19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
19. Erit autem ut si quis non audierit verba mea quae loquetur Propheta in nomine meo, ego re-quiram ab eo.
Thus far I have reviewed The Supplements To The First Commandment, which relate to the Ancient Types and Legal Worship. The Commandment itself will always remain in force, even to the end of the world; and is given not only to the Jews, but likewise to us also. But God formerly made use of the ceremonies as temporary aids, of which, although the use has ceased, the utility still remains; because from them it more clearly appears how God is to be duly served; and the spirit of religion shines forth in them. Therefore the whole substance is contained in the precept, but in the external exercise, as it were, the form to which God bound none but His ancient people. Now follow The Political Supplements^, whereby God commands the punishments to be inflicted, if His religion shall have been violated. For political laws are not only enacted with reference to earthly affairs, in order that men should maintain mutual equity with each other, and should follow and observe what is right, but that they should exercise themselves in the veneration of God. For Plato also begins from hence, when he lays down the legitimate constitution of a republic, and calls the fear of God the preface of all laws; nor has any profane author ever existed who has not confessed that this is the principal part of a well-constituted state, that all with one consent should reverence and worship God. In this respect, indeed, the wisdom of men was at fault, that they deemed that any religion which they might prefer was to be sanctioned by laws and by punishments; yet the principle was a just one, that the whole system of law is perverted if the cultivation of piety is ignored by it.
But, whilst God commends the care and study of religion to the judge, and commands that the contempt of it should be publicly avenged, He at the same time provides against a common error, that they should not rush into severity with rash and inconsiderate zeal. For, inasmuch as the several nations, cities, and kingdoms foolishly invent their own gods, He propounds His own Law, from the regulation of which it is sinful to decline. It has been wisely forbidden by human legislators, that men should make to themselves private gods; but all this is vain unless the knowledge of the true God enlightens and directs them. Justly, therefore, does God recall His people to that doctrine which He has delivered, to the end that whosoever shall have contumaciously despised it should be punished. But, since it would be insufficient that they should be once instructed in the proper worship of God by a written law, unless daily preaching were subjoined, God expressly furnishes His prophets with authority, and denounces the punishment to be inflicted if any should violate it. He had previously said that He would raise up prophets, that the condition of His chosen people should not be worse than that of other nations; since, therefore, He had deposited with them the treasure of true religion, that they might be, as it were, its guardians, He now threatens with destruction whosoever shall refuse to obey their commands. It is plain, however, from the expression |in my name,| that He does not speak of all who may usurp the name of prophet, for it is as much as to say that they came from Him, and advanced nothing without His command. For, although many may falsely present themselves in God's name, this honorable distinction does not belong to them unless God should ratify it; but this is truly the characteristic of faithful and approved teachers, that they speak in the name of God. Thus, when Christ promises that
|where two or three are gathered in His name, there is He in the midst of them,| (Matthew 18:20,)
He does not dignify with such great honor hypocrites, who with sacrilegious audacity usurp His name; but He speaks of the reality, as will also appear more clearly from the reverse law, which follows.