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even at this moment; being frequently, by such means, warned and reclaimed, sometimes publicly, but still oftener in secret, through the medium of dreams, diseases, or other providential interferences.
“In chap. xxxiv. he attacks the position of Job, that the present world is the portion of the wicked, and that here prosperity is more frequently their lot than that of the righteous; and, with some degree of sophistry and disingenuity, turns, like Eliphaz, this position of the patriarch into a declaration that he approves of the ways of wickedness as a mean of prosperity, and has no desire to be righteous, unless where righteousness has a like chance of advancing his worldly views. Upon this point he attacks him with great severity; and in general terms, and general but beautiful and highly figurative descriptions, adverts to the frequent and visible interferences of the Almighty to relieve the poor and the oppressed, and to hurl down the tyrant and the reprobate. He next exhorts Job to relinquish his present sentiments, and to confess his transgressions, in full confidence of a return of the divine favour. Submission he asserts (chap. xxxv.) to be the only duty of man, and the wisest course he can pursue; that God can derive neither advantage from his obedience nor disadvantage from his rebellion; that man alone can profit from the one, and suffer from the other; and that, had Job suffered more, he would have disputed less. The remainder of this exquisite oration points out, consecutively, in strong and glowing language, full of sublimity and the finest painting, that God is supreme; that he is all in all; and that every thing is subject to him and regulated by him, and regulated in
wisdom, goodness, and justice; that hence, instead of reviling, it becomes us to submit; that the worst of iniquities is, to wish for death, in order to escape from a chastisement we are enduring and have deserved ; and that, living or dying, it is in vain to fly from the Creator, since all nature was formed by him, and is the theatre of his power. The speaker closes with a lofty and transcendent description of the might and wisdom of the great Maker, in the works and wonders of the creation; the formation of rain, thunder, lightning, snow, clouds, clear sky, the return of spring, and the general revolution of the seasons; concerning all which we know nothing, yet the whole of which is but a faint and reflected light from him who ordained and commands them :
Splendour itself is with God!
“PART VI. The trial of faith, resignation, and integrity, is now drawing to an end. The opponents of Job, and, through them, the arch-demon by whom they were excited, have been baffled in their utmost exertions; yet, though silenced, they still sullenly refuse to retract. The Almighty now visibly appears, to pronounce judgment, and speaks to Job out of the whirlwind :' and the address ascribed to him is a most astonishing combination of dignity, sublimity, gran
deur, and condescension; and is as worthy of the magnificent occasion, as any thing can be, delivered in human language.
“The line of argument pursued in the course of this inimitable address is, that the mighty speaker is Lord of all, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that every thing must bow down before him; that he is the God of providence; and that every thing is formed by him in wisdom, and bespeaks a mean to an end,-and that end, the happiness and enjoyment of his creatures. In the development of this reasoning, the formation of the world is first brought before us, and described in language that has
been equalled—the revolution of the heavenly bodies--and the regular return of the seasons. The argument then descends from so overwhelming a magnificence, and confines itself to phenomena that are more immediately within the scope and feeling of the sons of earth. It is God who supplies the wants of every living creature: it is he who finds them food in rocks and wildernesses; it is his wisdom that has adapted every kind to its own habits and mode of being; that has given cunning where cunning is necessary; and, where unnecessary, has withheld it—that has endowed with rapidity of foot, or of wing, where such qualities are found needful; and where might is demanded, has afforded proofs of a might the most terrible and irresistible. The whole of which is exquisitely illustrated by a variety of distinct instances, drawn from natural history, and painted to the very life; the following impressive corollary forming the general close:-God is supreme, and must be bowed to and adored: his wisdom is incomprehensible, how vain then to arraign
it: his power omnipotent, how absurd then to resist it: his goodness universal, how blind then to deny it.
“ This awful address is listened to with fearful conviction. The humiliated sufferer confesses the folly of his arrogance and presumption, and abhors himself for his conduct.
“ The peripetia, or revolution, immediately succeeds. The self-abasement of Job is accepted; his three friends are severely reprimanded for having formed a dishonourable judgment concerning him, and having taken a false and narrow view of the providence of the Almighty, in contending that he never does or can permit trouble but in cases of wickedness: a sacrifice is demanded of them, and Job is appointed to be their intercessor: upon the accomplishment of which, the severely tried patriarch is restored to his former state of enjoyment, and his prosperity is in every instance doubled.” p. xli.
To this masterly and often impressive summary, I feel that I ought to annex the author's view of the doctrines taught in the book.
“If we ask, What is the ultimate intention of the book of Job ? and for what purpose is it introduced into the Hebrew and Christian canons? It will then appear, that it is for the purpose of making those canons complete, by uniting, as full an account as is necessary of the dispensation of the patriarchs, with the two dispensations by which it was progressively succeeded. It will be seen, that the chief doctrines of the patriarchal religion, as collected from different parts of the poem, were as follow: I. The creation of the world by one supreme and eternal In
telligence. chap. xxxviii.---xli.
II. Its regulation, by his perpetual and superintending provi
dence. Passim. III. The intentions of his providence carried into effect by the
ministration of a heavenly hierarchy. chap. i. 6, 7;
iii. 18, 19; v. 1. IV. The heavenly hierarchy, composed of various ranks and
orders, possessing different names, dignities, and offices.
chap. iv. 18; xxxiii. 22, 23; v. 2; xv. 15. V. An apostacy, or defection, in some rank or order of these
powers; of which Satan seems to have been one, and per
haps chief. chap. iv. 18; xv. 15; i. 6—12; ii. 2—7. VI. The good and evil powers or principles, equally formed by
the Creator, and hence equally denominated “sons of God,” both of them employed by him, in the administration of his providence; and both amenable to him at stated courts, held for the purpose of receiving an account of their
respective missions. chap. i. 6,7; ii. 1. VII. A day of future resurrection, judgment, and retribution, to
all mankind. chap. xiv. 13, 14, 15; xix. 25—29; xxi. 30;
xxxi, 14. VIII. The propitiation of the Creator, in the case of human
transgressions, by sacrifices, and the mediation and inter
cession of a righteous person. chap. i. 5; xlii. 8, 9. “ Several of these doctrines are more clearly developed than others; yet, I think there are sufficient grounds for deducing the whole of them.” p. lxv.
. “ It is curious to remark the different ground of argument assumed in favour of a future state, in the present poem,--and hence, perhaps, by the patriarchal times generally,--and that assumed by the philosophers of Greece and Rome, who assented to the same doctrine ; the former appealing alone to a resurrection of the body, and appearing to have no idea of a distinct immortality of the soul; and the