The Unspeakable Tenderness of God

From The Minor Prophets 2.463 (1885)

The purpose of Jonah’s warning to Nineveh was their repentance.  They professed to delight in the coming of the messenger of the covenant, yet their deeds were the sort to be burned up by his coming, not rewarded.  Malachi closes with the same prophecy which St. John the Baptist would use to prepare for our Lord’s coming: “His fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly purge his floor.  He will gather the wheat into his garner, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The unspeakable tenderness of God toward those who fear his name and the severity to those who finally rebel are perhaps nowhere more vividly declared than in these closing words of the Old Testament.  Yet the love of God, as ever, predominates.  And the last prophet closes with the word, “Remember,” with one more effort to avert the curse which they were bringing upon them.  Malachi has been described as a late evening which closes a long day.  But he is, at the same time, a morning twilight which bears in its bosom a glorious day.

Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) was a priest who served as Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford for more than fifty years. He was among the primary leaders of the Oxford Movement, Anglicanism’s Catholic revival. He wrote several of the Tracts of the Times, and sacramental confession and religious sisterhoods were restored in the Church of England through his influence. His commentary on the minor prophets was among his final works, his main contribution to Old Testament scholarships. He is commemorated on September 18 on the liturgical calendars of several Anglican churches.

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