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hold can testify; if, like so many, I have been guilty of sins which I kept secret, for fear of losing the esteem of my inferiors and my peers :- Oh that there was one who would hear me! I present my written vindication to my almighty Adversary. Oh that He, in return, would write out my indict ment! I would not conceal it, for there would be no fear of its revealing my shame. I would wear it as a badge of honour, as a symbol of victory. I would tell Him all my doings. I would hide nothing from Him. I would come before Him, not as a guilty sinner, but with the pride and dignity of a prince. If I have been guilty of any grievous sin; if, for example, my land cries out against me that I have wrongfully possessed myself of it, if it weeps for its rightful lord, if its fruits have come to me by robbery or murder,—then in future let thistles spring up instead of wheat, and instead of barley noisome weeds.
So ends the soliloquy. Here follows, in our version, the speech of Elihu. But those best able to judge are agreed that this speech did not belong to the Book of Job as it came from the hands of the author. The chief arguments against its genuineness are the following: 1. Elihu's speech removes the connection between Job's last remarks in the solil
oquy and the speech of Jehovah. The latter begins with the words, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ?”
—implying that Job had just been speaking. 2. Elihu's speech weakens the speech of Jehovah, inasmuch as it anticipates the appeal to the divine power and wisdom, upon which so much stress is there laid. 3. It is inconsistent with the speech of Jehovah, for it professes to give a logical solution of the mystery of suffering. 4. The language and style of Elihu's speech differ greatly from those which we find in the rest of the poem. It must have been written, according to Dr Samuel Davidson—who is perhaps the highest authority on the subject—at least a hundred years later than the original work. The Rev. Samuel Cox, to whose book I am indebted for many useful suggestions in the preparation of these sermons, has made an eloquent defence of the speech. His strongest reason, however, for believing in its genuineness, is, that “it adds something to the argument of the poem; that it meets and refutes the main positions taken up by Job.” But as I endeavoured to show you in my introductory remarks, and as we shall see more clearly still in the next sermon, the poem is not an argument at all. It is the history of a soul's experience. The long discussion which Job is represented as carrying on with his friends, is only introduced for the sake of unfolding and explaining the various stages of doubt and despair through which the sufferer passed. Elihu's discourse, though pertinent enough to the discussion as such, has nothing to do with Job's experience. It does not elucidate a single sentence to which he gave utterance. And therefore it completely destroys the unity of the poem. .
So that, in the original poem, we may take it for granted Job's soliloquy, which finished in chapter xxxi., was immediately followed by Jehovah's speech, which begins in chapter xxxviii. This speech we shall have next to consider. In the meantime, let us just notice the state of mind in which Job at present finds himself. He is now comparatively calm. He has attained to a belief in the resurrection of the dead, and therefore his affliction can never again appear to him so desperate as it did when he supposed that his little all of life was being swallowed up in calamity. But the most fervent faith in another world will never make it agreeable to suffer in this. He is still as much puzzled as ever in regard to the why and wherefore of his afflictions. He knows of no other meaning in suffering than punishment; and punishment, he is sure, he has done nothing to deserve. He longs as much as ever for an explanation. He has found out that the solution of the problem is beyond the reach of human faculties. But he wants a special revelation. He would like to hear an explanation from the lips of God Himself. He no longer gives vent to blasphemous recriminations against God. He no longer explicitly accuses the Almighty of injustice, and tyranny, and cruelty; but he is, nevertheless, quietly, despondently sceptical. God, at any rate, he feels, must have forgotten him. There is a verse in Austen's “Human Tragedy” which exactly expresses his mental condition. We have all, I suppose, at times felt constrained to ejaculate the same bitter cry:
“Stupendous Power that, secret and afar,
W E have now come to the speech of Jehovah,
“The Lord answered him out of the whirlwind.” This is the oriental way of saying that it was the sight of a storm which led Job into some such train of thought as that which follows. Generally speaking, men see God most distinctly in what is strange and appalling. In Longfellow's “ Evangeline” we read, for example :
“ Keenly the lightning flashed, and the voice of the echoing
thunder Told her that God was in heaven and governed the world He
The same truth is asserted by the falling dew. But, for one who will observe God speaking in the still small voice, there are thousands who