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of the flock, ġe great men: for the days of your slaugh.
shall fall like a pleasant vessel that is broken, and no 35 longer valued or regarded. And the shepherds shall have
no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. 36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of
the principal of the flock, shall be heard :) for the 37 LORD hath spoiled their pasture. And the peaceable
habitations, or, the habitations of Salem, or Jerufalem, its
palaces and houses, are cut down because of the fierce 38 anger of the Lord. He hath forsaken his covert, as
the lion, who is come abroad to range for prey: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppref. for, and because of his fierce anger.
1. M OD keeps an exact account what religious ad.
U vantages we have been favoured with, and how long we have enjoyed them, v. 3, 4. He reminds the jews of this, to shame their ignorance and disobedience. An awful thought: which it becomes us to enter into, that we may consider what improvement we have made of our advantages, and what account we shall give of them, when for all these things God shall bring us into judgment.
2. See what use God makes of the princes of the earth ; to execute his purposes, v. 9. Nebuchadnezzar was purfuing his ambitious, covetous ends; but God was fulfilling his own designs by him. Those who are most troublesome to God's people, are but his rod: the tyrants and conquerors of the earth are but fulfilling his pleasure : and at length their time shall come to fall, their ambition and cruelty shall be punished. It is not what men do, but the temper and principle from which they do it, that renders them acceptable to God: let us therefore judge nothing before the time.
3. See what it is that provokes God to punish, viz. disobedience, v. 6, Let finners take warning, and return to God and their duty; then they will escape final hurt. Let God's people be careful to behave in an holy, regular
manner; then, tho' he may chasten them for the trial and
improvement of their graces, it will be all for their good. 14. If God afflicts his own people, what have not his · enemies to fear? v. 29. If Judah, that had some good people among them, suffered so much, surely the idola. trous nations about them would suffer more. If good men are afflicted, what must the wicked expect ? For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where all the ungodly and the finner appear :
5. Let us observe and lament the miseries and desolations of war. The nations are here described as all drunk. en and infatuated; which, by the way, shows us what a beastly, detestable vice drunkenness is. God makes use of this emblem to show how they should stagger in their counsels; be all in perplexity and confusion, and totally incapable of defending themselves; the strongest and greateft men should be thrown into hurry and consternation; the peaceable habitations destroyed; and the quiet in the land suffer, as well as others. This is a case much to be lamented; and the continuance of the divine displeasure on the nations deprecated. But whatever the times are, let the wicked remember, that in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture, and the dress thereof all the wicked of the earth Mall wring them out, and drink them.
CHA P. XXVI.
brought into for delivering his message from the Lord faith-
I of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the 2 LORD, saying, Thus faith the LORD ; Stand in the
court of the LORD's house, probably at one of the foleman feasts, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which
i come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words
that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not
a word, as you may be tempted to do, the message being to 3 likely to provoke them: If so be they will hearken, and
turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent
me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them be4 cause of the evil of their doings. And thou fhalt fay
unto them, Thus faith the LORD; If ye will not
hearken to me to walk in my law, which I have set 5 before you: To hearken to the words of my servants the
prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, 6 and sending [them,] but ye have not hearkened; Then
will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth ; when a curse
is denounced upon a city, it shall be, God make it like 7 Jerusalem. So the priests and the false prophets and
all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD, that is, in one of the courts, which
were all called the house, or temple. 8 Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an
end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded [him] to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou
shalt surely die, because thou hast disturbed the government, 9 and discouraged the people from defending their country. Why
haft thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the
Lord, and laid an information against him before the 10 princes, in the courts of justice. When the princes of
Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king's house unto the house of the LORD, and fat down
in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's [house, 11 at which gate the court sat, as usual. Then spake the
priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man [is] worthy to die; for he hath prophefied againt this city, as ye have heard with
your ears. -12' Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all
the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that
ye have heard; I have said nothing but what God com. 13 manded me. Therefore now amend your ways and your
doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; .. and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath
pronounced against you; repeating his message very 14 courageously, and adding, As for me, behold, I [am]
in your hand : do with me as seemeth good and meet
unto you; if God lee fit to permit you to put me to death, 15 I am satisfied I cannot die in a better cause, But know
ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all
Themords in your ear lent me unto thereof : for
16 Then said the princes and all the people unto the
priests and to the prophets ; This man [is] not worthy
to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the : 'Lord our God; the princes and people hearing his apology ing were for sparing him. Then rose up certain of the elders
of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, 18 saying, Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days
of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the peo. ple of Judah, saying, Thus faith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be ploughed slike) a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house, .
the hill on which the temple stands, as the high places of 19 a forest, overgrown with thorns and briers. Did Heze.
kiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to
death ? did he not fear the LORD, and befought the • LORD, and the Lord repented him of the evil which
he had pronounced against them? Thus might we
procure great evil against our souls by destroying Jeremiah. 20 And there was also a man that prophesied in the name ; of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath
jearim, who prophesied against this city and against 21 this land according to all the words of Jeremiah : And
when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king fought VOL. V,
to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he 22 was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt. And
Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, (namely,]
Elnathan the son of Achbor, and (certain] men with 23 him into Egypt And they fetched forth Urijah out
of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king ; who flew hiin with the sword, P and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people; being probably descended from some good family, he would not suffer him to
be buried with his ancestors, but interred him with common 24 people, or malefaElors. Nevertheless the hand of Ahi
kam the fon of Shaphan, a person of great influence, and a minister in Josian's court, (2 Kings xxii. 12.) was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death; he interposed, and rescued him.
REFLECTION S. 1. ITOW fit is it for the Lord's ministers to be faith
ful and courageous in delivering their messages ! Jeremiah was commanded not to diminish a word; not to put his message into less offensive expressions, than those in which he received it; and God defended him, while Urijah's cowardice cost him his life. Thus must christian ministers act; faithfully and boldly reprove the vices which are found among those whom they address, and declare the whole counsel of God; never diminishing a word, either thro' fear, favour, or flattery. If they keep close to . their instructions, the God whom they serve will bear them out, however men may be offended at them. And their being offended is indeed not much to be regarded, since none will be so, but those who know in their own consciences that they are guilty of the vices reproved. 2. See the influence which God has over the fpirits of
men, ,P This story is no where else recorded. Many prophets were injured and destroyed, that we read nothing of in the scripture history. This story was alleged by Jeremiah's enemies, as a precedent for putting such a person to death; tho' fome think it was recorded by himself or the historian, to how the goodness of God in preserving him.
imfung fuch al was alleged the read notedMany