8. The argument and scope of the book.
Saint James sets forth the argument, scope, and use of the book, James 5:10, 11, ὑπόδειγμα λάβετε τῆς κακοπαθείας, ἀδελφοί μου, καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας, τοὺς προφήτας, οἳ ἐλάλησαν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου. ἰδού, μακαρίζομεν τοὺς ὑπομένοντας· τὴν ὑπομονὴν Ἰὼβ ἠκούσατε, καὶ τὸ τέλος Κυρίου εἴδετε, ὅτι πολύσπλαγχνός ἐστιν ὁ Κύριος καὶ οἰκτίρμων, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience: Behold, we count them happy which endure: Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. That is, in this book is described, both the exemplary patience of Job, who, having been tried in a variety of ways, by Satan, domestics, and friends, who, forming a conjecture by arguments from the most wise and powerful providence and righteousness of God, from the sinful nature of men, and from that first perturbation of Job, busy themselves to convict him of a life lived wickedly, or of hypocrisy before God, did not succumb, but stood firm in faith, fortified and overcoming by hope and charity, and thus also turned away the darts launched against him by his friends, so that he might show that God’s judgments, however just, are mysterious, and that common experience testifies that in this life commonly it fairs ill to the good, and well to the evil, and that hence his friends judge improperly concerning his calamities: and liberation from trial, and the τέλος Κυρίου, end of the Lord, assigned to his calamities by the Lord, when Elihu, intervening between Job’s friends and Job, adjusts their souls at variance to the reverence of God, and, with both rebuked, teaches humility to Job from a comparison of the Divine Majesty with the lot of man: and God Himself, confirming the sentence of Elihu, leads Job, first to silence, then to confession and repentance, but the friends to reconciliation, and at length restores Job, and more abundantly blesses him than before. Saint Cyprian thus knowingly judges concerning that, Sermon 5 de Lapsis: What is Job, so ready in works, so stout in trials, so submissive in fear, so true in faith?