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of it to say, I would not live alway; and though he would chuse death rather than sin, as the martyrs did, yet he will not chuse it rather than life, but be content to live as long as God pleases; because life is our opportunity of glorifying God, and preparing for glory.
« Job proceeds to reason with God concerning man in generala .“ Verse 17. - What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?
- The question implies a low estimation of man, and a wonder that God should regard him, and even magnify him, by taking such notice of him as to correct him.
« All the victories of Joshua and David, have not rendered them so famous as this conflict hath done Job; his afflictions have magnified him more than all his other greatness, he would never have been heard of as the greatest man of the east. Hence observe, that God magnifies his people as well as glorifies himself by correcting them, and so makes their afflictions work for them an exceeding weight of glory.
" And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? That thou shouldest honour, show kindness to, and take such notice of him, so as to rebuke and chasten him because thou lovest him.
“ There is Psal. lxii. a caution against setting the heart on riches when they increase ; that is, neither to desire to have more, nor to love them, so as to be loth to part with what we have.
“ He is the truly rich man, who has his af. fections set on Christ and divine things, and who is ready to use his wealth and influence in his service.
“ Here follows two things, more connected with the question, What is man?
“ Verse 18. • And that thou shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment?'
“ To visit, signifies to show mercy, refresh, deliver, &c. God is as careful to correct as to feed his children: if they are watchful over their ways and the dealings of God with them, they will find, that as sure as the sun riseth, they will find some rod of affliction upon them every day.
ós Afflictions are God's searchers; and by them he calls upon us to search and try ourselves and our ways, and turn unto him.
- What is man, that thou shouldest try him every moment? God perseveres in his work till he accomplish his purpose ; he sends a variety of adversity and prosperity, to prove and try, to know all that is in the heart, whether they will keep his commandments or not.
- The account that God gives of man, that he is grass, vanity, a lie, &c. is calculated and designed to humble him; yet man flatters himself, and they flatter one another, which renders new experiments necessary every moment to try and humble him.
Verse 19. ·How long wilt thou not depart from me ? wilt thou not yet rebuke the rod, or at least mitigate my affliction.' Some translate how long dost thou not spare me? and the next clause favours this view of it.
Let me alone till I swallow down my spittle; the word signifies to loose or untie that which is bound or straitened, and so to deal more gently and tenderly than before; the word is used Josh. i. 5, “I will never leave thee, or let thee loose from me.'
Job's desire is, that God would loosen the bands of his affliction, and release him from his trouble; O let me have a little intermission, that I may have as much respite as to be able to swallow my spittle.
“ Observe, that since afflictions that are only for trial are so grievous, what must those be that are penal and proceed from wrath?
2dly, That a conviction of having neglected to improve the gracious presence of God for our sanctification, adds greatly to our pain in any trouble, and should lead us out to a hearty confession of our folly.
“Verse 20. "1 have sinned.' As affliction brings sin to remembrance, so a sense of sin should prevent our frétting under afflictions, and it is a proper season to confess our sins : but this of Job's was only a general confession, and is that sufficient ? Answer, It may be a sound one. It is one thing not to express particular sins, and another thing purposely to conceal them. Good and bad men speak often the same good words, but from very different principles, such as,
“ Ist, A saint confesses freely, but it is extorted from a wicked man.
“ 2d, He confesses feelingly; he tastes the bitterness of sín while he confesses : whereas it is the fear of punishment that makes a natural man feel.
“ 3d, A good man confesses sincerely, and 'is in earnest both with God and his soul.
“ The other casts out his sin as seamen do their goods in a storm, which they would wish back whenever it is over.
.“ 4th, A believer mixes faith with his sorrows in his confessions, which no other man ever did.
“ Observé, 1st, That the holiest man has cause to continue confessing his sin. While the ship leaks, the pump must not stand still.
“ 2d, As the very best are in danger of being lifted up above measure, they have cause daily to engage in the soul-humbling duty of confession.
“ 3d, Every confession of sin is a fresh obligation to do so no more, and as it gives the soul a taste of the bitterness of sin, so of the sweetness of forgiveness through Christ.
“ 4th, Confession of sin exalts Christ in our hearts and affections; for we thereby declare our belief of the riches of Christ, and his ability and willingness to take away our sins, and this at once encourages us to confess our enormous load of debt, and increases our love to him who gave his life a ransom for us; and how doth it commend the healing virtue of his blood, when we open to him such mortal wounds and diseases, which he only and easily can cure.
“ Lastly, Confession of sin gives glory to every attribute of God, as it owns a debt and our in
ability to make payment; and all that we enjoy or ever shall receive, must run us deeper in debt to free grace.
“ What shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men ! I can neither escape from, nor satisfy thy justice.
“ Observe, That the holiest man cannot atone for one sin, by either sufferings or obedience. All that he can do is imperfect and defiled, and besides, it was a debt before ; neither has God any where appointed man's righteousness to be a satisfaction for his sins.
“ Observe 2d, That pardon and forgiveness of sin, must come in at the door of free grace. A good work trusted to, is as destructive as sin unrepented of.
« None but God has either power, patience, or wisdom, to be the preserver of foolish, helpless, erring man.
" Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee? It is reasonable to inquire the cause why the Lord smites, and it may be profitable to know. If saints knew what good God intends them by their afflictions, it would enable them to bear them, not only with patience, but with
“ I am a burden to myself. The removing of health and other comforts, as well as fears, cares, and pains, are burdens that oppress the spirit. Happy those who obey God's call, and cast them all on the Lord. - But a believer can bear all the changes and assaults of creatures with comparative ease, till he apprehends that God is against him, and views him opposing