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49

‘Heaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool.

What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,

or what is the place of my rest?


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49. For whereas he saith, that heaven is his seat, and the earth his footstool, it must not be so understood as if he had a body, or could be divided into parts, after the manner of men; but because he is infinity, therefore he saith that he cannot be comprehended within any spaces of place; therefore, those men are deceived who esteem God or his worship according to their own nature; and because the prophet had to deal with hypocrites, he doth not only dispute about the essence of God, but also teacheth generally, that he is far unlike to men, and that he is not moved with the vain pomp of this world as they are. Here ariseth that question also, why the prophet saith that the Lord hath no place of rest in the world, whereas, notwithstanding, the Spirit affirmeth the contrary elsewhere, “This is my rest for ever,” (Psalm 132:14.) Moreover, Isaiah doth adorn the Church with this self-same title, that it is the glorious rest of God, alluding unto the temple, I answer, that when God appointed signs of his presence ill the temple, and sacrifices in times past, he did not this to the end he might settle and fasten himself and his power there; therefore, the Israelites did wickedly, who, setting their minds wholly upon the signs, did forge to themselves an earthly God. They dealt also ungodly, who under this color took to themselves liberty to sin, as if they could readily and easily pacify God with bare ceremonies. Thus doth the world use to mock God.

When God doth declare, by the external rites, that he will be present with his, that he may dwell in the midst of them, he commandeth them to lift up their minds, that they may seek him spiritually. Hypocrites, which are entangled in the world, will rather pluck God out of heaven; and whereas they have nothing but vain and bare figures, they are puffed up with such foolish confidence, that they pamper themselves in their sins carelessly, so, at this day, the Papists include Christ in the bread and wine in their imagination; that done, so soon as they have worshipped their idol with foolish worship, they vaunt and crack as if they were as holy as angels. We must diligently note these two vices, that men do superstitiously forge to themselves a carnal and worldly God which doth so come down unto them, that they remain still having their minds set upon the earth, and that they rise not up in mind to heaven. Again, they dream that God is pacified with frivolous obedience; hereby it cometh to pass, that they are besotted in the visible signs; and, secondly, that 465465     “Neglecta pietate,” neglecting a piety, omitted. they go about to bring God indebted to them after a childish manner, and with things which be nothing worth.

Now we understand in what sense the prophet saith that God hath no place of rest in the world. He would, indeed, that the temple should have been a sign and pledge of his presence, yet only to the godly, which did ascend into heaven in heart, which did worship him spiritually with pure faith; but he hath no place of rest with the superstitious, who, through their foolish inventions, tie him unto the elements of the world, or do erect unto him an earthly worship; neither yet with hypocrites, who are puffed up with drunken confidence, as if they had done their duty towards God well, after that they have played in their toys. In sum, the promise received by faith doth cause God to hear us in his temple, as if he were present to show forth his power in the sacraments; but unless we rise up unto him by faith, we shall have no presence of his. Hereby we may easily gather, that when he dwelleth amidst those that be his, he is neither tied to the earth, neither comprehended in any place, because they seek him spiritually in heaven.




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