Chapter 10.

In the former chapter, Job has been vindicating himself from Bildad's imputation; and as in his debate with Eliphaz, so here he leaves Bildad, and vents himself to God as the more equal judge, that he durst speak more freely to, and not fear to be mistaken. So this chapter is a discourse betwixt the Lord and Job, or Job's discourse speaking to God, wherein, through the excessiveness of his grief, he has many mints48 to the venting and out-breaking of flesh, and the endeavours of faith to subdue all the risings of it.

The rise of his discourse, is Job 10:1. My soul is weary of my life. Wherein he shews what made him take this freedom in speaking to God, and it is, because the heaviness of his affliction was such, that he was wearied of living any longer. Whether we take the soul for the whole man, or the soul distinct from the body, it is all one; he was weary to live any longer; then flesh breaks out in a purpose now to give way to sense, and no longer to wrestle against corruption, I will leave my complaint upon myself; he will cast loose the reins of sense, and give it leave to vent itself as it likes, which is more clear in the following words. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will no longer wail my words, but vent the sense and passion that is in me. Then he sets down the subject matter of his discourse as two queries or suits to God, Job 10:2. I will say unto God, do not condemn me. And here the spirit gets victory to qualify his former resolution. Sense said, God was either to cast him off eternally, or temporally to deal with him as a cast-off man, and so to ratify the imputation his friends put upon him, but I will say (saith he) do not condemn me, cast me not off; he would be from under all their reproaches. The meaning is, not only that God would save him from eternal off-casting, but that he would vindicate him before men. His second suit is, Show me wherefore thou contendest with me? If there be any quarrel betwixt thee and me, let me know of it, discover it to me, and here faith strengthens itself against the former suggestion of condemnation, intimating, such a man could not be cast off, and God not tell him wherefore.

In the rest of the chapter, he prosecutes these two. 1st. He labours to strengthen his faith in God, that God would nor cast him off; nor condemn him, from Job 9:11-18;  And, 2dly. from Job 10:18. to the end, he closes with putting up a petition that God would give him some breathing time, some refreshment under his trouble, ere he should go to his grave.

In the first of thee he goes upon three grounds, which he sums up, Job 10:3. proponing them by way of interrogation, which has the force of a negation. Is it good unto thee, that thou shouldest oppress? as if he said, it cannot be that thou wilt condemn without a cause, and confirm the sentence that their men have past upon me; for thou that commands others not to oppress, thou will not do it thyself. 2dly. That thou shouldest despise the work of thy hands? that is, thou that hast taken so much pains in making me, will not reject me; and we are to underhand, that not only is the bodily creature to be taken in here, but the new creature; he means, that God will vindicate that ere he go off the world. And, 3dly. And shine upon the counsel of the wicked? If thou take me away this way, thou wilt seem to shine upon the counsel of the wicked, that ordinarily lay this for a conclusion, that extraordinary temporary judgements prove ay a wicked man, for however their good Men were fallen in this error as the prophet in a fit, Psalm 73.; yet it is the ordinary tenet of wicked men, and thou Lord wilt seem to confirm that tenet. He thinks God more engaged than that he should need to fear such a thing. Then he follows forth their three grounds in order, the first in Job 10:4-7; and the force of the reason is this; if thou be such a God as will do no wrong, (as I know thou art) what needs all this torturing of me to find out my condition? The argument is taken from a similitude of the manner of men, who make enquiry, and put to torture to find out a thing which they cannot win to by clear proof. Thou needest not take that gate; and art not thou from eternity, and of infinite wisdom, understanding all things? Why then so exactly searches thou out my iniquity? thou cannot be deceived, neither art thou ignorant as man; what needs thou then profs me to confess? as Job 10:7, Thou knowest that I am not wicked; or it is in thy knowing, or open in thy knowledge; and so though man must take that gate, thou needs not take it. And there is none that can deliver out of thy hand; and this is to confirm him in his sincerity in attesting God, as if he said, it were folly to me to appeal to thee on a wrong ground, for none can deliver from thee. Therefore my boldness in referring my cause to thee, is a testimony of my sincerity. 2dly. He enlarges the second ground, Job 10:8-13. Thou wilt not despise the work of thy hand; therefore thou wilt not despise me, For thy hands hath made me, and fashioned me together round about, yet thou doest destroy me, that is, how comes it when thou hast made me for matter, and fashioned me for manner, so wonderfully, that thou seemest to destroy me: this seems inconsistent with thy wisdom. Remember, I beseech thee, (an emphatic petition,) that thou hall made me as clay, and wilt thou, bring me to dust again? I am made of clay, and dow not abide this hard dealing; even as if God had forgotten whereof he was made. The interrogation, Wilt thou bring me to dust again? supposes a negation, that God will not do it. Then in the following words he shows, 

1. How God had made him, beginning at his conception, Job 10:10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and crudled me as cheese? my beginning was but mean, when at my conception I was but as milk, but thou went on in the work and crudled me, and made me draw to some faster substance.

2. Thou hast cloathed me with skin and flesh, and fenced me with bones and sinews; words holding out the excellent workmanship of God in making man out of nothing, having every thing so bright in order, the flesh and skin being as it were the coat of the vital spirits. Third step is Job 10:12. when my body was a dead carcase, thou granted me mercy to live. And a fourth step in the same verse, Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit; when I was born, thy gracious dealing and continual influence as so many fresh visits has preserved me, and shall all this be for nought? wilt thou now cast me off? thou wilt not.

Objection.
 
But it seems from God's dispensation, all that is forgotten, clods of dust are upon thee? he answers in faith, Job 10:13. These  things hast thou hid in thine heart; I know that this is with thee. Though God seems to keep up the evidence of his care of me, and do not manifest it as formerly, yet he hath them in his heart; his purpose of love is one and the same, though his dispensation be altered; intention of being gracious continues. He enlarges and explains the third ground, that he pointed at, Job 10:3. that is, that God would not cast him off, lest he should seem to shine on the counsel of the wicked, from Job 10:14-18. If I sin then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. Seeing (could he say) thou wilt not cast me off and shine on the counsel of wicked men, how stands their two together, thy not rejecting of me, and yet marking my sin; therefore though thou seem to mark my iniquity, it must not continue so; or if I sin of infirmity, thou marks me, and will not acquit me from mine iniquity; thou will not let me go without a temporal judgement, as if thou intended to condemn me, and in this I dispute not to excuse myself, but if I be wicked, as my friends call me, woe unto me; I lie justly under all this that is come upon me, and will not say any thing against it.  And if I be righteous, I will not lift up my head; I will not prescribe a way to thee, to take away this rod; or, I will not be vain or presumptuous to debate with thee, that is not my mind; but I am lying under confusion and reproach, and thou seemest to take their part that plead against me, therefore look on me, and grant me a breathing time, and vindicate me from their reproach, that draw all their arguments from thy dispensation. He could not abide this reproach, it was to him as it was to David, Psalm 52. Like a sword in his bones, therefore he says, l am full of confusion, see thou mine affliction. And he goes on in this suit, Job 10:16. for it increaseth: my confusion and affliction grows greater and greater, because thou cometh not in to decide the matter; and he shows the causes of the increase of his confusion and affliction, thou huntest me as a fierce lion. I would care little for affliction, if thou seemed not to quite thy former tenderness, and did not hunt me as an enemy. And again, thou showest thyself marvellous upon me; my afflictions are wonderful, and not common, and all that look upon me think I am cast off by thee. Some are common afflictions, (1Corinthians 10:13.) but mine are not so. A third particular is, Job 10:17. thou seemest to bear witness with them that are against me, by adding new strokes to former, which they make use of against me; and thou increaseth thy indignation upon me. This made all heavy, he had indignation before, and God lets it grow, and this makes his cup bitter, and sums all up in two pithy words, changes and war are against me. It is not one or two trials that I am under, but multitudes of trials; and God draws up these trials like an army of men in a warlike posture upon me. In the words that follow he strengthens his faith, and petitions God for some breathing time in an expostulatory way. In the Job 10:18-19; he expostulates, Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth of the womb? If this be my life, and if I go this way away, I will repent that ever I came into the world; yea, I wish I had rather never been, for then I should have been as though I had not been; for if I had died soon, or had never been, I should have wanted all their reproaches; chusing rather than that he should have endured all these trials, to have wanted the good came by them; speaking out the language of sense. Yet Job 10:20. show his shot, Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little. That is, cease Lord from adding new strokes, that I may get a little case and comfort ere I go off the world. And this petition he presses by several reasons, as Job 10:21-22. Before I go whence I shall not return, that is, ere I go to death, which he calls the land of darkness, because there men have no conversing with men, as they have on earth; and because as men die, so they are esteemed of, and he would not in death get himself vindicate before men of the reproaches cast upon him; for there is no light to clear truth after death; therefore let me have a breathing time before death to vindicate myself.

 OBSERVATIONS.

Observe 

1. That there is a difference betwixt the soul and the life. The soul is another thing than the life, as corrupt men would make it. Job differences in these two. 2dly. From the rise of his difficulty, Job 10:1. observe, That if folks give way to themselves under temptation and affliction, nothing is so unreasonable but it will vent itself. Job has been restraining himself before, and gave not sense leave to vent itself, and now his loosing the reins gives vent to that which follows, to tell us, it is evil to give liberty to passion. From Job 10:2.

Observe

1. That under trials folks are ready to apprehend, or be in fear of God's condemning them, they are ready to be wider hazard of that temptation, for his saying, Do not condemn me, is spoken in opposition to that which was born in upon him by sense.

2. It is good going to God under those fears, and to make all our complaints of God to God. So does Job -here, and oft in this book.

3. It is a main thing to be studied under trials, to know God's controversy.

4. God may long contend, and not let folks know wherefore. Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.

From Job 10:3-7,

1. In general, it is a part of spiritual wisdom when temptation presses hard to rub on God, and rent from God, to strengthen faith, in opposition to whatsoever the temptation says, God will cast off; to say, It cannot be that God will cast off, &c.

2. In general. it will be hard under sore exercises to get faith fastened that God will keep off condemnation. Therefore Job uses argument after argument to get his heart stayed against this temptation. It is a wonder to see how many are never put to dispute this question, when such a holy man as Job is put so hardly to it to defend himself against it.

From Job 10:7-13.

Observe

1. That the more folks sincerity be questioned, they should the more maintain it, if they have it; therefore Job says, Thou knowest that I am not wicked, and Job 27:6. My righteousness will I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live. Many are ready to maintain their sincerity when there is no cause, and others are ready to quite it when they should stick by it.

2. A right observing of God's dealing in our conception and birth, should be ground to quiet our faith in the hope and assurance of God's bearing through any trial we are under.

3. It is matter of admiration to see God's bringing forth such a creature as man.

4. And we should mark God's goodness to us, that when he might have made us a beast or a stone, has made us men or women.

From Job 10:13. when nothing is seen to sense of God's love, faith should keep the conclusion fixed, These things thou hast hid in thine heart, I know it is with thee; we would under any hard trial, especially from what is sensible, to what is in God's thoughts, look through dispensations to his bosom, Jeremaih 29:11. I know the thoughts that I have towards you, thoughts of peace, &c.

Upon the other part of the chapter, from Job 10:18. to the end. 

Observe 

1. That good men may fall over and over again in one and the same corruption. Job, in the third chapter began to complain, then in the seventh chapter and now in the Job 10th – he falls in the same fault. Therefore watch against corruptions of this nature, they are not soon mortified, but will vent themselves under hard exercises.

2. Folks that get any breathing time under sore exercises, would think it a great mercy; Job would have thought it so. He would have thought it a mercy before to get leave to swallow down his spittle; and here to get but a little comfort. How much more should it be prized to have houses, children, friends, rest and and sleep, not to be scarred with night visions. It would greatly aggravate our guilt, that we have these, and make not use of them, nor are thankful for them. Look it provoke not God to send a scattering from these mercies, because we have not studied to bless God for them, and make a right use of them, &c.