23. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? See thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways.
23. Quomodo dices (hoc est, quomodo dicis; nam futurum tempus saepe accipitur apud Hebraeos pro acu continuo, quomodo igitur dicis) non sum polluta, post Baalim non profecta sum? Vide vias tuas in valle, cognosce quid feceris dromedaria velox corripiens vias suas (vel, circumiens, nam deducitur vox ista a corrigia calceamenti).
Jeremiah goes on here with his reproof, and dissipates the clouds of hypocrites, under which they thought themselves to be sufficiently concealed: for hypocrites, when they allege their fallacious pretences, think themselves already hidden from the eyes of God and from the judgment of all men. Hence the Prophet here sharply condemns this supine self -- security, and says, How darest thou to boast that thou art
Now this passage teaches us, that the people had become so hardened, that they insolently rejected all reproofs given them by the prophets. Their impiety was openly manifest, and yet they ever dared to allege excuses, for the purpose of shewing that the prophets unjustly condemned them. Nor are we to wonder that such contumacy prevailed in that ancient people, since at this day we find that the Papists, with no less perverseness, resist the clear light of truth. For however gross and shameful their idolatry appears, they yet think that they evade the charge by merely saying, that their statues and images are not idols, and that the people of Israel were, indeed, condemned for inventing statues for themselves, but that they did this, because they were prone to superstition. Hence they cry against us, and say, that the worship which prevails among them is unjustly calumniated. We see, and even children know, that under the Papacy every kind of superstition prevails; and yet they seek to appear innocent, and free from every blame. The same was the case formerly: and as the temple continued, and the people offered sacrifices there, and as some kind of religion remained, whenever the prophets reproved the impious corruptions, which were blended with and vitiated the pure worship of God, and which were called adulteries, as they everywhere declare, "What!" they said, "Do we not worship God?" This very perverseness is what the Prophet now condemns by saying, How darest thou to say,
1 "The Jews, it seems," says Loath, "had found out distinctions, whereby to reconcile the worship of the true God with those religious rites which they paid to the deities of the heathen, called here Baalim. These, they pretended, were only inferior demons or spirits, or the souls of men departed, and might be worshipped in subordination to the supreme God." Scott adds to this quotation this just remark, "This, and nothing better, can the Papists urge in excuse of their manifest idolatry in worshipping saints and angels" -Ed.
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