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James Comper Gray.

The Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 9) online

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monk, that two
kinds of prisons
woull serve for
all offenders in
the world — an
Inquisition and
a Bedlam. If any
man should deny
the being of a
God, and the im-|
mortaUty of the
soul, such a one
should be put
into the first of
these — the Inqui-
sition — as being
a desperate
heretic ; but if
any man should
profess to believe
these things, and
yet allow himself
in any known
wile ness, such
a o niuhould be
put to Bed-
lam." — TJk men

" Satiety comes
of riches, and
con tumacious-
ness of satiety."
— Holon.

a Percg Anec.



rt"Evil-Merodacl'
is s:iid in Jewish
tradition to have
foi-ined an ac-
quaintance witti
J c Uoiachia



204



JEREMIAH.



[Cap. lii. 31-34.



wliile they were
companions in
prison ; Nfbu-
cliadnezzar hav-
ing put his son
in prison tor a
tvna."—Faussct.

b " This change
of condition,
vouchsafed at
Babylon by God's
mercy, even to
Jelioiachin, after
the terrible male-
dictions de-
nounced against
him, and aftt'r a
long exile and
captivity of 37
yrs., was like a
presage of com-
fort and mercy
from God Him-
self, and was a
prelude and a
pledge of the
liberation and
exaltation of the
Jewisli nation,
when it had been
humbled and
purified by the
discipline of suf-
fering, and of its
return to its
own land." —
Woi-dsxootih.
• terey Aaec



2 Sa. ix. 7, 11.) (34) continual diet, or daily provision for
the maintenance of himself and his attendants.*

Francis I. — When Francis, after having- performed prodigies of
valour and of personal courage, and after having two horses
killed under him, was taken prisoner at the battle of Pavia, he
was conducted captive to the celebrated convent of Carthusian
friars at Pavia. He sent to his mother, Louisa of Savoy, Regent
of France in his absence, the melancholy news of liis captivity,
conceived in these dignified and exjn-essive terms, '• Tout est
l^erdu, madame, hormis I'honneur." From Pavia, Francis was
conducted to Madrid, where he was closely confined, and treated
with great indignity, contraiy to the advice given to Charles the
Fifth by one of his counsellors, the Bishop of Osma, who advised
his sovereign to present Francis with his liberty, with no other
condition annexed to it than that of becoming his ally, urging
that it would be an act of generosity worthy of so great a
monarch. Francis suffered extremely from his imprisonment, and
would most probably have died from it had not his sister, the
Queen of Navarre, visited him in his wretched and solitary state.
So much did this behaviour endear his sister to him, that he
alwaj's called her " son time," " sa mignon ; " and notwithstanding
his over-strict and bigoted attachment to the Church of Rome,
he permitted her to become a Prostestant, without interfering
with her religious opinions. AVlien Francis was at length re-
leased from his imprisonment, and after he had crossed in a boat
the small rivei Fontarabia, which divides Spain from France, he
mounted a fleet Arabian courser that was brought him, and
drawing his sword, cried out in a tone of transport and exulta-
tion, " I am still a king 1 " «



LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAR



Introbittfiom



(^Fbr General Introduction see commencement of Prophecies of Jeremrali!)

This Book is a kind of appendix to tlie Prophecies of Jeremiah, of which,
in the original Scriptures, it formed a part. It expresses with pathetio
tenderness the Prophet's grief for the desolation of the city and temple of
Jerusalem, the captivity of tlie people, the miseries of tamiue, the cessation of
public worship, and the other calamities with which his countrymen had been
vi-sited for their sins. The leading object was to teach the suffering Jews
neither to despise the chastening of the Lord, nor to faint when i-ebuked of
Him, but to turn to God with deep repentance, to confess their sins, and
humbly look to Him alone for pardon and deliverance. No Book in Scripture
is more rich in expressions of patriotic feeling, or of the penitence and tru.st
which become an afflicted Christian. The form of these poems is strictly
regular, with the exception of the last. They are in the original Hebrew
alphabetical acrostics, in which every stanza begins with a new letter. The
third has this further peculiarity, that all the three lines in each stanza have
the same letter at the commencement. As a composition this Book is remark-
able for the great variety of pathetic images it contains : expressive of the
deepest sorrow, and worthy of the subject which they are desiiined to illustrate
^Angus).



Snn0|3sis.



{Afcnrding to Home.)
This Book, ■wliicli iu our Bible is divided
into five chapters, consists of five distinct
Elegies.

Elegy I.— A Lamentation of the sad reverse
of fortune which the country had expe-
rienced, and a confession that the miseries
were well deserved.

Elegy II.— A mclanclioly detail of the dire
effects of the Divine anger in the sub-
version of the civil and religious constitu-
tion of the Jews,



Elegy III. — The inexhaustible mercies of
God are set forth as the never-failing
source of consolation, and an exhortation
to patience.

Elegy IV. — A contrast between the present
deplorable condition of the nation and
their former flourishing affairs.

Elegy v.— An epilogue to the previoua
Klegies. This chapter is in some versiaaj
entitled " The Prayer of Jeremiah."



Cap. 1. 1-6.]



LAMENTATIONS OF JFREM7AB.



207



CHAPTER TEH FIRST.

1 — 3. (1) solitary, alone ; without her inhabitants." as a
widow, " cities are often described as the mothers of their in-
habitants, aud their kings and princes as their husbands."
nations . . provinces, the surrounding kingdoms, e.ff.
Philistines, Edomites, etc. tributary, the word here means
bond-servants. " Her only function now is to be a vassal unto
others." (2) weepetli sore, Je. xiii. 17.* lovers, or allied
states, dealt treacherously, utterly failing her in the hour
of her need.'" (3) Judah., etc., Je. lii. 27. affliction . .
servitude, their breaking the Mosaic law in relation to setting
at liberty the slaves, was one great sign and proof of their
rebelliousness, straits, a metaphor taken from hunting :
driven into a corner.'^

T/te fire at Chicago. — IMr. Banchor relates that when the
Chicago iire had so far died out as to admit of investigation
amongst the heaps of ruins, a search was made on the spot where
stood the Western News Company's establishment. An enor-
mous stock of periodicals, Bibles, and various books had been
consumed, and in turning over the debris, a leaf of a quarto
Bible was found charred and tinder, and upon it was the first
chapter of Jeremiah, which opens with the above words. This,
he adds, '■ was all the literatm-e saved from the great depot."
Become as a ividotr. — Jerusalem had been sacked by a ruthless
foe, and her sons had been carried off to Babylon. " As a widow.''
"When a husband dies, the solitary widow takes off her marriage
jewels, and other ornaments ; her head is shaved ; and she sits
down in the dust to bewail her lamentable condition. In the
book Scanda P^trdna, it is said, after the splendid city of Kupera
had been plundered by the cruel Assurs, " the city deprived of its
riches by the pillage of the Assurs, resembled the widow 1"
Jerusalem became as a widow in her loneliness bemoaning her
departed lord."

4 — 6 (4) ways, i.e. highways leading from the country dis-
tricts to Jeru.salem. mourn, bee. none journey on them to the
solemn feasts." Gra.ss-grown roads and streets may, ilguratively,
be said to be in mourning, her gates, those of Zion. virgins,
'• v.'ho took a prominent part in all religious festivals.''* (.5)
chief, masters over her." prosper, lit. •' are at rest," so
crushed is Zion. that they have no fear of her renewing her re-
bellion, children . . enemy, driven before them like a flock
of slaves.'^ (6) beauty, that of her temple, palaces, aud walls,
liarts, or deer.

An old man's sorrow. —

Careful, sorrowing,

He seeth in his son's bower

The v/ine-hall deserted,

The resort of the wine noiseless,

The knight sleepeth ;

The warrior, in darkness.

There is not there

Koise of the harp,



n Jerusalem la
described as a
widow woman,
sitting sad and
pensive, on the
ground, tlie posi-
tion often taken
bj' mom-ners.

b "The dartness
or solitude of the
night dot)i natu-
rally promote
melancholy re-
flection s." — •
Lowth.



c Comp.
x.\iv. 2.



2 KL



d "Image from
robbers, who, in
the E., intercept
travellers at the
narrow passes in
hilly regious." —
Fausset.

V.3. J. C. Dieterie,
C35.



a For the ioy o(
these journeys
coni]i. the Psalui3
of Degrees, cxx.
— cxxxiii.

b Ex. XV. 20 ; Ps.
Ixviii. 25; Je.
xxxi. 13.

c De. xxviii. -4.

d " In ancient
sculptures such
mournful proces-
sions of •women
and tender chil-
dren are often
engraved." — Spi:
Com.

" The sorrowa
which the soul
endures, not self-
inflicted, are but
hooded joys, that



208



LAMENTATWyrS OF JEREMIAB.



[Cap. i. 7-11.



when she touches
the wlrrte stnuul
of he;rven, tlicy
chister rouml lier
and slip otr their
robes, anil laugh
out aiigiMri in tiie
■world of lifjiit."—
J. SIniii/iin liiijij.
e John M. Kemble.



a "The bitterest
ingredient in the
cup of adversity
is the remeni-
branca of lost
possessions and
e njoy me nts."
— Henderson.

h " None could
stain our glory if
we did not stain
It ourselves. " —
Mat. Henry.

e U. R. Thomas.

" Let never day
nor night uu-
hallow'il pass, but
still re in em ber
what the Lord
bath done." —
Shakespeare.



d Dr. W.
Sprague.



B.



3 Chr. xxxvi.



•10.



"■What man

should learn is,
to reject all that
is useless iu re-
membrance, aud
to retain with
cheerfulness all
that can profit
and amend. For-
get not thy sins,
that thou niaycst
B( iTow and re-
pent ; remember
death, that thou
ni:iyest sin no
n:urc ; remember
the judgment of
God, that thou
maycot justly
fear ; and never
torget His mercy,



Joy in the dwellings,

As there was before.

Then departeth he into songs,

Singeth a lay of sorrow,

One after one ; —

All seemed to him too wiie,

The plains and the dwelling-place.*

7 — 9. (7) remembered, better, remember.=<. In her
afflicted state she thinks over the past, with the bitterness of
regret.'^ when, better, after which, mock . . sabbatlis, wh.
seemed to the heathen a mere excuse for idleness. (<S) removed,
or she is as a thing which men remove from their sight. She is
become an abomination, sigheth., " over the infamy of her
deeds thus brought to open shame."' backward, as if she
would hide herself. (9 J Skirts, wh. were as if rolled in the
mire.* last end, comp. De. xxxii. 2'J. down wonderfully,
Is. xlvii. 1 ; Je. xlviii. 18.

Till' action of the memory in pahi (v. 7). — A word or two on
the place of memory. I. It generally refers to the pleasant
things of the past ; this by a law of its nature, the law of contrast.

I. Life has its pleasant things ; 2. Life has its painful things.

II. That its reference to the pleasant things of the past always
intensifies the sufferings of the sufferer. Two things tend to this.

1. The cousciousness that the pleasant things are irrevocably lost ;

2. That they have been morally abused ; memory involves recep-
tivity, retention, reproduction.'' — TlieivlcJwd surprl.wd hij their own
desfniefion (r. 10). — It will at once be unexpectedly dreaJful. and
dreadfully unexpected. 1. This will appear from the fact that
God's wrath against the wicked is constantly accumulating ; 2.
Because in the present life God's wrath, for the most part, seems
to slumber ; at least they perceive no direct expression of it ; 3.
Because they have been in this life receiving so many expres-
sions of Divine goodness ; 4. Because the wicked are often dis-
tinguished for worldly prosperity ; 5. Because they have in some
way or other made a confident calculation of escaping it."*

10, 11. (10) pleasant things, prob. with special reference
to the sacred vessels of the temple." not enter, De. xxiii. 3.
(11) pleasant things, here, their jewels and treasures, re-
lieve the soul, or " cause the breath to return ; "' i.e. refresh a
fainting person with food, vile, i.e. treated as vile. There is
no penitence in the expression.

Pleasant things for food. — What a melancholy picture have we
here 1 The captives, it appears, had been allowed, or they had
concealed, some of their '• pleasant things," their jewels, and
were now obliged to part with them for food. "What a view we
also have here of the cruelty of the vile Babylonians 1 The
people of the East retain their little valuables, such as jewels,
and rich robes, to the last extremity. To part with that w'hich
has, perhaps, been a kind of heirloom in the family, is like
parting with life. Have they sold the last A\T:eck of their olher
property ; are they on the verge of death ; the emaciated mem-
Ijers of the family are called together, and some one undertakes
the heartrending task of proposing such a bracelet, or armlet or
anklet, or car-ring, or the pendant of the forehead, to be sold.
For a moment all are silent, till the mother or daughters



Cap. 1. 12-14.]



LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAS,



209



burst into tears, and then the contending feelings of hunger,
and love for their " pleasant things," alternately prevail. In
general the conclusion is, to pledge, and not to sell, their much-
loved ornaments ; but such is the rapacity of those who have
money, and such the extreme penury of those who have once
fallen, they seldom regain them. Numbers give their jewels to
others to keep for them, and never see them more. I recollect a
person came to the mission-house, and brought a large casket of
jewels for me to keep in our iron chest. The valuable gems
M'ere shown to me one by one : but I declined receiving them,
because I had heard that the person was greatly indebted to the
Government, and was led to suspect the object was to defraud the
creditors. They were then taken to another person, who received
them, decamped to a distant part of the country, and the whole
of the property was lost, both to the individual and the
creditors.*

12—14. (12) nothing . . by," as Zion sits in her desolate-
ness and sorrow, she appeals to all who pass by to pity her woes.
" As if the Prophet had said, Let any indifferent person judge,
whether any calamity is like to mine."'' (\'.\) fire, or inflamma-
tion, net, image taken from hunting wild beasts, turned, me
back, to drive me into the nets. (14) yoke, an agricultural
figure, his hand, as if He were the ploughman, who
fastened firmly' on the yoke, wreathed, i.e. the cords fastening
the yoke are knotted together, strength to fall, under so
heavy a yoke.

To those n-lio pans lij (v. 12). — We learn — 1. That sin produces
sorrow ; 2. Sin deserves punishment ; 3. The punishment due to
our sins have been visited on Christ ; 4. Christ being punished
for our sins, sorrowed on account of sin : 5. It was the sorrow of
innocence under the imputation of guilt ; G. Under the imputa-
tion of the sin of the whole world : 7. At the hands of one whom
He termed His righteoits Father ; 8. It was voluntarily under-
taken ; !). It was willingly endured ; 10. It was patientlj' en-
dured ; 11. All this sorrow is now a part of history ; 12. It is
equally a matter of history that men are so much engrossed by
the concerns of life that they are turned aside ; 13. These are
the passers by, — note them. Mr. Worldly Wiseman, — the votary of
fashion, the sensualist. Is it nothing ? It is something even now,
it is something forever. — Chri.st'fi sufferings unpnraUded (c. 12).
— 1. No other could have had the same intensified sense of suffei'-
ing : 2. Or the same cause of suffering ; 3. Or the same absolute
isolation in sufTering : 4. Or ever encountered the same base in-
gratitude or malevolence ; .5. No other sufferings ever attained
the .■ ame glorious rrr^ults ; 6. Or will ever be followed by such
dignity and joy to the illustrious sufferer. "^

A pope's srrniori. — At the Council of Lyons in A.D. 1245, Pope
Innocent IV. one day mounted the pulpit in full attire, and
gave out for his text, " See ye, who pass this way, was ever sor-
row like unto my .sorrow.'" And compared his five afflictions —
the desolations of tne ]\Iongols, the revolt of the Greek Church,
the iirogivss of heresy, the devastation of the Holy Land, and the
persecutions of tlie emperor, to depose Mhom and to award the
empire that, council had been summoned — to tlie five wounds of
Jesus. He wept himself ; and the tears of others interrupted the
Holy Father's discourse,"*

VOL. IX, O.X, O



that thou mayest
never be .eel to
lies pair."— /V-
tmic/i.

" Great abun-
dance of riches
cannot of any
man be both
gathered and
kept without
sin." — Erasmus.

b Robert!.



a "This sorrow-
ful exclamation
may, in a secoml-
ary ami spiritual
sense, be regard-
ed as coming
from the lips of
Olirist on the
cross, bewailing
the sins and
miseries of the
world, which
caused Him that
bitter anguish,
of which alone it
could be properly
said, that' no sor-
row was like unto
His sorrow.' "—
WordsiL'urlh.



V. 12. Bp. An-
drem,ii. iSS; H.
Sravgall, 194 ; R.
n'armford,i.319;
Dr. J. Toulmin,
.375 ; /. Neirloit,
iv. 20O; Up. AJiiril,
i. 137; C. Haic-
trnj, 133 ; //.
/l/((''no«. iv. 371;
/. ^/cZ/tv, ii. 202;
F. Close, i. 50;
Dr. W. Wilson,
157; Dr. A.
AkCfiul, 351; E.
/Heiicoice, ii. 205 ;
A. Gatty, ii. 258.



c Dr. J. Burnt,



d F. Jacox.



210



LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMlAn.



[Cap, i. 15-23.



a " They fell not
on tlio battle-
field but iu the
heart of the
city." — Otlrin.
I lOx. ix. 29, 33 ;
Je. iv. 31.
V. 17. " What a
grapliic view we
liave here of a
person in dis-
tress! See that
pnur willow Iook-
iuK at the dead
body of her hus-
band, as the
people take it
from the house :
she spreads forth
her hands to
their utmost ex-
tent, and pite-
ously bewails her
condition. The
last allusion iu
the verse is very
commou." — Jio-
berls.
c H. Giles.

a Spk. Com.
" The forms of
expression used
in this r. are
strongly indica-
tive of that vio-
lently excited
state of the in-
testines which is
occasioned by ex-
cessive grief. The
whole verse is
the most affect-
ing imaginable."

V. 20. Ah/: Drum-

tnoiid, 149.

b C/irislopher

Love.

a Je. 1. 1, 2, etc.

h Dr. II. Bonar.

" For his was not
that open, artless
soul, that feels
relief by bidding
Borrow flow; nor
souglit he friend
to counsel or con-
dole, whate'cr
his grief mote be,
•whic)! he could
not control." —
Uyron.

Content is tlio
gift of heaven,
Bnd not the
certain effect of
anything uiion
earth; and it is



15—17. (l.o) trodden, etc.. hy the nii,?ht t)f the conquerors,
the very soldiers were trainpled down in the streetp." assembly,
of armies ; of eneini(;s. young men, who arc the i«tren.Lfth and
hope of ana tion. as . . "winepress, Is. Ixiii ;i. (Id) mine eye,
etc., Je. xiii. 17, xiv. 17 ; La. ii. IS. Thi.s is the plaintive lamen-
tation of Ziou. the widow, as she sits solitary.* relieve, or re-
vive. (17) spreadeth . . hands, in usual attitude of prayer,
but of prayer under pressure of g'rcat distress.

Uisc'qjiine of .wrruw. — Sorrow is the noblest of all discipline.
Our nature shrinks from it, but it is not the less for the greatness
of our nature. It is a scourge, but there is healing- in its stripes.
It is a chalice, and the drink is bitter, but strength proceeds
from the bitterness. It is a crown of thorns, but it becomes a
wreath of light on the brow which it has lacerated. It is a cross
on which the spirit groans, but every Calvary has an Olivet. To
every place of crucifixion there is likewise a jilace of ascension.
The sun 1 hat was shrouded is unveiled, and heaven opens with
hopes eternal to the soul, which was nigh unto despair."^

18—20. (18) righteous. Da. ix. 7, 14. commandment,
lit. mouth, I.e. message by His prophets. This is the expression
of penitence, (lit) lovers, v. 2. elders . . city, i.e. died of
famine, while vainly seeking for food. (20) bowels, etc., Is',
xvi. 11 ; Je. xlviii. 3(5. turned, or violently agitated, as
death, " pale pining forms, slowl.y wasting with hunger, and
presenting the very image and api^earance of death.''"

False rented ij for sorrow.^. — You th.it in your sorrows give your-
selves to mirth and pastime, and merry meetings, thinking there-
by to drive them away, you do rather increase and augment
them. Just like the pelican, of whom it is reported that, being
naturally afraid of fire, the shei^herds are wont to carry some
coals and lay them by ner nest, and the poor silly creature keeps
fluttering with her wings, thinking thereby to extingui.sh and put
them out, but does but inflame and kindle them ; and by this
means the fire burns both her nest and self too. So, for us to go
to worldly joys and pastimes to quench the sorrows and troubles
of our minds, is the ready way rather to increase than remove
them.*

21, 22. (21) called, or proclaimed. The day of judgments
on the Babylonians ; " the day of the capture of Babylon. (22)
do . . me, some read, " Glean them as Thou hast gleaned me."

Tlie da II that will r'u/ht all n-ron/js (r. 21). — In that day — 1.
God shall no longer be shut out of His own world ; 2. Christ
shall no longer be denied and blasphemed : 3. Evil shall no
longer prevail ; 4. Error shall give place to truth ; 5. The saints
shall no longer be maligned.*

Comfort in sorrnw. — I say there is comfort, real and deep, in

thinking that the path of sorrow we tread has been beaten smooth

and ^^■icle by the feet of the best that ever trod this world : that

our blessed Saviour was a Man of Sorrows : and that the best of

Ilis Church have been suffered to journey by no other path than

that their ]Master went. It is not alone that the mourner travels

^ through this vale of tears : Apostles and Prophets aie of the

company ; saints and martyrs go with him : and the sorrowful

i face of the Great Hedeemer, though sorrowful now no more, re-

I mains for ever with the old look of brotherly sympathy to Ilia



Cap. ii. 1— S.]



LAMEyTATIOm OF JEREMIAff.



211



servants' eyes and hearts. Nothing hath come to us, nothing
will come to us, but has been shared by better men. Search out
the human being sult'ering the sharpest sorrow, and we can match
it in the best of the Church of God.'=



CHAPTER THE SECOND.

1 — 4. (1) witll a cloud, a dark threatening thunder-cloud."
beauty of Israel, Solomon's temple, footstool, i.e. the
ark.* (2) habitations, homesteads, with pastures. These are
rejDresented as destroyed by earthquake, strongholds, fortified
towns, polluted, made the sacred land common or unclean,
free to the invader. (3) horn, the symbol of i)Ower. God took
away all power of defence, drawn . . enemy, better, " He set
Himself — His right hand — as an adversary," comp. r. 4. (4)
pleasant to the eye, all the ehiefest in worth and dignity.

Tlu; footstool. — Those who are in favour with the king, or
those who obey him, are called his footstool. Eut the figure is
also used in a degrading sense. Thus, do two men quarrel, one
Bays to the other, "I will make thee my footstool." "Ah! my
lord, be not angry with me, how long have I been your foot-
Btool/" "I be that fellow's footstool] never 1 Was he not
footstool to my father .' ' <^

5 — 8. (5) swallowed, comp. Jer.'s likening Nebuchadnezzar
to a lion, increased, or heaped it up. (6) a garden, i.e. no
better than a mere garden, feasts, etc., ch. i. 1. despised . .
priest, /.('. shown no regard for even the most honourable offices.
He made all to share in His judgments." (7; cast oft', C(*w^;.
Ps. Ixxxix. 38, 3'J. made a noise, their triumphant shouting
on getting possession of the temple. (8; stretched , . line,
Is. x.xxiv. 11.

Deijrccs of sorrow. —

First learn my grief, how fearful and how deep.
Starting. I woke from my childhood's rosy sleep.
The bud burst forth ! a secret chill came o'er me,
The breath of love drew forth each hue so bright ;
A hero raised me to his own proud height.
And life and all its charms lay spread before me.

*' Already with the bridal myrtle crown'd
For him in whom my very being was bound,
I watch'd, with mingled fear and rapture glowing ;
The marriage-torches cast their ruddy glare ;
They brought me in his corpse and laid it there,
From seven deep wounds his crimson heart's blood flowing."

The second took the word with trembling tone :



Online LibraryJames Comper GrayThe Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 9) → online text (page 36 of 67)