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confounded, because he hath lost all her children, at á time when she enjoyed most comfort in them; or this may be understood of Jerusalem : and the residue of them, those that have escaped out of the city, will I deliver to the fword before their enemies, faith the LORD.-The pro
phet then proceeds, 10 Woe is me, my mother, that thou haft borne me a
man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth, or land! every one hates me and quarrels with me for my faithfulness : I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on ufury; [yet] every one of them doth curse me; I have had no dealings in the world, which are often the source of contention; particularly those dealings here mentioned, which generally produced quarrels, as
the jews were forbidden to lend to one another on usury. 11 The Lord faid, Verily it shall be well with thy rem.nant,* in the residue of thy days and thy family; verily I
will cause the enemy to entreat thee (well] in the time
of evil and in the time of affliction; which they did, 12 giving him leave to stay or go, as he pleased. Shall iron
break the northern iron and the steel ? a proverbial exprefron, signifying, that the northern nations, who bould
come up against Ferufalem, would be as much fuperior to 13 them in strength, as tenpered steel is to common iron. Thy
fubstance and thy treasures will I give to the fpoil i without price, without any valuable confideration, as a
warthless commodity, which a man will give away rather
than keep, and [that] for all thy fins, even in all thy 14. borders. And I will make thee] to pass with thine
enemies into a land (which] thou knoweft not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, (which] shall burn upon
you. The prophet then says, 15 O LORD, thou knoweft my innocence : remember me,
and visit me, and revenge me of my perfecutors; take me not away in thy long-suffering; permit me not to be
destroyed by them, while thou art long-suffering and beareft · with their provocations : know that for thy fake I have VOL. V.
suffered :* Dr. Blayner translates it, They have reviled me all of them, faith Jehovah, that is, both thou and the people, yet I will take care of thee.
16 fuffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did
eat them; and thy word, or commision, was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, o LORD God of hosts; I received thy mesages with pleasure, and meditated upon them, and delivered then
readily and justly; but as they were principally of the ter19 rible kind, I began to be uneasy at them. I fat not in
the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced, indulged no unbecoming levity ; I fat alone, or retired, because of thy hand; on account of the judgments thou haft threatened to bring upon them : for thou hast filled me
with indignation; I had no heart to be cheerful when I 18 had nothing but woes to foretell. Why is my pain per
petual, 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 disappointed in my hope of encouragement, and of success in my work? These were the irregular workings of the pro
phet's mind; to which God answers, . 19 Therefore thus faith the LORD, If thou return to a
better temper and a faithful discharge of thy duty, then will I bring thee again [and] thou shalt stand before me; I will restore thee to thy station, 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 to deliver them aright : let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them; do not accommo- :
date thyself to their lusts and prejudices, but deliver my 20 'word faithfully, how much foever it is disrelished. And I
will make thee unto, or against, this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I sam) with
thee to save thee and to deliver thee, faith the LORD. 21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked,
and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
1. I ET us attentively observe what an honour God
L h ere puts 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 Ifrael, it would have been their intera cession. 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, thro' the strife and contention of his countrymen; and it is indeed hard to live peaceably and keep our tem. pers, when we live among bad neighbours, who are difposed to pick quarrels and spread Tlanders. 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 patience to posless their fouls ; 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 trouble. some man. Let none of God's faithful servants, particularly his ministers, wonder, if they are put under an ill name; and if they who are reproved, and will not be reformed, censure and abuse their best friends, and quarrel with those who would save them from destruction. G g 2
4. See how ministers ought to behave themselves in fuch 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 fin. ful 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 fo we are to consider them as God's mouth, and pay as much regard to what they fay, as if God himself spoke to us. These are maximş 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 thro' Jesus Christ.
| C H A P. XVI. In which the prophet foretells the utter ruin of the jews. irTHE word of the Lord came alfo unto me, fay
I ing, while others go on in their usual course, .2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have
· fons or daughters in this place; a token of the defolation 3 that is speedily approaching. For thus faith the LORD
concerning the sons and concerning the daughters (that are] born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; such calamities are coming,
that it would have been better they had lived single ; for 4 They fhall die of grievous deaths ; they shall not be
lamented; neither Thall 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 carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and 5 for the beasts of the earth. For thus faith 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, faith the LORD, [even, loving kindness and mercies; their own mi series are so great that
they cannot sympathize with others; they are not objeEts of 6 my mercy, nor of the compasion 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 have the tops of their heads, they foall be 7 treated like common malefactors: 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 8 for their father or for their mother. Thou shalt not
also go into the house of feasting, to fit with them to eat and to drink; thou malt not use even innocent enter
tainments, but, by abstaining from them; declare that all 9 feftivity shall cease. For thus faith 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 bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, all publick 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 fin that we have committed against the LORD II our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because
your fathers have forsaken me, faith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them,
and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, ,12 and have not kept my 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 Gg 3 .
not Ý It was the custom in those days to fend food and wine to mourners, as supposing they had no heart to provide for themselves; this was very different from making feasts for them, which is a ridiculous and indecent cullom, lometimes practised among us.