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hold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use, or

smooth, their tongues, and say, He saith ; pretending a divine 32 authority for what they deliver. Behold, I (am) against them

that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and by their lightness; their unsteady and inconsistent conduct; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them : therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What [is] the burden of the LORD? when they meet thee, and ask in a taunting and scornful way, what the burden of the Lord now is ; (as prophecies are often called, because they contained very weighty and important matters ;) thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the

LORD; or rather, Ye are the burden, and I will cast you off, saith 34 the Lord. And (as for) the prophet, and the priest, and the

people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even pun35 ish that man and his house. Thus shall ye say every one to

his neighbour, and every one to his brother, instead of that pro

fane jesting language, you should say, What hath the LORD an36 swered ? and, What hath the LORD spoken ? And the burden

of the Lord shall ye mention no more : for every man's word shall be his burden ; he that makes a jest of it shall feel it ; for

ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of 37 hosts our God, who is able to accomplish his threatenings. Thus

shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered 38 thee? and, What hath the Lord spoken ? But since ye say, or,

if ye will say, The burden of the LORD ; therefore thus saith the LORD ; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and

I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of 39 the LORD: Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you,

and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your 40 fathers, and cast you] out of my presence : And I will bring

an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

REFLECTIONS.

1. I ET us regard Jesus Christ in the view in which he is here · La foretold : as a Branch of David, in whom the prophecies are fulfilled ; and as our Righteousness, as one who is perfectly righteous himself, and who wrought out righteousness for his people. The dignity of his person, the excellency of his character, and his divine appointment, all join to render him a complete Saviour. May we then look to him, and be saved. He will take care of his church and provide for his fock, when those who should feed it, neglect it ; and those who should defend it, devour it.

2. Let us reverence the omniscience of God. These prophets would not have been so wicked ; nor the people so easily imposed upon, had they not forgotten this, and said, The Lord doth not see. Vol. V.

Xx

But there is no concealing any thing from him; no imposing upon him : darkness and distance are no obstruction to his view. Let us reflect seriously on this; be afraid of secret sins; and approve ourselves to him.

3. Let us admire the power of the word of God. It is as fire, and as a hammer; dissolving the stubborn spirit ; breaking the most rocky heart. It has a wonderful efficacy for these purposes ; and it is a proof of its divine authority when such effects attend it. Let us pray that it may have this effect upon our souls; and instead of being a savour of death may be a savour of life to them.

4. Here is an awful lesson to ministers to preach God's word faithfully, and to deal plainly with immortal souls. What a number of expressions have we here of God's displeasure against false prophets and deceivers ! May ministers take warning, and not smooth their tongues, but show men their transgressions. May they never strengthen the hands of the wicked, by promising them peace; by lowering the terms of salvation, or weakening the ihreatenings of God's word. May they never lead people to subs stitute any thing for real holiness. To say nothing but what is pleasing and plausible ; to be more fearful of offending man than God, are proofs that they never stood in his counsel, nor understood his words. This is doing men the greatest mischief imaginable. May they therefore watch for souls as those that must give an account,

5. See the evil and danger of making a jest of scripture truths, or scripture language. This was the sin of the Jews ; we see how highly God resented it ; and how awfully he forbids it, on pain of his highest displeasure. It is common for men to turn sacrcd things into ridicule, and to make a jest of the language of ministers, though it be the language of scripture, and the language of the Spirit of God. Sometimes those who profess godliness will use scripture phrases and expressions in a light, trifling manner, and make it their jest, when perhaps they have no evil intention. But let them beware of this, lest their own tongues fall upon them, 7. 36. They who allow themselves in this indecent, irreverent, profane language, will hereafter perfectly understand what it is to trifle with sacred things, and what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the live ing God. God and his word jest with no man, and therefore they are not to be jested with.

CHAP. XXIV.

In the former chapter the ruin of Jerusalem and the Jewish state was

foretold ; here, for the encouragement of the prophet and the picus people in the land, it is declared, that though all should suffer, God would make a distinction between the precious and the vile.

THE LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs

1 [were] set before the temple of the LORD, these were offered, according 10 the law, as part of thtir first fruits, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon ; because they wanted these most, or 10 2 prevent the Jews fortifying their city and making wrapons. One basket (had) very good figs, [even] like the figs (that are) first

ripe : and the other basket (had) very nauglity figs, which could 3 not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the Lord unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah ? And I said, Figs; the food figs, very good ; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 5 Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Thus saith the Lord), the God of Israel ; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge, or distinguish, them that are carried away captive of Judali, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for (their) good, or, in a favourable manner ;

that is, I will show them favour, and make their captivity work for 6 their good.* For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and

I will bring them again to this land : and I will build them, and not pull [them) down ; and I will plant them, and not pluck (them) up ; I will give them fazour in the land of their captiviti',

and bring them or their posterity back, and fix them in a state 7 of prosperity. And I will give them an heart to know me, that

I (am) the Lord : and they shall be my people, and I will be their God : for they shall return unto me with their whole heart ; they shall know God practically, renounce their idolatry, return 10 their duty, and live in the fear of God, and in obedience

to his commands.t 8 And as the evil fig's, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil ;

surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt, that 9 went to settle in Egypt for security : And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for (their) hurt, (to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt, and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them ; they shall be signal instances of God's displeasure, and become so contemptible and miserable,

that the common form of cursing shall be, God make you like 10 them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pesti

lence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers ; I will send one calamily after another upon them, so that neither they nor their posterily shall ever return to their own land.

• Probably most of these were pious men: God night influence the hearts of the con. querors to take such, while those who saved behind thought themselves better beloved of God than their brethren who were carried captive ; but God would show then the contrary.

+ Their former calamities had no such effect, but seemed rather to harden them; his Therefore could not be a conjecture of Jerenith's, for it was not unlihely tung; but the spirit of prophecy plainly appears in it

REFLECTIONS.

THIS short chapter is exceeding useful, as it gives us a key

I to some of the most mysterious dispensations of Providence. We learn,

1. That one event in this respect happens to all. The good and the bad alike are carried captive ; there is no knowing good or evil by any thing that happens under the sun. Therefore we must not censure or judge our brethren, when they meet with great calamities, nor reckon their sufferings to be divine judgments.

2. We see how differently the same afflictions work upon the good and bad. These first captives seemed to be in very deplorable circumstances; they were driven from their country ; lost their estates, their substance, and liberty ; and were carried into a heathen land, among strangers, enemies, and oppressors ; far from their friends, and the house and ordinances of God. Yet this was all for their good ; to cure them of idolatry, and bring them to know and serve the God of Israel : while their countrymen, though spared for a time, were at length carried away for their hurt and ruin. Thus afflictions are still different in their effects on the righteous and on the wicked. God's intentions to his people are most kind when his judgments seem most severe : but to his enemies they are not the correction of a father, but the sword of an executioner.

3. We are here taught the design of afflictions, v. 7. viz. to bring us to know God, to return to him with our whole heart, and so become his people. Though afflictions are adapted to answer this end, yet they will not do it without divine agency ; therefore God promises, I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord. This therefore should be the subject of our prayers, especially in seasons of distress, that God would give us such an heart : and then will he fulfil that glorious promise, that all things shall work together for our good.

CHAP. XXV.

This chapter contains a firophecy of the destruction of Judea and the

neighbouring countries by Nebuchadnezzar.

i

THE word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the peo

1 ple of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, when he reigned with his father, that (was] the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and then the 2 seventy years of captivity began ; The which Jeremiah the pro

phet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabi3 tants of Jerusalem, saying, From the thirteenth year of Josiah

the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that [is] the

three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking ; but 4 ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all

his servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them ;] but 5 ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They

said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD

hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever : 6 And go not after other gods to serve them; and to worship

them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your 7 hands ; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened

unto me, saith the LORD ; that ye might provoke me to anger

with the works of your hands to your own hurt. 8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts ; Because ye have not 9 heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, whom I will make use of as a scourge upon the nations, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round

about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an aston10 ishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I

will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride,

the sound of the milstones, and the light of the candle ; they 11 shall have neither trade nor pleasure. And this whole land shall

be a desolation, [and] an astonishment ; and these nations shall 12 serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to

pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for

their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it 13 perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my

words which I have pronounced against it, [even] all that is

written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all 14 the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve

themselves of them also ; or, for of them, even of these, shall many nations and great kings exact service ; that is, Cyrus and Darius, the Medes and Persians, and their allies : and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to

the works of their own hands. 15 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me ; Take the

wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to

whom I send thee, to drink it, that is, prophesy against them. 16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, they shall be

intoxicated, lose their understanding, and act like madmen, be17 cause of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I • the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink,

to whom the LORD had sent me ; an allusion to the custom of

drinking round in company ; and the prophets are said to do 18 that which they foretold God would do : (To wit,) Jerusalem, and

the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes there

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