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house of mirth. Man that is born of a woman, is of few days and full of trouble".
SECT. 2. All these are directed by the eternal Sovereign, whose dominion is over all.
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him, not see his days? Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. Is there any number of his armies? With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. Behold he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again; he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. Behold he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up; also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together; then who can hinder him? None can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou? Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters". If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge ". Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Wilt thou condemn him that is most just? Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly? how much less to him, that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the works of his hands*. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength; who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered'? The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and
Eccles. vii. 2, 3, 4. § 2. a Job, xxiv. 1. d Job, xi. 10. Job, xxxiii. 13. * Job, xxxiv. 17, 18, 19.
Job, xiv. 1.
b Job, xxv. 2, S.
e Dan. iv. 35.
h Job, ix. 13-15.
Job, ix. 4.
* Job, xii. 13, 14, 15.
Job, xxxiv. 93.
1 Job, xl. 2.
bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill". What, shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil"? The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord'. Behold he taketh away; who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou??
Thus saith the Lord, I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no god besides me". I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things'. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me. I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand'. O house of Israel, saith the Lord, behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. Wo unto him that striveth with his Maker; let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth; shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Wo unto him that saith to his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth"? Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding *?
SECT. 3. Various distresses are brought upon men, which are the natural effects, as well as the just punishment of their vice and wickedness.
Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. The wicked shall fall by his own wickedness'. The foolishness of man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth against the Lord.
Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts". Evil pursueth sinners. They shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. He that pursueth evil, pursueth it to his own death: his bones are full of the sin of his youth". Many sorrows shall be to the wicked'. They are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose, waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
SECT. 4. Even the heaviest afflictions are to be endured by his servants with humble submission.
I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins". He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger? And I said, my strength and my hope is perisheth from the Lord; remembering mine affliction and misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because
he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him, he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever. But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion, according to the multitude of his mercies; for he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men'.
SECT. 5. Especially when they consider their own demerits, and his gracious purposes towards them.
Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins"? Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty; for he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction, then he showeth them their work, and their transgressions wherein they have exceeded. He openeth their ear to discipline and commandeth that they return from iniquity; that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. My son, despise thou not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction; for whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth". If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small'. Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more". Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further". All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come. Yea, though he should slay me, yet will I trust in him; and I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face, and I will look for him'. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judg
f Lam. iii. 26-35.
§ 5. Lam. iii. 39.
d Job, xxxiii. 17.
ment for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness When he hath tried
me I shall come forth as gold".
SECT. 6. His merciful declarations and promises for their support and consolation.
Thou spakest in vision to thy holy One, and saidst, I have laid help on one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children shall forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity; that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me. I will bring them through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried". And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning". By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten*.
Though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dwell among scorpions, be not afraid, nor dismayed'.