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PREFACE Let me not be presumptuous. Let me not depend only upon opinions formed within my own human thought. Let me be not governed by selfishness, nor a willingness to disregard the opinions of others, whose beliefs are expressed in earnestness and sincerity. Neither let me insist on my own correctness. Rather do I pray for guidance, from a source higher than human understanding. While desiring to be considerate to all who have sought or are seeking a true understanding of the Bible, I am unable always to agree with them; therefore it becomes my duty to reply: "Let us choose to us judgment; let us know among ourselves what is good.” (Job 34:4.) I have listened to them for many years, and will be thankful if they will listen to me, while I do my best to explain a concept of the meaning of one of the books of the Bible, which differs somewhat from theirs.
This I know. Within the past seven years, events have come into my experience that are of great importat least to me, though only in part understood. Whether they may or may not be of use to others, is of course, for them to decide.
Nearly all Christians have read the Book of Job. Some peruse it from a sense of duty and gain almost nothing therefrom. Some read it through curiosity, as we look at beautiful scenery and become more interested. Some of the learned, consider it only a poem.
But the man who really studies it from an earnest desire to learn its meaning, will be abundantly repaid for whatever time he may devote to it. No man can comprehend it, except through earnest application.
A philosopher writes of philosophy, though never claiming to fully understand his subject. An electrician speaks of electricity, while realizing he knows only the rudiments of its force. A chemist observes certain effects, but can only partially explain them. So also a student of the Bible, or one of its grand books, must confess that he comprehends but a part of its meaning. However, there always may be value in honest deductions. No man can claim perfection, but improvement is open to all.
Those who read the Book of Job, and even those who desire to study it, are apt to look for its grandest lessons in the arguments and sayings of the subject and his three old companions, in which there is so much to engage attention; so much of reasoning, so many comparisons, so many aphorisms, and so large an amount of good advice withal. Absorbed with thoughts of these and perhaps a little wearied with them, they are inclined to hurry through what is said by the young man Elihu, and are unconsciously impressed with the idea that he merely continues the reproving sayings of the older men.
Such readers or students fail to comprehend this ancient forerunner, who was sent to speak “in-God's stead,” (Chap. 33:6). So far as I know, this affirmation of Elihu is either denied or ignored by practically all sectarians. Those who so deny or ignore, have a right to their opinions, but the writer can neither agree with them nor admit their value, for from such careful study as is possible for him, comes the belief that the grandest words of instruction in the book of Job, are found in the words of Elihu, and in those which followed from the Voice “out of the whirlwind.” There also comes to him the further belief that the book of Job allegorically illustrates and exemplifies the coming of the Christ, to man and mankind, in all ages; the forever Christ who was "before Abraham" and "before the world was.” In this view the book (or poem) may
” be justly considered as a dramatic prophesy of the coming of the Master; the coming of the Saviour!
Furthermore, I believe the book typifies the regeneration and final redemption of all of Adam's mistaken and sinning race, through the discernment and realization of the everpresent influence of that power which comes to man from God (Good), through the Christthe Saviour who said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” This influence, to human eyes unseen and by human understanding scarcely recognized, is only developed through a Spiritual awakening, such as came to Job from the wonderful speech of Elihu, whose inspired words were far in advance of those who had preceded him. This culminating speech enabled Job to discern the voice of Truth. But Jesus said, “Elias truly shall first come.”
Perhaps even those who have tried to read and study the Bible with closest care, may incline to pass lightly over the speech of Elihu, because he begins in a manner so boyish and unpresuming. He expresses modesty, sympathy and kindness, which gracefully change to steadiness and firmness, as he answers the four older men, with “knowledge from afar,” which soon engages their amazed and attentive interest. And as he proceeds this interest increases. And so, even in this age, those who will read, and carefully study the chapters of the book of Job from the 32nd to the 37th, inclusive, may indeed find a forerunner of the understanding of Spiritual Truth, a gleam of dawn, which precedes and portends the coming of day. Even as this dawning came to Job, thousands of years ago, so it may come in every age to the sincerely earnest seeker for Spiritual light, which “shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” For as John the Baptist was a surprise to the Rabbis, Priests and Scribes of his day, who could not comprehend him but yet stood, in awe of him because of his acknowledged Spirituality, so were Job and his old companions "amazed” at the effrontery of Elihu, who spoke with more authority than they had ever witnessed.
They were “amazed” that a mere youth or boy, could utter words flowing forth from a Spiritual source. Perhaps even this Spiritually guided herald, with a message from on high, was “amazed” at the expressions of his own lips and tongue!
In publishing this book, it is right to say that any man who has encountered and survived suffering, pain, discouragement and despair, "so that his life abhorreth bread," and "which long for death, but it cometh not,” should be better prepared to study and comprehend Job than those who have not passed through such conditions. The school of experience closes not its doors. My reason for this undertaking is to bring out an understanding of the book, which is built upon and sustained by experience, even more than by study, and grander far than experience is revelation.
It is said that there is a certain amount of selfishness in every human act. I will not deny the assertion nor waste time in considering its truth or untruth. But this I am happy to realize, namely: if selfishness has anything to do with my motive, it is only in minimum proportion. For, to all human appearance, I am an old man, well past "three score and ten.” My brothers, most of my old friends, and all of my cousins (of whom there were about fifty) have passed beyond this stage of existence, and I am left standing alone, like an old tree—though with still a few green leaves.
Where are these associates of my younger days? Am I given a possible reminder of them in the words; “He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up"? (Ps. 91:
I have little or no ambition for personal advancement, neither does "poverty or riches" disturb or influence me (Prov. 30:8). I am better off than the great bankers, and capitalists of Europe or America, for I have enough, while they have too much. Pity these poor men! Accumulating superfluous money is worse than gathering garlands of weeds. Aye, far worse, for the weeds would not be likely to do harm, but such money may be a curse.
So far as I can understand, the motive for publishing this book is unselfish and springs purely and happily from a desire to benefit my fellow man. With such resources of language as are herein embodied, I have endeavored to do my duty. I appreciate theology, the