Thomas Bluett

ca. 1690 - 1749


Some Memoirs of the Life of Job










Containing Some


Reflections upon the whole.


ONE can't but take Notice of a very remarkable Series of Providence, from the Beginning of Job's Captivity, till his Return to his own Country. When we reflect upon the Occaſion and Manner of his being taken at firſt, and the Variety of Incidents during his Slavery, which, from ſlight and unlikely Beginnings, gradually brought about his Redemption, together with the ſingular Kindneſs he met with in this Country after he was ranſomed, and the valuable Preſents which he carried over with him; I ſay, when all theſe Things are duly conſidered, if we believe that the wiſe Providence of the great Author of Nature governs the World, 'tis natural for (55) us to conclude that this Proceſs, in the divine Oeconomy of Things, is not for nought, but that there is ſome important End to be ſerved by it.

Our own imperfect Obſervations have diſcovered to us innumerable Inſtances of Deſign and Contrivance in the natural World; and tho' we cannot aſſign the immediate Cauſes and Ends of all the Phenomena of Nature, yet we know enough of them to convince us that the ſame uniform Deſign, the ſame wife and beautiful Order is carried on and maintained throughout the whole. And as there is a manifeſt Analogy between the Methods of Government in the natural and moral Worlds, ſo that they ſeem to be but as different Acts of the ſame grand Drama; and ſince the Providence of God is no leſs certain than his Exiſtence, Chance being as unable to govern a World as to make one; we may ſafely, and on good Grounds infer, that the various (56) Occurrences in human Life, however inconſiderable or perplex'd they may appear to us, are neither beneath the Care, nor inextricable to the Wiſdom of him who rules the Univerſe: No; they have all their proper Places in the great Scheme; and all conſpire in a regular Gradation, to bring about their ſeveral Ends, in Subſerviency to the whole.

'Tis true, neither the Extent of our Lives nor Capacities will permit us to view any very great Part of the Works of God; and what we do ſee, we are too apt to put a wrong Conſtruction upon, being unacquainted in a great meaſure with the ſecret Springs of Nature, and altogether unable to take in the vaſt Projects of infinite Wiſdom: But the particular Scenes that we are ſometime preſented with, appear ſo full of deep Deſign, and are executed with ſuch divine Art, that they cannot but ſtrike the ſober Part of Mankind with Impreſſions of the (57) higheſt Wonder, and loudly call for the Attention of a reaſonable Being.

Hiſtory, and our own Experience, furniſh us with ſeveral amazing Inſtances of the Conduct of Providence, as well as Nature; which, tho' they cannot be fully or equally accounted for by us, yet may be improved by a well-diſpoſed Mind to very good Purpoſes; as they ſerve to increaſe the high Veneration which we all ought to have for the ſupreme Lord and Governor of the World, and naturally ſuggeſt to us our Dependance upon him; as they tend to confirm our Belief of a Providence, and encourage us to truſt our ſelves intirely in the Hands of our Maker, which is the great Support of every good Man amidſt the Calamities of this preſent Life. In ſhort, as it is very happy for us that the Direction of all Events belongs to God; ſo we ought to take all Opportunities to excite and ſtrengthen in our ſelves, and others, a (58) due Senſe of his Government, a becoming Regard to his Works, and juſt Sentiments of the Relation which we bear to him.

With ſome ſuch Reflections as theſe Job uſed to comfort himſelf in his Captivity; and upon proper Occaſions, in Converſation, would ſpeak very juſtly and devoutly of the Care of God over his Creatures, and particularly of the remarkable Changes of his own Circumſtances; all which he piouſly aſcribed to an unſeen Hand. He frequently compared himſelf to Joſeph; and when he was informed that the King of Futa had killed a great many of the Mandingoes upon his Account, he ſaid, with a good deal of Concern, if he had been there he would have prevented it; for it was not the Mandingoes, but God, who brought him into a ſtrange Land. (59)

It would be Preſumption in us to affirm poſitively what God is about to do at any Time; but may we not be allowed humbly to hope that one End of Job's Captivity, and happy Deliverance, was the Benefit and Improvement of himſelf and his People? His Knowledge is now extended to a Degree which he could never have arrived at in his own Country; and the Inſtruments which he carried over, are well adjuſted to the Exigencies of his Countrymen. Who can tell, but that thro' him a whole Nation may be made happy? The Figure which he makes in thoſe Parts, as Preſumptive High-prieſt, and the Intereſt which he has with the King of the Country, conſidering the ſingular Obligations he is under to the Engliſh, may poſſibly, in good time, be of conſiderable Service to us alſo; and we have reaſon to hope this, from the repeated Aſſurances we had from Job, that he would, upon all (60) Occaſions, uſe his beſt Endeavours to promote the Engliſh Trade before any other. But whatever be the Conſequences, we cannot but pleaſe our ſelves with the Thoughts of having acted ſo good and generous a Part to a diſtreſſed Stranger. And as this gives me occaſion to recommend Hoſpitality, I cannot conclude, without ſaying ſomething in favour of it.

Among the various Branches of Friendſhip and Beneficence, there is none of a more noble and diſintereſted Nature, or that tends more directly to the Union, and conſequently the Subſiſtence of the human Species, than that of Hoſpitality and Kindneſs to Strangers. In many Inſtances of private Friendſhip, we are apt to be guided by our own private Intereſt; and very often the Exchange of good Offices among Friends, is little better than mere Barter, where an Equivalent is expected on both Sides. In moſt Acts (61) of Charity and Compaſſion too, we may be, and very often are wrought upon by the undue Influence of ſome ſelfiſh View, and thereby we deſtroy in good meaſure the Merit of them: But in ſhewing Pity to Strangers, as ſuch, and kindly relieving them in their Diſtreſs, there is not ſuch Danger of being influenced by private Regards; nor is it likely that we are ſo. Here we act for God's ſake, and for the ſake of human Nature; and we ſeem to have no Inducement ſuperior to the Will of Heaven, and the Pleaſure that reſults from the Conſciouſneſs of a generous Reſpect for our common Humanity.

There is ſomething ſingularly ſublime, and even God-like, in this benevolent Diſpoſition towards Strangers. The common Parent of the Univerſe pours out his Bleſſings daily upon all Mankind, in all Places of the Earth; (62) the Juſt and the Unjuſt, the Rich and the Poor, all the Claſſes, all the Families of human Creatures, ſubſiſt by his Bounty, and have their Share of his univerſal Favours. The good hoſpitable Man, in his low Sphere, imitates his Maker, and deals about him to his Fellow Mortals with great Chearfulneſs. He conſiders his Species in one complex View, and wiſhes that his Abilities were as extenſive as his Inclinations. He does not confine his Benevolence to his Relations, or any particular Party of Men; his Affections are too warm, too general to be thus circumſcribed; they muſt range round the whole Globe, and exert themſelves in all Places, where an Opportunity offers.

Such a happy Temper of Mind appeared eminently in thoſe worthy Gentlemen that promoted and encouraged a Subſcription for the Relief of Job; (63) and we hope there are many ſuch Inſtances of Hoſpitality among us, which is one very honourable Part of the Character of the Engliſh.