Job 28:7
No bird of prey knows that path; no falcon's eye has seen it.
Sermons
The MinerW.F. Adeney Job 28:1-11
The Path of True WisdomR. Green Job 28:1-12
Praises of Divine WisdomE. Johnson Job 28:1-28
The Miner's PathW.F. Adeney Job 28:7, 8
The vulture's eye is keen, the lion's whelps are daring; yet a path which these wild creatures never saw is known to the miner, and climbed by him in his search for precious metals. He penetrates into fearful ravines, climbs dizzy cliffs, follows dark passages far into the mountain-side, descends deep shafts down to the hidden regions of the earth.

I. THE SUPERIORITY OF MIND TO INSTINCT. The senses of animals are keener than those of men; the sight of the bird and the scent of the wild beast greatly exceed our seeing and smell. Animals are stronger than men; we cannot emulate the vulture's flight or the stroke of the lion's paw. Yet, with duller senses and weaker muscles, we can rule over the animals; we can even beat them on their own ground. The superiority of man is the superiority of mind. Therefore, if he would retain and perfect this superiority, he must not sink down to the level of the beasts that perish. Sottish sensuality robs man of his supremacy. If it is by the mind that man conquers, it is disgraceful to live for the sake of the body. Only mental power gives so weak a creature as man any chance in the struggle for existence. Then it is most incongruous that bodily appetite should be permitted to enslave this power for its own low pleasures. Moreover, if the inner man is the higher man, that which is highest within is our truest and best self. The highest powers scale the highest peaks.

II. THE TRIUMPH OF ENERGY. The miner knows his secret path and climbs it, because he is determined to search out the precious metals, no matter where he may have to go in pursuit of them. Here is manly vigour. Now, it is just this vigour joined to intelligence that gives man success in the battle of life. No one deserves to be prosperous without it. It is only a, artificial state of society that allows the idle to be pampered in luxury. The healthy rule is that of St. Paul, "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). In the miner's path we have an evidence of what effort can do. This same effort is needed in every branch of life. Industry is healthy and fruitful, and the old-fashioned duty can never be lessened by any change of circumstances. If men shrink from work they proclaim that their better nature is conquered in them. It will be a bad day for England when her old spirit of enterprise is given up. In the Christian life there is a call for the miner's daring and energy. Here, too, heroic enterprises are undertaken by the nobler spirits. There are paths in spiritual experience that no one with a merely animal nature can ever see; but the brave sons of God walk thereon and find rare treasures by the way. Browning tells us -

"Life is - to wake, not sleep;
Rise, and not rest; but press
From earth's level, where blindly creep
Things perfected, more or less,
To heaven's height, far and steep." W.F.A.







And it hath dust of gold.
This chapter in Job describes with all a poet's force and beauty the miner's life in its loneliness, its dangers, and its triumphs. In those old days men endured the toil, and faced the dangers, to win the hidden gold, or precious stones. And from then till now men have ever been eager to find gold. The passion for gold is one of the strongest in the human heart. It has done much to shape the world's history. It has given us new arts, new sciences, and new industries. It has made solitary places populous, and filled empty lands with busy multitudes. Why is gold so coveted? For one thing, it is very rare. Gold has many properties peculiar to itself. And it is very durable. The principal reason of the high esteem for gold, is because it is the chief means of exchange between buyers and sellers. Some things, precious as it is, gold cannot buy. It cannot buy wisdom, knowledge, or goodness. Its possession means power to acquire all worldly good. Happiness cannot be bought with gold. The secret I am going to tell you is, — How to turn everything into gold. Not in a literal sense. Some people, though poor, are as happy as if all gold was theirs. Their purses may never be very full, but their hearts always are of faith and love They are always bright, and have a cheery smile and a kindly word for all in trouble. Such people have found the secret of turning everything to gold. What is the secret? Paul says, "I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content" He had learned so to love the Heavenly Father's will, so to trust Him, that all care and fear and darkness had fled out of life, and left it touched with perpetual golden light. And that is the secret that all men know who can turn things to gold. Love Christ, and follow Him, and you will have discovered the secret — how to turn everything to gold.

(James Legge, M. A.)

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