Malachi 3:13-15. Your words, &c. “From this verse to the end of Malachi 4:3, the prophet expostulates with the wicked for their hard speeches; and declares that God will make a fearful distinction between them and the righteous.” Newcome. Have been stout against me Your words have been blasphemous, and void of all reverence and duty. Ye have spoken injuriously of me, and have uttered such things as dishonour me. Ye have even arraigned my proceedings, and spoken against them. Yet ye say, What have we spoken, &c. This is to the same purport as their words in Malachi 3:8, and some other foregoing verses. They impudently deny the charge, therefore the prophet renews it against them in the following words; Ye have said If not with your lips, yet at least in your hearts; It is vain to serve God We receive no advantage from it, it is of no use to us. That they should talk thus impiously in the times of Zerubbabel, when Malachi uttered these reproofs and exhortations, is not probable; but God, who sees into the hearts of men, saw, lurking in their hearts, the seeds of that impiety which broke out in the following age. And what profit is it What benefit is it of to us; that we have kept his ordinance That we have attended upon the institutions of his worship, and have governed our lives according to his laws? And that we have walked mournfully before the Lord Have humbled ourselves before him with fasting and prayer, sackcloth and ashes. Their beholding the prosperity of the wicked made them conclude, that it was to no purpose to walk according to the laws of God, or to confess their offences and express their sorrow for them. And, or rather, but, or therefore, now we call the proud happy Those who behave themselves arrogantly against God, the proud contemners of his law. We can now do no less than think them happiest who do not concern themselves about the observance of God’s laws, but live according to their pleasure, and do every thing that their inclination or profit prompts them to do, without any fear of God’s calling them to an account for it. Yea, they that work wickedness are set up Are the flourishing ones; are raised to prosperity, as buildings are to their height. Yea, they that tempt God are even delivered Yea, they who, one would have supposed, should have wearied out God’s patience with their provocations, who have seemed to act as if they tried to provoke him, even these men escape those dangers and calamities which other men are involved in. Those who spake thus seem to have expected an exact distribution of temporal rewards and punishments to be made to good and bad men in this life.
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