Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said.
(Samuel Cox, D. D.)
(Robert A. Watson, D. D.)
Homilist.See such an one estimating man's character.
I. HE REGARDED THE FACT THAT A MAN SUFFERED AS PROOF OF HIS WICKEDNESS. It is true that the principle of retribution is at work amongst men in this world. It is also true that this principle is manifest in most signal judgments. But retribution here, though often manifest, is not invariable and adequate; the wicked are not always made wretched, nor are the good always made happy in this life. To judge a man's character by his external circumstances is a most flagrant mistake.
1. Suffering is not necessarily connected (directly) with sin.
2. Suffering seems almost necessary to the human creature in this world.
3. Suffering, as a fact, has a sanitary influence upon the character of the good.
II. HE REGARDED THE MURMURING OF A MAN UNDER SUFFERING AS A PROOF OF HIS WICKEDNESS. Job had uttered terrible complaints. Eliphaz was right here: a murmuring spirit is essentially an evil. In this complaining spirit Eliphaz discovers two things. Hypocrisy. Ignorance of God. He then unfolds a vision he had, which suggests three things.
1. That man has a capacity to hold intercourse with a spirit world.
2. That man's character places him in a humiliating position in the spirit world.
3. That man's earthly state is only a temporary separation from a conscious existence in the spirit world.
1. It is not because God is unobservant. Ah, no. "The iniquities of the wicked are not hid from Mine eyes," saith the Lord. He seeth our ways, pondereth our goings, hath set a print upon the very heels of our feet.
2. Nor is it because of any indifference on the part of God. Seeing our sin, He abhors it; otherwise He would not be God.
3. Nor is it for want of power. The tide marks of the deluge, remaining plain upon the rocks even unto this day, attest what an angry God can do. Why then is the sinner spared? And why is the just penalty of his guilt not laid upon us here and now? Because the Lord is merciful. Sweep the whole heavens of philosophy for a reason and you shall find none but this, the Lord is merciful. "As I live," saith the Lord, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked."A few practical inferences —
1. The fact that a sinner is afflicted here will not exempt him hereafter from the just penalty of his ill-doing. We say of a man sometimes when the darkest waves of life are rolling over him, "He is having his retribution now." But that cannot be.
2. The fact that a sinner does not suffer here is no evidence that he will always go scot-free. If the sentence be suspended for a timer it is only for a time — and for a definite end. The Roman emblem of Justice was an old man, with a two-edged sword, limping slowly but surely to his work.
3. The fact that the wicked are sometimes left unpunished here, is proof conclusive of a final day of reckoning. For the requital is imperfect. Alas, for justice, if its administration is to be regarded as completed on earth!
4. The fact that compensation is often delayed so long, in order that the sinner may have abundant room for repentance, is a complete vindication of God's mercy though the fire burn forever.
5. The fact that all sin must be and is in every case, sooner or later, followed by suffering, proves the absolute necessity of the vicarious pain of Jesus. God sent forth His only-begotten and well-beloved Son to bear in His own body on the tree the retribution that should have been laid upon us. So He redeemed the lost, yet did no violence to justice. And thus it comes about that God can be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly.
(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)
Thou hast strengthened the weak hands.Hilary should complain that the people's ears were holier than the preachers' hearts, and that Erasmus, by a true lest, should be told that there was more goodness in his book of the Christian soldier than in his bosom! Eliphaz from this ground would here argue that Job was little better than a hypocrite; a censure over-rigid, it being the easiest thing in the world, as a philosopher observed, to give good counsel, and the hardest thing to take it. Dr. Preston, upon his death bed, confessed, that now it came to his own turn, he found it somewhat to do to practise that which he had oft pressed upon others.
1. That to teach, instruct, and comfort others, is not only a man's duty, but his praise. For here Eliphaz speaks it in a way of commendation, though with an intent to ground a reproof upon it.
2. That such as know God in truth and holiness, are very ready to communicate the knowledge of God unto others.
3. That honourable and great men lose nothing of their honour and greatness by descending to the instruction of others, though their inferiors.
4. That charity, especially spiritual charity, very liberal and open-hearted. Job instructed not only his own, but he instructed others, he instructed many; he did not confine his doctrine and his advice to his own walls, but the sound thereof went wheresoever he went: he instructed many.
5. That the words of the wise have a mighty power, strength, and prevalency in them. You see how efficacious the words of Job were. Job's instructions were strengthenings: thou hast strengthened the weak hands and feeble knees; his words were as stays to hold them up that were ready to fall. When a word goes forth clothed with the authority and power of God, it works wonders.
Proverbs 26:18). As a mad man who casteth firebrands, etc. And whereas we say (Genesis 47:13), The land of Egypt fainted by reason of the famine, many render it, The land of Egypt was enraged or mad, because of the famine. Want of bread turns to want of reason; famine distracts. The Egyptians were so extremely pinched with hunger, that it did even take away their wits from them; and scarcity of food for their bodies, made a dearth in their understandings. So there is this force in the word: Thou who hast given such grave and wise instruction unto others, from those higher principles of grace, now it is come upon thee, thou art even as a mad man, as a man distracted, not able to act by the common principles of reason. It toucheth thee. It is the same word which we opened before; the devil desired that he might but touch Job; now his friend telleth him he is touched. And thou art troubled. That word also hath a great emphasis in it. It signifies a vehement, amazed trouble; as in that place (1 Samuel 28:21), where, when the woman, the witch of Endor, had raised up Samuel (in appearance) as Saul desired, the text saith, that when all was ended, she came unto Saul, and she saw he was sore troubled: think what trouble might fall upon a man in such a condition as Saul was in, after this acquaintance with the visions of hell; think what a deep astonishment of spirit seized upon him, such disorder of mind this word lays upon Job. Now it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. Hence observe —
1. To commend a man with a "but," is a wound instead of a commendation. Thou hast instructed many, "But," etc. How many are there who salute their friends very fair to their faces, or speak them very fair behind their backs, yet suddenly (as Joab to Amasa) draw out this secret dagger, and stab their honour and honesty to the heart!
2. Observe, great afflictions may disturb the very seat of reason, and leave a saint, in some acts, below a man.
3. That when we see any doing ill, it is good to mind him of the good which he hath done.
4. That the good we have done, is a kind of reproach to us, when we do the contrary evil.
5. It is an easier matter to instruct others in trouble, than to be instructed, or take instruction ourselves in our own troubles.
6. It is a shame for us to teach others the right way, and to go in the wrong ourselves.
Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope?
1. They who fear most in times of peace, have most reason to be confident in times of trouble.
2. The uprightness of a man's ways in good times, doth mightily strengthen his hope in evil times.
Who ever perished, being innocent?
(John Fry, B. A.)
Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.Hosea 8:7; Hosea 10:12, 13; Galatians 6:7, 8. We see the operation of this law in the natural world. There, in that world, as people sow, so they reap; nor do they ever expect it to be otherwise. But in the moral and spiritual world, nothing is more common than to meet with those who sow iniquity, and yet do not expect to reap of the same, either in this world or in the world to come. Men do not expect any consequences to follow a life of carelessness and impenitence. It may be that you have seen solemn and affecting instances of the operation of this law; if not, ministers of Christ will tell you that they have seen them only too often. They have seen those who have lived careless and self-indulgent lives struggle at last in vain. The hardened heart was but the fulfilment of the solemn law of God's kingdom. Amongst the many ways of sowing to the flesh, there is one which we cannot omit. It is the indulgence of pride and self-confident feelings. St. Paul speaks of sowing to the Spirit. In which way have you been sowing? Do you wish to escape the consequences — the harvest of misery — which, in the very nature of things, will follow your sowing to the flesh? Through grace you may do it.
(Alfred Bowen Evans.)
1. It is so far true as to assure us that there is a righteous Governor and a just Judge of the world. We cannot apply the rule laid down by Eliphaz. It is a rule to us no longer. We have no right to fix upon any individual or nation upon earth, and to affirm that Almighty God is dealing with the one or the other in a way of retribution, because they may be suffering such and such things. But, notwithstanding this, there is a principle at work in the affairs of men, so far manifest as to show that the world is not left to take its chance, and that the children of men cannot do as they please.
2. It is so far true as it hath respect to the natural constitutions of men. Men cannot transgress the principles of their nature with impunity, nor run counter to the rules of their constitution unharmed. Nature is not to be trifled with. And the retribution that followeth the violation of physical laws is a sure pledge of a retribution that will follow the infringement of moral.
3. It is true so far as to obviate the necessity of our ever taking vengeance into our own hands. God repayeth that we need not. Vengeance is His, that it may not be ours. It has been said, "God avengeth those that do not avenge themselves."
4. It is true so far as to inspire us with a salutary fear for ourselves. There is to be a resurrection of action as well as of agents; of deeds as well as of doers; of works as well as of men. And we know not how soon, as to some of its details, this resurrection may take place. The transgressor is never safe. Whatsoever wrong any man hath done may be required of him at any time.
(Alfred Bowen Evans.)
Homilist.I. HUMAN LIFE IS A SOWING AND A REAPING. All the actions of a man's life are inseparable, united by the law of causation. One grows out of another as plants out of seed. The sowing and the reaping, strange to say, go on at the same time. In reaping what we sowed yesterday, we sow what we shall have to reap tomorrow.
II. LIFE'S REAPING IS DETERMINED BY ITS SOWING. "I have seen, they that plow iniquity," etc. Like begets like everywhere, the same species of seed sown will be reaped in fruit. He that soweth hemlock will not reap wheat, but crops of hemlock. All moral actions are moral seeds deposited in the soul.
III. THE REAPING OF THE SINNER IS A TERRIBLE DESTINY. What a destiny this: to be reaping wickedness, to be reaping whirlwinds of agony. From this subject learn —
1. The great solemnity of life. There is nothing trifling. The most volatile sin is a seed that must grow, and must be reaped. Take care!
2. The conscious rectitude of the sinner's doom. What is hell? Reaping the fruit of sinful conduct. The sinner feels this, and his conscience will not allow him to complain of his fate.
3. The necessity for a godly heart. All actions and words proceed from the heart: out of it are the issues of life. Hence the necessity of regeneration.
1. That to be a wicked man is no easy task; he must go to plough for it. It is ploughing, and you know ploughing is laborious, yea, it is hard labour.
2. That there is an art in wickedness. It is ploughing, or, as the word imports, an artificial working. Some are curious and exact in shaping, polishing, and setting off their sin. So to say such a man is an abomination worker, or a lie maker, notes him not only industrious, but crafty, or (as the prophet speaks) "wise to do evil."
3. That wicked men expect benefit in ways of sin, and look to be gainers by being evil-doers. They make iniquity their plough; and a man's plough is so much his profit, that it is grown into a proverb, to call that (whatsoever it is) by which a man makes his living or his profit, his plough. Every man tills in expectation of a crop; who would put his plough into the ground to receive nothing? It is even so with wicked men, when they are stoning, they think themselves thriving, or laying up that in the earth a while, which will grow and increase to a plentiful harvest. What strange fancies have many to be rich, to be great, by ways of wickedness! Thus they plough in hope, but they shall never be partakers of their hope.
4. That every sinful act persisted in shall have a certain sorrowful reward.
5. That the punishment of sin may come long after the committing of sin. The one is the seedtime, and the other a reaping time; there is a great distance of time between sowing and reaping. The seeds of sin may lie many years under the furrows.
6. That the punishment of sin shall be proportionable to the degrees of sin. He shall reap the same, saith the text, the same in degree. If ye sow sparingly, ye shall reap sparingly; on the other side, if ye sow plentifully, ye shall reap plentifully.
7. Punishment shall not exceed the desert of sin.
8. That the punishment of sin shall be like the sin in kind. It shall be the same, not only in degree, but also in likeness. Punishment often bears the image and superscription of sin upon it. You may see the father's face and feature in the child. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
In thoughts from the visions of the night.
I. ATTEMPT TO REALISE THE SPECTRE. Recollect that for every one of us spirit has clothed itself with shape and vesture, and that the basis of the whole world in which we live is spiritual. Look at some of the circumstances favourable to such a spectre.
1. It was produced by a likeness of moral state. It was a time of thought. The mind was wandering amazed, the labyrinthine way stretched out on every hand, the mind trod the dark pathways, I do not see that we are under any necessity to suppose a ghost, in the real, spectral, objective sense of that word. The thought of Eliphaz is of God. It was God who was "a trouble to him." And shapeless terror, while it was a Very objective reality to him, need not be regarded as such by us. It was the answer to the voice of conscience within.
2. The fear anticipated the vision. Where man does not feel he wilt not fear; where he does not tear the spectre, he will usually see none, feel none, know none. But man, every man, is accessible to fear. We do not dwell so near to terror as our fathers. Yet what a riddle there is in fear! Until Adam fell, Adam had no conscience, because he was one, his whole nature was a religious sensation. It is different now. The conscience is not free, it would be free, but it is nailed. Conscience is moral fear — conscience is the surgery of the soul. Possibly, all men have not fears. How comes it that man knows what moral fear is? It comes from the forbidden. Our world is a house full of fears, because the fall has removed us into the night, away from God. This is the natural history of fear — of moral fear. What is this natural capacity of fear in me? Nervousness, you say! Nervousness, what is that? It is a term used to describe the fine sheathing of the soul; it is man's capacity for mental and moral suffering.
II. FROM THE SPECTRE TO THE QUESTION. The ghost's question touches very appropriately and comprehensively the whole topic also of the Book of Job. It is a message from the dead, or rather, a message from the solemn kingdom of spirits.
1. How large is the field of thought the message covers. It is the assertion of the purity and universality of Divine providence. It is a glance at the alleged injustice of God. Man stands whence he thinks he can behold flaws in the Divine government. Job and his friend had met together in the valley of contemplation in the kingdom of night; in Job it was an experience, in Eliphaz a mournful contemplation. The spectre's question then was a reality. In the vision of the night the soul was shaken with the terror, and it is the overwhelming thought — God. God was only known as terror. What must the appearance of God be, if an apparition can startle so terribly? The spectator was crushed by the spectre, and by the question of the spectre. If thy thoughts transcend nature, not less assuredly does thy Maker transcend thee.
2. The question was directed to the delectability of man. Consider thyself, thy littleness, thy narrowness, the limited sphere of thy vision. And thou art presuming to find a flaw in the Divine purposes and arrangements.
3. Hitherto, the ghost only crushes; it was not the purpose of the spectre to do more. It asked of man the question which had its root only in the eternal and illimitable will. It referred all to God. But the message probably included the following chapter.
III. THE GHOST IS ASKING HIS QUESTION STILL. "Shall mortal man be just with God?" The moral fear of man, his conscience, is his best assurance of God. Man's ideas are the best proof that there is a God over him, higher than he is, infinite in goodness and wisdom. It is from God Himself man derives the terrors that scare him. God Himself has reflected His own being in the conscience within the soul. But then it is a wounded conscience, and needs healing.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
(Henry Melvill, B. D.)
(F. J. Austin.)
(T. T. Waterman.)
There was silence and I heard a voice.1. God's humbling dispensations toward His people will all come to a good issue, and the close of all His dealings will still be sweet. For after all his humbling and fear, preparing Eliphaz for the vision, and assuring him that God was present, the voice cometh.
2. The composing of our spirits, from the confusions and tumultuous disorders incident to them, is a necessary antecedent to God's revealing of His mind. For when "there was silence, I heard a voice."
3. As for this way of the Lord's speaking by a still, or calm voice, albeit we need inquire after no reason why He makes use of it, who doth all things after the counsel of His own will, yet without wresting we may observe these in it.(1) The Lord hereby did teach that these supernatural truths were mysteries, not blazed abroad throughout the world, but whispered among some few believers.(2) The Lord hereby did press attention on those to whom He revealed His mind, while He spake not so loud as might reach them whether they attended or not, but in a still voice, which might excite them seriously to hearken.(3) Hereby also the Lord declared that He will not be a terror to such as delight to converse with Him in His Word, for to such He would not appear as wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a still sweet voice.(4) However men ought to speak the truths of God so audibly as they may be heard, and with that zeal and fervency that becometh; yet, it is not the clamorous voice that makes the word effectual, but the weight and importance of the matter seriously pressed home by the Spirit of God. For even by this "still voice," God communicated His will, and made it to be obeyed in the world.
Shall a man he more pure than his Maker?
1. God is most righteous, pure, and holy, within Himself and in His administration, so that He can do no wrong, nor ought He to be challenged by any. Sufficient arguments are not wanting whereby to clear this righteousness of God in all His dealings, and particularly in His afflicting godly men, and suffering the wicked to prosper; but when we consider His absolute dominion and sovereignty, and His holiness in Himself, it will put the matter beyond all debate, though we dip no further into the particulars.
2. This righteousness and holiness of God is so infinitely transcendent, that the holiness of the best of men cannot compare with it; but it becomes impurity, except he look on them in a Mediator.
3. Though God be thus just and holy, and that infinitely above the best of men, yet men are not wanting, in many cases, to reproach and reflect upon the righteousness of God, yea, and to cry up their own worth and holiness, to the prejudice of His righteousness.
4. An impatient complainer under affliction doth, in effect, wrong God and His righteousness, and sinfully extol his own holiness.
5. Whatever liberty men take to vent their passions, and to judge harshly of God and His dealing; and whatever their passion suggest for justifying thereof, yet men's own consciences and reason, in cold blood, will tell them that their sentence is unjust.
6. Men's frailty and mortality bear witness against them, that they are not perfectly pure, and that they may not compare with God.
7. Man, considered not only in his frailties, but even in his strength and best endowments, is infinitely inferior to God.
8. If men consider that God is their Creator and Maker, and that they have no degree of perfection which is not from God, they will find it a high presumption to compete with Him in the point of perfection.
I. FROM MAN'S RELATIVE CONDITION IN THE WORLD. That we did not bring ourselves into existence, and are incapable, for a moment, to support ourselves in it, are self-evident truths. If we, and all that belongs to us, be the gift of God, of what have we to be proud, even in the most favourable estimate we can make of ourselves, and of all our acquisitions? Of scientific improvement and cultivated talents how little reason there is for boasting. Of moral and religious improvement how can he boast who even knows not his secret errors?
II. FROM THE EXAMPLE OF OUR SAVIOUR. As it is a perfect pattern of universal excellence, so in the display of this virtue it is eminently instructive. If anything could give addition to such illustrious acts of goodness, it was the mildness, the tenderness, the humility, with which they were conferred. If we be His true disciples, we, like Him, will be clothed with humility, and consider it as the distinguishing characteristic of our Christian profession.
III. THE ADVANTAGES WITH WHICH IT IS ATTENDED, STRONGLY ENFORCE THE PRACTICE OF THIS VIRTUE. It paves the way for general esteem, exempts us from the mortifications of vanity and pride; by enabling us to form just views of our own characters, it teaches us where to correct them when wrong, and where to improve their excellence when good; it leaves us in full possession of all our powers and attainments, without envy and without detraction; it repels chagrin and engenders contentment; it is a sunshine of the mind, which throws its mild lustre on every object; and affords to every intellectual and moral excellence the most advantageous light in which it can appear. In short, it is leasing to God, and equally ornamental and advantageous to man.
(A. Stifling, L. L. D.)
And His angels He charged with folly.
1. The subject teaches the folly of covetousness and ambition. Covetousness is in itself sinful, and as it usurps the place due to God in the heart, it is idolatry; but when viewed in the light of the text, it is folly and madness, and wilful madness, which exposes its victim to merited derision.
2. It teaches us to avoid pride and security.
3. It teaches us not to trust or glory in man. Why has God declared His trust in His servants, and accused His angels of folly, but to teach us more effectually the sin and danger of all creature confidence and boasting?
(Thomas M'Crie, D. D.)
Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 10:49, which set forth the patience and beneficence of His character, and the scrupulous and delicate equities of His administration. In the addresses of Eliphaz, God's strict and unapproachable purity is depicted in exalted and impressive phraseology. This seer, Eliphaz, sinned through overweening confidence in his own prophetic gift. His error consisted in the misapplication of truths that were obviously inspired, rather than in the premises he laid down as the basis of his appeal to Job. He was right in his abstract principles. We may accept his truth about the inconceivable purity of God.
1. God's ideals of purity are so transcendent and so terrible, that the purity of the angel nearest to His throne is little better than stain, shadow, darkness in comparison. "His angels He chargeth with folly." But is not the whole subject, with the angel in the background, vague, misty, fanciful? It is surely not unscientific to assume the existence of the pure and mighty beings spoken of by seers and prophets of the olden time, nor speculative to ponder well the words which declare that in comparison with God Himself, the angels have about them traces of finite dimness, blemish, imperfection. Are the angels, then, frail and foolish and defective? Are the angels disfigured with limitation, even as we? Put them in comparison with man, fallen man, and they will well justify the title "holy." Bring them into comparison with God, and the title will seem incongruous, arrogant, and misplaced. The fall of some of their number shows that, as a class, the angels have not yet passed beyond the stage of defectibility. They have not risen into a wisdom so complete that no illusion can betray it, nor into a strength so unassailable that no temptation can score its record of disfigurement upon their lives. They are free, it is true, from actual transgression, but they are passing through the first crude stages of a development in which, because of inward weakness and limitation, there is perilous room for the wiles of the tempter. They have not reached the transcendent holiness of God, who cannot be tempted with evil. An incarnation, with its perils and possibilities, would be fatal to an angel. God can never forget the frailty, weakness, limitation, that may be latent in the unfallen types of angelic life.
2. The holiness of an angel will appear as little better than a frailty if we think of it in comparison with the uncreated holiness of God. The Divine holiness has in it a transcendent originality, with which that of the creature can never hope to vie. The holiness of the angel is a mere echo. The angels are but copyists, and their workmanship is unutterably inferior to the original conception.
3. In the judgment of the Most High, the holiness of the angel verges upon a frailty, because of its inferior vitality and its less consuming fervour. No angel knows what it is to love with a mighty intenseness that makes the love necessarily vicarious, and the heart break with pure grief over the sin, and grief, and shame of others. No Bethlehems, or Gethsemanes, or Golgothas have ever immortalised angelic devotion and love. Their love, however crystal pure, is a love to which sacrifice is strange. It does not draw them into incarnations and propitiatory offerings, and down into the shadows of vast redeeming shames and agonies. If Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the Father must have been touched in some sense from everlasting with the same sorrow. Before all worlds there was some dim mystery of self-sacrificing pain in the heart of God.
4. The defect of the angel is a defect of narrowness. In comparison with the Catholic and all-comprehending love of God, his love is insular and restrained. All perfect moral qualities are boundless. The graces of these celestial envoys are dwarfed into frailty and insignificance when brought into contrast with the perfect moral life of God.
5. The holiness of the angel has about it the defect and limitation inseparable from the briefness of its own history. It is a frail thing of yesterday in comparison with the holiness of God. Think of the amazing epochs through which God's holiness has been unfolding itself. The worth of a moral quality is proportioned to the period through which it has verified and established itself. Angel life is but of recent birth.
6. The holiness of the angel has about it the defect of immaturity. The insight and holiness of the angel are but starting points for some higher and more magnificent evolution of character, the first cell out of which shall issue the wonder and transfiguration of their after destiny...Consider the unparalleled patience and gentleness of God. "His angels He chargeth with folly." Yes; but He keeps them at His feet, and with exhaustless grate carries on their education, epoch after epoch. Is there no contradiction in these views? No. Only He who is infinitely holy can afford to be absolutely gracious and gentle. His very greatness enables Him to stoop. The incomparable holy dare stoop to blemish, and frailty, and weakness, and help it out of its dark and humiliating conditions. There is no contradiction here.. Then again, the infinitely holy can discern the hidden promise and possibility of holiness in the weak and erring. It would be an awful thing if we were left to suppose that God was microscopic in His scrutiny for judgment and condemnation only, and not also for blessing and approval. He discerns hope and fine possibility all the more keenly through the very affluence of His own purity. The perfection of righteousness is realised in the perfection of love.
(Thomas G. Selby.)
I. OF WHOM WERE THESE WORDS SPOKEN? Angels. But it does not appear whether good or bad angels; those that fell or those that stood. Calvin thinks the good angels, considered in themselves, may be defective. The angels were Created in a possibility of everlasting blessedness, but not in actual possession of it. This admits of no doubt, because some of them actually did fall.
II. WHAT WORDS WERE SPOKEN?
1. What is positively said.
2. What is consequently inferred.
Them that dwell in houses of clay.
Essex Remembrancer.The great design of God in His Word and in His providence is to humble the pride and cure the fatal presumption of man.
I. THE IMPRESSIVE DESCRIPTION HERE OF OUR FRAIL AND MORTAL CONDITION. Angels are pure spirits, men are partly spiritual and partly corporal. "We dwell in houses of clay." The frailty of our frame is thus set forth. Its foundation is in the dust, its origin and subsistence are from the dust. This too is a significant expression, "Who are crushed before the moth," that is, sooner than the moth.
II. THIS IMPRESSIVE DESCRIPTION OF OUR FRAILTY IS VERIFIED BY INSTANCES OF DAILY OCCURRENCE. Illustrate by cases of death from simple and sudden accident, and from insidious disease. Draw some practical inferences.
1. If the frame of man is so frail, and liable to death from causes so numerous, what egregious and culpable folly is it to be wholly engrossed in the pursuits and pleasures of the present life.
2. How important to be prepared for a world where death and sorrow are unknown! But what is a due preparation for immortal bliss!
3. If the body is so frail and mortal, and the mind so apt to turn and stray from the solemn consideration required, how necessary is it to pray for light and grace to direct and fix our thoughts on this deeply interesting subject! To learn the method of profitably numbering our days on earth, we all need Divine teaching, and this must be sought of Him who is willing to impart it.
They die, even without wisdom.