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3. We here see the wisdom and necessity of obedience. The same is commanded under every dispensation, as in v. 23. Walk in all the ways I have commanded you ; and our encouragement is the same, I will be your God, and it shall be well with you. We must walk in all his commands, both moral and positive, if we would enjoy the privileges and happiness of his people. Oh that there was such a heart in us, to fear God and keep his commandments, that it might be well with us for ever.

CHAP. VIII.

The prophet here upbraids the people with their folly and obstinacy, and

bewails the dreadful miseries that were coming upon them. 1 A T that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones

11 of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves ; the Chaldeans shall break open their sepulchres, in hope of finding

treasures, but in the rage of disappointment they shall throw about 2 their bones : And they shall spread them before the sun, and

the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped, but who can do nothing for them:* they shall not be gathered, nor be buried ; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. 3 And so great shall be their misery, that death shall be chosen rather than life, by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driv

en them, saith the Lord of hosts. 4 Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD;

Shall they fall, and not arise ? shall he turn away, and not return ? they act different from the maxims of common prudence ; if

a man fall, will he not rise, and be glad of help? if a traveller misse: 5 his way, will he not inquire, and be glad to be set right ? Why

(then) is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual 6 backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I

hearkened and heard, [but] they spake not aright : no map repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? God is represented as waiting and expecting that they would say so,

but every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the ✓ battle, without considering or fearing his danger. Yea, the stork

in the heaven knoweth her appointed times ; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming ; they return in the summer to their former abodes ; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD ; they do not observe my

These various expressions are used, to show how fond they were of this worship, and what reg ird thy paid to these gods, who now cannot protect their bones.

s providence, nor think of returning to me. How do ye say, We

[are] wise, and the law of the LORD [is] with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he [it ;] the pen of the scribes [is] in vain ; you boast of your wisdom, because possessed of my law ; but, with re

gard to you, that law was made, transcribed, and expounded in 9 vain ; you might as well have been without il. The wise (men)

are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord ; and what wisdom [is] in them ? the politicians that boast of their wisdom show egregious folly, and

suffer the consequences of their own schemes and devices, because 10 they will not be ruled by my word. Therefore will I give their

wives unto others, [and] their fields to them that shall inherit [them :) for every one, from the least even unto the greatest is

given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest 11 every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt

of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; 12 when (there is) no peace. Were they ashamed when they had

committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them

that fall : in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, 13 saith the LORD. I will surely consume them saith the LORD:

[there shall be) no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade ; and (the things that] I have given them shall pass away from them. Why do we sit still ? say the people to one another ; assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there : for the Lord our God hath put us to silence, hath given us no reason to complain, and yet no encouragement to pray, and given us water of gall, or

hemlock, to drink, that is, severe and painful judgments, because 15 we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, as the

false prophets had said, but no good [came ; and] for a time of 16 health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was

heard from Dan, from the north : the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones, or horses : for

they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it ; 17 the city, and those that dwell therein. For, behold, I will send

serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will] not (be) charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD ; though musical sounds may have such an influence on particular serpents as to

prevent their biling, your enemies shall not be mollified or disarmed 18 by any means. The prophet adds in his own name, [When] I

would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart [is] faint in 19 me; I see much more reason to fear than to hope. Behold the

voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country : (Is) not the Lord in Zion ? [is] not her king in her ? their vain plea : to which God answers,

Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven ima 20 ages, [and] with strange vanities? The people then suy, The

harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved ; the time in which we expected deliverance is over, we have no help

21 from Egypt, nor from any of our allits. The prophet adds, For

the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt ; I am black ;

astonishment hath taken hold on me; I am ghasily, as in a vis22 lent agony, like a dying man. [Is there] no balm in Gilead ? is

there no suitable remedy for a diseased na'ion ? (is there) no physician there lo apply those remedies ? Yes, undoubtedly there is both: why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ? alas ! it is their own fault, they have drought itis etil upon themselves.

REFLECTIONS.

1. L ET us see and lament the folly and madness of men, in nego

lecting to repent and return to God. What an instructive view is given of repentance, v. 6. Men speak aright when they talk of returning to God, and not till then. Repentance begins in considering what we have done, in comparing it with the law, ard lamenting what is amiss. Men act wisely in other respects, v. $. but foolishly and perversely, in religious concerns. The oberi. ence of the birds to the instinct implanted in them, shames the stupidity of men, who will not use their understandings to judge and pursue their true interest. The reason is, they have deceived the na:selves, and hold fast deceit : and when ministers would undective them, they will not let them : they excuse their sins, and refuse to return. Let us lament that this is the case of so many, and take care that it be not our own.

2. Religious advantages will be of no avail while men continue disobedient. We may boast of having bibles and ministers, the tongues of the learned, and the pens of the scribes ; but if we do not attend and consider, and govern ourselves by the divine law, of what advantage is all this? What signifies it to live in an enlightened age, and to enjoy many glorious privileges, both as protestants and Britons, while we reject the word of the Lord, and while professing to believe it we will not be ruled by it. Remember that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and that to depart from evilis understanding.

3. The destruction of sinners is to be charged upon themselves. What the prophet says of a dying nation, is equally applicable to perishing souls. v. 22, Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no phy. sician there? why then is not the health of my people recovered? There is abundant provision for their healing, by the word and Spirit of God. Jesus is a divine, almighty physician ; but men will not put themselves under his method of cure, nor follow his prescriptions. They are humoursome and wilful, nourish their disease, and imagine that it will not prove fatal. May God show us our spiritual disorders, that we may apply to Christ, the great physician : and may he bring us health and cure, and reveal to us abundance of truth and peace.

CHAP. IX.

In which the prophet still touches upon the same mournful string, lamenting the wickedness of his people, and the judgments that were coming upon them.

in H that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of

tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people ! which I foresee will be t'ery many; and 2. foretell this 10 excite them to lamientation. Oh that I had in the

wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, a cave, or hut, that
I might leave my people and go from them! having met with
$0 much ill usage, and being so much vered at their wickedness;

for they [be] all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues (like) their bow (for) lies; they

contrive malicious lies, which are as dangerous as arrows: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; they have not courage to defend an honest cause, nor even 10 speak the truth :: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the

LORD; they grow worse and worse, and their ignorance of my 4 holy nalure and law is the source of all Take ye heed every one

of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother : for every

brother will utterly 'supplant, and every neighbour will walk 5 with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour,

and will not speak the truth : they have taught their tongue to speak lies, [and] weary themselves to commit iniquity; they

have studied the art of falsehood, and take more pains to commit in6 iquity than it would require to practise truth and integrity. Thine

habitation, O Jeremiah, (is) in the midst of deceit ; through de

ceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD ; they neither mind 7 the prophets nor the scriptures. Therefore thus saith the LORD

of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them ; I will try what afflictions will do to reforon them, for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? after having exercised so much mercy

and patience, what other method can I take, that may at least save 8 some? Their tongue [is as] an arrow shot out; it speak

eth deceit : (one) speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his 9 mouth, but in heart he layeth bis wait, or, wait for him. Shall

I not visit them for these things?] saith the Lord: shall not my 10 soul be avenged on such a nation as this? For the mountains

will I take up a veeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness, or, the pastures of the plain, a lamentation, beCause they are burned up, so that none can pass through (them ;] neither can (men] hear the voice of the cattle ; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled ; they are gone, because

there is no provision for them, the Chaldeans shall make the whole Il country desolate. And I will make Jerusalem heaps, (and) a

den of dragons, a species of serpents which are only found in desolute places ; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, with. 12 out an inhabitant. Who [is] the wise man, that may under

stand this ? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? who can understand the law of God, which threatens

such things, or his prophets, who foretell them ? who can see the 13 cause of this calanity? And the LORD saith, Because they have

forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed 14 my voice, neither walked therein ; But have walked after the im

agination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their 15 fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts,

the God of Israel ; Behold, I will feed them, [even] this peo16 ple, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I

will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known : and I will send a sword after

them, till I have consumed them. 17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and, as you yout.

selves are not sufficiently affected, call for the mourning women, which are used to attend as mourners at funerals, that they may

come ; and send for cunning (women,] that they may come : 18 And let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that

their weeping may affect us, that our eyes may run down with 19 tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters. For a voice of

wailing is heard, that is, shall be heard, out of Zion, How are

we spoiled ! we are greatly confounded, because we have for. 20 saken the land, because our dwellings have cast [us] out. Yet

hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, who are most easily impressed with grief and fear, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation ; not artificial, bul real lamentation ;

instead of bringing them up in gaiety and diversions, teach them 21 mourning songs, for they will have occasion to use them. For

death is come up into our windows, [and] is entered into our palaces, neither palaces nor fortifications can defend us from de struction ; it enters every place, to cut off the children from

without, [and] the young men from the streets, in which they 22 can play no more by reason of the fury of the enemy. Speak,

Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcasses of men shall fall as

dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvest • man, and none shall gather (them ;] they shall lie unburied, and 23 none shall think it worth their while to gather them up. Thus

saith the LORD, Let not the wise (man) glory in his wisdom, as if he had found out a way to escape the desolation, neither let the mighty (man) glory in his might, as if he could resist it, let not

the rich (man) glory in his riches, as if they would be his ransom 24 in that day : But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he un

derstandeth and knoweth me, that I (am) the LORD which ex. ercise loving kindness, or tenderness to the penitent, judgment in punishing my enemies, and righteousness, in the earth, in fulfilling my promises and defending my people : for in these [things)

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