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get rich by oppression, fraud, and artifice. This is sometimes the case ; and it encourages men of no principle to practise injustice. But such riches often leave a man in the midst of his days, when he wants them most, and pleases himself with the thought of their continuance and increase. They will certainly leave him in the end of his days, when he can carry nothing with him but the guilt, shame, and remorse of having gotten them unjustly. Then he will see himself to have been a fool : however proud he may have been of his sagacity and success, and of the flattery of others. O let integrity and uprighiness preserve us : and let us be rich in good works. By acting thus we shall show ourselves wise, and lay up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come.
4. Observe how necessary it is to sanctify the sabbath, if we de. sire the favour of God, and the prosperity of our country. This is required of kings and rulers, as well as others. No burdens are to be borne, no common work to be done, no labouring, travelling, carrying out, or fetching in, (even provisions) except in case of absolute necessity. We see what stress God lays upon this duty; he charges the neglect of it as a crime which would bring ruin upon the state. The religious observation of the sabbath will support other branches of religion, v. 21, therefore let us take heed to ourselves. Great caution is needful in a degenerate day, and amidst so many bad examples. Those who, merely to save time on working days, contrive to take journeys, to visit their friends, or follow their business on the sabbath, and, by so doing, deprive themselves of reJigious advantages, do at least, (however their thoughts may be employed) set a bad example to others, and encourage them to profane the sabbath. Those who do this should attend to the prophet Jeremiah's admonition: and how they can imagine such a conduet to be consistent with the divine authority and law, the design of the sabbath, the solemnity of a christian profession and engage. ment, or even with seeking the true interest of their country, is astonishing. How they will vindicate it before him, who will give to every man according to his ways and the fruit of his doings, they will do well to consider.
God here, under the life of a poiter, shows his absolute power in dis
posing of nations, and threatens judgments io Judah.
I THE word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
1 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will 3 cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's
house, and, beliold, he wrought a work on the wheels, or, qu?s at 4. work unon the stones. And the vessel that he made of clay was
marred in the hand of the potter : so he made it again another 5 vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it.]. Then the Eple to pre
he thorni Jeave him i
* 6 word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot
I do with you as this potter ? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay (is) in the potter's hand, so (are) ye in mine hand, O house of Israel; I have absolute power over thee to do as I please, yet I
am not inclined to deal with thee in strict righteousness according 7 10 thy true character ; for (At what] instant I shall speak con
cerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, either by my firo
phels, or in the course of providence, to pluck up, and to pull Otnerid 8 down, and to destroy [it ;) If that nation against whom I have e rich and pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I boy: ' thought to do unto them; I will change my way of dealing with
9 them. And (at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, 10 and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant (it ;] If it do
evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them; according to
their different behaviour, they shall become the objects of my favour 22
Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold,
I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you; I in. the
tend to punish you : return ye now every one from his evil way, 12 and make your ways and your doings good. And they said,
There is no hope : but we will walk after our own devices, and
we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart; they were 13 stubborn and would not be reformed. Therefore thus saith the
LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things; none among them were 80 stupid, as 10 say they would not reform when judgments were coming upon them, especially when they actually felt them; the Nineviles, for instance, repented at the preaching of Jonah, but the virgin of Israel hath done a very hor.
rible thing ; Israel, that ought to be a pure, chaste virgin to the 14 Lord, is worse than they. Will (a man] leave the snow of Lebe
anon (which cometh] from the rock of the field ? (or) shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? ( Will the snow leave Lebanon before any rock of the field ? Will men dig for strange waters perversely, in preference 10 such as flow? Will a thirsty traveller in hot weather leave cool water, that
trickles down from Lebanon, or fine spring water, for a standing, 15 muddy lake ?* Because my people hath forgotten me, they have
burned incense to vanity, to idols, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways [from] the ancient paths, to walk in paths, (in) a way not cast up; their false prophets and idolatrous firiesta
have led them from the good old say, 10 walk in a miry dangerous 16 road ; To make their land desolate, [and] a perpetual hissing ;
every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his
head ; the consequence will be, that some will fury, and others will 17 triumph in their calamities. I will scatter them as with an cast
wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
. Dr. Blagniy, Vol. V.
18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jere
miah ; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet ; we shall do well enough since we have 80 many priests, wise men, and prophets on: our side. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us
not give heed to any of his words ; let us lay things to his charge 19 that may blast his character, and even take away his life. Give
heed to me, O LORD, and hearken not to the voice of thein that 20 contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they
have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, [and] to turn away thy wrath from them, though I denounced it ; since they are incorrigible, I will not any more intercede. The three last ver868 are the firopher's
prediction concerning his enemies, rather than his imprecation. 21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out
their [blood] by the force of the sword ; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and [be] widows; and let their men
be put to death ; [let] their young men [be] slain by the sword 22 in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt
bring a troop suddenly upon them : for they have digged a pit 23 to take me, and hid snares for my feet. Yet, LORD, thou krow.
est all their counsel against me to slay (me :) forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee ; deal [thus] with them in the time of thine anger; they shall not escape the punishment due to their sins.
1. T ET us reverence the absolute power and sovereignty of
God. We meet with frequent comparisons in scripture relating to this, which are very beautiful and striking. The potter cao mould the clay into what form he pleases : so has God absolute power over his creatures. Our times, and the events of our lives, are in his hand: In his hand are the fates of nations : and therefore we must not dispute his will ; but be content with the stations and circumstances in which he places us.
2. Though God be absolutely powerful, yet he is unchangeably just. His sovereignty is not that arbitrary thing which many people have supposed. God does not say, Because I have your fates in my hand, therefore I will break or raise you, according to my will, without any other regard : but, if a nation repent, and become obedient, I will save them out of the deepest distress : if they go on in sin, I will destroy them when they think themselves most secure. The distinction is very plain, and very important. God distributes his favours as he pleases, for he is a debtor to no man. But he never punishes by prerogative ; or where there is not guilt to deserve it; and in the final distribution of rewards and punishments, he will re7s. der to every man according to his works.
3. Let us lament the prodigious stupidity and costinacy of sin. ners. No wonder that God calls the conduct of Israel a horrible
thing. They would not give heed to any of Jeremiah's words ; but, right or wrong, were determined to act contrary to them. They would not so much as promise to reform ; but would follow their own lusts and devices : and they encouraged one another to do so. This is the case of many under a christian name ; and rather than part with their sins, they will smite, with their tongue at least, the prophets who reprove them. But God will bring upon them the judgments they despise, and overwhelm them with everlasting destruction.
4. It will be a great satisfaction to us, when censured and reproached, to be conscious that we have not deserved it : but that, on the contrary, we have wished well and endeavoured to do kindness to those who have censured us. This is an amiable part of Jeremiah's character, v. 20, and shows, that his imprecations did not proceed from a malicious, revengeful spirit, but were prophetic denunciations. Thus let us bless them that curse us, and pray for those that despitefully use us ; rendering blessing for cursing. This will be our rejoicing in the day of evil. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
By the significant tupe of breaking the potter's vessel, Jeremiah is directed to predict the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. The prophe's frequently taught by symbolic actions, as well as by words.
I THUS saith the Lord, Go and get a potter's earthen
1 bottle, or vessel, and (take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests ; that is, the elders of the preo
ple, some of the great council, and the heads of the courses of the 2 pries18 ; And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom,
which [is] by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the 3 words that I shall tell thee, And say, Hear ye the word of the
LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, that is, ,
80 dreadful will it be that it shall astonish and terrify every one. 4Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place,
this holy city, the place of my residence, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents ; have improved upon their fathers' idcla
try, and the wickedness of former kings, and sacrificed their chil. 5 dren to Molech, or the sun ; They have built also the high places
of Baal, ano!her name for the sun, to burn their sons with fire (for) burnt offerings unto Baal, which I cominanded not, nor spake [it,] neither came [it] into my mind, tiit ühich I exfireasca
6 ly forbade, Deut. xii. 31. Therefore, behold, the days come,
saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet,
nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaugh7 ter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem
in this place ; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives : and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth ; they shall be defeated
and destroyed, and see the vanily of those contrivances, by which 8 they thought to escape my judgments. And I will make this city
desolate, and an hissing ; every one that passeth thereby shall 9 be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And
I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his
friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and 10 they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt thou
break the bottle, or vessel, in the sight of the men that go with 11 thee,* And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts;
Even so will I break this people and this city, as (one) breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again : and they
shall bury (them) in Tophet, till (there be] no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhab
itants thereof, and [even) make this city as Tophet, a place of 13 slaughter and burials : And the houses of Jerusalem, and the
houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled, by reason of the dead bodies there, unburied, as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto
all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unlo 14 other gods.t Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the
Lord had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court of the Lord's house ; and said to all the people, 10 some of the priests that would not go with him, or could not leave the temple,
and to the people, probably at the hour of sacrifice, when many 15 were assembled, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel ;
Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns, the other cities of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
1. D oW kind is God to take so many methods to prevent the
IT ruin of sinners. Judgments were to be plainly threatened by Jeremiah, and the causes of them specified. This sermon was
• Probably some had made a jest of the representation in the former chapter, saying, We have been made and hardened long ago, and shall not be easily broken. But the prophet was Dow to break the vessel in their sight, to represent their utter destruction.
+ Josiah had defiled this place, by burning dead men's bones there : the filth of the city also was carried into it, and a fire kept burning to consuine it. Such was the state of Toplot when this message was delivered. What a dreadful representation of Jerusalein and the Olber cities which should be made like it! Hence it came to be used as an einble in of let!