33. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
33. Quia non affligit ex corde suo, et delore afficit filios viri.
This is another confirmation of the same truth, that God takes no delight in the evils or miseries of men. It is indeed a strong mode of speaking which the Prophet adopts, but very suitable. God, we know, puts on, as it were, our form or manner, for he cannot be comprehended in his inconceivable glory by human minds. Hence it is that he transfers to himself what properly can only apply to men. God surely never acts unwillingly nor feignedly: how then is that suitable which Jeremiah declares, -- that God does
"Ye," says Christ, "who are evil,
know how to do good to your children," (Matthew 7:11;)
what then are we to expect from the very fountain of goodness? As, then, parents are not willingly angry with their children, nor handle them roughly, there is no doubt but that God never punishes men except when he is constrained. There is, as I have said, an impropriety in the expression, but it is enough to know, that God derives no pleasure from the miseries of men, as profane men say, who utter such blasphemies as these, that we are like balls with which God plays, and that we are exposed to many evils, because God wishes to have as it were, a pleasant and delectable spectacle in looking on the innumerable afflict, ions, and at length on the death of men.
That such thoughts, then, might not tempt us to unbelief, the Prophet here puts a check on us, and declares that God does
"Ah! I will take consolation from mine adversaries."
He calls them adversaries who so often provoked him by their obstinacy; yet he was led unwillingly to punish their sins, and hence he employed a particle expressive of grief, and exclaimed Ah! as a father who wishes his son to be innocent, and yet is compelled to be severe with him.
But however true this doctrine may be, taken generally, there is yet no doubt but that the Prophet here addresses only the faithful; and doubtless this privilege peculiarly belongs to God's children, as it. has been shown before. It follows, --
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