are tempted." Then, though for a season our way seem stopt, and our hope lost; we shall ere long be enabled to declare from our own experience, that "they who wait for the LORD shall never be ashamed."

NOTES.

CHAP. IV. V. 1. It is probable, that Job's friends had previously conferred upon his case; and suspected from his extraordinary sufferings and impatient wishes, that he was a wicked man: they therefore thought it incumbent upon them to charge this home on his conscience, in order to induce him to repentance; and Eliphaz, who seems to have been the senior of them, undertook to open the matter to him. (Note, 2:12, 13.)-Thus, when Satan failed of proving his charge against Job, he suggested to his friends this suspicion of his hypocrisy, that they might grieve and tempt him by it. For the argument between Job and his friends, was precisely on the same point, which, at Satan's instigation, was to be decided by his behavior under affliction; namely, whether he was a truly pious man, or a hypocrite. Satan undertook to prove him a hypocrite by afflicting him; and his friends concluded him one, because he was afflicted, and shewed impatience under his extreme sufferings. This we must keep continually in mind, if we would clearly understand the ensuing debate. (Notes, Luke 13:1-5.)

V. 2. Eliphaz introduced his discourse with apparent modesty; yet the abrupt manner, in which he addressed Job, shewed that he was about to censure and reprove him. He purposed to converse with Job on the subject of his extraordinary sufferings, and his despondency under them; but he was afraid he would be grieved at his words. The case, however, was urgent: for who, in such circumstances, "could refrain from words?" (Marg.) This intimated, that he thought Job extremely culpable, nay, in danger of final destruction.

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