Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,Ezekiel 22:14
What wisdom and philosophy, and perpetual experience, and revelation, and promises, and blessings cannot do, a mighty fear can; it can allay the confidences of bold lust and imperious sin, and soften our spirit into the lowness of a child, our revenge into charity of prayers, our impudence into the blushings of a chidden girl; and therefore God hath taken a cause proportionable.
Bunyan twice uses this verse; once in The Pilgrim's Progress, opposite the following passage: 'I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, and asked wherefore didst thou cry? He answered, Sir, I perceive by the Book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to Judgment, and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second.' The other reference is in The Holy War, where Captain Judgment uses it to warn the 'woeful town of Mansoul' against impenitence.
The greater part of literature in the Middle Ages, at least from the twelfth century, may be considered as artillery levelled against the clergy—I do not say against the Church, which might imply a doctrinal opposition by no means universal. But if there is one theme upon which the most serious as well as the lightest, the most orthodox as the most heretical writers are united, it is ecclesiastical corruption.
—Hallam, Introduction to the Literature of Europe, part I. chap. ii.
Compare Mr. Morley's famous description of modern Britain: 'A community where the great aim of all classes and orders with power, is by dint of rigorous silence, fast shutting of the eyes, and stern stopping of the ears, to keep the social pyramid on its apex, with the fatal result of preserving for England its glorious fame as a paradise for the well-to-do, a purgatory for the able, and a hell for the poor.
The repeated political humiliations paralysed the national spirit, and the paralysis extended itself to the people's religion ana even to its morals. The nationality was exhausted; it could no more put forth out of itself a saviour to retrieve its fortunes.... And the national exhaustion was accompanied by religious decay, for in all the history of Israel a full tide of national life and a high faith in Jehovah were always the counterparts of one another.
—Prof. A. B. Davidson, The Exile and the Restoration, pp. 13, 14.
Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.
Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.
In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.
In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.
Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.
Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.
There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.