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25 Thou shalt know also that thy || a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.

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seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

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26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in

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word rendered "sin," may mean wander, or be disappointed: and perhaps the verse may imply, that when the believer goes from home, he may commit himself and family to the care of God, assured that no tempests, fires, or robbers shall come near his habitation; and that he shall be brought back in peace, without losing his way, || or being disappointed at his return, by finding his family ruined, or murdered, or fallen into calamity. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 25-27. In case Job committed his cause to God, he might also be confident that his posterity would be prosperous, that he would live long, and die in peace, when fully ripe for heaven. (Notes, 42:10-17. 1 Chr. 29:26-28.) These principles Eliphaz recommended, as the result of his own experience and observation, and those of his friends, and concluded with admonishing Job to regard them for his good, and to make them his own by a practical use of them.-They are indeed good general rules, but they admit of many exceptions: for, though the believer is under the peculiar protection of God in his person, character, family, and all relating to him, and should commit all to his keeping; the Lord often sees good to withhold the temporal comfort, in order to confer a spiritual blessing of greater value. Indeed, Job's sufferings, so far from being proofs of hypocrisy, were not so much as corrections for any particular of fence; but trials of his singular faith, piety, and constancy: so greatly did his friends mistake his case! They spoke general truths according to the light of that dispensation; but they erred in their application of them. The Holy Spirit has recorded that debate, as infallibly true in point of matter of fact: but we must decide from the general tenor of the scripture, whether they maintained right principles, and deduced legitímate consequences; and whether their arguments were or were not conclusive. (Note, 42:7-9.)

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.

f Heb. ascendeth.

Heb. for thyself. 22:2 Deut.

g 8:8-10. 13:2. 15:9,10,17. 32: 10:13.
11,12.

as exposed to the awful curse of God, even in the
zenith of their prosperity, when all around are
congratulating and envying them. Their tem
poral success will soon vanish: and what is go
by fraud, oppression, or cruelty, commonly en-
tails a curse on their families and estates. Yet
a man's wickedness must be very notorious, to
authorize us to interpret his afflictions, or those
of his posterity, into divine judgments upon him.
-As we are born in sin, and soon run into actual
transgression, we are naturally exposed to al-
most innumerable troubles: but they are all di-
rected by the unerring hand of God, for some
wise and righteous purpose; and we should regu-
late our conduct accordingly.

V. 8-16.

It is easy to say, what we would do in trying circumstances; but perhaps we should find it more difficult to observe our own rules, than we now imagine. We ought, however, to give proper advice, and to leave the event to God: and it becomes us under all our trials to seek unto him, and to commit our cause into his hands. Whatever difficulties may be in our case, the Lord knows how to extricate us, by a thousand ways that we never thought of. All his works are wonderful and unsearchable: we see what is wrought, and can discover his wisdom, power, and goodness, in the connexion of causes and effects in nature; but we cannot comprehend how he works. And too often the great Author of all our comforts, and the manner in which they are conveyed to us, are alike unnoticed, because they are received as things of course. He exalts or depresses, afflicts or comforts, as he pleases, with irresistible power, but in perfect justice, wisdom, and goodness.-Those who are perverse and ungodly, and proud of their abilities and sagacity, are generally made to feel, or to expose, their own folly and impotency. "Pro fessing themselves wise, they become fools:' they are often bewildered by their own fancies, and rendered the dupes of their own false reasonings or refined politics; they run into the It is generally dangerous to deviate from the grossest absurdities, commit the most egregious sentiments and practices of the saints of God, mistakes, are bewildered in uncertainty in the and it is very discouraging to be constrained to plainest matters, and grope at noon day as if it act contrary to their judgment. But it is com- were midnight; for "God takes them in their mon for men to boast, as if believers, in all ages own craftiness," and makes "foolish the wisdom and nations, were of their mind, when they are of this world." Idolaters and atheistical philosofar from having even a majority in their favor. phers of old; skeptics, infidels, and materialists And at last the word of God is our all-sufficient of modern days, are awful proofs of these truths: rule, and not the sentiments of any number of and so are politic persecutors and oppressors of fallible men: so that, in fact, they have some- the church, in every age.-In vain have learning, times been found right, who seemed not only to wisdom, authority, cruelty, and every device of have all the world, but almost all the church, men and devils united, to subvert the church of against them. We should watch ourselves, and God, and extirpate his poor despised people. caution others, against the tormenting and ma- The schemes of these enemies have been fruslignant passions of envy and anger; which rule trated, "their hands have not been able to perin the hearts of weak and foolish men with most form their enterprise;" their "counsels have fatal energy, and not only expose them to the been carried headlong," and they have been wrath of God, but to the temptations of Satan, taken in their own snare, infatuated, and driven and to various species of guilt and misery. But to destruction; and all their successors may exwe must not rashly represent every gust of pas-pect the same fate. For the poor and despised sion or agitation of spirit under trials, reproaches, and temptations, as an evidence of a malevolent disposition: for we should not choose to have our own infirmities treated with such severity; and we might reasonably expect that they would not. We may predict the final ruin of wicked men,

V. 1-7.

people of God, though deemed weak, foolish, and defenceless, can neither be overcome, nor assaulted with impunity. The church still subsists; "the poor" in spirit "have hope," and expect to triumph at the destruction of their enemies, when the boastings and blasphemies of the

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6 Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? or is there any in the white of an egg?

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7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.

8 Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

m

9 Even that it would please God to destroy me: " that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, PI would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. 11 What is my strength, that I should 25. 16:2. Lev. 2:13. Luke 14:

t

34. Col. 4:6.

k 30. 12:11. 34.3. Ps. 119:103.
Heb. 6:4,5.

11 Kings 17:12. 22:27. Ps. 102:
9. Ez. 4:14,16. 12:18,19. Dan.
10:3.

Heb. my expectation. 11—13.

17:14-16. Ps. 119:81.

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o 3:22. 21:33. p 9:4.

१ Deut. 29:20. Rom. 8:32 2 Pet. 2:4,5.

r 23.12. Ps. 37:30. 40.9.10. 71: 17,18. 119:13. Acts 20: 20.27.

s Lev. 19:2. 1 Sam. 2:2. Is. 30:11,12. 57:15. Hos. 11:9. Hab. 1:12. 3.3. Rev. 3:7. 48. t 7:5-7. 10:20. 13:25,28. 17.), 14-16. 1 Kings 19:4. Ps. 39:5. 90.5-10. Jon. 4:3,8. Rev. 9.6. 102:23. 103:14-16.

m 3:20-22. 7:15,16. 14:13.
Num 11.14,15.

n 19:21. Ps. 32:4. Is. 38:10-13.

wicked will be for ever silenced, or turned into that his miseries might be impartially balanced shame and anguish.

V. 17-27.

"Happy is the man, whom God correcteth!" We should therefore consider our afflictions, as so many kind warnings to examine ourselves, confess our sins, seek mercy from God, and walk more diligently in his ways: we should humble ourselves before him, and neither despise his rod, nor seek help or relief from any one else. He alone can effectually remove temporal afflictions, and give peace to the wounded conscience, or relief to the troubled spirit. And when we have found pardon, peace with God, and deliverance from the power of sin, we may without reserve venture our all in his hands. He will provide for our real wants, and protect us in the way of duty, so that no evil can hurt us; and deliver us from all the troubles with which he may please to prove us. Our reputations may be torn by the scourge of the slanderer's tongue; but he will hide us from the effects of such accusers, and clear up our characters in due time. Our habitations, families, and the time and circumstances of our death, may be safely trusted to him; all creatures shall be instruments of good to us, though perhaps contrary to their nature or intention; all events will benefit us; and we may smile, nay exult, when others tremble. We may go out and come in, lie down and rise up, without distrustful fear, assured of the special care of heaven, till the Lord see good to call us home. We are not authorized to expect great wealth, long life, flourishing families, or exempuon from tribulations: but we are assured that all will be ordered in the best manner possible, and that we shall not be summoned by death till we are ripe for glory, and have lived as long as it is good for us in this world. This has been the confidence, observation, and experience of godly men, in all ages: may we hear it and know it for our good!

against his complaints, assured that he should
not have been so harshly censured, if his sor-
rows had not been made too light of: for, in fact,
they were so numerous and weighty, that he
could find nothing adequate with which to com-
pare them; and all his words fell very short of ful-
ly describing them. In addition to his external
troubles, the inward sense of the wrath of God,
and the dread of his almighty vengeance, like
poisoned arrows, infected his soul, and exhausted
his courage and resolution; or, like a powerful
army placed in array against him, they cut off
his hope of escape, and almost drove him to dis-
traction. (Marg. Ref.)-Doubtless, this was
the effect of Satan's temptations, who endeavor-
ed, by every horrible impression on his imagina-
tion, to drive him to curse God, or blaspheme, as
he had declared that he would, if fully tried;
(Notes, 1:9-11. 2:4,5,12,13.) while the Lord
was pleased to favor the trial, by withholding
from him all sensible comfort, and leaving him
in darkness and dismay.—In this he was a type
of Christ, when agonizing in the garden; and
when upon the cross he exclaimed, "My God!
my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" (Notes,
Matt. 26:36-39. 27:46.)

V. 5-7. In these verses Job intimated, that his friends, being free from trouble and temptation, did nothing more, in being contented, than the wild ass or the ox does, when at ease and plentifully fed. But he must be allowed to express his anguish by groans and complaints; which were no more to be censured, than the braying of the wild ass, or the lowing of the ox, when destitute of provender. And indeed the discourse of Eliphaz had so little of the savor of wisdom and kindness, and was so unsuitable for the occasion, that it was impossible he should relish it: yet this, as "sorrowful meat" was all he had to feed his soul upon, under his affliction and depression; though at any time he should have entirely disregarded it.-Some think he meant, that it was as natural to expect encouraging CHAP. VI. V. 1-4. Job, conscious of integ-words under heavy trials, as it is to ask for salt rity, and displeased, rather than convinced, by to eat with the white of an egg; whereas the disthe reasonings of Eliphaz, replied, by wishing course of Eliphaz tended to render his trials

NOTES.

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19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

20 They were confounded, because they had hoped: they came thither, and were ashamed.

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21 For now ye fare nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. 22 Did I say, "Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? 23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?

24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and m cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?

c Gen. 25:15. Is. 21:14. Jer. 25: h 42:11. 1 Sam. 12:3. Acts 20
23.
33.
i 5:20. Lev. 25:48.
Ps. 49:7,8,15. 107:2.
21.

d Gen. 10:7. 25:3. 1 Kings 10:1.

Ps. 72:10. Ez. 27:22,23.

e Jer. 14:3,4. 17:13.
9:33.

Rom. 5:5.

|| Or, ye are like to them. Heb.
to it. 15. 13:4.

Neh. 5:8.
Jer. 15:

k 5:27. 32:11,15,16. 33:1,31-53:
54:32. Ps. 32:8. Prov. 9:9. 25:
12. Jam. 1:19.

f Ps. 62:9. Is. 2:22. Jer. 17:5,6.1 Ps. 39: 1,2. Jam. 3:2.
Heb. not.

g 2:11-13. Ps. 38:11. Prov.
19:7. Jer. 51:9. Matt. 26:31,
56. 2 Tim. 4:16. Rev. 18:9,10,
17,18.

m 10:2. Ps. 19:12.

n 4:4. 16:5. Prov. 12:18. 16:21 -24. 18:21. 25:11. Ec. 12:10,

11.

o 13:5. 16:3,4. 21:34. 24:25. 32:3

unbeliever, would not have been so scrupulous (Notes, 2:9, 10. 3:20-23.)

V. 14. He, who does not compassionate his afflicted friend, but reproaches him, casts off his regard to the authority of God, as well as love to his brother. (Marg. Ref.)-Some, however, understand the verse, as Job's representation of the behavior of his friends to him; in which sense it may be rendered, "They say of him that is af flicted more than his neighbor, He hath forsaken mercy, and the fear of the Almighty." (Note, 4:3-6.)

V. 8-13. The passionate earnestness, with which Job here requested to die, and the vehement language which he used, were very unbecoming. It seemed as if God could bestow on him no greater favor than instantaneous death, in whatever manner it should come. (Notes, Num. 11:11-15. 1 Kings 19:3,4. Jon. 4:1-8.) This was his chief desire and request, and almost V. 15-23. The friends of Job had appeared his only one: but it was very rash in him to very affectionate to him, when prosperous; and speak of God's "destroying," or crushing, or in his calamity he had hoped for support and "letting loose his hand" and "cutting him off," consolation from their visit: but he had been and "not sparing him;" and of his "hardening miserably disappointed. This he represented by himself in sorrow," and being "comforted" in an appropriate simile. In those countries, the the prospect of immediate dissolution. Alas! he ice and snow, melting upon the mountains, at knew not what he said; for who, during a single certain seasons filled the brooks with water, so hour, could endure the wrath of the Almighty, that they appeared like rivers, swelled and disif he spared not, but let loose his hand against colored with the inundation: and the Arabian him?-Relief from lingering misery was Job's companies, or caravans, travelling through the great object; yet he evidently thought of a future deserts, marked the course of these brooks, world, when he declared that "he had not con- which were full of water when it was not wanted. cealed the words of the Holy One." He meant, But when in the heat of summer, they were that he was no hypocrite; but as he had professed parched with thirst, and resorted thither in the words of the holy God, so he had believed hopes of a supply, they found that these brooks and obeyed them, as the avowed and real rule were entirely dried up, and this filled them with of his conduct. He seems, however, to have distress and confusion. (Note, Jer. 15:15-18.) spoken too much in a way of self-justification, Thus Job's expectations from his friends came to and despondency; and not simply, as stating the nothing, and he was ashamed of his former conground of his desire to leave this world, and fidence. (Notes, Is. 28:16. 45:15-17. Joel 1:11.) go to a better. He added that he had no strength For when his friends looked on his miseries, they left, which could inspire a hope of a termination seemed afraid lest he should become a burden or to his afflictions, except in death; and if he had a disgrace to them; and therefore they treated the strength of stones or brass, his sufferings him with unkindness. But had he ever requestwould soon wear it out: but his understanding, ed them to make up his losses by presents? to and the testimony of a good conscience, were rescue or ransom his substance from the Sabeans continued to him; he knew what he was dis-and Chaldeans? or even to protect him from furcoursing of, and his wisdom was not quite driven ther violence? indeed he chiefly wanted conso from him; yet his friends despised his words.-lation to his soul.

Though Job thus longed and prayed for death, V. 24, 25. Job was unwilling, that his friends he did not think that he was authorized to com- should suppose he refused to receive instruction. mit suicide: a heathen philosopher, or a modern or reproof. If therefore they would mildly teach

26 Do you imagine to P reprove words, || upon me: for it is evident unto you, " if and the speeches of one that is desper- I lie. ate, which are as wind?

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27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. 28 Now therefore, be content: look

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him any useful lesson, or point out his mistakes, he would silently hearken. For "right words," or salutary truths, proposed with conclusive proofs and fair application, were powerfully convincing; but the unfounded suspicions and uncandid censures of Eliphaz could not be received as just reproof.

V. 26. Eliphaz had nothing explicit, for which he could reprove Job, except some passionate words, which excess of anguish had extorted from him, when almost driven to desperation. (Notes, 2:12, 13. 3:) These ought therefore to have been no more regarded, than a sudden gust of wind, which is soon followed by a calm: or, as some understand the passage, the rest of his discourse should not on that account have been treated with contempt, as empty sound.-Had Eliphaz calmly shewed Job, that his passionate language was unbecoming his character for piety, in the manner that the latter had reproved his wife, he might have submitted to the rebuke: (Note, 2:10.) but his intimations, that Job had been a hypocrite, entirely defeated this end, and made Job think himself excusable.

29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.

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properly with those, who are thus deserted, oppressed, and overwhelmed.-What then did the Savior endure in the garden and on the cross, when "he bare our sins," and his soul was made a sacrifice to divine justice for us! and what will sinners, who neglect so great salvation, for ever endure in the regions of darkness and despair! There, indeed, "the arrows of the Almighty are within them, the poison whereof drinketh up their spirit. The terrors of God set themselves in array against them," and they can neither escape nor endure them.-Those who know no want, and feel no pain, may easily be composed, and critically comment on the words and actions of such, as are in overwhelming trouble: but their discourses are generally insipid, and often distressing. Indeed, these in general appear worse than they really are: for in anguish a man loses his relish for truths which before were palatable; he is disposed to be fretful and fastidious; and a little which galls him sets him against all that might comfort him. This should be well considered by those, who discourse with persons in great distress: and, except they can command evident affection, sympathy, and caution, it is better to let the storm subside before they speak at all, lest they cause it to rage with still greater impetuosity.-Furious passions are peculiarly culpable when they dictate prayers; for men seldom wish or pray for death, except when they are in a rebellious frame of spirit. We should indeed be habitually ready and willing to depart; and indifferent about earthly objects, which may so soon render life itself a burden. But surely we may find something more excellent to request of God, than to be delivered from present suffering: and it ill suits our state and character, to speak of hardening our hearts under the strokes of the Almighty, if he should "not spare," but "let loose his hand to cut us off." Rather we should humble ourselves under his mighty hand; bow down in submission to his will; hope in his mercy; and entreat him to lighten the weight of bis chastisements, and to consider how frail we are. In his favor we may yet have comfort, let our outward condition be ever so bad; whether he please to be with us in the furnace o' affliction on earth, until he take us unto himself, or to restore us to peace and prosperity: for "the things that are impossible with man, are possible with God."-We may In deciding on the conduct of those who seen easily see that we ought to act thus under every impatient, we should carefully consider the num- possible trial; but if we were tempted as Job was, ber and aggravations of their distresses, which we know not how we should behave.-The testioften appear to the sufferer even greater than his mony of conscience to our integrity in our past heaviest complaints, and beyond the power of conduct, as professed Christians, may properly be words to express. A heart, wounded with the our rejoicing: yet it may be so pleaded, as to safear or sense of the wrath of God, assaulted with vor of pride, rebellion, and despondency. It is grievous temptations, filled with horror, and verg- also a mercy under severe diseases to retain the ing to despair, is far more dreadful and intoler- exercise of our reasoning faculties: but sometimes able, than any external afflictions: yet, these men use them with perverse ingenuity, to argue "pains of hell" have often taken hold of the most against their own comfort, and to vindicate their beloved servants of God. (Notes, 2 Sam. 22:5,6. unbelief and impatience. Persons of this descripPs. 116:3.) Mere spectators cannot estimate tion, however, are entitled to our peculiar comtrials of this kind; and few pious men have suffi- passion; their wounds require healing balm, not cient wisdom, experience, and tenderness, to deal || sharp corrosives: and if we do not behave with

V. 27-30. In Job's opinion, his friends acted as cruelly, as if they had oppressed a fatherless child, who had none to defend him; and as ungratefully and unfaithfully, as if they had digged a pit for their friend to fall into and perish. He therefore entreated them to be content with his sufferings, which they might perceive to be very great, and not to aggravate them by reproaches; and to favor him by reconsidering his cause, examining it more accurately, and deciding upon it more candidly. If he had spoken any falsehood, they might easily confute him: if he were a wicked man, they might detect him. If they could not do either of these, let them retract their sentence, and not impute his sufferings to his iniquity; for he was conscious that he was upright in the sight of God, which would be made evident by fuller investigation. He thought he could savor what was true and good, and distinguish what was perverse and profane: and though he allowed he had spoken rash words, he was not conscious, that there had been iniquity in his tongue.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V. 1-14.

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tenderness to the afflicted, we despise the author- ever, still more unbecoming to retaliate on reity of God, and fail of our duty to him.

V. 15-30.

NOTES.

provers, and to charge them with malice, when perhaps they spoke from genuine love. Yet, if It is our duty and wisdom to "cease from men:" we have rashly condemned any one, we ought to (Notes, Ps. 146:3,4. P. O. Is. 2:22. P. O. 10—|| review the evidence with impartiality and candor, 22, close:) the nearest friends and relatives, and to retract our censure if found unmerited. though wise and pious, through mistake and pre-We do not love to be treated as hypocrites, conjudice, often disappoint our expectations. They trary to evidence, or the testimony of our conmay be exceedingly kind and attentive, while we sciences; and we should not thus condemn others. are at ease and in affluence: yet, in adversity, we| But it is best to commit our character to him who shall find most of them like the brook, which by keeps our souls: and to appeal to that day, when the land-flood became a torrent, but in the drought he will "bring to light the hidden things of darkof summer proves a dry channel, and disappoints ness, and make manifest the counsels of all the hopes of the fainting traveller. But they who||hearts;" and then shall every upright believer trust in God shall never be ashamed of their con- "have praise of God." fidence; for he will be peculiarly helpful to them, when all other helpers and comforts fail: yea, though "flesh and heart fail, he will be the Strength of their hearts, and their Portion for ever." When men see their friends cast down, they too commonly fear being involved with them, and exposed to danger, expense, and trouble; and so they appear shy of them, and perhaps unjustly criminate their conduct, to excuse their own. Yet sometimes the afflicted suspect their friends without cause.-It is our duty to help others to the utmost of our ability; but it is generally our wisdom to bear our own losses and difficulties as well as we can, and to avoid becoming a burden to our friends. Prudence therefore requires us, when prosperous, to avoid needless indulgences, and to inure ourselves to some degree of hardship; that if a change should take place, (and none can know "what a day may bring forth,") we may not have to say, "the things, that my soul refused to touch, are become as my sorrowful meat."-A wise man will, at all times, be glad to be counelled, and convinced of his errors, by right words, vhich forcibly rectify his judgment and impress is heart. But most of us are apt to be too impatient, when we hear men argue inconclusively, especially when their discourse bears hard on our sentiments and conduct. Indeed rash expressions, dictated by anguish of spirit, should not be severely criticised: but, though they do not prove us hypocrites, they evince that we are far from humbly acquiescing in the divine will. It is, how-ing up the simile. VOL. III. 4

CHAP. VII. V. 1-6. Job here represented the life of man on earth, to be like the appointed time of warfare to the soldier, (for so the expression may be interpreted,) or the laborer's day for his work. The one earnestly wished for his discharge, that he might be exempted from further labors and perils; the other looked with desire for the shadows of the evening, when he should receive his wages and go to rest: and why might not Job wish for death to terminate his sorrows, and bring him to that happier state for which he yet hoped? (Note, 2 Tim. 4:6-8.) This was the more allowable, as his life was now both joyless and useless, and full of tedious sufferings, without any remission even by night; for that season which brings rest to others, was spent by him in agony, and in longing for the dawning of the day: (Deut. 28:67.) nay his disease was so noisome, that it made him like a putrefied corpse even before his death. (Notes, 2:7,8. 30:15-19.) All this had come upon him so suddenly, that his happier days were gone instantaneously; and his remnant of life, which in itself was exceedingly short and transient, was vanishing without hope of returning health and comfort.

Spent, &c. (6) Finished for want of thread.' E. Smith.-The original will admit this transiation, and several critics have adopted it as keep

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