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know not something which he ought not to know.
“ Man would be thought wise as God; at least he would search out the wisdom of God; and yet Zophar compares him to a wild ass, because the ass among beasts, and the wild ass among asses, is most destitute of wisdom. In regard of ignorance, stubbornness, &c. man is like a wild ass, and how beast-like are they who will not return from their folly when they are smitten and broken with judgments. Hence the repeated expostulation, Amos iv. I have smitten
not returned unto me, saith the Lord.' God himself seems to wonder at their stupidity and obstinacy, when they had been so long under the burden, and had received so many blows.
“ O that the fruit of all our afflictions may be, that we who have been like wild asses may now live like new creatures. This would make our losses gain, our judgments mercies, and turn all our sorrows into joy.
“ Zophar having finished his reproof, proceeds to counsel Joh.
“ Verse 13. · If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands towards him.'
By the heart we are to understand the whole inward man. The conscience, which hath in it the light of the understanding, the motions of the will, and the recognitions of the memory, comes under the notion of the heart. Ps. li. 12. 1 John iii. 20. Job xxvii. 6.
« The sum of all safe and wholesome coun
sel is contracted into this one sentence,' Pre
pare thy heart.'
“ If it were possible to cast out sin, and to put off the old man, it would not be enough, unless we also put on the new man.
66 As God bestows the first grace upon us, so the exercise of grace fits or prepares us for further favours. While our hearts are not right with God, no marvel if things go wrong with us. Grace is as much magnified in working in us, as in saving us without works.
“ When a child is in danger of falling, while he cries for help he stretches out his hands ; so our stretching out our hands to God implies our telling him that we depend wholly upon him for help, pardon, &c. and that we are undone unless he deliver us.
“ Preparation of heart is necessary in every duty, and especially in prayer.
“ Verse 14. · If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away
Having exhorted Job to prepare his heart and stretch out his hand, Zophar now desires him to prepare his hand before he stretch it out. The hand must be cleansed as well as the heart. The heart may retain its filthiness, while the hands are washed; but when the heart is washed the hands will not remain filthy. It is true a man whose heart is cleansed may defile his fingers, but he will not allow them to continue so; for purity of spirit cannot consist with impurity of life.
“ Sin must be thrust away and removed to the utmost distance. As we should go far from sin by an holy care, lest we fall into it, so we must go far from it by a speedy repentance when we have fallen into it. Hence observe, That it is only in the way of putting sin far from us that we can draw near to God in
prayer with an expectation of acceptance.
« Taking iniquity for fraud and oppression. Then that which is ill gotten must be restored. It is indeed very sinful to get any thing by unjust means, but it is still worse to retain it. Many are willing to give alms that are very unwilling to restore that which they have got in a sinful
way. But no man may give till he hath made restoration, nor be charitable until he is just. How can we expect that God will remit our just debts if we do not restore our unjust gains ?
« Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacle. That is, let it not continue ; hasten it away; take care to purge the worship of God from every species of idolatry and superstition; or, let not wickedness dwell in those who dwell in thy tabernacle. A man who has got his heart and hands purified will be desirous that all under his inspection enjoy the same blessing
Zophar having given Job counsel, now gives him encouragement.
“ Verse 15. · Then shalt thou lift up thy face without
thou shalt bé steadfast, and shalt not fear.'
“ There are four things chiefly seen in the face, pride, Ps. x. 4; fear; Dan. v. 6; envy and discontent, Gen. xxxi. 2-5; and guilt and
shame often appears in the face. Strong confidence is implied in lifling up the face, and to be without spot is when the children of God are kept from such spots as are unsuitable and inconsistent with their sonship. Phil. ii. 15. . That ye may be blameless, the sons of God without rebuke.' Holiness of life and purity of conscience give boldness in approaching to God, to all who are accepted in the beloved,
“ Grace establishes the heart. Put away sin and thou shalt be steadfast. This promise may refer to outward things, but especially to the steadfastness of faith, &c. that he should no longer continue in suspense between hope and fear.
“ An upright man may be unsteady even in the right way, but a carnal man is unsettled between a right and a wrong way. A wicked man is often secure, but he is never settled corcerning his end. It is a false
that is the daughter of ignorance ; but true peace is the daughter of saving knowledge.
“ A holy fear of God will prevent anxious and distracting fears.
“ As by fear we are kept from iniquity, so by departing from iniquity we are preserved from fear. To be delivered from the fear of evil is preferable to freedom from evil. For he that is not afraid of evil before it comes may be happy when it does come.
To be delivered from fear is the privilege and portion of the saints ; and the next verse shows it and gives a rexo
“ Verse 16. • Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.
“As we do not feel, so we cannot fear what we have forgotten. Thus, to forget thy misery implies that he should be long free from such evils as had oppressed him, and not a vestige of them remain.
“ When a man forgives an injury, he may be said to forget it, because he passes over it, and desires no revenge ; yet he cannot but recollect the wrong that was done him. So it is as if Zophar had said, When thou thinkest of thy afflictions it shall not afflict thee. Or he connects the forgetting of his misery with the putting away of his iniquity. So long as a man continues in sin, his past sufferings, as well as his present, will continue to torment him till he is delivered from guilt, and sin is subdued. Then it shall be as if it had not been. It is the peculiar privilege of the saints to have the power of sin broken in them, so that it shall never recover so as to condemn them.
“ The latter part of this chapter consists of motives and encouragements.
“ Verse 17. · Thine age shall be clearer than the noon day; thou shalt shine forth; thou shalt be as the morning.'
“ That is, thine old age shall be full of comfort, and thou shalt rejoice in the serenity of thy condition. God can easily make the worst part
of our lives the best. Thou shalt be as