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fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.* GOD, by the Prophet Malachi, tells them, Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange God.† And it is remarkable that they with whom the Jews had committed this crime, as Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Cutheans, were made the instruments of their punishment.-Eliphaz the Temanite charges and upbraids Job with the most flagitious crimes: Is not thy wickedness great, and thine iniquities infinite? And thus the Cutheans represented the Jews to Artaxerxes: "Be it known unto the king, that the Jews, which came up from thee to us, are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof. Therefore have we certified the king that search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers, so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know, that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces; and that they have moved sedition within the fame of old time; for which cause was this city destroyed." §-If their Adversaries could accuse them thus unjustly, we are not to think they would spare them where there was more ground for condemnation. When Nehemiah came to the administration of affairs, the Rich had oppressed the Poor by a rigorous exaction of their debts: And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives, against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many corn for them, that we may eat and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we may buy corn because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children and lo we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already, neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. This abuse Nehemiah reformed and in reproving the oppressors, he said: It is not good that ye do: Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our Lord, because of the REPROACH OF THE HEATHEN OUR ENEMIES? ¶ which reproach was intended to be represented in these words of Eliphaz: For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their cloathing.**
therefore we take up
But the three Friends are at length condemned by GoD himself: The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: For ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.†† And in the same
manner he speaks, by the Prophet, concerning these Adversaries of the Jews: And I am very sore displeased with the Heathen that are AT EASE: For I was but a LITTLE DISPLEASED, and they HELPED FORWARD THE AFFLICTION. *-His sentence against the three Friends goes on in these words: Therefore take now unto you seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering, and my servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept: Lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.† This, I suppose, is designed to represent the defeat of their Adversaries, in the decree which the Jews, by the good providence of God, procured from Darius, commanding the Cutheans (who had hitherto so much hindered) now to assist the Jews to the utmost of their power in rebuilding the Temple: "Then Darius the king made a decree Now therefore Tatnai, Governor beyond the river Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: Let the work of this house of God alone, let the governor of the Jews, and the elders of the Jews, build this house of God in his place. Moreover I make a decree, what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: that, of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expences be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks and rams, and lambs, for the BURNT-OFFERINGS of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail; that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray FOR THE LIFE OF THE KING AND OF HIS SONS." +
The reason why the three Friends are condemned as not having spoken of God the thing that was right was, 1. Because using the argument of an equal Providence only to condemn Job with the heart of an enemy, they made the honour of God a stale to their malignant purposes. To understand this more fully we must consider that the great contest was concerning an equal Providence: What occasioned it was their suspicion of Job's secret iniquity; consequently these two points take their turns occasionally in the course of the disputation. Job, after many struggles, at last gave up the general question; but the particular one of his own righteousness, he adheres to, throughout, and makes it the subject of all he says from chap. xxvii. to chap. xxxi. This ended the dispute: for, in the beginning of the next chapter, § the writer tells us,-So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes; that is, they
• Zech. i. 15.
† Job xlii. 8.
↑ Ezra vi. 1, 6, et seq.
§ Job xxxii.
gave Job this contemptuous reason why they would argue no longer with him. By this we may see, how finely the dispute was conducted, to answer, what I suppose was, the end of writing the book. JOB, who represented the PEOPLE, was to speak their sentiments concerning their doubts of an equal Providence; but he was at last to acquiesce, to teach them a lesson of obedience and submission.
2. The second reason of the condemnation of these false Friends was, because they had supported their condemnation of Job by a pretended Revelation.-Now a thing was secretly brought to me (says Eliphaz) and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake: then a Spirit passed before my face, the hair of my flesh stood up; I stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice saying, "Shall mortal man be more just than God," &c.* This was the character, and conduct, of the enemies of the Republic, as the Prophet Ezekiel informs us; whose words are so very apposite, that we may well think they were the original to those above in the fourth chapter of Job. Thus saith the Lord God, Wo unto the foolish Prophets that follow their own spirit and have seen nothing-They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith; and the Lord hath not sent them. -Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it, albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Because ye have spoken vanity and seen lyes, therefore behold I am against you, saith the Lord God.+
IV. The last Person in the Opposition is the Devil himself, SATAN, the Author and Contriver of all the mischief. And now we are come to that part of the Allegory, where the fable and the moral meet, and, as it were, concur to throw off the Mask, and expose the true face of the Subject; this assault upon JOB being that very attack which, the Prophet Zechariah tells us, Satan made, at this time, on the PEOPLE. The only difference is, that, in this Poem, it is Job; in that Prophecy, it is Joshua the high priest, who stands for the People. In all the rest, the identity is so strongly marked, that this single circumstance alone is sufficient to confirm the truth of our whole interpretation. There needs only setting the two passages together to convince the most Prejudiced:-The Historian says, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and SATAN came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan: Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from
• Job iv. 12, et seq.
† Ezek. xiii. 3, et seq.
walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan : Hast thou considered my servant Joв, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord and said: Doth Job fear God for nought? But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan: Behold all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord." *-The Prophet's account is in these words: "Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. And he shewed me JOSHUA the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and SATAN standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan: The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee: Is not this a brand pluckt out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of Raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head; so they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments, and the angel of the Lord stood by." + JOB's whole dramatic life lies here in its stamina.-Satan standing at the angel's right hand to resist Joshua is, (when drawn out more at length) his persecution of Job.-Joshua clothed with filthy garments, is Job amidst the Ashes.-The clothing of Joshua with change of raiment and setting a fair mitre on his head, is Job's returning Prosperity. And the angel of the Lord standing by, is God's Interposition from the Whirlwind.
But we have not yet done with this Character. The finding SATAN in the scene is a strong proof that the Work was composed in the age we have assigned to it. This evil Being was little known to the Jewish People till about this time. Their great Lawgiver, where he so frequently enumerates, and warns them of, the snares and temptations which would draw them to transgress the Law of GOD, never once mentions this Capital enemy of Heaven; yet this was an expedient which the wisest Pagan Lawgivers thought of use, to keep the Populace in the ways of virtue. Thus Zaleucus, in the preface to his book of Laws, speaks of an evil DEMON tempting men to mischief: And in the popular Religion there was always a FURY at hand, to pursue the more atrocious Offenders through the world. Nay, when the end of that sacred History which Moses composed, obliged him to t See "Divine Lega
• Job i. 6, et seq. ↑ Zech. ii. 13; iii. 1, et seq. tion," vol. i. book ii. p. 188, et seq.
treat of Satan's first grand machination against mankind, he entirely hides this wicked Spirit under the Animal which he made his instrument. (The reason of this wise conduct hath been in part explained already, and will be more exactly treated in the course of our general argument. *) But as the fulness of time drew near, they were made more and more acquainted with this their capital Enemy. When Ahab, for the crimes and follies of the People, was suffered to be infatuated, we have this account of the matter in the first book of Kings And Micaiah said: Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said: Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a SPIRIT and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his Prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; Go forth and do so.† SATAN is not here recorded by name; and so we must conclude that the People were yet to know little of his history: However, this undertaking sufficiently declared his nature. On the return from the Captivity, we find him better known; and things then are ascribed to him, as the immediate and proper Author, which (while divine Providence thought fit to keep back the knowledge of him) were before given, in an improper sense, to the first and ultimate Cause of all things. Thus, in the second book of Samuel, it is said, that GOD moved David to number the people,-And again, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go number Israel and Judah. But in the first book of Chronicles, which was written after the Captivity, Satan is said to have moved David to this folly. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.§ For, His history having an inseparable connexion with the Redemption of Mankind, the knowledge of them was to be conveyed together and now, their later Prophets had given less obscure descriptions of the REDEEMER and the other attendant truths.
Here let me stop a moment, though I anticipate my subject, to adore the visible splendor of the divine Wisdom, in this period of GOD's moral Dispensation: We have observed that the fulness of time approaching, the writings of the Prophets, after the Captivity, had given less obscure intimations of the Redemption; and that the Truths, which had a necessary connexion with it, were proportionably
⚫ See note AA, at the end of this book. † 1 Kings xxii. 19, et seq. 12 Sam. § I Chron. xxi. 1.