Job 30
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
In contrast to the happy past of honour and respect on which he has been so wistfully dwelling in the previous chapter, Job sees himself now exposed to the scorn and contempt of the meanest of mankind; while a flood of miseries from the hand of God passes over him. From this last chapter we have learned the honour and authority with which it sometimes pleases God to crown the pious and the faithful. From the present we see how at other times he crucifies and puts them to the proof. They must be tried on "the right hand and on the left" (2 Corinthians 6:7; comp. Philippians 4:12). We are reminded, too, of the transiency of all worldly good. The heavens and the earth shall perish; how much more the glory, power, and happiness of the flesh (Isaiah 40.)!

I. THE CONTEMPT OF MEN. (Vers. 1-10.) The young men, who were wont to rise in his presence, laugh him to scorn; youths whose fathers, the lowest of mankind - thievish, faithless, and worthier, a - were of leas value than the watch-dogs of his flock (ver. 1). Themselves, the young men had been of no service to him; they had failed of the full strength of manhood; dried up with want and hunger, they had derived their scanty subsistence from the desolate and barren steppe (vers. 2, 3); plucking up the salt herbs and bushes and juniper roots for food (ver. 4). These wretches led the life of pariahs; driven forth from the society of men, the hunt-cry was raised after them as after thieves. Their place of dwelling was in horrid ravines and caves and rocks (vers. 5, 6). Their wild shouts were heard in the bush; they lay and formed their plots of robbery among the nettles (ver. 7). Sons of fools and base men, they were scourged out of the land (ver. 8). A fearful picture of the dregs of human life! Perhaps those Troglodytes (comp. Job 24:4:) were the Horites, the original inhabitants of the mountainous country of Seir, conquered by the Edomites (Genesis 36:6-8; Deuteronomy 2:12, 22). Of these degraded beings Job has now become the scoffing-song, the derisive byword (ver. 9). They show towards him every mark of abhorrence, retreating from him, or only drawing near to spit in his face with the silent coarse language of contumely and disgust (ver. 10; comp. Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30). Had Job in any way brought this treatment upon himself from the vilest of mankind? Certainly there is nothing in the story which leads us to cast the blame of haughty or heartless conduct upon the hero. Still, it is ever true that we reap as we sow; but the sower and the reaper may be different persons. The cruel measure meted out to these unfortunates is now measured to the innocent Job. It is not in human nature to requite love with hatred or to give loathing in return for kindness. The responsibility of society for its outcasts is a deep lesson which we have only begun in modern times to learn. All men, however fallen and low, must be treated as the creatures of God. If we treat them as wild beasts, we can but expect the wild-beast return. Said Rabbi Ben Azar, "Despise not any man, and spurn not anything. For there is no man that hath not his hour, nor is there anything that hath not its place." Says our own Wordsworth -

"He who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties
That he hath never used, and thought with him
Is in its infancy." And again -

"Be assured That least of all can aught that ever owned
The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime
Which man is born to, sink, howe'er depressed,
So low as to be scorned without a sin,
Without offence to God, cast out of view." Condescend to men of low estate. Gentleness and compassion to our inferiors is one of the chief lessons of our holy religion.

II. ABANDONMENT TO MISERY BY GOD. (Vers. 11-15.) Health and happiness are ours when God holds us by his hand; sickness, languor, and mental misery when he loosens his grasp. Job's nerves are relaxed. The war-bands of the Almighty have loosed the bridle; angels and messengers of ill, diseases and plagues, hunt the unhappy sufferer down (ver. 11). This dark throng seems to rise up at his right hand - the place of the accuser (Psalm 109:6) - and to push away his feet, driving him into a narrow space, laying open before him their ways of destruction, heaping up against him besieging ramparts, thus tearing down his own path, his formerly undisputed way of life. They help forward his ruin, needing no assistance from others in the pernicious work (vers. 12, 13). On comes this terrible besieging host, as through a wide breach in the wall of life - rolls on with loud roar, while the defences fall into ruin (ver. 14). Terrors turn against him, sudden horrors of death (comp. Job 18:11, 14; Job 27:20) hunting after his honour - the honour depicted in Job 29:20, seq. His happiness, in consequence of these violent assaults, passes away suddenly and tracklessly as a cloud from the face of heaven (ver. 15; comp. Job 7:9; Isaiah 44:22). If God lays his hand upon the body or outward happiness of his children, there will seldom be release without inward conflict, anguish, fear, and terror. It is with such persons as with St. Paul; without is conflict, and within is fear (2 Corinthians 7:5).

III. INCONCEIVABLE INWARD DISTRESS. (Vers. 16-23.) His soul is melted and poured out within him; his frame is dissolved in tears. Days of pain hold him in their grip, refuse to depart and leave him in peace (ver. 16). The night racks and pierces his bones, and allows his sinews no rest (ver. 17). By the fearful power of God he is so withered up that his garment hangs loose about him, wraps him like the collar of a coat, nowhere fitting his body (ver. 18). God has cast him upon the ash-heap - a sign of the deepest humiliation (Job 16:15) - till his skin resembles dust and ashes in its hue (ver. 19). In this nerveless condition prayer itself seems unable to stir its loftiest, most hopeful energies. He can but cry, grievously and in supplication, but without the hope of being heard. "I stand, and thou lookest fixedly at me" - no sign of attention in thy glance, of favour in thine eye (ver. 20). The aspect of the almighty Father, seen through the medium of intense suffering, becomes one of cruelty and horror (ver. 21). Lifting him upon the storm-wind as upon a chariot (comp. 2 Kings 2:11), God causes him to be carried away, and dissolved as it were in the yeasty surging of the storm (ver. 22). He knows that God is carrying him to death, the place of assembly for all the living (ver. 23).

IV. FAILURE OF ALL HIS HOPES. (Vers. 24-31.) According to human calculation, he must despair of life. But can the unhappy man be blamed if he stretches out his hand for help amidst the ruin of his fall, and sends forth his cry as he passes into destruction? Is not this a law for all living creatures (ver. 24)? Did not Job show compassion in all the misfortunes of others, and has he not, therefore, a right to complain, and expect compassion in his own (ver. 25)? All the suffering of Job is condemned in the thought that, after the happiness of former days had bred hopes of the like future, he was visited by the deepest misery, and cast into the lowest distress (vers. 26-31). The light of former days glances upon him again, and so his address reverts to its beginning (ch. 29.). Hoping for good, there ensued evil (Isaiah 59:9; Jeremiah 14:19); waiting for the light, deeper darkness came on. There is an inward seething of the mind. Days of affliction have fallen upon him. He goes darkened, without the glow of the sun; his swarthy appearance is due to another cause - he is smeared with dust and ashes. He stands in the assembly, giving loud vent to his lamentation amidst the mourning company who surround him. A "brother to the jackals, a comrade of the ostriches," these desert creatures of the loud and plaintive cry, is be. His black skin parts and falls from him; his bones are parched by a consuming heat. And then, in one beautiful poetic touch, the whole description of his woe is summed up, "My harp became mourning, and my shalm mournful tones." But he will yet learn to tune his harp again to gladness and praise. Now, however, his melancholy haunts him; and not one kindly glance pierces the gloom of his dark thoughts to give him comfort. But despair of self has never led Job to despair of God. There is still, therefore, a glimmering spark of hope amidst this wild storm. He carries in his hand a bud which will yet unfold into a flower. This is no example of the fatal sorrow of the world, but of the life-giving power of the sorrow that is after God (compare Robertson's sermon on the 'Power of Sorrow,' vol. 2.). - J.

Job's condition has become one of sorrowfulness, the humiliation of which stands in direct contrast to his former state. He graphically expresses it in a few words: "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock." The picture of sorrowful humiliation, standing in contrast, to previous honour, wealth, and power, is very striking. It is a typical example, showing to what depths the loftiest may be reduced. The details are as follows.

I. THE CONTEMPTUOUS TREATMENT OF MEAN AND UNWORTHY MEN. "They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth. And now am i their song, yes, I am their byword. They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my race.' It requires the utmost strength of righteous principle, and the most complete self-command and self-restraint, to endure such treatment without violent outbreaks of passion.

II. GREAT MENTAL AFFLICTION. "Terrors are turned upon me;" "My soul is poured out in me."

III. GREAT BODILY PAIN. a My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest."

IV. APPARENT INDIFFERENCE OF GOD TO HIS PRAYER. Saddest hour of all the sad hours of the human life is that when the one unfailing Helper closes his ear. The lowest depth of sorrow reached by the Man of sorrows found expression in "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

V. To this is added THE FEAR THAT GOD HIMSELF TURNS HIS HAND AGAINST HIM. "Thou art become cruel to me.' His afflictions appear to him as Divine judgments; yet he knoweth not why he is afflicted.

VI. THE GLOOMY APPREHENSION THAT ALL WILL END IN DEATH. "Thou wilt bring me to death." No brightness in the afar-off cheers the sufferer. There is no prospect of light at eventide.

VII. To all is added THE SITTER PAINFULNESS OF EXCLUSION. He is an outcast. There is no help for him in man. "I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls." Bitter, indeed, is the cup mixed of such ingredients. Strong the heart that can thus suffer and not break. - R.G.

I. MISFORTUNE BRINGS CONTEMPT, Job has just been reciting the honours of his happier days. With the loss of prosperity has come the loss of those honours. He who was slavishly flattered in wealth and success is cruelly scorned in the time of adversity. This is monstrously unjust, and Job feels it to be so. Nevertheless, it is only true to life. Men do judge by the outward appearance. Therefore any who experience in some proportion what Job experienced need not be taken by surprise. The judgment of the world is of little worth. The good opinion of men may shift like a weathercock. We need to look for a higher, more sure and true and lasting glory than that of man's honour.

II. PRIDE PREPARES FOR CONTEMPT. There is a note of pride in ver. 1, "Whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock." A relic of aristocratic hauteur creeps out in this utterance of the humiliated patriarch. If we treat men like dogs, we may expect that, when they get the chalice to do so, they will turn on us like dogs. They may cower and cringe when we are strong, but they waft be eager to snap at us when our time of weakness comes.

III. MEAN NATURES JUDGE SUPERFICIALLY. As Job describes them, the miserable creatures who turned upon him were the very dregs of the populace. They were outlaws and thieves and worthless people who had been driven to mountain-caves - idlers and degraded beings who grubbed up weeds to live on. Plainly these men are to be distinguished from the poor whose only defect is their want of means. Yet among them may have been some of those who in his more prosperous days blessed Job for helping them when they were ready to perish (see Job 29:13). Ingratitude is only too common among all men, and we cannot be surprised at finding it in persons of low and brutal habits.

IV. IT IS PAINFUL TO SUFFER FROM CONTEMPT. In his prosperity Job would have despised the opinion of those who now vex him with their insults. Yet he could never have been complacent under contempt. It has been well said that the greatest man in the world would receive some discomfort if he came to know that the meanest creature on earth despised him from the bottom of his heart. The pride that is quite indifferent to the good or ill opinion of others is not a virtue. Humility will set some value on the favour of the lowest. If we have a spirit of brotherliness we cannot but desire to live on good terms with all our neighbours.

V. IT IS POSSIBLE TO TURN FROM THE CONTEMPT OF MAN TO THE APPROVAL OF GOD. The Christian should learn to bear contempt, since Christ bore it. He was "despised and rejected of men" (Isaiah 53:3). Like Job, he was insulted and spat upon. Yet we feel that all the insults with which he was loaded did not really humiliate him. On the contrary, he never appears to us so dignified as when "he opened not his mouth" in the midst of contumely and outrage. In that awful scene of the night before the crucifixion, it is the enemies of Christ who appear to us as lowered and degraded. Now we know that the cross was the ground of Christ's highest glory. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him" (Philippians 2:9). The Church crowned the memories of her martyrs with honour. Despised, suffering Christians may learn to possess their souls in patience if they are walking in the light of God's countenance. - W.F.A.

Job is not only passing through the waters of affliction; he feels that he is laid hold of and overpowered by his troubles. Let us see what this condition involves - the stale of thraldom and its effects.

I. THE STATE OF THRALDOM. This simply results from the fact that the affliction has mounted to such a height that it has overpowered the sufferer.

1. The trouble cannot be thrown off. There are troubles from which we can escape. Often we can beat down our adverse circumstances. We can face our enemy and defeat him. But other troubles cannot be driven back. When the enemy comes in like a flood, no human effort can stem the torrent.

2. The distress cannot be calmly endured. Milder troubles may be simply borne in patience. We cannot drive them away, but we can learn to treat them as inevitable. There is a strength that is born of adversity. The oak grows sturdy in contending with the storm. The muscles of the wrestler are strong as iron. But distress may reach a point beyond which it cannot be mastered. Patience is broken down.

3. The affliction absorbs the whole life. The pain rises to such a height that it dominates consciousness and excludes all other thoughts. The man is simply possessed by his agony. Huge waves of anguish roll over his whole being and drown every other feeling. The sufferer is then nothing but a victim, Action is lost in fearful pain. The martyr is stretched on the rack. His torturer has deprived him of all energy and freedom.

II. THE EFFECTS OF THIS CONDITION. Such a state of thraldom must be an evil. It is destructive of personal effort. It excludes all service of love and submission of patience. And yet it may be a means to a good end.

1. It should be a wholesome chastisement. For the time being it is grievous. In its acutest stage it may not allow us to learn its less,ms. But when it begins to abate its fury, and we have some calmness with which to look back upon it, we may see that the storm has cleared the air and swept away a mass of unwholesome rubbish.

2. It should be a motive to drive us to God. Such a tremendous affliction requires the only perfect refuge for the distressed. So long as we can bear our troubles we are tempted to trust to our own strength; but the miserable collapse, the utter break-down, the humiliating thraldom, prove our helplessness and our need of One who is mightier than we are. Now, the very possibility of such overwhelming troubles is a reason why we should seek the refuge of God's grace. It is hard to find the haven when the tempest is raving around us. We need to be fortified beforehand by the indwelling strength of God.

3. It should make us sympathetic with others. If we have escaped from the thraldom, it is our part to help those who are in it. We know its terrors and its despair.

4. It should lead us to make the best use of prosperous times. Then we can learn the way of Divine strength. Martyrs have triumphed where weaker men have been in bondage. The life of unselfish service, loyalty, and faith is a life of freedom. God will not permit such a life to be utterly enthralled by affliction. That awful late is the doom of the lost. - W.F.A.

At the first onset of his afflictions it could be said of the patriarch, "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (Job 1:22). But the aggravation of his troubles, followed by the vexatious advice of his friends, has since then more than once forced unwise words from his lips, and now he is directly charging God with becoming cruel to him.

I. GOD'S ACTION MAY APPEAR CRUEL TO MAN. God permits or inflicts pain. When man cries for relief, relief does not come - at least in the way expected. It is not easy to see why the suffering is sent. To us it seems unnecessary. We think we could have done our duty better without it. There appears to be an iron fate bearing down upon us regardless of our needs, or deserts, or helplessness. This is brought home to us with peculiar poignancy, under the most trying circumstances.

1. An accumulation of troubles. One man has more than his share of them. Blow follows blow. The fallen is crushed. Tender wounds are chafed. This was Job's experience.

2. The suffering of the innocent. Bad men are seen to be flourishing while good men are in distress. This looks like indifference to moral claims.

3. The overthrow of the useful. Job had been a most helpful man in his time; his downfall meant the cessation of his kind services for many people in trouble. We see valuable lives cut off or made useless, while mischievous people thrive and grow fat.

4. The refusal to deliver. Job had not been proud, unbelieving, self-contained. He had prayed. But God appeared not to hear or regard him (ver. 20).

II. GOD IS NEVER CRUEL TO MAN. Job was now charging God foolishly. We have to judge of a man's character by his deeds till we know him. Then, if we become fully assured that he is good, we reverse the process, and estimate any dubious-looking conduct by the clear character of the man In the same way, after we have come to know that God is a true Father, that his nature is love, our wisest course is not to fling off our faith, and charge God with cruelty when he deals with us in what looks to us like a harsh manner. He cannot be false to his nature. But our eyes are dim; our sight is short; our self-centred experience perverts our judgment. We have to learn to trust the constant character of God when we cannot understand his present conduct.

III. NARROW RELIGIOUS VIEWS LEAD TO UNJUST CHARGES AGAINST GOD. Job's three friends were to a large extent responsible for the patriarch's condition of mind, in which he was driven to charge God with cruelty. They had set up an impossible rule, and the evident falsehood of it had driven Job to desperation. A harsh orthodoxy is responsible for very much unbelief. Self-elected advocates of God have thus a good deal of mischief to answer for. In attempting to defend the Divine government some of these people have presented it in a very ugly light. Whilst they have been dinning their formal precepts into men's ears on what they regard as the authority of revelation, they have been rousing a spirit of revolt, till what is most Divine in man, his conscience, has risen up and protested against their dogmas. From the days of Job till our own time theology has too often darkened the world's idea of God. If we turn from man to God himself, we shall discover that he is better than his advocates represent him to be. When it is our duty to speak of religion, let us be careful not to fall into the error of Job's friends, and generate hard thoughts of God by narrow, un-Christ-like teachings. - W.F.A.

Job expects nothing better than death, which he regards as "the house appointed for all living," or rather as the house for the meeting of all living.

I. THE JOURNEY OF LIFE ENDS IS THE HOUSE OF DEATH. The living are marching to death. In a striking passage of 'The City of God,' St. Augustine, following Seneca, describes how we are always dying, because from the first moment of life we are drawing nearer to death. We cannot stay our chariot-wheels. The river will not cease to flow, and it is bearing us on to the ocean of death. It is difficult for the young and strong to take in the idea that they will not live for ever, and we come upon the thought of death with something of a shock. But this only means that we cannot see the end of the road while it winds through pleasant scenery that distracts our attention from the more distant prospect.

II. THE HOUSE OF DEATH IS IN DARK CONTRAST WITH THE JOURNEY OF LIFE. It is the living who are destined to enter this dreadful house. Here is one of the greatest possible contrasts - life and death; here is one of the most tremendous transitions - from life to death. All our revolutions on earth are as nothing compared with this tremendous change. Death is only the end and cessation of life, while all other experiences, even the greatest and most upsetting, are but modifications of the life which we still retain. It is not wonderful, then, that this dark house of death has strongly affected the imagination of men. The surprising thing is that so many should be indifferent to it.

III. THE HOUSE OF DEATH IS FOR EVERY LIVING MAN. No truism is more hackneyed than the assertion that all men are mortal. Here is a commonplace which cannot be gainsayed, yet its very evident character should emphasize its significance. Death is the great leveller. In life we go many ways; at last we all go the same way. Now some pass through palace gates and others through dungeon-portals; at the end all must go through the same narrow door. Should not this commonness of destiny help to bring all mortals nearer together in life?

IV. THE HOUSE OF DEATH IS A PLACE OF MEETING. It is described by Job as a house of assemblage. Multitudes are gathered there. They who depart thither go to "join the majority." There dwell many whom we have known on earth, some whom we have loved. Much mystery surrounds the house of death; but it cannot be an utterly strange place if so many who have been near to us on earth are awaiting us there. The joy of reunion should scatter the darkness of death. Every dear one lost to earth makes for us more of a home in the Unseen.

V. THE HOUSE OF DEATH LEADS TO THE REALM OF LIFE FOR ALL WHO SLEEP IN CHRIST. It is no gloomy prison. It is but a dark ante-chamber to a realm of light and blessedness. Indeed, death is not an abode, but a passage. We have no reason for thinking that death is a lasting condition in the case of those whose souls do not die in sin; for the impenitent, indeed, it is a fearful doom of darkness. But for such as have the new life of Christ in them death may be but the momentary act of dying. Certainly it is not their eternal condition. We talk of the blessed dead; we should think of the glorified living, born into the deathless state of heavenly bliss. - W.F.A.

Job was disappointed in meeting with fearful evils when he was looking for good. Disappointment such as his is rare; yet in some form it is the frequent experience of all of us. Let us consider the significance of disappointment.

I. DISAPPOINTMENT IS ONE OF THE INEVITABLE TRIALS OF LIFE. We should not be overwhelmed with despair when we meet with it. It is part of the common lot of man, part of the common fate of nature. How many blossoms of spring fall to the ground frost-bitten and fruitless! How many hopes of men are but "castles in Spain"! If all we had dreamed of attaining bad become ours, earth would not be the world we know, but some rare paradise.

II. DISAPPOINTMENT AGGRAVATES TROUBLE. Its inevitability does not draw its sting. To be expecting good and yet to meet with ill is doubly distressing. It gives a shock like that which is experienced in coming upon a descending step where one was preparing to take an ascending step. All sense of security is lost, and a painful surprise is felt. Feeling is just experienced in the transition from one condition to another, and the violence of the transition intensifies the sensation. When the eye is adjusted to see a bright light, the gloom of a dark place is all the deeper. The sanguine suffer from pangs of distress which duller natures are not prepared to experience.

III. DISAPPOINTMENT SPRINGS FROM IGNORANCE. There must have been an error somewhere. Either we judged by mere appearances, or we trusted too much to the desires of our own hearts. God can never be disappointed, for God knows all and sees the end from the beginning. Hence his patience and long-suffering. It is well to see that God who thus knows everything is supremely blessed. No disillusions can dispel his perfect joy. Therefore not evil and pain, but good and gladness, must be ultimately supreme in the universe.

IV. DISAPPOINTMENT IS A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE. God suffers us to be disappointed that we may profit by the painful experience. Sometimes we have been trusting to an unworthy hope; then it is best that the idol should be shattered. If any earthly hope has been idolized, the loss of it may be good, driving us to our true God. It is possible, however, to be the worse for disappointment, which may embitter the soul and lead to misanthropy and despair. We need a stout faith to stand up against the blows of unexpected trouble.

V. DISAPPOINTMENT WILL NEVER DESTROY THE TRUE CHRISTIAN HOPE. Earthly hopes may vanish in smoke, but the hope in Christ is sure. Even this may be lost sight of as the beacon-light is obscured by the driving storm; but it is not extinguished. For our Christian hope rests on the eternal constancy of God, and it concerns not fading and fragile earthly things, but the everlasting verities of heaven. Browning describes the man whose heart and life are strong against disappointment -

"One who never turned his back,
but marched breast forward;
Never doubted clouds would break;
Never dreamed, though right were worsted,
wrong would triumph
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake." W.F.A.

This is disappointing and incongruous. The harp is not like the pipes used at Oriental funerals for lamentation. It is an instrument for joyous music. Yet Job's harp is turned to mourning.

I. MAN HAS A NATURAL FACULTY OF JOY. Job had his harp, or that in him of which the harp was symbolical. Some people are of a more melancholy disposition than others, but nobody is so constituted as to be incapable of experiencing gladness. We rightly regard settled melancholy as a form of insanity. Joy is not only our heritage; it is a needful thing. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

II. THE SAD WERE ONCE JOYOUS. Job's harp is tuned to mourning. Then its use had to be perverted before it could be thought of as an instrument of lamentation. It was then put to a new, unwonted employment. This implies that it had been familiarly known as a joyous instrument. In sorrow we do not sufficiently consider how much gladness we have had in life, or, if we look back on the brighter scenes of the past, too often this is simply in order to contrast them with the present, and so to deepen our feeling of distress. But it would be more fair and grateful for us to view our lives in their entirety, and to recognize how much gladness they have contained as a ground for thankfulness to God.

III. LIFE IS MARKED BY ALTERNATIVE EXPERIENCES. Few lives are without a gleam of sunshine, and no lives are without some shadow of sorrow. The one form of experience passes over to the other - often with a shock of surprise. We are all too easily accustomed to settle down in the present form of experience, as though it were destined to be permanent. But the wisest course is to take the vicissitudes of life, not as unnatural convulsions, as revolutions against the order of nature; but, like the changing seasons, as occurring i, the ordered and regular course of events.

IV. IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE MUSIC IN SADNESS. Job does not describe himself as like those captives of Babylon who hung their harps upon the willows (Psalm 137:2). His harp is sounding still, but the music must agree with the feelings of the time, and gaiety must give place to plaintive notes. Therefore the tune is in a minor key. Still there is melody. The Book of Job, which deals largely with sorrow, is a poem - it is composed in musical language. Sorrow is a great inspiration of poetry. How much music would be lost if all the harmonies that have come from sad subjects were struck out! If, then, sorrow can inspire song and music, it is natural to conclude chat suitable song and music should console sorrow. Feeble souls wail in discordant despair, but strong souls harmonize their griefs with their whole nature; and though they may not perceive it at the time, when they reflect in after-days they hear the echo of a solemn music in the memory of their painful experience. When the angel of sorrow takes up the harp and sweeps the strings, strange, awful, thrilling notes sound forth, far richer and deeper than any that leap and dance at the touch of gladness. The Divine mystery of sorrow that gathers about the cross of Christ is not harsh, but musical with the sweetness of eternal love. - W.F.A.

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