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as the one before us should be, to put a man upon seeking help from above. Let me, accordingly, close with exhorting you to watch and pray always for the sufficient aid of God's Holy Spirit, which He hath promised, through Jesus Christ, to them who will heartily desire it of Him, that they may be enabled really to embrace the better part. Since you cannot plead ignorance of the things which are good and profitable for man, daily implore the Divine mercy to set you at liberty from the tyranny of Satan, and the entanglements of the world and the flesh, and to give you courage and strength for the purpose of acceptably doing such things. Thus alone may you hope, in this fallen state, not only to see, but also happily to eschew and escape, the deceitfulness and miseries of a wicked course, Thus alone can you have power, so worthily to persist in sowing righteousness, as not to fail of reaping a joyful harvest, in the day of the resurrection of the just.
JEREMIAH xxiii. 7, 8. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that
they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own
land. This prophetical passage from the Old Testament, stands appointed, on a certain occasion, by the Church, instead of one from the Epistles of the New. It was, probably, with a view to the approaching season of Advent, that such an appointment was originally made. Be the reason, however, what it may, a prophecy of a highly interesting character is thus specially commended, year by year, to our attention.
During all time both of their wealth and tribulation, it was, no doubt, a recollection full of delight and comfort to believing Israelites, that their only Lord God would abide continually, and reign. Not least, perhaps, in time of tribulation, we may suppose them to have been
fond of talking about His former doings, of repeating the great deliverances which He had wrought for their forefathers, and of putting one another in remembrance of Him, as " the
living God, and steadfast for ever, whose do“ minion should be even unto the end." The times or circumstances which gave occasion to my text, were clearly of this latter kind. “The “ Lord liveth, which brought up the children “ of Israel out of the land of Egypt," seems to have been, at that period, a familiar saying amongst the people. And this may signify the general nature of their distress. Wherefore should they be recurring to that ancient mercy, instead of to many more recent ones, except because their situation had almost come to resemble that of their ancestors under Egyptian bondage, and to require an exertion of the Di. vine arm, such as had brought them up out of it? But, in fact, we may know this to have been the case with the Jews. The destruction of their city and temple by Nebuchadnezzar, and the carrying away of themselves as captives into Babylon, were, when Jeremiah wrote, events decidedly at hand; and to derive good hopes for the future, from some answerable past events, which in process of time had ended favourably, through the mighty power of God, was their only present consolation. “ There
“ fore,” said they, “the Lord liveth, who brought
up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;—the same Lord is still in being who
performed that mercy for our fathers; surely, “ He will not fail to bring us up also, in like
manner, after that we have suffered a while, “ from Babylon, whither we are expecting to “ be led captive.”
Hereupon, the prophet was commissioned to confirm the Jews in their piously-founded hopes, by assuring them of an excellent redemption in store. Jeremiah declared to them, as from the Lord, that the days were drawing on, when their mention of the past should be superseded by a yet more glorious restoration ;—when they should no longer have occasion to recall that ancient rescue of their tribes from Egypt, for their encouragement in periods of calamity or danger, but should rather take a new song, even a song of thanksgiving, into their mouths, for lovingkindness shewn upon themselves. In those days, they should say, every man to his neighbour,—“ The Lord liveth, which brought
up and which led the seed of the house of “ Israel out of the north country, and from all “ countries whither He had driven them;" and they should “ dwell,” the prophet also foretold, “ in their own land,”-abide, i. e. in peace and safety, unmolested by any invading adversary.
These verses, my brethren, which have now sufficiently been introduced to you, of Jeremiah, may have been received by the Jews of that time, simply as pertaining to their deliverance, at the end of the seventy appointed years, from Babylon. That, they may have imagined, though not a greater, would ever after be a fresher instance of mercy, and, consequently, be occupying the principal place in their minds. Nevertheless, I propose on the whole to argue, that the place of Scripture before us must have been intended to stand as a prediction of a far more generally important event; and then to shew, how it may continually be applied by Christians to their own condition, in the midst of the present evil world.
First, the word therefore, in the opening of my text—“ Therefore, behold, the days come, “ saith the Lord,"-directs us to look back, and remark on what the coming of such days depends. It depends, you may find, on the raising up of “ a righteous Branch unto David,” of a King, i. e. of the house and lineage of David, who should “ reign and prosper, and execute
judgment and justice in the earth: in His “ days,” saith the Prophet, 66 Judah shall be
saved, and Israel shall dwell safely ;” and (the more clearly to shew the King whom he intended) he subjoins,—“ This is His name