Page images

made of all without exception: “This is one thing therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.” In this common slaughter who can escape? He predicts also the dismal end that he should make; not in the enjoyment of perfect day, or in the realms of ineffable light, but the reverse of all this: “ Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death; a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness,” Job x. 20—22. These dismal regions of the shadow of death, without order, and where the light is as darkness, is ten times worse than the grave, and can be no other than hell itself; for as for the grave, Job speaks pleasantly of that: “ There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the .weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.”

“ But should I lie against my right?" No, I should not. And sure I am that none but the devil would set us at it. But why is it called lying? Why, because there is no truth in it; for not one thing spoken in this unbelieving and perverse way ever came to pass, but all fell to the ground. Furthermore, it is called lying, because Job did not in his heart believe one word of this when his lips muttered it; for Job's faith and confession contradict the whole of it: “I know I shall be justified.” I shall see God for myself. “He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him;" and, " When he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” All this was spoken in faith, and by the Holy Spirit; and all this came to pass; but, as for all the rest, he did not be: lieve one word of it when he spoke it, but spoke it in anger and rebellion. It is called lying, because it was contrary to his own spiritual knowledge. He knew that God had borne witness of him, and he knew that his name stood in the Lamb's book of life: “ Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” He knew also that he had the love of God shed abroad in his heart, which is that charity that never fails : “But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?" “Should I lie against my right?" No, you should not; and none but Satan would set you at it. It is called lying, because Job spoke contrary to his own conscience. Every good man is conscious to himself of his own uprightness; and so was Job:

My foot hath held his steps; his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I

gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Hence it appears that Job spoke contrary to his faith, contrary to his better knowledge, and contrary to his own conscience; and this, in plain English, is downright lying. And

there is not a little of this scandalous trade carried on to this day among God's people, especially the convicted soul when in legal bondage, and the believer when in the furnace of affliction. The awakened sout in his chains, though at the same time equipped with a firm hope, will bring forth his innumerable fears and doubts, and represent them ten times worse than he either feels them or fears them; and if he has got treasured up

in his own mind ten promises, and a thousand tokens for good, he will keep all these back, except you press him close, and squeeze them out of his heart. And what is this for? Why do they keep back part of the price? Why, this is done to move the bowels of mercy, and to excite your pity; and one half they complain of they do not believe; and though they make their case singular and desperate, they can see through a hypocrite, and censure him highly; and many that seem high in profession they envy not, but prefer their own state much before theirs. But so it is when in the furnace, though we know it is for our good; and experience tells us it ever has been so; yet enmity is so inflamed, hardness of heart and the perverseness of our wills so averse to the cross, and we are so mortified at being stripped of peace and comfort, that our anger resents it, and we seek to be avenged on the Lord' himself for his fatherly anger; and we keep back all that we believe, and bring forth that which we do not believe; and thus our lips speak lies, and our tongue mutters perverseness. Reader, when thou art going to carry thy complaints to thy fellow Christian, bring forth all the best as well as the worst, and ask thyself whether thou believest all these evident tokens of

perdition which thou art going to bring forth, and whether conscience will put her amen to thy complaining oration; and if not, depend upon it that thou art going on with this old cursed trade of lying. But I must drop a few words on the second part of my text;

My wound is incurable without transgression.” Job's wound, strictly speaking, was occasioned by the exhibition of the law to Job's mind, and the application of it to Job's conscience, which discovers our sin. Paul calls it the hand-writing that is against us, and contrary to us; and of this Job complains: “ Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths.” A sight of sin, and even of the sins of his youth, appeared in this handwriting; and sad bondage always attends it; of which Job complains when he calls his bondage the stocks; and as the law lays open all our evil ways, Job complains of God's looking narrowly to all his paths.

Another of Job's inward wound was, the terrors of the law, which terrify the soul with fears of future judgment; and these are attended


with cutting rebukes, reproofs, and the piercing sentence of the law: “ For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.” Job was sorely assaulted with the blasphemous suggestions and fiery darts of Satan; besides the hard treatment of his friends, the loss of property and family, and the sore afflictions of body which he laboured under; and, if what the Jews assert be true, that Job was seven years in this furnace, it was a long, a sharp, and a gricvous trial; but it ended gloriously. Now this wound was incurable. So says carnal reason, so says unbelief, and so say the lips of those that lie against their right. And this incurable wound was inflicted without any transgression as the procuring cause thereof. This Job contradicts himself: “Thou makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.” Again: “I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men ?" Job vii. 20. Various are the voices in this book; unbelief, carnal reason, desperation, and inflamed wrath, have their voices; faith, conscience, and truth, have their voices also. But all that has been advanced by infidelity, anger, or blind reason, at the grand trial is put to silence, and falls to the ground; but not one word spoken by the Spirit, not one word spoken in faith, and with the testimony of conscience, but what is highly honoured and fulfilled, to the glory of God, and to the comfort of Job.


« PreviousContinue »