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20 voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be re

compensed for good ? for they have digged a pit for my foul. Remember that I stood before thee to fpeak good for them, [and] to turn away thy wrath from them tho' I denounced it; since they are incorrigible, I will not any more intercede. The three laft verfes are the pro

phet:s predi&tion concerning his enemies, rather than his im21 precation. Therefore deliver up their children to the

famine, and pour out their [blood] by the force of the fword, and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and [be] widows; and let their men be put to

death; [let) their young men [be] Nain by the sword 22 in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houfes, when

thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them : for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid fnares for my

Yet, LORD, thou knoweft all their counsel against me to slay [me:] forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy fight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal [thus] with them in the time of thine anger ; they shall not escape the punishment due to their fins.

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ET us reverence the absolute power and sovereignty

of God. We meet with frequent comparisons in fcripture relating to this, which are very beautiful and striking. The potter can mould the clay into what form he pleases: fo has God abfolute power over his creatures. Our times, and the events of our lives, are in his hand. In his hand are the fates of nations: and therefore we must not dispute his will; but be content with the ftations and circumstances in which he places us.

2. Tho' God be absolutely powerful, yet he is unchangeably just. His sovereignty, is not that arbitrary thing which many people have supposed. God does not say, Because I have your fates in my hand, therefore I will break or raise you, according to my will, without any other regard : but, if a nation repent, and become abe dient, I will fave them out of the deepest distress : if they

go on in fin, I will destroy them when they think themfelves most fecure. The distinction is very plain, and very important, God distributes his favours as he pleases, for he is a debtor to no man.

But he never punishes by prerogative; or where there is not guilt to deserve it; and in the final distribution of rewards and punishments, he will render to every man according to his works.

3. Let us lament the prodigious stupidity and obstinacy of finners. No wonder that God calls the conduct of Israel a horrible thing. They would not give heed to any of Jeremiah's words; but, right or wrong, were determined to act contrary to them. They would not so much as promise to reform; but would follow their own lusts and devices : and they encouraged one another to do so. This is the case of many under a christian name; and rather than part with their fins, they will smite, with their tongue at least

, the prophets who reprove them. But God will bring upon them the judgments they despise, and overwhelm them with everlasting destruction.

4. It will be a great fatisfaction to us, when censured and reproached, to be conscious that we have not deserver it: but that, on the contrary, we have wished well and erl. deavoured to do kindness to those who have censured us. This is an amiable part of Jeremiah's character, v. 20, and shows, that his imprecations did not proceed from a mali. cious, revengeful spirit, but were prophetic denunciations. Thus let us bless them that curfe us, and pray for those that despitefully use us; rendering blessing for cursing. This will be our rejoicing in the day of evil. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

CHA P. XIX. By the significant type of breaking the potter's vessel, Jeremiah

is directed to predi& the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. The prophets frequently taught by Symbolic actions, as well as by words. Vol. V.

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HUS faith the Lord, Go and get a potter's

earthen bottle, or vessel, and (take] 'of the antients of the people, and of the antients of the priests ;

that is, the elders of the people, some of the great council, 2 and the heads of the courses of the priests; And go

forth unto the valley of the Ton of Hinnom, which [is] by

the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the 3 words that I shall te!l thee, And say, Hear ye the

word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, that is, the princes of the blood, and chief magistrates; Thus faith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle; so

dreadful will it be that it shall astonish and terrify every one. 4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged

this place, this holy city, the place of my residence, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom nei. ther they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents ; have improved upon their fathersidolatry, and

the wickedness of former kings, and sacrificed their children 5 to Molech, or the sun; They have built also the high

places of Baal, another name for the sun, to burn their sons with fire (for) burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake {it,) neither came [it] into

my mind, but which I expressly forbade, Deut. xii. 31. *6 Therefore, behold, the days come, faith the LORD,

that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor

The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of 7 slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah

and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives : and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; they shall be defeated and

destroyed, and see the vanity of those contrivances by which 8 they thought to escape my judgments. And I will make

this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that pass

eth, thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all 9 the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the


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flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the

siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they to that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt

thqu break the bottle, or vessel, in the fight of the men si that go with thee, And thalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hofts; Even so will I break this

peo• ple and this city, as Cone] breaketh a potter's, vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury

[them) in Tophet, till [there be) no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do unto this place, faith the LORD, and to

the inhabitants thereof, and (even) make this city as 13 Tophet, a place of Naughter and burials: And the

houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled, by reason of the dead bodies there unburied, as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto

all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink 14 offerings unto other gods. Then came Jeremiah from

Tophet, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court of the LORD's house, and said to all the people, to some of the priests that would not go with him, or could not leave the temple, and to the

people, probably at the hour of sacrifice, when many were 15 assembled, Thus faith the Lord of hosts, the God of

Ifrael ; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns, the other cities of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hard. ened their necks, that they might not hear my words.

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• Probably some had made a jest of the representation in the former chapter, saying, We have been made and hardened long ago, and fall not be easily broken. But the prophet was now to break the vessel in their fight, to represent their utter destruction.

• Josiah had defiled this place, by burning dead men's bones there : the filth of the city also was carried into it, and a fire kept burning to confume it. Such was the state of Tophet when this message was delivered. What a dreadful representation of Jerusalem and the other cities which should be made like it! Hence it came to be used as an emblem of hell.


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Ow kind is God to take so many methods to

prevent the ruin of finners. Judgments were to be plainly threatened by Jeremiah, and the causes of them specified. This sermon was to be preached at Tophet

, that their imaginations might be struck with the horrible scene before their eyes, So unwilling was a gracious God to leave any method untried, that might awaken these stupid people. And he still bears with finners; commands his minifters to urge every topic and argument likely to influence them; and has appointed some facra. mental signs, the more deeply to impress their minds. So unwilling is he that any should perish; and so inexcusable will be the guilt of sinners if all has no effect.

2. It becomes the greatest of men to pay a serious regard to all divine messages. The princes, priests, and elders of Judah, (tho' it appears that they hated and despised Jeremiah) had yet such a sense of decency and regard to the message from God, that they followed him to Tophet. Thus

fhould those who are most respectable for age, wealth, and station, reverence the word of God, and attend upon his inftitutions. Their own salvation depends upon it; and their example will have great influence upon others. If fuperiors allow themselves to show any slight to divine ordinances, their inferiors will pay no regard to them: and thus the little religion which is left among us, may soon be quite lost.

3. Whatever the counsel and opinion of wicked men may be, God will defeat them, and fulfil his own threat. enings to the uttermost. This is frequently repeated ; viz. that God will do all that he has declared; and bring about all the evil he has pronounced. His judgments will be found to be as dreadful as his word declares them to be, whether men will believe it or not. They think him to be such an one as themselves : that he forgets what he has threatened, or will not fully execute it. But God is faithful, and cannot deny himself. Let us therefore never harden our hearts ; but diligently hear and obey his word: so fhall


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