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22 stupid as your idols : Fear ye not me ? saith the LORD : will ye
not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand (for) the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it : and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail ; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it ?
a circumstance ofien mentioned, as a proof of God's power and do23 minion. But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart ; 24 they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart,
Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season ; they are not affected by his goodness : he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the hai
vest ; a proof of his providence which is obvious to the meanest 25 capacity. Your iniquities have turned away these [things,] these
harvest blessings, and your sins have with holden good [things) 26 from you. For among my people are found wicked (men :)
they lay wait, as he that setteth snares ; they set a trap, they
catch men ; they betray, overreach, and make a prey of one an27 other. As a cage is full of birds, so (are) their houses full of
goods gotten by deceit : therefore they are become great, and 28 waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine : yea, they over
pass the deeds of the wicked, the common instances of injustice and oppression : they judge not the cause, the cause of the
fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they 29 not judge. Shall I not visit for these [things ?] saith the
Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land ; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their
means ; and my people love (to have it) so; and what will ye do in the end thereof? what can these things come to but the ruin of you all ?
1. UM E here see the design of God in afflictions. He strikes
VV men that they may see their sin, be humble and griev. ed for it. He consumes their substance or health, that they may receive correction with the temper of children ; accommodate themselves to it and be better for it ; he designs to bring them back to himself. This shows his justice, wisdom, and goodness in afflictions, that they are to answer so important an end ; and how displeasing to him impatience, pride, and obstinacy must be.
2. We see the advantages of being placed in the middle circumstances of life. Jeremiah in his day, and we in ours, find the poor ignorant and brutish ; many of them destitute of the means of instruction ; others of them, for want of education, know not how to use and improve them. The rich, though they have enjoyed superior advantages, are generally haughty, insolent, and obstinate ; will walk in the way of their hearts and after the fashions of the world, be they right or wrong. It is a happiness to be free from
the temptations of poverty and riches, and to be placed in that middle state of life, which is best both for this world and another.
3. We here see the cause why many persist in their iniquities, notwithstanding the warnings of God's word. It is because they do not believe them ; they belie the Lord ; think he is not so holy and just a Being, nor will be so strict in his judgments, as his word declares. They despise the warnings of ministers ; thinking them to be words of course ; and that they talk so, because it is their trade : they will not own any thing to be the word of God, but what they like : but all his words will prove true, and be too hard for them ; and the judgments they despise or disbelieve will devour them.
4. The power and goodness of God in the course of his provi, dence, is a motive to fear and reverence him. He keeps the sea within its bounds amidst the most violent tempests ; stops its course by the smallest sand, as easily as by walls of rock. When the tide has risen to such a height, it returns back, as if it obeyed the divine command. Who would not tremble at the presence of so great and awful a Being ! Shall we not fear him who also gives u8 rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons ? who favours us every year with seed time and harvest? Let us meditate on his power, his goodness, and universal providence, that we may adore, reverence, and serve him, who is mighty in power, excellent in working, and who fills the whole earth with his goodness.
5. It would be happy for men if they would but consider what will be the end of things. It is of the last importance, both for this world and another, to consider before we undertake any thing, what the end will be. It would especially prevent many of the calamities, and most of the iniquities that prevail among men ; but they please themselves with their own imaginations, follow the course of this world, and seldom or never think what they shall do in the end thereof. There will be an end; death is the end of all men, as to this world ; after that, the judgment will settle their everlasting state ; and their end will be happy or miserable as their lives have been good or bad. Oh that men were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.
In which the same subject is continued.
In YE children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out
of the midst of Jerusalem,* and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire, that is, a beacon, in Bethhacce.
rem : for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. 2 I have likened the daughter of Zion, Jerusalem, to a comely and 3 delicate (woman.] The shepherds with their flocks shall come
• Part of Jerusalem was in the tribe of B njia.in; this was the propi et's own tribe, and thcreiore he was greatly cor cerr.ed about then.
unto her ; they shall pitch (their) tents against her round about ; they shall feed every one in his place, in his pasture or
quarter, till they quite devour it ; the Chaldeans shall encourage 4 one another, to attack Jerusalem, saying, Prepare ye war against her ; arise, and let us go up at noon, in the heat of the day. Wo unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening
are stretched out ; lamenting to lose a single day in the attack ; 5 yea they shall be so eager as to add, Arise, and let us go by night, 6 and let us destroy her palaces. For thus hath the LORD of
hosts said, this is his commission to the Chaldeans, Hew ye down
trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem : this [is] the city to 7 be visited ; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her. As
a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness, abundantly and constantly : violence and spoil is heard in
her ; before me continually [is] grief and wounds, the wounds 8 of those whom she hath onpressed. Be thou instructed, O Jeru.
salem, lest my soul depart from thee ; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited ; take warning before these threatenings and judgments are begun, 9 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean
the remnant of Israel as a vine : turn back thine hand as a grape
gatherer into the baskets, when he espies more bunches ; 80 will 10 God make an entire riddance. To whom shall I speak, and give
warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear (is) uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken ; it is grown heavy, and indisposed to hear the truth : behold, the word of the LORD is unto them
a reproach ; they have no delight in it; they hate it, and charge il the prophets with being slanderers. Therefore I am full of the
fury of the LORD ; I am weary with holding in ; I must denounce his judgments: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together, when at their clubs and merry meetings : for even the husband with the
wife shall be taken, the aged with chim that is] full of days. 12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, (with their) fields
and wives together : for I will stretch out my hand upon the 13 inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. For from the least of
them even unto the greatest of them every one (is) given to coretousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest, all the
different orders of men that should have promoted religion, every 14 one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt (of the
daughter) of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when [there is) no peace ; instead of searching the wound to the bot
tom, they have skinned it over, so that it will break out again. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination ?
nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush : therefore they shall fall among them that fall : at the time
[that] I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for
the old paths, where [is] the good way, in which your pious fathers, the patriarchs and prophets trod, and walk therein, and ye. shall find rest to your souls. But they said, We will not walk 17 (therein.] Also I set watchmen over you, to warn you of dan
ger, and to threaten my judgments, (saying,] Hearken to the
sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. 18 Therefore hear, ye neighbouring nations, and know, O congre
gation, especially ye governors and magistrates, what [is] among 19 them, what a height of wickedness they are grown to. Hear, O
earth; behold, I will bring evil upon this people, (even) the fruit of their thoughts, that is, their evil thoughts and the things
they fear, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor 20 to my law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to
me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country, on which you ground your pretensions to my favour ? your burnt
offerings (are] not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto 21 me. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stum
bling blocks before this people, and the father and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish ; their designs shall miscarry, they shall fall into the evils
they thought to avoid ; neither the father's wisdom nor the son's 22 strength, shall deliver them. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a
people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall 23 be raised from the sides of the earth. They shall lay hold on
bow and spear; they (are] cruel, and have no mercy ; their
voice roareth like the sea ; and they ride upon horses, set in 24 array as men for war against thee, o daughter of Zion. We
have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble : anguish
hath taken hold of us, (and) pain, as of a woman in travail; the 25 people are terribly alarmed at the report, and say, Go not forth
into the field, nor walk by the way : for the sword of the ene26 my [and] fear [is] on every side. O daughter of my people,
gird (thee) with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes : make
thee mourning, (as for] an only son, most bitter lamentation : 27 for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. I have set thee,
O Jeremiah, [for,] or rather in, a tower (and) a fortress among
my people, that thou mayest know and try their way, to observe 28 their conduct, to see my justice, and warn them. They (are) all
grievous revolters, walking with slanders : [they are] brass and iron, the meanest metals ; they (are) all corrupters, impudent and
obstinate, are corrupt themselves, and corrupting one another. 29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire ; the
founder melteth in vain : for the wicked are not plucked away.* 30 Reprobate silver shall (men) call them, that is, silver mixed with
dross, that will not pass current, because the Lord hath rejected them ; they shall be rejected of God and man, and left to be consumed in the furnace.
• Here is an allusion to the method of refining silver ; lead was mixed with it for that purpose; the bellows were burned by being long near the bre; so long God had used methods to reform them ; but their wickedness was not removed, nor were they the better for the means of reformation,
N E may infer from hence how resolute we should be in
VV our spiritual warfare. The Chaldeans were eager to go up to the attack ; neither the heat of the day, nor the coldness of the night discouraged them. Let the courage and patience of military men rouse us to fighi the good fight of faith. It is a glorious warfare in which we are engaged against spiritual enemies. The commission and command are from God; we have the promise of his strength, if we go on vigorously and faint not. Let Christ's aged soldiers not be disheartened, but be so much the more diligent, as the day goeth away, and the shadows of the evening are lengthiened, for a glorious reward will be given : let us therefore be faithful unto drath, and God will give us a crown of life.
2. We see what is necessary to be done, if we desire the continuance of God's favour, v.8. We must attend to religious instructions, by whom and in what way soever delivered ; consider their importance, and obey them ; else God's soul will depart from us ; we shall lose his favour, and every thing honourable and comfortable ; and then we shall become desolate indeed. Let us therefore hear instruction, and be wise, before it is too late.
3. We have here a lesson of important instruction for ministers. They must faithfully deliver even those warnings and threatenings of scripture, which are most terrifying and disagreeable to men ; and which is not very pleasant to themselves to deliver, any farther than as they are needful and useful. They must beware, lest, as in v. 14. they encourage men in their sins, and suffer them to perish through self deceit. Let their hearers also beware lest they account The word of the Lord a reproach, and are angry with a reproof that reaches their cases and consciences. Rather let them be thankful for it, and esteem the faithful reprover in love.
4. How desirable is it for all, especially young persons, to seek afer and walk in the good way, the old path ; like travellers that would not willingly mistake their road, but want and ask direction. Let them inquire in what way those bave walked, whose names are recorded with honour in Scripture ; ask of their parents, their ministers, tneir bible and practical books, what is the good way, and never turn aside from it. There, and there only, will be found rest for their souls, present peace, and everlasting happiness.
5. How miserable is the state of those who continue unreformed under the means of grace! God tries them by various methods, by conscience, his providence, his word and ordinances, as metals are tried, in order to separate the dross, to refine and purify them. His ministers take pains to study, to make known and to enforce the will of God; but, alas ! seldom is any good effect of their pains seen. Their bellows are burned, their time is lost, their strength and health impaired, and their lives shortened. But they that will not be reformed, shall be utterly consumed : the Lord will reject