Jeremiah 3

* Exhortations to repentance. (1-5) Judah more guilty than

Israel. (6-11) But pardon is promised. (12-20) The children of

Israel express their sorrow and repentance. (21-25)

1-5 In repentance, it is good to think upon the sins of which

we have been guilty, and the places and companies where they

have been committed. How gently the Lord had corrected them! In

receiving penitents, he is God, and not man. Whatever thou hast

said or done hitherto, wilt thou not from this time apply to me?

Will not this grace of God overcome thee? Now pardon is

proclaimed, wilt thou not take the benefit? They will hope to

find in him the tender compassions of a Father towards a

returning prodigal. They will come to him as the Guide of their

youth: youth needs a guide. Repenting sinners may encourage

themselves that God will not keep his anger to the end. All

God's mercies, in every age, suggest encouragement; and what can

be so desirable for the young, as to have the Lord for their

Father, and the Guide of their youth? Let parents daily direct

their children earnestly to seek this blessing.
6-11 If we mark the crimes of those who break off from a

religious profession, and the consequences, we see abundant

reason to shun evil ways. It is dreadful to be proved more

criminal than those who have actually perished in their sins;

yet it will be small comfort in everlasting punishment, for them

to know that others were viler than they.
12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings

reserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed toward

the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They

are directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is

faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully to

come to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. God

will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his

grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of the

covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that

dispensation was to be done away, which took place after the

multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the

conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered

among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can

teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of

heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no

security for not departing from Him.
21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting the

Lord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bring

ourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, God

will heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, his

quieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devoting

themselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations of

relief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they come

depending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save.

It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wrought

out for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, and

judging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to call

sin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. True

penitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge upon

it all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contempt

and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins

shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them,

shall find mercy.

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