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not spared myself any labour which might save labour to my readers; and I can only hope that I have bestowed hard work enough upon the book to make it easy reading for them. Lest, however, they should expect more from it than they will find, I ought perhaps to forewarn them that it has been written amid all the distractions of an active pastorate, and with a pen worn, if not blunted, by many other literary engagements. And I have gravely added to the difficulties of my task by breaking away from the common and accepted forms which have made Commentaries, as a rule, dull and uninteresting to the general reader. I am afraid I must plead guilty to the ambition of writing an Exposition which any man of ordinary culture may read, as he reads other books, from end to end, with interest and even with pleasure, and not simply a Commentary which he may consult here and there, now and then. And it has often tasked my ingenuity to give all necessary explanations on this passage or that incidentally and allusively, without constantly bringing the reader to an abrupt halt; and yet so to vary the form in which these necessary explanations are given as to avoid tedious repetitions.

In short, it has been my aim to produce a readable book as well as a helpful commentary; and if it should prove that I have in any measure reached this aim, I shall be amply repaid for the labour I have bestowed upon it. My reward will be ampler still if the scholars who examine this book should judge that, while aiming mainly to assist the general reader, I have made an addition of any real value to the exegetical literature which has gathered round this sacred Poem.

I do not know that I need apologize for having introduced so many quotations from Shakespeare ; for I see no reason why thoughts which can be expressed in the noblest forms should be clothed in inferior forms simply to avoid a citation. But I may be permitted to account for the fact by saying that my translation has lain upon my desk for a good many years, and that whenever in the course of my

my heart.

reading I met with a passage from our great Poet which served to illustrate it, I jotted it down in the margin over against the Verse it lit up; so that, when I began to write, I had a long catena of these passages ready to my hand. I found, too, that these quotations invariably quickened the attention of my Class; and I have retained them here in the hope that they may subserve the end I had in view ; viz., to interest the general reader and draw him on to the study of “the noblest poem" in the world. I have had another aim before me, which lies very close to

The Book of Job opens and discusses the very problems in which Modern Thought is most concerned ; and furnishes, as I believe, a sovereign antidote to the scepticism which Modern Science has bred, while leading us, however unconsciously, to larger conceptions of truth, and to a more steadfast, because more reasonable, faith both in God and in the Word of God. I have endeavoured to deal with these problems in a devout and generous spirit, and cannot but cherish the hope that those who have been troubled and perplexed by them may here find aids to faith and wholesome corrections of doubt, whether their doubts spring from the too hard and narrow dogmata of Science or of the Church.

In the long and exhausting, but never tedious, task now concluded, I have been much cheered and encouraged by the sympathy and generous approval of many scholars from all sections of the Church, some of whom were good enough to revise my handling of the more difficult passages of this Scripture-e.g., the marvellous Inscription of Chapter xix. Verses 23-27, before it took its final form. I owe, and gratefully make, special acknowledgments for assistance of this kind to Dr. James Morison of Glasgow, to the Dean of Peterborough, and, above all, to Professor A. B. Davidson, of Edinburgh, who combines with the learning and erudition of a ripe scholar, no small measure of “the vision and the faculty" of a poet. His own Commentary on Job remains, to the lasting regret of all Biblical students, only a fine torso, extending no further than to Chapter xiv. But when I had reached that point, and was sorrowfully bracing myself to go on my way alone, with a singular and (to me) ever memorable generosity, he offered me the use of his manuscript notes on the subsequent Chapters of the Poem. Unfortunately, both for my readers and for myself, these notes, when hunted up, only covered Chapters xv-xxi. ; and even of this Second Colloquy his annotations on Chapter xix., 23–27 were wanting; but in the exposition of this Colloquy I derived many valuable hints from his manuscript; and even in the omitted passage -the very crux of the Poem-he took the pains to read my own notes, and to send me his cordial and complete approval of them. An act so gracious speaks for itself, and must be its own best reward.


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