Jeremiah 3* Exhortations to repentance. (1-5) Judah more guilty thanIsrael. (6-11) But pardon is promised. (12-20) The children ofIsrael express their sorrow and repentance. (21-25)1-5 In repentance, it is good to think upon the sins of whichwe have been guilty, and the places and companies where theyhave been committed. How gently the Lord had corrected them! Inreceiving penitents, he is God, and not man. Whatever thou hastsaid or done hitherto, wilt thou not from this time apply to me?Will not this grace of God overcome thee? Now pardon isproclaimed, wilt thou not take the benefit? They will hope tofind in him the tender compassions of a Father towards areturning prodigal. They will come to him as the Guide of theiryouth: youth needs a guide. Repenting sinners may encouragethemselves that God will not keep his anger to the end. AllGod's mercies, in every age, suggest encouragement; and what canbe so desirable for the young, as to have the Lord for theirFather, and the Guide of their youth? Let parents daily directtheir children earnestly to seek this blessing. 6-11 If we mark the crimes of those who break off from areligious profession, and the consequences, we see abundantreason to shun evil ways. It is dreadful to be proved morecriminal than those who have actually perished in their sins;yet it will be small comfort in everlasting punishment, for themto know that others were viler than they. 12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessingsreserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed towardthe north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. Theyare directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord isfaithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully tocome to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. Godwill graciously receive those that return to him; and by hisgrace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of thecovenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of thatdispensation was to be done away, which took place after themultitude of believers had been greatly increased by theconversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scatteredamong them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He canteach all to call him Father; but without thorough change ofheart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have nosecurity for not departing from Him. 21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting theLord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bringourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, Godwill heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, hisquieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devotingthemselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations ofrelief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they comedepending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save.It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wroughtout for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, andjudging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to callsin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. Truepenitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge uponit all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contemptand misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sinsshall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them,shall find mercy.
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