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of hosts is his name.

will I break in pieces the young 20 Thou art my battle ax and man and the maid; weapons of war: for with thee

23 I will also break in pieces will I break in pieces the na- with thee the shepherd and his tions, and with thee will I de- flock; and with thee will I stroy kingdoms;

break in pieces the husbandman 21 And with thee will I break and his yoke of oxen; and with in pieces the horse and his rider; thee will I break in pieces capand with thee will I break in tains and rulers. pieces the chariot and his rider; 24 And I will render unto Ba

22 With thee also will I break bylon and to all the inhabitants in pieces man and woman; and of Chaldea all their evil that with thee will I break in pieces they have done in Zion in your old and young; and with thee sight, saith the Lord.

LECTURE 1266. The great value of God's people in his sight. Though the first taking of Babylon by Cyrus gave a death blow to the empire of which it was the head, the city itself stood for a long time afterwards, and was more than once besieged and taken with dreadful slaughter by other conquerors. It is not improbable that the repetition of the summons to an invading host, which we meet with in this chapter, refers to these repeated sieges; though it is evident that the first and most important one, that in which Cyrus first took the city, is the event most prominently brought forward. And all this was brought to pass by the Lord, partly as a just judgment for the idolatry of Babylon, that He might give a lesson to idolaters throughout the world, shewing them the sovereign power and authority of the one living and true God; and partly out of regard to his people, the children of Israel, whom the Babylonians had oppressed, but whom He had not forgotten, for whom He thought it meet to exact vengeance, and as whose portion, and whose God, He would shew Himself infinitely superior to the false divinities of the heathen. And it is to them therefore that we may conceive that God addresses the concluding verses of this passage, speaking to them as his battle axe and weapons of war, wherewith the mighty of the land were to be defeated and the inhabitants of the country despoiled. We have the like view elsewhere given us in Scripture, of the important influence, which those who know and serve the true God exercise, in regard to the events which befal the multitude of unbelievers around them. Cities and states are saved, or are destroyed, for the sake of the righteous whom they harbour or oppress. And this view of God's dealings with nations, this notion of his giving up to destruction a place and country so populous as Babylon, for the sake of a people comparatively so few as the Jews, may perhaps profitably help us to apprehend, how it will hereafter redound to his glory, to save them that shall be saved, notwithstanding that multitudes by the same righteous judgment must be sentenced to perish everlastingly.

Several particulars in the overthrow of Babylon. 25 Behold, I am against thee, O 33 For thus saith the Lord of destroying mountain, saith the hosts, the God of Israel ; The Lord, which destroyest all the daughter of Babylon is like a earth : and I will stretch out threshingfloor, it is time to thresh mine hand upon thee, and roll her: yet a little while, and the thee down from the rocks, and time of her harvest shall come. will make thee a burnt moun- 34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of tain.

Babylon hath devoured me, he 26 And they shall not take of hath crushed me, he hath made thee a stone for a corner, nor a me an empty vessel, he hath stone for foundations; but thou swallowed me up like a dragon, shalt be desolate for ever, saith he hath filled his belly with my the LORD.

delicates, he hath cast me out. 27 Set ye up a standard in the 35 The violence done to me land, blow the trumpet among and to my flesh be upon Babythe nations, prepare the nations lon, shall the inhabitant of Zion against her, call together against say; and my blood upon the inher the kingdoms of Ararat, Min- habitants of Chaldea, shall Jeruni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a salem say. captain against her; cause the 36 Therefore thus saith the horses to come up as the rough LORD; Behold, I will plead thy caterpillars.

cause, and take vengeance for 28 Prepare against her the thee; and I will dry up her sea, nations with the kings of the and make her springs dry. Medes, the captains thereof, 37 And Babylon shall become and all the rulers thereof, and all heaps, a dwellingplace for drathe land of his dominion.

gons, an astonishment, and an 29 And the land shall tremble hissing, without an inhabitant. and sorrow: for every purpose 38 They shall roar together of the Lord shall be performed like lions : they shall yell as against Babylon, to make the lions' whelps. land of Babylon a desolation 39 In their heat I will make without an inhabitant.

their feasts, and I will make them 30 The mighty men of Baby- drunken, that they may rejoice, lon have forborn to fight, they and sleep a perpetual sleep, and have remained in their holds : not wake, saith the LORD. their might hath failed; they 40 I will bring them down like became as women: they have lambs to the slaughter, like rams burned their dwelling places; her with he goats. bars are broken.

41 How is Sheshach taken! 31 One post shall run to meet and how is the praise of the another, and one messenger to whole earth surprised ! how is meet another, to shew the king Babylon become an astonishof Babylon that his city is taken ment among the nations ! at one end,

42 The sea is come up upon Ba32 And that the passages are bylon: she is covered with the stopped, and the reeds they have multitude of the waves thereof. burned with fire, and the men of 43 Her cities are a desolation, war are affrighted.

a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, out of his mouth that which he neither doth any son of man pass hath swallowed up: and the nathereby.

tions shall not flow together any 44 And I will punish Bel in more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon, and I will bring forth Babylon shall fall.

LECTURE 1267. We ought to reckon more than we do on God's righteous providence.

We ought to bear in mind, that when these prophecies were written, Babylon was by far the most mighty nation on the face of the earth ; its armies having made the most extensive foreign conquests, and its walls being the most lofty, broad, and strong, that probably ever were built for the defence of any city since the world began. This reflexion will help to convince us, how highly improbable, humanly speaking, were the events which Jeremiah here foretold, and which, as we know from history, most exactly came to pass.

The nations are mentioned by name that would be confederate in the assault upon this mighty empire. The singular circumstance is foreshewn, that the warriors, so long used to victory, would forbear to fight, would shut themselves up, as we know they did, within their walls, and would there be taken by surprise. The running of the posts, to tell the king that his city is taken at the extremity, the drying up of the waters, the surprise taking effect at a time of feasting and drunkenness, the astonishment of all the world at this signal success, and the entire desolation which would afterwards prevail in a spot which was once the praise of the whole earth; all these things are here set down in prophecy just as they took place in process of time.

Now these were things which no human being could possibly have guessed when these prophecies were written by Jeremiah. Nay, they were the very opposite to those conclusions which men would generally have drawn on the aspect of affairs then present. And as if for fear that it should prove hard to believe things apparently so unlikely, the reason of their happening is set down, “ Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord;” and again, “every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon;" and again, “I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up.” We see then that in our estimate of what is likely, God's power and his righteous purposes must be taken into account, or we may easily come to a wrong conclusion. Might and dominion, riches and renown, are no signs of permanent prosperity, where there is abominable sin provoking the great God of heaven and earth to cut off and to destroy. Should we not do well to take into account considerations such as these more frequently than we do, in our judgment both of public and of private affairs? Should we not judge more wisely, as well as more devoutly, if we were more apt than we are to expect, that iniquity, though it prosper for a time, must soon end in lasting shame?

come

The prophecies against Babylon are committed to Seraiah. 45 My people, go ye out of the 55 Because the Lord hath midst of her, and deliverye every spoiled Babylon, and destroyed man his soul from the fierce an- out of her the great voice; when ger of the LORD.

her waves do roar like great 46 And lest your heart faint, and waters, a noise of their voice is ye

fear for the rumour that shall uttered : be heard in the land; a rumour 56 Because the spoiler is come shall both come one year, and upon her, even upon Babylon, after that in another year shall and her mighty men are taken,

a rumour, and violence every one of their bows is broin the land, ruler against ruler. ken: for the Lord God of re

47 Therefore, behold, the days compences shall surely requite. come, that I will do judgment 57 And I will make drunk her upon

the graven images of Ba- princes, and her wise men, her bylon : and her whole land shall captains, and her rulers, and her be confounded, and all her slain mighty men : and they shall shall fall in the midst of her. sleep a perpetual sleep, and not

48 Then the heaven and the wake, saith the king, whose name earth, and all that is therein, is the Lord of hosts. shall sing for Babylon: for the 58 Thus saith the LORD of spoilers shall come unto her from hosts ; The broad walls of Bathe north, saith the LORD. bylon shall be utterly broken,

49 As Babylon hath caused the and her high gates shall be burnslain of Israel to fall, so at Ba- ed with fire; and the people shall bylon shall fall the slain of all labour in vain, and the folk in the earth.

the fire, and they shall be weary. 50 Ye that have escaped the 59 The word which Jeremiah sword, go away, stand not still: the prophet commanded Seraiah remember the Lord afar off, and the son of Neriah, the son of let Jerusalem come into your Maaseiah, when he went with mind.

Zedekiah the king of Judah into 51 We are confounded, because Babylon in the fourth year of we have heard reproach: shame his reign. And this Seraiah was hath covered our faces: for stran- a quiet prince. gers are come into the sanctua- 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book ries of the Lord's house. all the evil that should come up

52 Wherefore, behold, the days on Babylon, even all these words come, saith the Lord, that I will that are written against Babylon. do judgment upon her graven 61 And Jeremiah said to Seimages : and through all her raiah, When thou comest to Baland the wounded shall groan. bylon, and shalt see, and shalt

53 Though Babylon should read all these words; mount up to heaven, and though 62 Then shalt thou say,OLORD, she should fortify the height of her thou hast spoken against this strength, yet from me shall spoil- place, to cut it off, that none ers come unto her, saith the Lord. shall remain in it, neither man 54 A sound of a cry cometh from nor beast, but that it shall be Babylon, and great destruction desolate for ever. from the land of the Chaldeans: 63 And it shall be, when thou

hast made an end of reading this shall Babylon sink, and shall not book, that thou shalt bind a stone rise from the evil that I will bring to it, and cast it into the midst upon her : and they shall be of Euphrates :

weary. Thus far are the words 64 And thou shalt say, Thus of Jeremiah.

LECTURE 1268. The duty of coming out from the Babylon of Christian times.

We must not close this striking prophecy of the fall of Babylon, without again remarking, how manifestly some part of it is alluded to, or rather is almost quoted and adopted by S. John, in the Book of Revelation. And especially the prophet's directions to Seraiah, as to casting this prophetic book into the midst of Euphrates," and as to what he should say on the occasion, cannot fail to remind us of the mighty angel seen by the apostle, who “ took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, l'hus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” Rev. 18. 21. Whatever that prophecy of S. John may mean, there can be little doubt that these words of Jeremiah refer to the same terrible judgments. The Babylon which flourished, and which perished, as an empire in Asia, was doubtless a meet resemblance, both in its sins, and in its judgments, of the power at whose fall all heaven is in after times represented as rejoicing. And that which in a literal sense was truly prophesied, and has been actually fulfilled, in regard to the one, has been no less truly here foretold, and either has been or will be no less certainly fulfilled, in regard to the other.

It is our duty to ascertain what is meant by the Babylon thus prophetically described, for this reason especially amongst others, namely, that here we are thus solemnly exhorted, “ My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord;" and in the Revelation thus, “ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18. 4. Let us fix then our thoughts on that corruption of the Gospel, which has exerted a more baneful influence on the Christian Church than any other, for a longer time, and over a larger number of mankind.

Let us observe how the great head and fount of this corruption, the Babylon of the Gospel, has been always addicted to idolatry and to persecution. And let us give thanks to God that we have been born out of the reach of its iron yoke. But let us at the same time watch, that we fall not beneath the influence of its more secret spells. If we are contentious, or rebellious, arbitrary, or oppressive to each other, if we make to ourselves idols of the world or of the flesh, if we are sensual instead of spiritual, superstitious for devout, and formal when we ought to be sincere, in vain do we protest against Romish errors ; we have no ground for hoping to escape the judgments which we believe to be threatened against Rome.

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