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Character of Job.

Character of Job.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. DAVID OSGOOD


JAMES v. 11.

Ye have heard of the patience of Job ; and have
seen the end of the Lord.
BY REV. DAVID OSGOOD


JAMES v. 11.

Ye have heard of the patience of Job ; and have
seen the end of the Lord.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 24, 2013
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CHARACTER OF JOB.BY REV. DAVID OSGOODJAMES v. 11.Ye have heard of the patience of Job ; and haveseen the end of the Lord.It has been the opinion of some learned men,that no such person as Job ever existed, and thatthe book containing his history was a parabolicfiction, invented indeed for a pious purpose, tosubserve the cause of religion and virtue. BishopWarburton considered it as a dramatic allegory,composed by Ezra for the consolation of the Jewsreturning from Babylon ; wherein, under the char-acter of Job and his friends, are figured those Jewsand their three great enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah,and Geshem. But it is certain that the history of Job was well known, and his character celebratedamong the Jews, before the destruction of Jerusa-lem by the Chaldeans. Honourable mention ismade of him in the prophecy of Ezekiel (xiv. 14),and he i§ there represented as a person, like oahCHARACTER OF JOB. 307and Daniel, of eminent and distinguished piety.He could not therefore have been a feigned, but areal character, as truly as oah and Daniel. Weare also led to the same conclusion by the Apos-tle's reference to him in the text. Against theexpress testimony of two inspired writers, it seemshardly allowable to doubt of the reality of his per-son, or of the truth of his history.
 
It may be more difficult precisely to ascertainthe age in which he lived. As there is not throughhis whole book any reference to a written law of God, it seems probable that he lived in the patri-archal age, prior to Moses and the emancipation of the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage. Withthis hypothesis, the length of his life corresponds.As he survived his sufferings a hundred and fortyyears, his whole life could not have been less thantwo hundred — an age which well agrees with thatof the patriarchs between Abraham and Moses.The land of Uz, in which he is said to have lived,is mentioned in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, aspertaining to the country possessed by the descend-ants of Esau, and is called Edom. One at leastof Job's friends, Eliphaz, is supposed to have beenof that family ; but most commentators choose toconsider Job himself as a descendant from ahor,the brother of Abraham.By whom his history was written, whether byhimself, by Elihu, or any other of his friends, we308 CHARACTER OF JOB.cannot form a conjecture. It carries with it evi-dent marks of the remotest antiquity, and is per-haps the oldest book now extant in the world.That it was written near the times in which theevents happened, cannot be doubted. Were weto suppose, as some have, an interval of ages whilethese things were handed down by oral tradition, theircredibility would have been so diminished, that theJews would not have received the book as canonical.It is inconceivable that Moses or any other Hebrewcould have written it without referring to some orother of their national peculiarities, or at leastwithout tracing the relation of Job to some of their
 
ancestors. But as nothing of this sort occurs,and the book stands unconnected with, and inde-pendent of the whole Jewish history and system,it probably preceded any records of theirs whichhave reached modern times. The account of Job'spossessions, the points of history, the rites of reli-gion, and the forms of idolatry referred to in it,are all such as agree to the times which precededthe Mosaic institution.The book assumes so much of a poetic form,that critics have called it a poem of the dramatickind. The general argument seems to be, "toteach men, that considering the corruption, igno-rance, and weakness of the human nature, on theone hand, and the infinite wisdom and immensegreatness of God on the other, they should renounceCHARACTER OF JOB. 309their own strength, their own righteousness, puttheir full trust in God, and submit themselves tohim in all things with the deepest humility andreverence." This instruction is forcibly inculcatedthrough the interlocutory parts of the whole book.The historical part exhibits " an high example of consummate and rewarded patience." " Ye haveheard of the patience of Job, and have seen theend of the Lord." The trial of his patiencewould not have been comparably so great, if hehad not previously enjoyed an uncommon degreeof prosperity. The firmness of our minds, espe-cially our patience, is peculiarly tried by great andsudden changes, from a prosperous to an adversecondition. Before his misfortunes, Job had norival in worldly greatness among all the people of the East. In wealth, power, and honour, he wasa prince eminent and distinguished above his co-

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