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My days, and all the comforts I had in them, are passed away as ships upon the streams of swift rivers that go down with speed.
“ Job's days passed not as an eagle in her ordinary flight, but as one whom hunger adds swiftness to her wings.
“ Job does not speak thus, as if he undervalued the favours God had bestowed on him, but with a view to answer the objections of his friends, and maintain his argument, that no distinction can be made of men by outward dispensations, for the situation of a godly man is as transitory as that of a wicked man.
“ Having illustrated by three similitudes, that a righteous man may quickly lose all his outward comforts, in verse 27-29, he proves that he may be entangled with afflictions beyond hope of escape, which he amplifies, verse 30, 31. * In the highest strains of rhetoric, he shows that his sorrows were remediless.
“ Verse 27. - If I say I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness and comfort myself.
“ If I should set myself to lay aside the thoughts of my troubles, and try to leave off my heaviness and complain no more, yet it will not do, I find no ease. It is sometimes as hard to forget, as at any time to remember. Sorrow is not easily shaken off, and joy and comfort is beyond the power of the creature; all means will prove
ineffectual until the Lord give a blessing with them. “ Verse 28. - I am afraid of all
sorrowsi' “ Christ himself was afraid of all his sorrows, Matt. xxvi. 38. Now, if he was afraid of his sorrows, though he knew he should overcome, how much more may the fear of sorrows
“I fear that, by striving to unloose and overcome my sorrows, I straiten the cords of my affliction faster upon me. The next clause seems to hint at the reason why his sorrows hung so close upon him.
«« I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.' Some refer the thou to God, and so Job expresses a fear that God will not be reconciled to him, and blot out his transgressions; or rather, that he will not relieve him from punishment; for the fear of trouble will not remove till guilt is taken away.
“Or it may be as if Job had said to Bildad, how shall I gain credit of integrity in thy opinion, so long as outward trouble renders me a hypocrite in thy sight?
ic It is easier to do good than to be good, and those who are really good, are seldom free from suffering The following words may
be connected with either of the interpretations of the former verse; I know thou o God, or thou O Bildad, wilt not hold me innocent; now then,
“ Verse 29. - If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain ?'
“ You assert that I am wicked, and that the providence of God gives you reason to think so.
Why do I labour for apologies to excuse myself? or to defend my cause by arguments. Your counsel is, that I should seek unto God;
but surely your opinion and counsel cannot agree, for if I am wicked I labour in vain.
“ The original is absolute. I am wicked, not only in the opinion of men, but before God. I acknowledge that I am wicked indeed ; Lord if thou judge me according to my sin, then in vain do I seek to comfort myself, for in thy sight I cannot be justified. Bildad said, Ch. viïi. 6, If thou wert pure ; alas, saith Job, I can never be pure before God, I am as pure as ever I shall be, and that is, I am impure and shall be so at my best, which sense agrees with the following verses.
“ Verse 30. If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean.'
“ That is, though I wash myself till I become white and pure as snow.
The saints who came out of great tribulation, are said to have washed their robes, &c.
“ Sanctification, which is cleaning from the filth, and justification, from the guilt of sin, are set forth by washing, 1 Cor. vi. 11 ; but ye are washed.
“ The hands signifies our outward works, as the former expression refers to internal holiThough my
heart were as clean as washing can make my hands.
“ Yet verse 31. • Thou shalt plunge me in the ditch.
“ As if he had said, thou mightest have greater cause to plunge me in the ditch, when I am so fine and clean in mine own eyes than before.
“ Thoughts of our own purity only discovers
our impurity. We are never more deformed and defiled in the sight of God, than when we are pure in our own eyes. The Pharisee is represented as washing himself in snow water, and the poor publican as plunging himself into the ditch ; yet he went down to his house justified rather than the other.
And mine own clothes shall abhor me.' This notes extreme pollution, or it may
refer to the continuance of his afflictions.
“ It is by no means certain that a man shall be immediately brought out of his affliction, because he has been cleansed and purified in the furnace. That God who has blessed his afflictions, may see meet to continue him under his chastenings, for his further purification and humiliation; and for the display of his own glory.
« Verse 32. - For he is not a man as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.'
- God exceeds man in his actings, as much as he doth in his nature.
“ He may proceed to judgment without an accusation, and he may give judgment and execute it, without taking any proof of a crime. Job was smitten without any cause alleged. God afflicts that grace may be proved. Though saints may know no particular reason why they suffer, yet they believe it is not without reason.
« The consideration that God is supreme, is enough to humble and silence us.
Till we believe that God is holy as well as our superior, we do not fear to sin.
“Our treating with indifference and neglect, the intimations of pardon of our sins through the atonement of Christ, is more dishonouring to God, than all our other sins. All men may say they sin, but sin appears sin to
« The pride and ignorance of man cavils at the decrees of God. Rom. ix. " Why doth he yet find fault,' &c.; but stay says the apostle,
O man who art thou that repliest against God?' He hath only exercised his just prerogative. Besides, if
from reason, then see how it confutes the blasphemy; hath not the potter power, &c. What if God hath done thus, and what if he will do thus? what hast thou to do with it?
“ No man is a match for God, nor able to contend with him in judgment.
“ Job having thus confessed his inability to contend with God in judgment, proceeds to show that there is none to whom his case might be referred.
“ Verse 33. “ Neither is there any days-man betwixt us, that can lay his hand upon us both.'
“ There is none to arbitrate the matter be. tween God and me.
“ The laying on of the hand, signifies the composing or compounding a difference.
“ Job speaks highly of God, and humbly of himself. He was not able to dispute with God, and there was none
capable of being an umpire between them. The will of God is the supreme law; whatever he is pleased to do