10. Moreover, he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.
10. Et dixit mihi, Fili hominis, omnes sermones meos quos loquor ad te sume in corde tuo, et auribus tuis audi.
11. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
11. Et vade (ingredere) ad transmigrationem, 1 ad filios populi tui, et loquere ad ipsos: et dic illis: sic dicit Dominator Iehovah, sive audiverint sire cessaverint.
This is a repetition of the same doctrine; for we said that our Prophet is more verbose than Isaiah, and even than Jeremiah, because he had accustomed himself to the form of speech which was then customary among the exiles, he is not, therefore, either so restricted or so polished; but we must understand that he accommodated his language to learners, because he had to do with a people not only rude and dull, but also obstinate. And then they had degenerated as much from the purity of their language as from that of their faith; hence the Prophet purposely bends aside from elegance of language. Whatever repetition he might use with men so dull and slothful, it was not superfluous. He says, therefore, what we have formerly seen, that he was commanded to speak all the words, but he previously says, that he was commanded to receive them in his heart, and to perceive them with his ears. The order is inverted, because we must perceive with the ear before we receive in the heart. And they philosophize with more subtlety than truth who say, that the interior hearing precedes, inasmuch as the ears are struck by the sound in vain, unless the heart was already docile. For although God prepares his elect for hearing, and gives them ears for that purpose, yet his teaching does not penetrate to their minds before it has been received by the car. There is no doubt, then, that here one thing is put before the other, by what we call a u[steron pro>teron. The result is, that; the Prophet, as he is sure of his calling, hears God speaking to him. But this was not said for his sake, but that he might securely boast himself to be a servant of God, and bring forward nothing but what he had heard from the mouth of God himself. As, therefore, in this confidence, he was to contend against the people's impiety, so he was commanded to hear the words of God. We hear, then, a repetition of what we formerly saw, namely, that the Prophet freely boasts that he did not bring forward merely windy eloquence, as profane men do, who have no other object than to obtain the applause of men.
The Prophet, therefore, here says, that he was commanded to receive the words of God in his heart. Now it is added, that he may go and proceed to the captivity, to the children of his own people. We see, then, that God does not regard the Prophet so much as the Israelites, because they had never willingly yielded to the Prophet when he brought a message by no means pleasing. For nothing could be more sad and hateful to them than to hear threats and curses. Because, then, they had never willingly bent to obedience, he is sent with a testimony that he had learnt what he uttered in God's school; then that he had so learnt from God, that he adds nothing of his own; lastly, that he so speaks, that; the obstinacy of the people is not overcome: Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, do thou nevertheless go forward. Wherefore? Thou shalt say, thus saith the Lord. We have already explained the meaning of this phrase, namely, where we are persuaded that our labor is pleasing to God, although it be useless to men, yet this ought to suffice us, that God has sent us. Then he wishes to try our constancy, lest when we see ourselves laboring in vain, we should cease on that account, instead of being prepared to obey, whatever may happen.
Grant, Almighty God, since thou art desirous that the teaching of thy Prophet should be set before us, so many ages after his death, that we be not either obdurate or rebellious; but may we submit ourselves to thee in all becoming reverence and obedience, that the labor which ended in the condemnation of thine ancient people, through their contumacy, may this day be salutary to us, and may we so follow what thou teachest through him, that we may tend to the goal to which thou callest us, until after finishing our course with perseverance, we may be at length gathered together within thy celestial kingdom, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
1 That is, to the captives. -- Calvin.
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