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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Jeremiah 4

Verses 3-4


Jeremiah 4:3-4. Thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

THE language of the prophets is highly figurative, and therefore sometimes difficult to be understood; but, when judiciously explained, it will always be found highly instructive. Of course, it will not be right to press a metaphorical expression too far; nor should an idea that may seem indelicate, be so touched as to offend the nicest ear [Note: This hint should be very strictly attended to, in preaching on such a text as this.]: but, when the general import of the metaphor is seen, the subject contained in it may be prosecuted to great advantage. It is obvious that some very important instruction is conveyed in the passage before us: and it will be found no less applicable to ourselves than to the Jews of old, if we consider,


The duties here enjoined—

These are set forth under two different images; the one taken from breaking up fallow ground, and the other from the Jewish rite of circumcision. To ascertain the import of those images, we need only refer to a parallel passage in the Prophet Ezekiel, where the same duties are inculcated in plain and simple terms; “Repent and turn from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin [Note: Ezekiel 18:30.].” Two duties then are here enjoined;



[The heart of man by nature may justly be compared with uncultivated ground that is covered with thorns and briers; for it is obdurate, and altogether unfit for the reception of any good scud, till it has been “broken up,” and cleared of its noxious products. Let any one examine his own heart, and he will find this representation true. As to the outward acts of men, there certainly is a great difference, yea, and in their inward dispositions too; but in respect of love to God and delight in his service, all are on the same level; “the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be [Note: Romans 8:7.].” It is full of “earthly, sensual, devilish” affections, which must be rooted up, before the graces of God’s Spirit can grow within it. But this cannot be done by a slight and superficial work: the plough must enter into the very soul, as it did on the day of Pentecost: we must be made to feel our desert and danger, and be brought to the condition of the poor repenting publican [Note: Luke 18:13.]. Let every child of man bear this in mind; for it is “the broken and contrite heart alone, which God will not despise;” and “except ye thus repent, ye must all inevitably perish.”]



[Circumcision was not only “a seal” on God’s part, marking Israel for his own peculiar people, but it was a sign also on the part of Israel, denoting their obligation to “put off the body of the sins of the flesh [Note: Colossians 2:11.]” and to love and serve God with all their hearts [Note: Deuteronomy 30:6.]. In this sense, though the rite itself is superseded by Baptism, the term may justly be applied to us. We must have “our hearts circumcised unto the Lord:” we must “mortify our earthly members [Note: Colossians 3:5.Galatians 5:24; Galatians 5:24.],” and “put off the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts [Note: Ephesians 4:22.].” Whatever pain it may occasion us to part with “our besetting sins,” (for circumcision was a painful rite,) it must be submitted to, even as a man gladly parts with a diseased member for the preservation of his whole body. Our blessed Lord assures us, that if we wilfully retain one bosom lust, we must perish in that “fire that never shall be quenched [Note: Mark 9:43-48.].”]

This awful truth being so strongly marked in our text, we shall proceed to shew,


The connexion between these duties and the Divine favour—

In its primary sense, the threatening in our text maybe considered as denouncing temporal judgments on the Jewish nation: but it must also be understood in reference to those eternal judgments which we all have merited by our iniquities. For the averting of those judgments, repentance and amendment are indispensably necessary:


Not, however, in a way of meritorious efficiency

[It is not possible for man to merit any thing at God’s hands. As transgressors of his law, we are justly exposed to his everlasting displeasure [Note: Romans 3:19.]: and, if we could perfectly obey his law in future, our obedience would no more cancel our obligation to punishment for past disobedience, than our future abstinence from incurring debts would discharge the debts already incurred. But the truth is, that every thing we do is imperfect, and needs forgiveness on account of its imperfection: and therefore to dream of meriting pardon by deeds which themselves stand in need of pardon, must be folly in the extreme. There is but one way of obtaining deliverance from the punishment of sin, and that is through the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is his meritorious sacrifice which alone expiates the guilt of sin: and, if we look to any thing else, either in whole or in part, for pardon and acceptance, we effectually cut ourselves off from all hope of his salvation. However we may “plough up the fallow ground, and sow in righteousness, we must reap in mercy,” and in mercy alone [Note: Hosea 10:12.]. Salvation is altogether of grace, through faith [Note: Ephesians 2:8-9.]: and in point of dependence, we must renounce our best actions as much as our vilest sins.]


But in a way of suitable preparation

[Repentance and amendment are necessary both to an honourable exercise of mercy on God’s part, and to a becoming reception of mercy on our part.

If God were not to require humiliation in us, and a mortification of our sins, what evidence would there be that He is holy; and in what light would he appear as the Moral Governor of the Universe? Surely he would be thought indifferent about the honour of his law, and regardless of the moral character of his creatures. But he will not so dishonour his own perfections: and therefore, even when most anxious to display his mercy, he requires an acknowledgment of sin on our part [Note: Jeremiah 3:12-13.], and declares, that, if we will not humble ourselves before him, he will proceed against us with deserved rigour [Note: Jeremiah 2:35.].

But if we could conceive that God should pardon an un-repenting sinner, the sinner himself would not value a pardon so offered: he would rather think it an insult than a favour: for, whilst he is unconscious that he deserves the wrath of God, he would account it an injustice even to be supposed to merit it. Again, suppose the pardon actually conferred, what gratitude would he feel for the gift bestowed? or what endeavours would he make to glorify God in future? Would he not account sin a light matter? Would he not readily return to it, even “as a dog to his vomit, or the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire?” We may ask once more; supposing him forgiven, how could he join in the songs of the redeemed above? They are prostrating themselves with profoundest adoration before the throne of God, and singing praises incessantly “to Him that loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood:” but he has no heart for such exercises: instead of magnifying his God and Saviour for the greatness of his mercy towards him, he would be congratulating himself that he had never merited any other portion.

Here then the connexion between these duties and our forgiveness is manifest: it is founded, not in any vain ideas of merit, but in the immutable decrees of God: God cannot dishonour himself; nor can man be saved in any other way, than by “confessing and forsaking his iniquities [Note: Proverbs 28:13.].”]


Those who have never yet been awakened to a sense of their sins—

[Alas! how many amongst us are yet “uncircumcised in heart and ears?” How many have never yet wept and mourned in secret for their sins, and never adopted the resolution of the Prodigal, “I will arise and go to my father.” But God forbid that they should continue any longer in such fatal security. Hear, every one of you, the command of God: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness: humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up [Note: James 4:9-10.].” this, this is the great business of life: in comparison of this, every pursuit is light and vain. “To flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on eternal life!” O who can paint in sufficiently glowing colours the importance and excellency of such an employment?

Some may perhaps reply, that they cannot do these things. True, we cannot of ourselves; but will not God enable us to do them, if we seek the aid of his Holy Spirit? Has he not expressly told us, that his “grace shall be sufficient for us?” I say then, “Plough up your fallow ground;” “make you a new heart, and a new spirit:” and when you find your own insufficiency, then plead with God the promises he has made, and cry, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me [Note: Compare the command, Ezekiel 18:31. with the promise, Eze 36:26 and the petition, Psalms 51:10.]” That prayer, if offered in faith, shall surely be answered; and you shall find to your joy, that you “can do all things through Christ who strengthened you.”]


Those who make a profession of religion—

[Do not imagine that it is sufficient to break up the fallow ground once: the husbandman ploughs his ground often, especially if it be a soil that is full of noxious plants. Thus then must you do: there is no soil so bad as the heart of a carnal man: weeds are growing up continually: and it must be the labour of your life to pluck them up. How many professors of religion have the good seed choked and rendered unfruitful, through their negligence in pulling up the thorns and briers that grow up with it [Note: Matthew 13:7; Matthew 13:22.]! It is an awful truth, that no people are farther from the kingdom of God than they; because they are of all persons the most difficult to be brought to a sense of their danger. But St. Paul marks in very striking terms the difference between such persons and the true Christian: against those he cautions us, “Beware of dogs, beware of the concision: we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh [Note: Php 3:2-3].” A profession of religion, however clear your knowledge of the Gospel may be, will not suffice: for “he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God [Note: Romans 2:25-29.].”]

Verse 14


Jeremiah 4:14. O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

THE displeasure of God is never raised to such a height, but that he is willing to pardon his offending creatures, and longs for their repentance on purpose that he may exercise his mercy towards them. The denunciations of his wrath do indeed frequently appear as if they could not be reversed: but they always, even when most positive, imply a condition, and leave room for hope. The approaching destruction of Nineveh was foretold by the prophet in terms which seemed to preclude a possibility of their escape: but their penitence averted the impending storm. Thus, in the chapter before us, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans is spoken of as hastening with the velocity of an eagle, insomuch that the prophet complains of it as already accomplished: “Woe unto us! for we are spoiled:” yet in the very next words he introduces, as in a parenthesis, a brief and pathetic exhortation to repentance, as the sure and only means of staying the Divine judgments.
It should seem that, in the midst of all their wickedness, the Jews buoyed up themselves with expectations that the threatened calamities would never come. In reference to these vain hopes the prophet addresses them in the words which we have just read. In these words we see that God notices the “vain thoughts,” as well as the sinful actions, of men; and that he requires “the heart” to be purified from those, as well as the life from these.

We shall take occasion therefore from the text to shew,


What are those vain thoughts which are apt to lodge within us—

Of course it will not be possible to notice all the vain thoughts that rush into the minds of men; (we might as well attempt to number the sands upon the sea shore:) we must content ourselves with mentioning a few, which deserve more particular attention.
St. Paul speaks of a “filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit:” agreeably to which distinction we may arrange our thoughts under two heads;



[There are many “vain thoughts,” which, on account of their having their seat and empire in the mind only, may be called spiritual; but which are peculiarly hateful to God.
What proud thoughts are apt to infest the mind! It is no small complacency which people feel in the beauty of their persons, the elegance of their dress, the dignity of their titles, or the extent and variety of their intellectual acquirements. Even in reference to religion itself, how common is it to behold men puffed up with vain conceit, imagining themselves wise, when they are “born like a wild ass’s colt;” and good, when they are “enemies to God by wicked works!”

Unbelieving thoughts also are ever ready to arise. Indeed, these almost universally prevail. Whence is it that men are so secure, so easy in their sins? Whence is it that all the promises and threatenings of the Gospel have so little weight? Is it not from the secret thought that God’s word shall never be fulfilled, and that, however they may live, they shall have peace at the last? And are not such thoughts peculiarly displeasing to God [Note: Deuteronomy 29:19-20.]?

Amongst the most sinful thoughts that can occupy the mind, are those which are vindictive: yet how apt are they to rankle in the breast! What a tumult will they excite within us, agitating our frame, and instigating us to the most bitter invectives, hasty purposes, and violent proceedings! It is well for mankind that all are not equally susceptible of these impressions; but there are few, if any, who have not found them, on some occasions, disturbing their own peace, and operating to the destruction of Christian charity. Nothing can more strongly mark the impiety of such thoughts than God’s express declaration, that he himself will never forgive any person that entertains them in his heart [Note: Matthew 18:35.].]



[Amongst carnal thoughts we number those which relate either to the world or to the flesh.
The world tempts us principally to anxious, covetous, or ambitious thoughts. To these all are more or less exposed: the statesman, the warrior, the merchant, the mechanic, yea, all orders and degrees of men, are impelled or distracted by them. Doubtless, it is the duty of every man to attend to the proper business of his calling: but when his mind is so occupied with earthly things as that he can find no delight in those which are heavenly, he is sinning against God, who would have him without carefulness [Note: 1 Corinthians 7:32.Philippians 4:6; Philippians 4:6. Matthew 6:25-34.], and commands him to “set his affections on things above, and not on things below [Note: Colossians 3:2.].”

It is scarcely needful to mention, that amongst the vainest thoughts which find a lodgment within us, are those which are impure. It is surprising with what violence these will sometimes assault the soul; how they will haunt it by night and by day; how they will intrude even into the holiest places, and interrupt our holiest services. Nor can we doubt in what light they are to be regarded, when God himself has declared an unchaste look to be the same in his sight as actual adultery [Note: Matthew 5:28.].]

Not to enumerate any more vain thoughts, we shall rather proceed to shew,


The necessity of cleansing ourselves from them—

We cannot cleanse ourselves from the guilt which we have already contracted, unless we wash in “the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness.” Nor can we purify ourselves from the pollution of sin, unless the Holy Ghost work effectually in us [Note: To this effect we pray that “God would cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.”]. Yet this does not supersede the use of means; for when the text exhorts us to “wash our hearts from wickedness,” it implies that,


It may be done—

[Though the power is certainly of God, yet there is much to be done by us: we should maintain a sense of God’s presence with us. If the eye of a fellow-creature, even of a child, were upon us, we should be deterred by it from the commission of many sins: how then should we be restrained from evil thoughts, if we felt a consciousness that God was privy to every imagination of our hearts!

We should guard against the occasions of sin. All our senses and faculties are inlets to sin, or instruments whereby we commit it. All our intercourse with each other gives occasion to evil, if we be not much on our guard against it. We may, by flattering, or worldly, or light conversation, or even by imparting to each other the workings of our hearts, stir up unhallowed passions, and suggest thoughts that may be exceedingly injurious to the soul. We should “set a watch before the door of our mouths,” and even “make a covenant with our eyes,” in order to shut out evil from our own hearts, and keep from exciting it in the hearts of others.

We should frequently meditate upon the Holy Scriptures. David found this a good antidote to evil thoughts [Note: Psalms 119:113.]. The Scriptures have in themselves an efficacy to purity the heart, when they are applied to us by the powerful energy of the Holy Ghost [Note: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.]: besides which, the more we are filled with holy thoughts, the less room will be left for the intrusion of evil [Note: See Luke 11:24-26.]. Being intent on the promises of God, we shall more easily cleanse ourselves from all filthiness, both of flesh and spirit [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:1.].

Lastly, we should “diligently keep our hearts [Note: Proverbs 4:23.].” The heart is the womb in which all evils are generated [Note: Matthew 15:19.]; and we must watch all its motions, if we would keep it pure. The very instant any evil arises there, we must expel it: if we cannot prevent its entrance, we must take care it do not “lodge within us.”]


It must be done—

[God notices our thoughts as much as he does our actions [Note: Psalms 50:21.Ezekiel 11:5; Ezekiel 11:5.]; and he considers them as characterizing our state before him. “As we think in our hearts, so are we [Note: Proverbs 23:7. with Matthew 12:35.];” we are either hypocritical and vile, or pure and holy, according as we indulge, or abhor, the hidden abominations of our hearts.

Thoughts as really lead to death as actions themselves do [Note: James 1:15.]: and they may be so evil in the sight of God as to render it doubtful whether they shall ever be forgiven [Note: Acts 8:22.]. They must therefore be repented of as much as actions [Note: Acts 8:22.]: and, if they be not repented of, they will inevitably exclude us from the kingdom of heaven. This is strongly intimated in the text, since the mortifying of them is declared to be necessary to saltation: and the same awful truth is taught by our Lord himself, who represents the pure in heart “as the only persons who shall see God [Note: Matthew 5:8.].”

The very manner in which God addresses us in the text, is a very striking proof of the necessity which lies upon us to subdue the evil workings of our hearts. Wherefore is all this tenderness in the exhortation, but because God, who willeth not the death of a sinner, sees the fatal tendency of our evil thoughts? And wherefore this kind impatience in the reproof, but because he sees that the evil, if indulged, will grow upon us; and that, if not speedily suppressed, it will terminate in our ruin?

Tenderly then would we exhort you all to mark the secret motions of your hearts. In respect of actions, many of you, no doubt, are virtuous, and, to a certain degree, blameless, But if you will call to mind the “vain thoughts” that have lodged within you, you will find abundant reason to blush, and be confounded before God in dust and ashes [Note: Psalms 19:12.Proverbs 20:9; Proverbs 20:9.]. You will see that you need the blood of Christ to cleanse you from guilt, and the Spirit of Christ to create in you a new heart, as much as the most abandoned wretch on earth: and that, unless you set yourselves in earnest to “cleanse your hands, and purify your hearts [Note: James 4:8.],” there can be no salvation for you.

Say, Beloved, when will you begin this necessary work? With a holy impatience we would urge you to begin it instantly; lest, while you are purposing amendment, you be summoned unprepared to meet your God in judgment [Note: Isaiah 55:7.].]

Verse 19


Jeremiah 4:19. My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me: I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

THE propriety of setting apart days for national humiliation is questioned by none, except those who despise all religion, or those whose extravagant principles of liberty lead them to set at nought all human authorities. The most pious of the Jewish kings endeavoured to unite their subjects in prayer and supplication, as the best means of averting the judgments which they either felt or feared: and even heathen monarchs have resorted to it, as that which their own consciences taught them was the most likely way to obtain favour with the Most High. We have reason to be thankful that this nation is now called in the most solemn manner to humble itself before God, and to implore help from him under its present difficulties: and happy would it be for us, if the people at large laid to heart, as they ought, the calamities which we suffer, or the sins which have brought them upon us!
In the words before us, we may see what ought to be our feelings on this occasion [Note: Fast-Day in 1809.], and what our conduct.


What should be our feelings—

That we may estimate aright the feelings which a state of warfare requires, let us view it,


As a calamity endured—

[Those who are at a distance from the scene of war, and hear of it only by battles gained or lost, are apt to overlook the miseries of their fellow-creatures, and to think of nothing but the general effects which the events may have on their national aggrandisement. But if we would form a correct judgment of this matter, let us endeavour to realize the horrors of war. Let us think of a hostile army now in our neighbourhood, and marching to attack the very place wherein we live. How would fear seize hold upon us, and “all faces gather blackness!” Read the menacing descriptions given of an advancing army by the Prophets Ezekiel [Note: Ezekiel 21:8-17.] and Joel [Note: Joel 2:4-11.]: think, from the first tidings of their approach, till you behold them just ready to spread desolation and slaughter all around them; think, I say, what your feelings would be: does the prophet exaggerate, when he compares them to the pangs of a woman travailing with her first-born child [Note: ver. 29, 31.]? See your dearest relatives weltering in their blood; your houses spoiled; the objects of your tenderest affection treated with the most shocking indignities; and you yourselves driven, without food, without raiment, to wander in the open fields, till your exhausted nature sinks under its accumulated woes. Well may we tremble at the bare possibility of such events. Reflect, then, on a whole kingdom thus desolated; the hostile armies carrying fire and sword through all the towns and villages of a populous country; “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness: yea, and nothing doth escape them:” “What a day of darkness and of gloominess” must that be to the people visited with such awful calamities [Note: Joel 2:1-3.]! Say, then, Brethren, what your feelings should be at this time! What if these scenes have not been acted before our eyes; are they the less to be deplored? And who can tell how soon they may be brought home to our own doors! We entreat you, then, to lay these things to heart, and no longer to indulge a stupid insensibility to the calamities of war.]


As a judgment inflicted—

[War is one of God’s “four sore judgments,” wherewith he visiteth a guilty land. It is he who giveth the sword a charge against this or that country [Note: Jeremiah 47:6-7.], and says, “Sword, pass through the land [Note: Ezekiel 14:17.]” And as he stirred up enemies against Solomon [Note: 1 Kings 11:9; 1 Kings 11:14; 1 Kings 11:23; 1 Kings 11:26,], on purpose to “avenge the quarrel of his covenant [Note: Leviticus 26:25.], so it is on account of sin that he is now laying upon us his chastising rod [Note: ver, 17, 18, 22.] — — — Nor can we doubt but that his anger has waxed hot against us, when the judgments inflicted for our sins are so various and of so long continuance. See in what terms he describes his anger against the people of old [Note: Deuteronomy 32:23-25.]! and consider whether, when its effects are so visible on us, it be not high time for us to tremble. Yes, surely, the prophet’s direction is exactly such as we are now called to follow [Note: ver. 8.]: and, if we refuse to follow it, we may well expect that our judgments will be multiplied, till they have wrought either our humiliation or destruction [Note: Leviticus 26:27-28.]. We must be stupid indeed if we do not see reason to “cry, when he is so binding us;” and to “humble ourselves under his mighty hand,” when he is so correcting us.]

But it. will be to little purpose to ascertain what our feelings should be, if we do not also consider,


What should be our conduct—

Let us make this inquiry, in reference,


To Ministers—

[The prophet tells us what was his conduct, to which indeed he was irresistibly impelled; “I cannot hold my peace,” Ministers are watchmen, appointed by God himself to warn the people against his impending judgments. And while it is their duty to “weep between the porch and the altar,” and to intercede with God to spare his heritage [Note: Joel 2:17,], and to “give him no rest” till he vouchsafe mercy to the land, [Note: Isaiah 62:6-7.] it is also their duty to “lift up their voice as a trumpet, and to shew the house of Israel their sins.” They must “cry aloud, and not spar. [Note: Isaiah 58:1.]”

Let us not be thought harsh, if we execute our commission with fidelity and earnestness. You yourselves would be the first to condemn a sentinel who did not give you timely notice of an advancing enemy: and you will condemn us also in the eternal world, if by “prophesying smooth things” we contribute to your ruin. We must, then, speak, “whether you will hear or whether you will forbear;” and must warn you, that nothing but present and eternal misery can be expected, whilst you continue impenitent in your sins [Note: Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5.] — — —]


To the people—

[Though the text does not particularly specify your duty, the context does, and warns you that an attention to it is the only means of quenching that wrath which is now flaming against you. The advice given you by the prophet may be comprised in three particulars: Seek to have your obstinate hearts softened — — — Put away the evils which have provoked God’s displeasure against you — — — and, Get your hearts thoroughly renewed and sanctified by divine grace [Note: ver. 3, 4, 14. It will be easy to enlarge on the three points In reference to the words of the prophet.] — — —

We accuse not all as manifesting the same obduracy, or as loaded with the same degrees of guilt; but if all would search into their own hearts, they might find much impenitence and unbelief to mourn over, and much worldliness and carnality to put away: even those who make a profession of religion, if they would examine themselves closely as in the presence of God, might rind many evil tempers and dispositions, which obstruct the efficacy of their prayers, and fearfully augment our national guilt. But if we turn not from our wickedness, it is iii vain to hope that God will turn from his fiery indignation — — —]


The careless—

[This comprehends the great bulk of mankind. Whatever calamites are endured by others, they feel nothing, any farther than it immediately affects themselves. “When God’s hand is lifted up, they will not see;” “nor when his judgments are in the earth, will they learn righteousness.” But such indifference is most offensive to God: and they who indulge it are likely to become signal monuments of the Divine displeasure [Note: See Amos 6:3-7. Zephaniah 1:4; Zephaniah 1:6; Zephaniah 1:12-18.] — — —]


The self-confident—

[They who see not the hand of God against them are ever leaning on an arm of flesh: if they have failed in ever so many efforts, they still look no higher than to their own exertions for success. What their views are, and what the declarations of God respecting them [Note: Isaiah 9:8-17.], may be seen in the prophecies of Isaiah. O that we may not thus provoke God to jealousy, and bring accumulated curses on our own heads, when we should be labouring by prayer and supplication to avert them [Note: Jeremiah 17:5-8.]! — — —]


The mourners—

[We hope there are some who possess a measure of Jeremiah’s patriotism and piety, and who understand by experience his exclamations in the text, “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart!” Would to God that we could see such a spirit universally prevailing! There would be no doubt then of a happy termination of our troubles. Such persons indeed are too generally considered as gloomy enthusiasts: but they are the best friends of their country: they are the people who “stand in the gap;” they are the few righteous, for whose sake our Sodom has not long since been destroyed. Go on, beloved, like Nehemiah, Daniel, and other holy men, bewailing your own sins, and the sins of this whole nation: and then, if you should not be so happy as to see your efforts successful in relation to the kingdom at large, you may be assured that your labour will not be lost as it respects your own souls: your payer shall return into your own bosom; and your tears be had in remembrance before God, [Note: Ezekiel 9:4.].]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.