Thomas Bluett

ca. 1690 - 1749


Some Memoirs of the Life of Job


Section IV








Of  Job's Perſon and Character.


JOB was about five Feet ten Inches high, ſtrait limb'd, and naturally of a good Conſtitution; altho' the religious Abſtinence which he obſerved, and the Fatigues he lately underwent, made him appear ſomething lean and weakly. His Countenance was exceeding pleaſant, yet grave and compoſed; his Hair long, black, and curled, being very different from that of the Negroes commonly brought from Africa.

His natural Parts were remarkably good; and I believe moſt of the Gentlemen that converſed with him frequently, will remember many Inſtances of his Ingenuity. On all Occaſions he diſcovered a ſolid judgment, a ready Memory, and a clear Head. And, notwithſtanding the Prejudices which it was natural for him (47) to have in favour of his own religious Principles, it was very obſervable with how much Temper and Impartiality he would reaſon in Converſation upon any Queſtion of that kind, while at the ſame Time he would frame ſuch Replies, as were calculated at once to ſupport his own Opinion, and to oblige or pleaſe his Opponent. In his Reaſonings there appeared nothing trifling, nothing hypocritical or over-ſtrained; but, on the contrary, ſtrong Senſe, joined with an innocent Simplicity, a ſtrict Regard to Truth, and a hearty Deſire to find it. Tho' it was a conſiderable Diſadvantage to him in Company, that he was not ſufficient Maſter of our Language; yet thoſe who were uſed to his Way, by making proper Allowances, always found themſelves agreeably entertained by him.

The Acuteneſs of his Genius appear'd upon many Occaſions. He very readily conceived the Mechaniſm and Uſe of moſt (48) of the ordinary Inſtruments which were ſhewed to him here; and particularly, upon ſeeing a Plow, a Griſt Mill, and a Clock taken to pieces, he was able to put them together again himſelf, without any farther Direction.

His Memory was extraordinary; for when he was fifteen Years old he could ſay the whole Alcoran by heart, and while he was here in England he wrote three Copies of it without the Aſſiſtance of any other Copy, and without ſo much as looking to one of thoſe three when he wrote the others. He would often laugh at me when he heard me ſay I had forgot any Thing, and told me he hardly ever forgot any Thing in his Life, and wondered that any other body ſhould.

In his natural Temper there appeared a happy Mixture of the Grave and the Chearful, a gentle Mildneſs, guarded by a proper Warmth, and a kind and (49) compaſſionate Diſpoſition towards all that were in Diſtreſs. In Converſation he was commonly very pleaſant; and would every now and then divert the Company with ſome witty Turn, or pretty Story, but never to the Prejudice of Religion, or good Manners. I could perceive, by ſeveral ſlight Occurrences, that, notwithſtanding his uſual Mildneſs, he had Courage enough, when there was occaſion for it: And I remember a Story which he told me of himſelf, that is ſome Proof of it. As he was paſſing one Day thro' the Country of the Arabs, on his way home, with four Servants, and ſeveral Negroes which he had bought, he was attacked by fifteen of the wild Arabs, who are known to be common Bandetti, or Robbers in thoſe Parts. Job, upon the firſt Sight of this Gang, prepared for a Defence; and ſetting one of his Servants to watch the Negroes, he, with the other three, ſtood on his Guard. In the Fight one of Job's Men was killed, (50) and Job himſelf was run thro' the Leg with a Spear. However, having killed two of the Arabs, together with their Captain and two Horſes, the reſt fled, and Job brought off his Negroes ſafe.

Job's Averſion to Pictures of all Sorts, was exceeding great; inſomuch, that it was with great Difficulty that he could be brought to ſit for his own. We aſſured him that we never worſhipped any Picture, and that we wanted his for no other End but to keep us in mind of him. He at laſt conſented to have it drawn; which was done by Mr. Hoare. When the Face was finiſhed, Mr. Hoare aſk'd what Dreſs would be moſt proper to draw him in; and, upon Job's deſiring to be drawn in his own Country Dreſs, told him he could not draw it, unleſs he had ſeen it, or had it deſcribed to him by one who had: Upon which Job anſwered, If you can't draw a Dreſs you never ſaw, why do ſome of you Painters preſume to (51) draw God, whom no one ever ſaw? I might mention ſeveral more of his ſmart Repartees in Company, which ſhewed him to be a Man of Wit and Humour, as well as good Senſe: But that I may not be tedious, what I have ſaid ſhall ſuffice for this Head.

As to his Religion, 'tis known he was a Mahometan, but more moderate in his Sentiments than moſt of that Religion are. He did not believe a ſenſual Paradiſe, nor many other ridiculous and vain Traditions, which paſs current among the Generality of the Turks. He was very conſtant in his Devotion to God; but ſaid, he never pray'd to Mahommed, nor did he think it lawful to addreſs any but God himſelf in Prayer. He was ſo fixed in the Belief of one God, that it was not poſſible, at leaſt during the Time he was here, to give him any Notion of the Trinity; ſo that having had a New Teſtament given him in his own (52) Language, when he had read it, he told me he had peruſed it with a great deal of Care, but could not find one Word in it of three Gods, as ſome People talk: I did not care to puzzle him, and therefore anſwered in general, that the Engliſh believed only in one God. He ſhewed upon all Occaſions a ſingular Veneration for the Name of God, and never pronounced the Word Allah without a peculiar Accent, and a remarkable Pauſe: And indeed his Notions of God, Providence, and a future State, were in the main very juſt and reaſonable.

His Learning, conſidering the Diſadvantages of the Place he came from, was far from being contemptible. The Books in his Country are all in Manuſcript, all upon Religion; and are not, as I remember, more than Thirty in Number. They are all in Arabick; but the Alcoran, he ſays, was originally wrote by God himſelf, not in Arabick, and God ſent it by (53) the Angel Gabriel to Ababuker, ſome time before Mahommed was born; the Angel taught Ababuker to read it, and no one can read it but thoſe who are inſtructed after a different Manner from that in which the Arabick is commonly taught. However, I am apt to think that the Difference depends only upon the Pointing of the Arabick, which is of later Date. Job was well acquainted with the hiſtorical Part of our Bible, and ſpoke very reſpectfully of the good Men mentioned in Scripture; particularly of Jesus Christ, who, he ſaid, was a very great Prophet, and would have done much more Good in the World, if he had not been cut off ſo ſoon by the wicked Jews; which made it neceſſary for God to ſend Mahomet to confirm and improve his Doctrine.