Page images
PDF
EPUB

is, • Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest shine upon

the counsel of the wicked? I know it is not, my own experience proves that thou dost not, for if I sin, thou markest me,' &c. It is not easy to determine which is the proper connection.

“ Verse 14. 'If I sin, then thou markest me.' Sin stands here in opposition to wickedness. Sin is any transgression against, or deviation from the rule, however little. To observe and mark signifies a critical observation, to mark exactly, Psalm cxxx. God takes notice of the failings of his own people, chapter 14. • Thou numberest my steps; dost thou not watch over my

sin ?' That is, how my conversation is ordered; for

God does not need to judge by information, but by observation. We cannot secret ourselves nor our least failings from his all-seeing eye; and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.' That is, thou wilt not remove these afflictions which are the fruits of mine iniquity, putting the cause for the effect. All men are in a debt of duty to God, as creatures, and when they fail, they contract a debt of penalty as sinners, from which they cannot be acquitted but by a pardon.

“ T'he word acquit, signifies also to cleanse and purge. “As sin defiles the soul, so pardon cleanseth it,' Psalm li. 7. 'If I sin knowingly, and wickedly, as they charge me, then thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.'

« Verse 15. - If I be wicked, wo unto me.' What it is to be wicked is explained at verse

S

seventh. Wo is derived from a root that signifies to howl. Wicked men howl rather than pray unto God in their distress, Hosea vii. 14. Though wicked men flatter themselves, yea, though ministers may flatter thein, yet God does not, and at last conscience will not flatter them. Wo is, and will be their portion. From holy Job saying, “If I be wicked, learn that a good man may put the worst cases to himself.'

If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. This does not imply a doubt whether he was righteous or not. A godly man walks trembling, lest he should offend, and saith, “If I am wicked, wo unto me;' and even when he does not offend, he walks humbly, saying, * though I am righteous, yet I will not hold up

my head.'

“ There is a lifting up the head with joy and consolation, Luke xxi. 28; and also a lifting up the head with pride and ostentation, Psalm lxxxiii. 2. But Job seems to say, 'I will abase myself before God.'

I am full of confusion.' Job's spirit had received as much sorrow as it could hold, and more than he could well digest.

Confusion signifies shame, and also intimates a disorder of spirit. When a man knows not what to do, or whose counsel to follow, and cannot make up his thoughts and bring them to an issue, then he is in confusion.

“ Trouble upon the sensitive part disturbs the understanding. Every afiliction makes some outward confusion, and it is very rare if

us.

they do not make much confusion within us. Great sorrows distract the mind, and brings a man to his wit's end.

o See thou mine affliction.' The word rendered afliction imports weakness and casting down, which oppress like a great weight upon

Pity me in my aifliction ; have compassion, and give deliverance.

“ When saints are in a right frame of spirit they are joyful in all their tribulations ; for Christ is able to make consolation abound as tribulation doth abound. Yet where there is abundance of tribulation, consolation is usually very scarce.

The therefore seems to say, Lord take notice of my

sad condition. It is vain for me to show my distress to creatures ; but I know that I am not past thy cure, therefore I bring them unto thee. O see my affliction.

“ Hence, note, that when we are beyond the help and cure of man, we are the fittest objects for God. When dangers and distress increase, then let us pray earnestly to God that he would take our deliverance into his hand.

“ The two following verses are a pathetical description of Job's growing and prevailing

own

sorrows.

Verse 16. “For it increaseth. Instead of which some say, Can it be lifted up? Is it possible to lift me up when I am so full of sorrow and confusion ?

" Afflictions will make the stoutest heart stoop, and the highest head to bow. But take the words declaratively. Job describes his con

upon me.

.

dition as growing worse and worse.

But in another sense it is taken for priile or lifting up, and there is an elegancy in it. See my affliction, it waxeth proud. For as when the waves of the sea swell and increase, are called proud waves, so an increasing affliction may be called a proud affliction. The next clause illustrates this by a similitude.

Thou huntest me as a fierce lion. God is often represented under the notion of a lion, in the afflictions with which he visits his people. Hos. v. 14. And again thou showest thyself marvellous

That is, thou dost not punish me in an ordinary way.

Such an affliction as mine hath no parallel Thou hast afflicted me till I am become a wonder unto many. So thou, O Lord, art become a wonder to me, for I cannot reconcile thy character as gracious and delighting in mercy, with the complicated and lengthened out afflictions upon me.

“ That thou huntest like a lion those whom thou dearly loves is truly wonderful. He proceeds to give a farther amplification of what he said before, and shows the greatness and increase of his trials.

- Verse 17. - Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me : changes and war are against me.'

“ Afflictions sometimes discover the reality of

grace, of faith, patience, &c. but they also give evidence against us in many

different ways; as, 1st, That sin not only remains, but hath been indulged by us.

“ It is true that afflictions are not always sent on account of indulged sins, yet they are a testimony against sin ; for if we had no sin we would not suffer. 2dly, Afflictions testify against that great and universal sin, a proud heart ; for one special end of affliction is to humble us and lay us low. 3dly, By bringing forgotten sins to remembrance, they testify against us. 4th, What an awful testimony does afflictions give against us when we are nothing bettered by them. It shows that we are nought.

« Afflictions testify God's displeasure with and care of his children.

“ Indignation is still more grievous. The word signifies hot consuming displeasure, and increasing both in number and weight.

Though Job had a variety and a multitude of afflictions in their strength, it was not a destroying war with him; yet it was so terrible that he cries out,

“ Verse 18. - Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye me.

Improper questions are usually followed with unreasonable wishes.

“ Job seems to forget all former benefits when he complains of his birth.

“ It is no less strange than true, that when we cannot obtain the mercies we would have, we grow angry with those we have enjoyed, and a good man thinks he lives to no purpose if he do not live to the praise of God.

[ocr errors]

had seen

« PreviousContinue »