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Peter Martyr Vermigli on Matthew 23:37

August 30, 2007

1) They bring up a saying of Christ’s: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks, and you would not?” (Matt. 23:37) Here also it is the antecedent will of the sign that is meant. God through his prophets, preachers, apostles, and Scriptures invited the Jews to fly to him by repentance time after time, but they refused, but by his effective will, which is called consequent, he always drew to himself those who were his. Nor was there any age when he did not gather as many of the Hebrews as he had predestined. Therefore, as Augustine said, those that I would, I have gathered together, although you would not. 

Peter Martyr Vermigli, Predestination and Justification, trans., by Frank A. James, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 2003), 8:64-65. 

2) In the last chapter of 2 Chronicles there is a specific place where the cause of the destruction of Jerusalem is given, and ascribed to the sins of the people. God is denied to be the author of sin so much that he declares that he wished that things were different. Hence the cause must not be ascribed to God. “He sent his prophets to them persistently,” it says, “but they hardened their heart.” (2 Chron 36:15ff)  Christ wept over the city of Jerusalem; he was sorry for its overthrow (Matt. 23:37). If the effect displeased him, much more the cause; he wept because they sinned and so deserved utter destruction. If Christ mourned, being not only human but also truly divine, he was displeased with its sins; therefore God is not the author of sin.

Peter Martyr Vermigli, “Whether God is the Author of Sin” in Philosophical Works, trans., by Joseph P. McLelland, (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 1994), 4:217.

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