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« Verse 6. · And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is ! know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.'
Zophar does not try so much to convince Job of his own sinfulness, as of the mysterious nature of divine wisdom.
“ Thou judgest upon the outside of the dispensations, God alone can expound them. For we neither know what God does, nor what we ought to do. He may be said to know all things who knows whatever it concerns him to know. But except so far as the anointing teaches us, we know nothing either of the word or providence of God as we ought to know, and, therefore, as the secrets of wisdom are hid from and above our reason, I desire that God himself would teach thee.
« As all the sins of man that appears thing in comparison of the depths of sin secreted in the heart, so God hath store of wisdom which man can neither discern nor comprehend double that which is visible.
“ The greatest afflictions are less than our sins deserve. Notwithstanding the terrible judgments inflicted on Israel, yet Ezra confesses, · Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve. The evil of the least sin is greater than all the evils of punishment.'
Zophar proceeds to illustrate what he had said verse 6; and, to show the mysteriousness of the wisdom of God, he puts a question,
“ Verse 7. · Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty
unto perfection?' It is impossible. Some of God's works are so eminent and evident, that if we were not wilfully blind we must needs see them. Isa. xxvi. 11.
But there are many of his workings so hidden, both in their nature and manner, that we cannot discern them.
Zophar concludes concerning the wisdom of God, that God cannot be found out; all his attributes are unsearchable. The wisdom of God is God, as well as his power and holiness, &c.
“ But though we cannot know all of God, yet we must carefully learn all that may be known of him. To know God here is eternal life; and yet when the beautiful face of truth shall be unveiled to the understanding in heaven, none shall ever be able to know all of God. They shall there know and enjoy as much of God as shall make them perfectly happy. But to know God unto perfection is impossible.
“ Zophar's question contains this position, that man cannot find out God unto perfection, which he exemplifies.
“ Verse 8. It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know?'
“ Wisdom is not only as high as heaven, but high above the heavens. Some translate, what wilt thou do in the height of the heavens ? Seeing thou canst not manage the sun, moon, stars, &c. and can give but little account of the height of the heavens, how wilt thou be able to give account of him who is higher than, and rules in the armies of heaven ?
“ Heaven and hell are the great opposites or remotest extremes. Matt. xii. 25.
And as the height of heaven, so the depths of hell is ascribed to wisdom, to show the unsearchableness of it.
Rom. xi. 33; 1 Cor. ii. 10. - Verse 9. « The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.'
“ Here are four very different dimensions met together, and they all speak the same thing, that the wisdom of God is infinite, and exceeds all natural dimensions.
“ The apostle ascribes to the love of Christ these four dimensions with which Zophar here adorns the wisdom of God. It is common to give but three dimensions, but here a fourth is added, to show the immensity both of the love and wisdom of God. Now, since thou canst not take the perfect leng:h of the earth, nor the breadth of the sea, &c. how much less art thou able to take the dimensions of God, or of his wisdom ? He is above and beyond all, and therefore unsearchable, and cannot be found out unto perfection.
“ From the infinite wisdom of God he proceeds to argue the sovereignty of God, and his irresistible power:
“ Verse 10. · If he cut off, and shut up, and gather together, then who can hinder him? As if he had said, wherever the Lord acts he is in his own kingdom ; for all the world is his, therefore none can hinder him.
“ If the Lord cut off by sword, shut in prison, gather together and bundle men up as fuel to feed the flame of his fiery indignation, though he doth all or any of these things, who can hinder him? He speaks as if there were no hand of the creature moving in any of these things, but that God himself had done all. Ps. xlvi. 8, Behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.'
“ Our eyes are so much upon and so little
the first cause, that we are angry and impatient.
« If we would view God in all, and man only as an instrument, we might possess our souls in patience whatever is done.
“ Job complained that God had cut him off and shut him up, and that he had gathered together armies of Chaldeans and Sabeans to de
But though all this be the case, saith Zophar, why dost thou speak as if God had done the wrong, when he has a right to do what he will, and he can will nothing but what is right?
« Verse 11. - He knoweth vain men.' This is brought forward as a reason why a man cannot reach the wisdom of God. He is vain man. The Lord knows the baseness and deceit, as well as the folly and rashness that is in vain man. Some render, the Lord knoweth that men are liars.
“ When we see or hear of wars, famines, contentions, and strifes, &c. between man and man, we are apt to think that these things are
inexplicable, and so they are to us. But God knoweth vain man. He discerns in man that which justifies him in all that he does among the children of men.
"" He seeth wickedness also.' He not only knows the vanity that is in the heart, but the transgressions of the life. Beware of imagining that you can sin unseen, or of attempting to hide yourself from God. You must make known your wickedness unto God by confessing it; for you cannot hide it from him by denying or excusing it.
"" Will he not then consider it?' Yes he will. Though many a careless man sees and knows both his own and others wickedness, yet lays neither of them to heart. But God not only takes notice of, but hates every sin, and will certainly punish it. Ps. xxxiv. 16, The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. Man is apt to think most of himself when he is stark naught; and that he is wise enough, though he be a very fool, as appears,
“ Verse 12. · For vain man would be wise, though man is born like a wild ass's colt.'
“ To desire to be wise is a great point of wisdom. But Zophar seems to find fault with vain man because he doth not so much care to be wise as to be thought wise. Or man is vain when he would be wise in things above him. • He is as high as heaven,' &c.
Though such knowledge of God be too high for any man, yet vain man thinks he knoweth nothing if he