Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing titles; in so doing my Maker would ||ness of my heart: and my lips shall soon take me away. utter knowledge clearly.

CHAP. XXXIII.

Elihu requires Job's attention, while he pleads with him, in

God's stead, and without terrifying him, 1-7. He blames him for being too earnest in vindicating himself, and for irreverently complaining of God, 8-13. He shews how God instructs men by dreams, afflictions, and messengers; that repenting they may find mercy, 14-30. He calls on Job to answer, or patiently to attend to his discourse, 31-33.

WHEREFORE, Job, I pray thee,

a hear my speeches, and heark

en to all my words.

2 Behold now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my

* mouth.

[blocks in formation]

had full liberty to speak his sentiments; having patiently waited for this opening. (Note, 1 Cor. 14:26-33.)

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

31. Prov. 15:2,7. 20:15. 22:17, † Heb. mouth.
18.

e 10:12. 32:8. Gen. 2:7. Ps. 33:
6. Rom. 8:2. 1 Cor. 15:45.
f 32,33. 32:1,12.

g 23:4,5. 32:14. Ps. 50:21.
h Acts 10:26.

i 9:32,35. 13:3,21,22. 23:3.4. 31:

k Gen. 30:2. Ex. 4:15. 2 Cor. 5.20.

14:19. 10:9. 13:12. Gen. 2:7. 3:19. 2 Cor. 5:1.

Heb. cut out of.

in 9:34. 13:21. Ps. 88:16. n Ps. 33:4.

Yet

take the lead in conversation, and to teach wisdom; and modesty, and deference towards seniors and superiors, always become the young. V. 18-22. Elihu's mind was full of thoughts, reason is common to man, and God communiin consequence of his having for a long time si-cates both natural abilities and spiritual gifts, in lently reflected on the subject, and he was in- measure as he pleases. "So that great men are wardly constrained to speak. With much un- not always wise, neither do the aged understand easiness he had refrained himself: his mind was judgment:" and by an attention to the word of agitated by his own meditations, in the manner God, and dependence upon his Spirit, the young that fermenting wine is ready to burst the bottle may become wiser than the aged, than their when it cannot have vent; so that it would be a teachers, and their rulers. (Note, Ps. 119:98relief, or enlargement, to him to speak, though it 100.) But this wisdom will render them "swift should not profit them. (Notes, Jer. 6:10-12. to hear, and slow to speak," and disposed to give 20:7-9. Ez. 3:12-15.) He intended to be im- others a patient attention, though they seem to partial, and not to flatter either party, though argue inconclusively, and to say little to the purthey were his seniors and superiors; but he would pose. However full we may think ourselves of freely reprove what he thought wrong in them, suitable matter, for the conviction of others, and without respect of persons. Indeed, he was not the termination of a controversy; and whatever used to give flattering titles to any man, and he uneasiness we feel in keeping silence, when othknew it would displease his Maker; therefore, as ers are discoursing, as we think, in a manner he feared his awful displeasure and desired mercy contrary to truth; we should remember, that it from him, he was determined to avoid them.--is indecent, and savors of arrogance, to interrupt The original word signifies, to give an additional name, as a title of distinction.

pre

them. Nay, if we were sure, that the Spirit of God suggested to us what we were about to say, we ought to refrain, until it fairly come to our PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. turn to speak: for "the spirits of the prophets The self-flattery of the human heart often were subject to the prophets," and God is the vents men from being convinced of their errors, Source of order, and not of confusion. (1 Cor. or from acknowledging that they are; so that, 14:32,33.) But the faithful minister of God, who even when not determined at all events to have is filled with the knowledge of his truth and will, the last word, they will imagine or pretend some and with zeal for his glory and compassion for plausible reason for declining an argument, in souls, must be greatly pained by every attempt which they have been foiled, whilst they hold to silence him: nay, indeed, he cannot be silenced; their former sentiments, and criminate their op- whatever be the consequence, he cannot but ponents. Indeed it is not worth while to persist speak the things which he has heard and believ in arguing with the pertinacious and self-suffi- ed. (Note, Acts 4:13-22.) Times and seasons cient, or with such as are "righteous in their he will regard; but he must speak, that he may own eyes:" yet sometimes those who are accept- be refreshed, whether men will hear or forbear; ed with God, and have truth and justice on their and he must speak faithfully, without respect of side, are unjustly charged with obstinacy and persons, or knowing to give flattering titles: for self-confidence. An unprejudiced by-stander "he is not a man-pleaser, but a servant of Jesus frequently understands controverted points, bet-Christ;" and is ambitious, whether present or ter than the eager disputants: in almost all con- absent, of being accepted of him. tests much may be reproved on both sides; and Cor. 5:9–12,16. 1 Thes. 2:1—8.) they who endeavor to distinguish between what is right, and what is wrong, among all parties, will seldom be approved by the zealots of any, but will commonly come nearest to the truth.If we perceive others in a fault, it is generally advisable, to mention it before them: and it is not sinful anger, if we are greatly displeased to hear God dishonored, his truths misrepresented, and men unjustly condemned, or fatally deceived. 'Note, Mark 3:5.)-It belongs to the aged to

NOTES.

(Notes, 2

CHAP. XXXIII. V. 1-7. Elihu had given his reasons for speaking, and here he demanded the attention of Job in particular; for Job himself had sufficiently answered his friends. He did not speak in haste or passion, but deliberately, and with recollection. He meant to speak his undisguised sentiments, in the plainest and most instructive manner: he was the creature of

B. C. 1550.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

16 Then he openeth the ears of 8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine [[ hearing, and I have heard the voice of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17 That he may from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

thy words, saying,

91 am clean without transgression, I am Pinnocent; neither is there iniquity in me. 10 Behold, against me, enemy.

8

q he findeth occasions he counteth me for his

h withdraw man

[ocr errors]

18 Hekeepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

19 He is

chastened also with " pain

and the multitude of his

11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, upon his bed, bones with strong pain: the marketh all my paths.

12 Behold, in this thou art not just: * I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

13. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his

a

[merged small][ocr errors]

[Practical Observations.]

14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

e

с

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

[blocks in formation]

God, dependent on him, and accountable to him;
from whose life-giving Spirit he derived his being,
Job might therefore stand
and rational nature.
up before him to make the best of his cause. He
had desired an impartial judge to be appointed in
God's stead, to decide upon his appeal. (Notes,
9:25-35. 13:20-23. 23:3-7. 31:35-37.) And
behold here was one according to his wish, a
man like himself, who would neither terrify nor
hurt him, as the glorious God might have done,
if he had entered into judgment with him; nay,
who would not bear so hard on him as his other
friends had done.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

23 If there be a messenger him, an interpreter,

t

f 36:10,15. Ps. 40:6. Is. 6:10.
43:8. 50:5. Luke 24:45. Acts
16:14.

go

Heb. revealeth, or, uncover-
eth. 2 Sam. 7:27.

Neh. 9:33. Rom. 15:28.
Matt.
h Gen. 20.6. Hos. 2:6.
27:19. Acts 9:2-6. 26:10-
13.

Heb. work.

í Deut. 8:16. 2 Chr. 32:25,26.
Is. 2:11. Dan. 4:30-37.
Jam. 4:10.

Cor. 12:7.

k Acts 16:27-33.

2 Pet. 3:9,15.

Rom. 2:4.

Heb. passing.
15:17,18. Deut. 8:5. Ps. 94:12,
13. 119:67,71. Is. 27:S. 1 Cor.
11:32. Rev. 3:19.

m 7:4. 20:11. 30:17,18,30. 2
Ps. 38:1-8.
Chr. 16:10,12.

with

u one among a

Is. 38:12,13.

n Ps. 107:17,18.

Heb. meat of desire.

Gen. 3:6. Jer. 3:19. Am. 5
11. Marg.

o 7:5. 13:28. 14:20,22. 19:20
102:3-5
Ps. 32:3,4, 39:11.

Prov. 5:11.

p Ps. 22:15-17.

q 7:7. 17:1,13-16. 1 Sam. 2:6 Ps. 30:S. 83:3-5. Is. 38:10. 2r 15:21. Ex. 12:23. 2 Sam. 24 16. Ps. 17:4. Acts 12:23. 1 Cor. 10:10. Rev. 9:11.

s Judg. 21. Marg. 2 Chr. 36: 15,16. Hag. 1:13. Mal. 2:7. 3:1. 2 Cor. 5:20.

1 Cor. 11:30-t 34:32. Ps. 94:12. Is. 61:1-3. Acts 8:50,31. 32. Heb. 12:5-12.

u 9.3. Ec. 7:28 Hom. 11:13.

the height of madness and presumption to contend with him. He gives no account of his conduct; and which of his creatures has a right to demand an explanation of his reasons, where he sees good to conceal them? (Notes, 40:1,2. Dan. 4:34-37. Matt. 20:1-16. Rom. 9:19–21. 11:33 -36.)

V. 14-18. In many things God acts as a Sovereign, who explains not the meaning of his orders; but in general he shews himself a merciful and kind Father. He does not ask men what methods he should use, but he employs such as are most proper. He speaks to them in various ways, and with frequent repetitions; yet they are so dull, careless, and prejudiced, that they per

V. 8-11. Elihu had heard Job's words, and did not condemn him upon suspicion, as his friends had done. He did not accuse him of be-ceive not his meaning.-Elihu lived before there ing a hypocrite; but of having spoken language was a written revelation, and therefore that unbecoming a man of piety. He had so strenu- grand medium of communication is not mentionously insisted upon his own integrity, that he ed: but God, in that age of the world, frequently seemed to say, "I am clean without transgres- spake to men in dreams and visions; and thus, in sion, I am innocent; neither is there any iniquity the dark and retired hours of the night, he caused in me." Job had not said exactly these words; them even in their sleep to attend to him, and nay, he had avowed the contrary doctrine: but deeply impressed his instructions on their memohe had used incautious expressions which ad-ries. This was intended, not to enable men to mitted of such a construction. The other words understand the reasons of the divine dispensacharged upon him were nearly what he had tions, but to withdraw them from their sinful being humbled in repentance, and made sensible spoken. (Marg. Ref.-Notes, 10:4-7. 11:1-purposes, and from their proud rebellion; that, 4. 16:17-22. 23:8-12.) V. 12, 13. In this thing at least, Elihu main-of their guilt and depravity, and humbly seeking tained, that Job had been culpable; he had charged God foolishly and unjustly, as if his But dealings with him were causelessly severe. he ought to have recollected the infinite greatness of the almighty Sovereign, which made it

mercy, by faith and prayer, they might be preserved from that destruction of soul and body into which they were about to be hurried. Nay, [87 the long-suffering of God, by preserving men from sudden and violent death, when living in

thousand, to shew unto man his up-||any say, I have sinned, and rightness:

[ocr errors][merged small]

24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from down to the pit; I have found

som.

b

с

a ran

25 His flesh shall be fresher than ta child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:

e

26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. 27 & He looketh upon men,

x 11:6. 34:10,12. 35:14. 36:3,8 | c 42:16. Deut. 34:7. -13. 37:23. Neh. 9:33. Ps.

10,11. Ps. 103:5.

and if

Josh. 14:
Hos. 2:15.

pervert

ed that which was right, and it profited me not;

28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall " see the light.

29 Lo, ⚫ all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,

30 P To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak. 32 If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for 1 desire to justify

119:75. Lam. 3:22,23,32,39-d 2 Kings 20:2-5. 2 Chr. 33: thee.

41. Ez. 18:25-28. Dan. 9: 14.

y 5:18. 22:21. Ex. 33:19. 34: 6,7. Ps. 86:5,15. Hos 14:2,4. Mic. 7:18-20. Rom. 5:20,21. z 36. 10,11. Ex. 15:26. Ps. 30:

9-12. 40:2, 71:3. 36: 13. 1s.
38:17-19. Jer. 31:20. Zech.
9:11.

a 36:18. Ps. 49:7,8. Matt. 20:
28. Rom. 3:24-26.
2:6. 1 Pet. 1:18,19.
*Or, an atonement.
b 2 Kings 5:14.

↑ Heb. childhood.

12,13,19. Ps. 6:1-9. 28:1,2,
6. 30:7-11. 41:8-11. 50:15.
91:15 116:1-6. Is. 30:19. Jer.
33 3. Jon. 2:2-7. Acts 9:11.
e 42:8,9. Num. 6:25,26. Ps. 4:
6,7. 16:11. 30:5. 67:1. Acts 2:
28. Jude 24.

f 34:11. 1 Sam. 26:23. Ps. 18:
20. 62:12. Prov. 24:12. Matt.
10:41,42. Heb. 11:26.

Prov.

1 Tim.g Gen. 16:13. 2 Chr. 16:9. Ps.
11:4. 14:2. 139:1-4.
5:21. 15:3. Jer. 23:24.
Or, shall look upon men, and
say
I have sinned, &c.

sin, kept back their souls from hell, and gave
them space for repentance.

8

[blocks in formation]

or Angel, of Christ himself the Interpreter of God's will to man, the Chief among the ten thou

general he comes to men by his messengers, or ministers; and as their instructions and encour agements are deduced from his mediation, and are made effectual by his gracious presence; it is not very material, whether we interpret the pas sage, of the messengers of God pointing to the Savior, or the Savior revealing himself by their ministry. It is equally immaterial, whether the words, "Deliver him from going down to the pit," be considered as the language of Christ's intercession, pleading the ransom of his blood, in behalf of the sinner; or the words of the Father accepting of this plea, and giving command to save the sinner, as satisfied with that appointed ransom. It cannot reasonably be doubted, that Eli||hu had reference to the promised Redeemer, though he might also intend the sacrifices which prefigured the great atonement. (1 Pet. 1:19, 20. Rev. 13:8. Notes, Gen. 3:21. 4:3-5. 8:2022. 12:6,7.)

V. 19-26. When men disregard the warn-sands of his saints and servants. But, as in ings and despise the patience of God, he often sends severe afflictions. And if Job had been afflicted on this account, instead of murmuring against God, and justifying himself, he ought to have considered what sins he had committed, an1 what duties he had neglected. For God, in love, frequently confined men to beds of sickness, and filled them with exquisite pain in every part, causing them to loathe even the most necessary or delicious food, and reducing them to mere skeletons: and whilst it appeared, that the body was about to drop into the grave, the poor sufferer was perhaps affrighted, lest the soul should fall into the hands of the destroyers. (Note, Ps. 107:17-22.) Yet all this tended to good, and often terminated well: especially if some pious person were sent as the "messenger of God," (as Elihu hoped he was to Job,) to be an interpreter of the painful dispensation, and of the truth and will of God, and to shew the sufferer the way of pardon and peace. (Note, 17:1,2.) As such in- V. 27-30. Elihu further shewed, that God terpreters were scarce, not one among a thou- always observed the ways of men; and when any sand being capable of the service, they were the sinner humbly confessed his transgressions of his more to be valued: for they would shew the sin- just and good laws, as unreasonable and unprofit ner the justice of God in his sufferings and con-able, being ashamed and weary of them, and demnation; his way of pardoning and justifying grieved and self-condemned for them; he would the penitent believer; his sincerity and faithful-"deliver his soul from going down into the ness to his promises; and the way of holiness. Such a messenger frequently proved the instrument of a man's conversion: and the Lord in mercy commanded his deliverance from the pit of destruction, through the ransom, or atonement, which he had appointed and revealed, even that of the promised Messiah; and sometimes restored his health, vigor, and comeliness, as if he were become young again. Thus the sinner was taught to pray unto God, and was pardoned and accepted; thus he had comfortable communion with him at his mercy-seat, and hoped to see his face with joy in heaven; and would at length be graciously recompensed for all the works of righteousness, which he had performed in humble faith and love. Some interpret this Messenger,

pit" of destruction, and he should live to enjoy his favor. Thus he brought back sinners from the brink of ruin, to be enlightened in the living and life-giving knowledge of salvation. He awakened their consciences by visions; he visited them with afflictions; he sent them his messengers and his gospel; and by his good ness he thus led them to repentance and salvation. Therefore Job had no reason to think that God was become his enemy; but to hope that he should derive great advantage from his calamities.-The original is rather difficult as to the construction, and has been variously translated: but the grand outline of instruc tion is not at all affected by the different renderings.

[blocks in formation]

2 Hear my words, "O ye and give ear unto me, ye knowledge.

wise men;

that have

3 For b the ear trieth words, as the *mouth tasteth meat.

us

4 Let us choose to us judgment: let
d know
ourselves what is good.

among

a Prov. 1:5. 1 Cor. 10:15. 14:
20.

AURTHERMORE Elihu answered 6:30. and said,

FURTHERMORE

t Ps 34:11. Prov. 4:1,2. 5:1,2.

u 3. Ps. 49:3. Prov. 8:5.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V. 1-13.

12:11. 1 Cor. 2:15.
Heb. 5:14.
*Heb. palate. 31:30. 33:2.

marg.

c 36. Judg. 19:30. 20:7. 1 Cor.
6:2-5. Gal. 2:11-14. 1 Thes.
5:21.

d Is. 11:2-5. John 7:24. Rom.
12:2.

V. 31-33. Elihu again demanded Job's at- may be kept from the pit of destruction; whilst tention, as he had much more to say; but, if he his merciful protection of us, when others are could answer any thing to what he had urged, cut off and we are in danger, should lead us to he would have him speak before he proceeded; repentance. When these methods are ineffectufor he greatly desired to find that he was a right-al, sharp afflictions become the voice of God. eous man, and to clear up his aspersed character. Wasting sickness and excruciating pain mar our But if Job could not refute his charge, let him be relish of every comfort, and remind us of death silent, and he would proceed to instruct him fur- and eternity. This proclaims the vanity of the ther in true wisdom.-It seems, that Job was so world, the evil of sin, the power of God's wrath, far convinced by his discourse, that he would not our need of mercy, and the danger to which we are exposed. But how many repeatedly endure all this, and yet remain unhumbled and unattempt an answer. changed! It is, however, a token for good, when the servants and ministers of God are sent, to inWe ought always to discourse on religious sub- terpret to the afflicted his dispensations and word. jects, with seriousness, recollection, candor, sin- This is a good service, and it is lamentable that cerity, and plainness; if we expect to be heard so few are qualified for it, and take pleasure in with attention, and to convince and instruct it: and it is a most important additional charity, others. When we have evident truth on our when the sick in hospitals are diligently attended side, we may often convince our opponents, that by faithful instructers; as it often proves the they cannot stand before the tribunal of God, by means of salvation to their souls. But Christ shewing them that they cannot justify their con- himself is the only effectual Interpreter; by his duct before a fellow-sinner; who will not dismay Spirit he shews the sinner the way of acceptance nor hurt them, while he pleads against them in the and salvation; who, believing, receives the gift behalf of God.-In the heat of controversy, and of righteousness, and partakes of sanctification. when greatly afflicted and tempted, we are apt Through the ransom of the atoning blood, his to utter words which cannot be justified: and if prayers are answered, his soul is rescued, and a worse construction be put upon them than we perhaps his health and comforts are restored: he intended, we need not wonder, and should not be comes with joy before the mercy-seat, and beoffended.-Public offences should be publicly re- holds by faith the countenance of his reconciled buked or retracted, to prevent scandal; but we Father; while he waits for the Savior's appearing may allow a man's general character to be good, to judge the world, with animating hope of reand yet reprove him for particular offences. If ceiving that crown of righteousness, which is laid we seem to justify our whole conduct, and mur-up for him in heaven. In short, the eyes of the mur against God, in this we are not just: for when we adopt this conduct, the subject impeaches the Sovereign, and the foolish, sinful worm arraigns the conduct of the wise and righteous Lord of all! The infinite power and authority of God should deter us from thus contending with him; for he will not, he cannot, submit his conduct to our judgment. But when we consider that he excels the noblest of his creatures in all things else, as much as in his majesty and greatness, and is in all respects consummate perfection; we must perceive, that every objection to his dispensations is rebellion and ingrati-him for them now, though painful and distressing. tude.

V. 14-33.

Lord are upon all the ways of the children of men: he sees them when committing their secret abominations; he sees them when, convinced of guilt, they condemn themselves, abhor their crimes, are covered with shame, and filled with fear of wrath; and when weary of their sins they long for deliverance: and he will assuredly have mercy upon them, and save them. (Notes, Jer. 31:18-20. Luke 15:17-24.)-By what means soever we are kept back from the pit to be "enlightened with the light of the living," we shall bless the Lord for them at last, and should bless

To the end of our lives corrections are the needful and salutary means of keeping us near, or The general tendency of all the Lord's deal-bringing us nearer, to God; and, as such, are not ings with men, is to lead them to repent and to turn unto him; but the proud, careless rebel does not regard, though God speak to him again and again. The works of creation proclaim his eternal power and Godhead, and leave all those without excuse, who neither worship him nor are thankful.

He speaks by conscience; but her voice is silenced by the clamorous demands of men's lusts and passions. Terrifying dreams convey forcibly salutary alarms; but unless the Lord open the ear, and seal the instruction, they are speedily forgotten. The judgments of God on others have a warning voice to us; and should serve to withdraw us from our sinful purposes, and to induce us to humble ourselves before him, that we VOL. III.

12

only to be submitted to, but to be valued as pledges of his love: for it is immensely better to be "chastened of the Lord, than to be condemned with the world."-Finally, we should desire to justify others, as far as it can be done consistently with truth: but a wise man will be afraid of too strenuously justifying himself; he will rather hearken to reproof and receive instruction, that he may increase in wisdom and knowledge.

[blocks in formation]

5 For Job hath said, I am righteous: || render unto him, and cause every man and God hath taken away my judg- to find according to his ways.

ment.

6 Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.

7 What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?

8 Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.

9 For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing, that he should delight himself with God.

10 Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: m far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.

11 For the work of a man shall he

e 10:7. 11:4. 16:17. 29:14. 32:1. | 1 27:10. Ps. 37:4. 33.9.

[blocks in formation]

↑ Heb. heart. 2,3,34. Prov. 6:
32. 15:32. marg.

m 36:23. 37:23. Gen. 18:25.
Deut. 32:4. 2 Chr. 19:7. Ps.
92:15. Jer. 12:1. Rom. 3:4,5.
9:14. Jam. 1:13.

n 33:26. Ps. 62:12. Prov. 24:
12. Jer. 32:19. Ez. 33:17-20.
Matt. 16:27. Rom. 2:6. 2 Cor.
5:10. 1 Pet. 1:17. Rev. 22:

12.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

o Prov. 1:31. Gal. 6:7,8.

p Ps. 11:7. 145:17. Hab. 1:12,
13.
q 8:3.

r 36:23. 38:4,&c. 40:8-11. 1
Chr. 29:11. Prov. 8:23-30.
Is. 40:13,14. Dan. 4:35. Rom.
11:34-36.

Heb. the world, all of it.
8 7:17. 9.4.

Heb. upon him.

t Ps. 104: 23. Is. 24:22.

u 30:23. Gen. 3:19. Ps. 90.3-
10. Ec. 12:7. Is. 27:4. 57:16.
x 12:3. 13:2-6.

y Gen. 18:25. 2 Sam. 23:3.
Rom. 3:5-7.
Heb. bind.

z 1:22.
40:8. 2 Sam. 19:21
Rom. 9:14.

a Ex. 22:28. Prov. 17:26. Acts
23:3,5. Rom. 13:7. J Pet. 2-
17. 2 Pet. 2:10. Jude 8.

men of wisdom and discernment; and doubted course plainly shewed that his deliberate judg not, that their understandings would decide,ment widely differed from the sentiments, apwhether the expressions which Job had used were proper or not, as readily as the palate distinguishes the taste of meat: "for the ear should try words, as the mouth tasteth food." This ought to be the case, and was so with men of knowledge. He desired therefore that certain principles might be laid down, according to which they might form a judgment; and that they would confer among themselves, and come to an explicit determination on the subject.

V. 5-9. In vindicating his character, Job had used language which seemed to imply an intention of fully justifying himself; and, whilst he complained that God dealt rigorously with him, he expressed himself so vehemently, that he || appeared to charge God with injustice: when urged to confess his crimes, he still more earnestly protested his righteousness, and a determination not to accuse himself falsely; and in his bitter complainings he spake of his wound as incurable, without admitting that his transgressions had deserved it. (Notes, 9:14-24. 10:4-7,14 -17. 16:17-22. 21:7-16. 27:2-6. 31:35-40.) These expressions induced Elihu to conclude, that Job allowed himself in an astonishing license of language; that he took pleasure in scoffing at the works and truths of God, as well as in scorning the warnings and counsels of his friends; and that he agreed in principles and practice with wicked men, whose company he seemed to prefer, and whose conduct he encouraged; having indeed asserted that no profit would accrue to those, who delighted in God and in his worship and service. Yet Job by no means intended all that Elihu charged upon him. He had not spoken precisely all the words, which, Elihu, quoting from memory, attributed to him; those, which he had used, might admit of a more favorable construction; and other parts of his dis

[ocr errors]

parently conveyed by some of his detached expressions. He had repeatedly owned that he was a sinner; and he spake of the wicked as reserved to the day of wrath and destruction. (Note, 21:27-30.) But Elihu did not condemn Job as a hypocrite: he therefore quietly submitted to his reproof; choosing, as we may suppose, rather to bear more blame than he deserved, than to vindicate himself when he knew that he had been criminal.-Which goeth, &c. (8) Note, 2:10.

V. 10-15. Elihu next laid down the principle, by which he desired that Job's conduct might be tried. It must appear, to every pious mind, impious and blasphemous, to intimate that God was capable of committing injustice: but whatever expressions seemed to imply, that he punished without cause, partook of this impiety; and as Job's words implied this charge, they must be condemned. On the contrary it was certain, that the righteous Judge of all would render to every man according to his works; punishing no one above his deserts, nor suffering any of the wicked to escape with impunity; yet graciously rewarding the good works of his upright servants. -And surely none could think that the almighty Sovereign of the world would pervert judgment! His perfections and authority being underived, independent, and absolute, he must be all-sufficient for his own glory and felicity; so that he could not be biassed by fear or partiality. Indeed, if he were disposed to exercise rigorous justice, and to set his heart upon, or against, man; the world was so absolutely at his disposal, that he needed only to recal the spirit, or soul, and withdraw the breath that he had given; and all the inhabitants of the earth would perish, without being able to make the least resistance. (Notes, 7:17-21. 9:4-13.)

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »