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against the Lord. Thus when enemies, persecutors, and slanderers beset us, however unjust they may be, we ought to acknowledge that the Lord is righteous. We have done enough to justify him in any evils that he may bring upon us ; and it becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand.
3. The calamities of war should be deeply lamented, and we should tenderly pity those who are suffering by them. The pro. phet Jeremiah, though he saw the desolation of Judah only by a spirit of prophecy, and did not know whether he should actually live to behold it, yet bitterly bewails it, but more especially the sins which occasioned it. Let us bewail the desolations of war, and the long continuance of them; and earnestly pray that God would give preace in our lime. We may also learn, from the agony which the prophet felt on this occasion, how much more deeply we ought to be affected by the prospect of that indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, which shall come upon the ungodly : and, knowing the terrors of the Lord, let us persuade men to be reconciled to him.
The prophet here goes on to represent the degeneracy of the people,
and the calamities which were coming upon them..
ID UN ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and
I see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be (any) that executech judgment, 2 that seeketh the truth ; and I will pardon it. And though they
say, The Lord liveth ; surely they swear falsely ; though they swear by the true God, and not by idols, yet they appeal to him as 3 a witness of falsehood. O LORD, (are) not thine eyes upon the
truth ? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved ; thou hast consumed them, (but] they have refused to receive correction : they have made their faces harder than a rock ; they have refused to return ; thou knowest their true character ;
not withs 'anding thy judgmenis, they were stubborn and rebellious, 4 and would not be reformed. Therefore I said, Surely these (are)
poor ; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the
LORD, (nor) the judgment of their God; their ignorance is the 5 cause of their disobedience. I will get me unto the great men,
and will speak unto them ; for they have known the way of the LORD, [and] the judgment of their God ; I may expect better things from them, as they have enjoyed a better education and superior advantages : but these have altogether broken the yoke, 6 (and) burst the bonds, like headstrong ozen. Wherefore a lion
out of the forest shall slay them, [and] a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities : every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces by a powerful, greedy, cunning enemy : because their transgressions are many, 7 [and] their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee
for this ? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by [them that are] no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the
harlots' houses ; and is it consistent with justice to pardon such 8 offenders ? They were [as] fed horses in the morning : every
one neighed after his neighbour's wife; they abused their plen9 ty, and gralified their lusts in a most abandoned manner. Shall
I not visit for these things?] saith the LORD : and shall not my
soul be avenged on such a nation as this? do they not deserve 10 some remarkable punishment ? Go ye up upon her walls, and de
stroy ; but make not a full end : take away her battlements; 11 for they (are] not the Lord's. For the house of Israel, and
the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, 12 saith the Lord. They have belied the LORD, and said, [It is]
not he ; neither shall evil come upon us ; neither shall we see
sword nor famine ; he is not such a being as his firophets say he 13 is, he will not do as they threaten: And the prophets shall be
come wind, and the word [is] not in them ; they are nothing but noise and vanity, a parcel of silly enthusiasis : thus shall it be
done unto them ; the evils they threaten us with shall come upon 14 themselves. Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Be
cause ye speak this word, Behold, I will make my words in thy
mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them as 15 ccrtainly and speedily as the fire consumed wood. Lo, I will bring
a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it [is] a mighty nation, it [is] an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they
say, 'herefore you can neither parley with nor ask compassion from 16 them. Their quiver [is] as an open sepulchre, they are all
mighty men ; they shall do vast execution and shall destroy mul17 titudes. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread,
(which] thy sons and thy daughters should eat : they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds : they shall eat up thy vines and
thy fig trees : they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein 18 thou trustedst, with the sword. Nevertheless, in those days, 19 saith the Lord, I will not make a full end with you.* And it
shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these [things) unto us? why should we be singled out for such calamities ? is it consistent with God's prom18c8? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve
strangers in a land [that is) not yours. 20. Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, 21 saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and without under
standing : which have eyes, and see not ; which have ears, and hear not? who make no use of your understanding, but are as
• This is a remarkable prophecy, for Jeremiah could not foresee that the Jews would not be swallowed up by their conquerors, as other nations were VOL, V.
22 stupid as your idols : Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will yo
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 do. 23 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 Sodness : he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the har
vest ; a proof of his providence which is obvious to the meanest 25 capacity. Your iniquities have turned away these [things,] there
harvest blessings, and your sins have withholden 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 an 27 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 wagen fat, they shine : yea, they over
pass the deeds of the ticked, the common instances of injustice and oppression : they judge not the cause, the cause of the
fatherless, get 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 thesc things come to but the ruin of you all ?
1. W E here see the design of God in afllictions. He strikes
VV men that they may see their sin, be humble and grier. ed for it. He consumes their substance or health, that they may feceive 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 ? wno 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 avise, that they understood this, that they would consider their laller end.
In which the same subject is continued.
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 njunin; this was the proplet's own tribe, and therefore he was greatly concerned about thea.
unto her ; they shall pitch (their) tents against her round about ; they shall feed every one in his place, in his frasture of
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 10 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 wounda 8 of those whom she hath oppressed. Be thou instructed, 0 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 ; so 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 indispos. ed 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 11 the firophets 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 meeting: : 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 bote
tom, they have skinned it over, 80 that it will break our 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 frious fathers, the patriarchs and prophets trod, and walk therein, and ye