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A Hero and Some Other Folks by William A. Quayle

Canst thou send forth lightnings


The

sky is ample and open. Not a cloud flecks it with its foam. From desert line to the blue zenith is only bewildering blue; when, black as a stormy midnight, driving as if lightnings were its chariot steeds, comes the whirlwind whereon the Almighty rides, and halts; and God pitches his midnight pavilion in front of silent Job on the silent desert, and from this tent, whose curtains are not drawn, there trumpets a voice. God is come! And God speaks! "The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind." Eloquence like this on forum like this, literature knows nothing of. Sublimity is come to its noon.

"Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth?" is the astounding introductory. No exordium is here. Into the thick of argument, God leaps as a soldier might leap into the midst of furious battle. "Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner-stones thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when I made the cloud the garment thereof, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; that it might take hold of the ends of the earth that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is changed as clay under the seal; and all things stand forth as a garment; and from the wicked their

light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Where is the way where light dwelleth? And as for darkness, where is the place thereof? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? By what way is the light parted, or the east wind scattered upon the earth? Who hath cleft a channel for the waterflood, or a way for the lightning of the thunder? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the signs of the zodiac in their seasons? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send forth lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? Who provideth for the raven his food, when his young ones cry unto God, and wander for lack of meat? But seeing thou canst not understand these things, and they are too high for thee, canst thou understand some little things, and answer some trivial questions I will put to thee? Knowest thou the secret of the wild goat or the wild ass on the desert? or the wild ox? or the ostrich that scorneth the horse and his rider? or the horse, hast thou given him strength? for he paweth in the valley, and leaps as a locust, and rejoiceth in his strength, and goeth out to meet the armed men; he mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed, neither turneth his back from the sword; he smelleth the battle afar off. Doth the hawk soar by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? And behemoth, what of him? His limbs are like bars of iron; he is confident, though Jordan swell even to his mouth. Or leviathan, what canst thou do with him, and what knowest thou of him? In his neck abideth strength; his breath kindleth coals; his heart is as firm as a stone; he counteth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood; and when he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid. Hast thou an arm like God? and canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with excellency and dignity, and array thyself with honor and majesty. Pour forth the overflowings of thy anger; and look upon every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked where they stand, and hide them in the dust together."


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