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24 Lord our God, [is] the salvation of Israel. For shame,
that is, sin and idolatry, hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds,
their fons and their daughters; these have wasted our sub25 jtance, and brought our enemies upon us. We lie down in
our shame, and our confufion covereth us, we are not able to bear up under it: for we have finned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.-In answer to these expresions of forrow and repentance, God assures Israel,
CHAP. IV. If thou wilt return, O Israel, faith the LORD, return unto me heartily, not by outward profesion only : and if thou wilt put away thine abominations,
thine idols and thy fins, out of my fight, then shalt thou 2 not remove, but be established in the land. And thou fhalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousnefs ; thou shalt no more swear by idols, but in important cases make thine. appeal to God for the maintenance of truth and justice; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory; many heathens shall became profelytes, fall esteem themselves happy in being the people of God, and fall triumph in their relation to him and interest in him.
as warnings to us, and he is displeased if they are not attended to. He expected that Judah should be alarmed by the captivity of Israel, and it was an aggravation of their guilt that they were not.
God gives us many awful warnings by his word and providences ; even the calamities of Israel and Judah, are standing warnings to us, and are so described in the New Testament. God knows what admonitions he hath given us, and what effect they have had; and if we overlook them and prove treacherous to our religious professions and engagements, we shall fall under his difpleasure, for his power and wrath are against all them that forsake him.
2. The abundant mercy and reconcileableness of God, are motives to finners to return to him. He commands his minifters and prophets to proclaim this; to assure finners of his readiness to forgive, and invites them to return. May we hear the proclamation with gratitude and pleasures and let our answer be, Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God.
3. It is happy for a people to have pastors after God's own heart ; such as he approves on account of their character and fidelity in their office. They are good pastors in God's sight, who take care of the flock, endeavour to improve their understandings, mend their fpirits, and make them wise to falvation. The people who have such pastors, (who are, alas ! too few) ought to be very thankful to God, and esteem them highly in love for their work's fake.
4. Let us diligently attend to the terms of forgiveness and acceptance with God. Sinners are to acknowledge their iniquities with shame and forrow; to put away all their abominations, to return to him as their father, to cherish filial dispositions, to give themselves to prayer, to reverence the majesty and omniscience of God, to place all their happiness in his favour, to be faithful in all their declarations and promises, and never to turn away from the Lord. May this be our character. Then will he heal our back. flidings, put us among his children, and give us a goodly heritage, even an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us.
CHA P. IV. 3, to the end. This prophecy is addressed to Judah and Jerusalem, it is a call
to repentance, and foretels their destruction by the Chaldeans. 3
and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and low not among thorns; be humble and penitent, otherwise you
are like an husbandman who fows among thorns without 4 ploughing, and the produce is good for nothing. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of
your wind : few years.
your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; mortify your corrupt affeEtions, and do not content yourselves with external rites: left my fury come forth
like fire, and burn that none can quench [it,] because 5 of the evil of your doings. Declare ye in Judah, and
publish in Jerusalem ; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and fay, Assemble
yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities for 6 security against the Chaldeans. Set up the standard
toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil 7 from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is
come up from his thicket, Nebuchadnezzar is coming from Babylon, and the destroyer of the gentiles is on his way, or, the scourge of nations, that hath made desolate the neighbouring countries, is on his march against you ; he is gone
forth from his place to make thy land desolate ; [and] 8 thy cities shall be laid waste without an inhabitant. For
this gird you with fackcloth, lament and howl : for the
fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us. 9. And it shall come to pass at that day, faith the LORD,
[that] the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes, they shall be quite stupid and confounded; and the priests, that should blow the trumpet and encourage the people to war, shall be astonished, and the prophets
shall wonder, that is, the false prophets, that said the 10 calamity Jould not come. Then said I, Ah, Lord God!
surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jeru. salem, that is, thou hasi permitted it to be done, hast suffered the false prophets to deceive them by strong delusions,
saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reachII eth unto the soul. At that time shal: it be said to this
people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not
to fan, nor to cleanse, but to destroy the fruits of the earth, 12 to scatter and carry them away; (Even) a full wind from
those [places) shall come unto me; or, as it is better rendered, a full wind for a curse all come at my bidding,
too strong for them to withstand: now also will I give fen13 tence against them. Behold, he shall come up as clouds
that cover the sky, and his chariots [shall be] as a whirlVOL. V.
wind; his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto 14 us! for we are spoiled. O Jerusalem, wash thine heart
from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? thy
foolish devices, expeEtations, and dependences, to which you 15 have so long trusted? For a voice declareth from Dan,
and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim; which
lay north, nearest to Babylon, from whence the tidings came. 16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish a
gainst Jerusalem, (that) watchers come from a far country, soldiers that watch over then to do them mischief, and
give out their voice against the cities of Judah, who en17 courage one another to fall on and subdue them. As keepers
of a field, are they against her round about, surrounding
her cities; because she hath been rebellious against me, 18 faith the LORD. Thy way and thy doings have pro
cured these [things) unto thee; this is) thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine
heart like a deadly wound. 19 My bowels, my bowels! 1 am pained at my very
heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the found of the trumpet, the alarm of war ; I tenderly fym
pathize with my country in the profpet of these miseries. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole
land is fpoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, [and]
my curtains in a moment, as easily as ténts are removed. 21 How long shall I see the standard, [and] hear the sound 22 of the trumpet? For my people [is] foolish, they have
not known me; they (are] sottish children, and they have none understanding: they (are) wise to do evil,.but to do good they have no knowledge; they are skilful in the
arts of fin, but are strangers to religion ; they show no con. 23 trivance or quickness but when it is to do evil. I beheld
the earth, and, lo, (it was) without form and void ; and 24 the heavens, and they (had) no light. I beheld the
mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills 25 moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, [there was] no man,
and s Five of their kings in fucceffion were lain or deposed, in a
26 and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld,
and, lo, the fruitful place (was] a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, [and] by his fierce anger ; a figurative description of the confusion and calamities of the nation, as if the
frame of nature was destroyed, and the earth reduced to its 27 original chaos. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole
land shall be desolate ; yet will I not make a full end, a 28 remnant shall remain. For this shall the earth mourn,
and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken [it,] I have purposed [it, ] and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it; foreseeing that they will
not repent as a nation, I determine that the remnant only 29 fall be saved. The whole city shall flee for the noise of
the horsemen and bowmen ; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks to save their lives : every
city [shall be] forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. 30 And (when) thou (art] spoiled, what wilt thou do?
Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckeft thee with ornaments of gold, though thou renteft thy face with painting, or, distendest thine eyes with paint, (some preparation used to contract the eyelids to make the eyes look larger, as the eastern nations reckon large eyes to be the mosi beautiful,) in vain shalt thou make thyself fair, like a strumpet courting her old lovers ; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek
thy life; thou Malt seek help from thy idols and allies in 31 vain. For I have heard the voice as of a woman in tra
vail, [and] the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, when her pains as well as her fears are greatest, the voice of the daughter of Zion, [that] bewaileth herself, [that] spreadeth her hands, [saying, ] Woe [is] me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers; because of the enemy, that makes such dreadful Jaughter.
R E F L E C T I O N S.
us of repentance and returning to God; it is breaking up the fallow ground. A beautiful description of a Dd 2