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Lamentations 1:22

22. Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

22. Veniet (aut, veniat) omnis malitia eorum in conspectum tuum, et facias illis, quemadmodum fecisti mihi super omnibus sceleribus meis; quia multa suspiria mea, et cor meum debile (vel, moestum.)

 

Here, no doubt, the faithful regarded as a part of their comfort the judgment which God would at length execute on the ungodly; and there is no doubt but that this kind of imprecation had been suggested to God’s children by the Holy Spirit, in order to sustain them when pressed down by heavy troubles; not that God gave them thus loose reins to desire vengeance on their enemies, but that while those perished who indulged their malice, the faithful might derive from their ruin a hope of deliverance; for the vengeance of God on the reprobate brings with it a token of paternal favor towards the elect.

And that we may better understand what this imprecation means, we must first bear in mind that we cannot complain of enemies, except they are also enemies to God. For should I hurt any one, and should he, impelled by wrath, vex me, there could be no access for my complaint to God, and in vain could I seek a covering from this example; why? because whenever we go before God, it is necessary, as I have said, that our enemies should be also his enemies. But, secondly, it would not be sufficient, except our zeal were also pure; for when we defend our own private cause, something excessive will necessarily be in our prayers. Let us, then, know that we are not to pronounce an imprecation on our enemies, except, first, they are God’s enemies; and, secondly, except we disregard ourselves, and plead not our own cause, but, on the contrary, undertake the cause of public safety, having laid aside all turbulent feelings; and especially, except our fervor arises from a desire to glorify God. With these qualifications, then, we may adopt the form of prayer given us here by the Prophet. But as this subject has been explained elsewhere, and often and very fully, I touch on it here but briefly.

He then says, Let all their wickedness come before thee; do to them as thou hast done to me. Here, again, the faithful take upon themselves the blame for all the evils they were suffering; for they do not expostulate with God, but pray only that he would become the judge of the whole world, in order that the ungodly might also at length have their turn, when God would be pacified towards his children. But they afterwards more clearly express that they had deserved all that they had suffered — for all my sins. Then they add, because my sighs are many and my heart is weak. We, in short, see that the faithful lay humbly their prayers before God, and at the same time confess that what they had deserved was rendered to them, only they set before God their extreme sorrow, straits, grieves, tears, and sighs. Then the way of pacifying God is, sincerely to confess that we are justly visited by his judgment, and also to lie down as it. were confounded, and at the same time to venture to look up to him, and to rely on his mercy with confidence. Now follows the second elegy, —

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