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Jeremiah 44:1-30 - Homilies By S. Conway

Jeremiah's last sermon.

There are other prophecies of Jeremiah recorded in this book in the chapters that remain, but this discourse is the last that we know of his delivering. And with it the curtain falls upon this great prophet of God; upon Baruch, his beloved companion and helper; and upon the wretched Jews for whose good he had laboured, but in vain. A long interval separates it from that in the previous chapter; for we see the people not now at Tahpanhes, at the border of Egypt, but gathering from all parts of the land to Pathros, to a great heathen festival there. And a very awful discourse it is. There is not one word of gospel in it, but the boom of the heavy bell of doom is heard resounding all through it—not one solitary chime of grace, or mercy, or hope anywhere. It is like the words of the Son of man when he comes to judge the world, and all nations are brought before him, to those on his left hand. They are told their sin and their doom. They make such defence as they can, which is rather a defiance than a defence; they are answered, and their sentence is pronounced again. There is throughout both these discourses nought but "a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation." "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." Such sermons might well have suggested these apostolic words. In this one note—

I. ITS COMMENCEMENT THE INDICTMENT OF THE CONDEMNED . The prophet reminds them that they had seen God's judgments upon their brethren and fathers, and they knew the cause, that it was their sin against God. They had heard warning after warning addressed to themselves against the same sin. And not only had these warnings been repeated, but many messengers had been sent, and these had given their message with all earnestness and zeal, in season and out of season, and God himself had deigned to entreat with them and plead with them, saying, "Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!" But they had disregarded, despised, disobeyed all, and they were not humbled (verse 10) even now. Therefore was their judgment pronounced against them and their doom was fixed.

II. THE ANSWER OF THE PEOPLE . They would not believe in their doom. They resolved to persist in their sin. They declared they were every way better off in serving idols than in serving God.


CONCLUSION . As we read and ponder this terrible chapter, and remember that as its declarations concerning the past were true, so also were those that related to the future; for the judgment came upon them to the uttermost, far more than fell on those in Babylon. What can our hearts say to this? "Who would not fear thee, O Lord?" "Keep back thy servant … from presumptuous sins."—C.

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