The following extract comes from Joseph Caryl, a Westminster Assembly divine. I took the text from the 1959 reprint edition with very few minor changes. Our church read this out loud in our Sunday School class and discussed its content. You will find the reading very practical, insightful, and moving. Caryl lists all the major lessons the book of Job teaches us and I’ve not found anything as succinct and helpful as his. John Calvin’s sermons on Job come close but Caryl’s introductory essay to the book of Job remains unparalleled in my judgment.
Practical Lessons from the Book of Job
Joseph Caryl, An Exposition with Practical Observations upon the Book of Job
Now, for the third thing which I proposed, which was the use, or scope, or intention of this book, it aims at our instruction in
divers [various] things, first, (which much concerns every Christian to learn), it instructs us how to handle a cross; how to behave ourselves in a conflict, whether outward or inward; what the postures of the spiritual war are; and with what patience we ought to bear the hand of God and his dealings with us. This the apostle James speaks of, —you have heard of the patience of Job, as if he should say, “Do you know why the book of Job was written? Why God in his providence did bring such a thing to pass concerning Job?” It was that all men should take notice of his patience, and might learn the wisdom of suffering, that noble art of enduring.
Job was full of many other excellent graces, and, indeed, had all the graces of the Spirit of God in him; but patience was his principal grace. As it is with natural men, they have every sin in them; but there are some sins which are the master sins, or some one sin, it may be, does denominate a wicked man; sometimes he is a proud man, sometimes he is covetous, sometimes he is a deceiver, sometimes he is an oppressor, sometimes he is unclean, and sometimes he has a profane spirit. He has all sins in him, and they are all reigning in him, but one as it were reigns above the rest and sits uppermost in his heart. So it is with the saints of God, every saint and servant of God has all grace in him; every grace, in some degree or other, for all the limbs and lineaments of the new man are formed together in the soul of those that are in Christ. But there is some special grace which gives the denomination to a servant of God as that which gave the denomination to Abraham was faith, to Moses meekness and to Job patience.
2nd, Another instruction which we are to take from the whole book is this God would have us learn, that afflictions come not by chance, that they are all ordered by providence in the matter, in the manner, and in the measure, both for the kinds and the degrees, they are all ordered, even the very least, by the wisdom, by the hand and the providence of God.
3rd, Another thing which we are to learn generally from this book, is this — the Sovereignty of God; that he has power over us, over our estates, and over our bodies, and over our families, and over our spirits; that he may use us as he pleases, and we must be quiet under his hand; when he comes and will take all from us, all our comforts, we must give all glory to him. This book is written for this especially, to teach us the Sovereignty of God, and the submission of the creature.
4th, It teaches us, that God sometimes afflicts his children out of prerogative; that though there be no sin in them which he makes the occasion of afflicting them — such was Job’s case — yet for exercise of his grace in them, for trial of their graces, or to set them up for patterns to the world, God may and does afflict them. Though no man be without sin, yet the afflictions of many are not for their sins.
5th, There is this general instruction which God would have us learn out of this book, namely, the best gotten and the best founded estate in outward things, is uncertain; that there is no trusting to any creature-comforts. God could unbottom us quite from the creature by holding forth this history of Job to us.
6th, God would also show forth this for our learning — the strength, the unmoveableness of faith, how unconquerable it is, what a kind of omnipotency there is in grace, — God would have all the world take notice of this in the Book of Job, that a godly man is in vain assaulted by friends or enemies, by men or devils, by wants or wounds, though he even be benighted in his spirit, though God himself take away the light of his countenance from him, yet He would have us learn and know, that over all those, a true believer, is more, than a conqueror, for here is one of the greatest battles fought between man and man, between man and hell, yea, between man and God; yet Job went away with a victory; true grace is often assaulted; it never was or shall be overthrown.
7th, This also we may learn, that God never leaves or forsakes his people totally or finally.
Lastly, The book teaches this general lesson, — That the judgments of God are often times very secret, but they are never unjust. That though the creature be not able to give a reason for them, yet there is infinite reason for them.
Such are some of the general lessons which may be deduced from this book. But how unsearchable are God’s judgments, and who can find them out to perfection? This book serves also to confute the slander of worldly men, and Satan, who sometimes affirm that the people of God serve him for their own ends. God did, on purpose, cause these things to be acted, and the history to be written, to stop the mouth of Satan and all iniquity, and to show that his people follow him for love; for the excellency they find in him, and in his service. Though he strip them naked of all they have, yet they will cleave to him.
This history serves to reprove those who judge of men’s spiritual estate by their outward condition, or by some unbecoming and rash speeches uttered when under the hand of God in sore affliction, and refutes the opinion, that a man may fall totally and finally away from grace, and from the favor of God. God has shown by this history, that such an opinion is a lie. If ever any man were in danger of falling quite away from grace received, or might seem to have lost the favor of God formerly shown, surely it was Job; and if he were upheld in the grace of holiness, and continued in the grace of God’s love, notwithstanding all that came upon him; certainly God would have all the world know that free grace will uphold his people forever.
This book also reproves the pride and extreme presumption of those who think to find out the secrets of God’s counsel, the secrets of God’s eternal decrees, the secrets of all his works of providence; whereas, God shows them in this book, that they are not able to find out, or comprehend his ordinary works, those which we call the works of nature, the things of creation, the things that are before them, which they converse with every day, which they see and feel, and have in their ordinary use. They are not able to find out the secrets of the air, of the meteors, of the waters, of the earth, of beasts or birds, everyone of these puts the understanding of man to a stand. How are they able then to find out the counsels of God in his decrees, and purposes, and
judgments? and for that end it is, that God sets forth here so much of the works of nature, that all men may be stopped in that presumptuous way of searching too far into his counsels.
In conclusion, from this book may be deduced the two following exhortations. 1st, We are exhorted to the meditation and admiration of the power and wisdom of God manifested in the creatures. The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, may be clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.
2nd, To glorify God in every condition, to have good thoughts of God, to speak good words for God in every condition. We are drawn to this, by considering how Job, though sometimes in the midst of his conflict he overshot himself, yet he recovers again, and breathes sweetly concerning God, showing that his spirit was full of sweetness towards God, even when God was writing bitter things against him; even when he says, though he slay me yet will I trust in him; than which, nothing could express a more holy and submissive frame of spirit, in reference to God’s dealings with him. Surely he thought God was very good, who had that thought of God, to trust him even while he slew him.
From the history of this afflicted saint we may also draw the two following consolations.
1st, That all things do work for the good of those that love God.
2nd, That no temptation shall take hold of us, but such as God will either make us able to bear, or make a way for us to escape out of it. We can be in no condition cast so low but the hand of God can reach us, send us deliverance, and raise us up again.
 Joseph Caryl, An Exposition With Practical Observations Upon the Three First Chapters of the Book of Job (London, 1651), 10-15; Joseph Caryl, An Exposition of Job (Evansville, IN: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1959), x-xii. The 1959 edition is a remarkable summary or a condensed rendition (367 pages) of the massive twelve volume work. It was originally published in 1836 by John Berrie and republished in 1959. It has not been republished since (though I believe one could probably get a “print on demand” copy). John Berrie wisely included the entire first lecture because that introduction by itself remains valuable on its own. This extract covers only the last several pages (pages which deal with the practical applications of the book of Job) of the introductory essay and I have slightly updated the format and modernized the sentences.
 He says the same on p. 100 (of the 1651 edition).
 Overtaken by darkness