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Ezekiel 20:43

43. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.

43. Et recordabimini illic viarum vestrarum, et omnium operum vestrorum, in quibus polluti estis: et eritis excisi 295295     Or, “abominable.” — Calvin. in faciebus vestris, in cunctis sceleribus vestris quae perpetrastis.

 

Here God shows that he would at length be propitious to his elect when they repented. Thus he signifies that there was no other means of reconciliation than by the intervention of repentance. And we must carefully remark this, as I have previously mentioned. For we know with what security all men usually indulge themselves, nor are the pious themselves affected with grief sufficiently serious, when God invites them to the hope of safety and at the same time offers pardon. They embrace indeed greedily what they hear, but meanwhile they bury their sins. But God wishes us to taste his goodness, that the remembrance of our crimes should be bitter, and also that every one should judge himself that he may obtain pardon from him. Now, therefore, we understand the Prophet’s intention. We saw a similar passage in Jeremiah: this teaching occurs throughout the Prophets, there, says he, you shall remember me. The circumstance of place is to be noticed, because the Prophet means that after the elect shall have returned to God’s favor, and he shall account them as true Members of his Church, then they thought to be mindful of their former life and to repent of their sins. As if he had said, as long as God afflicts you and you remain under the tyranny of the Gentiles in exile, the sense of your evils will compel you to groan, so the remembrance of your sins should return, since, whether you will or not, their punishment will ever be before your eyes, since they would be easily persuaded that their sentence was usual and common. But he shows them that the sons of God were not only mindful of their sins, when they feel themselves chastised by him, and experience shows his hostility, but when received into favor and in the enjoyment of their inheritance, they live under God’s wings, and he cherishes them as a tender offspring: when, therefore, the faithful are treated so humanely by God, yet the Prophet shows that in their condition they ought to be mindful of their sins, and all your works in which you have been polluted, says he. He now shows to what purpose they were to be mindful. For the wicked are compelled to call their sins to remembrance when God, by forcibly turning their attention to them, draws them to consider what they desire to bury in oblivion. But it is here said, you shall be confounded in your own sight. Since the Hebrew word קוט, kot, signifies to cut off, many interpreters take it for “ye shall be cut off;” that is, you shall judge yourselves worthy of destruction among those whom God will cut off and blot out of the earth. But this seems forced. Since the same word sometimes signifies to litigate, and to become abominable, I willingly take this meaning, that they shall be abominable, or contemptible, in their own sight: that is, they shall be so ashamed, as willingly and fully to acknowledge themselves utterly disgraced. Hence Ezekiel means that the faithful should suffer voluntary disgrace, that they may glorify God by the pure and genuine confession of their shame. If any one prefers to expound it, you shall be condemned or convinced, that sense will suit well enough; but I have already brought forward what seemed more simple. For I said that this was the fruit of penitence, when we he confounded before God and are vile and despicable in our own eyes, and when we not only suffer ourselves to be condemned by others, but inwardly reflect upon our own disgrace, and so of our own accord prostrate ourselves before God. This then is the fruit of penitence, this is true humility, flowing from genuine shame. At length it follows —


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