Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth, saith
&c.] Or, "to the place of breaking" forth of children, as in ( Hosea 13:13 ) , the womb, and the mouth of it: or, "shall I break or open" that, so some F19 render it; lest too much should or seem to be attributed to the Church, she being said to travail in birth, and bring forth children, this is said by the Lord. The church may pray, and her ministers preach, and both be said to travail in birth, but it is the Lord that brings to it; regeneration is not the work of man, but of God; it is he that beget, again, quickens, renews, and sanctifies; it is he that begins the work of grace in regeneration, in real and thorough convictions of sin; which are right when men are convinced of the impurity of their nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, have a godly sorrow for it, and forsake it: the work is begun when souls feel the burden of sin; the inward struggling, of grace and corruption; a want of spiritual food, and hunger after it; desires after spiritual things, and a glowing love and affection for them; and when light is infused, faith, fear, and love produced, and every other grace implanted; and he that has begun the good work will perform it; as Jarchi rightly gives the sense of the clause,
``shall I begin a thing, and not be able to finish it?''no, he is a rock, and his work is perfect, as in creation and redemption, so in regeneration and conversion; as may be concluded, from his power to effect it, and his promise to do it; the grace of Christ, and the indwelling of the Spirit; the impotency of everything to hinder it, and the glory of the three divine Persons concerned in it. As in the natural birth it is he that gives strength to conceive, forms the embryo in the womb, ripens it for the birth, and takes the child out of its mother's womb; so he does all that answers hereunto in the spiritual birth. Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb, saith thy God?
no, I will not. As God has regenerated many souls in the first times of the Gospel, and many more since, in various nations, in each of the ages and periods of time; so he has not ceased, nor will he cease from this work, until all his elect are born again; for everyone that is chosen of the Father, given to the Son, taken into covenant, and redeemed by his blood, shall be begotten again to a lively hope of a glorious inheritance; God will not shut the womb of conversion until they are all brought to faith in Christ, and repentance towards God. He will beget many more sons and daughters; and he will cause the fulness of the Gentiles to be brought forth and brought in, and convert his ancient people the Jews; all his promises shall be performed, and all prophecies relating to these things shall be accomplished.
F19 (rybva ynah) "matricem frangam?" Montanus; "an ego aperirem os matricis?" Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.