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him about, ready to devour him, and he cries to the Lord (who alone has the command of these as well as of every other army,) · I am the work of thy hands, why dost thou swallow me up?' Hence observe, That it is a good argument to use with God for protection and deliverance, that we are the works of his hands. His lothness to give up Ephraim is emphatically described, Hosea xi. 8. My heart is turned within me,' &c.
“ Job enforces his argument from the consideration that he is made of clay.
" Verse 9.5 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me of the clay.'
“ That is, frail, brittle, and weak, which shows our utter inability to contend with God, and also how easily we are overcome by temptation to sin. A body of earth hath a suitableness to all earthly allurements. In Psalm lxxviii. the Lord seems to be moved with pity. to man, verse 39. "He many a time turned his anger away,' &c. Why ? for he remembered that they were but flesh, that is, weak and easily led into sin ; but we must not plead this as an excuse or expect impunity on this account.
“ As it is the duty of saints to remember God by obeying his command, so it is their privilege to put him in remembrance, craving a speedy supply of their wants, or actual deliverance from all their tribulations, and thus Job beseeches God to remember that he hath made him as the clay, and
“ Wilt thou bring me into dust again?
“ Job found himself brought into the dust of a low condition of poverty and distress, which if continued but a short time longer would bring him to the dust of death.
- In Zech. iii. 2. it is said, "Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire. As if the Lord had said to Satan, “ Art thou moving me to throw this people into the fire of affliction, out of which they were so lately snatched ?' Job seems to plead for a respite that he might enjoy some quiet comfortable days before the end of life.
“ Verse 10, 11. « Hast thou not poured me out as milk and cruddled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.'
“ Man is born naked, yet clothed and unarmed, yet fenced ; the more noble and tender parts, the heart, brain, &c. are inclosed with skin and flesh to prevent the cold, and they are fenced with bones and sinews, lest they should take hurt, hence death is called an una clothing, it strips us not only to, but of the skin. We have a natural clothing before we have an artificial one. We are dressed with garments from the wardrobe of God before we have a rag put on us.
Bones are for strength, and sinews for motion. Bones give form, straightness, and stability to the body. The Lord hath framed man so well that it is impossible for man to conjecture how he could be made better. The noble structure and symmetry
of our bodies invites our souls not only to gratitude but to admiration. " Let us then make it
appear thoughts, and by our words and deeds, that we have hearts, hands, and tongues, not only from, but for him, and also strength and life, and all for him, seeing we receive all that we are, and enjoy all from him as appears
6 Verse 12. · Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
“ The bounty of God appears in granting life, still more in favour, and most of all in his grant of gracious visitations.
“ The Hebrew is lives, which may be taken for vegetation and growth, as in trees, &c. of sense and motion as in beasts, and of reason as in angels, whereby they understand and discourse. These three lives which are shared among all other living creatures, are brought together and compacted into the life of man. Hence observe, that life is a special gift and favour from God.
“ When Christ parted with his precious life for sinners, he thereby showed the greatest favour for them.
By favour, in conjunction with life, we may understand these good things which make life agreeable, and so Job must refer to his former enjoyments, for in verse first he speaks of life as a burden.
• Thou not only gave me life and favour, but didst protect me for many years in the enjoyment of them.'
“ But how did the visitation of God preserve the spirit of Job ? The spirit may be taken first, for life, and then he preserves our spirit by keeping us from death. The spirit may be taken for the soul, and then God
preserves our spirit while he keeps us from sin, or from falling into temptation. 3dly, The spirit is taken for courage ; while God keeps us from needless fears and perplexities, he preserves our spirits.
“ It is a large patent that is granted, Psalm cxxi. No time shall be hurtful, neither day nor night, and neither sun, moon, heat, nor cold, shall hurt; these include all
annoyances. Thy soul, and thy outgoings, and incomings shall be preserved, so that nothing shall be hurt, for these include the whole man and all his lawful affairs. As none can keep but Him, so He has promised to keep for evermore all who can say, the Lord is our keeper.
“ Christ says, 'take no thought for your life,' to excite a more deep concern for the soul ; but alas ! how often does our outward man cost us more thought and care for one day than our soul does for a year, yea for a life time. As God in his providence visits us, so we should visit Him by prayer, not only in trouble, as they did, Isaiah xxvi. but also in peace and prosperity. Let us visit God by earnest prayer, for a blessing, who is always at hand to visit us in mercy.
66 Verse 13. * And these things hast thou hid in thine heart;' some read, And hast thou hid these things in thine heart ?' That is in the will, purpose, or decree of God, wherein all things are laid up; as if Job had said. “This bill of blessings now read were hidden in thine heart, thou hast had gracious intentions towards me, even while thou hast been smiting me.'
" I know that this is with thee,' that is thou rememberest all this, and keepest a record of it by thee. By these hidden things we are to understand the mercies that Job had enumerated, and so the words are either an argument to move the Lord not to destroy him, or to assure himself that he would not, as if he had said, I know that thou hast not forgotten what thou hast done for me in making and preserving me hitherto, and that thou hast a good will to me still;' and so he
expresses an assurance of the love of God under his chastisements.
“ Hence observe, that in the exercise of a strong faith saints can discern the favour of God through the clouds of the darkest dispensations.
“ Job having thus revised and read over the particulars of his former mercies, renews his complaint and desire of deliverance from present sorrows in the words that follow; the connection of which is difficult. Some connect it with verse 13. . I know that this is with thee, namely, that if I sin thou markest me,' &c. Others with verse 12. · Thou hast granted me life and favour,' &c. " Yet if I sin thou markest me, &c. Another goes to verse 3d, where Job puts three queries, the last of which