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will carry the soul through the bitterest pains of death with joy. We have no reason to think that stoical apathy begat this desire in Job; but, like Paul, he knew that he had Christ while he lived, and should gain at his death ; this formed his request, and now he shows the effect.
“ Verse 10. Then should I yet have comfort, yea, I would harden myself in sorrow.' Notwithstanding my sorrows, the very hope that death is near could revive me. Job having taken up this hope that he would have comfort, says, let God do what he pleaseth.
«« Let him not spare. There is preventing and delivering mercy, and David, Psa. xxxix. prays
sparing mercy; O spare me, &c. that is, abate and mitigate my sufferings that I die not; but Job prays not to be spared at all.
«« For I have not concealed the words of the Holy One, either by my own silence, or imposing silence on others, or by any corrupt glosses, nor by corrupt practice or conversation. The lives of Christians should publish the word of life. The best way of preaching the word, is by practice; that man speaks enough for his willingness to die, who lives speaking and doing the will of God; and he is in a very miserable case who hath no other reason why he desires to die, but only because he is in misery, God is the holy One, all holiness is in God, and God is so holy, that properly he only is holy.
“ Observe, That true holiness consists in conformity to the nature of God, so believers are said to be partakers of the divine nature, and also in conformity to the will of God.
From these passionate words, which had better been spared, let us Observe, That we should soften ourselves
that our hearts being made tender may be made better; but if we harden ourselves, we provoke God to proceed in his controversy; for when he judgeth he will overcome. And it is great presumption to dare the Almighty, and to say, Let him not spare.
We are much indebted to God for sparing mercy, and instead of despising, we should improve it.
“ Verse 11. - What is my strength that I should hope? or what is my strength that I should bear? but there is little difference, for hope is the support of the soul.' It seems a reply to Eliphaz, do you think I have endured these afflictions in my own strength ? surely I have prayed to God, and he hath held me up by his power. God loves to manifest what his strength can do in a weak creature, as well as what his grace and mercy can do for a sinful creature.
“ I have no reason to expect to see such good days as you speak of; not that Job rested all his hope upon his own strength, for we find him resolving that he would trust or hope in God though he died, therefore he did hope while he lived; but he here expresses his grief and pain, as an answer to the sour reproof and sweet promises of Eliphaz.
« But what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? or my desire of life? what is the fag end or winter of a man's life, but clouds and darkness? or rather, what is my death, that I
be so angry
should desire to live? I know not what should make me afraid of the end of my life; why then should I not desire death ? and why should
you with me for desiring it? “ When the Psalmist describes the troubles and conflicts of a godly man, together with the flourishing outward pomp of the wicked, he concludes, Mark the perfect, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.'
“ The lengthening of our days is the shortening of them, and all the time we live is but a passage unto, and should be a preparation for death.
“ Verse 12. - Is my strength the strength of stones ? or is my flesh of brass ?'
“ Those words may refer to the former part of verse 11 ; · Am I made of such hard metal, that I am able to stand this trial ? only stones can be thus trampled on, and brass thus hammered, without pain and dying. The spirit of a man, that is, his courage and resolution, is far stronger than his flesh; namely, his natural temper and constitution; and yet that cannot hold out for ever, for the spirit should fail before me.
Verse 13. · Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?'
“ Both this and the next verse is of very dif'ficult construction and understanding: for there is no man that hath help in himself for any na
* Note. All things considered, we have no reason to count on the long continuance of life in this world. Our strength is decaying, and will soon be exhausted.
tural work, much less for any spiritual work, especially for a holy carriage under affliction, or to deliver himself out of it.
“ Some read, what though I have not help in me, is wisdom driven quite from me?
“ Observe, That a godly man in the darkest night of affliction and sorrow, finds a light of holy wisdom to answer all the objections of his enemies, or the suspicions of his friends.
“ Do you think I have nothing to reply by way of apology for what I have spoken or done? It is true, my worldly comforts are quite driven from me, but it is a mercy that wisdom is not departed from me. I am afflicted, but you should not on that account suspect, but pity
“ Verse 14. • To him that is afflicted, pity should be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.'
“ The word signifies, him that is melted ; to be afflicted and melted is the same, Psal. xxii. 15. Pity imports the strongest affections, and all kind offices done in love, in times of trouble, and in cases of extremity.
Eliphaz having said, Ch. iv. Is this thy fear, or where is thy religion ? it is likely that Jul retorts, Is this your religion to deal so harshly with a distressed friend? surely you have forsaken the fear of the Almighty.
“ Observe, That it is the common duty of friends, and the special duty of godly friends, to pity and help one another in affliction ; and the fear of God is ever joined with love to our brethren, 1 John iv. 20.
“ In affliction, the love of man to man is made most visible; a true friend can hardly be discovered in prosperity, and a false friend can hardly be hid in adversity.
“ Job having charged his friends with unkindness, proceeds to illustrate it by a similitude, which he states, verse 15; explains, 16, 17, 18; confirms, verse 19, 20; applies, verse 21. The sum is, that Job had found his friends like those brooks that have least water when there is most need of it.
“Verse 15. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away.'
“ It imports perfidious dealing of any kind. To pass away, signifies motion and consumption: so violent torrents come to nothing; their motion spends them.
“ Observe, that it is painful to be deceived by any; but to be deceived by a brother in the faith is worst of all. It is double unfaithful
Psa. lv. To be reproached and wronged by my guide, &c. lies heavy upon my spirit.'
• Verse 16. • Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid.'
“ Job compares those friends who administer no comfort in time of trouble, to brooks that overflow with water when we have no need of it; but in cold winter weather are locked up with frosts, or in summer are exhaled and dried up by the sun, as it follows.
o Verse 17. "What time they wax warm they vanish; when it is hot they are consumed out of their place.'
“ When you saw them frozen, you might