« Prev Micah 7:19 Next »

Micah 7:19

19. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

19. Reveretur, miserebitur nostri; calcabit iniquitates nostras, et projiciet in profunditates maris cuncta scelera eorum.


The Prophet now prescribes to the faithful a form of glorying, that they may boldly declare that God will be pacified towards them. Since then God loves mercy, he will return, he will have mercy on us The context here ought to be observed by us; for it would avail us but little to understand, I know not what, concerning God’s mercy, and to preach in general the free remission of sins, except we come to the application, that is, except each of the faithful believed that God, for his own sake, is merciful, as soon as he is called upon. This conclusion, then, is to be borne in mind, — “God forgives the remnant of his heritage, because he is by nature inclined to show mercy: he will therefore be merciful to us, for we are of the number of his people.” Except we lay hold on this conclusion, “He will therefore show mercy to us,” whatever we have heard or said respecting God’s goodness will vanish away.

This then is the true logic of religion, that is, when we are persuaded that God is reconcilable and easily pacified, because he is by nature inclined to mercy, and also, when we thus apply this doctrine to ourselves, or to our own peculiar benefit, — As God is by nature merciful, I shall therefore know and find him to be so. Until then we be thus persuaded, let us know that we have made but little progress in the school of God. And hence it appears very clear from this passage, that the Papacy is a horrible abyss; for no one under that system can have a firm footing, so as to be fully persuaded that God will be merciful to him; for all that they have are mere conjectures. But we see that the Prophet reasons very differently, God loves mercy; he will therefore have mercy on us: and then he adds, He will return; 202202     Grotius, Dathius, and Henderson, consider that this verb, placed before another, without a conjunction, expresses only a reiteration; and they render it adverbially, “again.” But, in this place, it would be better to give it its proper meaning; for as God is said to depart from his people, Hosea 9:12, so he may be said also to return. The Septuagint renders it επιστρεψει—He will return. Drusius reads, convertetur, scil. Ab ira suaHe will turn, that is, from his anger. Newcome’s version is, “He will turn again.” — Ed. and this is said lest the temporary wrath or severity of God should disquiet us. Though God then may not immediately shine on us with his favor, but, on the contrary, treat us sharply and roughly, yet the Prophet teaches us that we are to entertain good hope. — How so? He will return, or, as he said shortly before, He will not retain perpetually his wrath: for it is for a moment that he is angry with his Church; and he soon remembers mercy.

The Prophet now specifies what sort of mercy God shows to the faithful, For he will tread down our iniquities; he had said before that he passes by the wickedness of his elect people. He will then tread down our iniquities; and he will cast 203203     There is a mistake as to this verb; it is the second person, as are all the verbs which follow. The Prophet resumes here his address to God, which he commenced in the two first lines of the last verse. To show the difference between what he speaks to and what he speaks of God, the whole passage shall be here given, —
   18. What God is like thee!
Taking away iniquity, and passing over transgression!
Against the remnant of his heritage
He retains not forever his anger;
For a lover of mercy
is He;

   19. He will return, he will pity us,
He will subdue our iniquities:

Yea, thou wilt cast into the depths of the sea all their sins;
Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob, mercy to Abraham,
Which thou swarest to our fathers in the days of old.

   “Pity,” רטחם, is tender compassion; the noun in the plural number is used to designate the bowels. “Subdue,” or trample under foot, is rendered “cover” by Newcome, on the ground of this being the meaning of כבש in Chaldee. This wholly destroys the striking character of the passage. Our sins are here represented as our enemies; God subdues them; and then in the next line the simile is continued, they are to be drowned like Pharaoh and his hosts in the depths of the sea. Henderson’s remarks on this point are very excellent. “There is no ground,” he says, “for rejecting the radical idea of trampling under foot as enemies. Sin must ever be regarded as hostile to man. It is not only contrary to his interests, but it powerfully opposes and combats the moral principles of his nature, and the higher principles implanted by grace; and but for the counteracting energy of divine influence, must prove victorious. Without the subjugation of evil propensities, pardon would not be a blessing.” — Ed.
into the depth of the sea all their sins; that is our sins shall not come in remembrance before him. We hence learn what I have said before — that God cannot be worshipped sincerely and from the heart until this conviction be fixed and deeply rooted in our hearts, that God is merciful, not in general, but toward us, because we have been once adopted by him and are his heritage. And then were the greater part to fall away, we should not fail in our faith; for God preserves the remnant in a wonderful manner. And lastly, let us know, that whenever we flee to God for mercy, pardon is ever ready for us, not that we may indulge in sin, or take liberty to commit it, but that we may confess our faults and that our guilt may appear before our eyes: let us know, that the door is open to us; for God of his own good will presents himself to us as one ready to be reconciled.

It is also said, He will cast our sins into the depth of the sea. We hence learn that there is a full remission of sins, not half as the Papists imagine, for God, they say, remits the sin, but retains the punishment. How frivolous this is, the thing itself clearly proves. The language of the Prophet does however import this, that our sins are then remitted when the records of them are blotted out before God. It follows — for I will run over this verse, that I may today finish this Prophet —

« Prev Micah 7:19 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection