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gin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together : for I will turn their mourning into joy,and will comfort them, and make
them rejoice from their sorrow ; all ages and ranks shall agree in 14 signs of universal joy. And I will satiate the soul of the priests
with fatness, they shall have plenty of sacrifices and offerings, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith'the LORD ; both the priests and the people shall rejčice in the abundance of di
vine blessings. 15 Thus saith the LORD ; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamen
tation, (and) bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children,
refused to be comforted for her children, because they (were] 16 'not.* Thus saith he LORD ; Refrain thy voice from weeping,
and thine eyes from tears : for thy work, thy tender concern for
thy children, shall be rewarded, saith the LORD ; and they shall 17 come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope
in thine end, or, 10 thy posterity, saith the LORD, that (thy] chil.
dren shall come again to their own border. 18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself [thus ;]
Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, I received instruć. tion, as a bullock unaccustomed (to the yoke :) or rather, though I was before as a bullock that would not bear it : turn thou me,
and I shall be turned ; for thou (art) the LORD my God; I need 19 thy gracious influence to bring me to a belter lemper. Surely af
ter that I was turned, and felt the influence of thy grace, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon [my] thigh, expressed great grief and humiliation : I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my
youth, the burden of my former sins. To this penitent language 20 God graciously replies, [IS] Ephraim my dear son ? or, Is he
not my drar son ? [is he] not a pleasant child ? for since I spake against him, by threatenings and judgments, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD ; I retain my
former parental kindness, and will certainly deliver and bless him, 21 Set thee up way marks, make thee high heaps, that is, tall poles,
finger frosts, or pillars for direction, to make their way plain ; set thine heart toward the highway, [even] the way (which] thou wentest : turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.
How long wilt thou go about, O) thou blacksliding daughter, fluctuating between doubl and hope ? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man ; or, a woman shall put to the rout a strong man ;t that is, God will give the Israelites extraordinary strength, so that, though weak as wo.
• At the time of the cap:ivity there was an assembly of the enemy at Ramah. ch. xl. 1. the captives were brought thither, and from thence carried to Babylon; and as R.chel was buried near that place, the prophet, by an elegant figure, represents her as looking out of her grave and be wailing the captivity of her descendants. This is applied and accommodated in the New Testament to the slighter of the infants in this ncighbourivedSee M1... ile 17, 18.
men, they shall be able to resist and overcome all opposition. 23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel ; As yet, or,
hereafter, they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity ; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, (and) mountain of ho
liness; they shall become a reformed, upright, and honourable 24 people. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and all the cities
thereof together, husbandmen, and they (that) go forth with 25 flocks; the countries and cilies shall be inhabited. For I have sa
tiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful
soul; I will comfort them under their sorrows, and supply them 26 with all good. The next are the prophet's own words. Upon this
I awaked, and beheld ; and my sleep was sweet unto me ; these things God revealed to me in a vision ; I awaked, reflected upon them, and found them very comfortable to my soul; I was muck refreshed with these gracious intimations of deliverance,
T E are here taught, that it is good in times of trouble to
VV look back to former instances of God's care and kindness. The Israelites in their captivity are directed to consider what God had done for their fathers, to prevent them from being disheartened by the difficulties that were in the way of their return. Thus should we think how often God hath supported bis church and interest, and particular saints in times of distress ; how often we have found grace, even when in the wilderness, and been drawn by his loving kindness. Let this recollection and experience encourage our hope, that he who hath delivered and doth deliver, will srill deliver. . 2. When God has designs of mercy for a 'sinful people, he stirs up a spirit of penitence, praver, and reformation. Thus it is fore. told that the Israelites should return wiih weeping and supplication, and that Jerusalem should be called The habitation of justice, and The mountain of holine88 : and we may hope for the continuance of divine favours, and the restoration of prosperity, if God's goodness dispose us to repentance, fill us with shame and sorrow for our iniguities ; if we earnestly call upon his name, and live quiet and peace. able lives in all godliness and honesty.
3. The common bounties of Providence are to be enjoyed and acknowledged as the fruits of divine goodness. When our wheat, and wine, and flocks are increased, it becomes us to adore the goodness of God therein ; to acknowledge is with seriousness at our meals ; to flow together to the solemn assembly, and there sing his praises. Especially should we praise him for that divine influence which makes the souls of men like a watered garden. Thus shall we be satisfed with his goodness ; taste his love in all our comforts ; find them doubly pleasant ; and be in little dangeruf abusing them. Vol. V.
4. Let us learn to moderate our sorrows for the death of our paous friends and children, from the consideration of the favour God intends for them. He is represented as comforting weeping Rachel ; assuring her that her children should return to their borders and that therefore she should not weep as though they were lost It becomes christians, on such occasions especially, to wech as thoug they went not ; for their work, the pious pains they have taken in the education of their children, or for the service of their other relatives, shall be rewarded. There is hope that they will retur from ihe captivity of the grave, enter on the good land, and be blessed at the resurrection of the just.
5. Let us observe with pleasure and thankfulness the great macy of God to a penitent people. There is scarcely a more affeci. ing description of this in all the bible, than is given us in this page sage concerning Ephraim. God represents himself as feeling and encouraging all the workings of paternal affection toward returning prodigals. He afflicts them only to instruct them, and bring them back to duty ; and when they begin to relent, he relents, receives them as his dear children, and restores them to his favour. Nay, their very return is the effect of his gracious work in them. Let us hence learn, what our behaviour should be in times of affliction. and what abundant reason there is for hope, if, in the language of Ephraim, we sincerely say, Turn thou us, and we shall be turned, for chou art the Lord our God.
CHAP. XXXI. 27, to the end. The former part of this chapter referred to the state of the Jews
after their, return from captivity ; this, to their state in the lar. ter day.
27 DEHOLD, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow
D the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast ; they shall become very populous 28 and fruitful. And it shall come to pass, [that] like as I have
watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict ; so will I watch over them, to build and to plant, saith the LORD ; every thing seemed to be against them before, but now every thing shall be for them; God will appear in the whole course of his providence to favour and bless them.
In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge; they
shall be no more punished for the iniquities of their ancestora, os 30 they have formerly been for persisting in their idolatry.* But
• There may be a reference here to that imprecation of the Jews, Ilis blood be uper eam our children, which lies upon thein still; but when they are converted it shall be so no nord
every one shall die for his own iniquity : every man that eateth
the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. 31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a
new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of 32 Judah :* Not according to the covenant that I made with their
fathers in the day (that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, that is, led them in the kindest, gentlesto manner ; which my covenant they brake, although I was an
husband unto them, saith the Lord : and have fulfilled my part 33 of the covenant relation : But this [shall be) the covenant that I
will make with the house of Israel ; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, not a new law, but the old law in its moral precepts and evangelical truths, and write
it in their hearts ; and will be their God, and they shall be my 34 people. And they shall teach no more every man his neigh
bour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD : for they shall all know me, from the least of them, unto the great.. est of them, saith the LORD ; that is, mere human instruction shall not be the only, nor the chief way of teaching ; they shall have plenty of religious advantages, and a clearer knowledge of God, by the instructions of the spirit ; an extraordinary effusion of which they shall enjoy : for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more ; I will thus teach them, because I will forgive them ; they shal! be brought into my covenant again ; and, through the blood of Christ, their sins skall be forgiven, and all the
tokens of my displeasure against them be removed. 35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day,
[and] the ordinances of the moon, and of the stars for a light
by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar ; 36 The Lord of hosts [is] his name : If those ordinances depart
from before me, saith the LORD, (then) the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever ; that is, my covenant is as sure as the ordinances of heaven ; the Jews shall always continue a distinct people, and when they are converted
they shall never apostatise any more, but continue to the end of the 37 world faithful, holy, and obedient. Thus saith the LORD ; If
heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD ; though for their sins they deserve to be rejected, yet for their fathers' sake, and my cov.
enant with them, they shall at last be restored. 38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be
built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of 39 the corner.' And the measuring line shall yet go forth over
against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, or Tophet, and of the
ashes, and all the fields' unto the brook of Kidron, unto the
• The apostle quotes this, Heb. viii. &. as referring to gospel times.
corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever. *
W E have great reason to rejoice in the gospel covenant,
VV and the blessed purport of it. The covenant God would make with the Jews in the latter day, is no other than the christian covenant ; for there will be no distinction between them and other christians in that day, except their settlement in their own land. This covenant then God makes with us ; and every clause of it deserves our attention. He will write his laws upon our hearts, will enable us to understand them, and dispose us to conform to them, as a copy to the original : he will teach us by the clear discoveries of his gospel, and the labours of his ministers ; and also by the infuences of his Spirit : for the best interpreter of scripture, Jesus Christ, explains this promise, of immediate divine teaching. The great obstacle to divine illumination, sanctification, and comfort, is sin ; it is therefore promised, that sin shall be pardoned. We have full assurance of this under the gospel. Let us rejoice and be thankful that we are under this covenant of grace ; be ever mindful of it ; heartily comply with the terms on which these blessings are promised ; and earnestly pray that God would thus pardon, teach, sanctify, and save us.
2. From the continued, providence of God in the support and government of the universe, we may assuredly argue, that his promises will be fulfilled. He lights up the sun and the moon ; manages this wide, unmeasurable world ; rules the sea ; keeps every thing in its proper place, and every creature in its proper office; he can therefore do any and all of those wonderful things which he hath promised. He hath preserved the Jews a distinct people, notwithstanding the trouble and persecution they have every where met with ; so that they are not lost among the nations; while whole communities that have enslaved and persecuted them, have been $o. He has supported the world for the sake of the church, and for the execution of his purposes ; therefore we may be sure that the Jews shall be restored, and the gospel spread over the earth, Let it be our hearts' desire and prayer, ihai Israel onay be saved ; and let us in the mean time hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for he is faithful who hath promised.
• This is a prophecy that Jerusalem should be rebuilt and sanctified, and that multitudes of the converted' Jews should settle there, that they should enjarge the circumference of their temple and city, and that what was now polluted should become holy ground: but whethet these expressions are literal, or only figurative, time alone can discover.