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up against Jerusalem, would be as much superior to them in 13 strength, as tempered steel is to common iron. Thy substance
and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, without any valuable consideration, as a worthless commodity, which a man
will give away rather than keen, and [that] for all thy sins, even 14 in all thy borders. And I will make (thee) to pass with thine
enemies into a land (which] thou knowest not ; for a fire is kindled in mine anger, (which) shall burn upon you. The
prophet then says, 15 O Lord, thou knowest my innocence : remember me, and
visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors : take me not away in thy long suffering ; permit me not to be destroyed by them,
while thou art long suffering and bearest with their provocations : 16 know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were
found, and I did eat them ; and thy word, or commission, was tinto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart : for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of bosts ; I received thy messages with pleasure, and meditated upon them, and delivered them readily and
justly ; but as they were principally of the terrible kind, I began 10 17 be uneasy at them. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers,
nor rejoiced, indulged no unbecoming levity ; I sat alone, or retired, because of thy hand ; on account of the judgments thou hast threatened to brinç upon them: for thou hast filled me with indignation ; I had no heart to be cheerful when I had nothing but woes to foretell. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, (which] refuseth to be healed ? must I always continue in this uneasy condition ? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, (and as] waters (that) fail and grow dry in summer ? must I always be disa npointed in my hope of encouragement, and of success in my work ? These were ihe irregular workings of the
prophet's mind ; to which God answers, 19 Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return to a better tem
per and a faithful discharge of thy duty, then will I bring thee again [and] thou shalt stand before me ; I will restore thee 10 thy starion, as my prophet : and if thou take forth the precious from the vile thou shalt be as my mouth, if thou distinguish between good and bad in thy preaching, I will honour thee with further messages, and enable thee 10 deliver thein aright : let them return into thee ; but return not thou unto them ; do not
accommodate thyself to their lusts and prejudices, but deliver my 20 word faithfully, how much soever it is disrelished. And I will
make thee unto, or against, this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shail fight against thee, but they shall not prevail
against thee : for I sain) with thee to save thee and to deliver 21 thee, saith the LORD. And I will deliver thee out of the hand
of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
REFLECTIONS. 1. I ET us attentively observe what an honour God here puts
L upon his praying servants ; with what respect and affection he speaks of Moses and Samuel, who had been dead many centuries. If any thing would have reconciled him to Israel, it would have been their intercession. This is no intimation that they interceded in heaven, but the contrary : it is only a supposition ; as Moses had often stood in the breach, and Samuel prevailed for their deliverance. This shows the power of prayer, and what pleasure God takes in his worshipping servants. It shows what a blessing to their country those are, who offer up earnest prayers for it : and how desirable and necessary it is that we should abound in supplication for our own land.
2. See how difficult it is to bear censure and reproach with patience and cheerfulness. Jeremiah was much out of frame, through the strife and contention of his countrymen ; and it is indeed hard to live peaceably and keep our tempers, when we live among bad neighbours, who are disposed to pick quarrels and spread slanders. Those who have large dealings in the world are very likely to suffer in their character, and consequently in their temper ; but let them take warning by the prophet, and be so much the more upon their guard that they do not indulge a fretful, uneasy spirit ; and endeavour, by watchfulness and prayer, in palience 10 possess their sculs : and, when discomposed, to return to a right mind.
3. See what opposition faithful ministers have reason to expect. Jeremiah had pursued no secular business, which is often the source of envy and contention ; he acted in his own sphere, and delivered his messages faithfully ; and merely on this account these wicked men hated and persecuted, and did all they could to silence him as a troublesome man. Let none of God's faithful servants, particularJy his ministers, wonder, if they are put under an ill name ; and if they who are reproved, and will not be reformnd, censure and abuse their best friends, and quarrel with those who would save them from destruction.
4. See how ministers ought to behave themselves in such circumstances. They are to meditate on the word of God; digest it, and endeavour throughly to understand and relish it. They are not to study to please men by sinful compliances, and by bringing down christian precepts to their standard ; but to deliver their messages faithfully, and urge men to come up to the purity of the christian standard. They are to distinguish between the precious and the vile ; to reprove the wicked and the careless ; to encourage and comfort the righteous. They are to consider themselves as God's mouth ; to speak nothing but what his word requires ; and when they do so we are to consider them as God's mouth, and pay as much regard to what they say, as if God himself spole to us. These are maxims necessary to be regarded by us at all times ; especially amidst prevailing degeneracy ; and in so doing God will support and deliver us ; and we shall stand before him with honour and acceptance through Jesus Christ. VOL. V.
In which the prophe! foretells the utter ruin of the Jews,
THE word of the Lord came also unto me, saying, while 2 1 others go on in their usual course, Thou shalt not take thee
a wife, neither shalt thou hare sons or daughters in this place ; 3 a 1oken of the desolation that is speedily approaching. For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters (that are] born in this place, and concerning their mother's that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in
this land ; such calamities are coming, that it would have been 4 better they had lived single ; for They shall die of grievous
deaths ; they shall not be lamented ; neither shall they be buried ; [but] they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth : and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine ; and
their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the 5 beasts of the earth. For thus saith the Lord, Enter not into
the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them : for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, [even) loving kindness and mercies ; their own miscries are so
great that they cannot symparhize with others; they are not ob. 6 jecis of my mercy, nor of the compassion of others. Both the
great and the small shall die in this land : they shall not be buried, neither shall [men] lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them, that is, shall not shave the
10918 of their heads, they shall be treated like common malefactors : 7 Neither shall (men) tear (themselves) for them, or break bread
for them, in mourning to comfort them for the dead ; neither
shall (men) give them the cup of consolation to drink for their 8 father or for their mother. * Thou shalt not also go into the
house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink ; thou
shali nct use even innocent entertainments, but, by abstaining from 9 them, declare that all festivily shall cease. For thus saith the
LORD of hosts, the God of Israel ; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegrooni, and the voice of the bride, all public and private occasions of
rejoicing. 10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt show this people
all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what
[is] our iniquity? or what [is] our sin that we have committed Il against the LORD Our God? Then shalt thou say unto them,
Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my
It was the custom in those days to send food and vine to monrners, as supposing they hal no heart to provide for themselves ; this was very different froin making feasts for them, which is a ridiculous and indecent custon, Yuanctiincs practised among us. .
12 law ; And ye have done worse than your fathers ; for, behold,
ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that
they may not hearken unto me; they have cherished and encour. 13 agod those lusis which lead them from God: Therefore will I cast
you out of this land into a land that ye know not, (neither) ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night ; where I will not show you favour ; ye shall be tempted 10 do it, and some shall comply ; but they shall not gain the favour of the Chaldeans thereby ; accordingly those were most esteemed who had the courage to oppose these things. Then follows the
promise of mercy in the midst of judgment. 14 Therefore, or nevertheless, behold, the days come, saith the · Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that 15 brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But,
the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them : and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers ; though this deliverance be not so great and miraculous as the other, yet they shall be more impressed with il, as brought about by the immediate influence of God upon Cy
rus. But at present, 16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they
shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they
shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and 17 out of tlie holes of the rocks. For mine eyes (are] upon all .their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes; I will send armies against you, which
you shall be no more able to resist, than fishes and beasts can ri. 18 sist fishers and hunters. · And first, before that happy lime come,
I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double, that is, largely, or double to my usual severity ; because they have dehled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abaninable things, with wounded beasis offered to heathen deities, such as swine and mice ; perhaps human sacrifices may be referred 10. Then, in order to aggravare
the stupidity of Israel, the prophet reflects with pleasure on the 19 time when the heathen shall be converted; O Lord, my strength,
and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and. shall say, Surely our father's have inherited lies, vanity, and [things) wherein (there is no profit; they shull be ashamed i
the gods of their fathers, turn 10 Jehovah, and be obedient to him. 20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are) no gods? 21 what can be more absurd than this? Therefore, behold, I will
this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might, in bringing them back and thereby awakening the heathen; and ihey shall kuow that my naine [is] The LORD; The effret of their captivity shall be to cure them of their idolara. Accordingly they have ricrer since relapsed into it.
1. L OW wretched is the case of those from whom God takes
IT away his peace! It is often the case of nations and of particular persons. Nations lose their prosperity and quiet, and have little comfort in any of their enjoyments ; and particular per sons lose, not only external blessings, their substance, health, and friends, but the composure of their minds. Their hearts meditate terror, and that oftentimes when there is no ground for it. May we be thankful for our peace while it is continued, and be careful to keep ourselves in the love of God; for without that we can have no true peace. Then, though we walk for a while in darkness, light and gladness will quickly succeed.
2. Let us often reflect on God's perfect knowledge of our ways and hearts; our conduct and principles, and our iniquities, v. 17. Many forget him ; their eyes are never toward the Lord; they think him such an one as themselves ; but he sees all things; our secret sins are in the light of his countenance. All are observed and remembered by him ; and for all these things he will bring us into judgment.
3. We are taught not to undervalue the favours and mercies shown to us, because they are not in some respects equal to those of our fathers, v. 14, 15. We see how much the Israelites were affected with their deliverances, though it was not so miraculous as the deliverance of their fathers. The former and later appearances of Providence are to be kept in remembrance, and gratefully acknowledged. Let us give God glory for the mercy shown to our fathers, for we reap the benefit of them ; nor say, the former days were betier than these. Though our deliverances and favours on some accounts are less wonderful, yet they may be equally important; and therefore God should be devoutly praised for them.
4. Let the disappointments and vexations which others have found in the ways of sin, engage us to depart from them, v. 19. We are not to do any thing because they did it, but to consider whether it be right and good. If wrong, let no veneration for antiquity and custom influence our minds, more especially in matters of evident duty. Sin is attended with sorrow, shame, and misery. Instances of this we ourselves may have seen. Let us therefore fly from it, and turn unto the Lord, for his service is reasonable. Those that wait on him shall never be ashamed ; and in keeping his command. ments there is great reward.