Hastening to judgment. I now come to the words, after having given a brief illustration of the subject. When he says that the sins of some men are visible beforehand, he means that they are discovered early, and come to the knowledge of men, as it were, before the time. He expresses the same thing by another comparison, that they run, as it were, and “hasten to their judgment;” for we see that many run headlong, and, of their own accord, bring damnation on themselves, though the whole world is desirous to save them. Whenever this happens, let us remember that the reprobate are prompted by an unseen movement of Providence, to throw out their foam.
In some they follow after. The rendering given by Erasmus, “Some they follow after,” I do not approve. Although it seems to be more in accordance with the Greek construction, yet the sense requires that the preposition ejn be understood; for the change of case does not destroy the contrast. As he had said that the Sins of some men hasten rapidly to their judgment; so now, on the other hand, he adds, that the sins of some men (or, of others) come slowly to be known. But instead of the genitive “of some,” he uses the dative “in some’” (or “in others.”) He means that, although the sins of some men may be concealed longer than we would wish, and are slowly brought to light, yet they shall not always be concealed; for they too shall have their own time. And if the version of Erasmus be preferred, still the meaning must be the same, that, although the vengeance of God does not hasten, yet it follows slowly behind them.
25. In like manner also the good works. He means, that sometimes piety and other virtues obtain early and speedily their applause among men; so that great men are held in estimation; and that, if it happen otherwise, the Lord will not suffer innocence and uprightness to be always oppressed; for it is often obscured by calumnies, or by clouds, but at length shall be fulfilled the prediction, (<271203>Daniel 12:3; <401343>Matthew 13:43,) that God will cause them to shine forth like the dawn of the day. But we have need of a calm spirit to endure; and therefore we must always consider what is the limit of our knowledge, that we may not go beyond it; for that would be to assume to ourselves the prerogative of God.