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As for the conceit that too much knowledge should incline a man to atheism, ... first, it is good to ask the question which Job asked of his friends : Will you lie for God, as one man will do for another, to gratify him?
Bacon's Advancement of Learning. PREFACE
Job was a type of Humanity, cast forth upon this dust-heap that we call the Earth, there to be taught that the search for an infinite God must be an infinite search. not a sceptic; he did not deny God or reject Religion ; but he was a heretic, inasmuch as he could not accept the teaching of Religion as final, and, like Jesus, he vindicated the right of all men to seek God in their own way: “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
The heresy of Job, by the genius of a poet who lived perhaps in the period following the return of the Jews from Babylon (538 B.C.), became one of the grandest epic utterances ever given to the world. Its scope is the relation between God and man; its effect is a vast emancipation—no less than a freeing of the human spirit from thraldom to an idol, the god of a religion, into the “glorious liberty” of a fearless search for the God of the universe.
No one, I think, who has deeply and without prejudice studied the Colloquies between Job and his friends can doubt that his ordeal was nothing less than a temptation to accept an idea of God that he could not bonestly accept instead of