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that as our tribulations abound, our consolations in Christ will much more abound.
2. We here see the happy effects of divine discoveries and favours, v. 6. Thus God mercifully deals with diseased souls; reveals to them those important doctrines which are truth, and imparts that peace, which Christ has procured for them by his sufferings and grace; he heals their spiritual maladies, and restores their comfort and cheerfulness. Let us study the truth as it is in Jesus ; receive it with meekness and love; labour to be in a state of peace with God; and preserve our minds in a state of serenity. This will be the best antidote against the evils of life, and the furest foundation of true pleasure and lively hope.
3. Let us bless God for these promises ; rejoice that they have hitherto been fulfilled ; and depend upon the further accomplishment of them. We have seen the gospel spread to this day, amidst persecutions, énemies, and corruptions ; we have seen a succession of christian ministers, amidst all their discouragements; and are, as christians, the feed of David, that is, of Christ the fon of David. Still is God maintaining his caufe ; stirring up the spirit of some to devote themselves to the service of the sanctuary, and raising up in our families a seed to serve him. This, if we are chriftians indeed, we cannot but behold with pleafure and thankfulness: and as surely as day and night, fummer and winter, continue to succeed each other, so surely shall this be the case with the church to the end of the world. Let us rejoice in our relation to that church, whose name is The Lord our righteousness; consulting its interests to the utmoft of our power, and endeavouring to be a name, a praise, and an honour to the Lord, wha hath purchased us to himself with his own blood.
CH A P. XXXIV. While Jerufalem was besieged, the Egyptians came to help
Zedekiah, and the Chaldeans drew of to fight the Egyptians ; during this time the events related in this chapter happened.
HE word which came unto Jeremiah from the
Lord, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of
his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jeru. 2 falem, and against all the cities thereof, saying, Thus
faith the Lord, the God of Israel ; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus faith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of
the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: 3 And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt
surely be taken, and delivered into his hand, and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and
he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, in a stern 4 angry manner, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet
hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of
Judah ; Thus faith the Lord of thee, Thou shalt not 5 die by the sword: [But] thou shalt die in peace: and
with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn [odours] for thee ; and they will lament thee, [saying,] Ah lord ! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD; thou Jhalt die a natural death, and receive the usual marks of re6 Speat which are paid to kings at their decease. Then Jeremiah the prophet (pake all these words unto Zedekiah
king of Judah in Jerusalem, (for which he was imprisoned, 7 chap. xxxii.) When the king of Babylon's army fought
against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these
defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah. 8 (This is] the word that came unto Jeremiah from
the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which [were] at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them, when he thought judgments were coming he began a reformation accord9 ing to the law in Exodus xxi. 2; That every man
should let his man servant, and every man his maid servant, [being] an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, (to wit,] of
a Jew his brother, tho' sold either to pay their debts, or by jo the judges for their crimes. Now when all the princes,
and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his man servant, and every one his maid fervant, go free, that none
fhould serve themselves of them any more, then they 11 obeyed, and let (them) go. But afterward they turned,
and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let
go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids ; when the fiege was raised for a while, they laid hold of them, and brought them into bondage again ; which was worse than if they had never let them go free.
Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah 13. from the Lord, saying, Thus faith the LORD, the
God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in
the day that I brought them forth out of the land of 14 Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the
end of seven years, or, within the term of seven years, let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been fold unto thee, and when he hath ferved thee fix years, thou Malt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither in
clined their ear. This law, and that concerning the fab15. batical year, have been neglected for several ages. And
yê were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour ;
and ye had made a covenant before me in the houfe 16 which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted
my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he hath set at liberty · at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into
subjection, to be unto you for servants and for hand17 maids. Therefore thus faith the LORD, Ye have not
hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour : behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, faith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. A remarkable contraft! Ye have not given liberty te your brethren and neighbours, therefore I will give the sword, the peftilence, and the famine, full com
miffion and liberty to attack you without controul; and ye 18 mall be haves among strangers and enemies. And I will
give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which
they had made before me, when they cut the calf in 19 twain, and passed betweeen the parts thereof, The
princes of Judah and the princes of Jerufalem, the
eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the 20 land, which paffed between the parts of the calf;o I will
even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their
dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the 21 heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zede
kiah king of Judah and his princes, will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them
that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of 22 Babylon's army, which are gone up from you. Be.
hold, I will command, faith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
ness and severity of God, in the case of Žedekiah. He was not one of the worst of their kings; but by his disobedience to God, and treachery to the king of Babylon, to whom he swore allegiance, he was dethroned, carried captive, and had his eyes put out. Yet he lived in honour at Babylon, died in peace, and was buried with royal pomp. Thus judgment and mercy were mingled together : God punished his disobedience and falsehood; yet showed him some favour on account of his freedom from fome of the vices of his predecessors. God will not
suffer • Here is an allufion to their manner of making covenants ; they killed a calf, and before it was laid on the altar, the covenanting parties walked between the par of it, and fo made a kind of imprecation, that God would fo cut them asunder if they broke the covenant: this was a common custom among the heathen, and as old as Abraham's time See Gen. XV, 17.
suffer difobedience and treachery to go unpunished ; 'nor any degree of virtưe and obedience to go-unrewarded.
2. It may be useful to bind ourselves by folemn engagements to our duty. Thus the Jews did, when they were informed what the law of God was concerning the release of their servants. The covenant was folemnly made and ratified in the house and presence of God; and attended with imprecations of his wrath if they brake it. It may be serviceable to us to bind ourselves by folemn vows to what is our duty; and often to remind ourselves of them, and of the authority, omniscience, and power of God; and thus to keep up a due apprehension of his wrath in case of disobedience; and all is little enough to fix our unsteady minds, and keep them firm to his commands. But we learn also,
3. That if we break our vows to God, he will severely punish it. What could be more vile and infamous than the conduct of this people to their servants ! It was not only an injury to them, but a high affront to God, and a contempt of his law. They, as it is here said, polluted his name, and brought a reproach upon his religion ; and therefore he gave them over to all kind of calamities. This is too often the case with the vows men make in the time of fickness and trouble; they promise, and perhaps begin to reform; but when the trouble is over, their good resolus tions are gone; they repent of their repentance, and become as bad, yea worse than before. But be not deceived, God is not mocked; dissembled repentance, and partial reformation, are highly provoking to him; and therefore only adding deceit and treachery to other sins. In this case God will repent of the good he intended us, and make our punishment more remarkable and dreadful. When thou hast vowed a vow, defer not to pay it.
CHA P. XXXV. Jeremiah is here ordered to go to the Rechabites, who on the approach of the Chaldeans took refuge in Jerusalem, and to try their obedience to the command of their father by offering