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SHALL NOT MY SOUL BE AVENGED ON SUCH A NA
TION AS THIS,
This prophet appeared in a very degene. rate period of the Jewish church. Every order of that people, from the humble peasant to the prince on the throne, had apoftatized from the true God, and had lost that fimplicity in his worship, and that zeal for his name which were their former characteristic and glory. The mass of the people, forfaking the Lord God of iheir fathers, had mingled in all the absurdities of the idolatry of the nations around them : their princes did evil in the fight of Jehovah, and no longer ruled for his glory, or the good of their subjects : even those who were called to minister at the altar degraded both themselves and their office by a servile, corrupt, mercenary spirit: The fun had also gone down upon their prophets ; these lights of Israel were now darkened through error of principle, and licentiousness of praêlice ; instead of stemming the torrent of general defection by exposing with a holy heroism the iniquities of all classes, they rolled along with the stream, and rather tended to swell and infuriate it by prophecying a false vision, and the deceit of their own hearts. There is not a more awful presage of speedy
destruction to a nation than when, as the prophet expresses it, there is like people, like priest; when corruption of manners generally prevails, and the messengers of the Lord of hosts have neither firmness nor fidelity to make an open opposition.
The Lord God, grieved and provoked with these abominations, gently, yet severely reminds Israel of her former zeal for his glory, and his delight in her as his peculiar people. I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, and the love of thine espoufals : Ifrael was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase. He then appeals to heaven and earth, whether an example of such ingratitude and obftinacy could be found in any other nation. Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done.: Mhe is gone up upon eveguy high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot : and I said after she had done all these things, turn thou unto me, but she returned not : their tranfgreffons are many, and their backslidings are increased, how shall I pardon thec for this ? At last worn out with their iniquities, and resolved to make a full end of them as a people altogether incorrigible, Jehovah calls upon Jeremiah to arise and at the peril of his own roul not to refuse denouncing their doom ; Thou therefore gird up thy loins and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee ; be not dismayed at their faces, left I confound thee before them. Shall not I visit for th
these things faith the Lord ; 56 Is not my wrath revealed from heaven againit all unrighteousness and ungodliness of