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Jeremiah's Unsuccessful Preaching

Jeremiah's Unsuccessful Preaching

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Published by glennpease
BY JOB ORTON


Jeremiah's observation concerning the ignorance of the
POOR, and the insolence of the great.

Jeremiah v. 4, 5.

Therefore I said, Surely these are poor ; they are foolish ; for they
know not the way of Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I
will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them ; for
they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their
God : hut these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the
bonds.
BY JOB ORTON


Jeremiah's observation concerning the ignorance of the
POOR, and the insolence of the great.

Jeremiah v. 4, 5.

Therefore I said, Surely these are poor ; they are foolish ; for they
know not the way of Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I
will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them ; for
they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their
God : hut these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the
bonds.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 19, 2013
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JEREMIAH'S USUCCESSFUL PREACHIGBY JOB ORTO Jeremiah's observation concerning the ignorance of the POOR, and the insolence of the great. Jeremiah v. 4, 5. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor ; they are foolish ; for they know not the way of Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them ; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God : hut these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. As the different ranks and conditions of life have their peculiar snares and temptations, it is the duty of Christian ministers to make a plain and faithful representation of these to their hearers, and to caution them against " the sins that easily beset them." This is needful, that the wise design of providence in placing men in different conditions of life may not be counteracted, nor those services to society hindered, of which they are respectively capable. This will be my chief design, brethren, in considering the subject now before us. The prophet Jeremiah intimates, that he had preached to the people of Israel, and admonished them; but all in vain. "They had refused to receive correc- tion" and instruction, " had hardened their faces and refused to return" to God, as he observes in the preceding verse. He therefore set himself to inquire, what was the cause of their obstinacy and disobedience : and he thought it might be this ; that the persons to whom he had chiefly addressed, were the poor, and that their ignorance hindered their improvement of his instructions. He therefore addressed himself to the great men; vol. i. q 226 orton's practical works.
 
but found no better success among them ; owing;, not to their ignorance, but their wilfulness and obstinacy. "Therefore I said, These are poor ; they are foolish ; for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them ; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God ; but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds." This hath been too much the case in every succeeding age, and the Lord's ministers have seen reason to adopt Jeremiah's remark. Let me consider the character of many of the poor and great as they are here described ; illustrate the causes of their respec- tive disobedience to the divine commands ; and then suggest to you the proper improvement of this subject. L Let me consider the character of many of the poor as here described. Seeing them*impudent in sin, and unreformed by the judg- ments of God, Jeremiah said, " Surely these are poor; they are foolish," or act foolishly, that is, wickedly ; and the reason is, "they know not the way of Lord, nor the judgment of their God." Their obstinacy in sin was owing to their ignorance ; and their ignorance was in a great measure occasioned by their poverty. This was the best excuse he could make for them. L Their obstinacy in sin was owing to their ignorance; their ignorance of God and divine things and the concerns of their souls ; the principal objects with which rational creatures should be solicitous to gain an acquaintance. " They knew not the way of the Lord," that is, religion. They were ignorant of the way in which he had directed them to walk ; were unacquainted with his laws and conmiands ; at least with their purity and extent, the sanctions by which they were enforced, the blessings promised to the obedient, and the curses denounced against the disobedient. Whatever they knew of the world, or their several employments in life, they knew little or nothing of religion. They were likewise unacquainted with " the judgments of their God ;" which, as distinguished from the former, may signify his
 
providences ; the design of his several dispensations to them ; particularly the afflictions with which he had visited them. They did not observe and own his hand in the calamities brought upon them ; nor seriously consider, why he had contended with them : but were as stupid and insensible, as if they had no ra- tional faculties ; and all this, though, as is intimated in the text, they called the Lord their God, and professed relation and de- votedness to him. Ignorance, my brethren, is still the source of error and sin. When men have no clear, distinct ideas of God and religion, of their own souls and a future state, it is no wonder that they act amiss. They misnnprehend the nature of God ; think him such an one as themselves ; and presume upon Dis. XXVII.] Jeremiah's unsuccessful preaching. 227 his mercy without regarding him as the righteous governor of the world, and considering the terms on which his mercy is promised. They have a general idea of Christ, as a Saviour; but do not understand or attend to the nature of that salvation, of which he is the author. They fix their minds upon some particular parts of the gospel, without considering the whole of it; and are ignorant that it is " a doctrine according to godli- ness." "The light that is in them is darkness ;" and what can be expected from them but works of darkness ? Their ignorance in a great measure defeats the end of preaching to them, or conversing with them ; because they can scarce understand the plainest language. Hence some of them fall into the most absurd errors and licentious practices, and continue in them without shame. They contract a dull, hardened spirit ; they refuse instruction, and even affliction makes no impression upon them. Accordingly the apostle observes of the heathen, that "their understandings were darkened, and they were alienated from the hfe of God," a divine holy life, "through the ignorance that was in them, and so they worked uncleanness with greediness," Eph. iv. 18. And he represents it as the leading design of the gospel, " to open men's eyes, and turn them from darkness to light." Further,

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