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pose of God. All their successes are disappointe ments, who intentionally oppose, though they really accomplish, the good pleasure and pura pose of God. Thus we see their devices defeated ; and now we shall see them entangled in their devices, and ruined in their enterprise ; for,
“ Verse 13. ·He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. The Hebrew imports a taking by force, and also by skill or stratagem. He binds them as with a chain; for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God: for it is written, He taketh, &c. 1 Cor. iii. 19.
“ Their craftiness is the very means and instrument by which God apprehends them. No wisdom or craft of man, can stand before the wisdom and power of God. He turneth the counsels of wicked men against themselves.
“ Not only are their devices disappointed: • But the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. The original word signifies to hasten, and thence to be precipitate, rash, or foolish in counsel.
“ They who will not take time to consult about what they do, may have time enough to repent of what they have done: and they who will not take the time and trouble to do what, upon deliberate investigation, they found proper to be done, lose all the time they took for such consultation.
“ There is a farther aggravation of the mi. sery of crafty froward counsellors.
Verse 14. • They meet with darkness in the day-time, and grope in the noon-day as in the night.'
“ They are puzzled to find out and discover those things, which are as clear as the light; or the darkness of trouble falls on them in the day of their prosperity.
“ To grope is the description of a blind man. His hand is instead of an eye to direct his way. It is a sore judgment not to see when there is light, when abused light is punished with want of sight, or when light is sent, and eyes taken away, Isa. vi. 9, 10. Mysteries are plain when the Lord opens, and the plainest things are mysteries when he shuts, the eyes of our understandings.
“ Thus Eliphaz hath set forth the power and justice of God against crafty counsellors ; now he shows the opposite effect of his power and goodness.
“ Verse 15. · But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.'
“ These are God's poor, the wicked poor are no more under God's protection than wicked oppressors. The Hebrew for poor is from a root signifying desire, and poverty of spirit is pronounced blessed, because the poor in spirit are full of desires after spiritual riches. Both the civil poor man, and the spiritual poor soul, would fain be enriched; therefore, for the oppression of the poor and the cry of the needy, the Lord arises, and he saves his poor from the slaying sword, the slandering tongue, the oppressing hand ; to be saved from all these destructions is complete salvation. Why is it said God saves the poor, when he will save all who feat him, high and le, rich and poor? breare the pain are most ad oppressed, and are uszils ont ressed
“ Thus Eliphaz kath shown the great, marvellus, and unsearchable works of God ist, To wicked crafty oppreus ; 2d, To poor helplens innocents. He shuts up this narration, showing the effect on the poni, namely, hope ; and, on the wicked, share and confusion of face.
“ Verse 16. • So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.'
· This Hebrew word for poor, signifies empty of comforts, drawn dry. In allusion to ponds or rivers that surround forts or cities for defence, being drawn dry, Isa. xix. 6, and this explains Isa. xxxiii. 21 ; that the Lord will be a perpetual defence.
" So the poor hath hope. The wonders which God doth is a ground of hope, and God's poor know that it is no vain thing to hope in God for good, even when health, wealth, and friends leave them ; Christ their hope will never leave them, and therefore they may live upon him for every promised blessing. Eliphaz doth not sny, now they have liberty, prosperity, &c. but so they have hope, which is a botter possession than all the great and good things of this world.
"Iniquity; for men of iniquity stop their own mouths ; that is, the wicked, seeing these wonderful works of God, have not a word to nay, nor a counsel to give, against the godly; or their mouths are stopped from shame, and they stand speechless at the marvellous works of God, Isa. lii. 15, Psa. cvii. 42.
“ The saints ought to live so holily, as to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
« The wicked by unrighteous acts have stopped other men's mouths; so God, by terrible things in righteousness, will stop their mouths.
Verse 17. · Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth. This calls for attention and admiration. Truly it is a strange sight; an afflicted man a happy man, a bush burning and yet bearing fruit, the taste of which makes a heaven on earth. Happiness is the enjoyment of good equal to all our desires; among all the notions and devices of happiness, no natural man would ever think of this in the text; it is a paradox.
« Some read, behold the blessedness of that man whom God corrects. Do not think that every afflicted man is happy; many are at once corrected and miserable. Afflictions in themselves are grievous; and if God did not correct our corrections, they would prove poison instead of medicine. It is not correction, but the presence and blessing of God in it and with it, which gives happiness.
“ When a man is in no danger of losing his soul nor his Saviour, he cannot be unhappy in the worst condition, much less under the cora recting hand of his heavenly Father.
“ The word correct, signifies to reprove, convince or argue a man out of any error, by the force of reason or divine authority. The infer
ence is, “ Therefore despise not thou the chase tening of the Almighty."
“ Despise, signifies to reject or cast off a thing with loathing ; 2d, as useless and unprofitable, 3d, as slighting it as unworthy of notice. As a good man will not despise the least comfort, so he will take notice of the least cross.
“ Despise not, &c. that is, highly to esteem the chastening of the Lord. We must put afflictions among our comforts, and rank them with our blessings.
“ Chastening. The original verb signifies to instruct. God mixes a rod with his word, and chastening with teaching; and therefore it is sometimes used for teaching, and sometimes for chastening.
“ Chastening properly belongs to children, and hath a double aspect; 1st, upon our privilege and relation to God as our Father; 2d, it views us as foolish unruly children, and therefore we go almost all our days with a rod at our backs. And seeing he is the Almighty possessed of power to accomplish all his purposes, all-sufficient to support under every trouble, the all-nourishing God to comfort and cherish his children; therefore they must not despise his chastenings.*
* Do not despise, that is, be not averse to it, do not think ill of it, do not overlook and disregard it : but take notice of it, reverence it as the voice of God. Correction is an evidence of sinship, and a mean of sanctification.