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of the Resurrection, Zophar's answer is wide of the purpose.
what is still more unaccountable, Job, when he resumes the dispute, sticks to the argument he first set out with; and though he found it gave his Friends little satisfaction, yet he repeats it again and again. But this other argument of a Resurrection, so full of Piety and Conviction, which they had never ventured to reply to, he never once resumes; never upbraids his Adversaries for their silence; nor triumphs, as he well might, in their inability to answer it. But, if ever it were the object of their thoughts, it passed off like a Dream or Reverie to which neither side gave any attention. In a word, the Dispute between Job and his Friends stands thus: They hold, that if GOD afflicted the Good man, it would be unjust; therefore the Good man was not afflicted. Job says, that God did afflict the Good man : but that Reason must here submit, and own God's ways to be inscrutable. Could he possibly rest in that answer, how pious soever, if he had the more satisfactory solution of a FUTURE STATE? To this let me add, that if Job spoke of a Resurrection, he not only contradicts the general tenor of his argument, maintained throughout the whole disputation, but likewise what he says in many places concerning the irrecoverable dissolution of the body.* It is true, that even in the sense of a temporal deliverance he contradicts what he had said, in his despair, in the seventeenth chapter: But there is a manifest difference between a contradiction of opinion and belief, as in the first case; and of passion and affection only, as in the latter. And for this contradiction he seems to apologize, when he comes to himself, by desiring that this confidence in his Deliverer might be engraved on a Rock, as the opinion he would stand to. 3. But what is strangest of all, When each party had confounded themselves, and one another, for want, as one would think, of this principle of a Resurrection, which so easily unraveled all the perplexities of the dispute, the fourth Friend, the Moderator, steps in, as the precursor of the Almighty, who afterwards makes his appearance as the great Decider of the Controversy. Here then we might reasonably expect the Doctrine of the Resurrection to be resumed; and that the honour of the solution which it affords, was reserved for These; but, to our great surprise, they neither of them give us the least hint concerning it.-Those who contend for this interpretation suppose that the notion was here delivered in order to support its truth. What reason then can they give why neither the Moderator nor Decider should employ it, to clear up
• See Job vii. 9, 21; x. 21; xvi. 22; xiv. 7, et seq. Could one who said, For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, &c. But mun dieth, &c. could such a one (I speak of the personated character) think of the body like him who said, But some man will say, How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. And that which thou sowest thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or some other grain, &c.
difficulties, when Job himself had touched upon it before? Elihu justifies God's conduct; God bears witness to Job's innocence: yet both concur in resolving all into Power Omnipotent. This tends more to cloud than clear up the obscurities of the debate: Whereas the doctrine of a Resurrection had rendered every thing plain and easy. In a word, no solution is given, though a decision be made. All this, on the common System, is quite unaccountable to our faculties of understanding.
Let us see next whether my sense of the words agree better with the tenor of the Dispute. Job, now provoked past sufferance at the inhumanity and malice of his pretended Friends, gives himself up to despair;* and seems, as we have observed, to contradict that part of his position which he had hitherto held,+"that GOD would at length bring the Good man out of trouble." For which being reproved by Bildad (Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the ROCK be removed out of his place?‡ i. e. because it is thy pleasure so obstinately to maintain that God does not govern by equal Laws, shall it therefore be so? The consequence of which would be a speedy desolation. Shall the Rock § or Providence of GOD be removed to humour your passions?) Job recollects himself in the nineteenth chapter, and comes again to his former mind. He begins by complaining of their cruel usage: Says, that if indeed he were in an error, his case was so deplorable that they ought rather to treat him with indulgence: that this was no season for severity: begs they would have pity on him; and then retracts what had fallen from him in the anguish and bitterness of his soul and lastly delivers this as his fixed sentiment, in which he was determined to abide; (and in which he had indeed acquiesced, till made impatient and desperate by the harshness of their treatment) namely, that GOD would at length bring the Good man out of trouble. I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH, &c. Which he introduces thus: Oh that my words were now written, Oh that they were printed in a book, that they were graven with an iron pen and lead, in the rock for ever.|| As much as to say, What I uttered just before, through the distemperature of passion, I here retract, and desire may be forgotten, and that this may be understood as my fixed and unshaken belief. And in this sentiment, it is remarkable, he henceforward perseveres; never relapsing again into the like extrava
• Job xvii. ↑ Job xiii. 15, 16; xiv. 13. ↑ Job xviii. 4. § By the ROCK I suppose is meant the extraordinary Providence of God; this being the common name by which it went amongst the Jewish people. He is the Rock, his work is perfect; For all his Ways are Judgment. (Deut. xxxii. 4.) The Rock of his Salvation. (Verse 15.) Of the Rock that begat thee. (Verse 18.) Except their Rock had sold them. (Verse 30.) Their Rock is not as our Rock, even our Enemies themselves being Judges. (Verse 31.) Their Rock in whom they trusted. (Verse 37.) Neither is there any Rock like our God. (1 Sam. ii. 2.) The Rock of Israel spoke to me. (2 Sam. xxiii. 3.) O Rock, thou hast established them. (Hab. i. 12.) And a great number of other places. Job xix. 23, 24. See note DD, at the end of this book.
gance of passion. Which conduct agrees exactly with his general Thesis, "that Providence is not equally administered; for that the Good Man is frequently unhappy, and the Wicked prosperous; yet that, at last, God will bring the Good Man out of trouble, and punish the Wicked doers."
II. In the second place, if I have given a right interpretation of the book of Job, a temporal deliverance, and not the resurrection of the body, must needs be meant: For the moral of the dramatic piece was to assure the People, represented under the person of this venerable Patriarch, of those great temporal blessings which the three Prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, had predicted, in order to allay that tumult of mind which arose in every one, on seeing the extraordinary Providence, which protected their Forefathers, now just about to be withdrawn from them.
III. Thirdly and lastly, To understand these words of a resurrection of the body, expressly contradicts Job's plain declaration against any such hope, in the following words, As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave, shall come up * Again,-So man lyeth down and riseth not till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.† And again, If a man die, shall he live again? Clarius and Drusius on the words, till the heavens be no more, say, "Intellige in æternum— est sensus, nullo unquam tempore, nam cœlum semper erit." It is not in human language to express a denial of the Resurrection of the body in stronger or plainer terms. So that it is no wonder the SADDUCEES should, as they always did, urge the first of these texts as the palmary argument against the Pharisees; but as an argument ad homines only, for they refused to have their opinions tried by any thing but the Law of Moses. However, to make it pertinent to the support of their impiety, they understood the book of Job to be an inspired relation of a real conference between the Patriarch and his Friends. And give me leave to observe, that my Adversaries who have the same idea of this book will never be able to acquit the Prophet of this impious Sadducean opinion. Whereas the dramatic nature of it, here contended for, frees him entirely from the charge; which I desire may be accepted as another proof of the truth of our general interpretation of the Work. Manassah Ben Israel, who holds that Job taught the very contrary to a future State (not apprehending the nature of the Composition) has a whole chapter against the Sadducees, to shew, that this makes nothing against the reality of such a State.
I cannot better conclude what hath been here said, on this famous passage, or better introduce what will be said on others to come next
• Job vii. 9.
↑ Job xiv. 12.
1 Verse 14.
under examination, than with the judicious remark of an ancient Catholic Bishop, on this very book: IT IS FIT WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND NAMES AGREEABLY TO THE NATURE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER ; AND NOT MOLD AND MODEL THE TRUTH OF THINGS ON THE ABUSIVE SIGNIFICATION OF WORDS. This, though a maxim of the most obvious reason, can never, in theologic matters especially, be too often inculcated. How usual is it, for instance, to have the following words of St. Paul quoted as a proof for the general resurrection of the dead, by those who (as the good Bishop says) mold the truth of things on the abusive signification of words. "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."+
III. But as the terms, in this passage of Job, are supposed, by me, to be metaphorical, and to allude to the restoration of a dead body to life, some have ventured to infer, that those who use such terms and make such allusions must needs have had the saving knowledge of the thing alluded to, Resurrection of the Body: And the following observation has been repeated, by more than one Writer, with that air of complacency, which men usually have for arguments they think unanswerable-If the Scriptures speak of temporal misfortunes and deliverance, in terms of death and a Resurrection, then the doctrine of a resurrection must have been well known, or the language would have been unintelligible. And here I will lay down this rule, All words that are used in a figurative sense, must be first understood in a literal.+
This looks, at first sight, like saying something; but is indeed an empty fallacy; in which two very different things are confounded with one another; namely, the idea of a Resurrection, and the belief of it. I shall shew therefore that the very contrary to the first part of the learned Doctor's observation is true, and that the latter is nothing to the purpose.
I. The Messengers of God, prophesying for the people's consolation in disastrous times, frequently promise a restoration to the former days of felicity: and to obviate all distrust from unpromising appearances, they put the case even at the worst; and assure the People, in metaphorical expressions, that though the Community were as entirely dissolved as a dead body reduced to dust, yet God would raise that community again to life. Thus Isaiah: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise: Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: For thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.§ And that we may have no
• Πλὴν καὶ τά ὀνόματα προσήκει νοεῖν πρὸς τὴν τῶν ὑποκειμένων πραγμάτων πυκνότητα, καὶ οὐ πρὸς τὴν κατάχρησιν τῶν λέξεων τ ̓ ἀληθῆ κανονίζειν.—SERv. in Catena Græca in Job. † Rom. viii. 11. before the University of Oxford," pp. 18, 19.
1 DR. FELTON'S "Two Sermons Isai. xxvi. 19.
doubt of the Prophet's meaning, he himself explains it afterwards in the following words: * And I will camp against thee round about, and I will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. Nothing could be more plain or simple than such a metaphoric image, even amongst men who had no knowledge that the natural body was indeed to rise again; because every man knowing what it is to live and to die, every man knows what it is to revive, this being only an idea compounded of the other two: So that we see there was no occasion for the doctrine of the Resurrection to make the language intelligible.
Nay farther, this metaphorical expression must have there most efficacy where the doctrine of the Resurrection was unknown. For we have observed it was employed to inspire the highest sentiments of God's Omnipotency; but that always strikes the mind most forcibly which is as well new asperior to its comprehension. Therefore life from the dead was used, (and from the force with which a new idea strikes) it became almost proverbial in the writings of the Prophets, to express the most unlikely deliverance, by the exertion of Almighty power.
The following instance will support both these observations; and shew, that the Doctrine was unknown; and that the Image was of more force for its being unknown. The Prophet Ezekiel,† when the state of things was most desperate, is carried, by the Spirit, into a valley full of dry bones, and asked this question, Son of man, Can these dry bones live? A question which God would hardly have made to a Prophet brought up in the knowledge and belief of a Resurrection. But supposing the question had been made; the answer by men so brought up, must needs have been, without hesitation, in the affirmative. But we find the Prophet altogether surprized at the strangeness of the demand. He was drawn one way by the apparent impossibility of it to natural conceptions; he was drawn the other, by his belief in the Omnipotence of God. Divided between these two sentiments, he makes the only answer which a man in such circumstances could make, O Lord God thou knowest. This surprizing act of Omnipotency is therefore shewn in Vision, either real or imaginary. The bones come together; they are cloathed with flesh, and receive the breath of life.§ And then God declares the meaning of the representation. "Then he said unto me, Son of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our
+ Ezek. xxxvii.
§ Verses 8, 10.
• Isai. xxix. 3, 4. VOL. III.