Lecture Eleventh

Jeremiah 3:4

4. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?

4. An non posthac clamabis ad me, Pater mi, dux adolescentiae meae tu es?


God, after having set forth the wickedness of his people, and severely reproved them as they deserved, now kindly invites them to repentance, Wilt thou not say to me hereafter, he says, My Father! Some incorrectly render the words, "Wilt thou say to me, My Father," as though God would reject what they said: and they give the meaning, -- that the Jews would act dishonestly in thus glorying in God's name, from whom they were so alienated. But very different is the meaning of the Prophet: for God mitigates the severity of the reproof which we have observed, and shews that he would be ready to be reconciled to them, if they repented: nay, he waits not for their repentance, but of his own accord meets and allures these perfidious apostates: "What!" says God, "shall there be no more any union between us?" For God expresses here the feeling of one grieving and lamenting, when he saw the people perishing; and he seems anxious, if possible, to restore them.

It is with this design that he asks, "Will they not again call on me as their Father and the guide of their youth?" And by this periphrastic way of speaking, he intimates that he was the husband of that people; for most tender is that love which a youth has for a young virgin in the flower of her age. God, then, makes use now of this comparison, and says, that he still remembered the love which he had manifested towards his people. In short, he shews here that pardon was ready, if the people sought reconciliation; and he confirms the same thing when he adds --