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13 [and] I will not keep [anger] for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, confess it, and be truly penitent for it, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, run ufi and down to the gods nf neighbouring nation«, and ye have not obeyed
14 my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord ; for I am married unto you : and 1 will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion; ye shall be restored again; and though but few shall come, yet
15 those shall not be overlooked: And I will give yon pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and
16 understanding, and no more entice you to idolatry. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lonn, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord : neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit [it ;]
17 neither shall [that] be done any more.• At thai time they shall call Jerusalem, The throne of the Lord; (lod will give them evident proofs of his spiritual residence among them, and his regard to them as their king; and all the nations shall be gathered nnlo it, to the name of the Lonn, to Jerusalem : neither shall they
18 walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the liouse of Israel, and they sljall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers ; many of the Israelites shall return with ihr Jews to Ca
10 naan. But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, there must be a great change in you before I can do this, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations; or, a land which the nations dt sire, for they envy you this land, and desire to possess it? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me; J will bestow upon thee a filial frame of heart toward me; thou shalt return to me as thy father, and continue faithful to me; then I will bestow these favours upon you.
20 Surely [as] a wife treacherously departeth from her husband; so have ve dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith
21 the Lord. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping [and] supplications of the children of Israel, refienting and asking mercy: for, or because, they have perverted their way, [and]
"22 they have forgotten the Lord their Cod. Return ye barksliding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings. This is flod's invitation: to which they refillt, Heboid, we come unto thee, for thou [art] the Lord our Clod, and wilt heal and comfort
23 our hearts,which are wounded with grief and sorrow. Truly invain [is salvation hoped for] from the hills [and from] the multitude of mountains ; from idols, or any foreign alliances: it is in vain to go
- This seems to refrr to the irnspet. ar*l to innmste the ynoPrlon of T-wtsh cremf,nie«. t'lQu^h perhaps the ark never Wm isi thestcoud temple, at least iheiv Wa' no ^hikiniu, „uuV • Jme suppose there is a reference to lh.it.
lift to the mountains to look if they are coming: truly in the Lou в
24 our God, [is] the salvation of Israel. For shame, that га, tin and idolatry, hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters; these have wasted our substance, and brought our
25 enemies u/ion us. We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us ; tve are nee able to Afar up under it: for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God. In answer to these expressions of sorrow and repentance, God assures Israel,
1 Chap. IV. If thou wilt return, О Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me heartily, not by cut ward profession only: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations, thine idols, and thy sins, out of my sight, then shall thou not remove, but be established in
2 the land. And thou shall swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; thou shall no more »wear by idols, but in important cases make thine appeal to God for the maintenance of truth and justice ; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory; many heathens shall become proselytes, shall esteem themselves happy in being the people of Gt/d, and shall triumph in their relation to him and interest in him.
1. r I ч НЕ judgments of God upon others arc designed as warnJL ings to us, and he is displeased if they are not attended to. He expected that Judah should be alarmed by the captivity of Israel, and it was an aggravation of their guilt that they were not. God gives us many awful warnings by his word and providences; even the calamities of Israel and Judah, are standing warnings to us, and are so described in the New Testament. God knows what admonitions he hath given us, and what eflect they have had; and if we overlook them and prove treacherous to our religious professions and engagements, we shall fall under his displeasure, for his power and wrath are against all them that forsake him.
2. The abundant mercy and reconcileableness of God, are motives to sinners to return to him. He commands his ministers and prophets to proclaim this ; to assure sinners of his readiness to forgive ; and invites them to return. Mny we hear the proclamation with gratitude and pleasure; and let our answer be, Behold, ur come unto thee, for thou are the Lord our God.
3. 1C is happy for a people to have pastors after God's own heart; such as he approves on account of their character and fidelity in their office. They are good pastors in God's sight, who take care of the flock, endeavour to improve their understandings, mend their spirits, and make them wise to salvation. The people who have such pastors, (who are, alas! too few) ought to be very thankful to God, and esteem them highly in love for their work's take.
4. Let us diligently attend to the terms of forgiveness and acceptance with God. Sinners are to acknowledge their iniquities with shame and sorrow; to put away all their abominations, to return to him as their father, to cherish filial dispositions, to give themselves to prayer, to reverence the majesty and omniscience of God, to place all their happiness in his favour, to be faithful in all their declarations and promises, and never to turn away from the Lord. May this be our character. Then will he heal our backslidings, put us among his children, and give us a goodly heritage, even an inheritance incorruptible, undrßled, and thatfadetk not aviay, reserved in heaven for us.
CHAP. IV. 3, to the end.
This firofihrcy it addressed to Judah and Jerusalem ; it is a call to refientancc, andforettlls their destruction by the Chaldeans.
0 R thussaitli the Lohd to the men of Judah and Jerusalern, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns; be humble and /imitent, otherwise you are tike an husbandman tvho some among thorns ivithout /¡toughing) and the firo
4 duce is good for nothing. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and' inhabitantsof Jerusalem ; mortijyyourcorrujitaffections, anddonot content yourselves with external rites: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench [it,] because of the evil
5 of your doings. Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land : cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the
6 defenced cities for security, against the Chaldeans. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil
7 from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, ЛеЬис/iadnezzar is coming from Babylon., and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way, or, the scourge of nations, that hath mads desolate the ntighbcuring countries, is on his march against you; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; [and] thy cities shall be laid waste
8 without an inhabitant. For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back
9 from us. And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the Lord, [that] the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes, they shall be guile stu/iid and confounded; and the priests, that should biota the trumfiet and encourage the fieoftle to war, shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder, that is,
10 the false firoflhet», that said the calamity should not come. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, that Ír, thou hast /¡ermittcd it to be done, has: siiffered the false firo/ihctt to deceive them by strong
sions, saying, Ye shall have peace ; whereas the sword reach1 \ eth unto the soul. At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, Л dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, but to destroy the fruits of the earth, to scatter and carry
12 them away; [Even] a full wind from those [places] shall come unto me; or, as it is better rendered, a full wind for a curse shall eomr at my bidding, too strong for them t'¡ withstand: now also
13 will I give sentence against them. Behold, he shall come vip as clouds that cover the sky, and his chariots [shall be] as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Wo unto us! for
14 we are spoiled. О Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest he saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee ? thy foolish drviccn, expectations,
15 and dependences, to which you have so ling trusted: For a voice cleclareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim; which lay north, nearest to Babylon, from whence the
16 tidings came. Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, [that] watchers come from a far country, soldiers that watch over them to do them mischief, and gire out their voice against the cities of Judah, who encourage one
17 another to fall on and subdue them. As keepers of a field, are they against her round about, surrounding her cities; because
18 she hath been rebellious against me, saith the Lord. Thy way and thy doings have procured these [things] unto thee ; this [is] thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because itreacheth unto thine heart like a deadly wound.
19 - My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; тиу heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, О my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war; / tenderly sympathize with my country in the prospect of
20 these miseries. Destruction «pen destruction is cried,* for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, [and] my
21 curtains in a moment, as easily as tents are removed. How long shall I sec the standard, [and] hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 For my people [is] foolish, they have not known me; they [are] sottish children, and they have none understanding: they [are] wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge; they are skilful in the arts of sin, but are strangers to religion; they
23 shorn no con'rivance or quickness but when it is to do evil. I beheld the earth, and, lo, [it was] without form and void ; and (he
24 heavens, and they [had] no light. I beheld the mountains, ami,
25 lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, [there was] no man, and all the birds of the heavens were
26 fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place [was] a wildermss and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, [and] by 1rs fierce anger; aßgurativr description of the confusion and calamities of the nation, as if the frame of nature was
* Five-of their king? in tucc«-icm vtrt slim or dcpoied, in * frw yean.
27 destroyed, and the earth reduced to its original chaos. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will
28 I not make a full end, a remnant shall remain. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken [it,] I have purposed [it,] and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it ; foreseeing that they will not refient as a nation, I detirmined that the remnant
29 only shall be saved. The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks to save their lives: every city [shall be] forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.
SO And [when] thou [art] spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, or, diatendest thine eyes with fiatnt, (some /ire]¡aration used to contract the eyelids to make the eyes look larger, as the eastern nations reckon large eyes to be the most beautiful,) in vain shall thou make thyself fair, like a strumfiet courting her old love га; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life ; thou shall seek
31 hel/ifrom thy idols and allies in -vain. For I have heard the voice as of a woman in travail, [and] the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, when her /lains as -well as her fears are greatest, the voice of the daughter of Zion, [that] bewaileth herself, [that] spreadeth her hands, [saying,] Wo [is] me now 1 for my soul is weaned because of murderers; because tf the enemy, l/iat makes such dreadful slaughter.
1. T E T us attend to the instructive views here given us of reI -¿ pentance and returning to God ; it is breaking vfi the fallow ground. A beautiful description of a carnal heart; which is unfruitful, overrun with thorns, where no seeds of goodness will grow; and it must be broken up by repentance. This is a difficult work. It is hard to correct vicious habits; it is like ploughing ground that has long been fallow; yet it is a necessary work, if we desire to reap in mercy. Circumcise your hearts, subdue your corrupt affections, or, as it is expressed ~u. 14. more anreeably to Christian language, and the ordinance of baptism, Wash thy heart, and be net content with external washing. It is not sufficient to regulate the life, and appear outwardly good ; but we must see that the heart be cleansed by repentance and faith, and that sinful desires be suppressed for the future ; because God searcheth the heart, and ihe wickedness that lodgeth there is an abomination to him. Let us therefore pray that God would create in ив clean hearts, and renew right sfurits within u*.
2. Whoever are the instruments of our troubles, we should view them as coming from the hand«!'God, i.nd that sin is the cauae of them. The fierce anger of the Lord brought the Chaldeans \ipuii Judah. They came round about her; bcc-.-.U'n: she hid been reosUhui