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of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month, when the city and
temple were destroyed; so that he prophesied about forly two 4 years, and lived to see most of his prophecies fulfilled. Then
the word of the Lord came unto me in a vision, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, I had
thee in my view, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I fanctified thee, set thee apart for this office, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations, to 6 other nations as well as to the jews.* Then said I, Ah,
other fent some forces, joined by the Syrians and Ammonites, to com. mit depredations on his country. This they did for several years, always carrying off spoils and captives. Jehoiakim, in attempting to repel one of their invasions, was sain without the gates of the city, and his body, after having been treated with much ignominy, was calt into the fields without the honours of a burial. His son Jeconiah, tho' very young, succeeded him; and in rebel. lion and vice followed his example. After a reign of only three months, Nebuchadnezzar, who had come to Judea in perfon, carried him, and almost all the people of any note in the country, captive to Babylon. The golden vessels, that had remained in the temple, were likewise carried off this time. Zedekiah, uncle to Jeconiah, was permitted to succeed him, on swearing allegiance and becoming tributary to the king of Babylon : but, relying on the assistance of Egypt, he revolted soon after, and drew on himself and on his country the full vengeance of the Babylonian monarch, as related in the fifty second chapter. The subsequent transactions of the murder of 'Gedaliah (who was left governor in the country) and the retreat of the remaining jews into Egypt, (whither they were accompanied by Jeremiah, who is faid to have been there put to death) may be seen from chap, ter forty to forty four inclusively. Soon after the taking of Jerusalem, and the carrying of Judah into captivity, Nebuchad. nezzar brought on the Tyrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Philistines, and other neighbouring nations, that destruction which the prophets of God foretold and threatened; he likewise ravaged Egypt, and either killed or enslaved all the jews who had Aed thither for refuge. Thus matters stood, till, at the precise period foretold by Isaiah and the other prophets, the Babylonian monar. chy was overturned, and the jews restored to their liberty and their country by Cyrus. This short view of the history of Jere. miah's times, may in some measure help us to understand his prophecies, of which the general subjects are the idolatry and other fins of the jews - the judgments that were impending on that account, together with their future restoration and deliver.
Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I (am) a child;
I cannot speak with drie gravity and authority before 7 great personages. But the Lord said unto me, Say not
I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send
thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces when they look big and angry:
for I (am) with thee to deliver thee, faith the LORD. A necessary encouragement, as I was to reprove the princes
and priests for their faults, as well as the people : and, to 9 confirm me against my fears, he gave me a sign; Then the
LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth.
words in thy mouth; I have given thee the gift of utter10 ance, and inftrueted thee in my will. See, I have this day
set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant; I have commisioned thee to foretel the destruction of some kingdoms, and the preservation and restoration of others.
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what feest thou? And I said, I see VOL. V.
Сс ance, interspersed with several intimations of the Messiah. From this account, however, we must except the forty fifth chapter, which relates to his disciple Barach, and the fix following, which respect the fate of other nations.
The style of Jeremiah is beautiful and tender to a high degree; especially when he has occasion to excite the softer passions of grief and pity, which is not seldom the case in the first parts of the prophecy. It is likewise on many occasions very elegant and sublime, especially towards the end, (ch. xlv-li.) where this prophes approaches even to the majesty of Ifaiah.-The hiftorical narratives which are occasionally introduced, are written in a plain profaic ftyle, which is the fitteft for narratives.'
The chapters are not now arranged according to the order of time in which they were delivered : but of this notice will be taken in the course of the expofition.
* This was deligned for his encouragement, and is exactly agreeable to the account St. Paul gives of himfelf Gal. i. 15, 16.
* The prophets are said to do what they declared God would do; and as it was customary with God to impress the minds of the prophets and people by certain figns or emblems, fo he does here.
12 a rod of an almond tree. Then said the Lord unto
me, Thou hast well seen, or judged right: for I will haften my word to perform it; as an almond is one of the first trees that blossoms in the spring, and haftens as it were
to seize the first opportunity to blossom, so I will haften the 13 accomplishment of thy predi&tions. And the word of the
LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What feest thou ? And I said, I see a seething pot, a boiling pot, or furnace; and the face thereof (is) toward the north ; the mouth of the furnace, into which the fire was put, opened to the north; or rather, (as in the margin of
our bibles) from the face of the north, from whence the evil 14 was to come. Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the
north, that is, from the Babylonians and Chaldeans, an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the
land; they fall throw the city and country into all the 15 agitation and confusion of a boiling furnace. For, lo, I
will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, faith the LORD; the king of Babylon and his allies, a numercus army; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates at Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about,
and against all the cities of Judah; they sball encamp, 16 against and take posesion of their cities and palaces. And
I will utter my judgments, pass sentence and execute judg. :: ment against them touching all their wickedness, who
have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands ;
my judgments shall declare their wickedness, and my indigna17 tion confirm the truth of thy prophecies. Thou therefore
gird up thy loins, and arise, go about it vigorously and refolutely, and speak unto them all that I command thee : be not dismayed at their faces, left I confound thee be
fore them; left I make thee ashamed of thy cowardice, and 18 bring upon thee that which thou fearest. For, behold, I
have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, I have made thee like a city fortified with pillars of iron and walls of brass, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, who shall batter thee with their power, against the
priests priests thereof, who will thunder their church cenfures
against thee, and against the people of the land, who 19 will boot out their arrows, even bitter words. And they
shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I (am) with thee, faith the LORD, to deliver thee; they shall not be able on the whole to hurt thee.
HOMSOEVER God for any
service, he will qualify and help. He knows what use to make of every man; sees what services they are fit for ; and if he calls them out to difficult work, they may expect, and, if they follow his providence, may depend upon, peculiar assistance. Tho' a modest diffidence is very becoming in all, especially in young persons, yet there is a false modesty which ought to be avoided.
This prevents many from praying in their families, or with their friends, and from speaking of divine things. But when God calls us out to difficult services, we must not make excuses, but cheerfully undertake them, in a dependance on that help of his Spirit which he has promised; so that as our day is, our strength fall be.
2. We see that courage and zeal becomes the Lord's prophets and ministers. They are to speak all that he commands; and not sloun to declare the whole counsel of God. Thev are to reprove and admonish faithfully and tenderly; 'ahá this requires great resolution. If they shun their duty for fear of the reproach and contempt of men, God will make them contemptible. If they are faithful, he will bear them up, and make them honourable in the eyes of all that are wife and good.
3. The fear of man bringeth a fnare. This was the prophet Jeremiah's infirmity, and it prevails upon many to neglect their duty, and to comply with sinful, dangerous customs, The fear of being reproached or laughed at, leads many young persons in particular, into guilt, shame, and ruin. The best preservative against this snare is the fear of God a reverence of his authority, a sense of his presence, and a
dread of being confounded and condemned by him. It is therefore excellent advice of our Lord, which we fhould always remember and act upon, Fear not them who can kill the body; but fear him, who can kill the body and cast the soul into hell; I say unto you, Fear him.
CHA P. II. We had the prophet's commission in the former chapter; here he.
enters on his work, and in this part of the chapter represents to the jews their ingratitude to God, their unparalleled wick. edness, and the dishonour and ruin they were bringing on themselves by it.
OROEVER the word of the LORD came to me,
saying, Thus faith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wenteft after me in the wilderness, in a land [that was] not fown; I remember thy obedience and fub. jection, when thou wast first formed into a people, and entered into a covenant with God at mount Sinai, when thou
followeds the cloud, and attendedst the service of the taber3 nacle. Ifrael (was] holiness unto the Lord, [and] the
first fruits of his increase; like the first fruits, they art peculiarly valuable in his hight : all that devour him shall offend, evil shall come upon them, faith the LORD; I 4 will severely punish all that shall attack them. Hear ye
the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the fa5 milies of the house of Israel: Thus faith the LORD,
What iniquity have your fathers found in me, what injustice, unfaithfulness, or unkindness, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are
become vain ? that they have practifed idolatry, and are 6 become like the heathen? Neither said they, Where [is]
the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, they forgat the kindness I showed to their fathers, that led
Us • Or rather, according to Dr. BLAYNEY, I have called to mind in thy behalf the kindness shown thee in thy youth, &c.