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If you do not love Him, it must be because you do not know Him. Either He is seldom in your thoughts, or you think of Him as a dogma rather than a person. Try and picture Him to yourself as of old He lived, and talked, and worked in Palestine. Eemember how wonderfully, like no one before or since, He combined all conceivable excellences. He had the tenderness of the most womanly woman, and at the same time the strength of the manliest man. Though invincible by the temptations which assailed Himself, He was always ready to make the most generous allowance for those who failed and fell. He lived much with God, but this seemed to bring Him only nearer to man. He delighted in solitary communion with the Father, but He was fond also of mingling with His neighbours at their social meetings and festivities. He was keenly alive to the paramount importance of the Spirit and eternity; and yet no one was ever so thoughtfully considerate for men's temporal and bodily welfare—He ministered to them in their bereavements and in their diseases, He was not unmindful even of their hunger and thirst. He had the most sensitive nature, which yearned inexpressibly for sympathy, and yet He never suffered Himself to be led by this desire from His proper course. He persevered, though all His followers deserted Him under the conviction that their confidence had been misplaced. He avoided no effort, He shirked no sacrifice, He shrank from no anguish, by which He might serve the race in revealing God and reconciling man. Think of this and much more in that sad, beautiful, sublime career. Think of Him till you love Him and your love has made you like Him. *
rilHE Book of Job is one of the least read books in the Bible; but at the same time, there are few more worthy of our serious attention. If justice is to be done to it, it must be studied as a whole; and when so examined, it will be seen to stand, both as a work of art and as a book of spiritual instruction, upon the very highest level. In regard to this matter all competent critics are agreed. "I call that book," said Thomas Carlyle, "apart from all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written with the pen. There is nothing, either in the Bible or out of it, of equal literary merit." Similar testimony is borne by Mr Froude. "It is a book," he declares, "of which it is to say little
that it is unequalled of its kind. One day, perhaps, when it is allowed to stand on its own merits, it will be seen towering up alone above all the poetry of the world."
With regard to its date, there has been great diversity of opinion. Some have held that it was of pre-Mosaic origin, written in the age of the patriarchs. For this view there are no good grounds. The hero, it is true, is represented as having lived in that period, but there is nothing to suggest that the book was written contemporaneously. It has also been placed in the Mosaic period, and, according to a Jewish tradition, had Moses himself for its author. This view has little to support it except some trifling affinities to the style of the Pentateuch, and the fact that its writer, in common with Moses, evidently had a considerable acquaintance with Egypt and Arabia. Ewald, again, thinks that it belongs to the great prophetic period, and that its author was a contemporary of Jeremiah. But as Froude points out, the prophetic period was an era of decrepitude, dissolution, sin, and shame. The energies of the prophets were devoted to rebukes and warnings and exhortations. In such a time men would be too absorbed with the present for searching, like the writer of Job, into the deepest mysteries of existence.
The book seems to me distinctly connected by two striking characteristics with the era of Solomon. At this time there sprang up among the Hebrews a new kind of literature, called Chokmah or Wisdom. To this class of writings belong the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, certain passages in the Talmud, and, last and greatest, Job. These books were distinguished from all other Hebrew literature, both by their form and by their spirit. In form they were for the most part a combination of sententious aphorisms, and their spirit was catholic, not Judaic. Now it is manifest that to combine a number of sentences, each having a certain rounded completeness, into a dramatic poem, must be a singularly difficult task; and it is not likely such a task would ever have been attempted unless this had happened to be the form of the period. Otherwise it would have been the last kind of style which the author of Job would have adopted. In spite of his consummate genius, we find it sometimes interfering with the proper sequence of ideas. But it was the form in which his con