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of his divine perfections, especially of his wisdom, power, and goodness, than he has given in this earth, and the surrounding heavens; while our incorruptible and immortal bodies will be fura nished rith senses and other powers perfectly fitted to open a communication between our spirits and that world, and to give us a perfect view, and full knowledge of, all the wonders it contains, and to hold communion with its most wise, holy, happy, and glorious inhabitants, and especially with the LORD of glory, and with his and our everlasting Friend and Father. In prospect of all these and other nameless and indescribable felicities and glories, let us observe,
II. Job's RESOLUTION WITH RESPECT TO IT :
“ All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”
The time is foreseen and allowed by God. Thus, (ch. vii. 1,) “ Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth ? " Not that this implies God has determined exactly the number of days, hours, and minutes, which belong to every man's life on earth; for it is very certain, that men may, and often do, shorten their days, by intemperance, and other vices, as well as by imprudence; while many lay violent hands upon themselves, none of which things certainly can be appointed by God, but are expressly forbidden.
But the word "838, here rendered appointed time, more pro. perly signifies the time of my warfare, or service, or suffering.-Of my warfare, with my spiritual enemies; as the devil, of equal subtlety and power; the world, which assails us in all circumstances of prosperity or adversity, wealth or power, honour or dishonour, pleasure or pain ; the flesh, with its lusts and passions ; sin, deceitful and malignant; death, arrayed in terror.-Of my service, of God and my fellow-creatures, in that post or station of life which is assigned me by my sovereign LORD and Master. “ I will wait, till I am released from it;” Job may be conceived to say, by "my change."-Of my suffering, in various ways, through the permission or appointment of Divine Providence, whether for my chastisement, trial, or purification.
· III. THE MANNER IN WHICH HE WAITED, AND IN WHICH WE MUST WAIT, FOR OUR CHANGE.
In FAITH; respecting the being and perfections of God, his wisdom, goodness, holiness, and power; and the relations in which he stands to his people, as their Creator, Benefactor, Governor, Saviour; (Heb. xi. 6 ;)—respecting the declarations and promises of his word, believing and relying on them, and on him in whom they are yea and amen.” " Thou shalt call,” said he ; at death thou shalt call my body to the grave, and my soul to thyself ; "and I will answer thee, ;” I will immediately and cheerfully reply, “ Here I am.” Enlightened and gracious souls, in every age and nation, readily answer death's summons. Their spirits are not forcibly s required of them,” as was that of the rich man, (Luke xii. 20,) but willingly resigned by them, and the earthly tabernacle not violently “pulled down,” but voluntarily “laid down.”. At the resurrection “ thou shalt call me” out of the
66 and I will answer,” and come at thy call, “ For I know that
Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon
the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my
flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." (ch. xix. 25—27.) Thus did Job express himself. And yet he lived long before 6 life and immortality were brought to light by the Gospel,” or, as is probable, before
written Divine Revelation was given to men respecting a future state of blessedness. How much more may we use this language, who have had the most perfect and satisfactory information given us on the subject by the Prophets and Apostles, and by the Son of God himself, the faithful and true witness, sealing the infinitely important doctrine by their blood, and confirming it by miracles many and mighty ; We, who have had an example of it in the resurrection of God's eternal Son, the first fruits of them who sleep; We, who have heard the infallible testimony of Inspiration, that when the body returns to the dust as it was, spirit returns to God, who gave it ; ?
» that as soon as the spirits of the saints are absent from the body, they are present with the LORD;” as soon as they depart hence, “they are with Christ," and with the spirits of the just made perfect ; that as he comes at the period of death, and receives their souls 6 to himself,” that " where he is,” even in paradise, “ they may be also ; so that he shall even “ quicken their mortal bodies,” which 66 shall hear his voice and live;" yea, that “ all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John v. 28, 29.)
With a much better ground for confidence, then, than JOB could have, may we say,
6. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee,” relying on him to make his word good ; and with more
assurance than he could obtain, may we add, “ Thou shalt have a desire to the work of thine hands ;” a love for the soul, which thou hast made, and new-made by thy grace; and for the body which is also the work of thy hands, and for which thou hast prepared glory in a future world ; especially as thou hast become incarnate, lived and died to save both, bought them both with thy precious blood, and hast thereby shown what a high value thou puttest on both.
Now it is by this faith “ the just live,” till " he that shall come, do come, and do not tarry.” (Heb. x. 37.) By this we are entitled to the blessed change here spoken of, are fitted for it, and have an anticipation of it. By this we are brought into, and guided in the way leading to it, are strengthened to begin and proceed therein, and enabled to persevere.—Without faith we cannot war a good warfare, cannot even have courage and fortitude for the conflict ; faith being the means of girding the Christian soldier's loins about with truth, and, joined with love, constituting his “breastplate of righteousness,” (1 Thess. v. 8,) and “the shield by which he quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Eph. vi. 16.) Without it we cannot accomplish, as a hireling, our day of service, (ver. 6,) can neither have inclination, nor power to obey the Divine will, and live to his glory; and without it we cannot receive with resignation, nor be supported under our sufferings. —
In HOPE ;-A well-grounded and lively expectation of the future reward to be received ; of the joys and glories to be conferred upon us, when the fore-mentioned change takes place. This hope lays us in the dust in humility, under a sense of our unworthiness, inflames us with gratitude, for the Divine goodness, (1 Pet. i. 3,) causes us to “ rejoice with joy unspeakable.” (Rom. v. 2 ; xii. 12.) It is our helmet in “ the Christian warfare," and our anchor when wind and tide are against us on our voyage to the port of bliss. It produces alacrity, zeal, and diligence in all our services, and makes us resigned and patient under all our sufferings. (1 Thess. i. 3.) For we must " wait for our change,”
In PATIENCE and RESIGNATION ;-Of which, amidst our various trials and troubles, we have peculiar need; (Heb. x. 36 ;) and to work which, those trials and afflictions are sent, or permitted to come upon us. (Rom. v. 3; James i. 3.) In order to this, we must be persuaded that they do not come by chance, but that the hand of a wise Providence is in them ; that God, who has provided such a blessed and glorious change for us,
will not suffer any affliction or trouble to come upon us, but what he sees to be needful, or will be useful to prepare us for that change, what he intends shall work for our good, and will enable us to endure and sanctify to us, and will amply recompense us for patiently bearing. (2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.) Hence we must not faint, but " let patience have her perfect work.” (Jam. i. 4; v. 7, 8.)
In CONTENTMENT;—with our present lot and situation, be it what it may, knowing that it is assigned us by the infinitely wise, holy, just, and good God, and “ that the time is short.”
In ZEAL;-persevering, and increasing zeal and diligence in doing well, (Rom. ii. 7; Gal. vi. 9; 1 Cor. xv. 58,) attending to the motive from which, the end to which, the rule by which, and the spirit in which we speak and act; "continuing in the faith, grounded and settled, and not being moved away from the hope of the Gospel," (Col. i. 23,)“ being faithful unto death,” 6 enduring to the end.”
AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD A SOURCE
OF THE GREATEST GOOD.
JOB xxii. 21.
Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good
shall come unto thee.
Good is the desire and pursuit of all, but respecting what is truly good, and how that good is to be attained, men differ widely, and mistake grievously. The opinions of the ancient heathen philosophers, concerning the summum bonum, or chief good, according to Varro, were no fewer than 288. Indeed, they were as endless, as they were contradictory to each other. Some placed it in one thing, and some in another ; but none in the right. And, though we, who are favoured with a revelation from the infinitely wise God, to direct us in this inquiry, are wiser than they in theory; yet, in practice, unless regenerated by Divine grace, we are equally mistaken and deluded, seeking happiness from day to day, in those things in which reason, Scripture, and experience, assure us it is not to be found. For we pursue and accumulate outward things, such as wealth, honour, and carnal pleasure, to fill up that want of happiness, which is internal, and which only something inward and spiritual can supply ;-an acquaintance with God, the chief good, and peace with him. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee."
This advice was given of old by Eliphaz to his friend Job, whose case he seems to have mistaken ; inferring, from the outward troubles that had befallen Job, that he was unacquainted with God, and at enmity with him. This, certainly, was not the case ; and yet, as appears from ch. xlii. 5, 6, he had not that deep acquaintance with God, which he needed, and afterwards obtained. This advice, then, was not improper as given to him ; but how much more proper, as given to most of us !
I. THE REASON WHY THIS ADVICE WAS GIVEN ; OR, WHAT IS
PRE-SUPPOSED BY IT.
It was given, because of our natural ignorance of God, and insensibility with respect to his nature and attributes. (1 Cor ii. 11, 14; Matt. xi. 27.) We are naturally ignorant and insensible of his great power, glory, and majesty, and of our absolute dependance upon him, for life, and breath, and all things. Hence our indifference about him, disobedience to him, and disregard of him.-Of his holiness, justice, and truth. Hence our hope to please him by a merely outward, partial, and inconstant obedience; and, as if we had performed that obedience, or could at any time perform it, our self-confidence and pride. Thus the Jews. (Rom. X. 2, 3.)-Of his mercy and love. Hence presumption, distrust, ingratitude.
Because of our alienation from him ; (Eph. iv. 18, 19;) including not only an absence of communion with him, of delight in him, or desire after him ; but a separation, and estrangement from him, and a disaffection to him. This appears by our inordinate desire after, and delight in the creature, in which we naturally seek all our happiness. (Jer. ii. 13; 1 John ii. 15.)
Because we are at enmity with him ; (Col. i. 21 ; Rom. v. 10;) not subject to him ; but subject to, and siding with, his enemies ; and fighting against him. This appears in our disobedience to his commands, and repining under sufferings.
Because we are at enmity with ourselves. Our judgment and