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1. L TE must acknowledge that it is just in God to
W take away those privileges which men abuse. Israel had many glorious advantages above other nations, but they grew careless, disobedient, and presumptuous; therefore God. was righteous in taking them away. He destroyed the tabernacle, which they had neglected; made the ways of Zion mourn, which they had forsaken, he caused the folemn feasts and fabbaths to cease, which they had deserted and profaned; he took away the prophets, whom they had ill treated, and the law, which they had forgotten. Let us take warning by this; for if we do not value and improve our christian privileges, God will take them away. Let us remember, whence we have fallen, and repent, lejt he come quickly and take his candlestick from us.
2. In God's dealings with his church, it is good to take notice of the accomplishment of his word. This Israel is often reminded of, that the Lord hath done what he hath proposed and devised, and fulfilled the word which he commanded in the days of old. There is a constant agreement between the declarations of God's word, and the events of his providence; and the more carefully we compare them together, the greater reason we shall see to acknowledge that his judgments are right, and to be afraid of his just indignation.
3. The want of faithfulness and plainness in christian ministers, is one source of national calamities. It is their duty to discover to men their iniquities, and to show them their fins, in order to prevent their everlasting banishment from God and happiness. If they flatter them, and address them as if all was well, when they know, or have reason to believe, that they are yet in their fins, they are false prophets, are accessary to the ruin of fouls, and endanger their own salvation. We should therefore allow them to deal plainly with us, because they are thereby consulting our happiness, as well as discharging their own duty.
4. Prayer ought to be our business, and will be our best relief in time of trouble. An instructive view is here
given us of the nature of prayer, and that fervency in it which we ought to manifest, v. 19. It is crying to the Lord, lifting up the hands toward him, with earnestness and importunity, pouring out the heart like water; fo free and full and particular should our supplications be. Is any man afflicted, let him thus pray ; ftir up himself to take hold on God; and he will in the best time and way deliver him out of all his distresses.
СНАР. ІІІ. The prophet in this chapter encourages the people to resignation,
and to trust in the divine mercy; he vindicates the goodness of God in all his dispensations, and the unreasonableness of murmuring under them; he recommends self-examination and repentance; and then, from their experience of former deliverances, encourages them to look to God for the pardon of their fins, and retribution to their enemies. The chapter is poetical, like the former ; but as may be seen by the length of the verses, is of different measure : it contains twenty two periods, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; and each period contains three verses, which have all the same initial letter. IT [AM] the man [that] hath feen affliction by the rod
of his wrath ; representing the case of his country as 2 his own. He hath led me, and brought (me into 3 darkness, but not [into] light. Surely against me is
he turned, he who was formerly kind to me; he turneth 4 his hand (against me] all the day. My flesh and my
kin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5 He hath builded against me, and compassed [me) with 6 gall and travel. He hath fet me in dark places, as 7 (they that be] dead of old. He hath hedged me about,
that I cannot get out; there is no possibility of my escape:
he hath made my chain heavy; I am like a malefactor 8 strongly fettered. Also when I cry and shout, he shut9 teth out my prayer. He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked; I try
· every way and place to get out of my trouble, but cannot. 10 He (was) unto me [as] a bear lying in wait; [and as] Il a lion in secret places. He hath turned afide my ways,
cut off my retreat, and turned full upon me, and pulled me I 2 in pieces : he hath made me desolate. He hath bent 13 his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He
hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into
my reins; he hath given me mortal and incurable wounds. 14 I was a derision to all my people; or, the people of my 15 enemies; [and] their song all the day. He hath filled
me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with 16 wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel
stones, he hath covered me with ashes; or, deceived me 17 with ashes, giving me ashes instead of bread. And thou hast
removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity, 18 and despaired of its return. And I said, My strength and 19 my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering imine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the 20 gali. My soul hath (them) still in remembrance, and is
humbled in me; I have still new occasions to recolle Et 21 them. This I recall to my mind, that is, this which
follows; I have yet stores of comfort, therefore have I hope, 22 [It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not con23 sumed, because his compassions fail not. [They are 24 new every morning : great [is] thy faithfulness. The
LORD [is] my portion, faith my soul; therefore will · 25 I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that 26 wait for him, to the soul [that] seeketh him.' [It is)
good that sa man) should both hope and quietly wait 27 for the salvation of the Lorn. [It is good for a 28 man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He fitteth.
alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne [it]
upon him ; when it is laid upon him he is disposed to 29 serious refleEtion and confideration. He putteth his mouth
in the dust; if so be there may be hope of regaining the 30 divine favour. He giveth [his] cheek to him that
smiteth him; he submits to injuries from men : he is 31 filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast 32 off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his
mercies ; he will plead the cause of his people, and bring 33 them out of captivity. For he doth not afflict willingly 34 nor grieve the children of men. To crush under his
feet all the prisoners of the earth, by vialence or fraud, 35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of 36 the most High, without any regard to him, To subvert
a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not; but is displeased with these things, and will punish them; as if he had said, Tho? God gave the Ifraelites into the hands of their enemies, yet he disapproved of their inhuman and cruel
conduet, and will reckon with them for it. 37 Who [is] he [that] faith, and it cometh to pass, 38 (when) the Lord commandeth [it] not ? Out of the
mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and
good? or, doth not evil and good come from him that is, 39 however they may boast, he overrules their designs. Where
fore doth a living man complain, a man for the punish40 ment of his fins ? Let us search and try our ways, and 41 turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with 42 Cour] hands unto God in the heavens. We have trans: gressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned ; haft. 43 not removed thy judgments from us. Thou hast covered thy
face with anger, and perfecuted us : thou haft slain, 44 thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with
. a cloud, that sour] prayer should not pass through. 45 Thou hast made us (as) the off-scouring and refuse in 46 the midst of the people. All our enemies have opened 47 their mouths against us. Fear and a snare is come 48 upon us, desolation and destruction. Mine eye run
neth down with rivers of water for the destruction of 49. the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down 50 and ceaseth not, without any intermission, Till the 51 Lord look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye
affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city; or, because of the defolation of the city and country,
and the calamitiés which I see in the towns and cities about 52 Jerusalem. Mine enemies chased me fore, like a bird, 53 without cause. They have cut off my life in the dun
geon, and cast a stone upon me; this was applicable to Jeremiah literally, and, figuratively, to others ; 'all are
54 described as one person in deep distrefs. Waters flowed 55 over mine head; (then] I said, I am cut off. I called
upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my 57 breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day
[that] I called upon thee: thou faidít, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; 59 thou hast redeemed my life. O LORD, thou hast feen 60 my wrong ; judge thou my cause. Thou haft feen all
their vengeance [and] all their imaginations against me. 61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, sand] all 62 their imaginations against me; The lips of those that
rose up against me, and their device against me all the 63 day. Behold their fitting down, and their rising up; 64 I (am) their musick. Render unto them, or, thou wilt
render unto them a recompense, O LORD, according to 65 the work of their hands against us. Give them forrow
of heart, thy curfe unto them, or, the curses threatened 66 against the enemies of thy people. Persecute and destroy
them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD, where thou ruleft fupreme, and from whence they can go na where, but thou canst reach them.
this chapter are too many to be distinctly specified. The most important of them have been illustrated and re. commended at large. It is sufficient now to observe, that it is particularly suited to the case of those who are in af.
fiction. It directs them to observe the hand of God in it; , not to be surprized if their afflictions be long and heavy,
and if God seems to shut out their prayer. It is our duty in such cases to humble ourselves before him, and to ac. knowledge that it is of his mercies that we are not consumed. It is unreasonable to complain of the punishment of our fins ; and our duty to search and try ourselves; to repent, and return to God; and continue in prayer, tho? we are not immediately answered. We are to hope and wait for his fala. vation; and in the mean time to observe the mercies that