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It follows in the third verfe of this chapter. SERM. O my people, what have I done unto thee? And III. wherein bave I wearied thee? Testify against me. God condefcends by the Prophet, to expoftulate with the people of Ifrael. And he gives them leave to come, and make their complaints against him, if they had any: And shew their reafons, if they could affign any, why they had forfaken him, neglected his laws, and gone after strange gods.
In Jeremiah are fome appeals to the Jewish people very much resembling this. Thus Jer. ii. 5 faith the Lord: What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Again, Have I been a wilder- Ver. 31. neffe unto Ifrael, a land of darknesse?
Ver. 4. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the houfe of fervants, and I fent before thee Mofes, and Aaron, and Miriam.
They had no injuries, or neglects, to complain of. And farther, God reminds them of the benefits he had beftowed upon them, particularly their remarkable deliverance from the bondage of Egypt: when they were brought out thence, and were E 2 form
SERM. formed into a diftinct nation, and made a great people.
Ver. 5. Remember now, what Balak, King of Moab confulted, and what Balaam, the fon of Beor answered him from Sittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteoufneffe of the Lord. "Remember alfo the confultations "and defigns of Balak against you, and how "Balaam was constrained to bless, instead of pronouncing a curfe upon you: and that though you were then brought into an heinous tranfgreffion, you were not utterly "cut off and destroyed: but I bore with you, "and preferved you, until I had brought you "into the land of Canaan, and given you "reft there. Recollect these things, that
you may be convinced of my righteouf"neffe and equity, my mercie and compas"fion, my fidelity and veracity, in fulfilling the promises I had made, and that I have not "failed to do you good. You will then per"ceive, that you have no just ground of com"plaint against me: And that if some desirable "bleffings are withheld, it cannot be owing
to want of goodneffe in me, but it must be "rather owing to fome failure of duty in you which is the cause of the evils you
fuffer, and the ground of the controverfie SERM.
xxiii. 4. 5.
Since the deliverance from the defigns of Balak is here fo particularly mentioned, as a very remarkable, and eminent proof of the divine regard; it may be worth while to observe, that elsewhere it is alfo mentioned in a very special manner among other mercies vouchfafed this people in the wilderneffe. They hired against thee Balaam the son of Deut. Beor, of Pethor, in Mefopotamia, to curse thee. Neverthefs the Lord thy God would not bearken unto Balaam: but the Lord thy God turned the curfe into a bleffing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. And in another place: Then Balak the fon of Zippor Josh xxiv King of Moab arofe and warred against Ifrael: 9.10. and fent, and called Balaam the fon of Beor,
o curse you. But I would not hearken unto Balaam. Therefore he blessed you fill. So I delivered you out of his band.
Then, at the fixth verfe of this chapter we have these words: Wherewith fhall I come before the Lord, and bow my-felf before the moft high God.
After the foregoing pathetic expoftulation with the Jewish people, and the reproof of their ingratitude, they are introduced by the E 3
SERM. Prophet, as anxiously inquifitive, how they III. might appease the divine difpleafure, avert his judgements, and obtain favour and acceptance. If it were requifite, they would bring the most numerous, and the most coftly offerings.
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?" Will God ac"cept now of the ordinarie facrifices, fuch "as we offer upon other occafions, and are required in his law ? "
Ver. 7. Will the Lord be pleased with thoufands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oyle? Or does he expect a more coftly "offering, fuch as our Kings have fome"times made upon extraordinarie occafions? "We are ready, if that will be accepted, to "offer up thousands of rams, and to add in "proportion meat-offerings, prepared with "oyle, though it would amount to a very "great quantity."
Shall I give my first-born for my tranfgrefhon, the fruit of my body for the fin of my. "Or fhall we offer up our own children,
as fome do to appease their deities? We are "not averse even to this, though the first"born should be demanded."
The answer is in the text: He has fhewed SERM. thee, o man, what is good. And what doth III. the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercie, and to walk humbly with thy God?" This is the most acceptable service "to God. This is preferable to all the facri"fices before-mentioned. Let but these things be refolved upon and performed, "and the controverfie is removed: the dif"ference is reconciled, and made up: the "wrath of God is appeafed, and he will "fhew you favour, and blefs and profper you."
This matter is alfo farther illuftrated in the remaining part of the chapter. yet the treasures of wickednesse in the house of the wicked, and the fcant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and the bag of deceitful weights? "It is in vain to think, I should "be reconciled to those who continue to
Are there Ver. 10.
practise fraud and injuftice: or that I "should approve of and blefs thofe, who "perfift in their idolatrous worship." And thus the chapter concludes: For the Ver. 16 Statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Abab.
ye walk in their E 4