Saturday, June 10th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Malachi 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ malachi-1.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Malachi 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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Mal 1:1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
Ver. 1. The burden ] That is, the burdenous prophecy (as Tremellius renders it): a burden, as, 1. Enjoined and imposed upon the prophet to utter, to cry aloud and not spare, to lift up his voice as a trumpet, &c., straining every vein in his heart to do it; declaiming lustily against sin and sinners, and proclaiming hell-fire for them in case they amend not. This is a business of some burden, onus ipsis etiam Angelis tremendum. This was typified in the staffrings that were made to continue upon the ark; the Kohathites’ shoulders felt wherefore. If God had not helped those Levites they could never have borne the ark, 1 Chronicles 15:26 . St Paul was very sensible of the ministerial burden rolling upon him daily, 2 Corinthians 11:28 . And Latimer leaped when lighted of his bishopric. 2. As burdening the people with their sins, and breathing out threatenings for the same; for sin (how lightly soever accounted of) hales hell at the heels of it, and procures Divine vengeance, which is a burden unsupportable. It brake the angels’ backs, and made the Son of God groan piteously then when he "bare our sins in his body on the tree," 1 Peter 2:24 . His soul was heavy therewith even to death; and had he not had the better shoulders, had not God laid help on one that was mighty (even the mighty strong God, as he is styled, Isa 6:6 ), he had fainted and failed under his burden. David complains that his sins were gone over his head, and, like a sore burden, were too heavy for him to bear, Psalms 38:4 . That which comforted him was, that no sooner he had said Peccavi, I have sinned, but the prophet Nathan said, Transtulit Deus peccatum tuum, 2 Samuel 12:13 , God hath translated thy sin upon Christ, hath caused thy sin to pass over to him, and (as it were) by a writ of removal, hath cast thy burden upon his shoulders. And this incomparable mercy David afterwards celebrateth, Psalms 32:4-5 "For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me"; the guilt of sin and sense of wrath quelled him and killed him almost; for his natural moisture was turned into drought of summer; he was turned into a very skeleton, or a bag of bones, a bottle of smoke, woefully wanzed he was, and wasted. But for remedy, "I acknowledged my sin unto thee," I fled by faith to the true scape goat, Christ Jesus, on whom was laid as a burden the iniquity of us all, Isa 53:6 Romans 5:8 , and thou presently forgavest the iniquity of my sin, that is, the guilt of it, that till then lay like a load upon my conscience, and, as an obligation, bound me over to condign punishment. Cain, for want of this comfort, ran roaring up and down, my sin, that is, my punishment "is greater than I can bear," Genesis 4:13 . And a far better man than Cain (even holy Job, with whom God was but in jest, as it were) cries out that his calamity was "heavier than the sand of the sea," Job 6:3 , and that "yet his stroke was heavier than his groaning," Job 23:2 . Those that have ever felt the masery of a laden conscience can tell what an evil and bitter thing sin is, Jeremiah 2:19 . Those that now run away with it, and make as light of it as Samson did of the gate of Gaza, shall one day groan out, woe and alas, when God shall set himself to load them with tortures in hell who do now load him with their sins, and weary him out with their iniquities, Isaiah 43:24 . For prevention, oh that they would be persuaded to believe the prophets, that their souls might prosper; to be sensible of sin’s burden, that Christ might ease them; to take upon them his burden, which is onus sine onere, and would be no more burden to them than the wings are to the bird, whereby he is borne aloft; that they would imitate porters, who being called and offered money to bear a burden, will poise it and weigh it in their hands first, which when they see they are not able to stand under, no gain will entice them to undertake it. Do we provoke the Lord to anger? are we stronger than he? Is it not a fearful thing to fall into the punishing hands of the living God? Hebrews 10:31 . Is the wrath of a king as the roaring of a lion, as the messengers of death? surely they that tremble not in hearing shall be crushed in pieces in feeling, as that martyr (Bradford) said, and let all those scoffers that make children’s play of God’s dreadful menaces, (as St Peter’s word εμπαικται , 2 Peter 3:3 , importeth), that, leviathan-like, esteem God’s iron as straw, Job 41:27 ; that read his prophetic burdens as they do the old stories of foreign wars, or as they behold the wounds and blood in picture or piece of arras, a which never makes them smart or fear; let all these, I say, read and ruminate that flaming place, Jeremiah 23:33 ; Jeremiah 23:37 , and let them know, that if they belong to God he will cripple their iron sinews by the sense of their many and massy or bony sins, Amos 5:12 . As if otherwise, he will fall upon them with his full weight, and grind them to powder, Matthew 21:24 . Cavete; cavebitis autem si pavebitis. Beware, you shall beware if you are terrified.
To Israel ] The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with those few of the ten tribes that returned among them from the Babylonish captivity: These, though we never find them again going a whoring after idols, the sin that they had paid so dear for, and had now bought their wit, yet forgetful of former both beatings and benefits, as children are, they soon returned to their old flagitious practices of polygamy, blasphemy, sacrilege, defilement of divine worship, unlawful marriages; and so had lost in a manner the fruit of their sufferings, putting God to his old complaint, Why should ye be smitten any more, &c., and causing him to sigh out, as even sick of them, "Ah, sinful nation," "Reprobate silver shall men call them," Isaiah 1:4 Jeremiah 6:30 .
By Malachi ] Heb. By the hand of Malachi, i.e. by his mouth and ministry. Hand is put for mouth by a catachresis; b because the hand is the instrument of instruments, as saith the philosopher, οργανον οργανων . See the like Exodus 9:35 Numbers 4:37 ; Num 4:45 Isaiah 8:11 . One expositor noteth here, that this expression, by the hand, is used to teach us that prophets and ministers must preach not with their tongues only, but with their hands too; lest they be found in number of those Pharisees that say, but do not, that bind heavy burdens, and hard to be borne, upon other men’s shoulders, but they themselves touch them not with one of their fingers, Matthew 23:3-4 . Let our hands also preach as well as our tongues, ne dico factis deficientibus erubescant, as Tertullian speaketh, lest talking by the talent and working by the ounce, our hands give our tongues the lie.
By Malachi ] i.e. Mine angel, or, an angelic man. Not a heavenly angel, as Origen held; nor as told and taught by an angel how to deliver and deport himself in his office; like as when the Bathcol, or voice from heaven, came to Christ, John 12:28 , the people that stood by and heard it said that it thundered, others said, an angel spake to him, John 12:29 . But either he was so called by his parents at his birth and circumcision (as Angelus Politianus and others), or else so surnamed by the good people of those times; as whose disposition, communication, conversation, countenance, and whole carriage were angelic. Chrysostom, for like cause, calleth Paul Angelum terrestrem, an earthly angel. And the author to the Hebrews, speaking of those faithful martyrs that lived and suffered soon after Malachi’s time, he saith, "Of whom the world was not worthy," Hebrews 11:38 , meaning that they were fitter to be set as angels in heaven, to be fixed in the region of happiness, to shine full fair upon the celestial shelf (as that martyr said), than to abide here among sinners. Chrysostom, in his 55th Homily upon Matthew, calleth certain religious men of his time angels, for their sanctimony and celestial conversation. And Dr Taylor, martyr, blessed God that ever he came in company with that angel of God, John Bradford.
a A rich tapestry fabric, in which figures and scenes are woven in colours. ŒD
b Improper use of words; application of a term to a thing which it does not properly denote; abuse or perversion of a trope or metaphor. ŒD
Mal 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
Ver. 2. I have loved you, saith the Lord ] Thou hast loved us (might they reply) while we were willing and obedient. Thou lovest them that love thee, Proverbs 8:17 "and showeth mercy to thousands of them that love thee, and keep thy commandments,"Exodus 20:6; Exodus 20:6 ; but now "thou hast utterly rejected us: thou art very wroth against us," Lamentations 5:22 . Nay, saith God, I do love you, so Tremellius renders this text: I am Jehovah, "I change not," Malachi 3:6 . I do rest in my love, and will seek no further, Zephaniah 3:17 . Surely "Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts: though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel," Jeremiah 51:5 . Thus it was before the captivity. But how after? See Zechariah 1:17 . The Lord had professed before that he had been sore displeased with their fathers, Zechariah 1:2 , and it appears, Zechariah 1:3-4 , they were no better than their fathers; all which notwithstanding, see a sweet promise, Zechariah 1:17 "Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad, and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem." There are four "yets" in the text, and all very gracious ones; to show that the fulness of sin in us doth not abate the fulness of love in God towards his people. And the same in effect is thankfully acknowledged by those holy Levites at their solemn fast, held much about the time of our prophet Malachi, Nehemiah, where they make a catalogue of the many fruits and expressions of God’s love to themselves and their fathers. Besides extraordinary favours not a few, he gave them good laws, Nehemiah 9:13 , good sabbaths, Nehemiah 9:14 , his good spirit to instruct them, Nehemiah 9:20 . He forsook them not when they dealt proudly against him, Nehemiah 9:16-17 , but crowned them with outward comforts, Nehemiah 9:21 ; Nehemiah 9:25 , afflicted them when they provoked him, Nehemiah 9:26-27 , sent them saviours when they cried to him, Nehemiah 9:27 , after often revolts was often entreated, Nehemiah 9:28 , withheld his worst and consuming judgments for a long time, Nehemiah 9:30-31 . And was there not love in all this? Might not God well say, I have loved you? Ribera thinks there is an aposiopesis a in the words, as if God would have said more; but very grief breaks off his speech, out of a deep sense of their detestable ingratitude. David hath such an abrupt expression, Psalms 116:1 , I love, because the Lord hath heard my voice. Such a pang, such a passion he felt, that he was not able to say, I love the Lord, but I love, and so breaks off abruptly. The like whereunto may here be conceived of God; who cannot endure to have his love lost, his grace undervalued, as it was by these obstreperous questionists, who put him to his proof, as those did Jeremiah 2:25 .
Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? ] Their recent captivity and calamity so stuck still in their stomachs, that they could not see wherein he had showed them any love. But had they considered Daniel’s weeks they might have known that (besides their free election, all blessings flowing therefrom, as Dan 9:3-5 ), for their seventy years’ captivity, they had seven seventies of years granted them afterwards for the comfortable enjoyment of their own country. Sed ingrato quod donatur, deperditur, But for ingratitude which was forgiven, he is utterly destroyed, saith Seneca. And Amare non redamantem est amoris impendia perdere, saith Jerome. All is lost that is laid out upon an unthankful people, who devour God’s best blessings as brute beasts their prey, haunch them up and swallow them, as swine do swill; bury them, as the barren earth doth the seed; use them as homely as Rachel did her father’s gods, which she laid among the litter, and sat upon; yea, fighting against God with his own weapons (mercies, I mean), as Jehu did against Jehoram with his own messengers, as David did against Goliath with his own sword, as Benhadad against Ahab with that life that he had given him; as if God had hired them to be wicked, &c.
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?] Did they not both tumble in a belly? were they not both dug out of the same pit, hewn out of the same rock? Isaiah 51:1 ; and yet, as the Great Turk and his brethren, born of the same parents, the eldest is destined to a diadem, the rest to a halter, so here Esau, though the elder and heir, was rejected, at least he was less loved (for so the word hated is to be taken, Gen 29:31 Luk 14:20 Mat 10:37 ). Jacob, though the younger and weaker (for Esau was born a manly child, born with a beard, as some think, and was therefore called Esau, that is, Factus et perfectus pilis, a man already, rather than a babe), yet was God’s beloved one. And so were his posterity too the people of God’s choice, above the Edomites; who were now left in captivity at Babylon, when as the Jews were returned into their own country; yea, for the Jews’ sakes and as a testimony of God’s love to them, were these Edomites still held captives, and their land irreparably ruined because they showed themselves merciless and bloody in the day of Jerusalem’s calamity, Oba 1:10-11 Psalms 137:7 . God had charged the Israelites, saying, "Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother," Deuteronomy 23:7 ; but as Esau began betime to persecute Jacob, bristling at him, and bruising him in their mother’s womb, Genesis 25:22 , so his posterity were bitter enemies to the Church, joying in her misery, and joining with her enemies, wherefore thus saith the Lord God, "I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it," Ezekiel 25:13-14 .
Yet I loved Jacob ] And preordained him to a crown that never fadeth, as Paul expoundeth this text, Romans 9:13 , of election to eternal life, which is the sweetest and surest seal of God’s love. Let us secure our election, and so God’s special love to our souls, by those infallible marks, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . First, belief of the truth, that articularity and propriety of assurance Secondly, sanctfficahon of the Spirit, unto the obedience of truth. And as God loved Jacob’s person, so he loved his posterity, the Israelites, above all other people; not because they were more in number, or better in disposition, ex meliore luto, &c.; out of better clay, but "because the Lord loved you, therefore he set his love upon you, and chose you," saith Moses, Deuteronomy 7:7-8 : the ground of his love was wholly in himself; there being nothing in man, nothing out of God’s self, that can primarily move and incline the eternal, immutable, and omnipotent will of God. The true original and first motive of his love to his creature is the good pleasure of his will. See Ephesians 1:5 , where all the four causes of election are showed to be without us.
a A rhetorical artifice, in which the speaker comes to a sudden halt, as if unable or unwilling to proceed. ŒD
Mal 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Ver. 3. And I hated Esau ] i.e. I loved him not as I did Jacob; I passed him by, and let him alone, to perish in his corruption and for his sin. And for his posterity, whereas they were carried captives by Nebuchadnezzar (as Israel also was), I have not turned again their captivity, but laid their land desolate; rased and harassed their cities and castles, made them a habitation of dragons and devils; and all this as an argument of my deep hatred and utter detestation of them. True it is, that Judea lay utterly waste during the seventy years of their captivity; the land kept her sabbaths, resting from tillage. Upon the slaughter of Gedaliah all the Jews that were left in the land fled to Egypt: and God kept the place empty, and free from the invasion of foreigners, until the return of the natives out of Babylon. Now it was far otherwise with Idumea, the desolation whereof is here described to be both total and perpetual, according to that foretold by Ezekiel 35:7 ; Ezekiel 35:15 , O mount Seir, I will make thee to be most desolate, or (as the Hebrew hath it, emphatically and eloquently) wasteness, and wasteness extreme and irrecoverable. A πανολεθρια , or utter, ruin, befell that country, being part of Arabia Petrea (hence mention of their mountains), and abounding naturally with serpents, or dragons; it being in the wilderness of this country of Edom where the Israelites were so stung with these fiery serpents, Numbers 21:6 : hence it became afterwards a very den of dragons lurking there.
Mal 1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
Ver. 4. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished ] Or, thrust out of house and home, and reduced to extreme indigence; yet we will return, and build the desolate places. We will do it all, despite di Deo (as that profane pope said), if it be but to cross God’s prediction, and to withstand his power and providence. Thus these earthen pots will be dashing themselves against the rocks, against those mountains of brass (so God’s immutable decrees are called, Zec 6:1 ). Thus Lamech will have the odds of God seventy to seven (so Junius interprets it), Genesis 4:24 . Thus, when God had threatened to root out Ahab and his posterity, he would try that; and to prevent it, took more wives, and so followed the work of generation, that he left seventy sons behind him, 2 Kings 10:1 . Thus Pharaoh (that sturdy rebel) holds out against God to the utmost, and sends away his servant Moses, threatening death to him, even then when he was compassed on all hands with that palpable darkness. Thus the Philistine princes (while sore plagued) gather themselves together again against the humbling Israelites at Mizpeh; and so run to meet their bane, 1 Samuel 7:10 . Thus the proud Ephraimites, Isaiah 9:10 . The bricks indeed, say they, are fallen down, but we will build it again with hewn stones. The wild fig trees are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Thus the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, Luke 7:30 , yea, would needs be found fighters against God, as Gamaliel truly told them, Acts 5:39 . Thus those primitive persecutors would needs attempt to root our Christian religion; the Jews, by the leave and help of Julian, to despite the Christians, would rebuild their city and temple, but were hindered from heaven. Otho, the Emperor, would make the city of Rome his imperial seat (which was long before pointed and painted out for the nest of antichrist), but could not effect it. The Jesuits would fain heal the beast’s wounded head, and re-establish their kingdom of idolatry, but this they must never look for. Christ shall reign, and all his foes shall be his footstool: the Romish Edomites shall come to ruin.
Thus saith the Lord, They shall build, but I will throw down ] Ruit alto a culmine Roma, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen"; her downfall is sure, sore, and sudden; Versa eris in cineres quasi nunquam Roma fuisses, said Sibylla of old. And there was something surely in that which we have read, that when the wars began in Germany, A. D. 1610, a great brass image of the apostle Peter (that had Tu es Petrus, &c., fairly imbossed upon it) standing in St Peter’s church at Rome, there was a great and massive stone fell down upon it, and so shattered it to pieces, that not a letter of all that sentence (whereon Rome founds her claim) was left whole so as to be read; saving that one piece of that sentence, Aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, I will build my Church, which was left fair and entire. Surely when Popish mountains and monasteries shall be desolated and demolished, when the Pope (who was wont to say that he could never want money as long as he was able to hold a pen in his hand) shall be miserably impoverished, and his Euphrates of revenues dried up, Revelation 16:12 , the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be set above all the mountains, and the Lord Christ alone shall reign in glory; he shall "overturn, overturn, overturn," all anti-christian power and policy, Ezekiel 21:27 , he will utterly destroy those crows’ nests (as Henry VIII called the religious houses that he pulled down), ne iterum ad cohabitandum convolent, lest those unclean birds should build again (Sanderus).
They shall build, but I will destroy ] It is the Lord, then, that both plants and pulls up kingdoms, nations, and peoples; that makes and destroys states, public or private, at his pleasure: they are all in his hand and done by him, and fall not out by any fortune, or fatal revolution and vicissitude, Dan 2:21 Luke 1:52 .
And they shall call them, The border of wickedness ] Chiefly for their insulting over the people of God in their affliction, Obadiah 1:10 . That wicked one, the Pope, is grossly guilty of this Edomitish inhumanity. What feasting and sending of gifts was there when the two witnesses were slain! What joy and jollity when the Waldenses (those ancient Protestants) were worsted in battle! What processions and bonfires at Rome upon the news of the Parisian massacre! Thuanus tells us, that the Pope caused it to be painted in his palace; and that the Cardinal of Lorrain gave him that brought the first tidings of it to Rome thirty thousand crowns for a reward. I do the rather parallel the Edomites and Romists, because the Rabbis usually by Edom understand Rome, and the Thargum renders "O daughter of Edom," Lamentations 4:21 , thus: Romi Reshignah, O wicked Rome, which is answerable to this in the text, The border of wickedness, that is, the land of wickedness, haply called the border, or limit, as the non ultra of impiety, of unparalleled impiety: or else because men shall only come to the bounds and borders; and standing there aloof off, as abhorring to go farther, shall as it were point and say, Ah, wicked, Ah, wicked place, Terra de diables, as the Spaniards call one country in America, or the mouth of hell, as another place is named. Philip of Macedonia assembled all the infamous and wicked persons into a certain city of Thracia, and then called it Poneropolis. Italy is at this day little better: a second Sodom. M. Ascham, Queen Elizabeth’s tutor, was but seven days in Venice, but he saw more wickedness there than he had seen in seven years in London. As for Rome (that Radix omnium malorum ), that once faithful city is now become a harlot; yea, the great harlot, Revelation 17:5 , yea, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, Revelation 17:5 , tota est iam Roma lupanar (Petrarch), it is turned into a great brothel house, the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, Revelation 18:2 . Bethel is become Bethaven; the house of God, the border of wickedness; Har-hamishcah is become Har-hamaschith, the mount of unction, the mount of corruption, 2 Kings 23:13 "What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?" Micah 1:5 .
And, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation ] The people of God’s wrath, Isaiah 10:6 , and of his curse (so Idumea is called), Isaiah 34:5 . And such a people was Amalek, with whom God (laid his hand upon his throne, and) swore that he would have perpetual war for their ill usage of his Israel, Exodus 17:16 . He charged also his people never to forget them, Deuteronomy 25:19 . Neither did they: Saul was sent to make an utter end of them, 1 Samuel 15:1-3 . And wherein he failed in doing it, God stirred up the Simeonites in Hezekiah’s days to smite the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, 1 Chronicles 4:42-43 . The like judgment whereunto is befallen the Edomites long since: their very name is extinct, no memory of them being in posterity. The destiny of Doeg, their countryman, is come upon them, Psalms 52:5 , God hath beaten them down for ever: he hath taken them away, and plucked them out of their dwellingplace, and rooted them out of the land of the living. Selah. It is ill angering the Ancient of days. His wrath lasts longer than the coals of juniper, Psalms 120:4 ; his judgments are severe and durable, as we use to say of winter; they never rot in the sky, but shall fall; if late, yet surely, yet seasonably. He that saith, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," repayeth often times when we have forgiven, when we have forgotten; and calls to reckoning after our discharges, as he did Nabal. It is dangerous offending any favourite of him who can have (as here) indignation for ever; whose wrath and revenge is (as that of the Athenians is said to be) αειμνηστος , everlasting, whose destructions are perpetual.
Mal 1:5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
Ver. 5. And your eyes shall see ] "The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him," and say, "Lo, this is the man," &c., said David of Doeg the Edomite, Psalms 52:7 . And the same is here promised by God to his people as a pledge of his love, and a special privilege: others should hiss at Edom, and say by way of byword, "This is the border of wickedness," &c., but the saints should make more of it (a bee can suck honey out of a flower, so cannot a fly), they should busy their eyes, and regard the work of the Lord; yea, they should so consider the operation of his hand, as to say sensibly, "Let the Lord be magnified. Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place," Isa 5:12 Psa 35:27 Ezekiel 3:12 . God hath delivered me out of all trouble, saith David, and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies. The Edomites stood looking on and laughing at the Israelites’ destruction, Obadiah 1:12-13 . God saw this, and it displeased him (as he is wondrously sensible of the least indignity done to his people); he therefore pays them home in their own coin, and promiseth his Israel that they shall rejoice when they see the vengeance, they shall wash their feet in the blood of these wicked ones; become more cautious by their just destruction, Psalms 58:10 . Learn we hence, First, to have our eyes open upon the judgments of God, whether general or personal; that nothing of this nature pass our observation, lest we incur the curse denounced, Isaiah 5:12 , and be made examples to others, because we would not be warned by the example of others. Lege historiam ne fiat historia. Sodom and Gomorrah are thrown forth (as St Jude hath it) for an example; suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. And Herodotus saith, that the ruins and rubbish of Troy are set forth for an example of this rule, that national sins bring national plagues, and that God greatly punisheth great offences. Ingentia, beneficia, flagitia, supplicia. Let him that looketh upon me learn to fear God. Eμε τις ορεων ευσεβης εστω . These words were engraven upon the standing picture of Sennacherib (after that God had by an angel slain his army, and sent him back with shame to his own country), as the same Herodotus testifieth.
Secondly, learn we how far forth we may look upon the overthrow of the wicked with delight: viz. not as our own private, but as God’s professed enemies; not simply as their ruin, but as it is a clearing of God’s glory, and of our integrity, Psalms 9:16 1 Samuel 25:39 ; not out of private revenge, but pure zeal for God and his cause. I say pure zeal; for it is difficult to kindle and keep quick the fire of zeal without all smoke of sinister and self-respect.
And ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified, &c. ] Or, The Lord hath magnified himself, i.e. hath declared himself mightily to be a great King above all gods, by executing judgment upon these grandees of the earth, and making out, that "In the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them," Exodus 18:11 . Hence it is that "praise waiteth for God in Zion, his name is great in Israel." He is sent unto (as sometime Joab sent to David, 2 Samuel 12:28 , to come and take the city of Rabbah), to take the glory of all their deliverances and victories. Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, say they, but to thy name be the praise. Hunniades would not own or accept the people’s applauses and acclamations, but ascribed all to God. So did our Henry V at the battle of Agincourt, where he won the day. He would not admit his broken crown or bruised armour to be borne before him in show (which are the usual ensign of warlike triumphs). He also gave strait order that no ballad or song should be made or sung, more than of thanksgiving to the Lord for his happy victory and safe return, &c. So our Edward III after his victory at Poictiers, (where he took the French king prisoner, A. D. 1356), took speedy order by Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury, that eight days together should be spent in magnifying the Lord from the border of England.
From the borders of Israel ] Or, from beyond the borders of Israel; viz., throughout the wide world. The saints have large hearts, and could give the Lord much more praise and service then they have for him. They would praise him infinitely, and according to his excellent greatness; filling up the distance, as it were, and calling in all the help they can get, of angels, men, unreasonable and insensible creatures, as David did, Psalms 145:2 ; Psalms 48:10 ; Psalms 103:20 .
Mal 1:6 A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Ver. 6. A son honoureth his father ] Heb. Will honour his father. Nature teacheth him this lesson, to reverence his father. Pater est, si pater non esset, said the young man in Terence; It is my father, I must not cross him. Our parents are our household gods, said another heathen, Yεοι εφεστιοι (Hierocl.), and to have all possible respect from us. To God and our parents, saith Aristotle, we can never make recompense. There is no nation so barbarous that acknowledgeth not this natural axiom, A son must honour his father, and a servant his master; as Eliezar did Abraham; the centurion’s servants him, by being at his beck and call in all things. Servus est nomen officii, A servant is not one who moveth absolutely of himself; but he is the master’s instrument, and wholly his, saith Aristotle, και ολος αυτου , and therefore oweth him all love, reverence, and obedience, as if he were many masters in one: the word here used for master is plural. Now from this principle in nature thus laid down, the Lord tacitly accuseth them:
First, Of ingratitude for his great love to them, evinced and evidenced in the former verses.
Secondly, Of contempt cast upon him and his service; as appeareth, first by the application of that natural law confirmed by the custom of all countries.
If then I be a father, &c. ] As you commonly call me, and claim me, Jer 3:4 John 8:41 "We have one Father, even God." And you have been long since taught so to do by Moses, and told by what right I come to be your Father, though with an exprobration of your detestable undutifulness, Deuteronomy 32:6 "Do ye thus requite the Lord?" Is not he thy father (and is not he by the same right and reason thy master too?) that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established or preserved thee? Hath he not (more than all that) adopted and accepted thee so for his child; begetting thee again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 , unless thou be still in thy sins, than the which thou canst not choose unto thyself a worse condition? All which considered, what more equal than that I should have both love from thee as a father and fear as a master? A mixture of both is required of all God’s children and servants, that they yield unto him an amicable fear and a reverent love, that they look at once upon his bounty and severity, Romans 11:11 , and so call God Father, that they spend the whole time of their sojourning here in fear, 1 Peter 1:17 ; that they fear God and his goodness, and Jacob-like, when they see nothing but visions of love and mercy, as he did at Bethel, yet then to cry out, "How dreadful is this place! There is mercy with thee, that then mayest be feared," Psalms 130:4 .
Unto you, O priests ] Whom I look upon as the chief of my children, given me in lieu of Israel’s firstborn, the lot of mine own inheritance, that stand ever before me, and should by soundness of doctrine and holiness of life vindicate my name from contempt, and get me honour before the people. Singular holiness is required of ministers above others; a double spirit they had need to wish for, as Elisha. Things in the sanctuary were double to those that were common; as the shekel, cubit, &c. Ministers are called angels, and they must walk as angels, ne sit nomen inane crimen immane, lest God renew his old complaint, "The leaders of his people have caused them to err," Isaiah 9:16 . It was the complaint of Pope Pius II that there was no notorious wickedness committed in the Catholic Church, cuius prima origo a sacerdotibus non dependent, the first beginning whereof arose not from churchmen. John Huss cries out of the priests of his time, Multa quae illi ordinem dicunt, &c. Many of these things that they call by the name of order have brought all things in Christendom out of order. Cornelius a Lapide, upon this text, in his Popish way, bewaileth it, that the ignorance and profaneness of many of their priests had given occasion to Luther’s heresy to spread the further. We also have no less cause to complain that the insufficiency and impiety of some of our ministry hath opened the black mouth of Campian and his Popish accomplices, to bark out, Ministris eorum nihil villus, their ministers are very base. For prevention, let the souls of ministers be purer than the sunbeams, as Chrysostom saith they should be; and let their lives be so unblameable that no man may speak the least evil of them without a manifest lie, &c.
That despise my name ] This is the crime they are directly and expressly charged with. They had not honoured God as a father, feared him as a master; therefore they had despised and slighted him. Not to do God right is to do him wrong; not to reverence him is to rob him; not to bless him is to blaspheme him, Job 1:5 . That is an excellent saying of Fulgentius, Deum si quis parum metuit, valde contemnit; huius, qui non memorat beneficentiam, auger iniuriam; i.e. whoso feareth God but a little slights him overmuch; and he that maketh not honourable mention of his bounty doth him a great deal of injury. The very not serving of God, the not sacrificing to him, is a crime, Mal 3:18 Ecclesiastes 9:2 . How much more, then, a slubbered service, a corrupt sacrifice! There is a contempt in this latter which is worse than a bare neglect; and displeasing service is double dishonour. Hence the present contest with those greasy priests that despised God’s name: the Septuagint hath it, Ye that esteem my name at a low rate, οι φαυλιζοντις το ονομα μου , that misprise it (as the French translateth it), that have base and bald conceits of me and of my nomen maiestativum, majestic name (as Tertullian termeth it), that take me not into your hearts under the name and notion of an infinite highness, the great and mighty Maker and Monarch of the whole world. Our safest eloquence concerning God is our silence, saith Hooker. But if we take in hand to say anything of him, Nullis vocibus tam plene Deum significamus (saith learned Scaliger), quam iis quae ignorantiam nostrum praetendunt, we can set forth God so fully by no words as by those that set forth our ignorance of his excellence. The very heathens, when they would swear by their Jupiter, out of the mere dread and reverence of his name, forbare to mention him. The Jews would not pronounce the name Jehovah, here used in the text. The first among the Christians that pronounced Jehovah was Petrus Galatinus, following the pronunciation of the Syriacs and Greeks. If at any time we take God’s holy and reverend name into our thoughts, Psalms 111:9 (and truly we should think of him almost at every breath we draw, according to that "Let every breath praise the Lord," Psa 150:6 ), remember to think of God as of one at all to be thought of; as one whose wisdom is his justice, whose justice is his power, whose power is his mercy, and all himself, good without quality, great without quantity, everlasting without time, omnipresent without place, containing all things without extent, &c. This is to magnify God, to make room for him in our hearts, and the contrary is to despise his name.
And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? ] Lo, the impudence of these frontless hypocrites. They traverse their accusation, stand upon their justification, and put God to his proofs. How ordinary is it with people still to palliate their sins and plead their innocence! Hosea 12:8 "In all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin," that were a foul businness. But men have learned to draw a fair gloss upon a foul hand, to cast a colour, as the calf fish doth, to deceive the fisherman; to hide their sins, as Adam, Job 31:33 , by downright denial, as did Cain, Gehazi, Ananias, and Sapphira, Genesis 4:9 2Ki 5:25 Acts 5:8 ; or else by excusing and extenuating, as Saul, 1 Samuel 15:20-21 ; or at least by a senseless silence, not acknowledging their sins, or being affected with them; but rather outfacing, as Judas, Joh 13:21 cf. Matthew 26:23 . Sin and shifting came into the world together, and so they continue. Satan knows there is no way to purge the sick soul but upwards; therefore he holds the lips close, that the heart may not disburden itself, and have ease, Proverbs 28:13 .
Mal 1:7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] contemptible.
Ver. 7. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar ] Bread, that is, sacrifices and oblations (so Rabbi David expounds it out of Leviticus 21:6 ; Lev 3:3 Num 28:2 ); for the Hebrews call all kind of meat by the name of bread, though it be flesh of ox, lamb, or goat, offered in sacrifice to God, whom they made account that they feasted in their sacrifices. Hence that of the Psalmist in the person of God, "Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" Psalms 50:13 . Now the bread was reckoned polluted when it was neither lawful nor acceptable, but prohibited, and therefore abhorred, as much, every whit, as Ezekiel’s bread prepared with man’s dung, Ezekiel 4:13 , of which he saith, Ezekiel 4:14 "Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted; neither ever came there abominable flesh into my mouth." What sacrifices God had flatly forbidden, see Leviticus 22:20-22 , &c. Take we heed that we despite not the Lord with seeming honours: we pollute him with our sacrifices, while either for the matter for them we resent him with will worship; as those of old that sacrificed their children (in a foolish imitation of Abraham’s offering his son Isaac), and the Papists at this day in their unbloody sacrifice for the living and the dead, and many other unwarranted fopperies. Or else, when for the manner devotion is placed more in the massy materiality of the outward works than purity of the heart, from which they proceed. This made God complain, Isaiah that all his five senses, nay, his very soul, was offended and vexed at their hypocritical performances, Isaiah 1:11-15 , their very incense, that precious perfume, that was made up of so many sweet spices and pure frankincense, stank in his nostrils. God’s sharp nose easily discerns, and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented, and perfumed with shows of holiness. Never did the five cities of the plain send up such poisonous vapours to God as the prayers and other performances of a corrupt and carnal person. And God, not able to abide these ill scents, sends down upon such a counterpoison of fire and brimstone. Good actions from bad men displease: as a man may speak good words, but we cannot hear them, because of his stinking breath; sad as we abhor to taste of a dainty dish if brought to table by a foul nasty sloven, that hath been tumbling in a jakes or wallowing in a quagmire. The very heathens, as they were very curious in the choice of their sacrifices, that they were every way sound and of the best, so they carefully shut out all profane persons; Procul hinc este profani, the priest cried out τις τηδε , who is here. those that were present at the sacrifice answered, πολλοι τ αγαθοι τε παρεισι , here are many, and those all good men. And hence it was that Jehu sees and searches that no servant of Jehovah be crept into the throng of Baal’s worshippers. Well might this search have bred suspicion, were it not that in all those idolatrous sacrifices the first care was to avoid the profane. Even Baal will admit no mixture: how should the true God abide it? Let all Cainists take heed how they draw nigh to him: so Luther calleth offerentes non personam, sed opus personae, all those that offer to God the work done, but do not offer themselves withal. We may fitly call those also Cainists that offer polluted bread, as if God’s table were contemptible; that think anything good enough for God that comes next hand, as Cain did, when Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, and so offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, God testifying of his gifts, Genesis 4:4 Hebrews 11:4 ; as likewise Christ did of Mary’s spikenard of great price, defending her against Judas, the thief, that held it waste; whereas he secretly taxeth those rich wretches of baseness, who cast their brass money into the treasury χαλκον , Mark 12:41 , as holding the worst piece they had good enough for God and his poor. Surely Papists, with their vowed presents for the very best they have to their he-saints and she-saints; and Turks, with their mosques or temples stately built, when their private houses are low and homely; shall rise up in judgment and condemn such sordid Christians, as cannot give God the best of the best. Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, appointed that their sacrifices should be chosen and selected εκκριτα ειρεια , that the sacrificers should purify themselves some days before, and that none should serve God obiter, in passing, slightly and slenderly, but in all best manner, and with the best preparation they could make beforehand, οικαθεν παρασκευασμενοι . Numa Pompilius, King of the Romans would not have them worship their gods, παρεργψ και αμελως , for fashion and dissolutely; but freed from all other cares and cumbers, σχολην αγοντας απο των αλλων : in the time of Divine service the priests, to prevent distraction, cried out often to the people, Hoc agite, mind the business you are about. So in the primitive times of the Church, the deacons called often upon the people, Sursum corda, Lift up your hearts. And again, Oremus, attendamus, Let us pray, let us attend. For what reason? Prayer without attention and hearing without attention is as a body without a soul. This sentence is written in Hebrew upon the walls of the Jewish synagogues, et si nullibi minus intentionis sit quam in ipsorum precibus, &c., saith mine author, though there is as little true devotion to be seen among them in their services as among any people, unless it be among the Papists, of whom perhaps they learned it, whose devotions are prized more by tale than by weight of zeal, whose holiness is the very outward mark itself, being a brainless head and soulless body. In the isle of Sardinia, as they give way, in the very time of their mass, to vain talking and toying and tumults, so after mass done, they fall to dancing in the midst of the Church, singing in the mean time songs too immodest for an ale house. Henry III, King of France, processiones religiosas non intermittit, at tepidius celebrat, saith the Chronicler, would not neglect their religious processions, but showed little devotion at them. For between him and his cardinal there went at the same time a jester, whose work was to make sport then, when the business required greater seriousness. How much better the Great Turk, who, when he comes into his temple, lays aside all his state, and hath none to attend him but a professor of their law, whose office is to proclaim, before they begin, that nothing be done against religion!
And ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? ] They well understood that by offering polluted sacrifices they polluted God himself (as much as in them lay), and that the dishonour done to God’s service reflected upon himself, and was a despising of his name, Malachi 1:6 , whereof his true worship is a part, Micah 4:5 1Ki 5:3 ; 1 Kings 5:5 . Hence they say not, wherein have we polluted thine altar? but "wherein have we polluted thee?" This is much more done under the New Testament by all unworthy communicants, and unhallowed worshippers, that present the great God with dough baked duties, slubbered services, careless and customary performances which they turn over as a task, holding a certain daily stint of them, as malt horses do their pace: or mill horses their round, merely out of form and for fashion’ sake. These do enough to pollute the God of purity, and to cast contempt upon him from the sons of men; who will be apt to conclude that he is a contemptible God, since he will be content to take up with such contemptible sacrifices and services. But more especially those that come hand over head and without due preparation to the Lord’s supper are guilty of polluting God’s holy things, and of crucifying afresh the Lord of glory, putting him to an open shame. Dum enim sacramenta violantur, ipse cuius sunt Sacramenta, violatur said Jerome. When the sacraments are violated he also, whose the sacraments are, is no less violated. And as these in the text are said to pollute God, in that they offered polluted sacrifices, though they never touched God himself so unworthy receivers are guilty of the Lord’s body and blood, 1 Corinthians 11:27 , although they never touched either his body or blood with their impure mouths. They are as very kill Christs as Judas was in a proportion; and look whatsoever blasphemies, irrisions, scorns, contumelies, reproaches, the miscreant Jews belched forth and practised corporally against Christ the same are spiritually repeated and reiterated by the unworthy receiver; who polluteth the very outward elements that he toucheth, and so offereth indignity to Christ, whom they represent. Like as he that doth rend, deface, trample under foot and villanously abuse the image, seal, or letter patent of a prince or state, is guilty of high treason; so is it here. The Donatists that cast the holy elements to dogs, did it to the disgrace of Christ; and by a just judgment from him were themselves afterwards devoured of dogs Dr Morton reports a story of his own knowledge of one Booth, a Bachelor of Arts, in St John’s College in Cambridge, who, being Popishly at fected, at the time of the communion took the consecrated bread, and forbearing to eat it, conveyed and kept it closely for a time, and afterwards threw it over the college wall. But a short time after, not enduring the torment of his guilty conscience, he threw himself headlong over the battlements of the chapel; and some few hours after ended his life. God seemeth to say of every one that cometh to the supper of his Son, as sometimes Solomon said of Adonijah, "If he will show himself a worthy man, there shall not a hair of him fall to the earth; but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die," 1 Kings 1:52 .
In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible ] God’s infinite patience in vouchsafing not only to reply to these malapert priests, but thus to rejoin, and to approve the assumption of the last syllogism, which they so shamelessly denied, is much to be admired. How justly might he have answered them with blows instead of arguments; and have dealt with them as he did with Pharaoh, that sturdy rebel, that proudly asked, "Who is the Lord?" Hereunto God made a large reply by a great many plagues, one after another, till Pharaoh was forced to answer himself, "The Lord is righteous, but I and my people are wicked." And as God’s patience appeareth in his proceeding with these priests in the text, so his wisdom too, in his thus instancing in particulars of their sins, that he might the sooner evict them, and bring them to a saving sense and sight thereof. Thus he dealt by our first parents in Paradise; and afterwards by Cain. Whereas, without any more ado, the Lord God said unto the serpent, "Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou," &c., Genesis 3:14 . He was not so much as questioned, or convinced, because God meant him no mercy; but presently doomed, because of mere malice he had offended.
Ye have said ] i.e. Ye have thought, as Psalms 32:5 ; Psalms 30:7 ; and as good ye might have spoken out; for I hear the language of your hearts; I understand your thoughts long before, or at a great distance, Psalms 139:2 .
The table of the Lord ] That is, the altar of burnt offerings, see Ezekiel 41:22 , which is therefore called a table, because by their sacrifices God did as it were feast the Lord, as is above noted. And as God prepared the Israelites a "table in the wilderness," so they also in a sense prepared him a table: hence Moses tells Pharaoh, that they must go to keep a feast to the Lord, Exodus 5:1 . And how God accepted of their kindness, see Hosea 9:10 . I found Israel, saith he, like grapes in the wilderness; which, to a wearied, parched traveller, how welcome are they! And how the good soul still entertaineth her Christ, as Esther once did Ahasuerus at the banquet of wine, is sweetly set forth in many passages of Solomon’s Song. See Malachi 1:12 . See Trapp on " Mal 1:12 "
Is contemptible ] Or, lightly set by. Some are poor, and cannot; others are profane, and care not to cover God’s altar with their sacrifices. Hence the whole ministry is slighted, because impoverished. For ad tenuitatem beneficiorum, necessario sequitur contemptus sacerdotum, Lean benefices make contemptible incumbents; and Nil habet infelix paupertas, &c. (Horat.), Poverty rendereth men ridiculous. Or thus, The table of the Lord is contemptible, so they esteemed it, because the fat and blood poured upon the altar were things but base and despicable in themselves; and they considered not for what end God had appointed these sacrifices, and how they were to be led to Christ by them. For the ceremonial law was or ought to have been their gospel, it was Christ in figure. And this, if these buzzards had seen, they would never have counted the "table of the Lord contemptible"; as holding forth the Lord Christ unto them, that pearl of price, who is better than rubies; and the altar or table, that typified him, or presented him to his people, was not an oysterboard, as the Papists in King Edward VI’s time scornfully termed our communion table; but far more precious than either that rich table sent by Ptolemy Philadelphus to Eleazar, the Jews’ high priest, or that costly communion table, that had in it all the riches of land and sea, offered up by Justinian, in the temple of Sophia, in Constantinople.
Mal 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, [is it] not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
Ver. 8. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, &c. ] Their profaneness in polluting God’s altar is here further evinced and evidenced: 1. By the illegality of their practice, while they offered the blind and lame as good enough for such a contemptible altar. 2. By the incivility and indecency thereof; while they presented that to the Emperor of the world, that they would have been ashamed or afraid to present to some petty prince, that had any power to punish such an affront. The law for sacrifices see Lev 22:20 Deuteronomy 15:21 . A blind sacrifice he offereth who worshippeth he knoweth not what, John 4:22 , that is, to seek, and grope in the dark, Acts 17:27 , when they yield not the obedience of faith, bring not to God an intelligible, reasonable service, such as whereof they can render a sound reason out of the word of God, Romans 12:1 ; who binds us not to any blind obedience, as the Popish padres do their novices. And yet the most people are to this day woefully to seek for the warrant for their worships; resting on that old Popish rule, to follow the drove, and believe as the Church believes. As at Ephesus, so in our Church assemblies, "the more part knew not wherefore they were come together," Acts 19:32 . They will say in general, to serve God. But who he is, how to be served, wherein and in whom to be served, they know not. There is in a printed sermon a memorable story of an old man, over sixty, who lived and died in a parish where there had been preaching almost all his time. This man was a constant hearer as any might be, and seemed forward in the love of the word. On his death bed, being questioned by a minister touching his faith and hope in God, he made these strange answers. Being demanded what he thought of God? he answered that he was a good old man. And what of Christ? that he was a towardly young youth. And of his soul, that it was a great bone in his body. And what should become of his soul after he was dead? That if he had done well, he should be put into a pleasant green meadow. These answers astonished those that were present to think how it were possible for a man of good understanding, and one that in his days had heard at the least two or three thousand sermons; yet upon his death bed in serious manner thus to deliver his opinion, in such main points of religion, which infants and sucklings should not be ignorant of. But we may be sure this man is not alone; there be many hundreds whose grey hairs show they have had time enough to learn more wit, who yet are in case to be set to their A B C again for their admirable simplicity in matters of religion. Blind they are, and blind sacrifices they offer; never once opening their eyes till death, if then, as Pliny reporteth of the mole; but always rooting and digging in the earth, as if through the bowels of it they would dig themselves a new way to hell.
Is it not evil? ] Or, as some read it, It is not evil, q.d. it is good enough, and may serve turn well enough. Or thus, It is not evil in your opinion, who, rather than you would lose any gain, say, Melius est ill quam Nil (it is Osiander’s rhyme), better that which is ill and bad than nothing at all. But they which count all good fish that comes to not, will in the end catch the devil and all. The sense is much clearer in the interrogative, "Is it not evil?" It is, it is; and therefore studiously to be declined and avoided as poison in your food, or a serpent in your way. "Abstain from all appearance of evi!," saith that great apostle, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 ; how much more from all apparent evils, such as stare you in the face, and are so directly contrary to the plain word of God! Such are sins with an accent, wickedness with a witness, great transgressions, Psalms 19:13 .
And if ye offer the lame and languishing ] He offers the lame that brings his sacrifice with a wicked mind, Proverbs 21:27 , as Balak and Balaam did, Numbers 23:1-2 ; that walks not evenly before the Lord, and with an upright foot, Genesis 17:1 ; that halts between two opinions, as the people did, 1 Kings 18:21 , inter coelum terramque penduli, hanging between heaven and earth, as meteors, uncertain whether to hang or fall. Such were Ecebolus, Baldwin, Spalatensis, Erasmus αμφιβιος . Cyprian calleth such ancipites, palpatores temporum, in levitate tantum constantes, doubtful minded men. St James, James 1:8 , calleth them "double minded men, unstable in all their ways," as he is that stands on one leg, or as a bowl upon a smooth table. But what said that martyr? If God be God, follow him; if the mass be God, let him that will see it hear it, and be present at it, and go to the devil with it, but let him do what he doth with all his heart. God cannot abide these neuter passives ("I would thou wert either hot or cold," Rev 3:15 ). He requires to be served truly, that there be no halting, and totally, that there be no halving. To halt between two opinions, to hang in suspense, to be in religion as idle beggars are in their way, ready to go which way soever the staff falleth, how hateful is it! When some took Christ for John Baptist, some for Elias, some for Jeremiah, "But whom say you that I am?" said our Saviour; to teach us that Christ hates to have men stand doubtful and adhere to nothing certainly; to have them as mills, fit to be driven about by the devil with every wind of doctrine; or, as hunting dogs between two hares, running as soon after this, as soon after that; and so losing both. This for point of judgment; and, for matter of practice, the soul is well carried when neither so becalmed that it moves not when it should, nor yet tossed with tempests to move disorderly. A wise man’s course is of one colour, like itself; he is homo quadratus, a square stone set into the spiritual building, 1 Peter 2:7 ; he is semper idem, as Joseph was; no changeling, but one and the same at all places and estates of life: his feet stand in an even place (as David’s did, Psa 26:12 ), that is, in an equal tenor. Uniformity and ubiquity of obedience are sure signs of his sincerity; when godliness runs through his whole life, as the woof runs through the warp. But "the legs of the lame are not equal," saith Solomon, Proverbs 26:7 . The hypocrite’s life is a crooked life, he turneth aside to his crooked ways, saith David, Psalms 125:5 , as the crab fish goes backwards; or, as the planets, though hurried from east to west, yet, by a retrograde motion of their own, steal their passage from west to east. It is a crooked life when all the parts of the line of a man’s life be not straight before God; when he lifteth not "up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; and maketh straight paths for his feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; and not rather healed," and rectified: or set to rights, as the apostle’s word signifieth Hebrews 12:12-13 , ανορθωσατε . That is a sick soul that is not right set for heaven; and that is a gasping devotion, a languishing sacrifice that leaneth not upon Christ, and that is not quickened by his spirit, fitly called by the apostle, a spirit "of power, and of love, and of sound mind," 2 Timothy 1:7 . Surely as a rotten rag hath no strength, so an unsound mind hath no power to do aught that may please God Frustra nititur qui Christo non innititur, saith a father. He loseth his labour that leaneth not upon Christ (who is the power of God and the wisdom of God), that leaneth not wholly upon him, but will needs have one leg upon the earth and the other upon the water, as that angel in the Revelation; one foot upon the solid ground and the other upon a quagmire; that rest upon Christ but as a part Saviour, as Papists; or trust to him, as the apricot tree that leaneth against the wall, but it is fast rooted in the earth; so some seem to lean upon Christ in their performances, but are rooted, meanwhile, in the world, in pride, filthiness. Or, lastly, as the ivy, which though it clasp about the oak and draweth much from it, yet brings forth all its berries by virtue of its own root. Thus hypocrites also offer sacrifice, but it is a sick sacrifice, because it is from themselves and in themselves; they do all in their own strength, that is, in their own weakness. For our "strength is to sit still," Isaiah 30:7 , and to work ourselves into the Rock of ages. "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength," Isaiah 26:4 . The blind and the lame Jebusites, when they had secured themselves in the stronghold of Zion, insulted over David, as if he could not come in thither, though he did his utmost to get in to them; the very blind and lame there enclosed should be able to withstand him. But both their hold and their hope deceived them. "Nevertheless," saith the text, "David took the stronghold of Zion: the same is the city of David," 2 Samuel 5:6-7 . But they that get into the rock Christ Jesus shall never be visited by evil, nor disappointed in their hopes ( Deo confisi nunquam confusi ); but of weak they shall be made strong, Hebrews 11:34 , able to present their bodies a lively, not a languishing, sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, Romans 12:16 ; they shall do all things through Christ which strengtheneth them, Philippians 4:13 .
Offer it now unto thy governor ] Be it but some petty provincial president, some duke of Venice, or despot of Servia. Jacob can tell that the lord of Egypt will look for a present; and therefore biddeth his sons take of the best in the land in their vessels, and carry the man a present, a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds, of every good thing somewhat, though it were the less, Genesis 43:11 ; for to do much it was not in the power of their hands; but see that it be of the best, saith he. The poor Persian that met Artaxerxes with a handful of water out of the river Cyrus, went away well rewarded. So did the gardener that presented the Duke of Burgundy with a rape-root, because it was the best they were able to do. Likewise, the Almighty takes anything well aworth from those that are willing indeed, but, alas, not able to bring a better present. Vow and perform (saith he) unto the Lord your God: bring presents unto him, that ought to be feared, Psalms 76:11 . Say not, I fear to present, because I have nothing worthy of him. Send a lamb to the ruler of the earth, Isaiah 16:1 . Or, if thou hast not a lamb, offer a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons; but see they be young, and that thy lamb be the best in thy fold, and it shall be accepted. Every man cannot do as Solomon did, at the dedication of the temple; when he offered twenty-two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep, 1 Kings 8:63 ; or as great Alexander, whom Pliny reporteth, that in his childhood, when he threw incense upon the altar in great plenty, his schoolmaster checked him for so doing; and bade him sacrifice on that sort when he had conquered the incense bearing countries, and not till then. Alexander, when he had subdued Arabia, remembered his schoolmaster, and presented him with a ship laden with frankincense; largely exhorting him to spare for no cost when he sacrificed to the gods. But no man must come before the Lord empty handed; if it be but a handful or two of flour, or a grain or two of salt, Leviticus 5:6 ; Leviticus 5:11-12 ; Leviticus 14:30-31 . So the Athenians thought the gods would be well pleased with a poor man, if he offered but meal; especially if he could mingle it with oil and wine; for they held that every man was bound to bring his best, and not to be base in saving charges in this case. Hence it was that when the famous artificer Phidias advised them to make the statue of Minerva rather of marble than of ivory, 1. Because it was more durable: this passed with allowance. 2. Because less chargeable: at the mention hereof with infinite indignation they commanded him silence. Their meat offerings were to be sound and without blemish, whether it were an ox, sheep, goat, swine, calf. The more wealthy did cast frankincense on the altars; and, in their blind devotion, thought they could hardly over do in honour of their dunghill deities. What, then, shall become of those base wretches among us, that think everything too good for God, too much for his ministers? that study to beat down the price of heaven, and will not deal except they may have it underfoot?
Will he be pleased with thee ] I think not. The Vulgate renders it, Si placuerit, &c. If it please him, or if he accept thy person: q.d. then let me never be believed. But the other reading is better, and more agreeable to the original.
Or accept thy person? ] Heb. Accept thy face, that whore’s forehead of thine, hatched with so much impudence, that thou darest bring him a worse present, when thou hast a better at hand, but holdest it too good for him. Araunah, though a subject, yet, as a king, he gave unto the king oxen for sacrifice, and threshing instruments for wood, 2 Samuel 24:23 . And although David accepted his courtesy, but not his cost, yet God hath crowned him and chronicled him for his munificence, Zechariah 9:7 . Ekron, that is, the barbarous people of Palestine, shall be as the Jebusite, that is, as this famous Jebusite Araunah, a proselyte, a true convert, as appeared by his ready parting with his freehold to God, and the best that he had to his prince. Let all those that look for acceptance in heaven honour the Lord with the prime of their age, with the choice of their days (as the Hebrew hath it, Ecc 12:1 ), with the primrose of their childhood, with the best of their time, and of their talents; and not unworthily and woefully waste and cast away the fat and marrow, the flower of their age, the strength of their bodies, the vigour of their spirits, in sinful pleasures and sensual delights, in pursuing their fleshly lusts that hale hell at the heels of them. Will they give the devil the best, and then think to serve God with the dregs, the bottom, the snuff, the very last sands, their extreme dotage, that themselves and their friends are weary of? Surely, God takes no pleasure to pledge the devil, or drink the snuffs that he hath left. If men reserve the dregs of their days for him, he will likewise reserve the dregs of his wrath for them. He will put them over to the gods whom they had chosen, as Judges 10:14 , and make them to know the worth of his good acceptance by the want of it. He that should set before his prince a dish of meat that had been half eaten before by hogs or dogs, would he not be punished with all severity? What, then, shall become of those that serve God with the devil’s leavings? that sacrifice to themselves, as Sejanus did (Dio in Tiberio); that serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, as those seducers, Romans 16:17-18 ; that say to God, Depart from us, and to the devil, Reign thou over us, that are serious at his work, Mighty in God’s?
Mal 1:9 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
Ver. 9. And now I pray you, beseech God ] Heb. Weary God with your prayers, press him till he be even sick of you; improve your uttermost interest in him, if, at least, you have any. Pray hard, if ye can, at least; for all men cannot pray; wicked men are gagged by the devil; and their character is, They call not upon God. They may cant or chatter out a charm when God’s chastening is upon them, yea, be with child, as it were, of a prayer, and yet bring forth nothing better than wind, Isaiah 26:16-18 . In prosperity they may have some few short winded wishes, as Balaam (Satan’s boggie man) had; yea, they may by strength of wit or memory devise a handsome prayer, and seem to set it forth with much life, that they may pass for men of parts and gifts: but will the hypocrite pray always? Job 27:10 ; will he persevere in prayer when God seems to cast out his prayers, and to multiply his crosses? will he not rather curse in that case, as Job’s wife, and Micah’s mother? will he not howl against heaven, as the wolf when hunger bitten? and as the parrot, when beaten, leave imitating man, and turn to his own natural harsh voice? But say that wicked men do (Joab-like) run to the horns of God’s altar when in distress or danger; say they roar out a confession when they are upon the rack (as Pharaoh), and call for good prayers; say they seek him with their sacrifices, as Israel did, - when he slew them, then they sought unto him, Hos 6:6 Psalms 78:34 , and made their voices to be heard on high, as the prisoner at the bar, as the hog under the knife, as a bull in a net; say they weary out God with their many words, as those sacrificing Sodomites, Isaiah 1:11 , and those hypocrites in the Gospel, that hoped to be heard for their much babbling, Matthew 6:7 ; yet all this is but the prayer of the flesh for ease, and not of the spirit for grace; it is but the fruit of sinful self-love, to rid themselves of God’s rod, or to still the noise of their consciences, or out of a vain hope to stop God’s judgments. And hence it is that they miscarry, that they pray to so little purpose (as here is hinted), and that they are not a button the better for all their long prayers. For either God answers them not at all, he hath no respect to their sacrifices (which was Cain’s and Saul’s unhappiness. The Philistines were upon him, and God was departed from him), or else he answers them according to the idols of their hearts, bitter answers; or, if better, it is but as he answered the Israelites’ importunity for a king, for a scourge to them and for quails to choke them: Deus saepe dat iratus quod negat propitius, God often gives that in anger which he denies in mercy. If it were otherwise, the devil should have received mercy from God, when, upon his suit, he was suffered to enter into the swine. Let our chief and constant petition, therefore, be in all our addresses to God, that
he would be gracious unto us ] that he would cast a loving aspect upon us, that whatever else he deny us, grain, wine, yet that he would lift up the light of his countenance upon us. This David preferred before his crown and sceptre. He had a crown of gold, but he valued not that in comparison of that other crown, Psalms 103:4 "he crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." Hence St Paul, having himself obtained mercy, beginneth and concludeth all his epistles with wishes of grace, mercy, and peace; as not knowing what better to wish those whom he wished best unto. This was Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael, Oh that he might live in thy sight, that is, be joint-heir of the promise of grace with Isaac. God answers, several dukes shall come of Ishmael, but with Isaac (as a token of special grace) will I make my covenant. This was also Joseph’s prayer for Benjamin, Genesis 43:29 "God be gracious unto thee, my son." This the priests were appointed to pray for, as a blessing upon the people, Numbers 6:24-25 "The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee." And hereunto the prophet seems to allude in this text, q.d. you are the Lord’s priests, and your office is to preach and pray, Deuteronomy 33:10 "They shall teach Jacob, they shall put incense before thee." Show now what ye can do in a time of necessity: Beseech the Lord that he would be gracious unto us. This is the main, the mother blessing, that comprehends all the rest. Every man seeks the face of the ruler, Proverbs 29:26 "I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king"; q.d. that is better to me than all the land thou hast given me, said that crafty flatterer Ziba, 2 Samuel 16:4 . How much more is the grace of God to be preferred before all outward blessings whatsoever! "The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion," saith the Psalmist, Psalms 134:3 , intimating that blessings out of Zion are above all the blessings beside that heaven and earth can yield us. What is the air without light? What was Haman the better for all his honours, when the king frowned upon him? How can a wicked man be happy, though wealthy, so long as God is his enemy? As that father speaks of Ahab; he describes him sitting in his ivory palace in the time of the three years’ famine in Samaria; he had gold, silver, and jewels in every place; but what good did all that when the heaven was brass above, and the earth iron beneath? Cry, therefore, as those in Zechariah, Grace, grace unto us; pray for ourselves and others, as David did for Ittai the Gittite, mercy and truth be with thee, 2 Samuel 15:20 . Stir we up ourselves to take hold of God, and to get of him Gaius’s prosperity, dona throni, soul blessings, and such as accompany salvation. Jesus Christ, when he came into the world, brought grace and truth with him, John 1:17 . And God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing our sins, but stretching out to us the golden sceptre of his grace. Get in to him, therefore: till this be done, though thou shouldest spend thy time in gathering up pearls and jewels, thou art an undone creature.
This hath been by your means ] Heb. From your hand, q.d. You priests have effected it, and are in fault about it. It is long of you that I and my service are so slighted, as hath been before demonstrated, you have caused the people to abhor the offering, 1 Samuel 2:17 ; you should have better instructed the people in their duties, and not have suffered them so to pollute mine altar with their carrion sacrifices; and if God reject your prayers, as here, and even curse your blessings, as Malachi 2:2 , and curse your seed, Malachi 1:3 , you have to thank yourselves. All this is by your means. Accept, therefore, of the chastisement of your iniquity, leave quarrelling, and lay the blame of all where it should be; wash you, make you clean, &c. For till then will he regard your persons? will he receive you to favour, and hear your prayer? or will he think the better of you for your office and dignity of priesthood? No, sure, but the worse; for, sedes prima et vita ima, the highest place and the basest life agree not. Dignitas in indigno est ornamentum in luto, even royalty without righteousness is but eminent dishonour; and men of mark are therefore the worse, because they should have been better. Height of place ever adds two wings to sin, example and scandal, whereby it soars higher, and flies much further. If the sun be eclipsed and obscured, a thousand eyes gaze upon it; a lesser star may be darkened, and none take notice. A small flaw is noticed and noted in a jewel; a small spot in a swan; not so in a swine. One fly may corrupt a box of precious ointment; when a hundred flies in a tar barrel do no harm to it.
Mal 1:10 Who [is there] even among you that would shut the doors [for nought]? neither do ye kindle [fire] on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
Ver. 10. Who is there among you that would shut the doors ] To be a doorkeeper in God’s house, to have any the lowest employment about him, David (though destined to a diadem) looked upon as a high preferment. Those Nethinims, mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah, were none other but the Gibeonites, who were made drawers of water to the temple, as a kind of punishment. God, who is a liberal paymaster, made this cross a mercy. Their employment, so near the house of God, gave them fit occasion to be partakers of the things of God. The Lord did wonderfully both reward and honour them. So he did all others, though but porters, that had any office about his house. "Know ye not," saith Paul, "that they which minister about holy things live with the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar" (though but to kindle a fire upon it) "are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel," 1 Corinthians 9:18 ; 1 Corinthians 9:14 ; should have, if not tithes, as they had, yet honorary stipends, double honour, 1 Timothy 5:17 , duplex, id est, multiplex (Calvin), as Isa 40:1-2 Jeremiah 17:18 . Or, double, comparatively, to that of widows indeed, 1 Timothy 5:3 , which yet was honourable maintenance, Et ex publico alebantur. The priests of the Old Testament were plentifully provided for by tithes and other revenues appointed them by God. True it is, that in the captivity little commodity was made of the priesthood; whereupon some priests, who had married themselves into the noble family of Barzillai, took scorn to be in the priest’s register, but called themselves after the family of their wives. Now after the return to Babylon the priesthood grew into some gain and grace again; and then those degenerate priests would fain have thrust in among the priests of the Lord; but the Tirshatha would not suffer them, Ezra 2:62 . Howbeit, those priests that had stuck to their offices, and been faithful in them, did not serve God on freecost; neither was he behindhand or in arrears with any of them, as appears by this text; but as they did their work, so they had their wages. God put into the heart of good Nehemiah to take order that these tithes were duly paid in to the treasurers for that purpose appointed, Nehemiah 13:10-11 . What reason had these priests, therefore, to be so gripple and greedy of filthy lucre, as to take such lame and lean sacrifices of the people, for if fat and good, to change them for the worse ones among their own, as holding anything good enough for God? which, because they did,
I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hands ] I care not for your persons, I respect not your performances. The Lord had respect, first to Abel, and then to his offering, Gen 4:4 Psalms 4:3 "But know" (saith David, to those that abused him) "that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself"; and this he makes the ground why his prayer should be heard. The blood of a swine may look better and brighter than the blood of a sheep; yet might it not be offered unto the Lord, because it was of a swine. Sordet in conspectu iudicis, quod fulget in conspectu operantis. A piece of wood may shine in the night from its rottenness; and that be fair in the sight of men that is abomination before God, Luke 16:15 . The swan was rejected for sacrifice because of his black skin, notwithstanding his fair feather, Leviticus 11:18 . The wicked man’s incense stinks of the hand that offereth it; and all his devotion is but a beautiful abomination. There is in Lombard this sentence quoted out of Augustine, Omnis vita infidelium peccatum est: et nihil bonum sine summo bono The whole life of unbelievers is sin, neither is there any good without the chiefest good. Ambrose Spiera, the expositor, saith, Crudelis est illa sententia, This is a cruel sentence. But saith not the holy Scripture the very same in effect? Proverbs 15:8 Heb 11:6 John 15:5 . What though Papists talk much of Opus operatum? and teach that good works, by whomsoever performed, are accepted of the Lord, as justice in an atheist is a good and acceptable work to him? St James assures us that it is "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man" only, and of one reconciled to God, that "availeth much," James 5:16 . And, "for this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee," saith David, Psalms 32:6 . The leper’s lips should be covered, according to the law. And to the wicked God saith, "What hast thou to do?" &c., Psalms 50:16 . It is said of witches and their good prayers (as they call them), Si magicae, Deus non vult tales: si piae, non per tales, If those prayers be abused to witchcraft, God will have none of them; and if they be never so good, God will not have them from such kind of people. Before they pray men should see whether they are persons fit to pray; for God accepts not a good motion from an ill mouth, Jer 11:10-11 Joh 9:31 1Jn 3:22 Psalms 66:16 . A wicked man lacks contrition, humility, faith, hope, feeling, fervency; he hath not a spirit of grace and supplication to indite his prayers; he hath not an intercessor in heaven to present and perfume his prayers. The breath wherein our prayers ascend should be like pillars of smoke perfumed with Christ’s myrrh and incense. Otherwise our words will be like the Egyptian pots, reeking out the strong smelling onions and garlic of our own corruption, such as God can take no pleasure in, neither will he accept such an offering at our hands.
Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [shall be] offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name [shall be] great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
Ver. 11. For from the rising of the sun, &c. ] Whereas they might object, if you will not have service from us, you can have none at all; for other people walk every one in the name of his god, Micah 4:5 , and the Gentiles have their vanities, and doctrines of vanities, Jeremiah 14:22 ; Jeremiah 10:8 , wherewith they are wholly taken up. Take you no care for that, saith God here.
For from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles] I will provide for mine own great name, that is, for my glory (for so God’s name is used in that sense, Exodus 9:16 Psa 8:1 ). I will be no loser by your rejection; for I have other people that will more reverence me, and do me better service; so that I need not be beholden to you. I have from east to west those that will make hard shift but I shall have service done me. I can "set a sign, and send to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud," &c., "that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles," Isaiah 66:19-20 . And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, &c., that though sick, weakly, and unfit for travel, yet they shall come on end; and rather in litters than not at all; they shall be content to suffer any hardship for heaven, as the stone will fall down to come to its own centre, though it break itself in a hundred pieces. The Gentiles once converted shall fly as a cloud, Isaiah 60:8 , that is, with greatest pernicity and swiftness; yea, they shall in such flocks come to the Church, as if a whole flight of doves, driven by some hawk or tempest, should scour into the columbary, and rush into the windows. There are those who have observed, that the name of God in all the maternal languages consisteth of four letters ( יחות , Yεος , Deus, Dieu, Gott), to intimate that he hath his people in all the four quarters of the earth, out of all countries, nations, and languages. Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." In the original the last letter of the word hear is greater than the rest, as calling for all possible heed and attention. So likewise is the last letter in the word one, which being Daleth, and standing usually for four (as a numeral letter), signifieth, say the Hebrew doctors, that this one God shall be worshipped in all the four corners of the earth. Hebrew Text Note This Cyprian hath also gathered from the Greek letters of the name Adam; which do severally signify the four quarters of the world, east, west, north, and south: to teach that Christ, the second Adam, will fetch his people from all parts ( A Aνατολη, D Dυσις, A Aρκτος, M Mεσημβρια ), and hath therefore built his Church, his New Jerusalem, four square, Revelation 21:16 , and placed on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates, Revelation 21:13 , that all from all parts may have free and open access unto him. Babylon was in like manner built four square, as Herodotus testifieth; and Constantinople is so situated between Europe and Asia, as if it were fatally founded to command both. This is much more true of Uranople, the city of the great king, open to all comers, as the Aedilis, or chamberlain’s house in Rome was. "O thou that hearest prayers, to thee shall all flesh come" (saith the Psalmist, Psa 65:2 ), come with a courage, since they are sure as of access, so of success in all their suits through Christ the Mediator, "who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles," Ephesians 2:14 . This the perverse Jews could never abide to hear of; nor can they to this day. And therehence is it that they have in their expositions basely depraved this text, and corrupted the true sense of it, as is to be seen in the Chaldee Paraphrast and David Kimchi; calling us still Gel Mamzer, bastard Gentiles, and cursing us in their daily prayers, which are not (sure) that pure offering mentioned in this verse, and interpreted by them of the prayers of the holy Jews everywhere dispersed. The rejection of the Jews and acceptation of the Gentiles into grace and favour is a hidden mystery; such as maketh the apostle of the Gentiles cry out, "O the depth!" Romans 11:33 ; yea, it is a part of that great "mystery of godliness," 1 Timothy 3:16 , that "God manifested in the flesh should be preached unto the Gentiles, and believed on in the world." Let us pity the poor hardened Jews; and pray the rending of the vail that is yet spread over them; that the rebuke of God’s people may be taken away from off all the earth, Isaiah 25:7-8 . Let us also praise God, who hath made us Gentiles meet "to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," Colossians 1:12 . And take heed that we sin not away our light, and cause God to take his kingdom from us, giving it to a nation that will bring him better fruit, Matthew 21:43 . We have a fair warning given us by the example of the Jews, Romans 11:11 . Seest thou another shipwreck? look to thy tackling.
From the rising of the sun ] From the east of Judaea the sun of Christ’s gospel passed by the south of Greece, to the west of the Latin Church, and these islands of ours that lie in the sea, into which the sun is said to go down, or to lie down, as in its tabernacle of rest (which is an expression of the old Greek poets, and the original word here used agreeth to it). All the danger is, lest the gospel, in this its solar motion, be travelling for the west of that other world, the American parts; and quitting its present places of residence and unworthy possessors; and then farewell England. Oh, let us pray that that dismal day may never arise wherein it shall be said, that the glory is departed from our English Israel.
My name shall be great ] Name for fame, as Exo 34:5-6 Philippians 2:9 Genesis 11:4 . Renowned men are called men of name, Genesis 6:4 , and base men are called men of no name, Job 30:8 .
Shall be great ] Not that God is great, or less. Magnum et parvum sunt ex iis, quae sunt ad aliquid, saith Aristotle. But God’s name is said to be great when he is declared or acknowledged to be great, as the word sanctified is used, Matthew 6:9 , and the word justified, Mat 11:19 James 2:21 . God’s fame and glory is as himself, eternal and infinite; and so abides in itself, not capable of our addition or detraction. As the sun which would shine in its own brightness and glory, though all the world were blind, and did wilfully wink. Howbeit, to try how we prize his name, and how industrious we will be to magnify and exalt it, he hath declared that he esteems himself made glorious; and accounts that he hath received, as it were, a new being by those inward conceptions we have of his glory, and those outward honours we do to his name.
And in every place incense shall be offered ] Not at Jerusalem only, as the Jews held; nor in mount Gerizim, as the Samaritans, John 4:20-21 ; but any place without difference, be it but a chimney, might make a goodly oratory, 1 Timothy 2:8 . All religious differences of places was taken away by Christ’s death. Therefore as soon as he had said, John 19:30 "It is finished," he gave up the ghost, and presently the vail of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, Matthew 27:51 . And from that hour there was no more holiness in the temple than in any other place. Though till then the temple was so holy a place, and such religious reverence did God’s people bear to it, that after the Chaldeans had burnt it they honoured the very place where it had stood, and esteemed it holier than any other. This appears by those eighty persons whom Ishmael murdered, Jeremiah 41:5 , and by Daniel’s opening his windows toward Jerusalem, when he prayed, Daniel 6:10 .
Incense shall be offered, and a pure offering ] Insigne testimonium pro sacrificio Missae, saith Bellarmine. This text is a notable testimony for the sacrificing of the mass, which Papists will needlessly have to be the sacrifice here meant and mentioned. Much like that Sorbonist, that finding it written at the end of St Paul’s Epistles, Missa est, &c., bragged he had found the mass in his Bible: so another, reading John 1:4 , Invenimus Messiam, made the same conclusion (Beehive of Rome, fol. 93). We shall waive their arguments as sufficiently answered by others; and take the meaning of the Holy Ghost here to be of such spiritual sacrifices of the New Testament as all Christians, even the whole royal priesthood, are bound to offer up to God. These are called incense and offering by analogy, 1 Peter 2:5 , the type for the thing thereby shadowed, as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Augustine interpret the text, Revelation 5:8 ; Revelation 8:3-4 . This incense is prayer and praise, Psa 141:2 Hebrews 13:15 Hos 14:4 Psalms 51:19 . This pure offering is every faithful Christian, together with all the good things that he hath or can do. It is simplex oratio de conscientia pura, saith Tertullian. Thus those good Macedonians gave themselves to the Lord, saith St Paul, "and unto us by the will of God," 2 Corinthians 8:5 . Thus the Romans had delivered themselves up to the form of doctrine that had been delivered unto them, Romans 6:17 , and are yet further exhorted to exhibit, present, make tender, yield up, and offer, as spiritual priests, their bodies (and much more their souls), to God, as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1 , by a willingness to do what he requireth, Psa 40:6 Romans 15:16 , and to die for his sake if called thereunto, Philippians 2:17 2 Timothy 4:6 . Swenkfeldians took away all external service, saith Zanchy. Libertines say, it is sufficient that we sacrifice to God the hidden man of the heart. The Pope saith to his vassals, My son, give me thy heart; be a Papist in heart, and then go to church, dissemble, do what ye will; but God requires to be glorified with our spirits and bodies both, because both are his, 1 Corinthians 6:20 . The very Manichees, that denied God to be the author of the body, fasted on Sundays, and in fasting exercised a humiliation of the body. But (2.) as the true Christian sacrificeth himself to God, so all that he hath or can; and is ready to say, as that Grecian did to the Emperor, If I had more, more I would bring thee ( Eι πλεον ειχον, πλεον εδιδουν ). It comforts him to consider, that "if there be a willing mind, God accepts according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not," 2 Corinthians 8:12 . Noah’s sacrifice could not be great, yet was it greatly accepted, because of clean beasts, and offered in faith. It is the godly man’s care that his offering, though it be poor, yet may be a pure offering, proceeding from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, 1 Timothy 1:5 ; and then he is sure it is pure, by divine acceptation through Christ, 1 Peter 2:5 . In confidence whereof he lifts, up holy hands, 1 Timothy 2:8 . And although, sensible of his impurities and imperfections, his heart misgives him sometimes, as Jacob’s did, lest his father should discern him; yet when he remembereth that he is clothed, as Jacob was, with the garment of his elder brother, the robe of Christ’s righteousness (which is not a scant garment, as Bernard saith, but reaching to the heels, and covering all the parts of the soul), he goeth boldly to the throne of grace, and covers God’s altar with his evangelical sacrifices; such as are contrition and self-denial, Psalms 51:17 ; confidence in God, Psalms 4:6 ; obedience to the preaching of the gospel, Romans 15:16 ; beneficence to the poor, Philippians 4:8 ; &c. In all which his aim and endeavour is to worship God in spirit, and to do all more out of thankfulness, and less out of constraint of conscience. For he knows that as the greatest growth of sinners is in spiritual wickedness (as in those that sin against the Holy Ghost), so the greatest growth of grace is in spiritual holiness, in worshipping God more in spirit and truth.
Mal 1:12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] polluted; and the fruit thereof, [even] his meat, [is] contemptible.
Ver. 12. But ye have profaned it ] Ye Jews, in general, though my peculiar people, and called by my name. You that quarter arms with me, as it were, and should, therefore, lift up my name as an ensign; that you should use me thus coarsely, and cast dirt upon my name by your irreligion, this moves me not a little; so that I cannot but once and again complain of it. Had it been an enemy I should better have borne it. But it was thou, my familiar, &c. What, thou, my son Brutus? Kαι συ τεκνον βρουτε . Friend, betrayest thou the Son of man, and that with a kiss? Scipio had rather Hannibal should eat his heart with salt, than Laelius, his friend, do him the least discourtesy. God will take that from a profane person that he will not take from a professor. Philistines may cart the ark, and escape scotfree; but if David does it, God will punish him in the death of Uzzah. Augustus Caesar may send forth a decree that all the (Roman) world should be taxed or numbered, Luke 2:1 ; but if David number his people God will make bloody welts upon his back; and if he make God’s name to stink among the heathen, God will scour out that blemish cast upon his name with David’s tears and blood. See Ezekiel 36:21 ; Ezekiel 39:7 Amo 2:7 Leviticus 10:3 ; I will be sanctified in all them that draw near unto me. Sanctified he will be, either actively or passively; either in the sincerity of their conversation or else in the severity of their condemnation. If Solomon forsake the Lord, that appeared unto him twice, God will chastise him with the rods of men, at least. If Israel profess God’s name, and yet profane it, God will cast them off, and turn to the Gentiles. And, indeed, what could he do less to a nation so incorrigibly flagitious, a nation so unthankful for mercies, so impatient of remedies, so incapable of repentance, so obliged, so warned, so shamelessly, so lawlessly wicked?
The table of the Lord ] That is, the altar; see Malachi 1:7 .
And the fruit thereof ] Or the revenue, the income of it: it is a base allowance that the priests have; prisoner’s pittance; they live, that is all. Or thus, The table of the Lord is polluted, &c. That is, it is no better worth than to be polluted; neither do his priests deserve either countenance or maintenance. So many wretched people in these days think there is more ado made than needs in the worship and service of God, Colo Deum, ut par est. Whereas, indeed, we that have received so many mercies, and have lived in such an age of miracles, should not only servire Deo, sed et adulari, as Tertullian phraseth it, serve God, but be unsatisfiable in serving him. And as God’s service is slighted, so his ministers are well nigh starved in many places; the common people holding the ministry no better than an idle, useless trade, taken up to make a living. How shamefully are God’s ablest servants defrauded, mocked, misused! A sad prognostic of a dying state, 2 Chronicles 36:16 .
Mal 1:13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness [is it]! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought [that which was] torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.
Ver. 13. And ye have said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, &c. ] At what? At the chiding you have had for your lame and lean sacrifices. A little offensive breath hath blown you up into rage. This is a kind of blasphemy, Ezekiel 20:27 , when graceless men fall into a fustian fume, as they say, by hearing of their faults; and bristle against a reproof, though never so just. Or thus, Ye have puffed and blown, as almost breathless, by carrying some carrion sheep for a sacrifice; as if it were so fat and full of flesh that you could hardly bring it without breaking your wind; whereas ye might have blown it away, it is so thin and light. Hateful hypocrisy! And it sped accordingly. For should I accept this at your hand? No, no: Sapiens nummularius est Deus: nummum fictum non recipiet (Bernard). God is a wise mint man; he will take no counterfeit coin. He not only detects the deceiver, and detests him, as here, but curseth him bitterly in the next verse. He rejects the hypocrite’s sacrifice, and plagueth such Prometheuses; when as he wipes not out any of the good services of his sincere people, Nehemiah 13:4 , but abundantly blesseth them.
Labour, therefore, for that "truth in the inward parts," Psalms 51:6 , that we may be with "Apelles approved in Christ," Romans 16:10 , and with Nathanael, "an Israelite indeed," John 1:47 . Be we the same that we would seem to be; and if not, as the windows of the temple were, wider within than without, yet to be no more in show than we are in truth. It stands us in hand when to deal with God to have the greater part of our ware in the inner part of the shop, and not all on the foreside, on the board or stall; and to see, that though our work be but mean, yet it may be clean; though not fine, yet not foul, soiled and slubbered with the slur of a rotten heart. Sweet powders can make even leather an ornament, when the sanies of a plaguesore will render a rich robe loathsome and infectious.
Mal 1:14 But cursed [be] the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I [am] a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name [is] dreadful among the heathen.
Ver. 14. But cursed be that deceiver ] Cursed with a curse both verbal and penal; temporal and spiritual, Malachi 3:9 . These last light heavy, such as are hardness of heart and horror of conscience, though less observed; because they come into the deceiver’s bowels like water, and like oil into his bones; they soak and sink into his soul insensibly, Rom 1:28 Mat 27:5 Psalms 109:18 . He hath his death about him (as we say of one that hath drunk poison, or eaten an Italian fig), though he fall not down dead immediately. He is accursed, and he shall be so, as, in a contrary sense, Isaac said of his son Jacob, He is blessed, and he shall be blessed. But usually the visible vengeance of God dogs the deceiver at the heels; his sin finds him out, and lays him open to others, as an accursed person. This was Cain’s case and curse, Genesis 4:15 . God sets a mark upon him; probably it was the perpetual trembling of his hands and whole body, through the horror of his conscience. So, not long before, when Adam had played the deceiver, and hearkened to that old impostor, the subtle serpent, God spared him, but cursed the ground (as the Persians, when their noblemen’s sons had made a fault, hanged up their coats and whipped them in their presence): "Cursed is the ground for thy sake: thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth," Genesis 3:17 . And the truth is, it was never beautiful nor cheerful since that curse inflicted; but lies bedridden, waiting for the coming of the second Adam to free it from that heavy curse, Romans 8:20 . The barren fig tree felt the power of Christ’s curse even to admiration, Matthew 21:20 "For when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!" They might marvel well enough; for the fig tree is the most juiceful of any tree, and bears the brunt of winter-blasts without withering. But the blasts of Christ’s mouth are more powerful. He can blow men to destruction, Job 4:9 ., as so many dust-heaps; yea, frown, not some single fig tree only, but the whole vineyard to desolation. "It is burnt with fire, it is consumed: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance," Psalms 80:16 . Men may curse, and no hurt follow; "the curse causeless shall not come," Proverbs 26:2 . Micah’s mother cursed when she lost her money, Judges 17:2 ; but who cared or fared the worse for that? And the like may be said of Julius Palmer the martyr’s mother, when he craved her blessing upon his knees, she drove him out of doors for a heretic, and said, God’s curse and mine go with thee.
What was David the worse for Shimei’s cursing of him, or Jeremiah for the people’s, Jeremiah 15:10 , or the reformed Churches for the Pope’s? The silly people in Italy are made to believe that ever since the Pope excommunicated Queen Elizabeth the people of England are all as black as devils. The Pope is like a wasp, no sooner angered but out comes a sting; which, being out, is like a fool’s dagger rattling and snapping without an edge. We may say of his curses (with bell, book, and candle), as Vogetius saith of chariots armed with scythes and hooks, that at first they were a terror, and after a scorn, lib. 1, cap. 24. But God’s curses are terrible, and light heavy. Together with word there goes forth a power (as it is said in another case), and what be speaketh with his mouth he maketh good with his hand. And it is a fearful thing to fall into the punishing hands of the living God: those that have felt his finger will say so. This the deceiver is sure to do if timely course be not taken. Currat ergo poenitentia, ne praecurrat sentontia.
That deceiver ] That fraudulent fellow, that crafty companion, that fraud, quadruplator, machinator, that dealeth subtilly with the Lord, as the Egyptians did with his people, and thinks to outwit him, as the Midianites did the Israelites, see Numbers 25:18 Psalms 10:18 , in both which places the same word is used as here that casteth and fetcheth about ( versutulus et versatilis ), how to deceive both God and man with shows of devotion; not afraid to be damned, so he may seem to be saved, and seeking so long to deceive others, that in fine he deceiveth his own soul (which is the worst kind of deceit, as self-murder is the worst sort of murder), winding himself into the fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage, and that in matters of greatest consequence and concern. Imposturam faciunt et patiuntur, as that emperor said of them that sold glass for pearl; they mock and are mocked, deceiving or being deceived, as Paul saith; like some drunken stage-player, they have acted a king’s part so long, that now they begin to think themselves kings indeed; and, like sleeping Sisera, they dream of a kingdom, when as Jael’s nail is nearer his temples than a crown. A curse he is sure of, set on by God (who then shall take it off?), and seconded by men, yea, by men that were without God in the world. Witness that law of the twelve tables in Rome, Sacrum, sacrove commendatum qui clepserit rapseritve, parricide este. Let him be punished for a parricide that shall commit sacrilege of any sort. Now, a hypocrite is by Basil rightly called ιεροσυλος , a sacrilegious church-robber; because he steals from God το του θεου αναθημα , himself dedicated to God by profession of Christianity; and so becomes Aναθημα , accursed, yea, Anathema, Maran-atha, double accursed, and put over to God to punish; who hath prepared the hottest fire in hell for such, because their sin is increased by their knowledge; as the sin of Solomon in honouring idols, which he knew to be no gods, was far greater than that of his wives’, which believed them to be gods, as Tostatus truly observeth.
Which hath in his flock a male ] A flock he hath then, and is a sheep-master; able, perhaps, to say, as he in the poet - mille meis errant in montibus agni. Were he a poor man he might be the better excused; from a little God accepts a little. Again, he hath a male in his flock, a sound, tidy, fat lamb, or ram; and, reserving that for his own use, though he had voluntarily vowed it to God, he brings a corrupt carrion, or a lean starveling, for a sacrifice. This deceitful dealing is his sin, that subjects him to the curse. This was the sin (and became the calamity) of those in Jeremiah 4:22 , that served not God with the best of their understanding; of those in Haggai 1:4 , that dwelt in their ceiled houses, and let the Lord’s house lie waste; of Solomon (some think), that bestowed twice as much time in building his own house as God’s house; of all those that seek not God’s kingdom in the first place, that give not God the best of the best, the primrose of their age, the first thoughts in the morning, the fittest and freest times of the day for prayer, &c. Scipio went first to the Capitol every day, and then to the Senate House. David prevented the night watches to pray. Christ was at it a great while before day, Mark 1:35 . Of Charles the Great it is reported, that he spoke and conversed more with God than with men. Our King Alfred cast the natural day into three parts: eight hours he spent in prayer, study, and writing; eight in the service of his body; and eight in the affairs of his state. The Jews divided the business of the day into three parts: the first, ad Tephilla, that is, for prayer; the second, ad Torah, for the study of the law; the third, ad Malchah, for work; this they did on working days; besides their weekly sabbath and other holy days strictly observed, which made Seneca (that profane heathen) say of them, that they lost more than a seventh part of their time. How much better might he have bewailed his own loss of time, and neglect of the one thing necessary, in the words of Bernard, Totum vitae meae tempus perdidi, quia perdire vixi, I have lost my whole life, because I have lived without God in the world! What a happiness had it been to him if he had observed Aristotle’s rule, and Thales’ examples, viz. that a philosopher may get riches, but that is not their main business ( αλλ ου τουτ εστι περι ου σπουδαζουσι , Arist. Polit. lib. 1, cap. ult.). Many are so busied in the world, that they think not of God’s kingdom (which yet they vowed to do when they were baptized), as the Duke of Alva told the King of France, who asked him whether he had observed the late great eclipse? No, said he, I have so much to do upon earth, that I have no leisure to behold the heaven. How much better Anaxagoras, the philosopher, who, being asked why he came into the world? answered, Ut coelum contempler, that I may contemplate heaven! Men should certainly mind heaven most and first; and not suffer the lean kine to eat up the fat, the thin ears of corn the good; but honour God with the best of their substance and with the best of their abilities (if they stand bound by vow especially, if they have vowed a male to God). Let it not be according to the Italian proverb with us, Sciapat il morbo fraudato il Santo, when the danger is escaped the vow is neglected, lest else God curse them, as here, for a company of defrauders; and make them know and rue his breach of promise, Numbers 14:34 . Surely if Jacob was afraid when he went about to seek a blessing, lest his blind father should discern him, and his deceit in dealing with him, and so he might get a curse instead of a blessing, Genesis 26:12 , how ought men to take heed and fear to dissemble or deal deceitfully with the all-seeing God! especially since he is so great a God (see him set forth in his greatness, Deu 10:17 ), and, therefore, less patient with affronts and indignities; he looks to be served like himself, and according to his excellent greatness.
For I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts ] Yea, a great King, because Lord of hosts. See Trapp on " Mal 3:17 " παντοκρατωρ, παμβασιλευς, Aυτοκρατωρ . He is absolute monarch of the whole world; and by him it is that all other kings reign and princes rule, Proverbs 8:15 . All other sovereigns are but his substitutes, his viceroys; he makes them and unmakes them at his pleasure, as proud Nebuchadnezzar was forced to acknowledge, Daniel 4:37 . Hence he is rightly styled a great King (a title anciently given to the kings of Persia, and now to the Grand Signior), yea, he is King of kings and Lord of lords, in another sense than Maximilian, the Emperor of Germany, said that he was, because the princes and cities of the empire were free states, and yielded him little obedience. God hath all the kings of the earth at his beck and check: Constantine the Great, Valentinian, and Theodosius, three emperors, called themselves Vasallos Christi, the vassals of Christ, as Socrates reporteth. And well they might; inasmuch as all nations (taken together) are, in comparison to him, but as a drop of a bucket, and as the dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing, as one would take up a feather at his foot. And if a sacrifice fitting for him should be prepared, Lebanon would not be sufficient to burn, nor all the beasts thereof for a burnt offering. All nations to him are as nothing, Isaiah 40:15-16 . Simon Magus gave out that he was some great matter; and the world hath been troubled with Alexander the Great, and Pompey the Great. But what is now become of all these grandees, with their swelling titles and loud brags? Hath not God long since cut off the spirits of these petty princes, and become terrible to the kings of the earth? Psalms 76:12 ; where the word rendered cut off signifieth that he slips them off, as one would slip a flower between one’s fingers, or a bunch of grapes off the vine. The kings of Persia were wont to give laws to their people sitting in a chair of state, under a vine tree of gold, that had, as it were, bunches of grapes made up of smaragdites, or emeralds, and other stones of greatest price. The King of heaven sits upon a throne far more costly and stately; as may be seen, Eze 1:26 Isa 6:1-4 Daniel 7:13-14 Omnino igitur oportet nos, orationis tempore, curium intrare coelestem, in qua Rex Regum stellato sedet solio, &c., as Bernard excellently inferreth, it behoveth us, therefore, at prayer time, to enter into the court of heaven, where the King of kings sits in his starry and stately throne, environed with an innumerable number of glorious angels and crowned saints; with how great reverence, therefore, with how great fears, with how great humility, ought a poor base toad, creeping and crawling out of his ditch, to approach so dreadful a presence!
And my name is dreadful among the heathen ] It was ever so from the very distinction of men into Hebrews and heathens. At the first, before the covenant made with Abraham, all nations were alike before the Lord. But as soon as it was said, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee, the Church was evidently divided from the world, as light was from darkness at the first creation. The heathens God suffered to walk in their own ways. "Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness," Acts 14:16-17 ; but his name was ever terrible and tremendous among them. The Hittites honoured Abraham as a prince of God; Pharaoh was raised up on purpose, that on him God might get him a name throughout all the earth, Exodus 9:16 . Jethro heard of his doings in Egypt, and became a proselyte. The hearts of the Canaanites melted, and they were made to say, "The Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath," Joshua 2:11 . The Philistines were woe begone when they beheld the ark of the God of Israel brought into the field; and were ready, as worms, to wriggle into their holes. The King of Babylon sent ambassadors and a present to Hezekiah, because he had heard that for his sake God had caused the sun to go back. Daniel records what a name God had gotten him in his days all the world over. And after the captivity, near Malachi’s time, the famous victories gotten by the Maccabees were far and near discoursed of. Judas Maccabaeus had his name from the capital letters of this motto written in his ensign, Mi camocha Elohim Iehovah, who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? But, besides, and above all this, God’s name is dreadful among the heathen in a special manner now; since the calling of the Gentiles, and the conversion of so many nations to the faith of Jesus Christ, defy the malice of earth and of hell. This made Calocerius, a heathen, say, Vere magnus est Deus Christianorum, the God of the Christians is a great God indeed. And another, Aξιωματικωτατος εστιν ο Yεος υμων , your God is a most majestic God. What a mouth of blasphemy then opened that desperate Papist, John Hunt, in his humble appeal to King James! The God of the Protestants, saith he (whom he knows to be the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), is the most uncivil and evil mannered God of all those who have borne the name of gods upon the earth; yea, worse than Pan, God of the clowns, which can endure no ceremonies nor good manners at all. True it is, that human inventions in his service, and Popish will worships, our God will not away with. Such strange fire if any presume to bring before him, they may look to speed as Nadab and Abihu, Core and his complices, did; but he expects and requires that all his worshippers should come before him with reverence and godly fear: "For even our God" (no less than the Jews’ God) "is a consuming fire," Hebrews 12:28 . He is terrible out of his holy places, Psalms 68:35 . And albeit he loves to be acquainted with his people in the walks of their obedience; yet, as a great King, he takes state upon him in his ordinances, and will be trembled at in his word and sacraments. Hence Chrysostom calls the Lord’s table that dreadful table ( φρικωδης ); and other ancients call sacraments τα φρικτα μυστηρια , terrible mysteries. He that comes to this table without his wedding garment may look to be taken from the table to the tormentor. That is a remarkable text, Exodus 34:10-11 , upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. So dreadful is God, and so infinite is the distance between him and the greatest noble that comes to his table, that it is an honour they may be suffered to live in his sight; how much more, then, to partake of his ordinances! Kings and judges are instructed to serve the Lord with fear, and to rejoice before him with trembling, Psalms 2:10-11 . This is horror sacer, holy awe, saith a Lapide upon this text, descanting upon their Vulgate interpreter, who rendereth the word dreadful horrible, Et nomen meum horribile. But what an odd conceit was that of a certain sophister at Paris, who would needs be called the horrible sophister, non minorem eam appellationem ratus quam Africani aut Asiatici, saith Vives. Perhaps he had read this text in the Vulgate translation. Unless they had the same law at Paris that they had in Italy, that none should read the Bible lest they should thereby be made heretics; but rather study Aristotle (whom Peter Lombard had brought into more request than St Paul, as the Sorbon at Paris complained), or the Canon Law, whereof Carolostadius had been eight years a doctor before he began to read the Scripture; and yet at the taking of his degree had been pronounced, Sufficientissimus.