15. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
15. Qui fecit terram in virtute sua, qui statuit (alii vertunt, paravit) orbem in sapientia sua, et in sua intelligentia; extendit coelos;
16. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
16. Ad vocem dando copiam aquarum in coelis, qui attollit (et attollit, ad verbum) elevationes a fine (vel, extremitate) terrae; fulgura in pluviam facit, educit ventum de thesauris suis.
The Prophet commends here, as I have already said, in high terms, the power of God; but we must bear in mind his purpose, for abrupt sentences would be otherwise uninteresting. His object was to encourage the Jews to entertain hope; for they were not to judge of Babylon according to its splendor, which dazzled the eyes of all; nor were they to measure by their own notions what God had testified, he bids the faithful to raise all their thoughts above the world, and to behold with admiration the incomprehensible power of God, that they might not doubt but that Babylon would at length be trodden under foot; for had they fixed their eyes on that monarchy, they could have hardly believed the words of prophecy; for the Prophet spoke of things which could not be comprehended by the human mind.
We now then understand why the Prophet set forth the power of God, even that. the faithful might learn to think of something sublimer than the whole world, while contemplating the destruction of Babylon, for that would not be effected in a way usual or natural, but through the incredible power of God. The same words are also found in the tenth chapter; and the five verses we meet with here were there explained. But Jeremiah had then a different object in view, for he addressed the Jewish exiles, and bade them firmly to persevere in the worship of God: though religion was oppressed, and though the victorious Chaldeans proudly derided God, he yet bade them to stand firm in their religion, and then said,
"When ye come to Babylon, say, Cursed are all the gods who made not the heaven and the earth." (Jeremiah 10:11)
And there, indeed, he used a foreign language, and taught them to speak in the Chaldee, that they might more plainly profess that they would persevere in the worship of the only true God. He afterwards added what he now repeats, even that the power of God was not diminished, though he had chastised for a time his own people. But now, as we have said, he speaks in sublime terms of the power of God, in order that the faithful might know that what the judgment of the flesh held as impossible, could easily be done by that God who can do all things.
He says first,
He afterwards adds,
Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast deigned once to receive us under thy protection, we may learn to recumb on the power of thy hand, and that as so many terrors on every side meet us through the assaults and cruelty of our enemies, we may yet continue firm, and persevere in calling on thy name, until thou appearest as our Redeemer, not only once, but whenever we may need thy help, until thou gatherest us at length into that blessed rest, which has been prepared for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
LECTURE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY EIGHTH
IN our last Lecture, we stopped where the Prophet commends the power of God, as manifested in his ordinary works. Having previously spoken of creation, and briefly shown, that both in heaven and on earth there are many clear evidences of God's wonderful wisdom as well as of his power, he now comes to the rains and winds. We have further said, that there is a difference between a fixed order of nature and those changes which are daily observed; for were the appearance of the heavens and the earth always the same, God's power and wisdom could not appear so wonderful; but when the heavens are covered with clouds, when the air is now tranquil, and then disturbed by winds, when storms suddenly arise, and then rains follow, God thus vividly sets forth his manifold wisdom and power.
This, then, is the reason why the Prophet, after having briefly touched on what we have seen, adds, as evidences of God's power and wisdom, those things which appear to us in their various changes. He then says, that by
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