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receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?? But after tạis, his great patience awfully failed him. If hitherto it might have been said, “In all this did not Job sin with his lips," neither did he “charge God foolishly." Yet afterwards, what must be said of him when his patience perfectly failed him, and when in the most endearing language, as in the third chapter, he could even curse the day in which he was born? I think Sir, you will be as much struck at his rebellion at one time, as at his patience at another.
Lov. But if he did wrong in this, yet doubtless in other respects, he was a very righteous man.
Loveg. Certainly so Sir; and before man, no one had a greater right to vindicate himself against thre accusations of his three friends, who certainly mis took his case: they concluded him very unjustly, to be an arrant hypocrite, and that God had detected him, and that therefore he was severely punishing for his crimes. As far as human righteousness went, he might venture to say, “ he would hold it fast, and would not let it go ;" and no doubt, but that with the greatest justice he could further add, as it respected the great and upright character he sustained; 6 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness unto me; because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had no helper ; the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me, and my judgment was as a robe and a diadem: I' was eyes to the blind. and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not, I searched out."
Lov. Why Sir, was it possible for any one to do more, to deserve the character of a righteous man, than he did? Could he be a good and a bad man at the same time? Sir, I cannot think we are called to renounce our integrity.
Wor. Really Sir, you and I have been stumbling
upon the very same “stone of stumbling and rock of offence;" I was as proud of my righteousness, as ever Job was of his, when I only looked at the surface of my character, as it appeared before man; and I thought Mr. Lovegood brought strange things to my ears, when I heard him assert from the Bible, that “ there was none righteous, no not one.”
Mrs. Wor. Indeed Sir, Mr. Worthy and myself were at first equally offended at Mr. Lovegood, when he brought us all down to the same level, though he only took us upon our own words, which we all adopt at church, “enter not into judgment with thy servants, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified.” But somehow, while he disarmed us of our self-righteousness, he contrived at the same time to disarm us of our prejudices, that we were both forced to submit.
Loveg. Yes, and agreeably to Mr. and Mrs. Worthy's remark, it may further be observed respecting Job, that he did not know how much he had of tho latent Pharisee in his heart, whereby he was led to “trust in himself, that he was righteous," like the Pharisee of old, though in other respects, he was by no means of their hypocritical cast.
Lov. Why, how can another be righteous for us?
Loveg. Dear Sir, you do not understand me, He was rather led to applaud the goodness of his own heart, on account of these things, while he forgot to give glory to him, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, do proceed ;* or if you please, to give you it in other words, it should appear
that he was more bent upon trusting in his owu righteousness, than in God who made him righteous ; for, respecting the best of men, it may be said, as Eliphaz replied to Job, “ What is man that he should be clean, and he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ? Behold he putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is
* Common Prayer Book.
man, which drinketh in iniquity like water ?” And again, “Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous; or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy way perfect ?"* Nor can we conceive a more striking query, than that which we find in the same book. “ How can man be justified with God; and how can he be clean that is born of a woman; Behold, look even to the moon, and it shineth not: yea, the stars are not pure in his sight; how much less man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm ?”+
Lov. But really Sir, though I confess I am no divine, do not you think that Job's friends went too far, in speaking against the merit of his righteousness?
Loveg. I have already said, that they went much too far, while they accused him of hypocrisy and wickedness; yet we shall find that God himself ter minated the controversy, by shewing Job, not only the folly of the supposed merit of his righteousness, but also the sinfulness of those proud thoughts, which must be brought down, as it were, by force of arms. Do Sir, let me remind you of that passage in St. Paul to the Corinthians : “ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, (or vain reasonings,) and every high thing, that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought unto the obedience of Christ."
Lov. Şir, these are very strong words; are you sure you have quoted them correctly? though, I dare say, you have done so to the best of
your recollection, Loveg. I believe Sir, I am perfectly exact ; but while we further investigate the book of Job, I will consult my pocket bible, and we shall then go on certain ground.
Mrs. Lov. Did I not tell you, my dear George, that Mr. Lovegood could well explain himself on these points !---You see how he makes the Bible his constant study.
* Job xxii. 2, 3. + Job xxv. 4, 5, 6.
Lov. My dear I am quite ready to hear what Mr. Lovegood has to say, though I'much fear lest his religion should do you harm.
Loveg (With his Bible in his hand.] Dear Sir, the religion of this book can never do us any harm. And if you will allow me to continue my observations on the book of Job, that should be first noticed which is said in the beginning of the thirty-second chapter of that book : “ So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes ;” and Elihu being sent of God to settle the controversy, thus charges Job for his presumptuous thoughts before God. “ Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression ; I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, he findeth occasions against me; he counteth me for his enemy. He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths. Behold, in this thou art not just; I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him ? for he giveth not account of any of his matters ?"* In the thirty-fourth chapter also, we find him reproved for the same sort of pride and rebellion ; “ Job hath said, I am righteous, and God hath taken away my judgment. What man is like Job, who drinketh np scorning like water? who goeth in company, (at least in his conversation,) with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. For he hath said, it profiteth a man nothing, that he should delight himself with God.” So that Elihu is as it were, obliged to vindicate the cause of God, against the profane suggestions of Job, by saying, “ Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity : yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment; for that Job had spoken
* Job xxxiii. 8, 13.
without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.” It is the desire therefore of Elihu, “ that Job may be tried unto the end, because of his answers for wicked men : for he addeth rebellion unto his sin, and clappeth his hands against us, and multiplieth his words against God.” I dare say Sir, yon did not expect such strong expressions as these from Elihu, against the supposed righteousness of Job.
Mrs. Lov. See my dear, how plainly Mr. Lovegood makes it out, what sinners we all are, on account of such wicked thoughts. Lov. Why I confess, the subject never struck
so forcibly in this light before; but I am unwilling to give up the point yet: I wish to take some time to consider for myself; and with Mr. Lovegood's leave, to consult with other divines on the subject
Loveg. By all means, dear Sir, truth never suffers by investigation. But even in the next chapter you will find a deal more of the same proud language, charged on Job, as uttered against God. “Thou saidst (said he) my righteousness is more than God's ;" therefore he adds, “What advantage will it be to me, and what profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sin ?" Elihu therefore asks Job the question, “ If thou be righteous, what givest thou him; or what receiveth he at thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man : thus, he concludes, that “Job opened his mouth in vain, and multiplied his words without knowledge.” And Sir, if I have not tired you 'with the number of my quotations, you may further see what was the design of God in this controversy with Job,“ that he might withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from a man;" he therefore humbled him by sickness, and a variety of the most severe dispensations in providence, that he might further be convinced of the sinfulness of his heart; for “ If any man say I have, sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it