« PreviousContinue »
ing myself, as it would have been unnecessary. But it is a duty to witness for ourselves when those neglect it who ought to do it. .“ Job speaks to his friends of his integrity; but before God he humbles himself under a sense of his own vileness.
“If I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. But was Job perverse ? No. Yet a boast of his perfection would have been a proof of his perverseness. Nothing discovers an evil heart more than a profession of its own goodness. Though Job had a free and full certificate of his innocency, (neither bought nor got with flattery,) yet he forbears to bring it forth to his friends. Let God report him perfect to men, he will not report himself perfect before God. They who have most real worth are least in their own eyes.
“ Verse 21. • Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul ; I would despise my life.'
“ It is the greatest perfection to know our own imperfection. If a man see no motes in his life, (though some see not the beams that are there,) it is because he walks in darkness, he doth not know his own soul.
- Not to know how frail and sinful we are, to what corruptions and temptations we are most subject, is a sinful and dangerous ignorance; and not to know our graces, and the work of the Spirit within us, is no less so, The new creature is light, and carries light for its own discovery.
" A good man would have God know the worst of him; but he is not anxious to know the best of himself. · He would not have his sin hid from God; but he would hide all his good deeds from himself.
« Verse 22. “This is one thing, therefore I said it. As if he had said, you have said many things about the power of God, &c. in all which I agree with you ; but I must disagree with you in this one thing, that he destroyeth both the righteous and the wicked, destroy signifies to blot out-Noting, that the outward dispensation of God may be severe to the perfect as well as to the wicked. The perfect man is the man in the highest form of holiness, &c. And the wicked, or unquiet, and tumultuous man, or mighty and rich man. Riches are so often got by wickedness, and is the occasion of making so many wicked, that rich and wicked may change names, and signify the same person.
" Bildad said, God will not cast away a righteous man. This Job denies ; and affirms, that a godly man may be afflicted through life, and die under it; which, in Bildad's sense, is to be cast away.
“I have said it, and I will abide by the position while I live, not because it is my opinion, but because it is a truth.
« Job brings forward another argument to confirm his opinion.
“ Verse 23. • If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.'
“ That is, so far as man can judge, there is no difference in the dispensations of God toward the innocent in their trials, and unto the wicked under the greatest judgments; which words are at once a confirmation and aggrava, tion of what he had said before.
« The scourge means any affliction; every scourge doth not slay, and many which slay do not take effect suddenly; slaying suddenly is a judgment coming unexpectedly. Those that sleep in security seldom dream of scourges. God can send affliction and death in a moment. 1. Thes. v. 3. "Then sudden destruction cometh upon them.' Security springs from infidelity, and both from slighting the word of God. No marvel then if the Lord hasten his wrath to justify his truth, and slay suddenly those that despise his admonitions. Let us then watch and be ready for every event, that death may not overtake us unawares.
« Verse 24. · The earth is given into the hand of the wicked : he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?'.
“ Having shown how the innocent are afflicted, Job now shows how the wicked are exalted, and from both he infers, that it cannot be known by a prosperous or afflicted state whether a man be godly or wicked. The innocent may be under the scourge while the wicked are upon the throne ; and who appoints this but God himself? No man hath any thing but by the gift of God. There is a gift by Providence whereby he gives the earth into the hand of the wicked; and there
is a special gift of promise peculiar to believers ; they enjoy earthly things by a heavenly title.
" When Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land and took it by violence, he had no thought of doing the will of God, but of serving his ambition and covetousness. Yet the Lord saith of this cruel oppressor, I have given him all the lands, &c. So, then, to receive by donation from God denotes any kind or way of possession.
“ He covereth the faces of the judges thereof.” A wicked prince covereth the faces of the judges by gifts, threats, or oppressing and putting them to death; and sometimes by overlooking men of ability, courage, honesty, and uprightness, and preferring only such as are base and corrupt, and who will serve a turn and comply with the times.
“ Some say, it is God that covereth the face of the judges. It is said of judges, Ps. lxii. 5, That they know not, neither will they understand, they walk on in darkness, (these three expressions explain the text.) And what follows ?
“ Then all the foundations of the earth are out of course. When judges are corrupt and law is perverted it is impossible to obtain justice.
- Hence observe: That ignorant and tyrannical magistrates are sent by God for a scourge to mankind. I gave them a king in mine anger.
“ Ignorant, cruel, and partial judges have their faces covered, and God is just in giving
men over to such a scourge ; and the next words challenge all to make another answer.
- If not, where, and who is he ?" .
“ If it be not the Lord who doth this, then show me who it is. No creature can do good without the directing and enabling hand of God. It is matter of comfort to consider that the ways and issues of good and evil are in his hand who is good, and doth good, and can do no evil. i « Job having shown, in general, that the wicked are exalted and the innocent afflicted, proceeds to prove the latter from his own example,
.66 Verse 25. - Now my days are swifter than a post; they flee away, they see no good.'
- The ancients represented time with wings, to show that it was not only running but filying. For the most part we live as if time were chained to a standing post rather than like a running post. One said, when a creature comfort was taken from him, methinks if I had it again I would enjoy it. We seldom enjoy what we have, it is passing from us while in possession. Hence, Job concludes, They see no good. The good things of this life are so transient, that, so far from feeling or tasting them, I have not time enough to see them. To see is to enjoy good. The things of heaven shall not perish in the using, happiness there is real and abiding, and therefore perfect.
« Verse 26. • They are passed away as the swift ships, and as the eagle hasteth to the prey.'