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Commentary On Ezekiel Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Lecture Sixty-Second.

We said in yesterday's lecture, that God's Church was separated from the profane nations that he might regenerate it by his Spirit: we said also, that the Sabbath was a proof of this favor; but now a confirmation of this teaching must be added. This is easily gathered from the institution of the Sabbath, when God is said to have rested from his work on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:11, and 31:17; Deuteronomy 5:14.) Now there is no doubt that he wished to bring the faithful to imitate his example: it follows, then, that rest was enjoined upon the ancient people, that they should each rest from their works, and so conform themselves to God's example. For we are said to rest from our works when we are dead to ourselves; and allow ourselves to be governed by God's Spirit, when we live in him, and he in us. Now, therefore, we see that the grace of regeneration was promised to the ancient people when God consecrated the seventh day; and the Apostle also shows this in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he treats of the true and lawful use of the Sabbath, and refutes the gross supposition with which the Jews were imbued, that God was properly worshipped by an outward rest. (Hebrews 4:5.) he shows them that it was only an outward symbol, and that it contained a spiritual mystery. It now follows, as I lately touched on it, that the Sabbath was a sacrament, since it was a visible figure of an invisible grace. And this also is expressed with sufficient clearness by the Prophet, when he says, the Sabbath was given for a sign. By this word, therefore, he shows that regeneration was promised to the ancient people; and if I may use the expression by a visible word, since God not only spoke, but wished some symbol or pledge or mark of his promise to be perpetual. The phrase between me and you must be noticed: from which we gather that there is a mutual agreement in the sacraments, by which God binds us to himself, and we mutually pledge our faith. And hence also their foolishness is refuted who think the sacraments nothing but marks of outward separation: for if the sacraments concern only the profession of faith, it is inconsistent with the Prophet's teaching that they are a mutual and reciprocal sign, as I may express it, since God requires faith on the part of his people; and he promises in return what he witnesses and prefigures by an outward sign. It now follows --
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