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with us, we should cheerfully acquiesce in, believing it to be best for us.
"The secrets of his providence are beyond our search, and his judgments above our reach.
"In the two last verses, Job desires that God would not contend with him; as if he had said, Lord I will not plead or dispute with thee; and I know thou mayest do what thou pleasest with me; yet, O that thou wouldest abate the severity of thy procedure, that I might have liberty to spread my case before thee; I have no friend to take up the matter for me, but if I might obtain a cessation, I would open my case in a few words myself.
"Verse 34. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me.'
"Afflictions may be called a rod, because of the hand that useth it, and the end for which it is sent, as well as on account of the smart of it. A rod is in the hand of a father, not for destruction but for correction. The rod is an evil in itself and will do us no good, but evil, unless the Lord make it a blessing to us.
"Now as it is our duty to pray for deliverance from every rod of affliction, so it is one end why God casts us into trouble, to stir us up to pray for support under, mitigation of, and deliverance from them. So the rod may be said to be taken away from us, either by an abatement of it, or giving strength to bear it, as well as when it is completely removed.
"There is nothing so grievous, either in active or passive obedience, as that which is either against our will or above our power. Now, it
is all one to have a burden taken off, or to have strength to bear, and patience to endure it.
"Whether it was the majesty of God that overawed Job, or the pain that he felt, or whatever it was; he was oppressed with fear and terror from the Lord, which he earnestly seeks to be relieved from.
"Verse 35. Then would I speak and not fear him; but it is not so with me.'
"This is as if Job had said, if the Lord would grant my petition, I would speak unto him without fear or doubt of being heard, for I am not the man you take me to be; for if I were, though the Lord should withdraw his terrors, I should be afraid to pray to him, lest I should draw down judgments on myself; which, if I were the wicked hypocrite you assert, would certainly be the consequence.
Or, Job may mean, I have earnestly intreated the Lord to abate my afflictions, and remove his terrors from me; but he hath not been pleased to grant my request; it is not so with me, the rod smarts, and terrors amaze me still. The prayers of God's dearest children are not always answered immediately, perhaps to learn them to pray more earnestly.
"There is an opinion which gives this verse a connection with the first of the next chapter; had the Lord condescended to take away his rod, and remove his terror as I requested, then I had somewhat to say; but seeing I have not liberty to speak to the Lord, I will pour my complaint into mine own bosom and commune
with my heart. He pursues this resolution in chapter x.
"Verse 1. 'My soul is weary of my life, I will leave my complaint upon myself, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul."
"My pain is so perpetual, and my distress so grievous, that it wearies my very soul.
"As David speaks of being weary of dwelling among wicked men, Psa. cxx.; so Job, in reference to his polluted body, Wo is me, that I sojourn in such a diseased body, and dwell in such a dying carcase.' The noble tenant is weary of staying in such a filthy habitation; and I see the great landlord will neither repair, nor as yet let it fall. This was no doubt Job's infirmity.
"The assaults of Satan, and the troubles, temptations, and wickedness of a present world, together with their inward corruption, makes godly men weary of their lives; and others, because they have got such assurance and evidence of a better life, as well as on account of the afflictions and troubles of this life, are desiring to depart.
"We leave our complaint upon ourselves when we make no excuses or evasions, but plainly charge the fault upon ourselves. God is righteous, but I am a transgressor. This is the sum of Job's resolution, I will leave my
complaint upon myself. They who strive to comply with the will of God, complain most of themselves for resisting it.
"I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. A bitter soul brings forth bitter words; it shall appear by what I say, what I feel, or it may be taken as an apology for what he spake. Speaking in the bitterness of the soul, signifies either the excess or greatness of a complaint, or the cause and spring of it. Job's complaint came not from the ordinary temper of his spirit, but from his troubles distempering his spirit. Having expressed his resolution to complain, he turns his speech to God.
"Verse 2.1 will say unto God, do not condemn me.' As if he had said, seeing thou art the God and father of all that fear thy name, and call upon thee in truth; therefore, in the exercise of faith and filial reverence, i beseech thee not to deal with me as if I were condemned for my sin, but make it again appear that thou art my God, either by removing these afflictions, (which represent me to the world as thine enemy, rather than thy son,) or by removing the dread and terror of them, by which they may appear as exercises of my grace, not as punishments of my sin; that while I am pained with thy rod, my soul may rejoice in thy love, and that while I am under this cross, I may triumph over it or if thou see meet to continue me in this state of suffering, then I have another request, namely, "Show me wherefore thou contendest with
"Job having in the former clause intreated that the Lord would not condemn him as a judge, desires now that he would show him why he contends with him as a party. Cause me to know, and let it appear, why I am thus afflicted that if it be for sin, thou mayest give me such a sight of it as will humble me, and cause me to turn from it unto thee; and if it is only for trial, I shall bear it more patiently, and my friends would be more charitable to me under it. Let these considerations prevail with thee, to open this secret to me, and expound the mystery of my afflictions. Hence observe, that an afflicted soul is very solicitous to find out the reason of his affliction, and a godly man may be long in the dark about the cause of God's dealings with him. In the next verse Job gives a reason why he makes this request: my condition excuses me for thus crying to God.
"Far be it from me to think so dishonourably of God, as that he could delight in oppression, and in breaking the work of his own hands, or in favouring the works of wicked men; and therefore I am thus importunate to know the reason of his procedure with me.
"Verse 3. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?'
"These interrogatories flatly deny what they seem to inquire doubtingly. Now, seeing oppression can be no advantage unto thee, thou hast no gain by it, nor delight in it, and no