CHAPTER 39.

THERE is a great part of this debate now finished after Job and his friends have had contentions many, God comes in to rid them, having a long time lain by as a hearer, and it is like had not God stepped in, this debate, might have lasted to their dying day, for any weight that one party's words had on another.

The Lord begins at Job, minding his reclaiming first, and respecting him most, and this chapter contains a part of his speech, which runs upon several of the beasts and fowls. And, it concludes, 1. Excellency in God. 2. Infirmity in man. And, 3. consequently an unsuitableness that man should mistake and express his mistakes of God, and offer to debate with him, and so darken his words without knowledge.

He proceeds in his arguments to the same purpose that he was on in the former chapter, drawn from six or seven creatures. The 1st, from verse I. to verse 5. taken from the wild goats and hinds, and sets out what care God takes of them, and how little knowledge man has of them; and first, he speaks of their bringing forth. The reason why God mentions these creatures is, because they are exceeding pained above other creatures in bringing forth their young ones, and yet they are wild, whereby God would let us see how extensive his care is, that it reaches even to them, and would conclude the argument, much more must God care for man. And, 2dly, it points out man's infirmity, for when Job cannot tell when they bring both forth their young ones, how can he help them? Canst thou tell the months that they fulfil? which is not to tell how long thir beasts go, but to show Job's ignorance that he knew not the time of their calving to wait upon them; They bow themslves, verse 3, they are far from the help of any body, and put themselves to this posture to bring forth their young ones. Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn, verse 4. To set out God's care towards them, they grow and are life-like, fatted, and made well-favoured by God's providence; though it be a barren wilderness they go in, yet God provides for them; and they go forth, and return not to them, that is, they return not to father and mother, but provide for themselves. The second is, the wild ass, and God's care of it, and how to tame it; it is a sort of ass, that runs wild as colts or the hills, and there is great odds betwixt it and the tame ass. The tame ass is dull and slow, this wild ass is swift and sharp, and this points out what difference God can put betwixt creatures of the same kind, and hints at man's fall, and how in his fall he hath lost dominion over the creatures. Who has sent out the wild ass free, and who has to loosed her bands? Who has loosed her from the burdens that the tame ass hath? who has done this, ye or I? it is not ye but I that provides for it; Whose house I have made the wilderness, and it is as well lodged in the wilderness, as if it were in your stable; I have provided a house for it there, and it is of that nature, that it runs where it likes, and scorns the multitude of the city, verse 7. though a whole city were called out to overtake it; and he regards not the cry of the driver of others beasts he is so swift; and if it were folly for you Job to contend with that beast, much more foolish is it for you to contend with me. The range of the mountains is his pasture, verse 8. he comes not to fixed places, but ranges up and down the mountains, and has a natural instinct to search for every green thing, that he wants not his food, though he come not to a house. 3. He comes to the unicorn, verse 9. whether there be such a beast as this here now, it is uncertain, yet there is such a beast as this God names, that is untameable, and depends on God's providence, Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band, in the furrow? or will he harrow in the valley after thee ? Will the unicorn serve thee as other beans? or will he harrow thy land? Wilt thou trust him because his strength is great? That beast is strong enough, there is no defect in that, but wilt thou lippen94 thy labour to him, for folks are said to trust a thing when they look to get a thing done by it; Wilt thou believe him that he will bring in thy seed, an amplification of the same thing, and, by the way, lippening to God on right grounds is faith. 4. He comes to the fowls, verse 13. Gavest thou goodly wings to the peacock; gavest thou, is added, and is not in the original, but it is to the same purpose, whether did you or 1 Job, made that bird stately, and if that bird be stately, I am the more stately that made it; or wings and feathers to the ostrich, a great bird, that (as it is, verse 14.) where it lays the eggs, leaves them in the sand, and God by the heat of the sun, decks and brings out the young ones. God's purpose is to set out his absoluteness in creating some creatures defective of that instinct others have; and yet providing for them, and he that provides for them, will he not much more provide for man? This is followed forth, Who leaves her eggs in the earth, and warms them in the dust; because she leaves them not to the sun to warm them, and forgets that the foot may crush them. She cares not for the egg, nor for the young ones more than if they were not hers, and is not afraid what become of them, whether for want of fear or through senselessness, or trusting God with them, (as beafts and fowls are said to glorify God in their own kind), she is hardened against her young ones, as if they were not hers, and a reason of this is given, verse 17. Because God has deprived her of wisdom. Men give many reasons, but God gives this for her senselessness, forgetfulness of her young. All creatures have a respect to their young ones, but God hath deprived this bird of this instinct, to give an instance of his providence, and least it should be thought stupidity in her, God says, he has given her that sharpness, that when she lifts up herself, she scorns the horse and his rider, verse 18. Though she be a great bird, yet she has that swiftness, that the swiftest horse will not overtake her. 5. He comes to the horse, and insists on him, to verse 26. because he is a very serviceable creature, both in peace and war, he would have him taken notice of especially. Hast thou given the horse strength? who hath given that beast such strength? was it thou or I? and if he be strong, much more I, that hath made all the horses in the world; Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? words to set out the stately way how this beast carries his neck in time of war. God would have folks learning a lesson out of every thing they see in the creatures; and canst thou make him afraid as a grashopper? Can ye fright a horse as another feckless creature. He paweth in the valley, verse 21. as in time of war, and goes on to meet the armed man. The word, he paweth, signifies, he digs being impatient to bide, that is, he pats with his feet, and would be forward to the battle, and he expresses not grief but joy; He mocketh at fear, he slights all fear, he regards not armed men; there is no hazard but he can set himself over it. He turns not from the sword, but runs upon it. The quiver, with arrows rattling, the glittering spear and shield, the terrible shaking of arms, are so far from discouraging this beast, that it excites him to more courage; He swallows the ground with fierceness, to set out his forwardness, he cannot bide a distance betwixt him and the enemy; neither believes he that it is the sound of the trumpet, when the trumpet sounds, he scarcely believes it, he would so fain be at the fight, for it is but a sport to him, he thinks nothing of it; And he says among the trumpets, Ha, ha, if he could speak, his expressions are of great courage; He smells the battle afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. When officers are expressing din, and soldiers are shouting, he is as busy as the best of them in expressing his courage; to point out what stateliness must be in God who made that beast. 5. He comes again to the fowls, and instances the hawk, verse 26. Does the hawk fly by thy wisdom? Whether is it by thy wisdom or mine that the hawk flies? who directs it in the flight? and stretch her wings towards the south? it is like, some ordinary course of these birds towards the south, when the northern parts grew cold, as birds with us use to do, which we see in the summer, but not in the winter, God teaching them that instinct to flee from colder to hotter parts. Doth the eagle mount up at thy commands? The eagle is ordered in her flight, and in the making of her nest in high places; but comes the word out of thy mouth or mine that makes her do so? She dwells on the rock, from thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold it afar off. She haunts not low places but high, and from thence she sees the prey, having a sagacity of sharp feeing, which God has given her; her young ones suck up blood, her young ones are ravenous, yet they are provided for by carcases of slain men or beasts, and wherever there is a prey, she is always waiting on it to make use of it, Christ makes use of this to another purpose, Matthew xxiv. 28.

 OBSERVATIONS.

Why insists God so much here, miskening himself, as it were, and holding out the creatures to Job? Answer: 1stly. To let us see, if we could observe, there is much of God to be seen in the meanest creatures, and it is like in this time, Job and his friends had not the written word, and therefore they had the more need to look upon the creatures, and here we may behold, 1. God's greatness, power, and might, his stateliness and majesty, ordering all the creatures himself, and having a hand of providence about them; Job might read, and did read God's dominion and sovereignty in these creatures. 2. God's absolute independency, his freeness in reference to his ordering the creatures, giving some wit, and holding it from others, to some a dwelling, and others no dwelling. 3. God's care and tenderness, providing for the wild goats and hinds, and waiting on them when they bring forth. It is brought in as an argument why he spared Nineveh, Jonah iv. 11. That beside so many souls there was much cattle. But especially God's providence about the ostrich, and her eggs, evidences his care; he does mediately or immediately even as he likes, and this may be a comfort to poor orphans, when children want parents, God can provide for them, he who cares for the ostrich, will he not much more for them, 1. Cor. ix 9. Does God care for oxen? Comparatively or chiefly, no. God's wisdom shines here also in appointing a suitable habitation for beasts that are not profitable, the rocks for some; the wilderness for others.

2dly, Another reason, why God insists so much on the creatures, is to point out to men their infirmity, weakness and ignorance, for when they know not the nature of the creatures, far less can they apprehend God. If man know not when a hind should calve, how shall he know the deep things of God? 2. It points out the fecklesness of man, that cannot flee a horse, cannot take a wild ass or fowl. 3. It points out man's little respectiveness to God, or rather his ingratitude, that hath never learned out of the creatures to thank God for making the creatures subject to him, when he cannot make them subject to himself.

3dly, A third reason why he insists on the creatures, is, to learn Job a lesson out of them, to stop his fretting, complaining, and disputing with God, and this is the scope, to show it is not fit that infirm man should dispute with God, for it is probable, that silly man that cannot take up the creatures, can take up the depths of God's providence in guiding heaven and earth, and shall he then dispute with him about it. 2. And when God's care reaches to these creatures, shall any suspect God's care to his more noble creatures? And there is here a conviction to Job for reflecting on God's care about him, seeing he passes not by the ostrich egg. And Christ goes on the same ground, in guarding his disciples against carefulness, Matthew vi. He that cares for the sparrows and ravens, will he not much more for you.

4thly, All this he points out, that man is insensible of his due distance to God, who comes behind in any of the creatures in many things, and cannot command them, and yet walks not with God in that due reverence that becomes, and this was an evil in Job, and it is an evil in us that we want that due respect to God, and to his wisdom, power, greatness, goodness, providence, &c. that becomes us to have, and walk not with a due estimation of him, and with a stopped mouth before him, as becomes.