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reduced to despair than the pious man who gave utterance to this sentiment, which we, my friends, have found, and must shortly find, to be the solid truth with ourselves. Only let us be, with pious Job, prepared to give the same humble and submissive declaration—“ Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked must I return thither."
It will do us all good to look with an eye of reflection and faith upon the circumstances which induced this exclamation. We are informed that in the land of Uz lived this pious man whose name was Job; that he had ten children, seven sons and three daughters; that he was a very wealthy man and a very good man-a rare occurrence in any land; for men are so apt to put their trust in wealth rather than in God that our Saviour says "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God" (Mark x. 23); and this he explains by saying
"How hardly shall they who trust in uncertain riches enter into the kingdom of God." It is evident that Job did not look upon any of his possessions as obtained by his own wisdom, but as the gift of God. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away : blessed be the name of the Lord."
This good man is represented as causing the spirit of envy to rise against him on account of his piety. The malicious devil is represented as imputing evil to this good man, and as saying to God, "Doth Job fear God for nought?" Or, in other words, Does not Job serve God for the riches He gives him? Will he (says the evil spirit) be as upright, and pious, and free from wickedness in his poverty, and love thee as much if thou takest these things from him? "Put forth thine hand now and touch
all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." The devil is ever ready to impute false motives to the sons of God, as if they looked upon tempora] prosperity as the rewards, the only rewards, of piety. So the Lord permitted the devil to destroy all that Job had.
My friends, if we are truly pious men we shall look upon the losses of this life as the trials of our faith; and, like this man, still put our trust in God and not give way to despair. What have we, any of us, that we did not receive from Him? Nothing. It may not be God's intention to try us in this manner; but, if it should be so, let us fly to the book of Job for consolation.
Job had seven thousand sheep: he lost them all by a thunder-storm in one day. He had five yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and three thousand camels, and a very great household. In the same day in which the oxen were ploughing and the asses feeding, the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away, and slew his servants with the edge of the sword. A messenger arrived the same hour to tell him that the Chaldeans had made out three bands and carried off his three thousand camels. But this was not the worst. His seven sons and three daughters were at a banquet in their elder brother's house, and a hurricane blew down the house and killed them all. Were not these things enough to press a man down? Which of us, I should be glad to know, would have firmness and patience enough to bear such heavy afflictions as these without a murmur? None, believe me, who do not put their trust in and their sole reliance on God. Job received the visitation as from God; for
he arose and rent his clothes and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped, saying " Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord." In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. It is for us to take this wise man's experience as our own; and, putting our trust in God, to turn that wisdom to a proper ac
May God avert from us all such dreadful calamities as are here mentioned, and make us both thankful and contented for His providential care for us: may He pardon us for our innumerable offences, when we have murmured against His dispensations and thought our own lot harder than that of any living man!
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither." Think of this, my sick friends, for it is true of every living man. Originally the earth was man's mother, for God, who is the eternal Father, made him out of the dust of the ground; and all we children of Adam, the first man, who is earthy, must, notwithstanding either our sumptuous clothing or our proud bearing, be humbled to our mother earth. When we think of the thousands-nay, the millions-who are already returned to dust, let us consider how soon we must put off this mortal clay and lie beside our fathers. Where, then, will be the distinctions of earth, when our naked bodies shall form one dead mass of perishable dust?
We have a duty to learn every day which we cannot begin too early to study: it is submission to
the will of God. We must consider that He made us, not we ourselves; that we are His, and not our own; and that the same kind of tenure which inferior creatures hold under us, we hold under the Almighty. We make the creatures of creation obedient to our will: the cattle of the field are our slaves. They would not, without training, come of themselves to plough our lands, or collect our harvests they must be subjugated by man, or they would be of no service to him.
And so, my friends, we must be brought into subjection to the will of God or we cannot do His service. Submission must be learnt: our proud souls must be humbled to do His will. By nature, since the fall, we are not inclined to render Him our suit and service: the very thoughts of God, religion, responsibility, and death are irksome to us: and hence it is necessary that our nature should be ruled by the laws and revelation of God. Job learned this by experience. Good as he was and just in his dealings towards men, it pleased God to try him by these awful visitations, that all men might reap from his experience patience and submission to the will of God. The severest chastisement of the Almighty has more mercy in it than we are, any of us, for a long time willing to confess; but long endurance at last makes us kiss the rod of our deliverer. "Before I was afflicted (says David) I went wrong; but now have I kept thy law" (Psalm cxix. 67).
Let us, by frequent meditation upon these things, keep ourselves in readiness for their approach. Affliction must and will come, and true piety alone will be able to bear it. In the world how often do we see calamity destroying the powers of a man's
mind, and the evil spirit urging him on to madness! The regrets for the losses of the things of this life are so great with many as to destroy their reason ; but these things would not be so if there was a true and firm belief in God-if we had a proper consideration of what we are, what we must be, and who gives us everything we have and who takes them away. "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord." If men in the hour of distress would only put their trust in God and do well, they would find, however direful the day of calamity, that it was far better for them that it should be so than that it should be otherwise.
Supposing any of you who are reading these addresses should be placed in the situation of Job, what ought your conduct to be? It ought to be like his patient, humble, devout, and faithful. We all require the chastising hand of the Almighty to correct us. Oh, that we may receive, then, the friendship of God's messenger to us for our good, and feel that the warnings of the faithful are health! We are Christians and should be looking for imperishable joys at God's right hand for evermore: we have inducements to fix our affections on high which the Heathen had not and which the Jews beheld but dimly we have even a greater pattern of humility than Job, and one which, if we imitate, we shall find strength from above to help us.
We know that to be conformed to the image of Christ we must be made to suffer a variety of trials in this life, and be ready at all times to give up all things for His kingdom and to say, "Not my will