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HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.

261.

a gallant Officer of Highlanders, who has been loaded with the epithets Goth, Vandal, sacrilegious destroyer, &c., for having broken off a piece of this monument : and when I viewed the injury, I felt equally ready to disapprove of his violation ; but having met this passage in TAVERNIER, I think it right to do away a false impression."

HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.

(Concluded from page 223.) A REMNANT being left in the afflicted land of Judah, after the sweeping desolations of the sword, the pestilence, and famine, the King of Babylon appointed GEDALIAH, a man of kindness and integrity, to be their governor; and to his charge he specially committed JEREMIAH, after having liberally provided both for his present and his future wants.

These gleanings of the people fixed their disconsolate abode at Mizpeh, a city westward from Jerusalem, where they no sooner had begun to breathe, after their struggle with calamity, than they were plunged again into affliction by the murder of their leader, who fell a prey to treachery, from which, though timely warned, he was too honourable and unsuspicious to escape. After enduring many troubles, the plea of terror at the indignation of the King of Babylon for GEDALIAH's death, induced them to resolve on seeking refuge in the land of Egypt; but 'having gone as far as Bethlehem, they suddenly de, termined not to proceed till they had asked direction from the LORD. The Prophet JEREMIAH was their resource on this occasion; who, on receiving from them a promise of obedience, most gladly sought the counsel they desired. But their professions of

regard for the divine authority were hypocritical and hollow; for when, after ten days, the answer of Já. HOVAU was communicated, forbidding them to go to Egypt, they refused to listen to it, and reproached the Prophet with delivering a false message in the name of God. Neither the promise of protection, should they remain in their own territory, nor the threatening of inevitable death in Egypt, could induce them to forego their purpose. Resolutely bent on filling up the measure of the national iniquity and punishment, they went into that land by whose example of idolatry they had already been so awfully polluted, that they might freely gratify their strange propensity to that most heinous sin. There, uninstructed by the judgments which had laid Jerusalem in ashes, they impiously dared to vindicate their base desertion of the God of ABRAHAM, and to assert the claims of idols to their worship and regard.

JEREMIAH, though reluctant, was compelled to bear them company to this forbidden land; where a severe denunciation of divine displeasure, against these obstinate and shameless sinners, concluded his affecting ministrations among a people who had uniformly met his kindness with ingratitude and scorn. A life of long and arduous service, and of deep and painful sufferings, accumulated on a spirit * pensive, tender, and susceptibly alive to every holy and ex• alted feeling-a life devoted to the honour of his God, and to the interests of his country,—was termi

* The Book of Lamentations exhibits the internal feelings of the Prophet, with the most exquisite and touching pathos. He there appears inferior only to the Man of Sorrows, in his sym: pathetic sufferings with the Church of God.

HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAN.

263

nated in a land of strangers, and probably by san. guinary means. The circumstances of the death of JEREMIAH are indeed uncertain, the Scripture having left no record on the subject; but the tradition of the Church has long assigned to him the crown of martyrdom. During a dark and stormy period, he shed a radiance on the Jewish hemisphere; and if the brighter glories of the Gospel disclose a shade of imperfection in this luminary of the Elder Dispensation, let Christianity improve her privilege, and bless the splendours of that Sun of RightOUSNEss, who has arisen with healing in his beams.

But while the fire of inspiration kindled on the lips of Prophets, chiefly to enlighten and reclaim the house of Israel, yet were they charged with other oracles; and other nations had an interest in those penetrating views, which they were privileged to take into futurity. The fate of those extensive empires, which were alternately the scourge of Judah, was especially revealed; and JEREMIAI, while bewailing, in the bitterness of grief, the desolations of his country, received such revelations of their future destinies, as have invested prophecy with the minuteness of historic fact.-EGYPT, although when this afflicted Prophet wandered unwillingly through her vast cities, she haughtily exalted in her plenitude of power and riches, yet from his lips received the doom of that destruction which consigned her grandeur to the desolation and oblivion which have obscured it through succeeding ages, and still involve it in profoundest gloom. [n vain the massive pyramid, the stately palace, the stupendous temple, or the splendid mau. soleum, sought to perpetuate the mysteries of a dark idolatry, or cast imperishable lustre on the achieveregard for the divine authority were hypocritical and hollow; for when, after ten days, the answer of Jb. HOVAH was communicated, forbidding them to go to Egypt, they refused to listen to it, and reproached the Prophet with delivering a false message in the name of God. Neither the promise of protection, should they remain in their own territory, nor the threatening of inevitable death in Egypt, could induce them to forego their purpose. Resolutely bent on filling up the measure of the national iniquity and punishment, they went into that land by whose example of idolatry they had already been so awfully polluted, that they might freely gratify their strange propensity to that most heinous sin. There, uninstructed by the judgments which had laid Jerusalem in ashes, they impiously dared to vindicate their base desertion of the God of ABRAHAM, and to assert the claims of idols to their worship and regard.

JEREMIAH, though reluctant, was compelled to bear them company to this forbidden land ; where a severe denunciation of divine displeasure, against these obstinate and shameless sinners, concluded his affecting ministrations among a people who had uniformly met his kindness with ingratitude and scoro. A life of long and arduous service, and of deep and painful sufferings, accumulated on a spirit * pensive, tender, and susceptibly alive to every holy and exalted feeling,-a life devoted to the honour of his God, and to the interests of his country,—was termi

* The Book of Lamentations exhibits the internal feelings of the Prophet, with the most exquisite and touching pathos. He there appears inferior only to the Man of Sorrows, in his sympathetic sufferings with the Church of God.

HISTORY OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH.

263

nated in a land of strangers, and probably by sanguinary means. The circumstances of the death of JEREMIAH are indeed uncertain, the Scripture having left no record on the subject; but the tradition of the Church has long assigned to him the crown of martyrdom. During a dark and stormy period, he shed a radiance on the Jewish hemisphere; and if the brighter glories of the Gospel disclose a shade of imperfection in this luminary of the Elder Dispensation, let Christianity improve her privilege, and bless the splendours of that Sun of RighteOUSNESS, who has 'arisen with healing in his beams.

But while the fire of inspiration kindled on the lips of Prophets, chiefly to enlighten and reclaim the house of Israel, yet were they charged with other oracles ; and other nations had an interest in those penetrating views, which they were privileged to take into futurity. The fate of those extensive empires, which were alternately the scourge of Judah, was especially revealed; and JeremiAll, while bewailing, in the bitterness of grief, the desolations of his country, received such revelations of their future destinies, as have invested prophecy with the minuteness of historic fact.-EGYPT, although when this afflicted Prophet wandered unwillingly through her vast cities, she haughtily exalted in her plenitude of power and riches, yet from his lips received the doom of that destruction which consigned her grandeur to the desolation and oblivion which have obscured it through succeeding ages, and still involve it in profoundest gloom. [n vain the massive pyramid, the stately palace, the stupendous temple, or the splendid mau. soleum, sought to perpetuate the mysteries of a dark idolatry, or cast imperishable lustre on the achieve.

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