3. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
3. Si in decretis meis ambulaveritis, et praecepta mea servaveritis, et feceritis ea:
4. Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
4. Dabo pluvias vestras tempore suo, dabitque terra fructum suum, et arbores agrorum dabunt fructum suum.
5. And your thrashing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing-time; and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
5. Apprehendetque vobis tritura vindemiam, et vindemia apprehendet sementem: comedetisque panem vestrum ad saturitatem, et habitabitis confidenter in terra vestra.
6. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
6. Dabo namque pacem in terra, et dormietis, neque erit exterrens: auferamque bestias malas e terra, et gladius non transibit per terram vestram.
7. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
7. Et persequemini inimicos vestros, cadentque coram vobis gladio.
8. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
8. Persequentur quinque ex vobis centum, et centum ex vobis decem millia persequentur: et corruent inimici vestri coram vobis gladio.
9. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
9. Vertam enim me ad vos, et crescere faciam vos, atque multiplicabo vos, stabiliamque pactum meum vobiscum.
10. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
10. Et comedetis vetus inveteratum, et vetus propter novum educetis.
11. And I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.
11. Et ponam tabernaculum in medio vestri, neque abominabitur vos anima mea.
12. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
12. Ambulabo autem in medio vestri, eroque vobis in Deum, et vos eritis mihi in populum.
13. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bond-men; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
13. Ego Jehova Deus vester qui eduxi vos de terra Aegypti, ne essetis illis servi: et confregi lora jugi vestri, et incedere feci vos erecta facie.
The restriction of the recompense, which is here mentioned, to this earthly and transitory life, is a part of the elementary instruction of the Law; for, just as the spiritual grace of God was represented to the ancient people by shadows and images, so also the same principle applied also both to rewards and punishments. Reconciliation with God was represented to them by the blood of cattle; there were various forms of expiation, but all outward and visible, because their substance had not yet appeared in Christ. For the same reason, therefore, because so clear and familiar an acquaintance with eternal life, and the final resurrection, had not yet been attained by the Fathers, as now shines forth in the Gospel, God for the most part shewed forth by external proofs that He was favorably disposed to His people or offended with them. Because now-a-days God does not openly take vengeance on sins as of old, fanatics infer that He has almost changed His nature; nay, on this pretense, the Manicheans1 imagined that the God of Israel was different from ours. But this error springs from gross and disgraceful ignorance; for, by not distinguishing His different modes of dealing, they do not hesitate impiously to cut God Himself in two. The earth does not now cleave asunder to swallow up the rebellious:2 God does not now thunder from heaven as against Sodom: He does not now send fire upon wicked cities as He did in the Israelitish camp: fiery serpents are not sent forth to inflict deadly bites: in a word, such manifest instances of punishment are not daily presented before our eyes to make God terrible to us; and for this reason, because the voice of the Gospel sounds much more clearly in our ears, like the sound of a trumpet, whereby we are summoned to the heavenly tribunal of Christ. Let us then learn to tremble at that sentence, which banishes all the wicked from the kingdom of God. So, on the other hand, God does not appear, as of old, as the rewarder of His people by earthly blessings; and this because we "are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God;" because it becomes us to be conformed to our Head, and through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of heaven. Thus, the greater are the adversities that oppress us, the more cheerfully it behooves us to lift up our heads, until Christ shall gather us into the fellowship of His glory, and to pursue the course of our calling for the hope which is set before us in heaven; in a word,
"denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:12, 13.)
I admit, indeed, the truth of what Paul teaches, that "godliness" even now has "the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come," (1 Timothy 4:8;) and assuredly believers already taste on earth of that blessedness which they shall hereafter enjoy in its fullness. God also inflicts His judgments on the ungodly in order to remind us of the last judgment; but still the distinction to which I have adverted is obvious, that since God has opened to us the heavenly life in the Gospel, He now calls us directly to it, whereas He led the Fathers to it as it were by steps. For this reason Paul elsewhere teaches, that believers are afflicted in this world as
"a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which they also suffer, seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense," etc. (2 Thessalonians 1:5, 6.)
In short, let us no more wonder that the Israelites were only attracted and alarmed by temporal rewards and punishments, than that the land of Canaan was to them a symbol of their eternal inheritance, in which, nevertheless, they confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims; from whence the Apostle correctly concludes, that they desired a better country. (Genesis 47:9; Psalm 39:12; Hebrews 11:16.) And thus the wild absurdity of those is refuted, who suppose that the Fathers were contented with perishable felicity, as if God merely gorged them in a tavern.3 Still the distinction which I have noted remains, that God manifested Himself more fully as a Father and Judge by temporal blessings and punishments than since the promulgation of the Gospel.
"God's mercy (he says) shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, to length of days."7 (Psalm 23:6.)
And elsewhere, when he had said that they are happy, to whom God abundantly supplies all things (needful,8) presently adds, as if in explanation,
"Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord."
Finally, He recalls to their recollection that He had been their Deliverer, that they may assuredly gather from what was past, that the flow of His grace would be continuous, if only they themselves do run the course unto which He had called them.
1 "Through him (Manes) Christianity was to be set free from all connection with Judaism." -- Neander's Church Hist., (Rose's Transl.,) vol. 2. p. 145. "The theological error which naturally and immediately flowed from these principles, (i.e., the principles of Dualism,) was the entire rejection of the authority of the Old Testament. In respect to this question, Manes was compelled by his adoption of the oriental philosophy to reject the theosophy of the Jews." -- Waddington's Hist. of the Church, vol. 1 p. 154.
2 "Comme Core, Dathan, et Abiram." -- Fr.
3 "This discussion, which would have been most useful at any rate, has been rendered necessary by that monstrous miscreant Servetus, and some madmen of the sect of the Anabaptists, who think of the people of Israel as they would do of some herd of swine, absurdly imagining that the Lord gorged them with temporal blessings here, and gave them no hope of a blessed immortality." -- Institutes, B. 2. ch. 10. sect. 1. Cal. Soc. Trans., vol. 1. p. 501.
4 The oversight of ten for five here is scarcely worth noticing.
5 Literally, "I will turn myself to you."
6 This last sentence omitted in Fr.
7 See Margin A.V.
8 Added from Fr.