A Study in Wisdom:

Job 1:5 (pt. 2)

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[Here we continue a reprint of a small portion of Joseph Caryl’s study in Job.  Mr. Caryl wrote twelve volumes on the book of Job.  His study is a great example of how deep one can dig into the truths of the Bible.]


Job 1:5 (pt. 2) -

Job Sanctifies His Children, by Joseph Caryl


5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings, according to the number of them all.


[Mr. Caryl is currently in the middle of making various observations about this verse.]


Fifthly, Job was a holy person, and you see which way his care lies, that his children may be holy, then take this note in the general:  He that is a holy person himself, desires to make others holy too. 

Holy Job would have all his children holy.  As it is with the wicked, a wicked man would be willing to have all wicked with him, he would be willing to scatter his wickedness, and diffuse his poison unto others. The drunkard would be willing to have companions with him in his drunkenness.  And so the man that is truly godly, would make others godly too.  As Paul said to Agrippa, “I would to God that not only you, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am” (Acts 26:29).  Grace is attractive. It desires to draw other into fellowship.  A good man would not be happy alone.

Sixthly, sanctification, you see here, is ascribed unto Job, “He sent and sanctified them”, and all that he did was but to give them counsel and warning to sanctify themselves. It is as if he said, “Go to my children, and bid them prepare themselves; warn themselves for it.” Yet the text says, that Job sanctified them.  Then we may observe from this:

The good which others do by our advice and counsel is reckoned as done by ourselves.

When we provoke others to goodness, the good which they do is set upon our account, as if we had done it, just as the wickedness and the sin which another commits by the advice and counsel of any man, is set upon the score of that man. If another do ill by thy advice, the ill is reckoned to thee; if one should come and say as Absalom said to his servants, “Mark you now when the Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, ‘Smite Amnon, then kill him’, fear not, have not I commanded you?” (II Sam. 13:28).  Not only did the servants kill Amnon, but Absalom killed Amnon because he commanded them to kill him. You know what is said of David, he did but send a letter concerning the death of Uriah, and the charge comes, “Thou has slain Uriah with the Sword of the children of Amnon” (II Sam. 12:9). All the evil others committed by thy counsel, direction, advice, command, or consent, is as done by thyself.  So (on the other side) all the good others do by our counsel, advice, promotion, admonition, instruction, and the like, that good shall be reckoned to us. If another be holy by thy advice, it will be said that thou has made him holy, thou has sanctified them. 

Lastly, observe that:

Holy duties call for holy preparation.

We must not touch holy things with unholy hands, or with unholy hearts: “I will wash my hand in innocence, and so will I compass thine altar O Lord”, was David’s resolution in Psalm 26:6. Therefore Job, intending a solemn duty, a sacrifice, which did contain the sum of all religion concerning the external worship of God, sends solemnly to his children to prepare themselves: “O come not to the sacrifice except you be sanctified.”  It is a point so clear, that I shall need but only to name it to you.  How and wherein they should sanctify themselves, and what course they took for the sanctifying and preparing of themselves for that duty, does not appear in this place: but afterwards when God gave the Law, He prescribed them a rule what they must do that they might be sanctified. The Jews had special directions for their preparations. Some things were outward, and some inward, both of which I will touch on: 

For the outward, they were commanded to wash their clothes, “Sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes” (Ex. 19:10): Not that God regarded clothes, but aimed at somewhat further; if the clothes must be washed, certainly then the heart must be washed. He pointed at that in the washing of their clothes. In Leviticus and Numbers, other outward preparations are commanded, as they abstained from all things that were unclean, and they must not touch anything that was unclean; and then sometimes they were not only to wash their clothes, but to change their clothes. You have the expression in that place concerning Jacob, be clean and change your garments. It might be changing by washing, but I rather conceive, that it was a change by putting on of other clothes. There was also another external requisite to the preparing and sanctifying of themselves; and that was by abstaining for a time from the lawful use of the marriage bed. You have the command expressed in that Exodus 15:19: “Be ready against the third day, come not at your wives”; and there are other like places, I Samuel 21:4, “The Priest said, ‘There is no common bread under my hand, but there is hallowed bread, if the young men have kept themselves at least from women’”; if they have but that outward preparation; the meaning is, if they had kept themselves from their wives; David affirms it was so, in the words following.  The Apostle gives the same rule in 1 Cor. 7:5 speaking of that point, “Defraud not one another, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” So, the Holy Ghost therein intimates such an abstaining as was preparatory to solemn duties, that you may give yourselves to fast and prayer. Extraordinary duties call for extraordinary preparations.  These outward preparations were so necessary that when the people failed in them, Hezekiah prayed for pardon, “The good Lord pardon everyone that prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his Father’s though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary” (2 Chron. 30:18-19). Though their hearts were upright, though they had hearts rightly prepared, yet he prayed that God would pardon the want of those outward preparations.  The principal preparation is of the heart, and the washing of our ways.  Therefore we find how the Lord contends with them in Isaiah 1:10-11: “I hate your solemn feasts, bring no more vain oblations. Why? Your hands are full of blood, wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well.”  It is as if He should say, “What do you come to me in these holy duties, except you prepare and fit yourselves accordingly. I cannot abide that unholy persons should come about holy things.”

The very heathen had this notion, they would not admit any to come to their religious services unless they were prepared.  That saying of Aeneas the Poet to his Father, when he came from the war, is a clear proof.  “Father, do you meddle with the sacrifices, but as for me it is a sinful thing to touch them, till I have washed myself in the fountain.”  This was an outward external rite among them for cleansing themselves. The very heathen saw they must not meddle with their holy things till they were cleansed, therefore they had one that cried out to the people when they came to sacrifice, “All you that are unclean and profane, go far away from these sacrifices.”  Not only the word of God, but the very light of nature taught them, not to meddle with holy things till they were sanctified.

Therefore specially look to this, when you have any sacrifice, any duty to perform, be prepared and sanctified within and without before you come to the duty.  It is true that the duty sanctifies, but it is seldom that the duty sanctifies us unless we be sanctified holy before we come to the duty.  Take heed how you hear, not only hear, but take heed to prepare yourselves for hearing. So, look to thy feet (it has the same sense) when you come into the house of God.  Prepare thyself, be not hasty, lest thine be counted by the sacrifice of fools.