A paraphrase upon Job
written in French by J.F.
Of the Oratory:
Dedicated to the Cardinal of
PUBLISHED FOR Robert Bostock
1. CHAP. V.
ELiphaz pursueth his discourse, and describing the chastisements of the wicked, and the recompence of the just makes Job hope, that his miseries shall end if he repent him of his sins, and that he shall be re-established in his former fortune.
IF truth be suspected by you, for being pronounced by the mouth of a mortall man; and if revelations finde no credit in your minde, conferre with God himselfe, and see if by the assiduity of your prayers you can oblige him to answer you; or if you have not credit enough to hope this grace from [Page 40] his bounty, addresse your selfe to the Angels or to the Saints, and demand by their favour what you cannot obtaine by your owne merit: Or if you will beleeve me, give me leave to tell you that your complaints are unjust, and that the motions of your anger which transport you, are misbecoming a wise man: There are none but fooles who suffer themselves to be conquered by this passion, as there are none but weake men, and cowards, which suffer themselves to be gnawed by envy, and who make themselves misfortunes of the felicity of others.
The prosperity of the wicked ought not to trouble you in your affliction, for it is not of continuance; and for my part, I have seene none whose fortune howsoever it seemed established, has been able to [Page 41] subsist long; whatever glittering it hath had, I have alwaies mocked at it, and presaged its end, whilest others admired its greatnesse.
His children survive him not often, they accompany him in his punishment, as they have followed him in his sin; God permits justice to take cognizance of their actions, and to finde Advocates to accuse them, and there are none found for to defend them; And as if all their goods were abandoned to pillage, the hungry take away their coyne, the Souldiers carry away their moveables, and the covetous seize upon their riches which they had unjustly acquired.
But besides this consideration, that which ought to comfort, you, is, that nothing befals man, but by the permission of God: For it is an [Page 42] abuse to beleeve that the afflictions which oppresse us, draw their being from the earth; God ordains them in heaven, and men, which we beleeve the Authors of them, are but the instruments of his Justice.
If this reason, for being too elevated, should not satisfie your minde, nature ought to comfort you, who teaches you that flying is not more naturall to the birds, than travaile is to man; who hath no more mortall enemy than repose; wherefore whatsoever disaster befals me, I should alwayes blesse God, and judging favourably of his intentions, beleeve that he afflicted me to try me; and that punishments being but the seeds of glory, I might lawfully hope for a rich harvest.
Or considering well his greatnesse, I should submit my selfe humbly to his Ordinances, [Page 43] for it is he who doth all that is great in the Universe; It is he who produceth all those effects, of which we cannot discover the causes; It is he who workes all those wonders which ravish us; and as his power is not bounded, the number of his miracles also is not limited.
'Tis he who raiseth up the vapours, who thickeneth them into clouds, and maketh them distill in raines for to render the earth fertile; 'Tis he himselfe who waters it, as well by those waters which fall from heaven, as by those which he hath hidden in its entrailes; And whose secret raines produce in a thousand places sources and rivers.
But that which ought principally to invite you to blesse him, is, that he takes pleasure to elevate the humble, and to raise slaves upon the [Page 44] throne of their Masters; that he changeth thornes into flowers; that he comforteth the afflicted, and banisheth sadnesse from their hearts, to make joy grow there? Also it is he who makes the designes of the wicked fustrate, who hinders the effects of their pernicious counsels, and who to confound their foolish wisdome suffers not their hands to execute what their mindes had projected.
But we must confesse, that his providence never appeares more than when he surprizeth the wise of the age in their craft, and giving their designes a contrary successe to what they promised themselves, they receive confusion where they hoped for glory, and acknowledge by experience that there is no Maxime of State so certaine, which may not be overturned by his divine wisdom.
Is it not pleasant to observe their blindnesse in the most cleare affaires, to see them trip at mid-day, and to make halts which are not pardonable but in those that walks by night?
Also it often comes to passe that when they have a designe to ruine a miserable man, God protects him by his power; and as if it were not enough to have preserved his body from their violence, he defends his reputation from their calumny, and by the same miracle delivers him from their hands and their tongues.
After so many visible marks of his bounty, the afflicted have cause to be satisfied, their misery it selfe ought to entertaine their hope, and the wicked seeing that their calumny is serviceable to the innocent, are forced to shut their [Page 46] mouthes and to keep silence.
Since God then takes the miserable into his protection, are not you bound to believe that they are happy, and that without being unreasonable, they cannot complaine of an evill, which ought to be as glorious to them, as it is profitable?
He afflicts them but he comforts them; he causeth their evils, but he findes them remedies; he hurts them, but he heales them; and his hands are so delicate in touching their wounds, that there is no one but would willingly be hurt to have the pleasure of being so gently cured.
Be assured then if you suffer patiently the evils which oppresse you, God who abandoneth not his, will deliver you one day, and after this season there will come another, where evils, as if they [Page 47] were struck with respect, shall not dare to approach you.
When famine shall render the earth barren, and the obstinate labour of the husbandman cannot overcome its ingratitude, God shall defend you from death, and when in day of battell the enemies Souldiers shall assault you on all sides, he shall preserve you from their fury.
Detractors shall spare your reputation; in the unbridled license which they take to blot the innocent, you shall be covered from their calumnyes, and in the publike calamity when all the world is in alarm, you shall be without hurt, and without feare.
Whether your enemies besiege your places, or make incursions upon your Frontiers, you shall mock at their successelesse attempts, and your Troopes shall chase them [Page 48] away without danger. The respect to your person shall extend even to the Beasts, and when famine shall force them from their dens, the encountring them, which is so dangerous, shall not be fatall to you.
Certainely they may well reverence you, since the stones which are insensible shall remove themselves with respect out of your way, or by another miracle they shall soften under your feet: But so good an Office shall not remaine without recompence; for those which marke your inheritance, and serve it for bounds, shall be respected of all the world, and as if they were sacred, your neighbours shall not dare to touch them.
You shall not be of the number of those who are not unhappy; but because they are ignorant of their happinesse, [Page 49] yours shall be knowne to you, you shall enjoy a profound peace in your house; and as riches shall not puffe up your heart with vanity, you shall taste the pleasure of them without offence.
Experience which shall verifie my predictions, shall teach you that it is God who gives heyres to Fathers, for yours shall bee as remarkable for their number as their merit, and your house shall bee as fruitfull in children, as the meadowes in flowers, and the fields in sheaves. Poverty, which old age so much fears, shall not afflict the last yeares of your life; you shall dye with abundance, as you have lived with it; and as they carry corne into the Barne when it is ripe, they shall carry you to the grave, when you are weary of living.
Moreover doubt not of the [Page 50] event of these things, they shal come to passe as I have foretold them; and if you think of them sometimes, they will sweeten your displeasures, and of a happinesse which is to come, you shall make a present felicity.
2. CHAP. IX.
[...]Wherefore I persist in my first opinion, and maintaine that God, using the power which his Soveraignty gives him, he involves the innocent with the guilty, and dispensing with our Lawes, he proportions not alwayes the punishment to the sinne, nor recompences to vertues.
If he hold this Maxime, and will not spare the just when he punisheth the guilty, let him content himselfe to kill them once, and not mock at their torments to make them despaire.
You would say that he governes
the earth like a Tyrant, and that he takes pleasure to blinde the Princes that governe it under him, and to make their depraved wills passe for very reasonable laws, for they cannot deny that he authorises those disorders since he distributes crownes, and gives them to Tyrants as well as to legitimate Princes.
During these disorders, my dayes are past away more swiftly than a Post who brings good newes; and during their flight, my eyes have seene nothing which may give content to my soule.
They have fled away as those Vessels which carrying fruits, of which the Marriners apprehend the corruption, go with displayed Sayles; or as those Eagles who search their prey, and whose naturall lightnesse is also assisted by the famine which devoures them.
When I resolve to hold my peace, and that I forbid my eyes teares, and my mouth sighs, my face betrayes me, and they observe there all that passeth in my soule [...]
3. CHAP. XXX.
AS the remembrance of past Goods, makes present evills more sensible, after Job hath entertained himselfe with his happinesse, he complaines of his misery, which he aggravates with that eloquence, as is natural to grief.
BUt at present that the Order of things is inverted, and that heaven is more rigorous to me, then it was favourable, the young me [...] mock at me, and their children whom I did not deign to lo [...]g with the dogs which kept my flocks, are the first which despise me.
I made so little esteem of them heretofore, that I would not give them the least imployment in my house, their services were unprofitable to me, and their persons were so inconsiderable, that they who judged without passion esteemed them unworthy to live: Hunger and poverty persecuted them every where, shame chased them into the deserts, where burthened with a thousand incommodities, they eat all that was set before them.
They chewed gras like beasts, they tote off the barke from the trees to appease the cruel hunger which devoured them, & the root of Juniper, which surpasseth all other in bitternes was their ordinary food.
When these unhappy men whom necessity constrained to live in the valleys, saw from far these sad meats, they ran with great cries of joy, gathered [Page 276] them with care, and eat them with pleasure.
Their dwelling was not more agreable than their norishment, for they retyred themselves into vaste deserts whose silence was troubled by the noyse of Torrents, and to avoid the heat of the sunne which burned them, they buried themselves in caves, or rolled themselves upon the sands of the streams: misfortune had so well accustomed them to this fatall kind of life, that they esteemed themselves very happy to be thus lodged & fed, & making their delights of these miseries, they thought to sleep upon Roses, when they lay upon thornes.
The nobility of their houses could not comfort them in these distasters, for as if all things had contributed to render them contemptible, their fathers were of the dreggs of the people, and they counted [Page 277] none amongst their Ancestours, but persons whose mindes were no more elevated then their births.
Notwithstanding my misery furnisheth them with matter for their entertainments, I am the subject of all their jeers, and as insolence is natural to them, they make songs of my misfortunes & to make my disgraces passe into a Proverb, they call all miserable men by my name.
They have conceived so furious an Avertion from me, that they can no longer endure me: the plague seemes not more contagious to them, then my person, and if at any time they approach it, it is to do me new outrages, and oblige their mouth, which hath blotted my reputation, to defile my face.
That which gives this liberty to these Insolents, is that they see that Heaven is a party, that God who was my Creator is become my enemy, that [Page 278] he who had no arrows but to defend me, hath none now but to hurt me, & that to take from me the liberty of complaining, which is so sweet to the Miserable, he hath put a bridle in my mouth and condemned me to be silent.
He had not so soon pronounced my sentence, but my enemies, as the Ministers of his vengeance, assaulted me on all sides: they imitated the cruelty of Hangmen, who seize upon a Malefactour, they threw me upon the ground, they trumpled me under foot, and they followed one another like the waves of the sea without giving me any respit.
Since this Moment they surprize me in all places, and as if my ruine were profitable to them, they prepare ambushes for me upon the way, and take their aime so well, that there being no one to succour mee, they have the better, and they [Page 279] alwayes finde themselves the stronger.
The Torrents run not with so much fury when they break their Banks and overflow the fields, as they powred upon me, when God took away the Bound, which kept them in, and gave them permission to assault me.
At these rude assaults I saw my self reduced to nothing, my hopes which I esteemed so much more just, as they were founded upon the Integrity of my Actions and the Truth of the promises of God, lost themselves like the wind, and the happinesse which I tasted dispersed like a cloud, which the Sun raiseth and dissipateth the same day.
With my hopes my strength abandoned me, for I feele no more that vigour which promised me a long life, my soul is grown feeble with my body, and my best dayes being [Page 280] past, there remaine none but mournfull ones, where pleasures never succeed afflictions.
The night it self destined for repose gvies me no truce, for when I think to shut my eyes, I am assaulted with those mortall paynes which the miserable feel when they are broken upon the wheele: and if at any time sleep would sweeten them, there issues out of my soares a swarme of wormet, which devour me, and as my fl [...]sh cannot satisfie them, all my Arts cannot charme them.
Their number is so prodigious, that when they cannot finde wherewithall to feed themselves in my entralls, they gnaw my garments, and as it were to repair the damage which they have made, they cover me all over, and serve me themselves for cloaths.
In this deplorable Condition, [Page 281] which may beget pity in the hearts of my enemies, I am so changed, that it seems that my miseries preventing the cruelty of death, have already reduced me into dust and ashes.
As I well know so great an evill can finde no remedy upon earth, I lift my voyce to heaven, and addresse my complaints to you the onely support of the afflicted: but either you do not hear them, or else you despise them: I present my selfe before you, Protectour of the miserable, but you regard me not, or else you disdain me.
Of a faithfull friend who bore a part in my interest, you are changed into a cruell enemy, who laughs at my sorrows: and that hand wherewith you afflict me is no more the hand of a good Father, which corrects his children; [Page 282] but the hand of an incensed Prince, who revengeth himself of his Subjects.
You have not raised mee, but that my fall might be heavier: In the birth of my greatnesse you meditated the designe of my ruine; and you have not made mee walk upon the windes, but to dash my head against the Rocks when you shall throw mee down.
Finally, I know that you will deliver me to Death, and that your anger will give me no truce, till it hath sent mee into those lad places where Nature hath taken up quarters for all men.
Yet it is not your custome to persecute them to death; you raise them up, when you have cast them down, and you appear more powerfull to save them than to ruine them: wherefore I promise [Page 283] my self that your persecution will end sooner then my life, and that if I have lived in your discountenance, I shall die in your favour.
The care which I have had of the miserable keeps mee in this hope; for I mixt my weeping with their tears; their miseries made mine, and my soul was so sensible of their sorrows, that to see us together, it would have been hard to judge which had been more afflicted.
But alas! Heaven hath deceived my hopes; for when I expected nothing but good, there is come nothing but evill; when I promised my self an happy fortune, there is nothing come to mee but disgrace: those fair dayes which I hoped for have produced but obscure nights, and Divine Providence hath made us know, that if our expectations [Page 284] are false, our conjectures are not more true.
This unexpected misfortune hath put all my Passions into so furions a disorder, that the warre which they make with mee can have no truce; my minde cannot calm their fury, because the affliction which surprized it, gave it no leisure to defend it selfe; and it perceived it self ingaged to fight, when it thought on nothing but peace.
So doe I all the actions of a man whom Passion masters; for as I know well that my death is inevitable, I wear mourning for my self, I never walk in publick, but the tears of my eyes discover the displeasures of my heart; my mouth is always open for sighs, and grief making me lose respect, I cry out [Page 285] in company, as well as in the Deserts.
But all my complaints are unprofitable: for it seems my neerest neighbours have left their sweetnesse to put on the nature of Dragons, and my friends have despoyled themselves of their senses, to habit themselves with the disposition of Ostriches, which they say, have so little love, that they have none for their young ones.
Notwithstanding, one neede but look upon mee to have compassion of my miseries, and without alledging their Reasons, the sight of my countenance might touch them with pity; for my skin is more tanned then the people which inhabit Ethiopia, and my bones destitute of their vigour, are dryer, then if the fire had burnt them.
Finally, to comprehend [Page 286] in a few words all the History of my miseries: It is sufficient to tell you, that my pleasures are changed into pains, that my condition is more miserable then it was happy, that my Lute is no longer fit but for melancholy Ayres, and that all those instruments which served for to divert me are condemned either to sigh or to be silent.
4. CHAP. XLI.
GOd goes on in the description of the Wbale, and by the greatnesse of that terrible Monster raiseth the minde of of Job to comprehend his Power, and reverence his Providence.
THough this terrible Prodigy, which seemes to be the Tyrant of the Sea, be the worke of my hands, yet men ought not to accuse me of being cruell, for if my inclination carried me to cruelty, there is no Creature which could resist my fury
But I am farre from treating them so, since my liberality prevents their services, and [Page 405] my bounty which created them, takes care of preserving them.
As then the Whale is rather a proofe of my Power than of my Rigour, I will continue in describing him, and representing in choyce tearmes, and proper to perswade, the disposition and the greatnesse of his body.
Neither is there any one who can relate his properties, who dare lift up his terrible eye-browes, which hang over his eyes and make him blinde, or attempt to enter into his throat, and to count his monstrous teeth, where it seemes that terrour is lodged to affright all those who behold them.
His body is armed with such strong scales, that they seeme to be so many bucklers of Brasse wherewith Nature hath covered him to defend [Page 406] him: they are so close that neither the wind which passeth through all places, nor Armes which penetrate all things can finde the defect of them, and they are so fast together that no Art nor violence can divide them.
When this dreadfull Monster sneezeth, there are seene twinckle a thousand sparkes of fire, and when he opens his eyes he darts forth lookes, which have no lesse brightnesse than the first rayes of the morning.
If he open his throat, there issue forth burning Torches, which disperse every where light and feare.
When he breathes, his Nostrils cast forth a thicke smoake like to that of a boyling Caldron, his breath is so violent that it would make the Coales red, save the Forger his paines, and light the fire of his Furnace.
Though all the parts of his body be vigorous, his force is particularly confined to his neck, he makes such spoyle wheresoever he passeth, that it seems Famine goes before him, and Poverty followes him.
He is of so strong a constitution that nothing can offend him, the parts of his body are so solid, and so well fastned, that the Lightning which destroyes the pride of the Mountaines can neither breake nor divide them.
The heart which animates his body is as hard as Marble, and surpasseth in firmenesse the Forgers Anvill, which the redoubled blowes of the Hammer have hardened.
When he lifts his head above the Flouds, or when he walkes upon that element which is falne to his division, the most assured Pilots are [Page 408] seized with feare, and knowing how fatall his presence is to their Vessels, they employ all their industry to get away, but if the tempest render it uselesse they are constrained to make vowes to heaven, and endeavour to appease its anger by their prayers.
If they thinke to assault him, or to defend themselves against him, all their weapons prove equally feeble, for as there is no Sword nor Pike but his skin blunts, so there is no Armour which he doth not bow with his teeth: he breakes Iron like Straw, and Brasse resists him lesse than wood worne with age, and eaten with rottennesse.
The Archers who doe such great execution in a Battell cannot chase him away with the showers of their Arrows; and those Stones which the Sling casts with so much force [Page 409] make as little impression upon his body, as a feastraw would which the hand of a childe should push.
Those heavy clubbes, whose blowes are so weighty cannot hurt him; and as he knowes well enough that his skin is proof against all weapons, he laughes at the javelins which they dart at him, and at the thrusts which they make at him with their Pikes.
If this Monster hath so much force, he hath no lesse pride; for he despiseth all that is beautifull in Nature, he disdaines the light, he makes litter of Gold, and tumbles himselfe with scorne upon Pearles and Diamonds.
When he snorts under the Waters he raiseth Tempests, and the breath of his Longs as impetuous as that of the Windes, overtu [...]nes the Sea, and makes it boyl.
When he walkes he leaves behinde him a long tracke covered with foame: he changeth the colour of the Element, he whitens its Waves, covers its face with wrinkles and furrowes, and treats it like an old Man, from whom Age hath taken away his vigour.
Although the Earth brings forth many Monsters whom their enormous greatnesse makes feared, there is none of them to compare with this which seemes not to have come into the World but to fear nothing, and to despise all things.
Lastly, he is so great that when he lifts his head above the Waves he sees under him the proudest Mountaines; and his strength added to his Pride makes all the Monsters of the Sea reverence him as their Tyrant.