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21If, however, you warn the righteous not to sin, and they do not sin, they shall surely live, because they took warning; and you will have saved your life.

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We saw in our last lecture that the office of pastors is twofold, that they collect the dispersed sheep, and retain within the fold those whom they had gathered together. For as man’s nature is inclined to many failures, it often happens that those who have been gathered into God’s sheepfold are dispersed hither and thither, through their own infirmity, unless they are strengthened. For this reason constant admonitions are necessary; and hence God asserts that those pastors will be guilty, if though their negligence the righteous fall away. He now pursues the same sentiment, but adds another clause — but if the righteous is admonished the shepherd is guiltless The whole meaning is this, because Ezekiel had been called to the office of teaching, he ought to be intent in recalling into the way those who have erred, and also in retaining others. In the meanwhile we must observe, that those who seem to have entered on the right way are daily subject to error, unless God retains them by his servants, and urges them to go forward. Now it follows —