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shall find rest to your souls. But they said, We will not walk 17 [therein.] Also I set watchmen over you, to warn you of dan.
ger, and to threaten my judgments, (saying,] Hearken to the
sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. 18 Therefore hear, ye neighbouring nations, and know, O congre
gation, especially ye governors and magistrates, what [is] among 19 them, what a height of wickedness they are grown to. Hear, O
earth ; behold, I will bring evil upon this people, [even) the fruit of their thoughts, that is, their evil thoughts and the things
they fear, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor 20 to my law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to
me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country, on which you ground your pretensions to my favour ? your burnt
offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto 21 me. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stum
bling blocks before this people, and the father and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish ; their designs shall miscarry, they shall fall into the evils
they thougit to avoid ; neither the father's wisdom nor the son's 22 strength, shall deliver them. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, a
people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall 23 be raised from the sides of the earth. They shall lay hold on
bow and spear; they [are] cruel, and have no mercy ; their
voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in 24 array as men for war against thee, o daughter of Zion. We
have heard the fame thereof : our hands wax feeble : anguish
hath taken hold of us, [and] pain, as of a woman in travail; the 25 people are terribly alarmed at the report, and say, Go not forth
into the field, nor walk by the way : for the sword of the ene. 26 my [and] fear [is] on every side. O daughter of my people,
gird (thee) with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes : make
thee mourning, (as for) an only son, most bitter lamentation : 27 for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. I have set thee,
O Jeremiah, (for,] or rather in, a tower [and] a fortress among
my people, that thou mayest know and try their way, to observe 28 their conduct, to see my justice, and warn them. They (are) all
grievous revolters, walking with slanders: (they are] brass and iron, the meanest metals ; they (are] all corrupters, impudent and
obstinate, are corrupt themselves, and corrupting one another. 29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire ; the
founder melteth in vain : for the wicked are not plucked away.* 30 Reprobate silver shall [men] call them, that is, silver mixed with
dro88, that will not pass current, because the Lord hath rejected them ; they shall be rejected of God and man, and lefi to be consumed in the furnace.
• Here is an allusion to the method of refining silver; lead was mixed with it for that pur. rose : the bellows were burned by being long near the fire ; so long God had used methods to reform them; but their wickedness was not removed, per were they the better for the means of reformation,
1. W E may infer from hence how resolute we should be in
VV our spiritual warfare. The Chakeans were eager to go up to the attack ; neither the heat of the day, nor the coldness of the night discouraged them. Let the courage and patience of military men rouse us lo fight the good fight of fuith. It is a glorious warfare in which we are engaged against spiritual enemies. The commission and command are from God; we have the promise of his strength, if we go on vigorously and faint not. Let Christ's aged soldiers not be disheartened, but be so much the more diligent, as the day goeth away, and the shadows of the evening are lengthiened, for a glorious reward will be given ; let us therefore be faithful unto death, and God will give us a crown of life.
2. We see what is necessary to be done, if we desire the continuance of God's favour, v. 8. We must attend to religious instructions, by whom and in what way soever delivered ; consider their importance, and obey them; else God's soul will depart from us ; we shall lose his favour, and every thing honourable and comfortable ; and then we shall become desolate indeed. Let us therefore hear instruction, and be wise, before it is too late.
3. We have here a lesson of important instruction for ministers. They must faithfully deliver even those warnings and threatenings of scripture, which are most terrifying and disagreeable to men ; and which is not very pleasant to themselves to deliver, any farther than as they are needful and useful. They must beware, lest, as in v. 14. they encourage men in their sins, and suffer them to perish through self deceit. Let their hearers also beware lest they account the word of the Lord a reproach, and are angry with a reproof that reaches their cases and consciences. Rather let them be thankful for it, and esteem the faithful reprover in love.
4. How desirable is it for all, especially young persons, to seek after and walk in the good way, the old palh ; like travellers that would not willingly mistake their road, but want and ask direction. Let them inquire in what way those have walked, whose names are recorded with honour in scripture ; ask of their parents, their ministers, tneir bible and practical books, what is the good way, and never turn aside from it. There, and there only, will be found rest for their souls, present peace, and everlasting happiness.
5. How miserable is the state of those who continue unreformed under the means of grace ! God tries them by various methods, by conscience, his providence, his word and ordinances, as metals are tried, in order to separate the dross, to refine and purify them. His minister's take pains to study, to make known and to enforce the will of God; but, alas ! seldom is any good effect of their pains seen. Their bellows are burned, their time is lost, their strength and health impaired, and their lives shortened. But they that will not be reformed, shall be utterly consumed : the Lord will reject them, and then who can save them ? who will have pity on them ? Let us pray that we may be refined by the means of grace, as silver is refined ; and be purified as gold ; then shall we be vessels of honour, and our faithful ministers will rejoice in the day of Christ, that they have not run in vain, nor laboured in vain.
Here begins another section of the prophecy, ending at the tenth chap.
ter : it opens with exhortations to amendment of life, without which their confidence in the temple is declared to be in vain.
THE word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 1 Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, (probably at some
grand festival) and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear
the word of the Lord, all [ye of] Judah, that enter in at these 3 gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place, or else I will give it to strangers and idolaters. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The tem
ple of the LORD, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the 5 LORD, (are] these. For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and
your doings ; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a 6 man and his neighbour; [If] ye oppress not the stranger, the
fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this 7 place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt : Then will I
cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your
fathers, for ever and ever. 8 Behold, ye trust in lying words that cannot profit, that is, in 9 false prophets. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery,
and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after 10 other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before
me in this house, which is called by my name, and retend 10 worship me, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? will ye abuse my mercy and the deliverances granted you,
as if I designed them as an encouragement to you to go on in your Il sins ? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den
of robbers in your eyes ? Behold, even I have seen [it,] saith the 12 LORD, though you think I did not. But go ye now unto my place
which (was] in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, the place where the ark was sellled at your first entrance into Canaan, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel;
probably the city was destroyed, as we never read of it after cards. 13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD,
and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, bui ye 14 heard not ; and I called you, but ye answerer not; Therefore
will I do unto (this) house which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your
15 fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of
my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, [even] the whole 16 seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people,
neither lift up cry nor prayer for them ; neither make inter
cession to me : for I will not hear thee.* 17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the
streets of Jerusalem ? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead (their) dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, the new moon, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me
to anger; all hands are employed as if they had their meal and 19 drink from them. Do they provoke me to anger ? saith the LORD;
can they hurt me by their wickedness? (do they not (provokel 20 themselves to the confision of their own faces? Therefore thus
saith the Lord God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man and upon beast, and upon
the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground ; and it 21 shall burn, and shall not be quenched. Thus saith the LORD of
hosts, the God of Israel ; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh ; though the burnt offerings should be 673tirely consumed, and only the fal of the peace offering, you may either burn them all, or eat them all, it is the same thing to me while you go on thus to do wickedly ; or rather, Ye have added your
burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh, which I said nothing 22 of to your fathers. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor com
manded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of 23 Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices :f But this thing
commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your
God, and ye shall be my people : and walk ye in all the ways 24 that I have commanded you that it may be well unto you. But
they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the
counsels (and) in the imagination of their evil heart, and went 25 backward like headstrong oxen, and not forward. Since the day
that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this
day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, 26 daily rising up early, and sending [them :] Yet they hearkened
not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck :
they did worse than their father's ; set up idols in the temple and 27 took nu warning. Therefore thou shalt speak all these words
unto them ; but they will not hearken to thee ; thou shalt also 28 call upon them ; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt
say unto them, This [is] a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction : truth toward God and man is perished, and is cut off from their mouth ; there is no depending on any thing they say.
. God foresaw that there would not be a universal reformation, which was the only thing that could prevent their captivity ; therefore he coinmands the prophet not to pray for them
+ As God really commanded these which they came out of Egypt, the meaning must be, that he had a greater regard to obedience than to burnt offerings. and to mercy than sacri. fices. Or, that ceremonial observances were no further acceptable, than as they were the venuine fruits of obedience.
29 Cut off thine hair, (O Jerusalem,] and cast [it] away, in token
of sorrow, and take up a lamentation on high places, a solemn public lamentation ; for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the
generation of his wrath, that used to be the generation of his love. 30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the
LORD ': they have set their abominations in the house which is
called by my name to pollute it ; which was actually done in Ma31 nassch's time. And they have built the high places of Tophet,
which [is] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, wicked rites which they have learned of the Canaanites,* which I commanded (them) not, neither came it into my heart.
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter : for they shall bury those
that shall be slain by the Challeans in Tophet, till there be no 33 place. And the carcasses of this people shall be meat for the
fowls of the heaven, and for the beasis of the earth ; and none 34 shall fray (them) away. Then will I cause to cease from the
cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride : for the land shall be desolate ; there shall be no encouragement to marry when they have nothing but desolation and ruin before their eyes.
1. W E learn hence, that there are many who are very
V zealous for the forms of godliness, yet have nothing of the power of it. This wicked people made a great ado about the Temple of the Lord. It was the cry of the times ; as many in the christian world have said, The church, the church ; while by their sins they have been pulling it down ; zealous for forms and rites, while the church has been made a den of robbers, and their hearts have been full of all wickedness. God sees this hypocrisy, and cannot be deceived by it. Let us take heed that we do not deceive ourselves.
2. Observe the gracious regard which God has to the prayer of his servants. When he was determined to root out this wicked people, he commands his prophet not to pray for them. He knew his affection and zeal for the people, and that he would pray, while there was any hope. But God esteemed the praying breath of his servant too precious to be spent in vain. This is an encouragement to pray for our country, while we have reason to hope for success ; and it contains an awful admonition, that they who will not be reformed by the preaching of ministers, shall not be the better for their prayers.
• Topliet was that particular spot in the vallev of Hinnom. where fires were mide, into which the poor innocent victins were thrown; and is upposed to have derived its Du from the drums and tabrets that were beaten in order to drown the cries or the Juildren when they sacrificed them to Molech.