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forted us at first, must comfort us again, and comfort us until we drink of the river of pleasure, which is at his right hand. Believer, you are God's child, though at present comfortless. You are God's child, though afflicted. He that comforeth those that are cast down will comfort you. The clouds will soon pass away, the shadows will soon flee. Jesus will be revealed to you, as your loving Saviour, sympathizing high priest, and tender friend; and of you, and all like you, it shall be said, “ The Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted.”
Ye saints, exult in Jesus' name,
'Tis hid from every carnal eye,
Beyond the reach of earth or hell,
Satan may rage, the world annoy,
The seed of grace your Lord bestows,
SATAN AND JOB. “ SAFETY is of the Lord,” Such is the testi. mony of the Scripture, and the fact is plenti. fully illustrated in the Christian life." It is not the circumstances by which we are surrounded, nor even the strength of our character, or the vigour of our graces that preserves us, but the Lord. Satan is powerful, vigilant, and malicious ; he is always watching us, and seeking an opportunity, and permission to do us an injury. He has cast down many strong men wounded, and he will soon cause us to fall, if permitted. What a striking confirmation of this truth, we have in the case of Job. He was prosperous, healthy, and happy. His graces were strong, His character was complete. He was an incomparable man. Hence the testimony of God himself is, that he was a perfect, and an upright man, one who feared God, and es. cliewed evil. There was none like him in the earth. And yet against him did Satan plot, and against him did he throw out the insinuation, “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land, but put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” Job. i. 9, 10, 11.
What an enemy is Satan to our comfort, peace, and prosperity! He observes us, and seeks an opportunity to injure us. But God has made an hedge about all his people, through which Satan cannot pass without leave. That hedge is a special providence. God himself in the operations of nature and grace, has a special reference to his people. As the objects of his ancient choice, he preappointed all things, so as ultimately to secure their best interests. As the children of his in. finite love, he sends his angel to guard them, and in all his operations he keeps his eye upon them. His eyes are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. This is the hedge, and no wall of fire could secure the traveller from the wild beasts, as this secures them. If they prosper, it is because he smiles, if they are stripped it is because he grants permission.
In Job's case, Satan comes as the accuser of the brethren, and insinuates that he was a self-seeking professor, serving God from selfish motives. That his religion would only live in prosperity, but would soon die in adversity. That he was no better than an
hypocrite, and flourished because he was not tried. Only strip him, said he, turn thine hand against him, and he will curse thee to thy face. And he did curse almost every thing but God, and he spake unadvisedly of him. Satan knows human nature well. He hates the Lord's people with a bitter hatred, and would use any means to do them an injury. What a daring deceiver he must be, to try to impose upon the Omniscient God! What an implacable enemy to a consistent saint, whose conduct honours the Lord ! How assiduous he is to gain permission to worry our souls, and bring us into trouble! He watches our conduct, examines our motives, puts a bad construction on ali that we do, and seizes every opportunity to do us a mischief. Well may the Apostle say, “ Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom be may devour.”
His design was to rob Job of his comforts, stripping him of his property, depriving him of his health, and disturbing his peace of mind; and all this, with a view of betraying him into sin. He knew that Job's sin, if he should fall, would dishonour God, disgrace religion, grieve the godly, and put a stumbling block in the way of sinners. Not only so, but it would bring down the rod of God on his shoulders, and fill him with deep distress. He wanted also, to quench the life and power of religion in his soul; by damping his graces, stirring up his corruptions, injecting his fiery darts, and then employing his friends to tempt and provoke him. His aim was, through Job, to dishonour the Lord himself. This object he keeps in view still, for though he could not succeed as he desired in Job's case, he has succeeded in hundreds of cases since. Let us therefore as Peter exhorts, “Resist the devil," assured that he will flee from us, And let us take encouragement from the case of Job and others, to believe, that we shall overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.
Let us admire greatly, the condescension of the Most High, in dealing with his creatures. How wonderful that he should deign to listen, for a moment, to a foul spirit like Satan! Can we then suppose that he will listen to Satan against us, and not listen to us against him? Will God hear Satan, and refuse to hear his child ? Impossible ! Let us also admire his wisdom and love, as they appear in allowing Satan to try his utmost, and do his worst, and yet so supporting and working in his people, as to bring them safe. ly through; not only so, but making them conquerers over Satan and all his allies. Let us bear in mind too, that what Satan suggested against Job, was from a knowledge of human nature. Job would no doubt have cursed God, but for the restraining and sanc. tifying grace of God. Nor must we forget, that Satan is still the same implacable enemy