28. Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the Lord: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee; but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure: yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
28. Tu ne timeas, serve mi Jacob, dicit Jehova, quia ego tecum, quia faciam consumptionem in cunctis gentibus ad quas te expulero illuc (est supervacuum
He repeats the same thing, and no wonder, for under circumstances so hopeless it was not easy to raise up and sustain the minds of the people, so that they might patiently wait for the time of their redemption. He had to raise them to light as it were from the lowest depths, for captivity was little short of death, according to what Ezekiel says, (Ezekiel 37) who shews that the common saying among them was,
"Can God raise the dead from their graves?"
Whenever the Prophets promised that God would become their Redeemer, they said, "Oh, will God raise us up again? It is all a fable." For this reason God commanded dead and dry bones to rise and to assume their own skin and flesh, at least this was shewn to the Prophet in a vision.
We now then understand why the Prophet repeated twice what was in itself sufficiently clear,
He afterwards adds,
This seems not to agree with what he had said before, that Egypt should be again inhabited as in days of old. How can the restoration of Egypt be consistent with the words of the Prophet here? To this I answer, that when God mitigates his rigor towards the unbelieving, he is not yet propitious to them, nor is the indulgence shewn to them a proof of his paternal favor, as I have before observed. Though then there were Egyptians who remained alive after the ruin of their kingdom, yet God made a consummation in Egypt, for there his vengeance continued after that, time. Now, when we come to the chosen people, God says in many places,
In short, when God says, that he makes a consummation as to heathen nations, it ought to be understood, that God curses them from the root. As when a tree stands, when its root is dead; so also heathen nations, as it were, stand, but in the meantime they are consumed, for God has doomed them to eternal ruin. But consummation is said to be as to God's children, when nothing appears on the surface, but perhaps a dry trunk; yet a living root remains, which will again grow up, and from it branches will arise. We hence see how God makes a consummation as to all the unbelieving, and yet does not make a consummation as to his chosen people.
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast testified that thou wilt be a Father to us, and hast given us a pledge of thy adoption, thine only-begotten Son, -- O grant, that we, trusting in thy promise, may never doubt, even when thou severely chastisest us, but that thou wilt at length be merciful to us, and that we may thus never cease to flee to thy mercy, and thus submit to thee, and suffer ourselves to be corrected; and may, in the meantime, this hope sustain us, and alleviate all our sorrows, that in all our miseries we shall yet ever glorify thy name, through the same, thy Son our Lord. -- Amen.
Lecture One Hundred and Sixty-Eighth
WE explained yesterday what is meant by not making a consummation. The meaning is, that sometimes God's vengeance is such towards his Church, that it seems to be consumed, while yet some hidden hope remains, for God raises his own as it were from death. We said, that in this sense is to be understood what Jeremiah now promises to the chosen people: for God makes a distinction between the Israelites and strangers; for on account of the covenant he had made with them, he would spare them, so that some hope remained, though the Church itself seemed for a time to be lost.
And he explains himself in other words,
Now this passage ought to be especially noticed, from which we may derive great consolation; for we are here taught that punishments inflicted on us are temporary, and that God prescribes limits to them, such as he knows to be best for us: for whence comes despair which overwhelms the unbelieving, except that being sunk in the deep, they know not that God will be merciful to them, but apprehend nothing but his wrath? Hence then it comes that they have no comfort in their evils and sorrows. Whenever, then, excessive anxiety lays hold on us, or our evils drive us into despair, let us learn to flee to this consolation, even that the punishments by which we are chastised are only for a time.
He afterwards adds,
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