15. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
15. Et projiciam vos a facie mea, sicuti projeci omnes fratres vestros, totum semen Ephraim.
He concludes the former verse. The Prophet had indeed sufficiently explained himself; but this confirmation was necessary for a people so refractory. He then alleges nothing new, but only shews that there would be no defense to his own people against God's vengeance any more than to the Israelites: and hence he now calls them their brethren, as he had previously said that they were his people; for the state of the ten tribes was the same, until it had pleased God to remove the Ark of the Covenant to Mount Sion, that he might have his throne in the tribe of Judah. All the children of Abraham were indeed equal; but the Israelites were superior in number and in power. And he says, the whole seed. This is significantly added; for the Jews had with them only the half of the tribe of Manasse. The ten tribes had perished; in nothing could they exalt themselves; and they were in this respect inferior, because they were only one tribe and half, and the ten tribes were larger in number.
He calls them the seed of Ephraim, because of their first king, and also because that tribe was more illustrious than the other nine tribes. And in the Prophets Ephraim is in many places named for Israel, that is, for that second kingdom, which yet flourished more in wealth and power. We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet.
But we may hence learn this important truth, -- that God had never so bound himself to any people or place, that he was not at liberty to inflict punishment on the impiety of those who had despised his favors, or profaned them by their ingratitude and their sins. And this ought to be carefully noticed; for we see that it is an evil as it were innate in us, that we become elated and proud whenever God deals bountifully with us; for we so abuse his favors as to think that more liberty is given us, because God has bestowed on us more than on others. But there is nothing more groundless than this presumption; and yet we become thus insolent whenever God honors us with peculiar favors. Let us therefore bear in mind what is taught here by the Prophet, -- that God is ever at liberty to take vengeance on the ungodly and the ungrateful.
Hence also it appears how foolish is the boasting of the Papists; for whenever they bring against us the name of the apostolic throne, they think that God's mouth is closed; they think that all authority is to be taken away from his word. In short, they harden themselves against God, as though they had a legitimate possession, because the gospel had been once preached at Rome, and because that place was the first seat of the Church in Italy as well as in Europe. But God never favored Rome with such a privilege, nor has he said that his habitation was to be there. If the Pope and his adherents had what the Jews then possessed, (which really belonged to Mount Sion,) who could bear their fury, I say not, their pride? But we see what Jeremiah says of Mount Sion, of which yet it had been said,
|This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell,
because I have chosen it.| (Psalm 132:14)
Go now, he says, to Shiloh Now, since Shiloh and Jerusalem, and so many celebrated cities, where the gospel formerly flourished, have been taken away from us, it is not to be doubted, but that a dreadful vengeance and destruction await all those who reject the doctrine of salvation, and despise the treasure of the gospel. Since then God has shewn by so many proofs and examples that he is not bound to any places, how stupid is their madness who seek, through the mere name of an apostolic seat, to subvert all truth and all fear of God, and whatever belongs to true religion. Let us now proceed --