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and seduously trained. First: meet for any work ?" The This was the case with the description here given of the Jers. They are frequently 6 vine” as being burnt at two compared to the vine. (Deut. ends, and its middle on flame, xxxii. 32 ; Isa. i.; Psa. lxxx.; represents the state of the Jer. ii. 21.) Secondly : This Jewish people at this moment. is the case with Christen. Ten of their tribes had been dom. Thirdly: This is espe- carried
away into Syria, and cially the case with Great the other two were in disBritain.
tress, and exposed to danger. We infer
Unless the c vine" produce II. That those sections of grapes it is more worthless the race under special culture than most other trees of the ARE, WHETHER FRUITFUL OR forest. You cannot manuUNFRUITFUL, WIDELY DISTIN- facture furniture out of it, GUISHED FROM ALL OTHERS. construct ships, or
build Whether they prove fruitful houses ; unless it grows grapes or unfruitful they are dis- it is fit for nothing but the tinguished. First : If fruit- fire. If the Jews were not ful, they are distinguished religious, they were contempby valuableness. They are a tible as compared with other “vine"-a tree producing rich nations. In antiquity of oriclusters of choicest and most gin, extent of territory, abundelicious fruit,-fruit which dance of resources, attainyieldeth wine to “cheer the ments in arts and sciences, heart of God and man.” they were not to be compared What on earth is of higher with Egypt, Ethiopia, and value than a godly life? “The Babylon. If professors of reprice of religion is above ligion are not fruitful in good rubies,” &c. Secondly : If works, they are the most unfruitful, they are distin- worthless men in society. guished by worthlessness. We infer“What is the vine-tree more III. That the distinction than any tree, or than a branch between those under special which is among the trees of culture and those who are not the forest ? Shall wood be RECOGNISED
RETRItaken thereof to do any work?
God sees or will men take a pin of it the difference between the to hang any vessel thereon ? fruitful and unfruitful vine, Behold, it is cast into the fire and between the unfruitfor fuel; the fire devoureth ful vine and the other trees both the ends of it, and the of the forest. And God midst of it is burned. Is it marks the difference in his
judgment. “Therefore, thus home for protection. It resaith the Lord God; As the quires a protector from the vine-tree among the trees scorching of the sun, from the of the forest, which I have fury of the storm, from the given to the fire for fuel, so assaults of the enemy. How will I give the inhabitants of exposed is a guilty soul! SeJerusalem. And I will set condly, it wants a home for my face against them; they comfort. Home is the scene shall go out from one fire,
of comfort. But the guilty and another fire shall devour soul is comfortless. It lacks them;
shall know that the comforts of nourishment, I am the Lord, when I set my shelter, society, &c. Thirdly, face against them. And I it wants a home for settledness. will make the land desolate, It is a restless wanderer. It because they have committed
is wearied of its pilgrimage. a trespass, saith the Lord It craves for a settlement. God.” This menace had a The prayer implies, terrible fulfilment in the II. A FAITH IN GOD'S SUF. history of the Jews. The FICIENCY. God is just the doom, however, that befell “habitation” which the soul them is but a faint picture of wants, affording security, comthe doom that awaits a godless fort, and permanent residence. professor. “Every one that First, God is an accessible heareth these sayings of mine, habitation. The doors of inand doeth them not, shall be
finite love are ever open to likened unto a foolish man,
welcome all who come. This which built his house upon
habitation is ever near to us. the sand,” &c.—Matt. vii. Secondly, God is a secure 26-27.
habitation. Those who are in Him are safe from all dangers
and all foes. “God is our GOD THE HABITATION OF refuge and strevgth.” Thirdly, SOULS.
Gud is a blessed habitation. “Be thou my strong habitation,
In Him is found infinitely whereunto I may continually re
more than all we want to persort."--Psa. lxxi. 3.
fect us in everlasting blies. This is a very brief but very | Fourthly, God is an enduring significant prayer. It implies habitation. “The eternal God two things
is our refuge," &c. Return, I. A SENSE OF THE SOUL'S O prodigal, to thy Father's NEED. The soul needs a house. “habitation.” It is a homeless wanderer. First, il wants a
TWO ASTOUNDING EVILS.
of course, mean departure from “Be astonished, 0 ye heavens,
his presence, that is, utterly at this, and be horribly afraid, be impossible ; nor an exit from ye very desolate, saith the Lord. his rule, that is equally imFor my people have committed
56 Be as
possible ; but it means an two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,
apostacy of heart, a moral and hewed them out cisterns, bro
alienation of soul. Now, ken cisterns, that can hold no these two evils in men are water.–Jer. ii. 12, 13.
most astounding. They are In this chapter, Jeremiah is enough to fill the universe charged to remind the Jews with consternation. of their metropolis, of the tonished, 0 ye heavens," &c. consecration with which they This is a noble instance of had served Jehovah in the bold and impassioned proearly part of their history, sopopeia similar expressions and the consequent protection we have elsewhere. (Isa. i which they enjoyed. Jehovah 2; also Deut. xxxii. 1.) It then appeals to them in a most is language that expresses forcible way, as to whether feelings of immeasurable any reason for dissatisfaction depth and burning intensity. in his service bad been found There are three things in in Him, and whether, on the the perpetration of these contrary, He had not loaded two evils that may well fill them with his benefits. He the universe with then describes their base ment. ingratitude, and denounces I. THE FORCE OF HUMAN punishment. The text im- FREEDOM. Is not man's power plies that their conduct was to break away from the eter80 unesampled in wickedness nal Fountain of his being truly that it was fitted to fill the wonderful ? The mightiest universe with absolute con- rivers cannot break away from sternation. “Be astonished, their source, nor the greatest O ye heavens,” &c. The two planets from their centre, but astounding evils at which the man has the power to break heavens are to be “amazed and away
from the Centre horrified," are a departure from and Fountain of his being. the true source of blessedness God deals with his moral and a fruitless toil for worth- creatures according to the less enjoyments. The former principles of freedom with involves the latter-forto for- which He has endowed them. sake God is to plunge into He does not bind them by futile endeavours after happi- force to Himself. They are ness. To forsake God does not, left free to stand or fall.
First : This freedom is a nished, 0 ye heavens, at matter of personal conscious- this."
All men feel that they The last thing in the perpeare uncoerced and free. This tration of these two that may is the invincible and ultimate well fill the universe with argument in favour of the amazement is doctrine of human responsibi
III. THE EGREGIOUSNESS OF lity. Secondly: This freclom HUMAN FOLLY.
See the folly. invests human existence, with First : In withdrawing from transcendent importance. It the satisfying, to toil for the links men to moral govern- unsatisfying. God is the ment, and renders them re- “fountain of living waters." sponsible for all their activi- All the blessedness of the unities. It makes them members verse streams out from Him. of the great moral empire of He is a fountain inexhausthe universe.
tible; ever flowing, always Another thing in the perpe- free, the only fountain of tration of this evil that may happiness. Now, this founfill the universe with amaze- tain is left-what for ? To ment is
toil for the unsatisfying drops II. THE ENORMITY OF HU- of earthly pleasure. “They MAN WICKEDNESS.
have hewed for themselves amount of the grossestiniquity out cisterns, broken cisterns, is involved in these two evils. that can hold no water." First : What ingratitude. The reference is here to reKindness, by the law of gra- ceptacles which were common titude, should always bind in the East for holding rainman to the benefactor. What water. Springs and fountains kindness God has always were scarce there, but cisterus shown to man. What especial abounded. But the cisterns kindness to the Jews; but
“ broken cisterns." still more wonderful kindness
The drops that fell into them to us. Secondly: What in- would run off, and these broken justice. Every principle of cisterns they had to hew for justice requires them to keep themselves. What worthless themselves in close and loyal toil! Yet this is what sinfellowship with Him. This
ners are doing in all their is demanded on the ground efforts for happiness apart of proprietorship and love. from God. Secondly: In Thirdly : What
What impiety. withdrawing from the abunWhat a daring hardihood is dant, to toil for the scanty. involved in the effort to turn Leaving the “ fountain" for away from God. “Be asto- the “cistern" the broken
cistern too, in which there with fervent heat." The is but little water, and that mighty Colossus shall be impure and fast running struck and shattered, and the out.
winds of the divine Spirit Well may the heavens be shall bear away every vestige, astonished and wonder at the so that there shall be found freedom, iniquity, and folly “ no place for it.” All the which they witness every age
errors, selfishness, impieties, and every day, developed in &c., of this earth will come the history of our race. to an end.
III. The mighty aggregate
of human evil OVERCOME BY THE WORLD OVERCOME. FAITH. Does “faith” here not " And this is the victory that
mean subjective, but objecovercometh the world, even our
tive? In other words, does it faith.-1 John v. 4.
mean personal belief in the THESE words contain three Gospel, or the Gospel itself? points of thought.
This Gospel is, indeed, the I. THE MIGHTY AGGREGATE weapon. It is the stone cut OF HUMAN EVIL, “THE WORLD." out of the mountain that is to The world here does not mean shiver the Colossus-it is the physical world, the scien- the executioner that is to crutific world, the commercial cify the world-nail it to the world, the artistic world, cross, &c.—the Gospel, not but the word is frequently legislation, not philosophy, employed in the New Testa- not natural religion, not ment for all that is morally priestly ritualisms. But it is bad on earth. It stands for the Gospel as believed by huthe grand assemblage of all
man souls. It is not the Gosevils of all kinds — moral, pel in print, not the Gospel in social, political, religious, theologies, but the Gospel in evils in thought, feeling, living men - the Gospel habit, in institutions and “made flesh," that it is to do systems — evil everywhere the work. * in all forms. This is the “world." II. The mighty aggregate
THE CRUSE OF OIL. of human evil OVERCOME. A
“And the barrel of meal wasted “victory" over it is attained.
not, neither did the cruse of oil The whole world of evil is to fail, according to the word of the be destroyed ; its “heavens shall pass away with a great
See HOMILIST, series 1, vol. i.:
“Wants of the World and the noise, and its elements melt Weakness of the Church."