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A Hero and Some Other Folks by William A. Quayle

And calumny smirches his reputation


sent this ruin. God has not

seared this man's flesh with the white heats of lightning, nor brought him into penury nor suspicion, nor made his heart widowed. God is dispenser of good, not evil; for while an argument is not to be enforced against punitive justice, seeing justice is a necessity of goodness, yet we are to affirm that the notion of God slaying Job's children (or anybody's children, so far as that runs), or blotting out his prosperity, is obnoxious to reason and to heart. This drama perpetrates no such blunder. Satan sent these disasters; for with him is evil purpose. The very nobility of Job stings him to enmity and madness; for iniquity is his delight, and ruin his vocation and pleasure. A power without man working evil is consonant with history and experience, and to suppose this power a person rather than an influence is as rational as to suppose God not a barren principle, but a Person, fertile in love and might and righteousness. In the drama of Job, God is not smirched. He is not Hurter, but Helper. In "Prometheus Bound," Zeus is tyrant; in Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound," Zeus is tyrant run mad. In Job, God is majesty enthroned; thoughtful, interested, loving; permitting, not administering evil; hearing and heeding a bewildered man's cry, and coming to his rescue, like as some gracious emancipator comes, to break down prison doors and set wronged prisoners free. In Job, God is not aspersed, a thing so easy to do in literature and so often done. Here is no dubious biography, where
God is raining disaster instead of mercies. To misrepresent God seems to me a high crime and misdemeanor--nay, _the_ high crime and misdemeanor; because on the righteousness of God hangs the righteousness of the moral system embracing all souls everywhere, and to misconceive or misinterpret God, sins against the highest interests of the world, since life never rises higher than the divinity it conceives and worships. The permissive element in Divine administration is here clearly distinguished. Complex the system is, and not sum-totally intelligible as yet, though we may, and do, get hints of vision, as one catches through the thick ranks of forest-trees occasional glimpses of sky-line, where room is made by a gash in the ranks of woods, and the open looks in like some one standing outside a window with face toward us.

This drama of goodness gives words and form to our perplexity. How can a good life have no visible favors? How are we to explain prosperity coming to a man besotted with every vice and repugnant to our souls, while beside him, with heart aromatic of good as spice-groves with their odors, with hands clean from iniquity as those of a little child, with eyes calm and watching for the advent of God and an opportunity to help men,--and calamities bark at his door, like famine-crazed, ravenous wolves at the shepherd's hut; and pestilence bears his babes from his bosom to the grave; and calumny smirches his reputation; and his business ventures are shipwrecked in sight of the harbor; and his wife lies on a bed of pain, terrible as an inquisitor's rack; penury frays his garments, and steals his home and goods, and snatches even the crust from his table,--and God has forgotten goodness? Here is no parable, but a picture our eyes have seen as we have stumbled from a garret, blinded by our tears as if some wild rain dashed in our faces.


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