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O genera

31 fury and pleasure, as a lion devours his prey.

tion, see ye the word of the LORD'; consider it and apply your hearts to it. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we are an independent people ; we will come no

more unto thee; we can save ourselves, we have no need 32 of thee. Can a maid forget her ornaments, [or] a

bride her attire ? yet my people have forgotten me

days without number; they have renounced their relation 33 to me, which was their greatest glory. Why trimmest

thou thy way to seek love, like a lewd woman, who by gay dress and artful looks endeavours to inveigle others? therefore haft -thou also taught the wicked ones thy

ways, and been an example of heinous wickedness to others. 34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the

poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these; in every part of the land the murder of your children is as plain, as if your garments were sprinkled with

their blood; by which means murder is sometimes discovered. 35

Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with

thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned, and prove 36 the contrary, Why gaddest thou about fo much to

change thy way, flying from one alliance to another? a plain proof that you have forsaken me: thou also shalt be

ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. 37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, or from hence,

that is, from thy own country, and thine hands upon thine head, as mourners, and in token of thy extreme grief : for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not

prosper in them.

Chap. III. They say, it is a known, adjudged case, If a man put away his wife, and the go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted by such detestable practices? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, by thine alliances with idolaters; yet return again

to me, faith the Lord, and I will receive thee into favour. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou fat for

them, able;

I

them, as the Arabian in the wilderness, that waits for the caravans to buy goods; thou hast been no more ashamed to fit by the way side as a prostitute, than a merchant is to

deal with his customers; and thou hast polluted the land 3 with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. There

fore the showers have been withholden, and there hath

been no latter rain, and thou hadst a whore's forehead, 4 thou refusedst to be ashamed. Wilt thou not from this

time cry unto me, My father, thou (art] the guide of my youth ? and return to God, as thy husband, before thou are quite ruined? wilt thou not from this time do it, when

thou art fo graciously invited, and there are so many threat-5 enings of fad judgments if thou continuest obstinate? Will

he reserve [his anger] for ever? will he keep [it] to the end ? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldft.

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REFLECTION S.

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O W vain are all the attempts of finners to justify

themselves in an evil way! They, like Israel, are fond of doing it; they deny the fact, plead innocence, and say they are not polluted. Yet all their iniquity is marked before God; their secret fins are in the light of his countenance ; and when he comes to plead with them, and set his law and their fins in order before them, they will be overwhelmed with shame and confusion. May we learn to guard against self-deceit. We cannot plead innocence nor vindicate our conduct; therefore we should humbly and thankfully submit to the terms of the gospel.

2. They who forsake the service of God, change for the worse; change their God, for those which are no gods ; their glory, for that which is their shame and reproach; like an untractable beast, that forsaking a good master, is exposed to want and ruin. But men do not consider what their fins will bring them to at last. God is not a wilderness to his people; his service is both pleasant and profitable, but if we desert it, we run into shame, misery, and ruin; and their case will be the worst of all, who do this after they have promised that they will not transgress.

• These are 'words put into their mouth wherewith to approach God; yet there was little hope of their using them, because they had shown all hatred to God and goodness.

3. The vanity and insufficiency of earthly things will abundantly appear in the day of trouble. Men will not hearken in the day of prosperity ; but when fickness and death come upon them, their spirits will be tamed. They now reject reproof, and scorn advice; but when distress and anguish come upon them, where are their gods, their honours, and gay friends and companions ? let them arise, and save them, if they can, in times of trouble: but here they will find disappointment. The Lord hath rejected kuch confidences, and men can never profper in them. But if we make God our hope and portion, and his service our bufiness, we máy cheerfully say to him, in our time of trouble, Arise, and save us; and he will be our refuge and strength.

4. How kind is God to invite finners to return, and put proper words and encouragements into their mouths. Tho' a man will not receive an adulterous wife, yet God invites finners to return to him. He will not reserve his

anger

for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Let rebellious children return to him as their father from this time, when he again invites them; and he will have compassion upon them, will subdue their iniquities, and cast all their fins into the depth of the fea.

CHAP. III. 6, to the end. CHAP, IV. 1-3. In order to understand this part of the prophecy, we must remem

ber, that it refers to the time of Josiah, a very zealous reformer : the people were not hearty in his reformation ; they only complied with it externally, and after his death relapsed

into idolatry. 6 HE LORD said also unto me in the days of Jofiah

the king, Hast thou seen [that] which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there

hath

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12

7 hath played the harlot. And I faid by the prophets, after

The had done all these things,] Turn thou unto me.

But she returned not. And her treacherous fister Judah 8 faw [it.] And I saw, when for all the causes whereby

backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce, that is, diffolved the spiritual relation between us; and she was carried cap

tive; yet her treacherous fifter Judah feared not, but 9 went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass

through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled

the land, and committed adultery with stones and with 10 stocks. And yet for all this, her treacherous fifter

Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, 11 but feignedly, faith the LORD. And the Lord faid

unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah; Israel is less guilty than Judah, because Judah did not take warning.

Go and proclaim these words toward the north, where the ten tribes were carried captive, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, faith the LORD; [and] I will not cause mine anger to fall

, or continue, upon you : for I am] merciful, faith the Lord, [and] I will not keep 13 [anger) for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity,

confess it, and be truly penitent for it, that thou haft transgreffed against the Lord thy God, and haft fcattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree,

run up and down to the gods of neighbouring nations, and 14 ye have not obeyed my voice, faith the Lord. Turn,

O backsliding children, faith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion; ye

Shall be restored again; and tho' but few shall come, yet those 15 Mall not be overlooked : And I will give you pastors 'ac

cording to mine heart, which shall feed you with know

ledge and understanding, and no mors entice you to idolatry. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and

increased in the land, in those days, faith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither thall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit [it;) neither

shall

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17 Thali [that]-be done any more. At that time they

shall call Jerusalem, The throne of the LORD; God will give them evident proofs of his spiritual residence among themi, and his regard to them as their king; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to

Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the 18 imagination of their evil heart. In those days the

house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto

your fathers; many of the Israelites shall return with the 19 jews to Canaan. But I said, How shall I put thee among

the children, there must be a great change in you before I can do this, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations; or, a land which the nations desire, for they envy you this land, and desire to possess it? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me; I will bestow upon thee. a filial frame of heart toward me; thou shalt return to me as thy father, and continue faithful to me; then I will bestow these favours upon you.

Surely [as] a wife treacherously departeth from her husband; To have ye dealt treacherously with me, o 21 house of Israel, faith the LORD. A voice was heard

upon the high places, weeping [and] supplications of the children of Israel, repenting and asking mercy: for,

or because, they have perverted their way, [and] they 22 have forgotten the LORD their God. Return, ye back

Niding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings. This is God's invitation : to which they reply, Behold, we come unto thee, for thou (art] the Lord our God, and

wilt heal and comfort our hearts, which are wounded with 23 grief and sorrow. Truly in vain [is falvation hoped for}

from the hills, (and from] the multitude of mountains; from idols, or any. foreign alliances; it is in vain to go up to the mountains to look if they are coming : truly in the

LORD f This seems to refer to the gospel, and to intimate the abolition of jewilh ceremonies, tho' perhaps the ark

er was in the second temple, at least there was no Shekinah, and fome fuppose there is a reference to that.

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