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applied to endless punislıment. I am furnished with but little inducement to retrart my opinion that you had better pót have meddled with these subjects.
relica Yoar's, &c.
KETTERING, MARCH '17, 1800.
Bildad the Shuhite answered and said, “ How long, thus wilt thou speak? And let thy breath multiply the words of thy mouth? 3. Hath the mighty God perverted the sentence of judginent?
Or, hath the Pourer Forth turned justice aside? 4 If thy children wandered from him,
1. Then answered Bildad.] Stung by Job's reproaches, but unmoved by his distress, and regardless of his protestations, this respondent calls the whole a storm of passion. With this spirit he enters upon his answer; wherein he supports the prirciple of Eliphaz, that all sufferings necessarily imply preceding guilt. He advances, in defence of that position, two arguments; the first, ver. 3, is taken from the justice of God; the other, 8-13, froin the sentiments of the ancient
sages.These are the ouuines of his short discourse, which he fills
It is hard to say what distinguisheth this orator, and marks the habit of his mind." Had he spoken no more, I should have'set him down as a blunt man; of a middle rate genius : but it must be owned his second speech is full of fire. However, we may venture to affirm, he has neither the dignity of Eliphaz or the violence of Zopbar.
2. Thy breath.] It is difficult at all times to fully understand a dead language; the word m17 may convey the idea of the old Engiish proverb to shend the breath in vain, or it may signify the spirit or temper of mind in which he supposes Job to be, 1 3.] Mr. Scott has excellently given the idea of this verse.
Can the Great source of Justice and of pou'r
And bless and punish by a sule awty? These men had 110 conception that, in the government of an infinitely wise Being, suttering might be made to answer many other valuable purposes besides those of justice: and therefore that God might, without repugnante even to his goodness, láy heavy afflictions on a man of undissembled piety: but they were to learn this truth from the issue of the present atlair 3 and to igach us this lesson was, I apprehend, one subordinate design of the history of Job.
4. If thy children.) He instances that tragical event as an example of divine justice. If there be any thing ckaracteristical of the manners in the
Perverse' his evil and his good apply,
And he hath stretched them forth with their transgression in
their hand, 5
If thou wouldest rise early unto God,
And unto the Pourer Foril.wouldest make supplication, 6 If thou zcrt pure and upright,
Surely at this time he would awake for thy help,
And he would make whole the habitation of thy righteousness. 7 Then should thy beginnings be from a little,
But thy future days he would luxuriate exceedingly.
And prepare thyself to inquire of their fathers.
Surely our days are a shadow upon the earth.
Unto thee shall they speak,
Will the sedge luxuriate without waters?
But before every succulent plant shall it wither.
present speech, it in ust be this passage: Eliphaz had but gently touched that tender point, in a covered hint, ch. v. 4. But this man, in violation of all civility and decorum, mentions it bluntly, in the most opet
He has the grace, however, to quality the cruel reflection, by putting it in the form of a supposition. If, &c.
5. If thou zvouldst, &c.] lle here thinks to soften the foregoing uncharitable insinuation, by giving the afflicted father lope of his own restoration : , but on what condition? On the conduion of his sincere repentance and humiliation. The very condition was an insult: for it supposeth him to have coninued hitherto a contumacious sinner.
6. The habitation of thy righteousness. ] Thy righteous family; compare this with ch. xi. 14, 15.
10. They shall instruit thee.] The sayings of wise men are respectable: but their maxims have no authority beyond the arguments which support them in a matter of speculation; or b: yond the facis on which they are grounded, in a matter of experience.
11. Can the papyrus.). The famous; paper reed, which formerly was much cultivated in the meadows along the Nile, but is now, as we are informed by Dr. Shaw, very scarce, the inhabitants having coulinually rooted it up for fuel. This, with the sedge, like all other marsh vegetables, requires much water. When, therefore, the Nile rose not sufficiently high for its usual overflow, they perished sooner than any other plants. What a just image of transient prosperity!
This puts us in mind of the parables of our Lord, and the weighty sentences of Solomon; t exhibits a specimen of the ancient manner of conveying moral instruction; short pithy sentences, wrapped in concise similitudes, were cast, for the fixing of them on the memory, into a metrical form. Bp. Lowth mentions the words of Lamech to his Iwo wives as the oldest example of this kind on record.
13 Thus are the paths of all who forget the Alrighit:
The expectation of the polluted shall perish."
For å spider's web was his trust.
Concerning it he shall make sure, bat it shall not be established. 36 Before the solar says he is moist,
And his young twigs siiall shoot over his garden.
But he shall find a stony soil.
It shall be concerning himn, I have not beheld thee.
13.] In the 11th and 12th verses was the comparison; this is the moral apprication of it. The saying is a truth in itself, but the application of it to Job was an abuse of it
. The saying applies to opéu protanity and notorious vice; the character of Job was outwardly irreproachable, and he contended that his private life was as pure as his public life was virtacus. In the mouth of Bildad it was a jewel in a swine's
The polluted.] Mr. Heathi renders it the profligatë man.
Mr. Scott observes that he cannot any where find that the Hebrew word signifies kippucrite, here it is coupled with forgetfulness of God, which is a Scripture phrase forimpiety, Ps. 3. 4. 1. 22. ch. xxxiv. 30. it means an opressive raler. In Ps. XXXV. 16. a profane scoffer. And our translators render the absıract substantive 19. in Jer. xxiii. 15. by profaneness. The general idea of the word, therefore, is not hypocrisy, or concealed wickedness, but pollution, defilement from open and avowed sin.
14. When he shall.] Here begins the comment upon the proverbiak citation, which continueth to the end of the 19th verse." He enlarg’es, in this and the next verse, on the vain hopes of these wicked men to perpetuate their greatness by' powerful aliiances, or any other
He is moist, or green in the intense heat of the day; the metaphors are taken from a garden-plant, perhaps ihe vine, and, contrasted with the marsh-plants the beiter to represent the wicked man's fortunes and fatal catastrophe.
17. But he shall fird.) Literally, he shall behold a hoxse of stones. An animated phrase for a siony soil, as Buxtorf explains it. 'I hus the house of thorns in the Syriac Testainent; Mat. xiii. 221 is thorny ground.
Verdant, and gay, before the beam, awhile,
18. I have not beheld thee.] This is a strong manner of expressing utter abolition and abhorrence. The figure is a bald prosopopeia; but not more daring than that of Ovid, who puts a long speech into the mouth of the earth, when she was burnt up by the chariot of the 19 Lo! tiris is the rejoicing of iris way,
And from the dust others shalt spring forth.
But he will not strengthen in power the unjust..
And shouring thy lips,
But the tent of the unjust shall be a Hicted."
19. Others shall.]. Other plants shall succeed to his place; that is, his Estate shall pass into another family. Thus the period closes with the same inetaphor that began it.
20–22.] Here begins the inference drawn from the preceding reflections,
21. Thy mouth. &c.] He had begun the period, ver. 20. in the third person, Behald God will not cast away a.perfe& man, &c. Such a sudden turn of the sıile to the second person is spirited and catches the attention by surprize, whether this address to fol was serious or ironical: if it was serious, it was so on supposition of lús becoming
a righteous inan: ironical, it was cruel. As if he had said, " The effect of God's regard for the upright, and detestation of the wicked, will be, undoubtedly, deliverance of thee froin thy affliction; and restoration of thee to thy former prosperity."
SIR, ALL truth will bear inquiry, and the inost diligent and learned
criticistus to be inade upon it, and after all will be like gold tried seven times in the fire.
It is on this account, Sir, that I now transmit my thoughts to you on the word Selah; a word which is often used by the Psalmist; and being a word which few persons understand, I thought it would not be all useless task to endeavor to explain it.
Cassiodorus thinks that the Greek word dixwodAquce, has the same signification in that language, as the word :750 has in the Hebrew, and points out a change of the voice or tune in the Psalms. Others, of a more modern day, say that Selah is only a note in the ancient music, and has no signification: and indeed wherever this word occurs, it do:s not, in any instance, illustrate the passage, but often only perplexes the text, and may be taken away without the least interrupting the sense.
In the third Psalm we find the word Selah made use of three times; the second verse of which runs thus ; " There be many which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.' Selah.” The sense here is as plain, nay, would be plainer, if the word Selah was not annexed, as it is apt to perplex an English reader.
Others say, it was a note which shewed the elevation of the voice : that when the reader came to this, he was to cry out, and make an exclamation. Others say, amongst whom is Aben-Ezra, that'it answers Dearly in signification to Amen, or so be it, as it is used at ihe end of prayers. The Jews put it at the end of their books: Dive. Finis, End, or So be it.
Although we do not always find it at the end of the sense, or the end of the canticle, yet there is not, I think, the least doubt but that Selah intimates or signifies End, or a pause; and no doubt but the ancient musicians put Sclah in the margin of their Psalters to shew where the pause was to be made or the tune ended. Perhaps the ancient Hebrews sang
the same as the Arabians do to this day, making long pauses, ending, and beginning all at once; for this reason it was necessary, in public service, to make in the margin of the Psalters the place of the pause and the end, that the whole choir might rest and begin again at the same time.
Thus, Sir, I have endeavoured to shew the meaning of the word Selah, which is so often used by the Psalmist, which at one time I was considerably-perplexed about, and perhaps soine of your readers are in the like predicameut with myself; if you think the foregoing thoughts elucidate the subject, they are at your service,
THAT good often wears hest, and lasts longest, which is obtained by
steady and patient application.
XXII. Words are often eaay, when proof is hard : and the tongue is found to be the ever faithful auxiliary of the determined and obstinate mind,
XXIII. Well did an ingenious writer say of solitude, that in it “the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself : in the world it seeks or accepts a few treacherous supports ;---the feigned compassion of one-the flautery of a second-the civilities of a thirdthe friendship of a fourth ; they all deceive and bring the mind back to retirement, reflection, and books!" But though they read so many excellent maxims of wisdom, and their judgments are so fully convinced of the lasting advantages of true philosophy; how frail, how forgetful, and how much under the influence of the passions, are men of superior accomplishments found!