Ezekiel again exhorts the people to leave off complaining, and to acknowledge that there is no remedy for their evils but to be reconciled to God. But that cannot be done unless they repent. For God was not hostile to them in vain; nor did he, after the manner of men, persecute with hatred the innocent, and those who did not deserve it. Hence it was necessary to seek God’s pardon suppliantly. Ezekiel had already touched upon this, but he now confirms it more at length. He says, therefore, that they not only lost their labor, but increased the flame of God’s wrath by striving with him, and complaining that they were unworthily treated by him: cast forth, says he, your iniquities from you. He shows that the cause of all evils is within themselves: so that they have no excuse. But he afterwards expresses more clearly that they were entirely imbued with contempt of God, impiety, and depraved desires. For if he had only spoken of outward wickedness, the reproof would have been partial, and therefore lighter; but after he commanded them to bid farewell to their sins, he adds, make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. He requires, therefore, from them a thorough renewal, so that they should not only conform their life to the rule of the law, but should fear God sincerely, since no one can produce good fruit but from a living root. Outward works, then, are the fruits of repentance, which must spring from some root; and this is the inward affection of the heart. What is added is to refute their impiety, for they wished their destruction to be ascribed to God. Here God takes up the character of a mourner, saying, Why will ye die, O house of Israel? while the next verse confirms this more clearly.