CHAPTER 41.

THE Lord goes on to show a piece of his majesty in another creature, that by it, Job, and all mankind, may learn to know how great a fault and folly it is to contest with God; if we be not able to contend with one of his creatures, what can he do with the Creator? And so by an instance of his power, he could lay Job's rashness, who would learn God to guide the world. The creature insisted on here is the Leviathan, which we take to be that called the whale, the greatest beast or fish in the sea, and the greatest to be found in the earth. There are fix sorts of them given by writers, and many things agreeing to some sorts of them, are to be found in this chapter; and the Lord does not insist in this chapter, as if he wanted arguments from other creatures, whereof he hath such store, but to teach us when he spends so much time to hold them forth, men should not disdain to hear him speak of them, or to learn wisdom from them.

There are three parts of this discourse. 

1. He sets put in general, the strength of this creature, and how there could be no way found out for killing of it, men not being acquainted with the seas then as they now are, to verse 10.

2. In the midst of verse 10. he applies it to Job, and all men to draw them, to take up a fit distance betwixt God and the creature, and to allay the pride of men.

3. Then he begins from verse 12. and forward, more particularly to unfold the parts of this beast.

He uses several similitudes to hold out this fish, and the strength it hath, 1. Is that which fishers use to catch other fish by, and that is by a hook or a line? Canst

thou draw out Leviathan with a hook, or a cord which thou lets down? It implies an impossibility to do it; and this is amplified, verse 2. from a similitude taken from fishers, who after they have taken the fish, put them on a thorn or string to carry them home. The second similitude is taken from the carriage of a captive to him that hath taken him captive, verse 3. Will he make many supplications to thee, and speak soft words to thee? Will ye bring him to seek favour of you? That ye will not; he defies you. He follows the similitude, verse 4-5. when captives are taken, they are demitted with one or two, either by covenant, as Benhadad, and will the Leviathan make a covenant with thee? Or, by keeping them servants, and will he condescend to be thy servant, saith he: This he enlarges, Will you make sport with him, as with a sparrow, as the word is, and the word follows, Will thou bind them with thy maidens, or young daughters, or children to play with him, or as the Philistines. did Sampson, he returns to the first similitude of fishermen? verse 6. Shall the companions make a banquet of him? Will the comrades at fishing make a banquet on the price gotten for him? Or, will they part him among the merchants? To set out the impossibility of taking this fish then, Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons, or his head with fish spears? Can thou with all thy irons kill him? Lay thy hand on him, remember the battle, do no more. A word of application to Job, the meaning is, it were better to lay by weapons, and give over fighting with him, remembering there is hazard of fighting with that creature, remember the battle with me, and give up, contend no more with me, or it may be read by way of question, will ye offer to struggle or fight with him? Do not that, for nothing will do at him. Behold, the hope of him is in vain, that is, if any man would purpose to take him, his hope will beguile him, and it will prove a lie; for a man will rather be afraid to look upon him. Shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up; Suppose he were sleeping, none durst waken him; the use of this follows, Who then is able to stand before me

1. An argument from the less to the more, to reprove Job, and this is the scope aimed at, to set God infinitely beyond what we can apprehend, or take up in the creature, because the creatures leads us into apprehend many things of God by the senses.

2. It is to allay Job, not only in respect of God's power, but in respect of his independency and absoluteness. And, farther, ver, 11. Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him

To let us see, though he be omnipotent, yet he moderates his omnipotency, that no man shall have reason or cause to complain of him. Show me, Pays he, who did me a good turn first? Who gave me advice to guide or make the world? The meaning is, none hath prevented me, but I have prevented all, for whatsoever is under the whole heaven, in the earth, or in the sea, is mine, I gave all things a being, and preserve all in their being, and have right to all things; and can any then quarrel me for my guiding of things. Then more particularly he comes to speak of the Leviathan, and uses a preface, verse 12. I will not conceal his parts, his members, nor his power, and qualifications, nor his comely proportion, his suitableness to all these parts; and so he goes on to the excellent properties of this creature, and by a new similitude of a man's taking out a horse out of a stable, and taking the sheet from off him, and putting a bridle in his mouth, sets out his strength, Who can discover the face of his garment? &c. Canst thou take him out, and draw the cloath off him as thou will do off a horse? And canst thou bridle him as thou wilt do a horse And, verse 14. Canst thou open the doors of his face, as a horse mouth is opened, when the bridle butt is put unto it; who dare do that with him? His teeth are terrible round about, to tell that thir beasts have teeth; His scales are his pride, shut up together, verse 15. This, and verse 16-17. sets out his defensive strength, that some kind of whales have, the firmness and closeness of his scales, makes him proud, and regardless of what may offend him; yea, scarce a blast of air will win in betwixt them, far less a weapon, and neither force nor violence can sunder them. He sets out his terror in his motion, verse 18. By his neesings97 a light doth shine, when he sets up his head above the water, he makes the sea move as if fire were in the sea, and eyes are as if the morning were rising before the light. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. The same thing is pointed at in new expressions, particularly his spewing out of water, and also his violent heat and stove that comes from him, makes the sea like a fire; Out of his nostrils go a smoke, verse 20. his nostrils and breathing is like a seething pot and cauldron, and the reek that is above it; His breath kindles coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. The smoke, that is, his ordinary breath, is like a burning fire, to point out the hotness of his nature, being very fat. In his neck remaineth strength, verse 22. tho' this fish have not a neck, yet that place where the neck uses to be in other creatures is so strong, that there is no mastering of it with any weight. And sorrow is turned into joy before him, though it were never so great a stone, or never so many snares in his way, which is matter of sorrow to others, he but sports with them, or as some think, it is but a sport to him to pursue beasts and ships, which is sorrow to them; the former exposition is most native. His heart is as firm as a stone, yea, as hard as a piece of the nether milstone, to point out not only the natural hardness of his heart, but his stoutness and regardlesness of any danger. When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid; that is, of the breakings, that is, the ships and shipmen are afraid by reason of the broken waters, they purify themselves, that is, they betake them to God by prayer, and make themselves ready for dyingfor purifying under the law was, people sanctifying of themselves for near conversing with God; and so sets out here the shipmen, their preparation for death, when this fish pursues them, and breaks the waters near unto them. The sword of him that layeth at him, verse 26-29. cannot hold the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon98, &c. Sets out an impossibility to kill him by any weapon, they stick not on him, they hurt not him, he cares no more for iron and brass, nor if it were straw, arrows, and sling stones, weapons, that people are hurt with at a distance, they do not fright him, they make him not fly, they do him no more hurt nor stubble; He laughs at the shaking of spears, as men would at the slaking of a windlestraw99Sharp stones are under him, vcr. 30. A new evidence of his hardness, he cares not where he make his bed; He makes the sea to boil like a pot, when he moves, he makes the sea to foam and boil; He makes a path to shine after him, people will see the path he makes after him in the water a great way off; one would think the deep to be hoary, the sea that was green before by the white foam seems to be hoary. He sums up all, verse 33. Upon earth there is not his like, he is far beyond the elephant, or any other beast; he is made without fear, there is no beast but men can fear, but nothing can affright this beast; He beholds all high things, he looks with disdain upon them, they are not regarded by him; a king ever all the children of pride, he carries himself in the sea, his kingdom, as commander is chief. So the Lord sets out this creature for man's good, to bring people to know and take up themselves.

 OBSERVATIONS.

I. See here how earnest the Lord is to have men knowing him, and to have them convinced of his greatness and power; therefore it must be of great concernment to us, to take up God rightly in the creatures. It is a fault in us, that we do not dwell more in meditation on the creatures, to find out God in them. Curiosity may put us to it, for a little, but we do not give ourselves to this meditation as we ought.

II. From the scope, verse 10. Observe: That it is a right use of considering the creatures, from them to draw thoughts of God's greatness, and to heighten them to ourselves, from whatsoever excellency we find in the creature, to ascend to the consideration of that super-eminent excellency that is in God.

III. Though there be greater excellency and terribleness in God, nor in creatures, yet man will be more afraid to grapple and contend with them, nor with God.

IV. Not only should the greatness and terribleness that is in the creatures, bring us to apprehend God's greatness and terribleness, but it should bring us to submit to God, and to say, as it is, 1Samuel 6:20. Who can stand before this holy Lord? And it should put us to warriness and watchfulness in our walking before God. 

V. Laying this latter of the verse 10. with the 11. Observe: That God is debtor to none, he is in no bodies common; and there are none but they are infinitely in God's common, there is nothing, not a bit of bread, nor a house to dwell in; nor any thing else, but it is his, and this should learn people to judge well of God, and receive any thing well at his hand. There are infinite uses that arise from this one word, people cannot step but on God's ground, therefore they should walk with an eye to God, and labour to be some way suitable to, though they cannot equal his favours; God's sole interest in creatures should win our hearts more to him, and make us die more to creatures, God will seek account of them, therefore reckon them not for ours, but for his, and so use them.

VI. In verse 25. shipmen at the approach of this creature, are said to purify themselves, Observe: That these who have not much religion, when death seems to draw near, will seek to purify or cleanse themselves, and fall about religious duties for that end, as the heathens in Jonah, 1. The sober consideration of death, will put the stoutest to purification, and the right and sober thoughts of death is a very profitable meditation. If we were within reach of a whale, we would be more taken up with the thoughts of it, and yet it may be very sudden, and it is as certain as can be, it were good that we had as earnest thoughts in the study of holiness, as if death were within our view, and not an hour hence.