JOB AD HIS THREE FRIEDS.

BY JOH WARER BARBEE,
Author of "The Bible Looking Glass,"
The Book of Job," says a learned commentator, "is
the most singular book in the whole of the Sacred
Code ; though written by the same inspiration and in
reference to the same end, is different in the construc-
tion of its language from that of the Law^ the Proph-
ets and the Historical Books." But on all hands it is
accounted a work that contains the purest morality , the
sublimest philosojjliy, the simplest ritual and the most
majestic Creed. Except the first two chapters, and the
ten last verses, which are merely prose, all the rest of
the book is poetic ; and is reducible everywhere to the
same form in which all the other poetic books of the
Bible are written.
The book opens with an account of Job's piety and
prosperity, the charge of selfishness and hypocrisy
which Satan, the adversary, brought against him, and
the permission which was given him to reduce Job to
ihiQ deepest distress as a trial of his integrity. It pro-
ceeds to relate how his former friends who, witnessing
his severe sufferings, were led to condemn him as a
wicked man who was being punished for his crimes.
This gave rise to a warm controversy whether heavy
afflictions prove any person who is apparently pious,
to be a hypocrite. In disputing this point, the princi-
ples of true religion were argued by Job, and his
three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, who had
come to comfort him. While many things were
spoken that were in accordance with true religion, yet,
in the controversy or discussion as a whole, there was
a sad mixture of human infirmity.
When they could by no means come to an agree-
ment upon the subject, Elihu, with great modesty and
solemnity, interfered; and having first censured the
other disputants for condemning Job, he proceeded to
reprove him for his improper eagerness in justifying
himself, by which he had reflected on the justice of
God. While he was discoursing, the Lord himself
spake out of the whirlwind, and by a discovery of his
incomparable majesty and glory, made Job sensible of
his presumption, and brought him to humble himself
before him. This being effected," he justified Job from
the charge of hypocrisy, and condemned the conduct
and language of his friends, and decided the contro-
versy in favor of Job.
*'When a man falls into misfortune," says a good
writer, *4t often happens that some of those he had
most befriended while in prosperity, are the first to
forsake, and even to censure and reproach him. The
reason is plain : because they think him a pigeon no
longer worth the plucking."
The book in the world that best unfolds the human
heart is the Bible. There we find a man of vast sub-
stance ; as liberal as he was rich, and pious as liberal.
A man who was eyes to the blind, and feet to the
lame; ^Svho was a father to the poor," and whose
charitable hand and consoling voice made the widow's
heart sing for joy. While the ^* candle of the Lord
shined upon his head," unbounded respect was paid him.
The old as well as young, princes and- nobles, as well
as peasants, did him obeisance. He had friends with-
out number ; close friends — ^fixedly determined never to
forsake him in his — prosperity.
To answer the mysterious purposes of infinite wis-
dom tlio arrow of affliction was pointed at Job. In a
single hour he fell from the height of prosperity to the
lowest depths of human wretchedness. Bereft of his
children at a stroke, reduced to abject poverty, cov-
ered from head to foot with a loathsome disease, he sat
upon the ground, and was left to weep his woes by
himself. He cries in the anguish of his soul, ^^My
kinsfolk have failed and my familiar friends have for-
gotten me ; they that dwelt in my house count me for
a stranger . . , . my breath is strange to my wife ;
yea, young children despised me, and spake against
me." Even his three friends who came unto him,
apparently to comfort him, did but add grief to his sor-
rows. In addition to his outward trials, when he
attempted to rest on his bed at night he was terrified
by dreams and visions, so that he chose death rather
than life.
The apostle James, in order to nerve up the minds
of his brethren to endure the trials of life with pa-
tience, bids them look at Job, and see that the end of the
Lord in these things is to show pity and mercy. Even
in this life ^Hhe Lord turned the captivity" of Job, for
he lived a long life after all troubles, and doubled the
prosperity of his best days.
1. MY TOPICAL IDEX OF 38 THOUSAD SERMOS
http://www.scribd.com/doc/213026970/My-Topical-Index-of-Scribd-
Uploads
2. 68 FREE BOOKS
http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
3. ALL WRITIGS
http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful