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body he will behold his divine Avenger. It was a marvellous anticipation of St Paul's teaching, that the death of the natural, is the birth of the spiritual, body. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” “Thou sowest not the body that shall be. . . . It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [our physical body] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands [a spiritual body], eternal in the heavens.” While, then, the friends are gaining nothing by the discussion, Job has already gained much ; he has won, in fact, “the blessed hope of everlasting life.” His experience, so far, is beautifully expressed by some lines of Mr Greg's:– “Around my path life's mysteries Their deepening shadows throw;
And as I gaze and ponder,
Yet still, amid the darkness,
And in the awful silence
But I hear it as the thunder,
The secret it is telling,
Then I ask the wise and learned
But the longer they discourse thereon,
So I seek again the silence,
They teach me deeper lessons
And I hear a voice above me
The night will soon be over,
To Him I yield my spirit,
Fear ends with death; beyond it
E have now reached the third and last part of the discussion. Eliphaz is by this time so very angry as to be scarcely distinguishable from poor Zophar. He accuses his suffering friend of the most vulgar and brutal crimes. At the close of his speech, however, he seems to feel some little compunction, for he once more promises the divine forgiveness to Job if only he will repent. God gains nothing by the goodness of the good. He loses nothing by the badness of the bad. His motives in punishing men must be disinterested, and therefore just. You have summoned Him to Ayour bar, but He will not condescend to argue with Ayou. Nor is there any need. Your iniquities are great and endless. You have distrained the poor, when you yourself were well off. You have stripped the beggar of his raiment. You have withheld bread from the famishing, and water from the faint. You have acted as if no one but your strong, proud self had any business in the "land. You gave no assistance to the widow; and you wrested from the orphans their means of support. This is why you are beset with dangers and alarms. This is the cause of the mental darkness which envelops you, and the flood of misery which is overwhelming you. Do you think God is so exalted that He cannot see men's doings ? Do you suppose that, as He dwells above the clouds, the sinner is hidden from His view ? It is an ancient path you are treading,—the path of the men of sin who were swept away prematurely by the Deluge. This was their punishment for saying, “ What is the use of serving the Almighty ?” Suddenly their firm foundation became a flowing stream. They had been for a time in great prosperity ;-but far from me be the devices by which such prosperity is attained ! We righteous rejoice when we see the discomfiture of our adversaries the wicked. We laugh when they and their substance are destroyed.
Make friends now with God, and then peace and prosperity will return to you. Listen to His precepts, and cherish them in your heart. Give up your sin, and you will be restored. Learn to regard gold as dross, and God will become your treasure. You will be able to hold up your head before the Almighty. He will no longer be deaf to your prayers. Your enterprises will all be attended with success. Your votive offerings will be accepted. The light of prosperity will ever shine upon your path. Nay, you will be able, by quoting from your own experience, to cheer those who are cast down. Your prayer will prevail, even for those who are not without sin.
Job, in his reply, complains that God is hiding Himself from him—that He hides Himself from the race. He points out how large classes of men live, through no fault of their own, in the most abject misery and servitude, while their oppressors have a good time of it, and go down to the grave in peace. Yet God never interferes. So far from retribution being regular, as the friends say, it would seem as if there were no such thing as Providence.
I will still persist in my complaint. Loud and bitter as it is, it does not express my anguish. Oh that I knew where I might find Him! I would press even to His throne. I would lay my