40. Let us search and try our ways, and turn against the Lord.
40. Percontemur (scrutemur) vias nostras, et inquiramus, et convertamur ad Jehovam.
The Prophet now shews more clearly what the reproof meant which we shortly explained yesterday: he said that men act absurdly while they weary themselves in their sins; he now adds that they would do rightly if they inquired into their own life, and faithfully examined themselves.
For hence is trouble and weariness, when men feel and deplore their outward evils, but consider not the cause, that is, when they consider not that they are justly chastised by God's hand. Then the examination now mentioned is set in opposition to the torpor and weariness with which men in vain torment themselves, and in which they pine away, because they reflect not on their vices. Hence it is that they attain nothing but weariness -- and that is a sorrow to death, as Paul says; but sorrow to life proceeds from the self-examination to which the Prophet now invites and exhorts us.
He then says that the only true remedy in adversities is when men carefully examine themselves, and consider what they deserve. 1 He also mentions conversion; for they who are really touched with the fear of God do not stop at this examination, but rise higher; for as God calls them back to the right way, when they acknowledge that they have departed from him, they flee to his mercy, loathe themselves on account of their vices, and seek after newness of life. Thus our Prophet prescribes to us a certain order, -- that we are to examine our whole life, and that, being influenced by the fear of God, we are to return to him; for while he treats us with severity, he still kindly invites us by ever offering to sinners a free pardon. He afterwards adds, --
1 The words literally rendered are very expressive, --
Let us uncover our ways, and search.
The cover was first to be stripped off, and then was a search to be made as to the character of their ways. -- Ed.
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