« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
carnal heart; which is unfruitful, overrun with thorns, where no feeds of goodness will grow; and it must be broken up by repentance. This is a difficult work. It is hars to correći vicious habits; it is like ploughing ground that has long been fallow; yet it is a necessary work, if we desire to reap in mercy. Circumcise your hearts, subdue your corrupt affections, or, as it is expressed v. 14, more agreeably to christian language, and the ordinance of baptism, Wash thy heart, and be not content with external washing. It is not sufficient to regulate the life, and appear outwardly good; but we must see that the heart be cleansed by repentance and faith, and that finful desires be suppressed for the future; because God searcheth the heart, and the wickedness that lodgeth there is an abomination to him Let us therefore pray that God would create in us clean liearts, and renew right spirits within us.
2. Whoever are the instruments of our troubles, we should view them as coming from the hand of God, and that sin is the cause of them. The fierće anger of the Lord brought the Chaldeans upon Judah. They came round about her, because she had been rebellious against the Lord. Thus when enemies, persecutors, and flanderers beset us, however unjust they may be, we ought to acknowledge that the Lord is righteous. We have done enough to justify him in any evils that he may bring upon us; and it becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand.
3. The calamities of war should be deeply lamented, and we should tenderly pity those who are suffering by them. The prophet Jeremiah, tho' he saw the desolation of Judah only by a spirit of prophecy, and did not know whether he should actually live to behold it, yet bitterly bewails it, but more especially the fins which occafioned it. Let us bewail the desolations of war, and the long continuance of them; and earnestly pray that God would give peace in our time. We
We may also learn, from the agony which the prophet felt on this occasion, how much more deeply we ought to be affected by the prospect of that indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, which shall come upon the ungodly: and, knowing the terrors of the Lord, let us persuade men to be reconciled to him.
CHA P. V. The prophet here goes on to represent the degeneracy of the people, and the calamities which were coming upon them.
UN ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusa
lem, and fee now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be '[any) that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; 2 and I will pardon it. And though they say, The
Lord liveth ; surely they swear falsely; tho' they swear
by the true God, and not by idols, yet they appeal to him as a 3. witness of falsehood. O LORD, (are] not thine eyes upon
the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, thou hast consumed them, [but) they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return; thou knoweft their true character; notwithstanding thy judg
ments, they were stubborn and rebellious, and would not be 4 reformed. Therefore I said, Surely these [are) poor;
they are foolish: for they know not the way of the
LORD, (nor) the judgment of their God; their igno5 rance is the cause of their disobedience. I will get me unto
the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, [and] the judgment of their God; I may expeet better things from them, as they have enjoyed a better education and superior advan
tages: but these have altogether broken the yoke, [and] 6 burst the bonds, like headstrong oxen.
Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall flay them, [and] a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces by a powerful, greedy, cunning cnemy: be.
cause their transgressions are many, [and] their back7 Nidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee for
this ? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by [them that are] no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled
themselves by troops in the harlots' houses ; and is it 8 consistent with justice to pardon such offenders? They were Dd 3
V. [as] fed horses in the morning : every one neighed after
his neighbour's wife; they abused their plenty, and grati9 fied their lufts in a most abandoned manner. Shall I not
visit for these (things?] faith the Lord; and shall not
my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? do they 10 not deserve some remarkable punishment ? Go ye up upon
her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they (are] not the LORD'S, For the house of Israel, and the house of Judah have
dealt very treacherously against me, faith the LORD. 12 They have belied the Lord, and said, [lt is] not he;
neither shall evil come upon us ; neither shall we see
sword nor famine; he is not such a being as his prophets 13 say he is, he will not do as they threaten : And the pro
phets shall become wind, and the word [is] not in them; they are nothing but noise and vanity, a parcel of filly enthusiasts: thus Thall it be done unto them; the
evils they threaten us with all come upon themselves. 14 Wherefore thus faith the LORD God of hosts, Because
ye speak this word, Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall de
vour them as certainly and speedily as the fire consumes 15 wood. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far,
O house of Israel, faith the LORD: it [is] a mighty nation, it [is] an antient nation, a nation whose language thou knoweft not, neither understandelt what
they say, therefore you can neither parley with nor afk.com. 16 pasion from them. Their quiver [is] as an open sepul
chre, they (are) all mighty men; they shall do vast exe17 cution and fall destroy multitudes. And they shall eat
up thine harvest, and thy bread, (which] thy fons and thy daughters should eat: they fhall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy
fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, 18. wherein thou trustedst, with the sword. Nevertheless in
those days, faith the LORD, I will not make a full end 19 with you. And it shall come to pass, when ye shall
say, This is a remarkable prophecy, for Jeremiah could not forea fee that the jews would not be swallowed up by their conquerors, as other ‘nations were.
fay, Wherefore doeth the Lord our God all these [things) unto us? why should we be fingled out for such calamities? is il consistent with God's promises? then thalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land (that is] not your's.
Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in 21 Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and
without understanding: which have eyes, and see not;
which have ears, and hear not; who make no use of your 22 understanding, but are as stupid as your idols : Fear ye not
me? faith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my prefence, which have placed the sand (for) the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof iofs themselves, yet can they 110t prevail; though they roar, yet can they not
pass over it? a circumstance often mentioned, as a proof of 23 God's power and dominion. But this people hath a re
volting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and 24 gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now
fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season; they are not affected by his goodness: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks
of the harvest; a proof of his providence which is obvious 25 to the meanest capacity. Your iniquities have turned
away these things,] these harvest blessings, and your sins 26 have withholden good (things) from you. For among
my people are found wicked (men :) they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men;
they betray, overreach, and make a prey of one another. 27 As a cage is full of birds, fo [are] their houses full of
goods gotten by deceit: therefore they are become great, 28 and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea,
they overpass the deeds of the wicked, the common instances of injustice and oppression: they judge not the
cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper ; and 29 the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not
visit for these (things ?] faith the LORD: shall not my 30 foul be avenged on such a nation as this ? A wonderful 31 and horrible thing is committed in the land; The pro
D d 4
phets prophefy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means ; and my people love (to have it] so; and what will ye do in the end thereof? what can theje things come to but the ruin of you all ?
E here see the design of God in afflictions. He
strikes men that they may see their fin, be humble, and grieved for it. He consumes their substance or health, that they may receive correction with the temper of children ; accommodate themselves to it and be better for it; he designs to bring them back to himself. This shows his justice, wisdom, and goodness in afflictions, that they are to answer so important an end; and how difpleasing to him impatience, pride, and obstinacy must be.
2. We see the advantages of being placed in the middle circumstances of life. Jeremiah in his day, and we in our's, find the poor ignorant and brutish; many of them destitute of the means of instruction ; others of them, for want of education, know not how to use and improve them. The rich, tho' they have enjoyed superior advantages, are generally haughty, infolent, and obstinate; will walk in the way of their hearts and after the fashions of the world, be they right or wrong. It is a happiness to be free from the temptations of poverty and riches, and to be placed in that middle state of-life, which is best both for this world and another.
3. We here see the cause why many perfist in their ini. quities, notwithstanding the warnings of God's word. It is because they do not believe them; they belie the Lord; think he is not so holy and just a Being, nor will be fo strict in his judgments, as his word declares. They despise the warnings of ministers ; thinking them to be words of course, and that they talk so, because it is their trade: they will not own any thing to be the word of God, but what they like: but all his words will prove true, and be too hard for them; and the judgments they despise or disbelieve will devour them. 4. The power and goodness of God in the course of his