Chapter 8.

WE heard in the beginning of the dispute, the scope of Job's friends, they have a good end, to bring Job by repentance to a happy condition, but they mistake Job's case, not considering God's sovereign way of dealing, and looking on Job's temporal affliction as a fruit of wrath, and evidence of his hypocrisy, therefore they deal with him as one that never had any of the grace of God; and by the wisdom of God so over-ruling, for the completing of Job's trial, they are instrumental in furthering Satan's design, though they knew nothing of it.

When Job had put by one assault, Eliphaz, hereby encounters with another, by Bildad the Shuhite, so called because come of Shuah, born of Keturah, Genesis 25:1-2. whose children were sent to the East country, and lived there not far from Job: He sets on to deal with job, and falls on upon the same strain with the other friend, mistaking some of Job's expressions in expostulating with God, he takes advantage, and thinks to cast all that Job had said as wind, and therefore Job 8:2. says, How long wilt thou speak these things, and the words of thy mouth be as strong wind? that is, how long will it be ere thou leave off to challenge God as unrighteous in afflicting thee? or, ere all that hath been spoken convince thee that thou knowest not God? Another purpose would set thee better (even that which he propones hereafter, Job 8:5.) The meaning is, How long Job, will you make much din with empty talk that can neither profit you, nor hurt God's justice, more than a wind can hurt a strong rock; it were better ye should justify God's justice, and take with your own unrighteousness; this he lays down in general words, Job 8:3. that it may be the better digested, and leaves Job to apply apply it to himself; opposing God's justice and Job's expressions, as if Job did justify himself, and rubb on God's justice, and Job's state, and the temporal judgements he was lying under, as if God could not so heavily afflict an upright man; as if he said, Job, either God or you must be in the wrong, Doth God pervert judgement? Will he lay on strokes where there is no just cause? That cannot be. Or, Doth the Almighty pervert justice? Can God be swayed with bye respects to do any thing that is wrong? That is impossible, therefore God is just, and thou art unjust. The ground he lays is good, but in opposing to Job's expressions, as if he did alleged any such thing as he supposes, and from Job's temporal suffering concluding him to be a wicked man, in this he was wrong; and this is the great fallacy in all this dispute, to argue from Job's temporal affliction, that he was a hypocrite. He goes on to apply both to Job, and 

1. In the instance of God's taking away his children in the way they were removed, Job 8:4. God has taken away your children in the hand of their transgression, therefore there is just cause for what he hath done; and he propones this by way of supposition, to make him digest it the better; but the words bear, seeing they have sinned, God hath taken them away in their transgression. He proves the second part, that Job is unrighteous in the following verses, which he prepares by way of advice, that Job may the better digest it; and to show his scope is to humble Job, and bring him to repentance; as if he said, If ye were righteous, God had not done with you as he hath done, but if ye would yet take with your sin, and timeously37 seek in to God, and not stand to the justifying of your own integrity; and if ye would do this sincerely, as all your bygone service hath not been, all these strokes should not have come on you, if ye had been sincere, so the strokes that are lying on you should be taken off you if yet ye would seek God sincerely; yea, the happiness that ye have had should be little to that ye should receive, Job 8:5-7. Good motives when rightly taken and applied, but unsound to convince Job that he had no sincerity; and because be thought Job would hardly digest this doctrine, he confirms it by antiquity; from Job 8:20. I grant, says he, we are but young folks, we live not so long as these who went before us, and cannot have so much knowledge and insight in matters; but look to all the ancients that were before thee, and see, if they be not of our mind; even as Eliphaz, chapter verse  appealed to antiquity, so does Bildad; ye may think that we speak out of passion and prejudice, but look back and hear what they say who lived long since, and they will speak words out of their heart, and ye may take the words off their hand, though ye will not take it off ours. And the doctrine he insists on, is this, That whatever the hypocrite had, it was taken from him; and how high soever he was lifted up, he came down wonderfully, even as it went with Job, and the righteous never suffered as he did. And this he illustrates by three similitudes, The first is, from Job 8:10-14. And it is to this purpose, Bushes will be green where there is water enough about them, but as soon as the water dries up, they wither before any other herbs; so is it with them that forget God. Hypocrites may flourish for a time, while things go well with them and theirs; but when a change comes, they are suddenly blasted and gone; and look if it be not so with you. And he clears what he means by the hypocrite, It is such a one that forgets God, that minds not the honour of God, and aims not at the power of godliness, but minds himself, and rests on a form of religion. The second similitude is taken from the addercops that uses in windows, and their webs, Job 8:14-15. As the addercop when it hath taken pains to weave a web, and big a house to itself in the window, and a besom comes and sweeps it away, so is it with the hypocrite, he builds a house and gets many common mercies, and thinks something of himself, and to enjoy rest and quietness; but when he thinks on rest, it is taken from him; he leans to his house, but it falls; all that he hath fails him, and he seeks to hold fast his gathered comforts, but they are blown upon and evanish. The third similitude is, Job 8:16-18. The hypocrite may be like a tree that takes root and grows green, and shoots forth branches, yea, like a tree whose roots spring beside the fountain, whose roots is wrapped about the heap, and so are fastened and look sicker-like38, and seeth the place of stones, that is, difficulties does not move him more than a stone does a tree; but if God come to destroy the hypocrite, as he has done you, his place miskens him, as your place does you even as when a tree is cut down, it is not known such a thing was there; and he applies this to the prosperity of the wicked; Job 8:19. All the wicked man's or hypocrite's joy is no more solid nor lasting, nor their similitudes or comparisons holds forth. And out of the earth shall others grow, that is, others that were scarce known shall get his place, and in all this he secretly hints at Job's case. Then in Job 8:20 he reports the conclusion, and applies it in an use to Job, Job 8:21-22. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, none that is upright will be rejected of God. Neither will he help the ill doer, he will not take him by the hand, as the word is, however he may flourish for a time, and therefore look upon the advice that I have given thee as the best, repent and seek unto God, and ye get a comfortable outgate; yea, this is the way to get an upper-hand over all your enemies. And the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought, which he repeats to scar39 Job from lying in the condition he supposed him to be in. He had seen his dwelling come soon down, and if he went on in the way he was in, it would be yet worse with him.

 OBSERVATIONS.

1. In general. One good man may soon mistake the condition of another good man, and judge too hardly of him, and this was the fault of Job's friends.

Use 1. Beware of constructing hardly of one another from particular slips or infirmities. Seek to have a more solid ground of comfort to lean to, than the estimation and judgement of others. If Job had not a better proof of his sincerity, his comfort had been to seek in the day of his distress,

2. Nothing will make folks more readily miscarry in rash judging of other mens state, than the judging of it by dispensations either outward or inward, especially outward dispensations are not the rule of trial of ourselves or others, but the promises, and evidences of God's grace; dispensations thus looked on, is the great ground whereupon Satan gets advantage, to mud folks condition, as thou prays, and God hears thee not; thou reads, and gets no comfort, therefore beware of walking by this rule.

3. When once Satan and temptations enter, and gets way to question a man's state, he cill not be soon put from it; the temptation will not be easily repelled. Job's wife began the temptation, Eliphaz holds on, and, Job resists both, yet here he meets with a new onset; and more follows. Therefore think not this temptation soon put by, and weary not under it, but resist steadfast in the faith.

4. Oft times men are given to count little of any thing said against them by other men, and much of anything they say or is said for them. Job had said much to vindicate himself, yet Bildad casts all his words as vain, It is a thing incident to men in debates and disputes, to stumble on an ill-wailed word, and to misken the main purpose and truth of the matter. Job's friends had sooner come to the knowledge of the truth if this ill had not prevailed with them.

5. The first language of temptation is, to persuade men that dispute and reasoning for clearing truth is needless, and that without any reason to quite it. Therefore Bildad, Job 8:2. says, How long wilt thou speak? ye must quite it, and lay it by; your hypocrisy will be discovered. There is the like language injected on souls, when fainting and heartlessness comes in. Ye have nothing ado with grace. There is nothing sound in you, the promise belongs not to you. 'Therefore quite it and give over.

6. From Job 9:3, observe, 

1. That when such temptations get way, readily they press to oppose God, and the person, as if their calling themselves upright and just did reflect on God and his righteousness. There is not more common temptations. God is just, and that is true; but the shot of the temptation, is not to humble, but to cast the soul out and at distance with God. 

2. Whether God take a way of justice or mercy with souls, he cannot pervert judgement; he can do no wrong in either of them, Deuteronomy 32:4. A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he; therefore give God the carrying on both of your private, and of the publick work without a hinke40.

7. From Job 9:4, observe, When the devil cannot win in upon men to question their state, he will seek to trouble them about the state of their children; thy children are taken away to hell in their sin, and what thinkest thou of that? He leaves no wind unsailed to gain his point with the soul whom he minds to tempt; to weaken their peace, to breed ill thoughts in them concerning these they desire to have good thoughts of.

8. From Job 8:5-7. observe, 

1. That when events falls out cross to folks prayers, tentation is ready to say, God is angry at them and their prayers; that they have no interest in God, and are but hypocrites, and must take another way of seeking God, if they would be heard. For Bildad insinuates, if Job had prayed right before, it had not been thus with him; therefore limit not God in prayer, and judge not of your state by the answers of your prayers. 

2. Take the words in a right sense, and they give this lesson, That right seeking of God hath these three branches. That it be timeously and earnestly.
2. With humility, or humble supplicating of God as a party found in the calk and guilty. 

3. That it be with purity and uprightness; that the person be sincere, and walking after a right rule, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer, Many lean to their prayers, and go to hell, because they never study for purity of heart. Hence Christ will say to many that cry, Lord, Lord, Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I know you not.

9. In the rest of the chapter observe, 

1. That in folks conferring and debating of questions, it is a gaining way not to lay much weight on folks own judgement, but that they seek to add weight to that they maintain rather from some other thing. Tenaciousness is an evil thing. 

2. God's ordinary way of dealing with his people rightly taken up, is a good mean of settling, and when it is mistaken, it proves a prejudice. 

3. Hypocrisy and formality in religion never come well to, nor shall never come well to, nor profit a person. The joy of the hypocrite shall perish, this is the scope of thir similitudes, The hypocrite have what he will, is an unhappy man. Take it therefore as a known truth, and place your happiness in God's favour, and dealing sincere before him, and not in an outward flourishing condition in the world. 

4. Old hypocrites have access to God's mercy, if they will seek it in time. Job is supposed to be such a man, yet has an offer of mercy. So broad is mercy; God barrs the door of mercy on none, nay not on hypocrites; it is not the hypocrite as such, but continuing such, that puts him from mercy, 

5. All sharpness in threatnings and challenges should have the commending of mercy for their shot and end, and the commending of mercy is the way to cause challenges work. Bildad is right in not shooting Job away by challenges, though Satan had another design. 

6. From all thir things God would learn us, to take a right way to fix and settle ourselves against a storm. If we make not the foundation sure, as Job did, we will be soon shaken.