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In his Week on the Concord (Tuesday), Thoreau quotes this passage from Belknap, the historian of the State, upon the mountains and the rain: 'In the mountainous parts of the country the ascent of vapours, and their formation into clouds, is a curious and entertaining object. The vapours are seen rising in small columns like smoke from many chimneys. When risen to a certain height, they spread, meet, condense, and are attracted to the mountains where they either distil in gentle dews, and replenish the springs, or descend in showers, accompanied by thunder. After short intermissions, the process is repeated many times in the course of a summer day, affording to travellers a lively illustration of what is observed in the book of Job "They are wet with the showers of the mountains".'
I see every day in the world a thousand acts of oppression which I should like to resent, but I cannot afford to play the Quixote. Why are the English to be the sole vindicators of the human race? Ask Mr. Meynell how many persons there are within fifteen miles of him who deserve to be horsewhipped, and who would be very much improved by such a process. But every man knows he must keep down his feelings, and endure the spectacle of triumphant folly and tyranny.
Sydney Smith to Mrs. Meynell (in 1823).
What have they, 'i.e. the wicked,' to supply their innumerable defects, and to make them terrible even to the firmest minds? One thing, and one thing only but that one thing is worth a thousand they have energy.
Burke, Remarks on Policy of Allies.
Speaking once of a robbery, Sydney Smith observed: 'It is Bacon, I think, who says so beautifully, "He that robs in darkness breaks God's lock". How fine that is.'
References. XXIV. 18. J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Church Year, vol. ii. p. 202.
Without any touch of envy, a temperate and well-governed mind looks down on such as are exalted with success, with a certain shame for the imbecility of human nature, that can so far forget how liable it is to calamity, as to grow giddy with only the suspense of sorrow, which is the portion of all men.
Steele in The Spectator (No. 312).
Whence Did Job Draw His Pictures?
Job has once more protested his innocence of any conscious offence that could have drawn down God's anger; and once more, with an almost passionless calm, he has followed out, to their terrible result, the suggestions of his friends, and the promptings of his own bewildered brain.
I. If God's justice is to be measured, as his friends tell him, by the measure of happiness or of misery dealt out to every man on this earthly scene, then it is an evil world, and Job has a weight on his soul, heavier than any burden which his own pain or misery can lay upon him. For the world is a scene of suffering, oppression, violence, and wrong; and the conclusion to which this points is very terrible. You see at once its full force; you see how he lays his hand, this saint of the Old Testament, on the world-old problem of the existence of evil.
II. The author of the book must have been familiar, as we see, with phases of experience that lay beyond the circle of Arab life. The crowded city, the very factory, we might almost say, the miseries of the cultivators of field and vineyard, the hard usurer, the oppressed and toiling masses these are pictures which can hardly have fallen on his mental retina from a mere effort of the imagination. From what age, from what scene, we ask, and ask in vain, comes this mysterious figure of the Arab patriarch?
III. The question occurs with increasing interest as we listen to his words, words that are the expression of no extinct or obsolete range of ideas, but of feelings that are as strong and living today, in and outside the crowded capitals of Europe, as they were when they first found utterance. What a fresh force they lend to the words of Him to whom the poor man's cause was dear. 'The poor ye have always with you.'
G. G. Bradley, Lectures on the Book of Job, p. 212.
References. XXV. 2. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 1874, p. 72. XXV. 3. J. M. Neale, Sermons for Some Feast Days in the Christian Year, p. 271.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Job 24". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26