Jeremiah 17* The fatal consequences of the idolatry of the Jews. (1-4) Thehappiness of the man that trusts in God; the end of the oppositecharacter. (5-11) The malice of the prophet's enemies. (12-18)The observance of the sabbath. (19-27)1-4 The sins which men commit make little impression on theirminds, yet every sin is marked in the book of God; they are allso graven upon the table of the heart, that they will all beremembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heartwill become plain in the life; men's actions show the desiresand purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humbleourselves before God, who are so vile in his sight! How shouldwe depend on his mercy and grace, begging of God to search andprove us; not to suffer us to be deceived by our own hearts, butto create in us a clean and holy nature by his Spirit! 5-11 He who puts confidence in man, shall be like the heath ina desert, a naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of barrenground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their ownrighteousness and strength, and think they can do withoutChrist, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper ingraces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shallflourish like a tree always green, whose leaf does not wither.They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; theyshall not be anxious in a year of drought. Those who make Godtheir Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of allcreature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding fruit inholiness and good works. The heart, the conscience of man, inhis corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. Itcalls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whomit does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; itis deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if theconscience, which should set right the errors of otherfaculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our ownhearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation. Who canunderstand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts ofothers, or depend upon them. He that believes God's testimony inthis matter, and learns to watch his own heart, will find thisis a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons todirect his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the heartsof others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there isin the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but Godcannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not by right,though he may make them his hope, never shall have joy of them.This shows what vexation it is to a worldly man at death, thathe must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will notfollow to another world, guilt will, and everlasting torment.The rich man takes pains to get an estate, and sits broodingupon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; by sinful coursesit comes to nothing. Let us be wise in time; what we get, let usget it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that wemay be wise for eternity. 12-18 The prophet acknowledges the favour of God in setting upreligion. There is fulness of comfort in God, overflowing,ever-flowing fulness, like a fountain. It is always fresh andclear, like spring-water, while the pleasures of sin arepuddle-waters. He prays to God for healing, saving mercy. Heappeals to God concerning his faithful discharge of the officeto which he was called. He humbly begs that God would own andprotect him in the work to which he had plainly called him.Whatever wounds or diseases we find to be in our hearts andconsciences, let us apply to the Lord to heal us, to save us,that our souls may praise his name. His hands can bind up thetroubled conscience, and heal the broken heart; he can cure theworst diseases of our nature. 19-27 The prophet was to lay before the rulers and the peopleof Judah, the command to keep holy the sabbath day. Let themstrictly observe the fourth command. If they obeyed this word,their prosperity should be restored. It is a day of rest, andmust not be made a day of labour, unless in cases of necessity.Take heed, watch against the profanation of the sabbath. Let notthe soul be burdened with the cares of this world on sabbathdays. The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according asthe banks of the sabbath are kept up or neglected. The degree ofstrictness with which this ordinance is observed, or the neglectshown towards it, is a good test to find the state of spiritualreligion in any land. Let all; by their own example, byattention to their families, strive to check this evil, thatnational prosperity may be preserved, and, above all, that soulsmay be saved.
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