by John Calvin
I will listen to what God the LORD will say. The prophet, by his own example, here exhorts the whole body of the Church to quiet and calm endurance. The prophet enjoins silence, both upon himself and others, that they may patiently wait God’s own time. He was persuaded that the care of God is exercised about his Church. Had he thought that fortune held the sovereignty of the world, and that mankind are whirled round by a blind impulse, he would not, as he does, have represented God as sustaining the function of governing. It is as if he had said, Being confident that the remedy for our present calamities is in the hand of God, I will remain quiet until the fit time for delivering the Church arrives. As then the unruliness of our passions murmur, and raise an uproar against God, so patience is a kind of silence by the godly keeps themselves in subjection to his authority.
He promises peace to his people, his saints*,—but let them not return to folly. After God has sufficiently chastised his church, he will at length show himself merciful to her, that the saints, taught by chastisements, may exercise a stricter vigilance over themselves in future. The cause is shown why God suspends and delays the communications of his grace. As the physician, although his patient may experience some alleviation of his disease, keeps him still under medicinal treatment, until he becomes fully convalescent, and until, the cause of his disease, being removed, his constitution become invigorated,—for to allow him all at once to use whatever diet he chose, would be highly injurious to him;— so God, perceiving that we are not completely recovered from our vices to spiritual health in one day, prolongs his chastisements: without which we would be in danger of a speedy relapse. Accordingly, the prophet, to assuage the grief with which the protracted duration of calamities would oppress the faithful, applies this remedy and solace, That God purposely continues his corrections for a longer period than they would wish, that they may be brought in good earnest to repent, and excited to be more on their guard in future.
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John Calvin, A Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin on the Psalms, is copyright © 1999 by P & R Publishing Company, all rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—except for brief quotations for the purpose of review or comment, without the prior permission of the publisher, P & R Publishing Company, P.O. Box 817, Phillipsburg, New Jersey 08865-0817.
Unless marked by an asterisk, italic Scripture excerpts preceding Calvin's exposition are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House, all rights reserved. Phrases of Scripture within Calvin's exposition are based on an unidentified older translation, or in rare instances modified to conform to the NIV excerpts preceding Calvin's exposition.
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