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hitherto been their lot. « Fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith Jehovah; for I am with thee: when I shall make a full end of all nations whither I have dispersed thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee with moderation, and will not make thee altogether desolate.” “ Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them.” . No subsequent state of the Jews fulfils the expectations naturally excited by this description. On their return from Babylon, their leader was dependent on the Persian government. Under the Grecian monarchy, “they changed their masters only, but not their condition.” Under the Asmonean princes, they for some time enjoyed independence; but at length they fell under the yoke of the Romans, who took away “both their place and nation.” The promise in its fulness remains to be unfolded. Such was the view presented to the eye of the prophet, that it filled his soul with rapture. “Upon this I awaked, and beheld, and my sleep was sweet unto me.” He had so long been weighed down with “burdens" of wrath against

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his people, that it was refreshing to his spirit to bear a message of peace and prosperity and enlargement to his country.

The prophet immediately adds a promise which beyond question relates to a spiritual kingdom; for it has been directly applied to the Christian dispensation by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews, Heb. 8:8–12: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah : not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord : I will put my law in their inward parts, and will write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

The provision by Moses for the religious instruction of the Hebrews, though the best of the age

in which he lived, was very imperfect compared with what is enjoyed in Christian lands, at the present day. Domestic oral teachings constituted, among the ancient Jews, the chief means of diffusing a

knowledge of religion. Except the reading of the law to the nation assembled at Jerusalem once in seven years, it is doubtful whether they had any stated religious instruction for ages after the time of Moses. Some of the people seem to have resorted to the prophets at certain seasons, for religious purposes, but it is generally thought that the synagogue service was not established until after the Babylonish captivity. In the early periods of their national existence, there could have been but few copies of the Pentateuch, or books of any

kind, in the land. To this in part, perhaps, is to be ascribed the frequent falling of the Jews into idolatry.

With what delight would Jeremiah have seen the Bible, and scriptural truth of every form, scattered as freely among his “kinsmen according to the flesh,” as among us at the present day; so that the whole nation, “ from the least of them to the greatest,” might have in their own houses and in their own hands the means of knowing “ the true God and eternal life.”

In the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Zidon, sent ambassadors to Jerusalem for the purpose, probably, of inducing him to join them in a war against Babylon. The Lord commanded Jeremiah to make bonds and yokes, and put them about his own neck, and afterwards send them to these heathen kings by their ambassadors. They were

to say to their masters, that Jehovah, who by his great power made “the earth, man, and the beast upon it,” had given all lands to Nebuchadnezzar, that they might serve him till the time came for his kingdom to be overthrown. Whatever nation or kingdom would not submit to his yoke, should be destroyed. Jeremiah spoke the same message to the king of Judah, admonishing him not to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar.

Zedekiah this year, Jer. 51:59, went a journey to Babylon, one object of which is supposed to have been to solicit a restoration of the vessels of the temple carried to that city. The prophet Hananiah predicted, as if from the Lord, that the vessels would, within two years, be br ght back. He predicted further, that Jeconiah, the former king and favorite of the people, who had now been a prisoner in Babylon fifteen years, would return to his kingdom together with all the captives from Judah. This, as one observes, was “just such a message as some men would call pure gospel-all encouragement, promise, and privilege, without warning, discrimination of character, exhortation, or precept.

Doubtless it was much more popular in that wicked age than the preaching of Jeremiah, which pointed men to their sins, and pressed on them the need of penitence and reformation if they would escape the judgments of heaven.

To gain credit for his words, Hananiah took from the neck of Jeremiah the yoke which he had continued to wear, and broke it, declaring in the name of the Lord that within two years the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar would thus be broken from the neck of all the nations. When Jeremiah heard this, he retired from the temple, not choosing to notice his violence or reply to his groundless prediction. But the Lord bade him return with a message to Hananiah, who was now probably vain of having, in the estimation of the people, achieved such a victory. With a tone of authority, but not of triumph, Jeremiah addresses him: “Hear now, Hananiah ; The Lord hath not sent thee, but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth : this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.”. Within two months Hananiah died—a solemn warning to all who knowingly falsify the word of God, and through hatred of the truth oppose or ridicule his messengers.

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