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Come, ye children of affliction! who distrust your filial relation to God, merely because of the calamities with which he visits you—and view Job looking upwards in all his sorrows, and beholding his Redeemer; still relying upon God, notwithstanding the frowns of his providence, and exclaiming, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him!” Come,
who suffer imagination to magnify your little griefs, till you suppose that your sorrows are greater than those which have been endured by mortals,-and, viewing the woes of Job, learn to be patient and submissive.
He had enjoyed riches and worldly distinction. In less than a day, he was reduced by robbers, and the lightning from heaven, to indigence! This is announced to him by three messengers treading upon the heels of one another; and suddenly, and without preparation, announcing to him his calamity, and thus inflicting stroke upon stroke.
But though the fortitude of his mind was unshaken by thus falling, in an instant, from the height of opulence to the lowest want, yet was he not crushed by that agonizing intelligence which was communicated to him, as he listened to the recital of his other calamities,—that all those children on whom his heart rested with such fond delight, who had so long engaged his affections, were suddenly burie by the fall of the building in which they were feasting together!
Ye parents, whose hearts have been filled with anguish by the death of one beloved child-who have refused to be comforted for its loss, though you were in a manner prepared for the separation by watching round its sick bed, and marking the gradual approach of dissolution-judge ye what
strength of grace was necessary to support Job under this bereavement!
And now the wish of Satan was gratified. That same sun which, when it rose, beheld Job the most affluent man in the East, and surrounded by an affectionate and beloved family of children, before it set, saw him poor and childless! But were the predictions of Satan accomplished ? Did Job curse God, and rebel against his providence? Did he abandon his principles and renounce his religion ? No: he felt keenly his bereavement-religion permitted him to feel it: but he uttered no rebellious or profane word—he justified God--Looking beyond all second causes, and seeing the hand of the Lord, he humbly bowed himself and acquiesced. “ He arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head,” the or dinary expressions of grief in those ages; 66 and he fell down upon the ground and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Oh! how does this conduct reprove those (and there
! are many such) who, under incomparably lighter afflictions, quarrel with the righteous dispensations of Providence, and peevishly and wickedly think that God has done them wrong, because he has resumed the blessings which he lent for a season!
Satan was thus discomfited but he does not den sist from his charges against Job. He declares that no evil had befallen the person of this child of God; that his apparent patience was only insensibility and indifference towards his children; but that if he himself were wounded, he would curse God to his face. The Lord permits the adversary again to try his sera vant, that his integrity might be more manifest. Let
us not suppose, my brethren, that we are secure because we have obtained one victory, and stood firm against one assault of the enemy of our salvationHis attacks will be renewed in various modes while we remain upon the earth. Job is smitten from head to foot with the most painful and loathsome ulcers, so as to be constrained to sit down upon the ashes and scrape himself with a pot-sherd, a burden to himself, an object of horror to all around him. None came to pour consolation into his wounded heartto utter to him the words of condolence, of friendship and affection. “ My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in my house count me for a stranger-I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer. My breath is strange to my wife.
. Yea, young children despised me: I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me; and they whom I loved are turned against me.”
To augment his sorrows, she who ought to have attended him with the tenderest assiduity, and encouraged his faith and trust in God, came to him only as a seducer, as an instrument in the hand of Satan, tempting him to “ curse God and die.” But, rejecting with abhorrence these temptations to blasphemy and despair, he meekly and mildly, though firmly, replied, “ Thou speakest as one of the foolish women. What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?"
Again was Satan defeated for “ in all this did not Job sin with his lips.” How great does he appear! Surrounded by calamities, each of which is severe-the union of which would appear intolerable--yet displaying the power of divine grace, the firmness of religious principle, looking up to God with confi
dence, and exercising an unshaken trust in him. How much nobler, in the estimation of angels and of God himself, is this suffering saint, than the emperor on his splendid throne; than the conqueror in his triumphal car!
Here we pause in the life of Job. In another lecture we shall finish his history.
LIFE OF JOB.
JAMES v. 11.
* Ye have heard of the patience of Job."
We have admired the character and conduct of Job during his prosperity. We have also seen him precipitated from the summit of opulence and dignity to the lowest poverty and contempt-bereaved, at a single stroke, of all those children who for so many years had been entwining round his heart-tempted to blasphemy and despair, by her who ought to have supported and encouraged his devotional feel ings—and suffering excruciating anguish from a loathsome and painful disease; yet still submissive, re-signed, justifying God, and saying, “ The Lord
gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name
of the Lord.” “ Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?"
Thus victorious over all the designs of Satan in two severe trials, he is still exposed to new combats, in which he shows us, that, though a man of God, he was not exempt from human weaknesses; in which he confirms that truth which has been so often recalled to us during these lectures, that there is but one Sun without a spot—but one example entirely free from imperfection—that of our divine Redeemer.
The principal events that occurred during the remainder of the life of Job will be presented to you, while we illustrate the following observations:
I. We are taught the vanity of human friendships, -their inefficacy to support us under the pressure of sorrow,-and the consequent necessity of seeking a better Friend and a better Consoler.
We should be persuaded, even without the express declarations of Job, that in his state of
prosperity, he was surrounded by multitudes who professed for him the warmest affection and regard. Did they not, then, as soon as they heard of his calamities, hasten to him to console his wounded spirit; to relieve his necessities, and to pay him those attentions which his virtues, his woes, and their former professions demanded from them? No: they supposed that the sun of his prosperity was set for ever, and they turned to look for some other luminary, in whose beams they might bask. Job is left to exclaim, in sorrow, “ All my inward friends abhorred me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.” (xix. 22.). When he recalls the confidence in them which he once felt, and the hopes of consolation and support from them which he had so sanguinely ens