10. For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send into Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing:
10. Nempe (vel, nam) transite ad insulas Chittim (Graeciae, hoc est, ad omnes regiones transmarinas,) et videte, et in Kedar (hoc est, in oppositam partem, nempe versus Aratbiam) mittite, et considerate diligenter, et videte, an factum sit sicut hoc (id est, an factum sit aliquid simile:)
11. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit,
11. An mutaverit gens deos, et ipsi non sunt dii? et populus meus mutavit gloriam suam in id quod non prodest.
Here, by a comparison, he amplifies the wickedness and ingratitude of his own nation, -- that they had surpassed in levity all heathen nations; for he says that all nations so agreed in one religion, that each nation followed what it had received from its ancestors. How then was it that the God of Israel was repudiated and rejected by his own people? If there was such persistency in error, why did not truth secure credit among them who had been taught by the mouth of God himself, as though they had been even in heaven? This is the drift of the Prophet's meaning, when he says,
He mentions Greece on one side, and the East on the other, and states a part for the whole. The Hebrews, as we have seen in Daniel, called the Greeks Chittim, though they indeed thought that the term belonged properly to the Macedonians; but the Prophet no doubt included in that term not only the whole of Greece and the islands of the Mediterranean, but also the whole of Europe, so as to take in those parts, the whole of France and Spain. There is indeed some difference made in the use of the word; but when taken generally, it was understood by the Hebrews, as I have said, to include France, Spain, Germany, as well as Greece; and they called those countries islands, though distant from the sea, because they carried on no commerce with remote nations: hence they thought the countries beyond the sea to be islands; and the Prophet spoke according to what was customary.1
He then bids them to
Hence he says,
He sets here the favor of God in opposition to the delusions of false gods, when he says,
Now, if one asks, whether religion has been changed by any of the nations? First, we know that this principle prevailed everywhere, -- that there was to be no innovation in the substance of religion: and Xenophon highly commends this oracle of Apollo, -- that those gods were rightly worshipped who have been received by tradition from ancestors. The devil had thus bewitched all nations, -- "No novelty can please God; but be ye content with the usual custom which has descended to you from your forefathers." This principle then was held by the Greeks and the Asiatics, and also by Europeans. It was therefore for the most part true what the Prophet says here: and we know that when a comparison is made, it is enough if the illustration is for the most part,
Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast made thyself known to us in so plain a manner, not only by thy law and prophets, but also by thine only -- begotten Son, that the knowledge of thy truth ought to have already struck deep roots in us, -- O grant, that we may continue firm and constant in thy holy vocation, and make continual progress in it, and ever hasten forward to the goal: and do thou so humble us under thy mighty hand, that we may know that we are paternally chastised by thee, and profit under thy discipline, until being at length purified from all our vices we shall come to enjoy that immortal life, which has been made known to us by Christ, when we shall be able fully to rejoice in thee. -- Amen.
1 Parkhurst doubts whether the word
2 "Their glory" are by some considered to be God himself, and not the glory, that is, the honor, dignity, and greatness which he bestowed on the people, as Calvin here intimates: but the latter is more consistent with what follows, which literally is, "for nothing that profits:" for the
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