صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

But nipped by frost that chills the vital breath,

He falls a victim to the scythe of death.

As shadows move with gentle, silent pace,

And leave behind no vestiges or trace;

Across the fields, and flow'ry meadows wide,

And curl and vanish on the mountain-side;

So man doth flee, as fleeting shadows go,

And tarry briefly on the earth beloWi

Yet such a onej the creature of a day,

Dost thou, O God, thus angrily survey?

Or is it equal that thou bringest me,

So weak and frail, to trial now with thee?

For who, indeed, can once expect to bring,

A thing that's clean from out an unclean thing?

Not one; nor hence a mortal will there be,

Because his days are fixed by thy decree.

His numbered months, and meted bounds, alas.

Are so appointed that he cannot pass.

Remove from him thy jealous, watchful eyes,

And cease, O God, his soul to agonize.;

Till, like a hireling, toiling day by day,

He terminates upon the earth his stay.

For lo! there's hope of ev'ry vital tree,

Although cut down, and felled the trunk may be;

That soon again the thrifty roots will grow,

And shoot their sprouts from out the stump below*

The tender branches never hence will cease,

But be renewed from out its own increase;

For trees in trees successive growths contain,
And boundless forests still within remain.
Although the roots within the earth below,
From hoary time, may aged wax, and grow;
And though the stock that on the ground doth lie,
Decayed, and withered, may forever die;
Yet through the scent of water it will spring,
And boughs, and blossoms, in profusion, bring;
Like herbs and plants that vernal buds renew,
Refreshed, and glitt'rihg with the pearly dew.
But man he dieth, and, doth pass away,
A wasted temple of dissolving clay.
Yea, man, cut down, and prostrate, like the tree,
Expires, and then O, where alas! is he?
No vital germ, nor living root survives,
To sprout, and blossom with successive lives.
As shallow waters from the lake decay,
And noisy torrents wholly dry away;
So man doth slumber in his dusty berth,
And come no more, upon the shores of earth;
Until the heavens their vigils cease to keep,
Shall he not rise from out his wakened sleep.
O, God, this one request my soul doth crave,
That thou wouldst hide me in the lonely grave;
Secure against affliction's sweeping blast,
Until the fury of thy wrath be past;
That thou wouldst set a fixed, appointed time,
To visit me in that far distant clime;

128

And there, secure from ev'ry mortal strife,

Remember me, and bring me back to life.

But ah ! is not this pleasing hope in vain?

If man shall die, shall he not thus remain?

If once he pass from this abode of men,

Shall he revive, and live on earth again?

Alas ! I doubt that such will be my fate,

And hence my warfare, on the earth, I'll wait;

Perform my service in submission dumb,

Until at last my happy change shall come.

And then thy voice shall call aloud for me,

And I shall hear, and go to answer thee.

So great for me will be thy love divine,

That thou shalt long, and, blanched with paleness, pine;

To show compassion, and relax demands,

And bless the work of thy almighty hands.

And yet a strict inquiry thou wilt make,

For now thou numb'rest all the steps I take.

Dost thou not know in what my faults have been?

Dost thou not watch, and guard my ev'ry sin?

Mistakes, and errors, vice and virtue mixed,

By thee are counted, and the sum affixed.

Within a bag is my transgression sealed,

And marked, and kept, to be by thee revealed.

Engrossed, and numbered, and reserved by thee,

Thou sewest up my whole iniquity.

As mountains fall, when earthquakes shake and roar,

And fade and vanish, to appear no more;

As rocks by torrents, far removed, are swept,

No more to dwell where once in peace they slept 5

As running water wears the stones away,

Whose fine attritions never backward stray;

As sandy banks that tumid rivers sweep,

No more return upon their shores to sleep;

So thou destroyest all the hopes of men,

If once they die, that they'll return again;

To dwell, the same as they had done before,

In tents of clay, upon this mortal shore.

Against a man thou ever dost prevail,

And lo ! he passeth like an idle gale.

His countenance thou changest too by death.

And sendest him away, a puff of breath.

His sons, on earth, are raised to honor's lot,

But he, in Sheol, surely knows it not.

He shall not feel the dancing joy that runs.

And thrills the heart when honor crowns his sons.

By sore afflictions they are humbled low.

But he perceiveth not that it is so.

His counsel, love, and sympathy no more,

Shall consolations on his children pour.

His mold'ring flesh shall in the grave remains

And, slowly wasting, shall be filled with pain.

His soul within him shall in Sheol mourn,

From earth and kindred, now in anguish torn.

CHAPTER IX.

ELIPHAZ'S SECOND REPLY TO JOB.

Job's three friends have now spoken once each. Job has replied to each one in turn. This speech of Eliphaz commences the second series of the controversy. He is the most sagacious, argumentative, and mild of the three. He accuses Job of vanity, and unprofitable talk. He reproaches him with impiety, in casting off the fear of God, and asserts that the proofs of his guilt are manifest in his false views about the divine government. He charges him with great arrogance, in pretending to know the secret of G-od, and in speaking as if he were born before the hills, and even before any other man. He alleges that he and his friends had better opportunities to know the truth, sinco> they were in communication with sages older than his father. He represents very vividly the miserable condition of a wicked man. He abounds in apothegms, and maxims apparently drawn from the wisdom of preceding ages, with a view to prove that his afflictions are proofs of his guilt. He also intimates that calamity and trouble are the measure of one's sins. He deemed Job a very extraordinary sinner because of his extraordinary sufferings. He refers to his vision of a spirit, and the fact set forth therein that mortal man cannot be purer than his Maker; that He charges his angels with folly, and therefore it is not likely that Job is faultless. He alleges antiquity in proof of what might be expected to be the result of manifest wickedness. He gives a graphic description of the condition of a wicked man; declaring that he travels in pain; is subject to fear, and alarm; would be insecure in any degree of success or prosperity; would wander for bread; and trouble and sorrow would be his pursuers. He tells Job that he assaults G-od, and rushes on his buckler; that he resists his will and therefore cannot hope to prosper. He declares that such a man must be miserable, poor, dishonored, and of brief existence on the earth. He warns him not to trust in vanity, nor to rely on the hope of the hypocrite; that, in such an event, he would be cut down, like unripe fruit, before iris time; and be like a faded and perished flower.

Eliphaz now the speechless silence broke,
And words upbraiding thus to Job he spoke:

« السابقةمتابعة »