The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,…
I. RELIGION, AND THE GENERAL PRACTICE OF IT IN A NATION, IS THE SUREST ESTABLISHMENT OF STATES AND KINGDOMS.
1. This is true in a natural way; because the duties of religion have a natural tendency to those things which are the foundations of that establishment, namely, peace, unity, and order.
2. But besides a natural tendency in virtue and goodness to the establishment of states and kingdoms, as many as believe religion must likewise believe that the general practice of it in a nation will be always attended with a supernatural blessing from God. For this is the result of all the declarations of God, as to the manner and rule of His dealings with mankind, whether persons or nations, that as many as faithfully serve and obey Him, shall be assuredly intituled to His favour and protection.
II. IN EVERY NATION IT IS THE PROPER BUSINESS OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATES, AS SUCH, TO VINDICATE AND MAINTAIN THE HONOUR OF RELIGION. And when I am speaking of authority, and the vigorous application thereof by the magistrate, I cannot omit one thing, which is a mighty enforcement of it, a good example; which, in its nature, is the most forcible way of teaching and correcting, and without which, neither the instructions of ministers, nor the authority of magistrates, can avail, to the effectual discouragement and suppression of vice.
III. WITHOUT A SERIOUS REGARD TO THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DUTIES OF RELIGION, THE GREATEST ZEAL IN OTHER MATTERS, EVEN THOUGH IT BE FOR THE ESTABLISHED WORSHIP OF GOD, WILL NOT SECURE THE DIVINE FAVOUR AND PROTECTION, EITHER TO PERSONS OR NATIONS. The external rites of religion are good helps to devotion, and proper means of maintaining order and decency in the public worship; and a zeal to preserve them, with a serious regard to those pious and wise ends, is very laudable: but to believe that zeal for them will atone for a neglect of the moral and spiritual duties of religion is a dangerous error.
(E. Gibson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,