43.I have come in my Father’ name The false prophets do indeed boast of this title, as the Pope, in the present day, boasts with open mouth that he is Christ’ Deputy or Vicar; and under this very disguise has Satan deceived wretched men from the beginning. But Christ here means the reality, and not a hypocritical pretense; for when he testifies that he has come in his Father ’s name, he means not only that the Father has sent him, but that he faithfully executes the commission which he has received. By this mark he distinguishes the lawful teachers of the Church from spurious and pretended teachers. This passage, therefore, teaches that we ought boldly to reject all who exalt themselves, and, in their own name, claim authority over souls; for he who is desirous to be reckoned a servant of God ought to have nothing separate from God. Now, if the whole doctrine of the Pope be examined, even the blind will see that he has come in his own name. (110)
If another come in his own name, him you will receive. That the Jews do not love God, and have no reverence for him, Christ proves by this argument, that they will eagerly receive the false prophets, while they refuse to obey God; for he takes for granted, that it is a sign of a wicked and ungodly mind, when men disregard truth and willingly assent to falsehoods. If it be objected that this is generally done rather through ignorance than through malice, the answer is easy. No man is exposed to the impostures of Satan, except so far as, through some wicked disposition, he prefers falsehood to truth. For how comes it that we are deaf when God speaks, (111) and that Satan finds us ready and active, but because we are averse to righteousness, and of our own accord desire iniquity? Though it ought to be observed that here Christ speaks chiefly of those whom God peculiarly enlightened, as he bestowed on the Jews this privilege, that, having been instructed in his Law, they might keep the right way of salvation. It is certain that such persons lend an ear to false teachers for no other reason than because they wish to be deceived. Accordingly, Moses says that, when false prophets arise, this is intended to prove and try the people if they love the Lord their God, (Deu_13:3.) In many persons, no doubt, there appears to be an innocent and guileless simplicity, (112) but their eyes are undoubtedly blinded by the hypocrisy which lurks within their minds. For it is certain that God never shuts the door to those who knock, (Mat_7:8,) never disappoints those who sincerely pray to him, (Isa_45:19.) Justly, therefore, does Paul ascribe it to the vengeance of God, when the power of deceiving is given to Satan,
that they who have rejected the truth, and taken pleasure in unrighteousness, may believe a lie, and says that they perish who did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved,
In this manner is discovered the hypocrisy of many who, devoted to the impostures and wicked superstitions of the Pope, burn with envenomed rage against the Gospel; for if they had hearts disposed to the fear of God, that fear would likewise produce obedience.
(110) In transposing the two portions of the exposition of this verse, I have followed the French version of our Author, who, having observed that his observations on the first clause of this verse were placed last, restored the clauses to their natural order. — Ed.