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htavern as iron, the earth as brass, and the rain of our land povder and dust; and it becomes us to humble ourselves before him under such visitations. More especially as,
2. Sin is the cause of this and every other judgment. We should not rest in natural causes, but under public calamity acknowledge, with the prophet here, that our sins testify against us, that we have deserved it, and that the Lord is righteous in inflicting it: that of have wandered from God, and not re/rained our feet from evil ways, though we have often been warned of the consequences. Let us then, as v. 20. acknowledge our wickedness with penitent hearts, and cherish godly sorrow for our sins.
3. In seasons oi national distress let us earnestly apply to God for relief. The vanities of the gentiles cannot help us; it will be of no avail to pray to idol gods. Let us fly to him, as the hope of Israel and the saviour, and supplicate his mercy for his name's sake; that he may be glorified by our thankful improvement of the favour we seek: and let us to our prayers join our ardent praises, that our case is not so bad as that of Judah; that we do not see in our towns those who are sick with famine, and in our fields those who are slain with the sword. Thus let us wait upon God, for he hath made and ordered all these things.
4. How much more earnestly should we pray for a plentiful communication of his Spirit! Rain from heaven and fruitful seasons are very desirable; but it is more desirable that religion should flourish, and the fruits of righteousness abound: and this can only be expected from God's pouring out his Spirit. We very much need it; there is a spiritual dearth in our churches; the things that remain are ready to die; and the graces of professors languish. Let us daily pray that God would not reject and leave us ; but send down showers of this blessing; that we may abound in all the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.
In reply to their request in the former chapter, God assures them in this that nothing could divert him from his purpose of punishing so wicked a people. Accordingly their fate is again declared; the frofihet complains of being obliged to deliver such messages; he is reproved for this ; appeals to God for his sincerity, and supplicates pardon ; upon which God promises to protect him in the faithful discharge of his duty.
I r I ''HEN said the Loud unto me, Though Moses and Samuel JL stood before me, those successful intercessors for Israel, [yet] my mind [could] not [be] toward this people: cast [them]
5 out of my sight, and let tUem go forth. And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the Ljrd, Such as [are] for death, to death, that is, to the pestilence; and such as [are] for the sword, to the sword; and such as [are] for the famine, to the famine ; and such as [are] for the captivity, to the captivity.
3 And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord : the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy those that are
* slain. And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for [that] which he did in Jerusalem, for comfdying with and persisting in his idolatries, for sufifiressing the worship of Jcho
5 vah, and putting up idols even in the temple. For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem ? or who shall bemoan thee ? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest? none shall think it worth his while to do so, every one must own thy calamity to he
« just. Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting; with suspending
7 my judgments and hearing so long with thee. And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave [them] of children, I will destroy my people, [since] they return not from
U their ways. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them, that is, Jerusalem, against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noon day ; or, against the mother city a young man, namely, Nebuchadnezzar, who was a young man, in the first year of his reign: I have caused
9 [him] to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city. She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while [it was] yet day : she hath been ashamed and confounded, because she hath lost all her children, at a time when she enjoyed most comfort in them; or this may be understood of Jerusalem: and the residue of them, those. that have escaped out of the city, will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the Lord. The prophet then proceeds.
10 Wo is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth, or land I event one hates me tpid quarrels with me for my faithfulness: I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; [yet] every one of them doth curse me; I have had no dealings in the world, which are often the source of contention ; particularly those dealings here mentioned, which generally produced quarrels, as the
11 Jews were forbiddrn to lend to one another on usury. The Lcnn said, Verily it shnll be well with thy remnant,• in the residue \f thy days and thy family; vtrily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee [well] in the time of evil and in the time of affliction; which ihey did, giving him leave to stay or go, as he pleased.
12 Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel ? a prm-crbiul expression, sigmfying, that the not the, n nations, who should come
• Dr. Bluymv mm\ itn ir, Thn hnve r<'aited ml all if ll.rm, seith Jehtyah, tbat is, h;ii Iheuani Hit prt'plc, ft. I vill hu; .*r; tflhti.
v/i against Jerusalem, would de a» much superior to them in
13 ttrength, as tempered steel is to common iron. Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, without any valuable consideration, as a worthless commodity, which a man mil give away rather than keep, and [that] for all thy sins, even
14 in all thy borders. And I will make [thee] to pass with thine enemies into a land [which] thou knowest not; for a fire is kindled in mine anger, [which] shall burn upon you. The prophet then says, ,
15 О Lord, thou knowest my innocence: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors: take me not away in thy long suffering ; permit me not to be destroyed by them, while thou art long suffering and dearest with their provocations:
16 know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did «tat them ; and thy word, or commission, was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, О Lord God of hosts; / received thy messages with pleasure, and meditated upon them, and delivered them readily and justly; but as they were principally of the terrible kind, I began to
17 be untasy at them. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced, indulged no unbecoming levity; I sat alone, or retired, because of thy hand; on account of the judgments thou hast threatened to bring upon them: for thou hast filled me with indignation ; / had n» heart to be cheerful when I had nothing eut
18 woes to foretell. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, [which] refuseth to be healed? must I always continue in this, uneasy condition ? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, [and as] waters [that] fail and grow dry in summer? must I always be disappointed in my hope of encouragement, and of success in my work? These were the irregular workings of ¡he prophet's mind; to which God answers,
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return to a better te mper and a faithful discharge of thy duty, then will I bring thee again [and] thou shalt stand before me; / will restore thee to thy station, as my prophet: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile thou shalt be as my mouth , if thou distinguish between good and bad in thy preaching, I will honour thee with
further messages, and enable thee to deliver them aright: let them return unto thee ; but return not thou unto them ; do not accommodate thystlf to their lusts and prejudices, but deliver my
20 word faithfully, how much soever it is disrelished. And I will make thee unto, or against, this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I [am] with thee to save thee and to de-liver
21 thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver tht-c out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
1. T ET us attentively observe what an honour God here puts _I__J upon his praying servants; with what respect and affection he speaks of Moses and Samuel, who had been dead many centuries. If any thing would have reconciled him to Israel, it would have been their intercession. This is no intimation that they interceded in heaven, but the contrary: it is only a supposition ; as Moses had often stood in the breach, and Samuel prevailed for their deliverance. This shows the power of prayer, and what pleasure God takes in his worshipping servants. It shows what a blessingto their country those are, who offer up earnest prayers for it: and how desirable and necessary it is that we should abound in supplication for our own land.
2. See how difficult it is to bear censure and reproach with patience and cheerfulness. Jeremiah was much out of frame, through the strife and contention of his countrymen ; and it is indeed hard to live peaceably and keep our tempers, when we live among bad neighbours, who are disposed to pick quarrels and spread slanders. Those who have large dealings in the world are very likely to suffer in their character, and consequently in their temper; but let them take warning by the prophet, and be so much the more upon their guard that they do not indulge a fretful, uneasy spirit; and endeavour, by watchfulness and prayer, in fiarience to possess their souls; and, when discomposed, to return to a right mind.
3. See what opposition faithful ministers have reason to expect. Jeremiah had pursued no secular business, which is often the source of envy and contention; he acted in his own sphere, and delivered his messages faithfully ; and merely on this account these wicked men hated and persecuted, and did all they could to silence him as a troublesome man. Let none of God's faithful servants, particularly his ministers, wonder, if they are put under an ill name; and if they who are reproved, and will not be reformnd, censure and abuse their best friends, and quarrel with those who would save them from destruction.
4. See how ministers ought to behave themselves in such circumstances. They are to meditate on the word of God ; digest it, and endeavour throughly to understand and relish it. They arc not to study to please men by sinful compliances, and by bringing clown Christian precepts to their standard ; but to deliver their messages faithfully, and urge men to come up to the purity of the Christian standard. They are to distinguish between the precious and the vile; to reprove the wicked and the careless; to encourage and comfort the righteous. They are to consider themselves as God's mouth ; to speak nothing but what his word requires; and v hen they do so we are to consider them as God's mouth, and pny as much regard to what they say, as if God himself spoke to us. These are maxims necessary to be regarded by us at all times ; especially amidst prevailing degeneracy ; and in so doing God \\ill support and deliver us; and we shall stand before him with honour and acceptance through Jesus Christ.
Vol. V. T t
In which the prophet foretells the utter ruin of the Jews.
1 ' I ' II E word of the Lord came also unto me, saying, while
2 J- others go on in their usual course, Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou hava sons or. daughters in this place;
S a token of the desolation that is speedily approaching. For tbus saith the Lord concerning the sons and concerning the daughters [that are] born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; such calamities are coming, that it would have been
4 better they had lived single; for They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; [but] they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the
5 beasts of the earth. For thus saith the Lord, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the Lord, [even] loving kindness and mercies; their own miseries are so great that they cannot symfiathize with others; they are not ob
6 jects of my mercy, nor of the compassion of others. Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall [men] lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them, that is, shall not shave the tofis of their heads, they shall be treated like common malefactors:
7 Neither shall [men] tear [themselves] for them, or break bread for them, in mourning to comfort them for the dead ; neither shall [men] give them the cup cf consolation to drink for their
8 father or for their mother.• Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink ; thou, shalt not use even innocent entertainments, but, by abstaining frmn
9 them, declare that all festivity shall cease. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, all public and private occasions of rejoicing.
10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt show this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or whit [is] our iniquity? or what [is] our sin that we have committed
11 against the Lord our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord, and have walked alter other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept ray
• tt was the custom in those dnvs to send food and wine to mourners, a« supposing thry had no heart to provide for themselves; this was very different from making feast) for then, which is a ridiculous and indecent custom, sometimes practised among us.