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Lecture Twenty-Second.

WE stopped yesterday at that. clause when God asks his Prophet, whether he saw the abominations which the sons of were perpetrating in the very temple: by which words he not only cites his servant as a witness, but constitutes him in some sense a judge, so that all should know that the coating vengeance was not only just but must be immediate. This is the reason why God asks, whether he saw the abominations. For if a mortal is compelled to pass an opinion, surely God, who sees much further than the eyes of man, cannot be ignorant of their crimes, when they had come to such a pitch of obstinacy that his patience could no longer hold out. Now the adverb of place is used, which seems to be put emphatically, because he refers to the temple, from which all filth and defilements ought to be removed. Since therefore God complains that abominations were perpetrated there, he magnifies the people’s wickedness, because even the temple did not remain pure. He adds, for retreating: some refer this to the people and elicit this sense, that those who so pervert God’s worship recede from his sanctuary, because they have no longer anything in common with God. But I rather interpret it concerning God himself, who is compelled to depart from his sanctuary, as we shall afterwards see. For while they so defiled the temple with their sacrilege, they yet thought God included therein. He now renounces the temple, and says, that he left the place empty and void, because he could not bear to dwell among that sordid defilement. The meaning is, that God would depart from his temple, because the complete worship which he had commanded under the law did not flourish there. And this place is worthy of notice, because we gather from it that God could not bear the profanation of his worship, but will leave those who pervert his law by their fictions, as we see the Jews did. At this day we know how haughtily the Papists pride themselves in their figments, but the more they heap together fictitious ceremonies the more they provoke God’s anger. Hence it happens that they vainly boast that they have him in their temples, as they think. For this sentiment will ever remain fixed, that God cannot dwell in a profane place. Now nothing sanctifies a place more than obedience and sincerity of faith. When men introduce their inventions, it immediately causes God to depart from them: this is the full meaning. Now he adds, turn thyself, and thou shalt see great abominations. Some translate greater, but because a question would arise, why he calls the abomination first greater and then different, I interpret it simply that the Prophet should see other great abominations. Afterwards indeed he will express another, for he will say גדלות מאלהתועבות, gedloth-maleh-thogn-both, but in my opinion there is no comparison here between greater and less; מאלה, maleh, I simply interpret “beyond others,” and I rather approve of this simplicity, because interpreters anxiously labor to show this last abomination heavier than all others, though the reason for it does not clearly appear. But there is no need of our making these difficulties, because the Prophet only speaks of great abominations. Let us go on —

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