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move us; remembering and owning that the Lord is righteous, and that he has wise and holy ends in permitting it. While clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment have their habitation in his throne. Let us endeavour to have our hearts right with him; then we may be sure that every thing will go right with us, and all things work together for our good.
2. Instead of sinking under present troubles, it is good to expect and prepare for future and greater. Such we must expect; and it is needful to habituate our minds to patience and submission. Let us not raise our expectations too high from any thing to be enjoyed upon earth ; but remember, that this is a state of trouble, because a state of trial ; that changes and death are before us; and that future afflictions will be lighter, in proportion to the pains we take, under present evils, to posless our fouls in patience.
3. See what is neceffary in order to our being owned as God's people, viz. that we diligently learn their ways; the ways of fobriety, righteousness, and godliness. These are to be learned by observing their walk, especially by study. ing the word of God: and this requires great diligence, because it is a way contrary to the bent of corrupt nature and the course of this world. Let it be our care to walk in the way of good men: then shall we be built up in holiness and comfort with them, and at length share their everlasting joys.
CH A P. XIII. This chapter contains an entire prophecy. Under the symbol of a
linen girdle, left to rot near Euphrates, it foretells the manner in which the glory of the jews shall be marred during their
long captivity in Chaldea. I T HUS faith the Lord unto me, Go and get
thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water ; do not wash it, let it be foiled ; 2 to intimate how the jews had defiled themselves. So I got
a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put 3 [ic] on my loins. And the word of the LORD came
4 unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that · thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to
Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So 5 I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD com
manded me. And it came to pass after many days, 6 that the Lord said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates;
and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing. All this was tranfaEted in a vision,
the more strongly to impress the mind of the prophet and the 8 people. Then the word of the LORD came unto me, 9 saying, Thus faith the LORD, After this manner will
I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerufalem; they shall be carried captive beyond Euphrates, and
all their finery shall be defaced; thus will I bring down the 10 pride of the countrymen and the citizens. This evil peo' ple, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the
imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods,
to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as II this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the
girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, fo have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, faith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear; they have been my peculiar people, have entered into covenant with me; they have been honoured with my name, and a Special relation to me, that I might be glorified by their showing forth my truth and praise to the world: but by their wickedness they are no more a glory to me, than a rotten,
dirty girdle is to him that weareth it. 12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word;
Thus faith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine, (probably a common proverb) and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine ? they will make a jest of it, saying, Who does not know this? But the prophet is. ordered to give them a terrible explanation of it.
13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus faith the LORD,
Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that fit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
with drunkenness; I will turn them all to confusion, and 4. put them to their wits end. And I will dash them one
against another like bottles, even the fathers and the fons together, faith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare,
nor have mercy, but destroy them. 15 Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud, so as to despise 16 what is said to you: for the Lord hath spoken. Give
glory to the LORD your God, by confefion, humiliation, and returning to him, before he cause darkness, that is, trouble and great affliction, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, when flying over the mountains by night from the word of the Chaldeans, and, while ye look for light, and wish for the morning, he turn it into
the shadow of death, [and] make [it] grofs darkness. 17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in fecret
places for your] pride ; and mine eye shall weep fore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is
carried away captive, for that will be the end of your pride 18 and obstinacy. Say unto the king and to the queen,
Humble yourselves, fit down as mourners: for your principalities fhall come down, (even] the crown of your glory; or, he will cause to fall from your heads the diadem of your glory: probably referring to Jehoiakim and
his mother, (2 Kings xxiv. 12.) who were carried captive 19 by the king of Babylon. The cities of the south shall be
shut up, and none fhall open [them:] Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried
away captive; all the cities shall be besieged or for faken. 20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from
the north, that is, the Chaldeans, (this is addressed to the king and governors :) where [is] the flock [that] was given thee to take care of, thy beautiful flock, which thou
hajt negleeted? what is become of them? to what state are 21 they reduced? What wilt thou say when he, that is, God,
shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, [and] as chief over thee; thy regard to thy
nast neglected? What wilt thou lay taught them
neighbours shall be thy ruin: shall not sorrows take thee, 22 as a woman in travail ? And if thou say 'in thine
heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, [and] thy heels made bare for this thou art carried
away captive, stripped of thy upper garments, and barefoof. 23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his
spots ? (then] may ye alfo do good, that are accustom
ed to do evil; fo accustomed to it, that it is almost im. 24 possible to reclaim you, there is no prospeet of it. Therefore
will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by 25 the wind of the wilderness. This is thy lot, the
portion of thy measures from me, faith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in false
hood; in allies that deceived thee, and disappointed they 26 presumptuous hopes. Therefore will I discover thy skirts
upon thy face, that thy shame may appear; an allusion
to the way of punishing lewd women, by publickly exposing 27 them. I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings,
the lewdness of thy whoredom, [and] thine abominations on the hills in the fields; I have seen thy idolatry, which is fpiritual lewdness. Woe unto thee, O Jerufalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when [shall it] once be?] I will yet wait a while to see what effet these threatenings and expostulations will have upon thee.
REFLECTIONS 1. VIE here see how much God is displeased with
V pride, whatever it be that we are proud of: and especially with those who think themselves too wise and good to be taught. God takes notice of the degrees of pride in the heart, tho' it do not appear to men. He observes the pride of the countrymen, and the greater pride of the citizens. Those who live in populous, wealthy places, are more apt to be proud of their fine houses, fur. niture, and entertainments, than those who live in the country. But it is a sin that easily besets all; and is particularly abominable in God's profefling people. He has
many ways of marring it and bringing it down. Let us therefore examine' our own hearts, guard against selfconceit, and earnestly pray that we may be clothed with humility.
2. The prospect of approaching evils should lead us to humiliation and amendment of what is amiss, v. 16. Pride makes men secure and confident; but darkness is before them. Our afflictions, disappointments, and days of darkness may be many : at least death is before us; and on thesë dark mountains our feet may stumble. To prevent this, let us give glory to God by confession and reformation, and living near to him. It becomes the greatest perfons to do this, even kings and queens; else all their glory and lustre will end in everlasting darkness; while the hum. ble and pious shall be exalted, and partake of the inheritance of the saints in light.
3. How tenderly ought God's people, and especially his ministers, to be affected with the obstinacy and impeni. tence of others, v. 17. It should grieve us to behold transgressors, especially those who have enjoyed many and great religious advantages. Ministers, when they see their labours unsuccessful, often weep in secret, and pour out their prayers and tears to God on this account. But God bottles their tears; and woe be to those whose pride and obstinacy have occasioned them .
4. Let our minds be impressed with the great difficulty of conquering bad habits. It is a thing next to impossible. Hardly any principles of religion, any motives, either of fear or shame, will work upon those who are accustomed to do evil. Fact and experience prove this. Let us be thankful if thro' the pious care of parents, and divine grace, we have never contracted them. Young people should above all things guard against them; and parents watch over their children to prevent them. Nothing is imposfible to divine grace and power. Let those therefore who are under the power of them, earnestly strive and pray against them, and do it without de left the disease should become incurable.