4. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you,
4. Dices ergo ad eos, Sic dicit Jehova, Si non audieritis me, ut ambuletis in lege mea, quam posui coram conspectu vestro,
5. To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;
5. Ad audiendum sermonem (hoc est, ut audiatis sermones) servorum meorum prophetarum, quos ego mitto ad vos, et mane surgendo et mittendo, neque tamen audistis (hoc postremum lego parenthesin;)
6. Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.
6. Et (id est, tunc) ponam domum hanc (id est, templum) sicuti Silo, et urbem hanc ponam maledictionem cunctis gentibus terrae.
The Prophet now briefly includes what he had been teaching, what he had been commanded to declare to the people. No doubt he spoke to them more at large; but he deemed it enough to shew in a few words what had been committed to him. And the sum of it was, that except the Jews so hearkend as to walk in God's Law, and were submissive to the prophets, final ruin was nigh the Temple and the city. This is the meaning: but it may be useful to consider every particular.
By these words,
"Did I command your fathers when they came out of Egypt to offer sacrifices to me? this only I required, even to hear my voice." (Jeremiah 7:22, 23)
We hence see, that the only way of living piously, justly, holily, and uprightly, is to allow ourselves to be ruled by the Lord. This is one thing. Then what follows is worthy of being noticed,
"I this day call heaven and earth to witness, that I have set life and death before your eyes." (Deuteronomy 30:19)
And in another place he said,
"Say not, Who shall ascend above the clouds? or, Who shall descend into the abyss? or, Who shall pass beyond the sea? The word is in thy heart and in thy mouth," (Deuteronomy 30:12-14; Romans 10:6-8)
as though he had said, "God has deprived you of every excuse, for there is no reason for doubting, since he has spoken so familiarly to you, and has explained everything necessary to be known."
And hereby is confuted the impious blasphemy of the Papists, who impudently assert that not only the Law is obscure, but also the Gospel. And Paul also loudly declares, that the Gospel is not obscure except to those who perish, and who have a veil over their hearts, being visited with judicial blindness. But as to the Law, in which there is no such plainness as in the Gospel, we see what Jeremiah affirms here, that it was set before the eyes of all, that they might learn from it what pleased God, and what was just and right.
But what follows in the next verse ought to be especially observed; for these two things are necessarily connected, -- that God required nothing but obedience to his Law, -- and that his will was that his prophets should be heard, --
Nay, this passage teaches us, that all those who repudiate the daily duty of learning, are profane men, and extinguish as far as they can the grace of the Spirit; many such fanatics among the Anabaptists have been in our time, who despised learning of every kind. They boasted that the doctrine of the Law was the Alphabet; and they also indulged in this dream, that wrong is done to the Holy Spirit when men attend to learning. And some dare, in a grosser manner, to vomit forth their blasphemies; they say that Scripture is enough for us, yea, even these two things, "Fear God and love thy neighbor." But as I have already said, we must consider how God has spoken by his Law; whether he has closed up the way, so as not to explain his will more clearly by the prophets, nor to apply to present use what would have otherwise been less effectual? or that he purposed to draw continually by various channels the doctrine which flows from that fountain? But now, since God had given his own Law, and had added to the Law his prophets, every one who rejected the prophets must surely
He says further,
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast been pleased not only to make known thy will once by the Law, but also to add more light by thy holy prophets, and further to give us perfect light by thy Gospel, and as thou invitest us daily to learn by means of those whom thou hast sent, -- O grant, that we may not be deaf nor tardy to hear, but promptly submit ourselves to thee, and so suffer ourselves to be ruled by thy word, that through our whole life we may testify that thou art indeed our God, we being thy people, until we shall at length be gathered into that celestial kingdom, which thine only-begotten Son our Lord has purchased for us. -- Amen.
Lecture One Hundredth
We could not yesterday finish the words of the Prophet, as time did not allow us to do so. We said that the Prophet had denounced God's vengeance on the people in such a manner, that he softened that severity by some comfort, lest despair should have rendered more obstinate those whom he wished to turn into obedience; we said also, that the ministers of the word cannot otherwise speak rightly or profitably of repentance, except they connect with it the promise of God's mercy. But as the Prophet had to do with refractory men and despisers of God, it behoved him to declare what at length he subjoins, even that the destruction of the Temple and city was nigh at band, except they repented.
And he says that
"Go to Shiloh, where the ark of the covenant was,"
etc.; but he now speaks more briefly, for he no doubt repeated often the same things.
Then he adds, I
1 It is better to commence the parenthesis after the word "prophets;" the three verses I render thus, --
4. And say to them, Thus saith Jehovah, If ye will not hear me, so as to
5. walk in my law, which I have set before you, by hearkening to the words of my servants the prophets, (whom I have been sending to you, even rising up early and sending; but ye did not hearken;)
6. then will I make this house like Shiloh, and this city will I make a urse to all the nations of the earth.
The Vulg. and the Syr. are in effect the same as above. -- Ed.
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