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by Robert Hawker
THE PROPHET JEREMIAH
WE are now about to enter upon the inspired writings of Jeremiah. This book of God very properly follows that of Isaiah; not indeed according to the order of time, for several of the other Prophets placed after Jeremiah ministered in the Church of God, between the period of Isaiah and Jeremiah in their services; but from the particular and especial nature, of their distinct commissions. Isaiah was directed in the view of gospel days, to bring glad tidings of good. Jeremiah was commissioned with tidings of evil. Isaiah is therefore, and not unsuitably, called the evangelical Prophet, and Jeremiah the mournful Prophet.
The Reader is called upon, at the very entrance of Jeremiah's writings, to notice his commission and authority. The Lord declared to him at his first call, that before he came forth from the womb, he had ordained him to be a prophet unto the nations. So that Jeremiah's warrant stands unquestionable. It also pleased the Great Head of the Church, to extend the labours of Jeremiah to a more than ordinary length. He speaks of beginning his services, in the thirteenth year of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah: and we know, that those services continued to the time that Nebuzaradan, captain in the king of Babylon's army, carried away Israel captive to Babylon: a period of between forty and fifty years.
The general scope and tendency of Jeremiah's prophecy corresponded to the times in which he lived. The Church was then sunk indeed most awfully. And the Lord was preparing for his people the chastisement of a seventy years captivity. Jeremiah laboured therefore under such distressing views in prospect of the evil he lived to see accomplished: so that the one object of his ministry, was to call the people to repentance. Hence we find the usual strain of his sermons, is reproof and expostulation. Here and there, however, the Prophet was led by the Holy Ghost, to speak most fully and blessedly, of the Person, Work, and Offices of him that was to come, to bring his prisoners out of captivity, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
The era of the Church, in which this blessed book of prophecy was written, seems to have been about six hundred years before the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. I only detain the Reader here, as in the entrance upon our perusal of every preceding book, in calling upon him to join my
spirit in prayer, before the high throne of God in Christ, that an unction from God the Holy Ghost may be upon both Writer and Reader, while going over these sacred records: that while it is promised in the Prophets, all the children shall be taught of the Lord; we may be proved to be the children of God in being taught of him. And as our ever adorable Lord, graciously marked the true evidences of divine teaching, in that all that were taught of the Father of coming to him; we may be of the happy number, who came to him, to whom give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission Of sins. Amen.
the First Week of Advent