Imatges de pÓgina
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The horse, the hawk, and the eagle, are described.

19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.

21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed

men.

22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.

23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.

25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

26 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings towards the south?

27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?

28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.

29 From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.

30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

LECTURE 824.

The ways of God in his works fit to humble our minds.

Of all these striking appeals to the works of creation, as proofs of God's power and of man's ignorance, no one is so well known, or so universally admired, as this forcible description of the horse. The instincts of other animals are indeed set forth with the most exact fidelity, in few and lively words. But here we have a more full and perfect picture, and that of an animal with which we are all familiar, and to which all are more or less greatly beholden for the necessaries and comforts of life. Oh shame to our evil passions, that we should ever abuse the strength, and speed, and spirit of a creature so wonderfully made, to the purposes of mutual destruction! Oh melancholy proof of the early prevalence of wars and fighting amongst us, that this most ancient record of the qualities of the horse should appertain to him chiefly as a war horse!

"Hast thou given the horse strength?" Strength to carry and to draw, strength for speed and for endurance, great strength in proportion to his size is the first thing to be noted in the horse. "Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible." The union of high spirit with timidity is another point peculiar to this animal, who, whilst he one while starts at trifles, at another time expresses, by his air and attitude, by his very neck and

nostrils, the most determined courage, the most tremendous power. "He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength." He seems conscious of possessing extraordinary vigour, and shews himself eager to use it in the service of his master, man. He enters into the spirit of whatsoever work we set him to do; and as if he were a warrior himself, "he goeth on to meet the armed men." Where is now the timidity that made him startle at a shadow?" He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword." And the same is true of those more appalling engines of warfare, which of late have for the most part taken place of "the sword," "the quiver," "the glit tering spear and the shield." Still he swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet." If it be, he cares not for it, he is glad to hear it. For "he saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting." Inimitable description of God's most matchless handiwork! Who but He that made the creature could thus set forth the work of his creation? Whom but Him shall we praise and glorify, whilst we read the words which are written for our instruction in his book, or use the creatures which are made for our service in his world?

But lo! herein is another marvel, to confound our wisdom, and to humble our proud understanding, that God, who commands all men to dwell in peace as brethren, should have formed an animal with properties so helpful to the purposes of war? Can we explain how this has come to pass? Or why did He, who delights in the happiness of all his creatures, make such birds as the hawk and eagle, to live by inflicting death on others? Have they, like the horse, learnt warfare of mankind? And how is it that, whilst this noble animal is here described in the character of a war horse, it is likewise a chief characteristic of the sovereign among birds, that "her young ones also suck up blood; and where the slain are, there is she?" Here are instincts provided for a case, which, but for the sin of man, would never have happened. Here is a bird of prey ready to devour the slain, and an animal which enjoys helping man in the field of battle; and both prepared beforehand by Him, who has thus forcibly denounced all bloodshedding: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Gen. 9. 6. God gives; man abuses his gifts. God creates; man defaces and destroys. God foreknows wonderfully, and provides inscrutably; let man wonder and adore. God commands plainly, and forbids expressly; let man hear with all submission, and at all costs obey.

Job owneth to his sinfulness, and resolveth to amend. 1 Moreover the LORD an- and said, swered Job, and said,

2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

3 Then Job answered the LORD,

4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

LECTURE 825.

How man is humbled, and God glorified.

We see here the true argument of the whole book of Job; man humbled and God glorified. We see here all hard thoughts of God put to shame, all rash words spoken against God put to silence. We see the afflicted saint own himself to be a sinner. We hear him of whom God had testified that he was "a perfect and an upright man ;" Ch. 1. 8.; confessing for himself before God, "Behold, I am vile." Let us pray that the study of this book may bring us to the like conclusion, as to our own case, may help to convince of sin the most upright amongst us, and may check, in those who are most disposed to justify themselves, all thought of being counted righteous before God, except for the sake of their Saviour Christ.

When God pronounced Job "perfect and upright," He nevertheless permitted him to be tried by Satan, and permitted him, when tried, in some degree to fall; so far, at least, as to speak angrily to his friends, and presumptuously towards his Maker. The utmost proficiency then attainable in this life is not inconsistent with our being liable to be tempted, and when tempted likely to sin. Herein is man humbled. Herein also is God glorified. For though we fall, God lifts us up; He convinces us of sin; He inclines us to repent; and in proportion as He teaches us to feel the remembrance of our sins grievous, and the burden of them intolerable, He kindles the affections of our hearts towards Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, to save his people from their sins. Sin may abound, but grace does more abound; and as grace abounds, it makes us the more alive to the abundance of the sin that yet remains within us. And still, for every fresh wound thus brought to light, there is in Christ Jesus a healing virtue, which all the sins of all the world cannot exhaust. Let us daily resort to it with faith; and repeatedly as we feel our need of healing, and are sensible of our cure, let us repeat, from our inmost souls, the apostolic words of praise and gladness, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Cor. 9. 15.

The sin into which Job fell is here plainly described in the words of the Lord, "Shall he that contendeth with the

Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it." It was for Job's murmurs under the weight of an affliction, the reasons of which he could not understand, that Jehovah here calls him to account. What he was afflicted for is not distinctly revealed. Indeed his error consisted in demanding as a right to have this made the subject of revelation. His afflictions he had borne with signal patience. But he fretted under the imputation of his friends, that they were sent to chastise him for some gross and grievous iniquity; and he could not bear with patience to find himself unable to give the true account of God's afflicting him. Hence he was led, from wrangling with his friends, to murmuring against God. See Ch. 9. 17; 10. 2, 3. Behold him at length sensible of the wickedness of such conduct, of the presumptuous vileness of such words. He is convinced of sin: "Behold," says he, "I am vile." He owns his sin to be without excuse: "What shall I answer thee?" He purposes immediate amendment: "I will lay my hand upon my mouth." He confesses that he has sinned repeatedly, and at the same time resolves that he will sin no more: "Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice, but I will proceed no further."

It is important to observe, that when he is brought to this holy resolution, no one word had yet been spoken by Jehovah, in the way of satisfying the doubts, and clearing up the perplexities, discussed between Job and his three friends. Nor indeed is anything at all said afterwards by the Lord speaking out of the whirlwind, in regard to the main subject of discussion in this book; except that Eliphaz and his friends had not taken so just a view of the divine dispensations, as had been taken by Job. See Ch. 42. 7. The matter is left therefore as Elihu left it, that is to say, much in the same state as that in which Job himself had left it. And without having his wishes gratified, or his difficulties solved, Job is brought to feel, and own, how wrong he did, in urging them so discontentedly and irreverently. We must not think that we can at once gain our own ends by sinning, and set all right with God by repenting. He will have us know, that whatsoever He does or orders is good, because He does or orders it, and is to be by us not only submitted to, but chosen and preferred, as undoubtedly that which is best for us. And it is when we are brought to such entire confidence in our Maker, as to trust without reserve in Him, that all his commandments, all his dispensations, whether we understand the grounds of them or not, are infallibly just and good, then it is that man is effectually humbled; then it is that God is greatly glorified.

PART V. O.T.

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Jehovah again chargeth Job with sin. Of behemoth.

6 Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

7 Gird up thy loins now like a man I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?

10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.

12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.

13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in

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which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.

19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.

20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.

22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

LECTURE 826.

That we all stand in need of God to save us.

If we could hitherto have doubted as to Job's having used words most offensive to the majesty of God, no doubt ought to remain, when even after Job has confessed, and declared his purpose to amend, the Lord repeats the charge in language more express; "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous ?" This had been the purport and effect of the murmuring language which Job had uttered with his lips. This is what we should be guilty of implying, if we were ever tempted to find fault with that which God dispenses in his providence, or with that which He has revealed in his word. If thus we should transgress, let us not be surprised though after we have confessed our trans

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