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dopis of the north, saith the LORD ; the king of Babylon and his allies, a numerous army ; and they sball come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates at Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the
cities of Judah ; they shall encamp against and lake possession of 16 their cities and palaces. And I will utter my judgments, pass
sentence and execute judgment against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands ; my
judgments shall declare their wickedness, and my indignation con. 17 firm the truth of thy prophecies. Thou therefore gird up thy
loins, and arise, go about it vigorously and resolutely, and speak unto them all that I command thee : be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them ; lest I make thee ashamed of thy cowardice, and bring upon thee that which thou fearest. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, I have made thee like a city fortified with pillars of iron and walls of brass, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, who shall baller thee with their power, against the priests thereof; who will thunder their church censures against thee, and against
the people of the land, who will shoot out their arrows, even bitter 19 words. And they shall fight against thee ; but they shall not
prevail against thee ; for I (am) with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee; they shall not be able on the whole to hurt thee.
1. WTHOMSOEVER God commissions for any service, he
V will qualify and help. He knows what use to make of every man ; sees what services they are fit for ; and if he calls them out to difficult work, they may expect, and, if they follow his providence, may depend upon, peculiar assistance. Though a modest diffidence is very becoming in all, especially in young persons, yet there is a false modesty which ought to be avoided. This prevents many from praying in their families, or with their friends, and from speaking of divine things. But when God calls us out to difficult services, we must not make excuses, but cheerfully undertake them, in a dependence on that help of his Spirit which he has promised; so that as our day is, our strength shall be.
2. We see that courage and zeal becomes the Lord's prophets and ministers. They are to speak all that he commands; and not xhun 1o declare the whole counsel of God. They are to reprove and admonish faithfully and tenderly ; and this requires great resolution. If they shun their duty for fear of the reproach and contempt of men, God will make them contemptible. If they are faithful, he will bear them up, and make them honourable in the eyes of all that are wise and good.
3. The fear of man bringelh a snare. This was the prophet Jeremiah's infirmity, and it prevails opon many to neglect their dury: and to comply with sinful, dangerous customs. The fear of being reproached or laughed at, leads many young persons in particular, into guilt, shame, and ruin. The best preservative against this snare is the fear of God ; a reverence of his authority, a sense of his presence, and a dread of being confounded and condemned by him. It is therefore excellent advice of our Lord, which we should always remember and act upon, Fear not them who can kill the body ; but fear him, who can kill the body and case the soul into hell ; I say unto you, Fear him.
CHAP. II. 1-20.
We had the prophet's commission in the former chapter ; here he en
ters on his work ; and in this part of the chapter represents to the Jews their ingratitude to God, their unparalleled wickedness, and the dishonour and ruin they were bringing on themselves by it.
IMTOREOVER the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 IVI Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith
the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land (that was] not sown ; I remember thy obedi. ence and subjection, when thou wast first formed into a people, and
entered into a covenant quith God at mount Sinai, when thou follow3 edst the cloud, and attendedst the service of the iabernacle. * Israel
(was) holiness unto the LORD, [and] the first fruits of his increase ; like the first fruits, they are peculiarly valuable in his sight : all that devour him shall offend ; evil shall come upon
them, saith the LORD ; I will severely punish all thai shall attack 4, them. Hear ye the word of the Lord, 0 house of Jacob, and 5 all the families of the house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD,
What iniquity have your fathers found in nie, what injustice, urifaithfulness, or unkindness, that they are gone far from me, and
have walked after vanity, and are become vain ? that they have 6 practised idolatry and are become like the heathen? Neither said
they, Where [is] the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, they forgat the kindness I showed to their fathers, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through
a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt? 7 where there was no thoroughfare, no dwelling? And I brought
you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination by your sins, especially idol. 8 atry. And it is no wonder you did 80, for The priests said not,
Where [is] the LORD ? and they that handle the law knew me
• Or rather, according to Dr. Blayney, I haw called to mind in thy behalf the kindness shown the: in thy youth, c.
not ; they took no pains to learn and preach my will : the pastors also, the governors and magistrales, transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, in the name of Baal, and
walked after [things that do not profit ; that were extremely 9 hurtful ; this was the source of their degeneracy. Wherefore I
will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your chil
dren's children will I plead: I will lay before you your ingrati10 tude and sin, both by prophets and judgmenis : For pass over the
isles of Chittim, the politer nations of Europe, and see ; and send
unto Kedar, the barbarous nations that lay south east, and conIl sider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a na
tion changed (their) gods, which (are] yet no gods? they keep to the religion of their forefathers, though it be false, absurd, and impious : but my people have changed their glory, their relation
10 God, and his presence among them, for (that which] doth not 12 profit. Be astonished, 0 ye heavens, at this, and be horribly
afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD ; it is such a thing,
that the sun might veil his face at the sight, and the lights of hear13 en shrink away and vanish from their places : For my people
have committed two evils ; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, (and) hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water ; by worshipping idols and forming alliances with idolatrous princes, they have acted as foolishly as a man would do who should forsake a pure running stream, for a little muddy water in a cistern, and that a broken cistern, out of which the water, such as it was, would quickly run.
(Is) Israel a servant ? [is] he a homeborn (slave?] why is he spoiled ? Why is Israel a slave to his enemies ? was he born
such a one ? No: but he is spoiled as if he were, and this is owing 15 to his sin. The young lions roared upon him, [and] yelled, and - they made his land waste : his cities are burned without inbab16 itant, by the tyrannical kings of the neighbouring countries. Also
the children of Noph and Tahapanes, two principal cities of Egypt, have broken the crown of thy head ; the Egyptians have
devoured the best part of thy country, and sunk thee into contempi. 17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast for
saken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? when
he was leading thee, and would have been thy help and insured thy 18 prosperity? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt,
to drink the waters of Sihor, or the Nile? or what hast thou to
do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river Eu19 phrates, that is, to form alliances with Egypt and Assyria ? Thine
own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee : know therefore and see that sit is] an evil (thing] and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear [is] not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts ; thy sin shall be thy punishment ; the princes thou hast couried shall be a scourge 10 thee; and thy calamilies shall con. vince thee, what a fuolish, wicked part thou hast acted, in forsaking God.
Adapted to a fast, or day of humiliation.
1. THE piety of our ancestors, and God's kindness to them
1 and us, aggravate national ingratitude and impiety. Israel is reminded of their ancestors, who were holy to the Lord, and of the many favours he had shown to them. And when we come to humble ourselves before God, it is highly proper to consider these aggravations of our guilt. Did our ancestors express a fervent love to God, and zeal in his services ? Were his favours to them favours to us? Have we received many new and most important ones from him ? How odious must our ingratitude be, and how heinous will our guilt appear? He hath brought us, as a nation, from the bondage of popery and arbitrary power ; led us through many perils ; given us a plentiful country, and succeeded our struggles against foreign and domestic enemies. He hath given us good governors, and skillul, faithful interpreters of his law. How provoking then must be the guilt of such a people ! how much need is there of humiliation !
2. We learn the folly and vanity of trusting in creatures, to the neglect of God. The Israelites were always courting idols, and idolatrous alliances, while they forsook their God and king. Our epidemical sin, as a nation, is forgetting God and trusting in our own wisdom and strength. This is forsaking a fountain for a broken cistern ; and what can we expect but disappointment? what have we to do 10 make flesh our arm, when we have a God of almighty power and everlasting goodness to trust in ? This were folly and madness ; and it becomes us to be upon our guard, lest we be chargeable with it ; and to implore inercy for our nation, since it is a temper that so generally prevails.
3. When a nation suffers calamities, it is owing to its sins. The Israelites are several times reminded of this in the passages we have been reading. The neighbouring princes were confederates against them, and brought much desolation upon them. But hast not thou procured this to thyself? When our enemies are multiplied, and our danger increased, may not the same question be put to us? God was leading us by the way, leading us to peace and prosperity; our prospects were promising; but our sins hid those good things from us, engaged us in fresh quarrels, and exposed us to further and greater evils. Our wickedness is in this instance correcting us ; and it becomes us to bewail it before God, and to reform ; lest we find by further dreadful experience, what an evil and bitter thing it is to have forsaken God, and cast off his fear,
4. God will be justified in the judgments which he brings upon a wicked nation. He pleads with Israel, to show them that his judgments were righteous, and their calamities deserved. The same appeal may be made to us. What iniquity have we found in God, that we should have descrted his service, or have been cold and formal in
it ? Has it been either unpleasant or unprofitable? What could he have done more for us, that he has not done? We are worse than the heathens, fur they do not change their gods, nor are they so in. different about their worship. This will fully vindicate a just God, if he punishes us as our ingratitude and iniquities have deserved. But while he condescends thus to plead with us, and to display his former mercy, it gives us encouragement to return. The design of these remonstrances to Israel was to lead them to repentance, and prevent their ruin. God grant they may have a good effect upon our minds ; engage us to return to God ; and to know, in this our day, the things that belong to our fieace, before they are for ever hid from our eyes.
CHAP. II. 20, to the end. CHAP. III. 1–6. The prophet continues his expostulations with the preople for their
20 OR of old time I have broken thy yoke, [and] burst thy
T bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress ; when I der livered thee from Egypt, thou didst promise al mount Sinai 10 be obedient, and didst behave well when first settled in Canaan ;
when, or yet, upon every high hill and under every green tree 21 thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a
noble vine, wholly a right seed : how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? I gave you (l
good constitution of government, excellent laws and ordinances, yet 22 now ye are become corrupt and degenerale. For though thou
wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, (yet) thine ini. quity is marked before me, saith the Lord God; though thou in
sistest upon thy innocence, and justifiest thyself, yet thine iniquirito 23 are all known to me.* How canst thou say I am not polluted, I
have not gone after Baalim ? see thy way in the valley, where, thy idolatrous worship is performed, especially the sacrificing of my children, and know what thou hast done : (thou art] a swist
dromedary traversing her ways, running from one idol to another; 24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, (that) snuffeth up the wind
at her pleasure ; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves ; in her month they shall find her ; like an ass, which at one time cannot be carcha ed, but which in her month (when big and unwieldy) is easy 10 be
caughi ; so you shall in a little time feel the burden of ynalr own ini. 25 quiries. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat
from thirst : but thou saidst, There is no hope : no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go ; as an ass, which con
• They had contrived a way to reconcile the worship of idols with the worship of je hovah, pretending it was only subordinate worship; a pitiful disinction, whico papists still use to defend their idolatry.