Imatges de pÓgina
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time of Moses. Of this, however, no one can be certain.

The object of the play (for such it evidently is) seems to be, to teach the important and much-needed lesson of patience and resignation, when surrounded by troubles and afflictions which we cannot avoid. Job, the hero of the piece, was sorely tried by adversity; misfortunes came thick and fast upon him. Some of his worldly possessions were stolen, and the rest were consumed by the devouring flame. A great wind from the wilderness smote the four corners of the house wherein

his sons were assembled, and it fell upon the young men and killed them. Still was the good man calm, and measurably resigned, saying, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Afterwards, he was smitten with a vexatious disease, which extended from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot. His wife, disheartened, counselled him to "curse God, and die." But Job still retained his integrity: he would not despair. He said, "What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" That is, as though he had said, "Shall we joyfully receive God's blessings, and improve them for our benefit; and yet when temporal suffering cometh, shall we murmur rebelliously, and speak evil of him?" How beautiful his filial trust, amid severest trial! What Christian resignation and philosophy are here displayed! But finally Job was tempted to indulge in the language of complaint. It was during an inter

view with his three friends, and one other individual. Deep despondency obtained mastery over him for the moment, and he broke forth in a strain of bitter lamentation. Still he did not impute blame to the Almighty; but he asserted his own innocence and expressed his conviction that God was visiting him with sorrow for some wise and good purpose, although his friends tried to convince him that his miseries were sent upon him as a judgment for some sins he had committed. At last, the Deity appears in some manner, and addresses Job, in the colloquial form,--answering him out of the whirlwind, as we are told, in the metaphoric language of the play. And at this juncture of the progressive story, the style of expression is truly magnificent. The sentiments uttered are grand indeed. Richer poetry, more enrapturing description, loftier sublimity, or deeper pathos, it would be difficult to find anywhere, in ancient or modern writing. I am completely enwrapped in ecstatic admiration sometimes, when I read certain portions of this truly wonderful composition. No approximation towards any thing like justice to the varied merits of the work can be effected in the brief space of time which I have to devote to it, this evening. It needs a whole lecture, and that a very long one, to reveal its manifold beauties, and make fully apparent its exceedingly felicitous and pertinent allusions. I can only present you with a few selections, commending the whole book, for its literary, as well as its moral and devotional interest, to your attentive and thoughtful perusal.

In this matchless style, the greatness of Deity is described "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing......The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power......By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent."*

"Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?.....The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls; for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold."†

"God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and the great rain of his strength......Out of the South cometh the whirlwind, and cold out of the North. By the breath of God frost is given, and the breadth of the waters is straitened.......Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge? How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south.

* Chapter xxvi., verses 7, 11, 12, 13. xxviii. 12, 14—19.

wind? Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking-glass ?"—"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?.....Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measure thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?.....Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the day-spring to know his place ?.....Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth ?.....Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season, or guide Arcturus with his sons ?"*

But I must desist from further citations, lest they become fatiguing and besides, were I to attempt displaying all the meritorious extracts which might be selected, I know not where I should stop.

Whether there ever was a person by the name of

* xxxvii. 5, 6, 9, 10, 16–18; xxxviii. 1, 2, 4—12, 16, 28, 31, 32.

Job, corresponding with the excellent character described in this drama, has long been a matter of dispute. Whichever way the question may be decided, is immaterial, as respects the profitable moral which may be drawn from the play.

Shakspeare's works are in part history, and part fiction. The outlines of many of his characters are doubtless sketched from real life—the interior portions of each picture being filled up with the original creations of his splendid genius.

Appended to the book of Job in the Vulgate, is the following biographical statement: "Job dwelt in the Ausitis, on the confines of Idumea and Arabia; his name at first was Johab......He was the son of Zerah, of the posterity of Esau, and a native of Bozra; so that he was the fifth from Abraham."

I have observed a slight resemblance between the book of Job, and one of the most extraordinary works of the present age-the remarkable poem of FESTUS, which made its first appearance in England, about seven years ago, and has been published in this country within the past year. With regard to their character and mission, the Satan of the one, and the Lucifer of the other, are in some respects similar. The plot of each of the two works, is quite daring. The Deity is introduced without much ceremony, and conversed with very familiarly.

NEXT to Job, in the Biblical succession, come the

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