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In the Pihe part re Now, whyth
particularly that part of iť which gives so much offence to the learned prelate.
To all that precedes the twelfth verse, no objection is -made ; but the whole description which follows, consisting of no less than twenty three verses, is roundly and not very elegantly declared to be " a purple patch of more shew than' utility.”
In the part admitted, is exhibited the power of the Leviathan; in the part rejected, is a particular description of this · formidable being: Now, why the latter should be more unnecessary than the former, the learned critic has not told us, though, perhaps, a less faftidious reader will be apt to think that to heighten the comparison, to demonstrate the weakness of man, and the might of the Great Creator of the universe, nothing could be more proper than such an exact delineation as is here given of the most terrible of all created Beings, whose power had been already stated as so great, that neither the strength nor the skill of man could overcome it.
Allowing with Bochart, that by the “ Leviathan" we are to understand the “ Crocodile,” is the description given in this chapter defective in any part ? The figure, strength, courage, and rapacity of the animal are poetically representa ed, it is true, but so represented as to correspond with all that travellers and naturalists have collected and related of. that animal.
The Almighty in appealing to his visible works for the proof of his universal and -uncontroulable power, places man in competition with this terrific creature, whose qualities are set forth with all the ornament of eastern imagery, but with images precisely, adapted to the object described. Its coat of mail, its tremendous teeth, and its relentless nature, are painted in terms which human geniųs must despair to equal; and the whole picture presents to our view a figure which may, indeed, fitly resemble the crocodile, but only as an aid to the imagination for the purpose of raising our ideas to a vaster object.
Let us consider a part of this description.
“ By his neefings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like : the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nofhils goetb smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.. In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him," (ch. xli, 18-22.) VOL. XIV.
I have Chm. Mag. Feb. 1808.
I have given this description from the common version, but eyen that may be safely appealed to as an evidence against the bishop of Killalla. The images are of the strongest kind, but to what purpose are they used, and what is the subject they illustrate ? A creature possessed of the moit terrible powers is placed before man, and made to display its extraordinary qualities in his presence, that he may learn from thence his own impotency, and the sovereignty of God.
The last quoted verse is weakened in the translation ; but in the original it gives a tremendous grandeur to the de. scription : “ strength abideth upon his neck, and destruction leapeth for joy before him.”
In the application of this description to the crocodile, as the fiercest of creatures, there is all the minuteness of delinea. tion that physiological accuracy would demand; and all the ornamental elegance which a poetical genius would wish. But are we to stop here? Is it certain that by the Leviathan nothing more is meant than the formidable tyrant of the Nile ? Let us consider the history of Job and the lesson it was intended to convey.
A principal character in the narrative is Satan,'or the adversary, who accuses the patriarch of hypocrisy, and of serving God from interested motives, thereby also charging the Almighty with partiality and injustice. In consequence of this charge, and to bring the sincerity of Job to the test, as well as to evince the sovereignty and righteousness of God, the evil spirit is permitted to exercise his formidable powers against the property, family, and person of Job.
Whether, according to a learned writer, the book was die re&tly written in opposition to the very antient opinion, which introduced two independent principles, one of good, the other of evil *, is not material to the present consideration; thus much is certain, that the figure which Satan makes in the history of Job's sufferings, is deligned for a very im. portant purpose. His evil nature and terrible qualities are plainly characterized in the story. By a rapid succession of calamities, two of which were produced by such strokes as might seem to indicate a supernatural display of the divine vengeance, this righteous man was all at once reduced from the height of temporal happiness and prosperity, to the
* Bp. Sherlock, on the Use and Intent of Prophecy, Diss, II. p. 207, ed. 5.
lowest lowest state of misery and want ; yet his integrity remained 'unshaken, and notwithstanding his bitter complaints, he ac. knowledged that “God is wise, in heart and mighty in strength. Who” adds he, “ hath hardened himself against him and hath prospered ?” (ch. ix. 4.)
Though Job boasted too much of his innocence, and though he expostulated with God in a manner unbecoming that awful distance which should be observed between a creature and his creator*, yet he never renounced his religious principles, nor gave up his trust and confidence in God. While he complains of the severity of his sufferings, he constantly maintains his belief in providence, and his hopes of redemption. The adversary could not shake him from the foundation of his faith, nor provoke him in the midst of his anguish, and at the height of his misfortunes, either to deny the existence, or to question the justice, of God. Though job acknowleged that his afflictions were excel. five, though he could not reconcile them with the consci. ousness of his sincerity and the remembrance of his past life, yet he did not charge“ God foolishly” by blaspheming his name, or by ascribing unrighteousness to his dispensations.
Passing over the conversations that passed between Job and his friends, we come to the appearance and the declara., tion of GOD himself. Here his power and providence are displayed and maintained in language suited to the awful character of the speaker, in a convincing appeal to his works. But what becomes of SATAN, THE ADVERSARY, all this while ? This formidable being, who by his breath
kindled the fire of heaven, and raised the mighty storm and - tempest for the destruction of Job's property and family,
appears not after the last permission he had received from the Almighty. We are informed expressly of the cause of Job's misfortunes, but as soon as the patriarch is reduced to the dunghill, Satan vanishes and appears no more, though his agency and the limit of his power evidently form a con. siderable part of the instruction conveyed in this remarkable history.
But because the evil spirit is not dire&tly introduced into the remaining part of the narrative, are we froin thence to conclude that no allusion is made to him at all? As SATAN makes so conspicuous a figme in the opening of the story,
Puters's Critical Dissertation on Job, p. 40.
and as 'fo much of what follows depends upon his agency, it is rather reasonable to suppose that some notice would be taken of him at the close of the piece ; and that more especially since the Almighty himself, or the great inhabitant of the SHECHINAH, appears in his glory to assert' his power and righteousness, and to vindicate and reward his servant's integrity against the malice of his accuser, who therefore ought to be present some way or other to hear the vindiçation, and to bear witness to his own confusion.
Under visible objects, spiritual things are generally shadowed in holy writ. Thus the serpent, in the history of the fall, is “ curfed above all the beasts of the field," and the punishment inflicted secms, at first view, confined to the external condition of that reptile; but, in fact, the maledi&tion is to be understood as far more extensive, and apply. ing, through the serpent, to the real author of the mischief, the adversary of God, and the tempter of man.
So in the passage under consideration, I apprehend that by the LEVIATHAN is meant not simply the crocodile, or any other rapacious animal, but Satan, ihe accuser of Job. That the description does indeed correspond with the known figure and qualities of the crocodile, cannot well be denied; but it agrees therewith no farther than as a comparison serves to convey the general idea of an unknown object; or in the same way as the evil spirit is in other places called a serpent, a dragon, and a lion, to express his subtilty, venomous nature, and formidable power.
The close of the description is a proof, to my mind, that something far beyond any visible object was intended in the portraiture so remarkably and forcibly delineated by the firger of God: “ He beholdeth all high things, he is a king over all the children of pride,' i. e. he regards contemptuously and holds in subjection all that is lofty and majestically proud, he reigns supreme over the sons of fierceness.”' How does this apply to the crocodile unless hyperbolically? That animal may, it is true, in many respects be pronounced resistless, and superior to most creatures either on the land or in the water for strength and fierceness, but it is by no means a fearless animal, for on a sudden noise, and even at a slight alarm, it darts immediately into the water. Now on the contrary the Leviathan is said to look down stedfastly
and contemptuously on the you via or the “ sons of gigantic : fierceness," for theword prw in Arabic unites hoth properties. *
* Vid, Schultens in loc,
If this part of the description, which so remarkably finishes the pi&ture, agrees but faintly and partially with the crocodile, it will be found to comport most suitably to that Being, who in the strong language of Scripture is called “the God of this world," who from a lofty height, with proud oftentation displayed to the view of our Lord “All to the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, saying, “ all this power will I give thee and the glory of them"; “ for that is delivered unto me; and unto whomfoever I «« will I give it.” (Luke iv. 5, 6.)
Taking the description of the Leviathan in this extended and awful sense, the passage in the 41st chapter of Job, which has been so unjustly censured, will be found equal to any other part of the book.
The Almighty having given a general view of the Leviathan, and declared that man is not able to overcome or to contend with him, puts these questions, “ None is so fierce. “ that dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand before " me? Who hath prevented me that I should repay him ? “ Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
This is the assertion of supremacy and of uncontrouled dominion ; but the comparison is weak and defective if the crocodile alone be regarded. View the object presented in a stronger light; extend the figure, and consider the Leviathan possessed of strength, fierceness, subtilty, pride, and inflexible revenge, opposing himself to the Omnipotent, and exercising his powerful qualities against man, yet still being weak and impotent when compared to God, and we have a grand and sublime spectacle fuited to the opening narrative, the genius of the poem, the scope of the argument, and the doctrine inculcated, namely, that whatever be the might of the prince of darkness, he is unable to "prevent, " or to obstruct the designs of the sovereign of all that is “ under heaven.”
In the 26th chapter (which though short contains many curious things very well worthy of our notice, but which I must necessarily pass over) Job makes a noble and sublime confession of the power of God.
Here we read that God “ by his spirit hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked ferpent.” On turning to Isaiah xxvii, 1. we meet with the following passage, “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and “ strong sword, shall punish LEVIATHAN, the piercing ler. “ pent, even LEVIATHAN, that crooked serpent, and he shall Nay the dragon that is in the sea,”