3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

Job speaks, tells us that his affliction has already been upon him for a considerable time; while wearisome night-tossings, scaring dreams, broken flesh, loathsome conditions of body, and anguish of spirit, all tell us how real and overwhelming Job's trouble must have been, and especially with regard to the bodily evil with which he had been visited.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1889

12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

"Am I a sea, or a whale?" he cries, yea, even when he did hope for some comfort from his bed or his couch, even there he was terrified with visions. Poor Job! no comfort from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head—nothing but "wounds and bruises and putrifying sores," such as afterwards existed in the Israelitish body politic.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1889

The misery of being the subject of evil for ever is forcibly expressed by Job. When reduced to the deepest distress, he laments, saying,

13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;

14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:

Extreme trauma and delusion often accompany serious physical malady

15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.

16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.

But if Adam had eaten of the tree of life when reduced to such misery as this, he would have sought death, but it would have fled from him. He would have found no deliverance. This, however, would not have been the worst of it. He would have involved all his posterity in the same interminable calamity.

The earth would at length have become crowded with undying generations of sensual and devilish men, who, if any virtue should survive, would afflict it a hundred fold.

Elpis Israel 1.5.

Most men of capacity are liable to feel as Job said:

"I would not live always:"

for the reason that they experience the truth of what Solomon said, that "all is vanity and vexation of spirit." They find life a burden and a weariness in its unrealised aspirations, and in the prevalent abortiveness of the highest capacities in the overwhelming mass of the population. The constant pressure of care, the constant friction of endurance, the constant recurrence of inevitable and countless disappointments in the highest range of desire towards God and man.

The perpetual aimless marchings and countermarchings of life, bring at last a sense of futility that finds comfort in the thought that there are bounds to the individual experience of vanity, that the horizon is shortened ahead; that death awaits to administer a calm that will bear no ruffle.

This would be a poor comfort apart from the other fact that we have to look at. It would be a demoralising submission to the grim inevitable, which is about all there is in the lustreless philosophy of the natural man.

It is considered the highest attainment of virtue in one of the systems of the wise of this world-the system of Brahma, I think it is-when a man reaches the point of contemplating with comfort his absorption into the indistinguishable 'All' at death.

This is nothing more nor less than the weariness of the corruptible resigning a man to extinction. What else can be expected where the purpose of God to emancipate us from the corruptible is not known or believed? It is this purpose that gives death its greatest comfort to those who in life are but waiting

"All the days of their appointed time."

Seasons 2.14.

18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?

That is just the secret, Job; God had set his heart upon thee; and knowest thou not that he "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." True, true, but wherefore the greatness of my affliction? Ah, Job, even this will be solved in the kingdom—may be there is some exceptional place of glory and greatness awaiting thee, to which the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared.

When the chapter of God's work is finished, thy real friends will no longer exclaim, "poor Job," but "happy Job," "glorious Job," for such is the final prospect when thy Redeemer shall stand upon the earth in the latter day, in which happily we now live. "I have sinned," said Job,

"what shall I do unto thee, O Thou Preserver of men: why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity?" "Why hast thou set me up as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?"

Ah, Job, the answer to the prayer wherewith thou sought to pierce the heavens, only waits the fitting season, that best suits the objects the Eternal has in view. To everything there is a time and season. The sunshine of life is generally succeeded sooner or later by clouds and darkness, which may, however, be withdrawn again before the conclusion of this mortal life, if such be the Father's wisdom and pleasure; but if not, the clear day will come at last, that will shine brightly and eternally, for all God's tried and purified sons and daughters.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1889