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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, / mill be your G'.d, 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 чиая such a heart in ив, to fear God and keep Ms commandments, that it miff/it be -¡veil wilh us for ever.
The prophet here upbraids the people wilh their folly and obstinacy, and bewails the dreadful miseries that were coming upon them.
1 /\ T that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones ./jl 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 oi 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 driven them, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 Moreover thou shall say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? thfij ait different from the тал-iins of common prudence; if a man fall, mill he not rise, and te glad of help ? if a traveller misse»
5 Mí way, will he not inquire, and be glad to be set right? Why [then] is this people of Jerusalem sudden back by a perpetual
6 backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, [but] they spake not aright: no man 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
f battle, without conaidcring or fearing his clanger. 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 u»ed, to show how fond they were of this worship« and what reg.trd they paid to these gods, who now cuimot protect their bono.
I firvvidence, nor think of returning to nif. How do ye sny, 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, mill regard to you, that law топ.ч made, transcribed, and expounded in
9 vain; you might as -well have been ivit/ivul it. The wise [men] are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Loud; and what wisdom [is] in them? the fioliticiana 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
II everyone 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
U shall pass away from them. Why do we sit still? say tin peafile 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 com/ilain, and yet no encourage men I 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, а« <Л<? false prophets had said, but no good [came; and] for a time ot
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 inßuence on particular serpents as to prevent their biting, your enemies shall not be moWßcd or disarmed
18 by any means. The prophet adds in hie own name, [When] I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart [is] faint in
19 me; / see much more reason to fear than to /lo/ic. 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 jilea: to which God answers, Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven Дт
20 ages, [and] with strange vanities? The jico/Je then sat;, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved; the time in -which \ye erpecle'l deliverance is over, we have no helft
21 /rom Egy/it, nor from any of our allits. The /iro/¡/¡et adds, For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me; / am ghastly, an in a vii,
22 lent agony, like a. dying man. [Is there] no balm in Gilead ? /'« there no suitable remedy for a ¿incased na'iun? [is there] no physician there to afi/ily those remedien? )Yí, imdnuötcdly ¡here in both: why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? alan! it ia their cwnfuuli, tiny /¡uve brought i':is ei':i upon themselves.
1. T E T us see and lament the folly and madness of mtn, in neg> 1 J lecting to repent and return to God. What an instructive view is given of repentance, i>. 6. Men speak aright when tin y talk of returning to God, and not till then. Repentance bt-gins in considering what we have done, in comparing it with the law, and lamenting what is amiss. Men act wisely in other respects, v. t. but foolishly and perversely, in religious concerns. The- obetiience of the birds to the instinct implanted in them, shames the stupidity of men, who will not use their understandings to judge aiid pursue their true interest. The reason is, they have deceived themselves, and hold fast deceit: and when ministers would undeceive them, they will not let them : they excuse their sins, and refuse, te 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 cf no avail v hue men continue disobedient. We may boast of having bibles und 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. Kcmember that the fear of the Lord it wisdom, and that to dtfiartfrom tvil /'« vnderttanding.
S. The destruction of sinners is to be charged upon themselves. What the prophet says of a dying nation, is equally applicable to perishing souls, т. 22, Is there nu balm in (Ulead? it there no fihtjsician there ? why then is not the health of my fiecfile recovered •' There is abundant provision for their healing, by the word and Spirit of God. Jesus is a divine, almighty physician ; hut 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.
In which the prophet still touches upon the tame mournful string, lamenting the wickedness of his people, and the judgments that were cuming upon them.
1 /^V II that my fyead were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of V-/ tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of niy people! which I foresee will be very many; and
2 foretell this to excite them to lamentation. Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, a cave, or but, that I might leave my people and go from them! haviiig met with so much ill usage, and being so much vexed «< 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 hmest cause, nor eiien to apeak the truth :for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Loud; they grow worse and worse, and their ignorance of my
4 holy nature and lam is the source of a'.L 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; thty have studied the art of falsehood, and take more pains to commit in
6 iquity than it would retluire to practise truth and integrity. Thine habitation, O Jeremiah, [is] in the midst of deceit ; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord; they neither mind
7 the prophets nor the scriptures. Therefore thus saith the Lorb of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; / will try what afflictions will do to reform 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 speaketh deceit: [one] speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his
9 mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait, or. wait for him. Shall I not visit them for these [things?] saith the LoRn: shall not my
10 soul be avenged on such a nation as this? For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness, or, the pastures of the plain, a lamentation, beruuse 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 arc gone, because there is no prox'ision for them, the Chaldeans shall make the whole
\\ country desolate. And I will make Jerusalem heaps, [and] a den of dragons, a species of serpents which are only found in desolate places; and I will make the cities of Juduh desolate, with
12 out an inhabitant. Who [is] the wise man, that may understand 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 threaten* such things^ or his firofihets, -who foretell them? who can see the
13 cause of this calandty? And the Loud 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 imagination 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 peo
16 pie, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the heath«n, 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 yourtelves 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:
H And let them make haste and lake up a wailing for us, that their weefdng 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, but real lamentation; instead of bringing them ufi 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 /talaces nor fortifications can defend us from destruction; it enters every filace, to cut off the children from without, [and] the young men from the streets, in which they
22 can /¡lay 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 tie unburifd, and
23 none shall think it worth their while to gather them ufi. Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, a» if he had found out a way to esca/ie the desolation, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, as if he could resist it, Itt net 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 understundeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the Lord which exercise loving kindness, or tenderness to the fienitcnt, judgment in punishing my enemies, and righteousness, in the earth, in fulfilling my /¡remises and defending my fieojilc: for in these [things]