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Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen, and lead, in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed. within me. Job xix. 23-27.

1. SUCH is the language in which a holy and eminently useful

man of God of old professed his faith in the Redeemer, and his expectation of eternal life through him, at a time when his heart and flesh were failing, and his temporal life, to all appearance, was hastening to a final period! Such is the way in which he obtained comfort equal to his day, when all outward comforts failed, and he lay oppressed with a complication of external miseries, such as, perhaps, never exercised the faith or patience of any other man! And knowing that mankind in general are exposed to troubles innumerable in the present world, and that there is no support under them equal to that which this faith and hope afford; such is the earnest and forcible manner in which he expressed his desire, that this should be held forth to all nations and ages.

2. It is true, when he says," Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen, and lead, in the rock for ever!" Some think that he speaks, with a reference to all his foregoing discourses with his friends, which, they suppose, he was so far from disowning or being ashamed of, that he was desirous that all ages should know them, that they might judge between him and them. But inasmuch as he had certainly uttered, in the dark hour of trial, some unadvised words, which would neither be to his own credit, nor the edification of others, and which had therefore better be forgotten; it is much more probable that he spoke thus, not with a reference to his discourses in general, but to this famous confession of his faith in particular. As if he had said, “If I have heretofore, once and again, spoken rashly, I now speak deliberately, and that which I desire may be published to all the world, and preserved for generations to come, for the direction and comfort of millions; and therefore that it may be written, and even printed, that is, drawn out in large and legible characters, that he who runs may read, (for what we call printing, is well known to be an invention of modern date,) and that it may not be left on loose papers, which might be scattered and lost; but put into a book; nay, and lest that also should perish, that it may be engraven, like an inscription on a monument, with an iron pen, in lead, or on the rock for ever. Let the engraver use all his art to make the writing durable as well as legible.

3. It is well observed by a judicious Annotator, that lead here may mean, first, the writing-pen, tool, or instrument, which might be either iron or lead. For though lead be of itself too soft, yet there was an art of tempering it with other metals to such a degree of hardness, that it would pierce into a rock; as they also tempered brass, so as to make bows and swords of it. Or, secondly, it may mean the writing-table, for the ancients, as is well known, wrote divers things on lead; or thirdly, it may be put for the writing-ink, so to speak; for they were, wont sometimes, after engraving the letters on stone with an iron tool, to fill up the cuts or furrows made in the stone, with lead, to make the letters or words more visible and legible.

4. "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Well might Job desire that these words should be written, printed,

put into a book, and even engraven on the rock for ever! For in all his conferences with his friends, we do not find any words so important.

5. They may be considered, first, as containing the reason of his great confidence in the goodness of his cause; and of his willingness to have the matter depending between him and his friends, published and submitted to any trial. He had He had a living and powerful Redeemer to plead his cause, and vindicate his person from all their censures, and to give sentence for him. Secondly, they contain a confession of his faith and hope. "His friends," says an eminent divine, "had reproached him as a hypocrite, and contemned him as a wicked man; but he appeals to his creed,"-and I add, to his experience of the contents of it, "to his hope, and to the testimony of his own conscience, which not only acquitted him from reigning sin, but comforted him with the expectation of a blessed resurrection." As if he had said, "Do you call me a hypocrite, and I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that in my flesh I shall see God?" Surely, these are not the words of one that has a devil, or is a hypocrite. Thirdly, these words also signify what was his chief support and consolation under his most severe and unparalleled trials and afflictions. He knew that his Redeemer lived, and that in his flesh he should see God, and this supported him, and kept his head above water.

6. Inasmuch as he was, in all respects, a blameless character, and, as appears from divers parts of the book, and especially from chap. xxxi. most eminent for good works; inasmuch as God himself had pronounced him a perfect and upright man, and had declared, that there was none like him in all the earth. Some may wonder why he did not look to his well-spent life for comfort and support in this trying hour; why he speaks only of a Redeemer, and grounds his whole expectation of future felicity on an acquaintance with him. But you, my brethren, who know the depravity of human. nature, man's sinfulness and guilt, and the insufficiency of his own righteousness to recommend him to God, will not be surprised at this. Nor will you wonder when I tell you, that that eminent saint of God, and laborious servant of the Lord Jesus, on the occasion of whose death I now address you, when, in the awful period of nature's dissolution, he was passing through the watery flood, that divides this mortal from the immortal state, found no support for his confidence or hope, in his protracted life of unwearied labours, nor in the success wherewith God had crowned them, any more than in his holiness, but fixed his foot only on the redemption which is in

Christ Jesus. Of this redemption he spoke most feelingly and pathetically, the last time I was favoured with an interview with him, (which was a few days after his arrival at York, in the beginning of July last,) and expressed a wish that it should be held forth, more than ever, in our discourses to the people, as the one foundation of their confidence and hope. This circumstance, I trust, will plead my excuse for choosing to address you on so extraordinarily mournful an occasion from so common a subject.

7. But to return to the case of Job. When in the midst of the calamities that oppressed him, he expressed himself in the language of my text, it is as if he had said, "although I have no knowledge, confidence, or hope of being restored to health, or to prosperity in this life, (which, it is plain, from divers parts of this book he had not,) yet one thing I know, which is much more important and comfortable, and therein I rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice: although I am now a dying man, and in a desperate condition as to this world, yet,

"I know that my Redeemer liveth ;—and that in my flesh I shall see God;-whom I shall see for myself, and not for another, and mine eyes shall behold him, although my frail body is going to dust, and my reins are consumed within me." Happy Job, although stript of his earthly all, and reduced to the very last and lowest state of human misery! Although robbed of all his flocks and herds, and earthly possessions, and brought to entire beggary! although deprived of all his children, and cut off from all hope of a posterity; although forsaken, or rather persecuted by all his friends, and even by his own wife; although reduced to a perfect skeleton, as to his body, and covered all over with sores and scabs, so that he takes a potsherd to scrape himself withal; although assaulted by Satan, and that by divine permission, and even by all the powers of darkness, and, for a time, and for wise reasons, left in their hands: yet, in the midst of all, he is enabled to cast anchor within the vail, and is in a condition to be envied, rather than pitied:

"You see the man; you see his hold on heaven!

Heaven waits not the last moment; owns her friends
On this side death; and points them out to men :
A silent lecture, but of sovereign power!
To vice confusion; and to virtue peace."

If we

3. My brethren, the time is approaching when we shall all need this support, and shall be most wretched if we have it not. should escape such troubles as came on Job for his trial; if we should not live to see ourselves stript of all our earthly possessions,

and reduced to beggary; deprived of all our offspring, and written childless; forsaken or persecuted by all our friends, and emaciated with sickness, or tortured with pain in every part of our bodies; yet dust we are, and unto dust we also must return.

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9. And the time, we must recollect, which will put a period to our life on earth, and to all the desires and delights, cares and pursuits of it, is at no great distance. Though appearing, perhaps, afar off, it will be upon us before we are well aware. Yes!

"That hour, so late, is nimble in approach,

And, like a post, comes on in full career:

How swift the shuttle flies that weaves thy shroud!
Where is the fable of thy former years?
Thrown down the gulf of time; as far from thee
As they had ne'er been thine. The day in hand,
Like a bird struggling to get loose, is going;-
"Tis scarce possessed, so suddenly 'tis gone;
And each swift moment fled, is death advanc'd
By strides as swift: eternity is all.

But whose eternity? Who triumphs there?
Bathing for ever in the font of bliss!
For ever basking in the Deity!"

My brethren, who? Your conscience shall reply. Oh, what would you give then for such confidence and hope as this of Job? Confidence and hope, which, blessed be God, our departed friend and brother, and your late pastor, had; and which you also may have. He, like Job, and in similar language, in the midst of much affliction and pain, his face pale, his body emaciated, and hist strength gone, declared from time to time, in the presence of those about him, his faith in the Redeemer, and his confident expectation of future felicity through him. While his way, like that of Job, was fenced up, and his hope, as to the present life, was removed like a tree; yet his spirit was kept from fainting, while he trusted, not in his protracted life of innocence, of labours, or of sufferings, but in his living Redeemer, and "looked for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." Thus the great apostle of the Gentiles, when the time of his departure was at hand, notwithstanding his immense labours and sufferings, and the success wherewith God had crown

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