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HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.
(Continued from page 119.) Although the servants of JEHOVAH have in all ages been distinguished by a faith which looks beyond the revolutions of this state of change and trial to a more permanent and blissful kingdom, yet, sensibly alive to every virtuous and exalted feeling, they have been the warmest lovers of their country, and the noblest benefactors of mankind.
The Prophet JEREMIAH was a patriot of this description. To God and to his country he dedicated all his services, and, for the glory of the one, and the advantage of the other, was content to suffer every species of affliction, expecting no reward but from the gracious retributions of the world to come. Sorrow and disappointment were indeed the close companions of his labours. He saw the Majesty of Heaven dishonoured daily by an infatuated people, who, though debased by their iniquities, were yet his brethren, and therefore objects of solicitude and love. He wept in secret for their sins, endeavoured by affectionate and earnest exhortations to reclaim them, and deprecated, by profound humiliation, those judgments which, he saw, were likely soon to overtake them for their crimes. To console him under his affliction, and to mitigate his grief for the calamities occasioned by the late invasion, as well as at the prospect of still greater evils, he was favoured with a vision, which assured him, that the issue of the present awful dispensations should be not merely the destruction of the wicked, but the reformation of the remnant of the people, who, after being humbled in the land of their captivity, should come again to Zion, and Vol. VI.
be restored to all their privileges as the people of the LORD. Thus were the horrors of the tempest soft. ened by the mild irradiations of the Bow of Promise ; and hope assuaged those sorrows which faith and patience were commanded for a season to sustain.
But JEREMIAH was not only sent to warn and to reprove the house of Israel; he was also authorized to speak to the surrounding nations, and, in JEHOVAH'S name, to threaten them with fearful judgments for their heinous crimes.. Soon after the retreat of the invading armies from Judea, a commission of this nature was entrusted to him. Those neighbouring states, who so willingly assisted to avenge the quarrel of the King of Babylon, no sooner saw the land relieved from its oppressors, and restored to quietness under the reign of ZEDEKIAH, than they assailed the pride and avarice of that weak and fickle Prince, by tempting him to violate his promise, and renounce allegiance to the Conqueror. By an expressive sign, the Prophet was commanded to intimate, not only to the King of Judah, but also to those other nations, that their existence and prosperity depended on fidelity to their engagements, and that rebellion would be ruinous and fatal to them all. To notify that this subjection was to continue for a season, he was commanded to make yokes and bonds; to send them, with the message of JEHOVAH, to the various nations who were restless under the control of Babylon; and also, for the admonition of his people, to wear them constantly himself. Thus was the sovereignty of God proclaimed among the Gentiles, and the revolt which had been meditated was for a time delayed.
While thus appearing with the marks of bondage in the presence of the King of Judah, the venerable
HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAI.
Prophet ceased not to bear his testimony to the duty of adhering firmly to engagements, as well as to the wisdom and expediency of quietly submitting to the conqueror. Nor was he inattentive to the conduct or the interests of his countrymen in Babylon; whose turbulent and restless spirits were excited by deceiving prophets, who endeavoured to inspire them with the vain ima- , gination, that, by a sudden change of circumstances, their captivity would quickly terminate, and they would be reinstated in their native land. To inform them that these expectations were delusive, and to instruct them in their civil and religious obligations even in a state of bondage, he availed himself of the occasion of an embassy sent to the King of Babylon by ZEDEKIAH ; exhorting them, in the most solemn manner, to main. tain a quiet and obedient spirit, to fulfil their social and domestic duties, and to pray that God would crown the cities where they sojourned with prosperity and peace. Dispersed among the Heathen, yet partaking of the blessings and protection of established government, they were required by their obedience to its civil institutions to prove themselves deserving of the privileges they enjoyed. On those deceivers who had attempted to disturb the general quiet by their false predictions, the Prophet of the Lord pronounced a curse, which was soon after ex: ecuted by the King of Babylon, by whom they were condemned to suffer a most painful death.*
These seasonable admonitions of the Prophet were, however, bitterly resented by those mischievous enthusiasts, who had endeavoured to mislead the people by pretended visions, for which they impiously claimed the sanction of the Spirit of the LORD. A letter,
• Jer. xxix. 21-23.
therefore, was transmitted to Jerusalem, accusing JEREMIAH to the priesthood, and requiring that he should receive -reproof and punishment, for having thus presumed to interfere in their affairs ; to which the writer speedily received an answer from JEHOVAH, through the medium of the man, whose authority and office he had spurned. A punishment, no less than the extinction of his family, and his own death before the expiration of the term of the captivity, was awfully adjudged to SHEMAIAH, for having dared, by his resistance to the message of the Prophet, to teach rebellion against Him, by whom that message had been sent. * . ,
But while his enemies in Babylon were vainly striving to excite against him all the bitterness of persecution, JEREMIAH was compelled to suffer, in Jerusalem, still greater insults and indignities. . A lying prophet, named HANANIAH, ventured to deny the truth of his predictions, and to declare, that at the end of two full years, the kingdom should recover its prosperity, and all the present judgments be removed. Calmly submitting to derision, he withdrew from the reproaches of his enemies, and left the issue of the cause with God. As in the former instance, the honour of his servant was quickly vindicated by JEHOVAH; and the man who had presumed to teach his own delusions to the people, as well as to affront and stigmatize a genuine Prophet, was doomed, within the year, to be cut off by death. This sentence, which within two months was executed, did not yet restrain the enemies of JEREMIAH, who pursued him 'with their cruel persecutions, until they had well nigh deprived him of his life.
(To be continued.)
A SISTER'S TALES.;
- No. V. “I HOPE to-day's story will be a more cheerful one than the last,” said Anna L- to her sister. -“Why, did you think the account of MR. gloomy?” inquired JANE. Oh, there was so much about illness in it, and that made it very dismal to me;" replied ANNA.-From the remarks of this child, her temper may be easily perceived. The little L-'s were all remarkably lively ; but ANNA was the gayest of the band ; she was the queen of their sports, the inventor and leader of their childish pleasures; amid all their happy countenances, hers was the blithest; and if she ever looked dull or sad, it was but for a moment. Like a butterfly, she appeared to dwell among flowers, breathing but the summer air, beholding only an unclouded sky, revelling in the bliss of the present, and thinking not of the future...
Some of my young readers may perhaps view in her character, their own likeness ; if they do, let me entreat them, above all things, eamestly and early to seek that blessed religion which alone can preserve to them
" The soul's calm sunshine, and the inward joy." They must not fancy that a lively disposition will be of itself a sufficient source of happiness, even if it could last through life ; but “ the changes and chances” of this mortal scene are so many and so affictive, that the highest natural spirits are unable to bear them. They who thirst so greatly after enjoyment, will soon exhaust the poor and scanty streams of earthly delight, and be tormented indeed, unless they know where to procure a living water.".