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exact description of the English gentry; and I fear they are not mended since : luxury and idleness lead them to uncharitableness, haughtiness, lewdness, and all other abominations ; and those especially who are in plentiful circumstances should take peculiar care, lest they become devoted to sensuality and pleasure; and so destroy their own souls.
5. Let us hence learn the nature and necessity of habitual repentance, v. 63. not to forget former sins, though God has pardoned them ; but to remember them in order to keep us humble ; never to open our mouths in complaints of God's word or providence, or in vindication of ourselves, or censures of others ; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.
HAP. XVII, .
Under the parable of two eagles and a vine, is showed God's judg.
ment upon Jerusalem, for revolting from Babylon to Egypt ; and in v. 22, God promises to filant the cedar of the gospich.
ND the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto
the house of Israel ; a figurative speech, that they may the bet3 ter remember and talk of it ; And say, Thus saith the Lord
GOD; A great eagle with great wings, long winged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came ụnto Lebanon, that is, Nebuchadnezzar, who was a warlike prince, had a great ex. tent of dominion, and many nations confederate with him, and
took the highest branch of the cedar, that is, the kingdom of 4 Judah: He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and car
ried it into a land of traffic ; he set it in a city of merchants ;
he took away Jeconigh the king, who was but eighteen years old, 5 and carried him to Babylon, a place of great commerce. He.
took also of the seed of the land, Zedekiah his uncle, a native, and of the seed royal, and planted it in a fruitful field, in the land
of Judea a he placed [it] by great waters, [and] set it [as] a wil. 6 low tree, which grows best in moist places. And it grew, and
became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches lurned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him ; the kingdom prospered under Zedekiah, but it was still low of stature, a tributary kingdom, and acknowledged the power of Nebuchado nezzar for a while : so it became a vine, and brought forth
branches, and shot forth sprigs ; he had children, and his king. 7 dom was in a peaceful and flourishing condition. There was
also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers, but not with such length of wings and number of feathers, viz. tha king of Egypt, whose alliance Zedekiah sought : and, behold,
this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her
branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of 8 her plantation ; he sent ambassadors to him for help. It was
planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine ; Zedekiah was under great obligations to Nebuchadnezzar, that his kingdom was not torn in pieces, and that
the form of government was preserved, and he might have been 9 very prosperous and hapny. Say thou, Thus saith the Lord
God : Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? skall not Nebuchadnezzar plunder and destroy the city, and destroy him and his family for his perfidiousness ? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to
pluck it up by the roots thereof; it shall be easily done, for God 16 shall appear on his side. Yea, behold, [being] planted, shall
it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? which is a parching wind, that blasts the fruits of the earth : it shall wither in the furrows where it grew ; even
amidst the greatest and best helps to make it flourish. 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these
[things mean?) will ye not apply your minds to consider them? tell [them,) Behold the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem,
and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and 13 led them with him to Babylon ; And hath taken of the king's
seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath
of him : he hath also taken the mighty of the land, to weaken 14 it, or rather as hostages : That the kingdom might be base,
that it might not lift itself up, [but] that by keeping of his 15 covenant it might stand. But he rebelled against him in
sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper ? shall he escape that doeth such (things ?] or shall he break the covenant,
and be delivered ? breaking the covenant with Babylon, and his 16 alliance with Egypt were both forbidden, (As) I live, saith
the Lord God, surely in the place (where] the king (dwelleth) that made him
king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, [even) with him in the midst of Babylon 17 he shall die. Neither shall Pharaoh with (his] mighty army
and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons ; though Pharaoh may come up to assist him, and the Chaldeans retreat
for a while, they shall soon come again and take the city, 80 that 18 Pharaoh will be of no assistance to them in the end : Seeing he
despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he hath
given his hand, and hath done all these (things,] he shall not 19 escape. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; [as] I live,
surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that
he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. 20 And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in
my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with
him there for his trespass, that he hath trespassed against me. 21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword,
and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds : and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken [it.] The chapter concludes with a remarkable prophecy, which some un. dersland of the restoration of the house of David under Zerubbabel; but it rather refers to Christ ; the highest, from the stock
of David, when the family was reduced very low. 22 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest
branch of the high cedar, and will set [it ;] I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant [it] upon
high mountain and eminent; that is at Jerusalem, the high and holy mountain, where the gospel was first published. 23 In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it : and it
shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly ce. dar : and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell ; it shall be
come a great and flourishing kingdom, and gather many of all na24 tions under it. And all the trees of the field, all the nations,
shall know that I the Lord have brought down the ligh tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish ; I have been carrying on my great designs ; have brought down those kingdoms which seemed most strong and lasting, and have exalted the kingdoms of my Son : I the Lord have spoken and have done [it ;] it shall as surely be accomplished, as if it were already done.
E are here taught the sacred nature and binding force
of solemn oaths and covenants ; and the dreadful guilt of falsehood and perjury. See how God resented Zedekiah's violation of his oath and covenant. If he had any such casuists about him as there are in the church of Rome, they might persuade him, that as a king he was not obliged to keep his oath, especially as it was in some degree extorted from him, and made with an heathen, and an heretic. But God will not be mocked ; oaths are too solemn thing to be trifled with ; he expects the greatest of men to keep them inviolable, and will punish even kings if they despise them. The church of Rome, which has asserted, that no faith is to be kept with heretics, has dispensed with kings for violating their engagements, and allowed subjects to break their oaths of allegiance, proves herself by these things to
be the mother of falsehoods and abominations. If ever we are calo led to take an oath of allegiance and fidelity ; or, on any other acę count, to make a solemn public appeal to the God of truth, let us be faithful to our engagements. Whatever covenants we enter into even with men, let us carefully fulfil them ; and, though we swear to our own hurt, change not. But we should especially apply this to our covenant transactions with God, and our sacramental oath of fidelity to Christ. Of how much sorer pun. ishment shall he be thought worthy, who breaks this covenant, and thus tramples on the blood of Christ, and treats it as an unholy thing,
2. Let us rejoice in the advancement and security of the king: dom of God. Amidst the tumults of the nations, God is always carrying on his own designs. They have often been very differ. ent from the expectations of men : but his schemes shall succeed, while theirs shall miscarry. He has raised up a kingdom out of the house of David, a rool out of a dry ground. The bes ginning was small, but shall be greatly increased, and many na. tions be made subject to it. Let us bless God that he has found. ed, supported, and defended it; and that we are brought under the security and comfort of it.' Let us fly to this tree, that is, to Christ, for shelter and happiness ; and reverence and obey the laws of his kingdom. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who haik thus visited and redeemed his people.
This is a chapter in which we are all highly concerned, as the Judge
of the earth gives us an account of his dealing with his creatures ; at the same time instructing the Jews that they should find it bele, ter or worse with them, as they behaved themselves in their cap tivity. 1 WE word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, 2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning
the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? intimating that it was as unjust to punish the son for the sins of the father, as that the children's teeth should be hurt and pained by what the fathers had eaten : by this they insinuated that they were better than their fathers; but their pretence was vain, their
own sins being sufficient to justify God in the punishment he brought 3 upon them. [As] I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not
have [occasion) any more to use this proverb in Israel, there shall be such a visible difference between the righteous and the wicked. Behold, all souls are mine ; as the soul of the father,
ito also the soul of the son is mine ; they are equally my work, and therefore I will deal impartially by them : the soul that sinneth, it shall die ; he shall suffer for his own fault here, and be miserable hereafter.
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 6 (And] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted
up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath
defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a 7 menstruous woman, And hath not oppressed any, (but] hath
restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; if he has not only done no injury, but relieved and supported those in distres8 ; He [that] hath not given forth upon usury to his brethren, neither hath taken any increase, any oppressive, unreasonable increase of strangers, (both of which were forbidden under the law) [that] hath withdrawn bis hand from iniquity when he perceived that he began
to act wrong, and hath executed true judgment between man 9 and man, Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my
judgments, both the ceremonial and moral law, to deal truly, uprightly, and sincerely, according to the best of his knowledge, he (is) just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God; shall enjoy the comfort and reward of his obedience, and need not fear
any of those punishments that befal the wicked. 10 If he beget a son [that is) a robber, a shedder of blood, and 11 (that) doeth the like to (any) one of these things,] And that
doeth not any of those [duties,] but even hath eaten upon the 12 mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, Hath.oppressed • the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restor
ed the pledge before the going down of the sun as the law com
manded, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath commit13 ted abomination, Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken
increase : shall he then live? he shall not live : he hath done all these abominations ; he shall surely die ; his blood shall be upon him ; his destruction is owing to himself.
Now, lo, [if] he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, 15 [That) hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lift
ed up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not de 16 filed his neighbour's wife, Neither hath oppressed any, hath
not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence,
(but] hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered 17 the naked with a garment, (That] hath taken off his hand
from the poor, hath neither oppressed nor ill treated them, [that] hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed
my judgments, hath walked in my statutes ; he shall not die 18 for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. [As for)
his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother