15. Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
15. Et dixit jeremias propheta Chananiae prophetae, Audi agedum Chanania, non misit to Jehova, et tu confidere fecisti populum hunc super mendacio (vel, in mendacio.)
There would not have been weight enough in the plain teaching of Jeremiah had he not confronted his adversary, as the case is at this day with us; when insolent and unprincipled men rise up and dare to vomit forth their blasphemies, by which they darken and degrade the doctrines of true religion, we are under the necessity to contend with them, otherwise what we teach would be ineffectual; for the minds of many, I mean the simple, are in suspense and fluctuate when they see a great conflict between two contrary parties. It was therefore necessary for the holy man to expose the lies of Hananiah, for he ever vaunted himself and boasted of his own predictions.
But what did Jeremiah say? Jehovah hath not sent thee. This refutation ought to be noticed whenever we contend with Satan's ministers and false teachers; for whatever they may pretend, and with whatever masks they may cover their lies, this one thing ought to be more than sufficient to put an end to their boastings, -- that they have not been sent by the Lord. Jeremiah might have contended in a long speech with Hananiah, for he might have been made sufficiently eloquent through the Holy Spirit suggesting and dictating whatever was needful on the subject; but this concise brevity produced much greater effect than if he had made great display and used many words. Let this, then, be borne in mind, that wherever there is a controversy about religion, we ought ever to ask whether he who speaks has been sent by God; for whatever he may babble, though the most acute, and though he may talk things which may fill with wonder the minds of the simple, yet all this is nothing but smoke when his doctrine is not from God. So also we ought at this day to deal in a brief manner with those mercenary dogs of the Pope who bark against the pure truth of the Gospel; we ought to be satisfied with this compendious answer, -- that God is not their master and teacher. But as our state now is different from that of the ancient people, we must observe that sent by the Lord is he only whose doctrine is according to the rule of the Law, and of the Prophets, and of the Gospel. If, then, we desire to know whom the Lord has sent, and whom he approves as his servants, let us come to the Scripture, and let there be a thorough examination; he who speaks according to the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, has a sure and an indubitable evidence of his divine call; but he who cannot prove that he draws what he advances from these fountains, whatever his pretences may be, ought to be repudiated as a false prophet. We hence see what an important instruction this passage contains.
He then adds, Thou hast made this people to rely on falsehood. They pervert the meaning of the Prophet who thus render the words, "Thou hast falsely rendered this people secure," at least they lessen by one half what the Prophet intended to express; for not only is Hananiah condemned because he vainly and falsely pretended God's name, but the word rqs, shicor, is introduced, the very thing employed; as though he had said, "Thou feedest this people with a vain hope which thou hast formed in thine own brains; therefore thy fictions make this people to go astray." Hence Jeremiah not only accused this impostor that he by his fictions deceived the people, but also that he brought forward his prophecies in God's name; and these removed their fear and gave them some hope, so that the people became torpid in their security.
Let us learn from this passage that we ought especially to take heed when the ground of trust is the subject, lest we rely on any empty or perishable thing, like wretched hypocrites who devour shadows only, and afterwards find nothing solid in their own fictions. But when we refer to trust, let there be something solid on which we can safely rely; and we know that we cannot possibly be disappointed, if we look to God for all things, if we recumb on his mercy alone; for there is no rest nor peace for us anywhere else but in Christ. Let us then retain this object of trust, and let it be our only support. It follows, --