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The same subject is prosecuted through this Chapter, as formed the contents of the former. Here is the call of God upon a degenerate people, joined with gracious promises and invitations of mercy.
If we read these verses with a gospel comment, the amount of them will be similar to what the Apostle made on one of the Psalms of David. See Psalms 14:2-3 ; Romans 3:10-26 . But Reader! cannot you and I find a man that hath executed righteousness and judgment in the earth? Is there not one man in this our spiritual Sodom, to stand in the gap, and turn away the wrath of heaven? Pause. What think ye of Christ? Oh! thou whose name is Wonderful! Yea blessed Jesus, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise, and all thy father's children bow down before thee. Genesis 49:8 ; Genesis 18:22 to the end. Isaiah 9:6 ; Hosea 2:16 .
Was there ever a more decisive testimony than what these verses afford, of the universal corruption, ignorance and ruined state of all men, as well rich as poor, and which the fall hath induced in the circumstances of mankind? All have sinned, and come short of God's glory. Romans 3:19 .
How striking the expostulation? How unanswerably just the appeal? Do not fail to observe, Reader, that the Lord doth not simply speak of one nation, or of another, but it is this nation, this people, this very seed; Israel, the Lord's Israel. And do not the words come in with peculiar, yea personal direction, to our Israel, in the present hour? Did they ever suit the Church, since the days of Jeremiah, more pointedly than now?
Mark Reader, I pray you, in those days as now, how the Lord mingles compassion with punishment. Destroy, saith the Lord: but make not a full end. There is a blessing in it. Isaiah 65:8 . Oh! how sweet to consider, to what cause the salvation was then, as now, referred.
Reader! do as the Psalmist did, after reading these verses, and say, I will sing of mercy and judgment. And let your song as his was, be dedicated to the Lord: for to the Lord alone the praise and glory is due. Psalms 101:1 . And do not overlook the sweet nevertheless the Lord puts in. Yes: there is this blessed nevertheless in the Covenant. In Jesus his people are pardoned, though as Jesus's children, justly corrected for their sins. The Lord hereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin, while sparing the sinner. Psalms 89:30-35 .
Reader! observe how graciously the Lord goeth on to expostulate, and to reason with his people. Both Israel and Judah shall hear. And by what strong appeals from his omnipotency, he calls them to consideration. But alas! until the Lord that calls, gives the grace, to hear, all preaching is in vain. What the Lord hath here said of the sea, and the waves, and the appointed weeks of harvest, is in reference to his Covenant after the flood: to which we of the present hour, can set our seal, as well as those in the days of Jeremiah, Genesis 8:22 .
The complaint in those verses ends with the same solemn and just enquiry, as we had before. I have often thought, and I see no reason to alter the sentiment, that never was there a scripture more suited to the present times than this; and never was there any period of the Church more parallel than the days of Jeremiah to the opening of the nineteenth century. in numberless events going on, we may hear a voice of grace, accompanying seasons of exercise, the Lord making as it were this enquiry. Another Prophet is found addressing the Church much in the same way. Hosea 11:7-9 .
Pause Reader over this horrible thing, as it was found in the days of Jeremiah: and then ask, if the annals of the Church's history, hath ever heard or seen the like. Are there any Prophets or preachers prophesying falsely now, in holding up the merit of good works, and speaking peace, when there is no peace, to unawakened, unregenerated sinners? Are there any such to be found, who rule in the minds of men by such false allurements to ruin; and are cherished by them to their hurt? And are those doctrines false and ruinous as they are, yet so delightful to their minds, that they love them, and would hate everyone that would attempt to undeceive them? - Let these points be considered as they ought. And if things are found to be so, as that they are in numberless instances: how pointed and unanswerable is the question that closeth all: what will ye do in the end thereof? What can all such do, but lay down in sorrow. From all false guides, and errors, and delusions, which tend to fill the mind with vanity, and hide Christ from the soul; good Lord deliver us! Isaiah 50:11 .
MY soul! seek and take relief from the sad relation of things in this Chapter, in what it holds forth of the general, yea, universal corruption of men and things both of prophet, priest, and people: in the view of Him, who is indeed the Holy One, the Lord our righteousness. Behold! thy God and Father hath said, that if a man can be found that seeketh the truth and executeth judgment the Lord will pardon the iniquity of his people. Go then my soul, go to thy God and Father in Christ Jesus, and tell him that Jehovah himself first found Him, and thou hast found One also, who is holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens! Tell him (for thy God and Father loveth to hear of Him and his dear name) that he is all this and more, and not only so in himself, but so to all his people. Then plead both Jesus's righteousness, blood, and sacrifice, as the sure means of thy acceptance, and the Father's own authority in appointing the same: and this will be to find pardon ; mercy, and peace, in the rich salvation by Jesus Christ. Oh! the blessedness of being found in him, who is one with us, and who was made sin and a curse for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And while my soul thou findest relief from the sins and trespasses, both within thee and without thee, in such views of the Lord Jesus; see to it, that thou art humbled to the dust, under a sense of the crying sins of Zion all around thee. Surely, never did Zion lay lower, than in the present hour! Never was Zion in more desolate and languishing circumstances! Oh! that the Lord would take to himself his own great name and power, and go forth, as a mighty man, and stir up jealousy like a man of war. Precious Jesus! the cause is thine, the work is thine, and the glory thine. Oh! then, go forth conquering and to conquer, and turn the hearts of the father's to the children, and the children to the father's: yea, let all the people praise thee, O Lord, that thou mayest never visit in indignation, nor take vengeance of such a nation as this. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany