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17

Therefore come out from them,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch nothing unclean;

then I will welcome you,

18

and I will be your father,

and you shall be my sons and daughters,

says the Lord Almighty.”


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17. Wherefore come out from the midst of them. This exhortation is taken from Isaiah 52:11, where the Prophet, when foretelling the deliverance, at length addresses the priests in these terms. For he makes use of a circumlocution to describe the priests, when he says, Ye that bear the vessels of the Lord, inasmuch as they had the charge of the vessels, by means of which the sacrifices, and other parts of divine worship, were performed. There can be no doubt that his design is to admonish them, that, while eagerly desirous to come forth, 621621     “Cependant qu’ils sont attendans auec ardent desir le iour de deliuerance;” — “While they are waiting with eager desire for the day of deliverance.” they should be on their guard against any contamination from the many pollutions with which the country 622622     “O — ils estoyent;” — “Where they were.” was overrun. Now this is no less applicable to us, than to the ancient Levites, for if so much purity is required on the part of the keepers of the vessels, how much more in the vessels themselves! 623623     Diodati, in his Annotations, explains the expression ye that bear the vessels of the Lord, (Isaiah 52:11,) to mean — “You sacred officers, to whom only it belongeth to carry the vessels and ornaments of the temple; and thereby are spiritually meant all believers, whereof every one beareth a vessel sacred to the Lord, viz., himself.” — Ed. Now all our members are vessels, set apart for the spiritual worship of God; we are also a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9.) Hence, as we are redeemed by the grace of God, it is befitting that we keep ourselves undefiled in respect of all uncleanness, that we may not pollute the sanctuary of God. As, however, while remaining in this world, we are nevertheless redeemed, and rescued, from the pollutions of the world, so we are not to quit life with the view of departing from all uncleanness, but must simply avoid all participation. The sum is this. “If with a true affection of the heart, we aim at the benefit of redemption, we must beware of defiling ourselves by any contamination from its pollutions.”

18. I will be a Father unto you. This promise does not occur in one passage merely, but is repeated in various instances. Paul has added it with this view, that a recognition of the great honor to which God has exalted us, might be a motive to stir us up to a more ardent desire for holiness. For when God has restored his Church which he has gathered from profane nations, their redemption is attended with this fruit, that believers are seen to be his sons and daughters It is no common honor that we are reckoned among the sons of God: it belongs to us in our turn to take care, that we do not show ourselves to be degenerate children to him. For what injury we do to God, if while we call him father, we defile ourselves with abominations of idols! Hence, the thought of the high distinction to which he has elevated us, ought to whet our desire for holiness and purity.




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