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Job. “Doth Job fear God for nought ? Hath God then made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” The security of the Lord's people in this world of sin and misery is, that God makes a hedge about them, and Satan can injure neither theinselves nor their property without the Divine permission. Had Satan his own will, he would continually harass the people of God. But his malice is controlled, and he can manifest none of it beyond what God permits for his own glory and the good of his people.

Job's afflictions were, in one sense, brought on him by Satan, but, in another, by God. Satan could act only subordinately.

It is God who must put forth his hand and touch Job with affliction. Yet, in doing this, he used Satanı as the instrument of bringing this affliction. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thy hand.”

« Put forth thine hand now,” says Satan to the Lord, “ and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” The Lord complies, but executes the afflictions through Satan. “ And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save

Here God acts, and Satan acts in doing the same thing. The Sovereignty of God in doing this is holy and good ; in doing the same thing Sa

his life."

tan is unholy and malicious in a most astonishing degree. Satan stript the house of Job of his goods and of his children: Job takes all from the hand of the Lord. “ The Lord gave,” says he, “and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Let the children of God, then, view good and evil as coming from the hand of their heavenly Father. In the smallest things, as well as in the greatest, let them see his hand. Malice cannot vex, power cannot oppress, covetousness cannot strip, without a warrant under the seal of the Lord and Father of Christians.

When, in the Providence of God, any of his people are called to peculiar and signal trials, let them not suppose

that this must arise from a peculiar ag gravation of their sins. All afflictions suppose sin, but Job, who here suffers in a manner grievous and excessive, is testified, by God himself, as an eminently righteous man. It is good for them to see their sins in all their aggravations ; but it is not according to truth to measure the guilt of the sufferer by the degree of his suffering. God is a Sovereign, and though he never afflicts without necessity, yet he may afflict the most righteous of his servants in a degree exceeding the affliction of those who are in their lives most defective. He may have wise reasons for calling the most righteous of his people to suffer the most grievous afflictions.

SENNACHERIB SENT BY GOD AGAINST HIS PEOPLE,

YET PUNISHED FOR GOINGIsaiah x.

The wisdom of this world can never understand this part of the ways of the Most High. If the Assyrian was without any command from God, or any constraint on his mind, how can he be said to be sent by God? If in any sense he was sent by God, how can he be guilty in going? How can he be justly punished for doing the very thing which God appointed him to do? Here is the very essence of the question that has for ever agitated the wisdom of this world, the consistency of the decrees of God with the voluntary actions of men. Here the truth is practically exhibited. God appoints what his enemies act, yet the whole sin is theirs. How can this be ? Foolish men, why ask the question ? Are you able to measure the conduct of the infinite and incomprehensible Jehovah ? That the thing is true, every impartial mind must here see. How it is true, is not revealed, therefore, can never be found out-should never be inquired after. What God reveals, let us know: what he conceals, let us not attempt to discover.

One thing we may here see plainly. Though Sennacherib was sent by God to punish his people for their sins; yet the instrument of wrath did not know that he was God's messenger; and did not act from obedience to God. He acted from selfish and wicked motives; and, therefore, was guilty in doing the very thing which God had appointed to be done by him. "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit be meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so, but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.”—Isaiah x. 5-7. In a sovereign way utterly inscrutable to human wis. dom, God sends the Assyrian to do his work, while he did his own work; and satisfied his own pride and passions. Instead of intending to execute the purposes of the Lord, the conqueror boasted of doing all by his own power, and turns all to his own glory. The Lord, therefore, denounces : “ Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, I will punish the pride of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."

Here we have an infallible commentary on the Providence of God with respect to the desolators of the earth in every age. God sends them as his scourge, yet they go to gratify themselves; and are, therefore, justly guilty of all the evils which they cause to mankind. Whether they are ultimately successful or unsuccessful, God will call them to account for all the blood which they have shed, and all the miseries which they have brought

upon the earth.

Cyrus and Alexander, Julius Cæsar and Napoleon, all executed the purposes appointed by the Lord for them to perform ; yet they are all guilty of every aggression on the happiness of mankind. They served God, but they did not intend to serve him. And what are all the wars that still spread desolation and misery among the nations ? Their authors are commissioned by the Ruler of the world to the work of violence, but for every drop of the oceans of blood that have been shed since the murder of Abel men must give account. Princes and statesmen may think that the interests or aggrandisement of their nations is a just apology for their wars. But justice is the same thing among nations as among individuals. If the pirate is to be blamed by Alexander for disturbing the seas, Alexander is equally to be blamed by the pirate for disturbing the world.

DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON.Isaiah xiii.

Babylon was employed by Providence for the chastisement of his people, and commissioned to carry the Jews into captivity. Babylon was guilty in executing the will of the Lord, and was providentially destroyed by him with an unexampled destruction. The Medes and Persians are sent by God to execute his vengeance on Babylon. He calls out their hosts and gives them victory, yet the Medes and Persians were excited by their own passions. “ Besides," says God," I will bring up the

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