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thine heart* That is, be obedient: but the phrase was taken from the verbal delivery of the Jewish Law from Mount Sinai. The Rabbins were so sensible of the expressive peculiarity of this phrase, that they say the Law of Moses is here spoken of by a kind of prophetic anticipation. Again, Job cries out, О that I were-as I was in the days of my youth, when the SECRET OF GOD WAS UPON MY TABERNACLE |, that is, in full security: Evidently taken from the residence of the Divine Presence or SHEKINAH, in a visible form, on the ark, or on the tent where the ark was placed. And again...(that one would hear me! Behold
desire is that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine Adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder and bind it as a crown to me I: A phrase apparently taken from the use of their PHYLACTERIES; which at least were as ancient as their return from Captivity, and coevad with their scrupulous adherence to the Law.
A third circumstance, which will betray one of these feigned compositions, is the Author's being drawn, by the vigour of his imagination, froin thc seat of Action and from the manners of the Scene, to one very different; especially, if it be one of great fame and celebrity. So here, though the scene be the deserts of Arabia, amongst family-heads of independent Tribes, and in the simplicity of primitive Manners, yet we are carried by a poctic fancy, into the midst of EGYPT, the best policied, and the most magnificent Empire then existing in the world.---Why died I not from the womb (says the chief Speaker) for now I should have lien still and been quict, I should hure slept; then had I been at rest; with. Kings and
Chap. xxii. ver. 22. # Chap. xxix, ver. 4.
COUNSELLORS OF THE EARTH, which build DESOLATE PLACES for themselves * ; i.e. magnificent buildings, in desolate places, meaning plainly the PYRAMIDS raised in the midst of barren sands, for the burying places of the kings of Egypt - Kings and counsellors of the earth-was, by way of eminence, the designation of the Egyptian Governors. So Isaiah --the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings f. But it may be observed in general, that though the Scene confined the Author to scattered Tribes in the midst of Deserts, yet his images and his ideas are, by an insensible allure, taken throughout, from crowded Cities and a civil policied People. Thus he speaks of the Children of the wicked being crushed in the gate, alluding to a City taken by storm, and to the destruction of the flying inhabitants pressing one another to death in the narrow passage of the City-gates.-Again, of the good man it is said, that he shall be hid from the scourge of tongues g; that pestilent mischief which rages chiefly in rich and licentious Communities. But there would be no end of giving instances of this kind, where they are so numerous.
Hitherto the Author seems unwarily to have betrayed his Times and Country. But we shall now see that he has made numerous allusions to the miraculous History of his Ancestors with serious purpose and design.
For this poem being written, as will appear, for the comfort and solace of his Countrymen, he reasonably supposed it would advance his principal
Chap. iii. ver. 12, 13, 144.
+ Isaiah six. 11. 1 Chap. v. ver. 4. The Septuagint renders it very expressively κολαβρισθείησαν επί θύραις ήσσόνων. . See note (O) at the end of this volume.
end, end, to refresh their memories with some of the more signal deliverances of their Forefathers. In the mean time, decorum, of which we find him a careful observer, required him to preserve the image of very different and distant times. This was a difficulty: and would have been so to the ablest Writer. Both these were matters of importance; and neither one nor the other could be omitted, without neglecting his Purpose, or deforming his Composition. How then can we conceive a skilful Artist would act, if not in this manner; he would touch those stories, but with so slight an outline and such airy colouring, as to make them pass unheeded by a careless observer; yet be visible enough to those who studied the Work with care and attention. Now this artful temper our divine Writer, we say, hath observed. The conduct was fine and noble: and the cloud in which he was forced to wrap his studied allusions, will be so far from bringing them into question, that it will confirm their meaning; as it now appears, that if an able Writer would, in such a work, make allusions to his own Times, Religion, and People, it must be done in this covert manner. Thus Job, speaking of the Omnipotence of God,—which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, and sealeth up the stars *, plainly enough alludes to the miraculous history of the people of God, in the Egyptian Dark. ness, and the stopping of the Sun's course by Joshua. This appeared so evident to a very learned Commentator, though in the other opinion of the book's being of Job's own writing, that he was forced to suppose that his Author spoke proleptically, as knowing by the gift of Prophesy, what God in a future age would do t.
So Chap. ix. ver. 7. + Hoc videtur respicere historiam Josux vel Ezechiæ, quanquam ante illa Job extiterit. Sed hæc potuerunt per anticipationem
. So where Job says, God divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud *, he evidently refers to the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red-sea.. Again, in the following words, He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way t, who can doubt but that they allude to the wandering of the Israelites forty years in the wilderness, as a punishment for their cowardice, and diffidence in God's promises ; Eliphaz, speaking of the wonderful works of God, declares how he came to the knowledge of them, I will show thee; hear me; and what I have seen I will declare; which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it I: the very way in which Moses directs the Israelites to preserve the memory of the miraculous works of God. And who are these uise men? They are so particularly marked out as not to be mistaken: Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no STRANGER PASSED AMONGST THEM Ş. A circumstance agreeing to no People whatsoever but to the Israelites settled in Canaan. The same Eliphaz, telling Job to his face, that his misfortunes came in punislıment for his Crimes, says; Thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for naught, and stripped the naked of his cloathing ||. And Job, speaking of the most profligate of men, describes them, amongst other marks of their iniquity, by this, that they caused the naked to lodge without cloathing, that they have no covering in the cold ; that they take a pledge of the poor, and cause him to go naked without
cloathing dici, quod Jobum non lateret penes Deum esse id efficere quandoeunque luberet. Codurcus in locum. Chap. xxvi. ver. 12.
+ Chap. xii. ver. 24. •1Chap. xv. ver. 17, 18. # Chap. xxii. ver. 6:
Chap. xxiv. ver. 7.
* Ver. 19.
cloathing * Who that sees this ranked amongst the greatest enormities, but will reflect that it must have been written by one well studied in the Law of Moses, which says, if thou at all take thy neighour's rainent to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth doun; for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: Wherein shall he sleep? And it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear, for I am gracious. Which Law, as the learned Spencer observes, was peculiar to this institution f. Elihu, speaking of God's dealing with his servants, says, “That he may withdraw man from « his purpose, and hide pride from man; he keepeth “ back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing
by the sword. He is chastened also with pain upon “ his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong “ pain. His soul draweth nigh unto the grave, and « his life to the destroyers. If tłrere be a messenger " with him, an interpreter, one amongst a thousand “ to shew unto man his uprightness, then he is gracious “ unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down
to the pit, I have found a ransom. His flesh shall “ be fresher than a child's, he shall return to the days
of his youth. He shall pray unto God, and he will * be favourable unto him, and he shall see his face " with joy; for he will render unto man his righteous
This is the most circumstantial account of God's dealing with HEZEKIAH, as it is told in the books of Chronicles and Kinys. God had delivered him from perishing by the sword of Seniracherib: * Ver.9, 10. Exod. xxii, 26, 27. See also Deut. xxiv. 12, & 17.
- Leges illæ in Dei tantum Pandectis inveniendæ sunt, nempe, de vestibus pignori datis, quibus de pecunia concredita cavebant debitores, ante solis occasum, restituendis.-De Leg. Hebr. Rit. wol. i. p. 263. Chap. xxxiii. ver. 17, &