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CHAP. XVII.

The former fart of the chafiler, v. 1-18, shows the fatal conse

quences of idolatry, the happiness of !he man, ihat trusts in God, and the vanity of riches, which often disappoint the owner ; the prophet appeals to God for his sincerity, and prays that the evil intended by his enemies may revert on their own heads; the remainder relates to the due observance of the sabbath. I THE sin of Judah [is] written with a pen of iron, (and)

1 with the point of a diamond : [it is) graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your aitars, where the blood of their idolatrous sacrifices is poured out, which is a proof of the wickedness of their hearts, plain and legible both to God and

man ; they are so confi-med in sin that there is no hope of re2 claiming them ; iVhilst their children remember their altars and

their groves by the green trees upon the high hills ; even their

children can show the way to their allars, and understand their 3 worship, it is so common and prevalent. O my mountain in the field, that is, Jerusalem, a mountain, or a heap of mountains in a plain, I will give thy substance [and] all thy treasures to the

spoil, [and] thy high places for sin, or, on account of thy sin, de throughout all thy borders. And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee ; and I will cause, thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not ; a very beautiful allusion to the seventh year, when the land was 10, lie untilled and the servants were to be released ; for the neglect of this thou shalt be released from thy possession, and turned out of thy heritage : for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger,

(which) shall burn for ever, that is, till you are consumed. 5 Thus saith the LORD ; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh, that is, frail, mortal man, his arm, or con.

fidence, and whose heart departeth from the LORD ; referring 6 10 their alliance with Egypt and dependence upon it. For he shall

be like the heath in the desert, a very worthless shrub, and shall not see when good cometh ; but shali inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, (in) a salt land and not inhabited ; they shall not enjoy the good and safety they hoped for, but be exposed to the 7 evils they feared. Blessed [is] the man that trusteth in the

LORD, and whose hope the LORD is, who uscth no sinful means 8 for his safety. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters,

in opposition 10 the heath before mentioned, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see, or fear, when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green ; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit, which shall not be destroyed by drought, but have a constant supi

pily of moisture, and be always fruitful. 9 The heart [is] deceitful above all (things,) and desperately

wicked : who can know it? A general remark ; which seems principally 10 refer to their foreign alliances, by which they would

10 be deceived. I the Lord search the heart, [I] try the reins, even

to give every man according to his ways, (and) according to the

fruit of his doings ; I alone know the heart, and can by my prove 11 idence turn and influence it. [As) the partridge, or kore, (a

bird which frequenis the mountains, 1 Sam. xxvi. 20.) sitteth [on eggs,) and hatcheth (them) not ; or sitteth on eggs she did not lay, and the brood from which soon run from her and join with birds of their own kind, or are frequently and easily destroyed ; [so] he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, when he thinks them secure, ani promises himself pleasure in them, and at his end shall be a fool, because he has

laboured for and trusted in what is 80 transitory. 12 A glorious high throne from the beginning [is] the place of

our sanctuary ; God made it 89 from the beginning, that is, since David contrived and Solomon built it ; and this is an aggravation

of our folly in forsaking the Lord and serving idols, while his tem13 ple is among us. O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake

thee for other confidences shall be ashamed, [and] they that depart from me, from thy words delivered by me, shall be like characters written in the dust of the earth, which are easily blown

away, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of liv14 ing waters. The prophet prays, Heal me, O Lord, and I shall

be healed ; relieve and comfort me under persecutions and afflic. tions ; save me, and I shall be saved : for thou (art] the object of

my praise. 15 Behold, they say unto me, Where [is] the word of the LORD?

let it come now ; infidels and libertines doubt the truth of it, and 16 defy its threatenings. ' As for me, I have not hastened from (be.

ing) a pastor to follow thee :* neither have I desired the woful

day ; thou knowest ; I have taken no pleasure in denouncing these judgmenis, I have never wished for them, though necessary

to accomplish my prophecies ; I have kept close 10 my instructions : 17 that which came out of my lips was (right before thee. Be not

a terror unto me, while my adversaries are so : thou [art] my 18 hope in the day of evil. Let them be confounded, that is, they

shall be so, that persecute me, but let pot me be confounded : let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed : bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction ; thou wilt utterly destroy them, that they may no longer insult thy prophet and defy thy threateningr.

Thus saith the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in,

and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 in all public places ; And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the

LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of 21 Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates : Thus saith the LORD;

Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, 22 nor bring [it] in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a

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burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any

work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers; 23 as a sign of my covenant with them. But they obeyed not, nei

ther inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might 24 not hear, nor receive instruction. And it shall come to pass, if

ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no.

burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but 25 hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein ; Then

shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and prin. ces sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and

the inhabitants of Jerusalem : and this city shall remain for 26 ever ; the court, the city, and the country shall flourish. And

they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house

of the LORD ; they shall bring their sacrifices from all paris 27 of the land. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the

sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day ; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenchied ; a threatening which was literalby fulfilled, and which this very prophet lived to see and lament.

REFLECTIONS.

1. W E here see how cautious we should be of putting too

V much trust in man. To depend upon human wisdom, skill, and power, to the neglect of God, (that is, while we disregard his providence, and restrain prayer before him) is an affront to liim; it is impious and profane. Men are all of them weak and frail, many of them are false and deceitful ; therefore it is foolish to trust in them, and the way to have our expectations disappointed. In like manner, it is also foolish to trust in our own hearts, and lean to our own understandings, without seeking and acknowledging God. Take heed therefore, brethren, lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing froin the living God.

2. We see how safely and comfortably we may trust in God. If we faithfully do our duty, and trust in him to guide, support, and deliver us, he will do it. He knows the heart ; knows what we intend ; and what those with whom we have any concern intend ; ard can influence us and them as he pleases. If we trust in him, we shall flourish in honour and comfort, and abound in the fruits of righteousness. He will not be our terror, but our comfort, in the day of evil, when men fail us, and our expectations from the crcatures are disappointed.

3. We are taught the vanity of those riches which are unjustly gotten. All are vanity ; but these are especially so. A muy may

get rich by oppression, fraud, and artifice. This is sometimes the case ; and it encourages men of no principle to practise injustice. But such riches often leave a man in the midst of his days, when he wants them most, and pleases himself with the thought of their continuance and increase. They will certainly leave him in the end of his days, when he can carry nothing with him but the guilt, shame, and remorse of having gotten them unjustly. Then he will see himself to have been a fool : however proud he may have been of his sagacity and success, and of the flattery of others. O let integ. rity and uprighiness preserve us : and let us be rich in good works. By acting thus we shall show ourselves wise, and lay up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come.

4. Observe how necessary it is to sanctify the sabbath, if we de. sire the favour of God, and the prosperity of our country. This is required of kings and rulers, as well as others. No burdens are to be borne, no common work to be done, no labouring, travelling, carrying out, or fetching in, (even provisions) except in case of absolute necessity. We see what stress God lays upon this duty; he charges the neglect of it as a crime which would bring ruin upon the state. The religious observation of the sabbath will support other branches of religion, v. 21, therefore let us take heed to ourselves. Great caution is needful in a degenerate day, and amidst so many bad examples. Those who, merely to save time on working days, contrive to take journeys, to visit their friends, or follow their business on the sabbath, and, by so doing, deprive themselves of religious advantages, do at least, (however their thoughts may be employed) set a bad example to others, and encourage them to profane the sabbath. Those who do this should attend to the prophet Jeremiah's admonition : and how they can imagine such a conduet to be consistent with the divine authority and law, the design of the sabbath, the solemnity of a christian profession and engagement, or even with seeking the true interest of their country, is astonishing. How they will vindicate it before him, who will give to every man according to his ways and the fruit of his doings, they will do well to consider.

CHAP. XVIII.

God here, under the type of a potter, shows his absolute power in dis

posing of nations, and threatens judgments to Judah. THE word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 T Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will 3 cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's

house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels, or, was al 4 work upon the stones. And the vessel that he made of clay was

marred in the hand of the potter : so he made it again another 5 vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it.] Then the

6 word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot

I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay (is) in the potter's hand, so (are) ye in mine hand, ( house of Israel ; I have absolute power over thee to do as I please, yet I

am not inclined to deal with thee in strict righteousness according 7 to thy true character ; for (At what] instant I shall speak con

cerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, either by my pro

phels, or in the course of providence, to pluck up, and to pull 8 down, and to destroy [it ;] If that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I

thought to do unto them; I will change my way of dealing with 9 them. And (at what) instant I shall speak concerning a nation, 10 and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it ;] If it do

evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them; according to their different behaviour, they shall become the objects of my favour

or displeasure. Il Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the

inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you; I in

tend to punish you : return ye now every one from his evil way, 12 and make your ways and your doings good. And they said,

There is no hope : but we will walk after our own devices, and

we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart ; they were 13 stubborn and would not be reformed. Therefore thus saith the

LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things; none among them were so stupid, as to say they would not reform when judgments were coming upon them, especially when they actually feltethem; the Ninevites, for instance, repented at the preaching of Jonah, but the virgin of Israel hath done a very hor

rible thing ; Israel, that ought to be a pure, chaste virgin to the 14 Lord, is worse than they. Will (a man] leave the snow of Leb.

anon (which cometh] from the rock of the field ? (or) shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Will the snow leave Lebanon before any rock of the field ? Will men dig for strange waters perversely, in preference to such as flow? Will a thirsty traveller in hot weather leave cool water, that

trickles down from Lebanon, or fine spring water, for a standing, 15 muddy lake ?* Because my people hath forgotten me, they have

burned incense to vanity, to idols, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways (from] the ancient patlis, to walk in paths, (in) a way not cast up; their false prophets and idolatrous priests

have led them from the good old way, to walk in a miry dangerous 16 roud ; To make their land desolate, [and] a perpetual hissing ;

every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his

head; the consequence will be, that some quill fity, and others will 17 triumph in their calamilies. I will scatter them as with an east

wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

• Dr. Biayney, Vol. V.

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