60. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
60. Et scripsit Jeremias omne malum, quod venturum erat contra Babylonem in libro uno, omnes sermones istos scriptos contra Babylonem.
61. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words,
61. Et dixit Jeremias ipsi Seraiae, Quum ingressus fueris Babylonem, et conspexeris eam, tunc leges omnes sermones istos,
62. Then shalt thou say, O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.
62. Et dices, Jehova, tu loquutus es contra locum hunc, ad excidendum ipsum, ut non sit in eo habitator, ab homine ad bestiam, quia vastationes perpetuae erit (hoc est, erit in vastationes perpetuas, vel redigetur.)
63. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:
63. Et erit quum finem feceris legendo librum hunc, alligabis ad ipsum lapidem, et projicies in medium Euphratem:
64. And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her; and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
64. Et dices, Sic mergetur Babylon, et non exurget a facie mali quod ego immitto contra eam, et volabunt (aut, fatigabunt.) Hue usque sermones Jeremiae.
Here we see, on one hand, what courage the Prophet had, who dared to command the king's messenger; for though Seraiah was a meek man, so as to render himself submissive, yet Jeremiah exposed himself to danger; for he might have been timid, though he was neither proud nor arrogant; and thus, as men are wont to do when terrified, he might have referred to the king what he had heard from the Prophet. Then Jeremiah did what we here read, not without danger; and hence appears his firmness. We then see that he was endued with the spirit of invincible courage, so as to discharge his office freely and intrepidly.
On the other hand, we have to observe not only the meekness of Seraiah, but also his piety, together with his modesty; for except he had in him a strong principle of religion, he might have adduced plausible reasons for refusing. As, then, he was so submissive, and dreaded no danger, it is evident that the real fear of God was vigorous in his soul.
And these things ought to be carefully noticed; for who of our cornfly princes can be found at this day who will close his eyes to all dangers, and resolutely disregard all adverse events, when God and his servants are to be obeyed? And then we see how pusillanimous are those who profess to be God's ambassadors, and claim to themselves the name of Pastors. As, then, teachers dare not faithfully to perform their office, so on the other hand courtly princes are so devoted to themselves and to their own prudence, that they are unwilling to undertake duties which are unpopular. On this account, then, this passage, with all its circumstances, ought to be carefully noticed.
And this also deserves to be noticed; for however courageous we may be, yet our constancy and boldness are more apparent when we have to do with men than when we are alone, and God is the only witness; for when no one sees us, we tremble; and though we may have previously appeared to have manly courage, yet when alone, fear lays hold on us. There is hardly one in a hundred who is so bold as he ought to be when God alone is witness. But shame renders us courageous and constrains us to be firm, and the vigor which is almost extinct in private is roused in public. As, then, ambition almost always rules in men, this passage ought to be carefully noticed, where the Prophet commands Seraiah to deal alone with God, and, though no mortal was present, to strengthen himself, by relying on the certain and infallible fidelity of God;
He afterwards adds,
As to the symbols by which God sealed the prophecies in former times, we have spoken elsewhere; I therefore pass them by slightly now: only we ought to bear in mind this one thing, that these signs were only temporary sacraments; for ordinary sacraments are permanent, as the holy supper and baptism. But the sign mentioned here was temporary, and referred, as they say, to a special action: it yet had the force and character of a sacrament, as to its use, the confirmation of this prophecy. Seraiah was then bidden to
The Conclusion follows,
We hence conclude that the last chapter is not included in the prophetic book of Jeremiah, but that it contains history only as far as was necessary to understand what is here taught: for it appears evident that many parts of the prophecy could not be understood without the knowledge of this history. As to the book of Lamentations, we know that it was a work distinct from the prophecies of Jeremiah: there is, then, no wonder that it has been added,
Grant, Almighty God, that Since thou hast deigned to choose us for thy people, we may not doubt but that our enemies will be before thee like Babylon, so that when thou hast chastised us, thou wilt at length, by a fatal and perpetual destruction, so lay them prostrate, that they shall rise up no more; and when thou hast killed the body, manifest thyself as our deliverer, until we shall at length be gathered into that celestial kingdom which has been prepared for us by thine only-begotten Son. -- Amen.
1 That the connection may appear more evident, Jeremiah 51:60 and the first sentence in Jeremiah 61:61 ought to be put within a parenthesis; for "the word which Jeremiah commanded Seraiah," mentioned in Jeremiah 51:59, is what follows, "When thou comest to Babylon," etc. -- Ed.
2 Literally the words are, --
For desolations of perpetuity shall it (or she) be.
Babylon is sometimes referred to as masculine, and sometimes as feminine. -- Ed.
3 Calvin takes no notice here of the verb which closes this sentence,
The emendator, Houbigant, proposes to read the word,
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