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Eliphaz sarcastically throws Job's former conduct at him, and insinuates that Job could not trust nor rely upon his own doctrine: “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” Physician, heal thyself; practise now your former advice.
Zophar charges Job with falsehood, and asks, “Should thy lies make men hold their peace; and, when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?” Job against them all maintains his integrity, in which he is right, and tells them that he knows that he shall be justified, and that when he was tried that he should come forth as gold; and that he should see God for himself, and not for another; and in all this he bore no better witness of himself than God had borne of him. But as God did not appear to deliver him so soon as he expected, and being sadly irritated and provoked by his friends, he breaks out even against God himself, in which he justifies himself, but not God: “This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.” That God destroys those that are perfect as well as the wicked, and that
persons who are innocent when they are tried, if the bcourge slays them suddenly it is with God a matter of laughter; these are hard and bad speeches, of which God complains: “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God let him answer it.” Again: “Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?'
After a long contention between Job and his three friends, Elihu steps forth as a moderator; and a very strong impulse of the Holy Spirit seems to have been upon him; for he tells Job that he was, according to his wish, in God's stead. Job had desired to reason with God, and he was come in God's stead to reason with him. He highly blames Job's friends, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Elihu believed Job to be a good man, and as such he desired to justify him. He rehearses many of Job's hard speeches, and for which he was not to be justified, but highly to be blamed. He enforces the sovereignty of God, that he gives not account of any of his matters. He rehearses the various dealings of God with man, and the end that God aims at, to keep man from his purpose, and to hide pride from man, and to bring them to obedience; and that if they obey and serve him they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasure. He asks Job, “ Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes? Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?” Job xxxiv. 17—19. And for all these hard speeches he charges Job with rebellion: “For he addeth rebellion unto his sin; he clappeth his hand amongst us, and multiplieth his words against God.”
This wonderful moderator having silenced Job's three friends, and brought in so many charges against Job for false and unbecoming words spoken against God, he stopped Job's mouth so that he had not a word to say, and therefore makes no reply; upon which God came in as umpire. He lays the same charges against Job as Elihu had, and yet acknowledges that even Job had spoken more things than were right of him than his three friends had; for they are all charged with folly; but there is not one word against Elihu; he has no censure passed upon him. Job's conduct also is preferred before all his friends. They are ordered to bring their sacrifices to Job, and his * prayers are to be heard and answered in their behalf. God heals Job, and turns his captivity, while he prayed for his friends; and in answer to his prayers his friends are pardoned. They present an offering to Job their priest, and God commands his blessing upon it, and this enriches Job; and so the matter ends. I shall now return to my text.
“ Should I lie against my right?" Man, when God made him, was a happy and a blessed creature, All things were given to him, and he was to have dominion over all other creatures; but he sinned, and forfeited all; so that, strictly speaking, he has no right to any one thing but the sentence of death. “The day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” He did eat; and therefore this sentence in all its meaning, and the execution of it, is man's right; and this is all that he has any right to by the tenor of a covenant of works.
But God has appointed us another head, a second Adam, and proclaimed him to us as our everlasting Father; and he has redeemed us, and restored us again to the divine favour. And many wonderful things has God given to us in him, and whatsoever God hath given to us is our right; for nothing can be freer than gifts; and what is given me I have a right to inherit. And,
1. He has promised the kingdom of God to all them that are poor in spirit: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of God.' A man truly poor in soul is a debtor that needs a surety; a starving soul, like the prodigal, that wants bread, and begs it; a naked soul, that hungers after righteousness. He is weary, and wants a resting place; and he is chased out of all confidence in the flesh, and exposed to the wrath of God; and therefore he wants a refuge, a shelter, and a dwelling-place. He has neither good word nor good work to plead; and therefore becomes a pauper on a throne of grace, and relies wholly on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. This is the poor and needy man. To this man God promises the kingdom; and this man has many adversaries. But God takes his part: “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give
thanks to thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” The right of the poor in spirit is the kingdom of God; to the poor it is promised, and the poor are the heirs of it; and to the poor the promise of God secures it. The cause of a just man is his sonship. He that believeth is a child of God, manifestly so, by faith. Against this high character and title the devil and sinners labour hard, as may be seen in the devil's ifs and buts which he brought to Christ when he tempted him in the wilderness: “ If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.” Upon this head the Jews charge him with blasphemy, to which Christ replies, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” This they throw at him most blasphemously when on the cross: “He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” And against the sonship of the saints Satan labours with all his might; and in making this matter clear and sure to us every divine person in the ever-blessed Trinity is concerned. God makes it plain by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, and declaring that, “ He that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Christ makes it manifest to us upon our receiving him and believing on him; for to them