11. Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
11. Et nunc (agedum) dic ad virum Jehudah (hoc est, ad unumquemque,) et incolas Jerusalem, dicendo (alloquere omnes Judaeos et incolas Jerusalem,)sic dicit Jehova, Ecce ego fingo super vos malum, et cogito super vos eogitationem; revertimini igitur quisque a via sua mala, et rectas facite vias vestras et studia vestra.
12. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
12. Et dixerunt, Actum est; quia post cogitationes nostras ambulabimus, et quisque pravitatem cordis sui mali faciemus.
The Prophet is now bidden to turn his discourse to the Jews, that he might apply the doctrine of repentance, to which he had referred; for a doctrine generally stated, as it is well known, is less efflcient. He then contends here, as it were, in full force with his own nation:
God then shews in this verse, that he was ready to receive the Jews if they repented; but that if they continued perverse as they were wont to be, he would not suffer them to go unpunished, for he thought of evil for them. But this thought included the effect, the execution, as he was the potter, in whose hand and power they were.
Then the Prophet adds what shews how hopeless was the impiety of the people, for all his labor was in vain. It was indeed a monstrous stupidity, when they could not be terrified by God's threatenings not allured by his kind promises. But the Prophet meant also to shew, that God tried all means to restore the people from ruin to life and salvation, but that all means were tried in vain, owing to the irreclaimable character of the people. I cannot finish the subject to-day; I must therefore defer it till to-morrow.
Grant, Almighty God, that since we stand or fall at thy will, we may be conscious of our weakness and frailty, and constantly remember that not only our life is a shadow, but that we are wholly nothing, and thus learn to trust in thee alone, and to depend on thee alone and on thy good pleasure; and as it is thine to begin and to complete whatever belongs to our salvation, may we in real fear and trembling submit ourselves to thee, and proceed in the course of our calling, ever calling on thee, and casting all our cares into thy bosom, until being at length freed from all dangers, we shall be gathered into that eternal and blessed rest which has been obtained for us by' the blood of thine only-begotten Son. -- Amen.
The Prophet, having related that he had denounced on the Jews the vengeance of God, adds now, how proudly they despised his threatenings. And their sin was on this account enhanced, because a hope of pardon remained for them, provided they returned to God. But the Prophet says, that they expressly refused to do so. They said,
With regard to the main subject, there is but little difference. But the meaning would be clearer were we thus to paraphrase it, "Labor more than enough has been already spent; thou comest then not in due time."
Isaiah in Isaiah 57:10, seems to have reproved the Jews for what was praiseworthy, if this declaration of Jeremiah be right; for he spoke thus,
"For ye have wearied yourselves in your ways,"
and no one has said
We hence see that hypocrites gain nothing by obtruding their vain mummeries, for God cannot be dealt with sophistically or cunningly. Condemnation then awaits all the ungodly, however they may by disguises cover their wickedness; for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, is a sinful device, a fallacy of Satan, and, in a word, the impiety of a corrupt heart. Whosoever indeed turns aside from the plain teaching of the prophets, and from the teaching of the law, follow their own thoughts, or the figments of their own hearts. It hence follows that they try evasions in vain, for when they reject pure doctrine they set up their own inventions. In the same sense we are to take the words "his own evil heart,"
1 More is meant by this word than expressed, which is often the case in all languages. "I contrive with respect to you a contrivance." is perhaps the most literal rendering. "Device" is taken commonly in a bad sense. -- Ed.
2 The variety of the versions is remarkable as to the word
3 More literally, --
For after our own contrivances shall we go; And we shall do, each, the resolutions of his evil heart.-- Ed.
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