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This is a repetition of the same doctrine; for we said that our Prophet is more verbose than Isaiah, and even than Jeremiah, because he had accustomed himself to the form of speech which was then customary among the exiles, he is not, therefore, either so restricted or so polished; but we must understand that he accommodated his language to learners, because he had to do with a people not only rude and dull, but also obstinate. And then they had degenerated as much from the purity of their language as from that of their faith; hence the Prophet purposely bends aside from elegance of language. Whatever repetition he might use with men so dull and slothful, it was not superfluous. He says, therefore, what we have formerly seen, that he was commanded to speak all the words, but he previously says, that he was commanded to receive them in his heart, and to perceive them with his ears The order is inverted, because we must perceive with the ear before we receive in the heart. And they philosophize with more subtlety than truth who say, that the interior hearing precedes, inasmuch as the ears are struck by the sound in vain, unless the heart was already docile. For although God prepares his elect for hearing, and gives them ears for that purpose, yet his teaching does not penetrate to their minds before it has been received by the car. There is no doubt, then, that here one thing is put before the other, by what we call a ὕστερον πρότερον The result is, that; the Prophet, as he is sure of his calling, hears God speaking to him. But this was not said for his sake, but that he might securely boast himself to be a servant of God, and bring forward nothing but what he had heard from the mouth of God himself. As, therefore, in this confidence, he was to contend against the people’s impiety, so he was commanded to hear the words of God We hear, then, a repetition of what we formerly saw, namely, that the Prophet freely boasts that he did not bring forward merely windy eloquence, as profane men do, who have no other object than to obtain the applause of men.
The Prophet, therefore, here says, that he was commanded to receive the words of God in his heart.