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“ Besides he is of few days: Hebrew, short of days or cut short. How vain to reckon upon many years to come, when our whole time can make but a few days altogether, and un. certain but each day may close the scene; since our days are few and hurries away imperceptibly.
- Let us therefore live, habitually laying hold on eternal life; for we live no more of our time, but what is spent properly, and these few days, it is added, is full of trouble. Trouble is hard fare, but there is plenty of it. Sin is the seed of trouble, and trouble is all the harvest we reap by sin.
“ Some render trembling, as Hab. iii.'16. Holy men tremble at the holiness of God, and all have reason to tremble on account of their own sinfulness. Others render full of anger. Trouble and anger are well expressed by the same word, seeing most of our troubles proceed from the anger of God, and are all greatly increased by our own anger.
“ There are troubles in getting, keeping, and losing the things of this life. We have troubles in doing our duties, and for doing them; and worst of all for not doing them, or for doing that which is not our duty. Besides, we are, or ought to be full of the troubles of sympathy and compassion at the troubles of others, so that we are always full of trouble.
“ Verse 2. · He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
“Man in his flourishing, is near to wither
ing, for his standing is so short, that it is not so much as mentioned. The literal reading of Cant. ii. 11, is, the flowers appear, the time of cutting is come, which suits the point in hand ; for it intimates that flowers are cut as soon as they appear. Such a flower is man, he cometh forth and is cut down; as if death did rise early and watch for the flourishing flower to crop it. Man even in his best estate is vain, and many who have stood beyond that, have proved far worse than vain, bad as it is.
“ We read often of the shadow of death; and our life is but a shadow, because it continueth not. Death is a perfect shadow, and a shadow is the similitude of our imperfect life.
“ The mind of man is more mutable than the wind ; it is hard to say what any man's mind is; and there are very few that know their own minds, and even the body is changing every day; and as for honour, power, riches, &c. they are not abiding, and the spiri. tual estate does not always continue the same; so it may be well said he continueth not.
“ Job'having by these similitudes shown the frailty of man, says,
“ Verse 3. “And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
« Thus Job debases himself, such an one ! a man, who besides the common condition of men, is brought so much lower by these afflictions. To open the eyes upon a man, signifies a diligent inspection of, and care over him; or an accurate observation of his ways, so as to bring him to a strict account.
“ He that will not bring a man to judgment for what he sees him do amiss, is said to connive or wink at him; and it is as if Job had said, does it become thy greatness and majesty to take such strict notice of all the motions of so poor a creature as I am ? A due consideration of what we are, leads us to low thoughts of ourselves ; so Job pleads, dost thou bring me into judgment with thee? that is, I am no match for thee, thou canst not raise thy name by casting me down ; thou mayest honour thy mercy by pardoning, and thy grace by supporting me, but not thy power by overthrowing me. The worst and weakest of men, are the best foils to display the riches and beauty of grace and mercy.
« Verse 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not. one.'
“ The Chaldee paraphrase reads, who can make a man clean that is polluted with sin ? cannot one ? that is God.
“ Some allege, that Job would extenuate his actual sins from his original depravity by this question. * “ When David, Psa. li. confesses that he was shapen in iniquity, &c. was he thereby sewing a fig-leaf over his transgression ? as if he would say, is it any wonder that I who was brought forth in iniquity should practise wickedness ? no, he does not excuse, but humble himself, being convinced of his need of mercy, he prays for it, because he was conceived in sin and
brought forth in iniquity. Such, I think, was the frame of Job's spirit ; and in pouring out this complaint upon his birth sin, he aggravates his own sinfulness. But wo unto those that excuse or extenuate their actual sins from the depravity of nature.
5 Job'having pleaded for pity, from the cona sideration of the weakness of man, the brevity of life, and his impure original, proceeds to another argument.
- Verse 5. “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.'
“ Seeing there are certain bounds beyond which the life of man cannot be protracted, and since after death there is no returning, therefore he desires that he may have some relief from his troubles while he passes along. And in Psa. lxxxix. 48, it is said, : Remember Lord how short my time is,' &c. Thus the Psalmist urges the Lord to grant some ease and respite in this life, because death cannot be far off, from which there is neither rescue nor returning. Our days and months here are under thine eye, and established by thy counsel ; we, live not at our own pleasure. Natural causes are somewhat, but the true bounds are set by God himself; his will is the limit of man's life : friends cannot lengthen, enemies cannot shorten the life of man one moment. The Jews could not accomplish the death of Christ till his hour was come. May God who keeps reckoning for us, and knows how near the pe.
riod of our time is, prepare us for our departure.
“ From this assertion Job forms an earnest petition in Iso Verse 6. « Turn from him that he may rest, till he shall accomplish as an hireling his day.
Job thus entreats the favour of God, or the forbearance of his anger.
“ Turn away from me ; let me have some peaceable days before I leave this world. He must accomplish his days as an hireling. He is a labourer, not a loiterer. Sin brought pain into our labour, but the duty of labour was before sin. The saints are not mercenaries; yet in the issue, they shall receive for the least work more than the best work can merit. As all that they do is in the sight of God, so it is kept in remembrance by him, Hebrews vi. 10. Both the labour of our callings, and of our sufferings shall have a full reward. . - From verse 7 and 10, by a dissimilitude, and verse 11 and 12, by a similitude, Job amplifies and illustrates the truth, that · The days of man are determined, &c.
“ Verse 7. • There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.”
“ This may be viewed as an argument to move the Lord to spare Job; though he had beaten off his leaves, his substance being swept away by robbers, and he had lopt off his boughs and branches by cutting off his children by death, he seems to solicit that God would