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reproach of my youth, the burden of my former sins.20 To this penitent language God graciously replies, [IS] Eph
raim my dear fon? or, Is he not my dear fon? (is he] not a pleasant child ? for since I spake against him, by threatenings and judgments, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, faith the Lord; I retain
my former parental kindness, and will certainly deliver and 21 bless him. Set thee up way marks, make thee high
heaps, that is, tall poles, finger-posts, or pillars for direction, to make their way plain ; set thine heart toward the highway, [even] the way (which] thou wentest : turn again, o virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.
How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter, fluctuating between doubt and hope for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man; or, a woman shall put to the rout a strong man;' that is, God will give the Israelites extraor
dinary strength, so that, tho' weak as women, they Mall be 23 able to resist and overcome all opposition. Thus faith the
Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet, or, hereafter, they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity: The Lord bless thee, O habitation of jur
tice, [and] mountain of holiness; they shall become a 24, reformed, upright, and honourable people. And there
shall dwell in Judah itself, and all the cities thereof
together, husbandmen, and they [that] go forth with 25 flocks, the countries and cities Mall be inhabited. For I
have fatiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul ; I will comfort them under their forrows,
and supply them with all good.--The next are the prophet's 26 own words. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my
sleep was sweet unto me; these things God revealed to me in a vision; I awaked, reflected upon them, and found them very comfortable to my soul ; I was much refreshed with thefe gracious intimations of deliverance.
REFLECTi Dr. BLAYNEY.'
E are here taught, that it is good in times of
trouble to look back to former instances of God's care and kindness. The Ifraelites in their captivity are directed to consider what God had done for their fathers, to prevent them from being disheartened by the difficulties that were in the way of their return. Thus should we think how often God hath supported his church and interest, and particular faints, in times of distress; how often we have found grace, even when in the wilderness, and been drawn by his loving kindness. Let this recollection and experience encourage our hope, that he who hath delivered and doth deliver, will still deliver.
2. When God has designs of mercy for a sinful people, he stirs up a spirit of penitence, prayer, and reformation. Thus it is foretold that the Israelites should return with weeping, and supplication, and that Jerusalem fhould be called The habitation of justice, and The mountain of holiness: and we may hope for the continuance of divine favours, and the restoration of prosperity, if God's goodness dispose us to repentance, fill us with shame and forrow for our iniquities ; if we earnestly call upon his name, and live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty.
3. The common bounties of providence are to be enjoyed and acknowledged as the fruits of divine goodness. When our wheat, and wine, and flocks are increased, it becomes us to adore the goodness of God therein ; to acknowledge it with seriousness at our meals ; to flow together to the solemn assembly, and there fing his praises. Especially should we praise him for that divine influence which makes the souls of men like a watered garden. Thus shall we be satisfied with his goodness; taste his love in all our comforts; find them doubly pleasant; and be in little danger of abusing them.
4. Let us learn to moderate our sorrows for the death of our pious friends and children, from the confideration of the favour God intends for them. He is represented as comforting weeping Rachel; asíuring her that her children
should return to their borders, and that therefore the should not weep as tho' they were lost. It becomes christians, on such occasions especially, to weep as tho they wept not; for their work, the pious pains they have taken in the education of their children, or for the service of their other relatives, fhall be rewarded. There is hope that they will return from the captivity of the grave, enter on the good land, and be blessed at the resurrection of the just.
5. Let us observe with pleasure and thankfulness the great mercy of God to a penitent people. There is scarcely a more affecting defcription of this in all the bible, than is given us in this passage concerning Ephraim. God represents himself as feeling and encouraging all the workings of paternal affection toward returning prodigals. Не afflicts them only to instruct them, and bring them back to duty; and when they begin to relent, he relents, receives them as his dear children, and restores them to his favour. Nay, their very return is the effect of his gracious work in them. Let us hence learn, what our behaviour should be in times of affliction, and what abundant reason there is for hope, if, in the language of Ephraim, we sincerely say, Turn thou us, and we shall be turned, for thou art the Lord our God.
CHA P. XXXI. 27, to the end.
after their return from captivity; this, to their state in the
latter day. 27
EHOLD, the days come, faith the Lord, that I
will fow the house of lfrael and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the feed of beast; 28 they shall become very populous and fruitful. And it shall
come to pass, [that] like as 1 have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; fo will I watch over them, to build and to plant, faith the LORD; every
thing seemed to be against them before, but now every thing Shall be for them ; God will appear in the whole course of
his providence to favour and bless them.
have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are
quities of their ancestors, as they have formerly been for per30 fisting in their idolatry." But every one shall die for his
own iniquity : every man that eateth the sour grape,
his teeth shall be set on edge. 31
Behold, the days come, faith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with 32 the house of Judah :' Not according to the covenant
that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took
husband unto them, saith the LORD; and have fulfilled 33 my part of the covenant relation : But this (shall be) the
covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ;
their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be 34 my people. And they shall teach no more every man
his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying,
Mall k There may be a reference bere to that imprecation of the jex's, His blood be upon us and our children, which lies upon them itill; but when they are converted it hall be so no more.
I The apostle quotes this, Heb. viii. 8. as referring to gospel times.
Mall be forgiven, and all the tokens of my displeasure against
them be removed. 35 Thus faith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a
light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon, and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the
fea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hofts 36 [is] his name: If those ordinances depart from before
me, faith the LORD, (then) the feed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever; that is, my covenant is as sure as the ordinances of heaven; the jews Mall always continue a distinet people, and when they are
converted they hall never apostatise any more, but continue 37 to the end of the world faithful, holy, and obedient. Thus
faith the LORD ; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the feed of Israel for all that they have done, faith the LORD; thoʻ for their fins they deserve to be rejezted, yet for their fathers sake, and any covenant with them, they shall at last be restored.
Behold, the days come, faith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of 39 Hananeel unto the
And the measuring line shall yet go forth overagainst it upon the 40 hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goathi · And
the whole valley of the dead bodies, or Tophet, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever."
E have great reason to rejoice in the gospel
covenant, and the blessed purport of it. The covenant God.would make with the jews in the latter day,
m This is a prophecy that Jerufalem hould be rebuilt and fanctified, and that multitudes of the converted jews should settle there, that they ihould enlarge the circumference of their temple and city, and that what was now polluted fhould become holy ground: but whether these expresions are literal, or only figua rative, time alone can discover,