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Lamentations 3:42

42. We have trangressed and we have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.

42. Nos peccavimus et rebelles fuimus; tu non pepercisti.

 

The faithful do not here expostulate with God, but on the contrary acknowledge that God’s severity was just. That God then had dealt with them severely, they ascribe to their own sins, This is the substance of what is said.

We hence learn that an ingenuous confession ever accompanies repentance, as also Paul teaches us, (2 Corinthians 7:11.) For when a sinner is either secure or tries to cover his wickedness, and flatters himself, as we see but a few who willingly humble themselves before God, he contracts the hardness of obstinacy. For this reason the Prophet requires confession; nay, he suggests here the words suitable to be used, when we desire to obtain pardon from God. We have done wickedly, he says, and have been rebellious The pronoun, we, is here emphatical, as though the faithful had taken on themselves the blame of all the evils, which the greater part ever sought to disown. 195195     To give the proper emphasis to the pronoun, the version ought to be as follows, —
   We, transgressed have we rebelled.

    — Ed

Here then the Prophet shews that there is no other way of being reconciled to God, than by confessing ourselves to be the authors of all our evils; and he also teaches us, that it is an evidence of true repentance, when we do not allege vain pretences as it is commonly done, nor flatter ourselves, but confess that we are guilty. He now shows that guilt ought by no means to be extenuated, so that our confession may be real and complete: but in this respect the world trifle with God. The most wicked are, indeed, ashamed to deny that they are sinners; but as they are forced to make some kind of confession, this they do lightly; and it seems an extorted confession, and is therefore jejune, or at least not complete. But the Prophet here shews that they who seek to be reconciled to God, ought not only in words to acknowledge and confess their guilt, but also ingenuously to open their hearts. Hence he connects perverseness with sin: as though he had said, “We have not sinned simply or in one way, but we have exasperated God himself; and by sinning in many ways and constantly, we have provoked him against us.” He says, in short, that there is then an access open to us to obtain favor, when we do not murmur against God nor contend with him as though he had dealt severely with us, but when we confess that he has been hard and rigid with us, because he had a reason to be so on account of our sins and wickedness. He adds, —


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