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., . JEREMIAH, %\\\. $p. sj .j f

Ye dissembled in your hearts when ye sent me . .unto the Lord your God, saying; Pray for us unto the Lord our God': and according unto all that the Lord our, God Jhall say, so declare unto ust and we will do it,

rT--HE wisdom of the supreme Intelligence so conspicuous in his works, shines equal* ly in the structure of the writings which he has inspired. Scripture is not a dry code of law:-, a barren system of prohibitions and commandments. Its ordinances and injunctions are continually enlivened, illustrated,andenforced, by examples. Search throughout the old Testament. and the New. Examine the historical, the prophetical, the epistolary composi

tions. Carry on your scrutiny to those portions of the sacred records, which are avowedly the most preceptive. You will perceive almost in every page the blessings which flow from righteousness, and the miseries. attendant on guilt, delineated and impressed in descriptionsderived from real persons and actual events. The word of God, like his book of nature, teems with life. Every part is animated by incident and character. Past generations return from the dead, ages unborn press forward before their time into being, to admonish the existing inhabitants of the earth. In the Son of God become man we behold an all-perfect model of universal holiness. In the proceedings of numberless other individuals, who stand pourtrayed in the living colours of truth; we behold patterns to imitate, or beacons to shun. On the one hand, faith, holiness, charity, truth, stedfastness, patience, meekness, purity, compassion, and the rest of the train of heavenly graces, are exhibited; each distinct and prominent, yetwith greater or less strength of representation in different characters. On the other, unbelief, unrighteousness, selfishness, deceit, irresolution, fretfulness, arrogance, uncleannefs, cruelty, with othercriminal passions, display their dominion, more or less limited, 8 . over

over multitudes held in bondage. That the interesting picture of human nature may be in every point complete, the assemblage of good and evil blended in the fame bosom; . and even the grievous transgressions, sources of bitter remorse, into which patriarchs and prophets and apostles were occasionally betrayed; are painted with unfailing impartial ity and precision. Man is taught to know what he is, that he may the more easily and the -more willingly learn what he ought to become.

The portion of sacred history which I am about to propose to your view unfolds a scene of disobedience characterised not by sudden error and unforeseen timidity, but by bold and hypocritical premeditation. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had entirely subdued the Jews, whom God, on account of their obstinate impiety, had at length delivered into his hand; he destroyed Jerusalem by fire, and carried away captive into a distant quarter of his dominions the principal part of the nation. A considerable number however of the poorest class of the people he permitted to continue in their native land. He distributed among them fields and vineyards: and appointed Gedaliah^ one of their


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own countrymen, to be their governor- Ifi a short time Gedaliah was treacherously killed by Ishmael, a Jew of the royal blood, who appears to have envied his pre-eminence, and at the instigation of the Ammonites had formed a conspiracy against him: and together with him Were slain the Chaldean soldiers, whom. Nebuchadnezzar had left under his command. Ishæael was speedily overcome, and driven into banishment by the surviving friends of Gedaliah. But all the inhabitants of Judea trembled at the prospect of the indignation, which they foresaw would be kindled in the breast of the king of Babylon when he should receive tidings of the murder of his governor and his soldiers. Thev purposed therefore to fly for refuge into Egypt. But they deemed it becoming in the first instance to apply for directions from God. They requested the prophet Jeremiah to consult the Lord whether they should depart into Egypt, or not: and solemnly declared, that with inplicit deference they would obey the answer which should be returned to them. All the captains of the forces, and all the people from the leaf even unto the greatef came near, and said unto fe" remiah the prophet: Pray for us unto the Lord thy God, that the Lord thy God may Jheto us


the way wherein we may wulk, ana the thing that we may do. The Lord be a true and faithful •witness between us, if we do not even according td-all things, for which the Lord thy God Jhallx find thee to us. Whither it be good of whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we fend thee': thai it may \ be. well with us, when we obey the vdice of the Lord our God. After an interval of ten days, the word of the Lord came in reply, by the mouth of Jeremiah, to the people. God commanded them to rerriain in Judea: and promised^ on condition of their obedience to his mandate, that he wo'uld be with them, that he would save them from the kirtgof Babylon> and would cause them to dwell in security and' peace. But the all-knowing Searcher of hearts clearly discerned, that their application to him for direction, and their deliberate engagement that they would be entirely guided by his counsel, were pretence and mockery. He saw that they had decidedly purposed from the beginning, and, notwithstanding his prohibition, were still resolutely determined, to remove into Egypt. Jeremiah therefore proceeded, according to the orders of the Almighty, to denounce that if they persisted in their design, they-should be overtaken by the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar in that very land Vol. I. N of

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