The John Trapp Blog

Trapp will be most valuable to men of discernment (Spurgeon). I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (1Cor. 10:15)


August 2017

To converse with the dead

Job 8, Ver. 10. Shall they not teach thee, and tell thee.

They, that is, the forefathers, #Job 8:8, these, though dead and gone, yet by their records and monuments, by their apopthegms and oracles (for the words of dying men are living oracles), do still teach us and tell us their minds, as if they were yet living, #Heb 11:4 Lu 16:29.

Books are mute matters, silent voices.

The way to be wise, said a heathen, is to converse with the dead, τοις νεκροις συγχρωτιζειν.

Histories are faithful counsellors, and by the reading of them many young men have attained to more understanding than their elders; as Augustus, Theodosius, Macarius, who was surnamed παιδαριογερων, the old youth, for his wisdom and gravity above his years, gotten by reading and prayer, as saith Nicephorus.

A shadow

Job 8:9 Because our days upon earth are a shadow.

Fluxa, instabilis, et ipsa ultro abiens, saith Junius, unsubstantial, unsettled, uncertain, there is no hold nor tack in it, #Ps 102:11 1Ch 29:15.

What is man but a dream of a shadow, saith Pindarus; a shadow of smoke, saith Sophocles; a shadow of a shadow, saith Aeschylus, σκιας ουαρ, καπνου σκια, ειδωλον σκιας.

He is therefore not a man, but a shadow of man (as Lamech’s second wife’s name was Zillah, a shadow of a wife, Tsillah, umbra ipsius, and as Menander calleth a false friend φιλου σκιαν, the shadow of a friend); he hath not so much as shadow of reason or true understanding, who, by spending the span, by wasting the shadow of this short life, after the ways of his own heart, bereaveth himself of a room in that city of pearls, and loseth the comforts of that life which lasteth for ever.

We must not think to find truth but upon a serious search.

Job 8:8 And prepare thyself to the search of their fathers.

Or fit thyself, fix thy mind upon it, as #Ps 100:1.

We must not think to find truth but upon a serious search, #Pr 2:3.

Anaxagoras complained omnia esse circumfusa tenebris, that all things were full of darkness. Empedocles, that the inlets of the senses were very narrow. Democritus, that truth lay hid as it were in a deep pit that could hardly be fathomed. St Paul cries out, O the depth! How unsearchable are God’s judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Prepare therefore to this search after God; and pray as that poor man did that cried after Christ; and when he was asked, What wouldst thou have? Lord, said he, that mine eyes might be opened.

Read this in times of penury

Job 8, Ver. 7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.

Thy recent losses God will recompense with interest; and the felicity which he prepareth for thee shall be far greater than the loss whereof thou dost now regret; for he will enrich thee to admiration, thy latter end shall be ineffable (so the Septuagint have it), such as none shall be able to utter or describe, τα εσχατα σου αμυθητα. See #Job 40:10,12.

The day of small things is not to be despised, #Zec 4:10.

Every former mercy is a pledge of a future; and to him that hath shall be given. God delighteth to help his people with a little help at first, to crumble his mercies to us, as one phraseth it; to give us his blessings by retail, to maintain trading and communion between him and us.

So the cloud emptieth not itself at a sudden burst, but dissolveth upon the earth drop after drop.



They had spoken rather bravely than truly

Job 6:19 Yet let me alone, till I may swallow down my spittle?

That is, nor afford me the least intermission, no, not a spitting while. He will not suffer me to take my breath, #Job 9:18. Jerome thinks that Job was troubled with a quinsey, or sore throat, which hindered the swallowing of his spittle; neither had he power to spit out the corrupt matter that ran down his throat. Oh what a sweet mercy is health! and how ill able are the best without special support from heaven to bear sickness! Continue reading “They had spoken rather bravely than truly”

A heavy judgment

Job 6:30. Cannot my taste discern perverse things?

Cannot I distinguish between right and wrong, truth and falsehood? #Job 12:11 34:3.

Is my mouth so far out of taste? &c.

It is a heavy judgment to be given up to an injudicious mind, #Ro 1:28, a reprobate sense.

What guiltiness can you find in my face?

Job 6, Ver. 28. Now therefore be content, look upon me.

Let it suffice you to have thus hardly handled me; cast now a more benign aspect upon me, and be not henceforth so hot and so harsh.

Now therefore be content, regard me, so Mr Broughton translateth it, or look upon me, sc. with a critical eye:

what guiltiness can you find in my face? do I look like a hypocrite, and can you read my conscience in my countenance?

About friends again

  1. As brooks run with waters then when there is least need of them; so false friends are most officious when their courtesy might best be spared.
  2. As the ice of such brooks is so condensed and hardened that it beareth men, horses, and other things of great weight; so counterfeit friends promise and pretend to be ready to do their utmost to suffer anything for our good and comfort.
  3. But as those brooks are dried up in summer, and frozen up in winter, so that we can set no sight on them; in like sort these are not to be found when we are in distress and affliction.
  4. As brooks in winter are covered with snow and ice; so these would seem to be whiter than snow when their affections towards us are colder than ice.
  5. Lastly, as the ice that was hard and firm, upon a thaw breaketh and melteth; so false friends leave us many times upon very small or no dislikes; as being constant only in their unconstancy.

(Job 6:15)

About friends again…

6:Ver. 15. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook.

Even you, whom I esteemed as my brethren (for to them he applieth this speech, #Job 6:21), prove hollow and helpless to me; like the river Araris, that moveth so slowly, that it can hardly be discerned, saith Caesar, whether it flow forward or backward (Caesar, de Bell Gal. l. 1); or rather, to a certain fish in that river Araris, called scolopidus; which at the waxing of the moon is as white as the driven snow, and at the waning thereof is as black as a burnt coal. Continue reading “About friends again…”

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