25. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
25. Audivi quod dicunt (vel, quid dicant,) prophetae prophetantes in nomine meo, dicendo, somniavi, somniavi.
Jeremiah returns again to those impostors who soothed the people with their blandishments. Whenever Jeremiah and those who were like him, who faithfully performed their office, treated the people with severity by reproving and threatening them for their sins, these unprincipled men rose up against, them, and under the name of prophets flattered the ungodly despisers of God. It was, as we have before said, a most grievous trial, when in the very Church itself the ministers of Satan thus falsely pretended the name of God. The Jews would have unhesitantly despised and laughed to scorn what the vain prophets of the Gentiles might have boasted; for they knew that these had no knowledge of God; but when the false prophets of whom he now speaks occupied a place in the Church, and in high terms boasted that they were God's servants, this would have greatly disturbed the weak and shaken their faith, and even wholly upset it, had not God stretched forth his hand. It is therefore no wonder that Jeremiah dwells so much on this subject; for it was an evil that could not be easily cured; had he said only, that they were not to be esteemed, the weak would not have been satisfied. It was hence necessary for him often to repeat this truth, that they were all to know that there was need of discrimination and judgment, and that those who pretended God's name were not to be indiscriminately allowed to be his prophets.
He then repeats what we have before observed, but in other words, -- I have heard, says God, what the prophets say who prophesy in my name An objection is anticipated, for it might have been said, |What can this mean? the prophets disagree! and what is to be done under these dissensions? they who differ dazzle our eyes with an illustrious title, and boldly affirm that they have been sent by God. As, then, there is such a conflict between the prophets, what are we to do?| God meets this objection, and declares that it was not unknown to him what the false prophets boasted of. He adds, that they prophesied in his name It was an offense, which must have greatly distressed weak minds, to hear of this profanation of God's name. For as it behoves us reverently to receive what proceeds from God, so it is no small danger when God's name is falsely and mendaciously pretended. As, then, they might have been greatly disturbed by this false pretext of what was good, it is here expressly said, that they had used the name of God, but he adds, falsely
We hence see the truth of what I have said, that those who affirm that they are prophets and ostentatiously pretend God's name, ought not to be received indiscriminately, but that judgment ought to be exercised; for it has been God's will in all ages to try the faith of his servants by permitting to Satan and his ministers the liberty of pretending falsely his holy name. And as we see that the Church has ever been exposed to this evil, there is no cause for us to be disturbed at this day, when the same thing happens, for it is nothing new. Let us, therefore, learn to harden ourselves against such trials; and whenever false prophets try our faith, let; us remain firm, holding this principle, -- that we ought wisely to consider, whether God himself speaks, or whether men falsely boast themselves to be his servants.
To dream is to be taken here in a good sense; for, as we have seen elsewhere, God was wont to make himself known to his servants by dreams. It is not then every kind of dreams that is to be understood here, but, such dreams as were from above. The false prophets, indeed, stated what was not true by using this language; for it was the same as though they testified that they did not bring their own devices, but faithfully related what they had received from God. As the Pope at this day declares that he is the vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, while he exercises tyranny over the Church; so also these, by a specious pretext, deceived the simple by saying that they brought nothing human, but were only witnesses as to God's oracles. It follows, --