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The Vision of the Scroll


He said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. 2And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. 3He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. 4The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord G od.” 5Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them. 6And you, O mortal, do not be afraid of them, and do not be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words, and do not be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house.

8 But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you. 9I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. 10He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

Again he repeats what he had said, with but the change of a few words, yet the meaning is the same, that the Prophet should not desist in the midst of his course, if he saw that he did not obtain what he wished and hoped for. For when we apply ourselves to what God commands, we ought to be of good cheer, and expect that some fruit of our labor may appear. We may, therefore, indulge both hopes and wishes, but if it should turn out otherwise than we anticipated, yet we ought to leave the result in the hands of God, and to proceed even to the goal in the discharge of our duty. To this end this sentence tends: thou, says he, shalt utter my words, or pronounce my words, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: that is, even if you sing a song to the deaf, according to the proverb, yet you shall not cease to utter my words: and he adds the reason, because they are a rebellious house. God admonishes his servant beforehand, that there was no reason why he should turn back although he should see no fruit of his labors, because he ought to determine this in his mind, although they have no ears yet he must speak in God’s name. It is certain, as we mentioned yesterday, that there were some, though few in number, to whom his teaching was useful, but he treats here of the people at large. We must learn, therefore, when God calls us to the office of teaching, not to regard the conduct of mankind. For if it please God to exercise us while we strive with the rebellious and refractory, yet God’s word must be uttered, because he commands it. It follows —

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