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3. Warning to Israel

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

4And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. 5For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; 6Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. 7But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. 8Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. 9As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. 10Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. 12Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place. 13 I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. 14So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.

15Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. 16And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 17Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

22And the hand of the Lord was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 23Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. 24Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. 25But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: 26And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. 27But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

Here Ezekiel confirms what I have said: whenever the faithful are frightened at the sight of God’s glory, they cannot collect their mind unless the Lord prop them up by his strength. But this state was peculiar to the Prophet, because he ought to acknowledge himself, as it were, dead when he felt the Spirit of God living and flourishing in his mind. Therefore this tends to confirm him, because the Spirit restored him from a state of death to life: therefore he says, the Spirit came In fine, as the soul gives life to the man, so the Spirit of God is a supernatural life in man. We live after the manner of men, because a virtue is implanted in our soul which has faculties of its own. For in the soul is the seat of intelligence, and the will, and the sensations, and it diffuses its vigor through all the members. But the life which souls breathe into bodies is only earthly, but the Spirit of God gives life supernaturally. And this distinction must be held, because profane men boast only in outward appearances, as they call it — that is, in outward splendor, which is nothing else but a mask: and so with all their might they celebrate free-will and our natural faculties, because they have never tasted what that supernatural life is which is here mentioned. Ezekiel indeed was filled with the Spirit of God after a peculiar manner, that he might be fit to undertake the prophetic office, but this is common to the faithful for their spiritual life.

He says next, that he was placed upon his feet, because he was lying prostrate, nor could he, as I have said, raise a finger, unless he had been raised by divine power. Afterwards he relates the command of God, which appears to be absurd. For why did God appoint Ezekiel a Prophet unless that he should apply himself to the office of teaching? But now he orders him not only to rest, but even to he concealed at home. He uses the word “concealed” as if he had said, remain at home as a captive. If he had been a private man, he had enjoyed a free passage out, but now since God enjoins upon him the prophetic office, he is held captive. But all this is opposed to his mission. But first, God wished to prove the obedience of his servant; then he wished specially to confirm his calling more and more, for this was no common confirmation, because although the Prophet excelled in singular virtue, yet he did not leap into the midst, but rested at home, and became a voluntary captive, because it so pleased God. Hence the whole people might know that the Prophet did not proceed rashly, or by any sudden impulse, because he was often mute by the command of God. Afterwards it follows —

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