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gression, and have firmly purposed to amend, God still often brings our sin to our remembrance. Let us be thankful, if whilst we are mourning for the past, and pressing forward to amend for the future, He vouchsafes to supply fresh topics to convince us, how wrong we do to doubt that He does all things right.
"Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" Here the matter is put in a new light, to confirm Job in his convictions. If thou hadst God's power, it is argued, then there might have been some ground for thee to question the justice of God's dealings. Do then, if thou canst, as God does. "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together and bind their faces in secret." These are things which God does daily. And when Job also could do things like these, then, as the Lord said unto him, "then will I also confess unto thee that thy own right hand can save thee." To save ourselves, to justify ourselves, and to find fault with God, are, we see, all considered as one and the same thing; and all are shewn by God to be alike out of place in those who cannot in these instances compare with Him. Hence then let us learn how true it is, that unless we could be ourselves as great as God, we cannot fail to need Him for our Saviour.
Let us then again consider how great God is. Let us again dwell upon his greatness, as set before us in the greatness of his works. "Behold now behemoth;" an animal so far surpassing all the rest of the like order, in size, and strength, and majesty, that he is here called "the chief of the ways of God." There have been found bones of the creature probably here signified, which are twice as large as those of the largest elephant; and from these parts of the skeleton we are enabled to conjecture how enormous the whole living quadruped must be. Further researches beneath the surface of the earth, or amongst its wilds and mountains yet unexplored, may perhaps throw further light on the description before us. And a behemoth dead or living may be met with, to add to the many proofs and illustrations contributed by science to God's word, and to strengthen the conviction of God's greatness forced on us by the contemplation of his works.
Of God's great power shewn in leviathan.
1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord, which thou lettest down?
2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
6 Shall thy companions make
a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
That God is irresistible and irresponsible.
If there is much difficulty in determining what land animal is meant by the behemoth, there is no less in ascertaining what monster of the deep is intended by leviathan. Some indeed have been very confident that it is the crocodile which is here described; an animal of an amphibious nature, met with chiefly in the great river of Egypt, and never known to inhabit the sea at all. But it seems beyond question that the creature here described is an inhabitant of the ocean; for how else could it be said of the disturbance and foaming which he causes in the waters, "he maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment?" Ver. 31. And moreover the Psalmist clearly speaks of the same creature as dwelling and sporting in the ocean; when after saying unto God, "the earth is full of thy riches," he adds, "so is the great and wide sea also: wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships, and there is that leviathan: whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein." Ps. 104. 24-26.
But if leviathan be a creature of the sea, what creature is it? Much has been said to make it probable that the whale is meant, the largest of sea animals with which we are acquainted. But as far as observation has informed us, the whale is a creature of a peaceful disposition. And it is certain, that considering its size, it is very easily wounded and very frequently captured. And whether this had ever happened in the times of Job or not, we shall probably do right in considering, that the words spoken by the Lord on this
occasion are applicable in all times to all mankind; and that the great instance of creative power here described, is one of whom it might be said to men of any age and country, "Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? Will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? Wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall thy companions make a banquet of him? Shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fishspears?"
These questions cannot certainly be all answered, as is here intended, in respect to the whale. Nor perhaps is there any other known inhabitant of the waters at once so large, so fierce, and so hopelessly invulnerable, as to fulfil all the particulars which are set forth in this chapter. But what of that? Is there therefore the less force in the conclusion here drawn for our practical instruction: "None is so fierce that dare stir him up who then is able to stand before me? Who hath prevented me that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." This conclusion came with its full force on Job whether he were or were not acquainted with the leviathan here spoken of. If it mean a whale, it is not likely that Job had ever seen one. It may even be thought probable that he had never heard of one before. But he could take it on trust, from the description given him by the Lord, that such a creature there was, the work of his almighty hand. And he could reply with just reason, at the end of this account, "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee." Ch. 42. 2. If it be not a whale that is here meant, nor any known inhabitant of the ocean, but some enormous monarch of the deep, holding his almost solitary state, in tracts, and there are many such, where hitherto no enterprize of man has found a pathway through the waters, let us be content to take God's word for it, that such an one there is; so matchless and so fearless, so terrible and so powerful an antagonist of man, as that perhaps he has destroyed all whom he has encountered, and has suffered no mariner, however hardy, to return and tell of his existence. And if the creature of God's hand be thus irresistible, how much more, how infinitely much more, the Creator! How can any one dare to murmur against the will of Him, or to demand justice as for a debt due from Him, who can truly say of this and all his creatures, "whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine?"
Leviathan is further described.
12 I will not conceal his parts, joined together: they are firm nor his power, nor his comely in themselves; they cannot be proportion.
13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?
14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
23 The flakes of his flesh are
24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee: sling-stones are turned with him into stubble.
29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
That our adversary the devil is subject to God's power.
Whatever the creature called leviathan may be, it is undoubtedly set forth in all its parts, and power, and comely proportion, as a real and living demonstration of the might of its Creator. Let us regard it as an accurate description of one that is as a king among the most mighty of God's works, reported to us by God himself. What should we have felt if some of our fellowcreatures had seen and had described a monster such as this?
How much more may we be filled with surprize and admiration, when we have the account from Him, who not only has seen it, but who also has created it!
The name which He has given it, leviathan, signifies, in the original language, something folded, or rolled up; and this would naturally lead our minds to a creature made after the manner of the serpent tribe. With a mouth fit to be called the portals of its face, it has teeth that are "terrible round about," scales so beautiful to behold as to be its pride, and so compactly put together, that not even air can come between them. Light, heat, and smoke, seem to issue, in the abundance of its vigour, out of its eyes, and mouth, and nostrils. In its neck it has unwearied strength; and such is its destructive power, that sorrow, the sorrow of those whom it approaches, is said to rejoice or triumph in its presence. It is distinguished by great firmness of flesh, and by great hardness of heart. Its attitude when it raises itself up, is calculated to terrify the mightiest. No weapon formed by man can hurt it. It cares neither for sword nor spear, neither for dart nor arrow, neither for iron nor for brass; no more than for the rocks on which its couch is spread in the mire at the bottom of the sea. Its movements cause a turmoil in the waters like to boiling, a foaming as of ointment, a pathway white and shining like a hoary head. It is not to be matched for might or fearlessness by any animal that can be met with on the land. It looks down with scorn on the most scornful; and as it is fierce among the fiercest, it is also proudest of the proud.
Upon a survey of this most formidable picture, we shall perhaps think that they have some reason on their side, who see in the leviathan a lively emblem of "that old serpent, called the devil." Rev. 12. 9. And this conjecture is rendered the more probable, by the words of the prophet Isaiah, spoken, as it should seem, not without some reference to the end of the world: "In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." Is. 27.1. Let us with thankfulness remember, that it is no less true of our spiritual enemy, than of the most formidable foe we have on earth, that "He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him." Ch. 40. 19. One God, and one alone there is, Ruler over all. Though heaven be his throne, hell also is beneath his footstool. Satan, with all his might, and with all his malice, can do us no more harm than God allows for good. And with the Captain of our salvation at our head, and with the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit in our hands, we may boldly resist the devil; and he, fearless and furious as he is, will flee from us.