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CHA P. VIII.
stinacy, and bewails the dreadful miseries that were coming
T that time, faith the LORD, they shall bring out
the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves ; the Chaldeans shall break open their sepulchrés, in hope of finding treasures,
but in the rage of disappointment they fall throw about 2 their bones : · And they shall spread them before the sun,
and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped, but who can do nothing for them :' they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; 3 they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. And so great shall be their misery, that death shall be chosen rather than life, by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places 'whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus faith the Lord; Shall they fall, and not arise ? shall he turn away, and not return? they aɛt different from the maxims of common prudence; if a man fall, will he not rise, and be
glad of help? if a traveller misses his way, will he not en5 quire, and be glad to be set right? Why (then) is this
people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual back6 Niding ? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I.
hearkened and heard, [but] they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? God is represented as waiting and expecting that they would say so, but every one turned to his
course, as the horse rusheth into the battle, without 7. considering or fearing his danger. Yea, the fork in the
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heaven These various expressions are used, to fhow how fond they were of this worship, and what regard they paid to these gods, who now cannot protect their bones.
heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; they return in the summer to their former abodes ; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD;
they do not observe my providence, nor think of returning to 8 me. How do ye fay, Wesare) wise, and the law of
the Lord [is] with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he [it ;] the pen of the scribes [is] in vain; you boast of your wisdom, because pojjefed of my law; but, with regard
to yout, that law was made, transcribed, and expounded in 9 vain ; you might as well have been without it. The wise
[men) are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken : lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD ; and what wisdom (is) in them? the politicians that boaft of their wisdom show egregious folly, and suffer the consequences of
their own schemes and devices, because they will not be ruled lo by my word. Therefore will I give their wives unto
others, [and] their fields to them that shall inherit [them:] for every one from the least even unto the
greateft is given to covetousness, from the prophet even 11 unto the priest every one dealeth falfely. For they
have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people
flightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is] no 12 peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed
abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush : therefore shall they fall among them
that fall : in the time of their visitation they shall be 13 cast down, faith the LORD. I will surely consume
them, faith the LORD : [there shall be] no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall
fade; and (the things that] I have given them shall 14 pass away from them. Why do we fit still ? say the
people to one another; assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be filent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to filence, hath given us no reason to complain, and yet no encouragement to pray, and given us water of gall, or hemlock, to drink, that
is, severe and painful judgments, because we have finned 15 against the LORD. We looked for peace, as the false prophets had said, but no good [came; and] for a time
- 16 of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his
horses was heard from Dan, from the north : the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones, or horses; for they are come, and have devoured
the land, and all that is in it; the city, and thofe that 10 dwell therein. For, behold, I will send serpents,
cockatrices, among you, which (will] not [be] charmed, and they shall bite you, faith the LORD; tho° musical sounds may have such an influence on particular ferpents as to prevent their biting, your enemies shall not be
mollified or disarmed by any means. The prophet adds in his 18 own name, (When] I would comfort myself against for:
row, my heart [is] faint in me; I see much more reason 19 to fear than to hope. Behold the voice of the
of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country : (Is] not the Lord in Zion ? [is] not her king in her ? their vain plea : to which God answers, Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven
images, (and) with strange vanities ? The people then say, 20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not
saved; the time in which we expected deliverance is over,
we have no help from Egypt, nor from any of our allies. 21 The prophet adds, For the hurt of the daughter of my
people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath
taken hold on me; I am ghastly, as in a violent agony, 22 like a dying man. [Is there] no balm in Gilead ? is
there no suitable remedy for a diseased nation? [is there) no physician there to apply those remedies? Yes, undoubtedly there is both : why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered! alas! it is their own fault, they have brought this evil upon themselves.
ET us fee and lament the folly and madness of
men, in neglecting to repent and return to God. What an instructive view is given of repentance, v. 6. Men speak aright when they talk of returning to God, and not till then. Repentance begins in considering what we
have done, in comparing it with the law, and lamenting what is amiss. Men act wisely in other respects, v. 8, but foolishly and perversely in religious concerns. The obedience of the birds to the instinct implanted in them, shames the stupidity of men, who will not use their understandings to judge and pursue their true interest. The reason is, they have deceived themselves, and hold fast deceit: and when ministers would undeceive them, they will not let them : they excuse their fins, and refuse to return. Let us lament that this is the case of so many, and take care that it be not our own.
2. Religious advantages will be of no avail while men continue disobedient. We may boast of having bibles and ministers, the tongues of the learned, and the pens of the fcribes; but if we do not attend and consider, and govern ourselves by the divine law, of what advantage is all this? What signifies it to live in an enlightened age, and to enjoy many glorious privileges, both as protestants and Britons, while we reject the word of the Lord, and while profesling to believe it we will not be ruled by it. Remember that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and that to depart from evil is understanding
3. The destruction of finners is to be charged upon themselves. What the prophet says of a dying nation, is equally applicable to perishing souls. v. 22, Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of my people recovered? There is abundant provision for their healing, by the word and Spirit of God. Jesus is a divine, almighty physician; but men will not put themselves under his method of cure, nor follow his prescriptions. They are humoursome and wilful, nourish their disease, and imagine that it will not prove fatal. May God show us our spiritual disorders, that we may apply to Christ, the great physician: and may he bring us health and cure, and reveal to us abundance of truth and peace.
CH A P. IX.
lamenting the wickedness of his people, and the judgments that
H that my head were waters, and mine eyes a
fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the sain of the daughter of
my people ! which I foresee will be very many; and foretell this, to excite them 2 to lamentation. Oh that l had in the wilderness a
lodging place of wayfaring men, a cave, or hut, that I might leave my people, and go from them! having met with so much ill usage, and being so much vexed at their
wickedness; for they [be] all adulterers, an assembly of 3 treacherous men. And they bend their tongues (like]
their bow (for) lies ; they contrive malicious lies, which are as dangerous as arrows: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; they have not courage to defend an honeft cause, nor even to speak the truth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, faith the
LORD; they grow worse and worse, and their ignorance of 4 my holy nature and law is the source of all Take ye heed
every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any
brother : for every brother will utterly lupplant, and 5 every neighbour will walk with fanders.
And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, (and) weary themselves to commit iniquity ; they have studied the art of falsehood, and take more pains to commit
iniquity than it would require to praťtise truth and integrity. 6 Thine habitation, O Jeremiah, [is] in the midst of deceit;
through deceit they refuse to know me, faith the
LORD ; they neither mind the prophets nor the scriptures. 7 Therefore thus faith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I
will melt them, and try them; I will try what affli&tions will do to reform them, for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? after having exercised so much
mercy and patience, what other method can I take, that 8 may at least fave some? Their tongue [is as) an arrow