I. SELF-CONTEMPLATION IN REFERENCE TO THE PAST. His life has sped swiftly - like a courier, or the swift boat of the Euphrates or the Nile, or the swooping eagle (vers. 25, 26), and without seeming prosperity. Here he perverts the history of the past; but memory as welt as reason is poisoned.
II. IN REFERENCE TO THE FUTURE. (Vers. 27, 28.) Hope has broken its wing. The effort to remove the gloom from his brow is useless, unless he could remove the weight frown his heart. That - the sense of the disfavour of God - comes roiling back from every effort, like the stone of Sisyphus.
III. THE VANITY OF MORAL ENDEAVOUR. (Vers. 29-31.) He feels himself as under an absolute decree of guilt which no earthly power can possibly remove. Should he use snow-water and lye, i.e. employ all means to justify himself, still his absolute Judge would plunge him back into a state of horrible pollution.
IV. THE INEQUALITY OF THE STRIFE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD. Were it between man and man, he has no doubt of the success of his cause.
V. THE WANT OF A COUNT OF APPEAL. (Vers. 32, 33.) There is no "daysman," or arbitrator, who can lay the hand of authority upon both of us, and, by determining the cause, bring the strife to an end.
VI. PASSIONATE APPEAL AND RESOLVE. The appeal is for freedom of speech (vers. 34, 35; Job 10:1, 2). The last, or one of the last, boons that honourable men can be disposed to deny to the oppressed; one that God will never deny to his intelligent creatures. Yet Job, overcome by the dogmatism of his friends, seems to think it is now denied him. The resolve is that since life has now become a weariness and a disgust, he will give free way to words, regardless of consequences. In reviewing this wild complaint of an unhinged intelligence, we may learn the following lessons:
1. God is not to be thought of as absolute Power, but rather as absolute Justice and Love. The former is the conception of a demon, the latter that of the Father of spirits.
2. All sides and aspects of nature must be viewed as equally revelations of God.
3. Man is never weak when he has right on his side, and, though he seems to be crushed, he will be exalted for ever.
4. Darkness in the reason is no proof of the withdrawal of God's favour. Our subjection and personal sufferings do not affect the eternal objective realities. The clouds may hide, but cannot efface, the sun.
5. God is merciful to our misunderstandings, and detects the spark of faith in the heart of sufferers who may be unconscious of it themselves. - J.
Now my days are swifter than a post...as the swift ships.I. THE TEXT TEACHES US THE BREVITY OF HUMAN LIFE. "My days are swifter than a post." They are as swift-footed messengers, as couriers, as the medium of communication from one province to another. They are "swifter than the swift ships"; than the "eagle hastening to his prey." There are illustrations from earth, and sea, and sky. We often speak of the brevity of life; it is only now and then we are really impressed with the fact. Our days are brief as the preface to a new and undying life. Our days are brief as the period for the culture of our whole nature. How great a portion of the present life is necessary as the introduction to the remainder. Our physical nature requires growth and development. How slowly our mental faculties open themselves. The culture of our spiritual nature seems to demand a longer period than the present life, for it is the education of a nature that dies not; that will take with it all the training of earth. Our days are brief, when we think of the solemn realities with which they have to do. Our days are brief, because our destiny depends on them. On these days that pass so quickly, all the future hangs; these days give a colouring to a whole eternity.
II. THE TEXT TEACHES US THE UNSATISFACTORY NATURE OF LIFE. "They see no good." "What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue."
1. Our days bear with them the freshness and joyousness of life. Our days rob us of the freshness and beauty of youth, and as they pass they carry with them all that we deemed most precious — friends, kindred, joys, hopes.
2. Life is unsatisfactory, because of the fragmentary and unfinished character of its work. God's providence is in strong contrast with man's.
3. If the present be all, life must be most unsatisfactory, for we can see no good.
III. OUR TEXT SUGGESTS TO US THE IMPORTANCE OF LIFE. Our days are as a post.
1. They carry with them the records and impressions of our minds. Thoughts for good or for evil must live — must live to be a blessing or a curse.
2. Our days carry with them the treasures of our hearts. What treasures the swift ships convey from one land to another; how they enrich one country with the wealth of others. Our days carry the wealth, the priceless affections of our nature.
(H. J. Bevis.)
Homilist.I. As a PROPHETIC fact. Can it be that this short life is the end of our existence?
1. We quit this life with unwrought powers. The tree grows on until it exhausts its latent powers, and animals die not (unless they are destroyed) until they are worn out. But man has to quit this life just as some of his powers are beginning to bud, and others without measure undeveloped and unquickened.
2. We quit this life with unfulfilled plans.
II. As a TERRIFIC fact. To whom is it terrible? To all whose hearts are centred in this world.
1. That their wealth relatively becomes less valuable to them every day.
2. That eternity becomes relatively more awful to them every day.
III. As a CHEERING fact. To whom is it cheering? To those who, though they are in the world are not of the world, those who are born into the Divine kingdom of Christly virtues and imperishable hopes.
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