The Church is here taught by writing, as the Prophet had before been commissioned by preaching, the same solemn truths. The effect of inattention is here set forth as the same.
I pray the Reader to take particular notice of what the Lord saith by his servant the Prophet, in this last verse, of the may be that they would attend. As faith cometh by hearing, this seems to be the great inlet to the mind. And although the word is heard to little purpose until the Lord gives the word; yet we find many blessed instances, where the Lord hath blessed an attendance on the means of grace. It may be our mercy to be found waiting at the gates of wisdom. It will be our condemnation if we be found not.
As Jeremiah from long preaching was become unpleasant to those refractory spirits, Baruch appeared to be more likely to conciliate. The word was the same by both, and could not be altered, in accommodation to the false taste of any man; but if offences be removed by poison, let this among every other expedient be tried. Oh Lord! what possible excuses will the unreclaimed and graceless bring at the last day, before whom the holy word hath been brought, and proved ineffectual, from the voice of the Charmer, charm he never so wisely.
It should seem,, that Baruch made great use of this roll, and read in it to the people continually! For it was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim that he wrote it, and began to read it; and here we find him on the fast day in the fifth year still reading in it. And we have a very circumstantial account of the proceedings at this fast. I think, the fear and the terror of their looks are striking proofs of the alarm generally felt in their consciences. The hiding also both of Jeremiah and Baruch for the apprehension of the King's wrath, is another testimony of it. But let the Reader observe also, that there is not a word said of their heart turning to the Lord. Alas! until the Lord turns the heart not a single affection of the heart will turn towards him. And let the Reader observe yet further, that though their consciences were thus alarmed, yet when the daring impiety of the King was carried to such an height, as to cut the roll and cast it into the fire, not a soul rent his garment, or took shame and confusion of face. See how the Lord sheltered his faithful servants. Here also the hand of the Lord was manifested. When the Lord hid them, he thereby showed himself!
Nothing can be more gracious on the part of God, than what is here said of the writing of another roll; and even adding to it more of his calls and alarms to the sinner. And nothing can be more solemn, to show the hardness of men, as testified in the case of the obdurate King. Oh! what an awful termination to an awfully rebellious life! Reader! behold, to what a state man is reduced by the fall, when natural blindness is followed by a judicial. Let Ephraim alone, he is joined to his idols. Hosea 4:17.
How can we better improve the perusal of this Chapter, than in considering our privileges, to whom not only a roll of a book of God's gracious dealings with his people is given, but the glorious gospel of the ever blessed God is come; and with a fulness of light, and life, and salvation, that all that are in darkness, and the shadow of death, may hear, and know the joyful sound, and be brought to walk in the light of God's countenance. Blessed Lord Jesus! what shall we render to thee for thy merciful grace towards us! Thou hast not only sent thy Jeremiahs and thy Baruchs to write off to thy people the blessed words that came from thy mouth; but thou hast come thyself, out of the bosom of the Father, full of grace and truth, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel!
Oh Lord! add a blessing to thy mission, and sanctify thy word, to the great purpose of salvation. Lord, let it not only be unto thy people, a may be, that they may hear and obey thy word; but make it a shall be, that they may be willing in the day of thy power! Lord, give to them the hearing ear, and the seeing eye, and the receiving and believing heart. Oh! that thy word may at all times come with power to thy redeemed, that it may be the savor of life unto life; and eminently show itself to be, the engrafted word which is able to save the soul. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 36". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany