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9Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.

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Lastly, we gather from this passage that although the whole world should rise up against the servants of God, yet his strength would be superior, as we saw it was with Jeremiah: They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail. (Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 15:20.) Hence there is no reason why we should be afraid of the violent attack of any enemy, and although the whole world should be in a tumult, yet we need not tremble, because God’s strength in us will always be more powerful. Therefore it is added, as an adamant, harder than flint, have I placed thee; therefore do not fear them. God says I have placed the forehead of the Prophet like adamant; not that he strove with the people by either injustice or audacity, but because God opposed the confidence with which Ezekiel was endowed to the furious impudence of the people. In this sense then the forehead of the Prophet is said to be adamant Now he adds — do not fear, then, and do not be broken by their face or presence These phrases, that the Prophet be not broken, and yet fear not, seem to be opposed to each other, since he excels in unconquered fortitude. But God so tempers his favor, that the faithful always have need of excitements, even when he animates them, and supplies them with strength. God, therefore, so works within his servants, that they do nothing except as they are ruled by his Spirit; and yet they have need of his teaching, since his exhortations to them are never superfluous. Profane men think that there is no use in teaching, and that all exhortations are frivolous, if God, when he acts upon us by his Spirit, not only begins, but continues and perfects his own work. But the Scripture shows that these two things mutually agree; for while God strengthens us and renders us unconquerable by his Spirit, at the same time he breathes virtue into his exhortations, and causes them to flourish within us, and to bring forth fruit In this way God on his part confirms his Prophet, by giving him an adamantine forehead and more than stony, and by giving him an unconquered spirit, and yet he exhorts him to fear not. We see, then, how God governs his own people within them, and yet adds teaching as an instrument of his Spirit. Then he adds, because they are a rebellious house, or although they are; for the particle כי, ki, is often put adversatively, as we have said elsewhere. If we take it in its proper sense, it will suit very well, because they are a rebellious house; as if it had been said, the Prophet has no cause for fear, because he was carefully admonished beforehand, and nothing new could happen; for we are accustomed to be very much frightened by novelty; but when we have meditated on what happens, we are not disturbed, neither do we stand still nor hesitate; for although the Prophet had already learnt that the house of Israel was rebellious, yet he perseveres, because he experiences nothing new or unusual. It follows —




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