19. But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
19. Et ego dixi, Quomodo ponam to in filios, et dabo tibi terram desiderii (hoc est, desiderabilem,) haereditatem cupiditatis (hoc est, quae concupiscitur,) exercitus gentium? Et dixi, Pater mi, clamabis ad me, et a me non recedes (de post me, ad verbtum, m'chry.)
It is not my purpose to mention all the expositions of this verse; but it is enough to shew what seems to be the meaning of the Prophet. Whenever I touch on opinions which I disapprove, this I feel constrained to do, because when they present the appearance of truth, readers may be deceived by them: but when the truth itself is sufficiently conspicuous, I am not disposed to spend labor in refuting the opinions of others.
What, then, the words of the Prophet mean is this, -- God here asks, How was it possible that the race of Abraham could again be propagated since it was nearly dead? The answer is, It shall be, when thou wilt call me Father, and turn not away from me The question was asked, that the Jews might feel as though their condition was past remedy. And doubtless, since they had so greatly and so obstinately provoked God by their wickedness, they might have seemed to have become wholly lost. God then assumes here the character of one filled with astonishment, as though he had said, |Ye are, indeed, in a state of despair, there is no hope of your salvation; but yet, as it is my purpose again to restore you, I wish now to find out a way, by which your race may again be propagated.| How, then, is this to be done? He shews that the only thing required was, to call him Father, not with the mouth, but really with the heart.
We now, then, perceive the meaning of the Prophet: for he humbles the Israelites by thus ascribing astonishment to God, as though it was a thing very difficult to be done; but at the same time he gives them hope, because salvation was prepared for them, provided they called on God with a sincere heart, and acknowledged him as their Father, and that perseveringly, without ever turning aside from him. In short, God intimates that the Israelites were like dead men, and that their salvation was hopeless, without a resurrection, he yet promises them salvation on this condition, -- that they called on him and did this, not with a double heart, nor by a sudden impulse, such as soon vanishes away; for he says, Thou shalt not turn aside from me; that is, |Be always obedient to me, and I will prove that I shall not be called in vain a Father by you.| It follows --