Jeremiah 1:4
The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Jehovah Calls Jeremiah and Gives Him Ample EncouragementsD. Young Jeremiah 1:4-9
A Call to ServiceChristian AgeJeremiah 1:4-10
A Portrait of the True Servant of GodHomilistJeremiah 1:4-10
A Reason for BraveryJeremiah 1:4-10
A Sense of Helplessness as a Preparation for MinistryF. B. Meyer, B. A.Jeremiah 1:4-10
A Young Preacher's Oppressive Sense of ResponsibilityJeremiah 1:4-10
Calling to ServiceJ. Spencer.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Charge to Pastors: Their Work DefinedAndrew Fuller.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Childhood PropheticJeremiah 1:4-10
Childlike, not ChildishG. E. Jeli, M. A.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Courage is MinistersBp. Phillips Brooks.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Danger Regarded from the High Ground of FaithThe Signal.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Destruction and Construction ConjoinedJohn Trapp.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Election and MediationJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Fears and Comforts in Prospect of Labour for GodR. A. Griffin.Jeremiah 1:4-10
God Achieves His Work by Seemingly Inadequate Workmen that the Glory May be HisJeremiah 1:4-10
God Teaching His ProphetF. G. Crossman.Jeremiah 1:4-10
I Formed TheeF. B. Meyer, B. A.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Jeremiah a ServantG. Inglis.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Prophet's CommissionC. J. Ball, M. A.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Reluctance OvercomeY. Burns, D. D.Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Call of the ProphetA.F. Muir Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Divine Mission of ChildrenD. J. Hamer.Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Gospel Minister Encouraged and InstructedD. Wilson.Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Prophet's CallJ. Waite Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Prophet's Call and ConsecrationC. F. Keil.Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Ways in Which Men are Called to ServiceJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 1:4-10
The Work of Jeremiah, and that of St. PaulJohn Ellerton, M. A.Jeremiah 1:4-10
Valiant ManhoodJeremiah 1:4-10
The Dread CommissionS. Conway Jeremiah 1:4-19

I. WHAT WAS IT? (Cf. ver. 10.) It was to denounce the judgments of God against his people. At the end of the commission there is mention made of "building and planting;" but the chief charge is of an altogether opposite character. Jeremiah was set over the nations "to root out, and to pull down, to destroy, and to throw down." It was a terrible undertaking. He was to spare no class, no rank, no order. Kings, princes, priests, and people were all to be alike solemnly warned of the sure judgments that were coming upon them. And the like work has to be done now. How prone we all are to speak with bated breath of the retribution of God! how ready, to ourselves and to others, to explain away or to soften down the awful words of God against sin and the doers thereof! Preachers and teachers of God's truth, beware lest the blood of those who perished because you warned them not be required at your hands (Ezekiel 33:6)!

II. BUT IT IS A DREAD COMMISSION. The shrinking of Jeremiah from it is manifest all through this chapter. Before the heavy burden which he was to bear was fully disclosed to him, he exclaims (ver. 6), "Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak: for I am a child." And the assurances, aids, and encouragements which are given him all show how much needed to be done ere his reluctance and trembling fear could be overcome. The whole chapter tells of God's gracious preparation of his servant for the arduous work he had to do. And whosoever now undertakes like work, if he have no realization of its solemnity and burden, it is plain that God has not called him to speak in his Name. To hear a man tell of the awful doom of the impenitent in a manner that, if it be not flippant, yet seems to relish his task, and to hail it as an opportunity for rhetorical display, is horrible in the extreme, and will do more to harden men in sin than almost anything beside. The subject is so sad, so serious, so terrible, that he who believes in it at all will be sure to sympathize with the prophet's sensitive shrinking from the work to which he was ordained. If when sentencing criminals who have broken the laws of man to their due punishment, humane judges often break down in tears, though their punishment touch not the soul, - how can any contemplate the death that is eternal unmoved or without the most solemn compassion and tenderest pity? And to increase the fear and shrinking with which Jeremiah regarded the work before him, there was the seeming presumption of one so young - little more than "a child" in years, experience, or knowledge - undertaking such a work. The hopelessness of it also. As well might a sparrow think to fly full in the face of a hurricane, as for the young prophet to think to stay the torrent of sin which was now flooding and raging over the whole life of his people. Sin and transgression of the grossest kind had become their habit, their settled custom, their ordinary way. All that he had to tell them they had heard again and again, and had despised and forgotten it. What hope of success was there, then, for him? And the fierceness of the opposition he would arouse would also deter him from the work. It was not alone that the faces (ver. 17) of kings, princes, priests, and people would darken upon him, but they would (ver. 19) "fight against" him, as we know they did. Well, therefore, might he say, "Ah, Lord! I cannot." And today, how many are the plausible reasons which our reluctant hearts urge against that fidelity in such work as Jeremiah's which God requires at our hands! But God will not allow them. See -


1. Ver. 5: he gave him certainty as to his being called to the prophetic work. To know that we are indeed called of God to any work is an unfailing source of strength therein.

2. Ver. 7: he made him feel that necessity was laid upon him; thou shalt go; thou shalt speak. (Cf. Paul's Yea, woe is me, etc.) So Jeremiah himself afterwards says (Jeremiah 20:9) God's word was like "a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." What a help to the preacher of God's truth is such a conviction as this!

3. Ver. 8: he promised his presence and delivering grace. Consciousness of security and safety in God will give a dauntless courage in the face of any and of all opposition.

4. He gave him special qualifications for his work. Words and power of speech (ver. 9). Immovable and unflinching strength of will, a determination and resolve that would not waver (ver. 18).

5. He showed him that the rooting up and the destruction were not ends in themselves, but to lead on to planting and to building afresh (ver. 10). To know that we are working on to a good and blessed end is no small encouragement to us in working through all manner of difficulty to reach that end.

6. He made him vividly realize the nature and nearness of the judgments he foretold. This was the purpose of the visions of the rod of the almond tree and the seething pot (vers. 11-15; for explanation, see exegesis). The first vision told of God's judgment close at hand. The second, of the quarter whence these judgments come, and of the fierce; furious character of the foes who should come upon them. Jeremiah was enabled to "see well" the visions, that is, to realize very forcibly what they meant. Oh, if we could but mere vividly realize what the anger of God is against sin; if we could have a vision of the wrath of God; with how much more power and urgency should we plead with men to flee from the wrath to come!

7. Ver. 16: he reminds Jeremiah of the sins that called for these judgments. A deep sense of sin is indispensable to those who would earnestly warn of the doom of sin.

8. And (ver. 19) God again gives his servant the blessed assurance, "They shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to deliver thee." Thus did God equip the prophet and prepare him for his work. His God supplied all his need. It was a stern warfare on which he was to go, but he went not at his own charges. If we be summoned to difficult duty, we shall be supplied with all-sufficient strength. Only let us be careful to avail ourselves of the help assured, lest (ver. 17) we be dismayed and God confound us before our enemies. Dread, therefore, no commission that God entrusts thee with, for along with it will ever be found the grace, all the grace, needed for its successful discharge. - C.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.
Of Charles Kingsley it is written: "His poems and sermons date from four years old. His delight was to make a little pulpit in his nursery from which, after putting on a pinafore as a surplice, he would preach to an imaginary congregation. His mother unknown to him took down his sermons at the time, and showed them to the Bishop of Peterborough, who predicted that the boy would grow up to be no ordinary man."

I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
The two great blessings of election and mediation are here distinctly taught. God did not speak to the nations directly, but mediatorially He created a minister who should be His mouthpiece. Observation itself teaches us that men are called and chosen of God to do special work in all departments of life. The difficult lesson for some of us to learn is that we are called to obscurity, and yet this is as clearly a Divine appointment as is the choice of an Isaiah or a Jeremiah. If you look at life, you will see that the most of men are called to quietness, to honest industry, and to what is mistakenly called common place existence. What of it? Shall the plain murmur because it is not a mountain? Shall the green fields complain that Mont Blanc is higher than they? If they have not his majesty, neither have they his barrenness. To see our calling, to accept it, to honour it, that is the truly godly and noble life! Every man is born to realise some purpose. Find that purpose out, and fulfil it if you would lovingly serve God. We find no difficulty in persuading a man that he is a Jeremiah or a Daniel, at any rate that, under certain circumstances, he might easily have turned out a Hannibal or a Wellington. The difficulty, on the contrary, is to persuade a man that the lowliest lot, as well as the highest, is the appointment of God; that door keeping is a promotion in the Divine gift; and that to light a lamp may be as surely a call of God as to found an empire or to rule a world.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. THE CALL OF JEHOVAH. Not the product of a reflective musing, nor the result of an inward impulse, but a supernatural Divine revelation, an inspiration, a voice from without.

II. HIS DIVINE CONSECRATION. He felt the hand of the Lord touch him: a palpable pledge of His support. Touching his mouth meant endowment. Equipment and qualification for God's work must be from God.

III. SIGNS WHICH UNVEIL HIS MISSION. These he saw in spirit, God interpreted them to him as confirmatory tokens of his Divine commission.

IV. SUPERNATURAL ASSURANCES OF HELP. God will furnish strength, will make him valiant and impregnable.

(C. F. Keil.)

Like as a sword being committed into the hands of a soldier, by the captain general, he is not to smite before he be commanded to fight, and before the trumpet be sounded to battle: even so, though a man have excellences given him, yet he is not to execute any function, especially publicly, before he receive a particular warrant and calling from God (Revelation 16:1). As the ostrich hath wings and flieth not; so some men have a calling, but they answer it not; they have knowledge, but they practise it not; they have words, but they work not.

(J. Spencer.)

It is very remarkable that the ancient prophets always kept steadily before them the exact way by which they were led up to their office, and were always ready to vindicate themselves by a plain statement of facts. It is remarkable, too, that they could trace their heavenly election, as clearly as their earthly parentage; so much so, that, as a rule, they put on record both pedigrees, so to speak, side by side; first, that which was natural; afterwards, that which was spiritual; and the one was as much a living and indisputable fact as the other. Thus Jeremiah said, "Hilkiah was my father, and the Word of the Lord came unto me," two things separated by an infinite distance, yet both matters of positive and unquestionable certainty. Jeremiah would have treated with equal indifference or contempt the suggestion that Hilkiah was not his father and that the Lord had never spoken to him.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Ask what thy work in the world is. That for which thou wast born, to which thou wast appointed, on account of which thou wast conceived in the creative thought of God. That there is a Divine purpose in thy being is indubitable. Seek that thou mayest be permitted to realise it. And never doubt that thou hast been endowed with all the special aptitudes which that purpose may demand. God has formed thee for it, storing thy mind with all that He knew to be requisite for thy life work.

I. THE DIVINE PURPOSE. "I knew thee...I sanctified thee...I have appointed thee a prophet." In that degenerate age the great Lover of souls needed a spokesman; and the Divine decree determined the conditions of Jeremiah's birth and character and life. How this could be consistent with the exercise of personal volition and choice on the part of the youthful prophet we cannot say. We can only see the two piers of the mighty arch, but not the arch itself, since the mists of time veil it, and we are dim of sight. It is wise to ascertain, if possible, while life is yet young, the direction of the Divine purpose. There are four considerations that will help us. First, the indication of our natural aptitudes; for these, when touched by the Divine Spirit, become talents or gifts. Secondly, the inward impulse or energy of the Divine Spirit, working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Thirdly, the teaching of the Word of God. Fourthly, the evidence of the circumstances and demands of life. When these concur, and focus in one point, there need be no doubt as to the Divine purpose and plan. But in cases where the Divine purpose is not so clearly disclosed, in which life is necessarily lived piecemeal, and the bits of marble for the tesselated floor are heaped together with no apparent plan, we must dare to believe that God has an intention for each of us; and that if we are true to our noblest ideals we shall certainly work out the Divine pattern, and be permitted some day to see it in its unveiled symmetry and beauty. To run errands for God! To be like the angels that excel in strength, and do His commandment, hearkening to the voice of His Word! To resemble the boy messengers in some of our large cities, that wait in readiness to discharge any commission that may be entrusted to them!

II. FORMATIVE INFLUENCES. It is very interesting to study the formative influences that were brought to bear on the character of Jeremiah. There were the character and disposition of his mother, and the priestly office of his father. There was the picturesque beauty of his birthplace, the village of Anathoth, lying on the high road three miles north of Jerusalem, encircled by the famous hills of Benjamin; and looking down the ravine on the blue waters of the Dead Sea, gleaming at the foot of the purple hills of Moab. There was the near proximity of the holy city, rendering it possible for the boy to be present at all the holy festivals, and to receive such instruction as the best seminaries could provide. There was the companionship and association of godly families, like those of Shaphan and Maaseiah, who themselves had passed away, but whose children preserved the religion of their forefathers, and treasured as sacred relies the literature, psalms, and history of purer and better days. His uncle, Shallum, was the husband of the illustrious and devoted prophetess, Huldah; and their son Hanameel shared with Baruch, the grandson of Maaseiah, the close friendship of the prophet, probably from the days that they were boys together. There were also the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah, who were burning as bright constellations in that dark sky, to be soon joined by himself. His mind was evidently very sensitive to all the influences of his early life. His speech is saturated with references to natural emblems and national customs, to the life of men, and the older literature of the Bible. Take, for instance, his earliest sermon in which he refers to the story of the Exodus, and the pleadings of Deuteronomy; to the roar of the young lion, and the habits of the wild ass; to the young camel traversing her ways, and the Arabian of the wilderness; to the murmur of the brook, and the hewing of the cistern. His quick and sensitive soul eagerly incorporated the influences of the varied life around him, and reproduced them. It is thus that God is ever at work, forming and moulding us. The purpose of God gives meaning to many of its strange experiences. Be brave, strong, and trustful!

III. THERE WAS ALSO A SPECIAL PREPARATION FOR HIS LIFE WORK — "The Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth." In a similar manner had the seraph touched the lips of Isaiah years before. And we are reminded that the Lord Jesus promised that the Spirit of the Father should put appropriate words into the lips of His disciples when summoned before the tribunals of their foes. Words are the special gift of God. God never asks us to go on His errands (Jeremiah 1:7) without telling us what to say. If we are living in fellowship with Him, He will impress His messages on our minds and enrich our life with the appropriate utterances by which those messages shall be conveyed to our fellows. Two other assurances were also given. First, "Thou shalt go to whomsoever I shall send thee." This gave a definiteness and directness to the prophet's speech. Secondly, "Be not afraid because of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord."

IV. GOD VOUCHSAFED A TWO-FOLD VISION TO HIS CHILD. On the one hand, the swift-blossoming almond tree assured him that God would watch over him, and see to the swift performance of his predictions; on the other, the seething cauldron, turned towards the north, indicated the breaking out of evil. So the pendulum of life swings to and fro; now to light, and then to dark. But happy is the man whose heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. There was a period in Jeremiah's life when he seems to have swerved from the pathway of complete obedience (Jeremiah 15:19), and to have gone back from following the God-given plan. Surrounded by contention and strife; cursed as though he were a usurer; reproached and threatened with death — he lost heart, and fainted in the precipitous path. Immediately he had good reason to fear that the Divine protection had been withdrawn. We are only safe when we are on God's plan. But as he returned again to his allegiance, these precious promises were renewed, and again sounded in his ears: "I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible."

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Christian Age.
"It was no vision that called me to the foreign field," said a missionary at Clifton Springs, last summer. "I read with intense interest 'All power is given unto Me, go ye, therefore.' This was the foundation stone of my call to be a missionary. Later, while I was in the seminary, a letter was read from Dr. Butler, asking for five new men for India, 'a chance to put your life to the best use for the Master.' Though I had no outward vision, the illumination of the heart is the best vision one can have, and from that day I have never been sorry, and I have never doubted that God called me to this work."

(Christian Age.)

I cannot speak: for I am a child.

1. He feels his weakness.

(1)Having no influence.

(2)Having no experience.

(3)Being unstable.

2. He feels his ignorance.

3. He feels his unworthiness.

4. He dreads the enmity of man.


1. The assurance they are called to the work.

2. The knowledge of the purpose of God.

3. The promise of the presence of God.

4. The fact that the message was from God.

(R. A. Griffin.)

When I first became a pastor in London my success appalled me; and the thought of the career which it seemed to open up, so far from elating me, cast me into the lowest depths outer which I uttered my "miserere," and found no room for a "gloria in excelsis." Who was I that I should continue to lead so great a multitude? I would betake me to my village obscurity, or emigrate to America and find a solitary nest in the backwoods, where I might be sufficient for the things that would be demanded of me. It was just then that the curtain was rising upon my life work, and I dreaded what it might reveal. I hope I was not faithless, but I was timorous and filled with a sense of my own unworthiness. I dreaded the work which a gracious providence had prepared for me. I felt myself a mere child, and trembled as I heard the voice which said, "Arise and thresh the mountains and make them as chaff."

( C. H. Spurgeons Autobiography.)

How many of the greatest men have been broken under a sense of their insufficiency! That passage in the life of John Livingstone comes back to me as I write. He had spoken at the yearly communion at Kirk o' Shotts on the Sabbath with marvellous power, and had been requested to preach on the following morning, which he promised to do on condition that his friends should spend the night in prayer. But, as he awoke in the morning, he was so overwhelmed with the sense of his incompetence, that he went three and a half miles out of the town, to be brought back, however, and to preach so marvellously that five hundred souls were converted. The writer, years ago, when in great anxiety to learn whether his was a true vocation to the Christian ministry, the Bible opened to this page, and he can bear witness that God has been faithful.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

In using such ill-adapted tools for the accomplishment of His designs, God shows His own transparent power. That famous well cover at Antwerp, just opposite the cathedral — one of the finest pieces of wrought-iron that was ever known — is said to have been made by Quintyn Matsys with nothing but a hammer and a file, his fellow workman having taken away his tools. If it be so, the more praise to him for his consummate skill. All God's works redound to His glory; but when the tools He uses appear to be totally inadequate to the results He achieves our reverence is excited, while our reason is abashed, and we marvel at a power we cannot understand.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Farel, alike humble and courageous, had often asked if another would not succeed better than he, and a sort of presentiment had bidden him wait in hope for such a man. Calvin was unwilling to undertake the work, he was not made, he said, for such an office Farel is urgent Calvin educes fresh reasons, and it seemed as though he wanted to deter Farel by exhibiting to him the defects of his future colleague. Once more he asked that he might be left in obscurity to busy himself in studies. Then Farel broke out, "Thy studies are a pretext. I tell thee that if thou refuse to associate thyself with my works God will curse thee for having sought thyself and not Christ." Calvin was henceforth prompt and sincere in the work of the Lord. Say not, I am a child. — Jeremiah's mission: —


1. Inexperience.

2. Insufficient knowledge.

3. Modest diffidence.

4. Yet his ago and defects time would remedy.


1. He refers to His preordination.

2. He refers to His commission.

3. He was to speak God's words.

4. Divine presence pledged.

5. Supernatural communication.Lessons:

1. God, not man, arranges the affairs of His moral kingdom.

2. God qualifies His instruments.

3. God often selects His agents, not as men would do.

4. God gives His own message to His messengers.

5. The ministry of God's servants is mighty for good or evil.

(1)Listen when God speaks.

(2)Obey when He commands

(3)Trust when He promises.

(Y. Burns, D. D.)

I. WHAT IT IS, IN SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE, TO BE A CHILD. This is one of the most comforting of Gospel names, when it unites us with God as our Father, and thus implies that there is the holy principle of a new birth unto righteousness within us.

1. A child in this sense, is one who has been translated out of his own unrighteous nature into the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ; and this translation takes him at once from under the dominion of the law, and brings him into the glorious liberty of the Gospel.

2. A child, in scriptural acceptation, because he feels himself to be a sinning child, will bear submissively, every trying dispensation that shall be laid upon him, and in a child-like spirit.

3. Every child of God's adoption will study the will of God, and strive to make it his own.


1. There was the influence of a fallen and diseased nature. It is a great blessing to be able to look into the drowning sea of our own evil hearts, and to know the things we ought to pray for, and the rocks and quicksands it is our interest to avoid. But it is perilous to linger too long in an enemy's country, and to roll our meditations overmuch through the defiled places; because the very sight and knowledge of what we are, in our natural weakness and deformity, if they are steeped for too long a time in the bitterness of soul humiliation, will be apt to produce a feeling of darkness akin to despair.

2. There was a distrust of God's providence. This is a common sin in very many, who are without a question, children of the covenant. They have a faith, but it is not equal to their emergencies; there is a light in it, but it does not warm them; it staggers and hesitates, when it ought to be going forwards and realising.


1. First He taught him that His simple word is the best rock for dependence: "Thou shalt go and thou shalt speak." This is the way in which God most loves to teach His children, because it is the simplest, I do not say the easiest lesson, for their faith to embrace. It is a trial for their confidence to improve.

2. But God's word to the prophet, "Say not I am a child," implies more. Jeremiah was to work for God; but God was to work in Jeremiah, and to supply him with a strength fully equal to what he had to do. Here is another link that binds God in His omnipotence to a covenant child in his weakness.

(F. G. Crossman.)

If we judge by inference and analogy from these words, rather than from the circumstances and person to whom they belong, we reach a truth like this: that by a messenger, incompetent because of his weakness, some messages from God come more forcefully to the ears and heart of men. What the prophet was comparatively many are actually, and the same truth holds good throughout, and so we reach a point which may well occupy our thought: the Divine mission and office of children, what they have to say, what they have to do. Is it not wrong to think of children as incomplete growth, of youth as nothing more than incomplete maturity? Such treatment injures them, for it fosters the idea into strength that today is nothing, and tomorrow everything, that the present is valueless, and the future holds all hope. Such treatment injures us, for we only exist impatiently till this time shall have passed, and miss all the instruction we might gather from the earliest impulses of life. In the home, and in the Church which is the larger home, there is a place for them to occupy, a mission to fulfil. Take two or three points as hints.

1. First the meaning and the power of simple faith. It is a word that some of us perhaps for years have been trying to learn the meaning of. Faith, trust. Have you children of your own, or have you seen such, nestling fearless and trustful at their parent's knee! Your child believes in you, in something more than the fact of your existence. It lives in your love. It trusts your care. Faith is a belief that leads to the committal of the whole being to the hands of One who is our Father, our Helper, our Saviour; and as we grow up into strength, the highest of all motive impulse, at first it may be fear or expectation of good that induces obedience, but no long time can pass, if the relation be truly sustained, before love is the impulse of every action; and because your child loves you it delights to do your will. As such is the truth which appears in the earliest years of children, can it be a mistake to suppose that God intended the truth to be learned from such illustration of His word?

2. Does there not come to us in this self-same way, too, a hint of the folly and wrong of distractive anxiety? What good could the child do by puzzling its little brain with such questions as belong necessarily to the chiefs of the family? What slight would be cast upon the parents' love if the child should becloud its life and be sad because no way out of supposed difficulties presented itself! Would you not say or think, my child, I stand higher and see farther; what is an inscrutable problem to you is none to me; my strength removes the hindrance, my wisdom solves the riddle?

3. And this leads us to another thought: that those things which seem to us all-important, upon which our whole interest is often apt to centre, to which, indeed, we look as to the source of our happiness in life, may be the merest trifles after all. What a small matter changes the child's light to darkness! In what an instant, by what a trivial cause, is laughing changed to crying, or the reverse! You say the child will grow, that now it speaks, thinks, acts as a child, but when it becomes a man it will put away childish things. God expects the same thing of us, and we well may ask ourselves, Am I growing into a higher life, and is it manifest by my interest in things of superior moment? Spiritually, have we come to see what is the noblest aim that may be set before us? Having learned the principles of the Gospel of Christ, are we going on to perfection, coming closer up to our Father in likeness, reflecting proof of our sonship, ready to follow everywhere He leads, and to be quite sure that as we would give our child all that is good, and not willingly or needlessly cause one pang of pain, so in much intenser and tenderer love does our Heavenly Father deal with us?

4. The last thought is the influence of kindliness and refreshing which is shed from the life of children. Their presence in the home makes the life less artificial, more true; and such may be their influence in the Church. We hold out the hand of encouragement for them to confess the name of the Saviour whom they may love. Let first impulses toward Christ, instinctive they will be, be nurtured. See to it that none be repressed, none discouraged.

(D. J. Hamer.)

Jeremiah learnt to bear testimony without flinching before kings, ay, and, in the name of the Lord, against kings; to be willing to undergo stripes and imprisonment; and to be sawn asunder for his grand defence of the Faith of God. But it was terribly difficult to him, in the beginning of his prophetic ministry, to take even the first steps on that narrow and painful way. The Word of the Lord comes to him, and tells him that from his birth he has been divinely ordained "a prophet unto the nations." "Then said I" (it is an autobiography), "Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child," etc. Then the fear of men passed away from the prophet; and he girded up his loins, and arose, and spake unto them all that God commanded him. Now, what strikes us in this is, first, its thorough naturalness; and next, its awakening, encouraging call to each of us. It was so natural in Jeremiah to shrink from the awful ordeal of facing nations and kings. It came to him as such an absolutely new call. Well might he say, I am a mere child: I cannot attempt this. Poor human nature could scarcely have said otherwise. Only the grace of God would empower for such a duty: and that the grace of God was ready for him was proved, alike by the original call and by the rebuke and the encouragement which followed, by the zeal which he was enabled to show, in the face of the greatest possible difficulties, and by the accomplishment, both for good and for evil, of the predictions which God spake by him. And the call and the reproof and the reassuring words, are applicable also, in great measure, to each of us. Each one among us is bound to speak the truth among the brethren, boldly to rebuke vice, and, if necessary, patiently to stiffer for the truth's sake. And yet, when we come to real, everyday life, how constantly we fail herein! How often the strong man excuses himself for being weak! how often the soldier, bravo to the death in meeting the enemy, has not courage enough to reprove or admonish a friend! how often the minister of Christ, holds his hand, instead of standing up for his Master! Surely, this backwardness in the Lord's work, this miserable fear of men, this distrust of the Divine power committed to us, is found more or less in every class among us. And what is the real name for this? It is our childishness. How different is this from the child-like temper! The greatest and bravest and wisest of men have something of the child in them — the child's simplicity, and truthfulness, and implicit obedience, and regard for authority. Wellington had all this eminently; but he was never childish, he had no false fears, "he never sold the truth to serve the hour." All who are really great share this character, this holy boldness this valour for the truth upon the earth, this which is described in the picture of the Christian's armour as the preparedness of the Gospel — the readiness to go at once on the blessed messages of God.

1. Realise the needs of men around you. They are very great. They demand all your energies, all your courageous charity, all possible firmness and decision.

2. Think of the danger of delay, the immense value of present opportunities. Have you never noticed, that the occasion for speaking to a soul to which we feel peculiarly impelled is at times the very last? How bitter must be our regret, if we let such an occasion slip, and allow one for whom Christ died actually to perish!

3. If you hesitate, if the childishness of your nature still wrestles with the mighty angel of God's grace, remember that which should constrain us the most to the fearless deeds of Christian faith — the contemplation of Christ crucified, and of the exceeding great love wherewith He loved us, enduring the contradiction of sinners and the shame and agony of death. Take the first step, the first brave, loving step along that way, and He will hold you by the hand, and go with you into the very midst of the battle, into the heat of the day; and you shall thank Him, ere the sun goes down, for enabling you, though you seemed to yourself but a child, to speak and to fight for Him.

(G. E. Jeli, M. A.)

Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee.
I. HE IS CALLED TO A GREAT WORK. He is a Divine messenger.

1. To go forth on an errand from God.

2. To go only where God sends him.

3. To speak only what God communicates. Not to speak his own speculations, on the theology of others, but the Word of God.


1. The characteristic of all true servants. Moses, Isaiah, Paul.

2. A qualification of all true servants. "When I am weak, then am I strong."

III. HE IS STRENGTHENED BY THE DIVINE (ver. 8). A man who has God within need never be afraid.









(G. Inglis.)

1. An objection overruled.

2. Work and duty prescribed. To bear God's message to men.(1) To whom? To all to whom the Lord should send him. He was not to choose for himself. Must obey the call of God, and do his duty, though neglected, hated, and persecuted for his faith. fulness.(2) The matter of the message. Not to speak at random whatever came uppermost, or what might be most easy to himself or agreeable to his hearers but only what the Lord commanded.

3. How, or in what manner, God's word was to be delivered.

(1)Faithfully and fully.

(2)Plainly and boldly.


1. It is an ordinance of Divine appointment to be continued in all ages to the end of time. Accordingly, they who slight and undervalue it, or despise those who are employed in it, reject their message, and disregard their salutary admonitions, reproofs, and instructions, greatly dishonour God, and pour contempt upon His authority.

2. It hath pleased God to employ weak and sinful men to dispense His word, and bear His message to sinners and saints.

3. None must intrude themselves into the office of the ministry, or presume to exercise it without a lawful call. Those who run unsent, who take upon them the office of the ministry when they are not called to that sacred function, in such a manner as God hath prescribed in His word, have no reason to expect assistance and success in their work.

4. Those whom God calls to the exercise of the ministerial office, He doth in some measure qualify for discharging the several parts of it.

5. The work of the ministry is very important and difficult work. The honour of God, and the salvation of souls, are nearly concerned in it.

6. Those whom God calls to exercise the office of the ministry have ordinarily a humbling sense of their own weakness, and insufficiency for the work they are called to.

7. Ministers of the Gospel, in performing the duties of their function, do not act in their own name, but in the name, and by the authority of their Divine master the Lord Jesus Christ.

8. Whatever opposition, or difficulties, the servants of Christ may meet with in the exercise of their ministry, they have sufficient encouragement to persevere in it.


1. Their fears and discouragements are sometimes occasioned by a serious consideration of the nature of the work they are called to engage in.

2. By a sense of their own weakness and insufficiency for discharging the duties of the sacred function.

3. When they consider the opposition they are likely to meet with in the exercise of their office.

(1)From the world.

(2)From lukewarm professors.

4. The cold reception that is usually given to the messages which the servants of the Lord deliver in His name, is sometimes a cause of discouragement.

5. The low and afflicted state of the Church is apt to discourage those who are about to enter upon public work in her.


1. They must not choose their own let. Have they a call in providence to deliver God's message to those who are more likely to persecute them, than to submit to their instructions or pay any due regard to what they declare in the name of the Lord, they must not dispute, but readily obey the orders given them. Nor have they reason to fear any dangers they may be exposed to, through the power and malice of their enemies; for He in whose service they are employed is able to defend them, and frustrate all the designs of their enemies against them. His promise is their protection.

2. They must deliver nothing in His name but what He commands, or what is agreeable to His revealed will. In order to this, the teaching and renewed illumination of the Holy Spirit is necessary; but they need no additional, objective revelation.

3. The instructions given to the prophet, and every other minister of the Word, in the text imply, that those who are called to preach the Gospel should, as there may be opportunity, teach all truths revealed in the Word of God, and urge the performance of all duties required in it.

4. They should urge the diligent observance of all Divine ordinances, as a necessary duty. They must not think it is enough, if persons have the low of God in their hearts, and some experience of a work of grace in their souls, though they neglect the administration of the word and sacraments, or other outward ordinances, and treat with contempt any endeavours to maintain their purity; because, as some are pleased to speak, they are only outward things, and the observance of them hath not a necessary connection with vital piety, and the exercise of grace in the heart.

5. They must urge obedience to all the precepts of the moral law.

6. They should endeavour to accommodate their doctrine to the various conditions of their hearers.Conclusion:

1. When those who are about to enter upon public work in the Church have a humbling sense of their own insufficiency, it is a presage of future usefulness.

2. The work of the ministry is not to be engaged in rashly. Count the cost.

3. Such as bear the character of office bearers in the Church, who take upon them to make laws for the members of the Church, contrary to those which the glorious Head of the Church hath enacted, or different from them; or who enjoin the observation of religious rites, devised by men without any warrant from the Word of God, not only transgress the limits of their commission, but are chargeable with great presumption. They teach what God never commanded, and exercise a power which no creature can claim, without invading the prerogative of the supreme Lawgiver.

4. Those who are called to bear God's message to the children of men ought to be well acquainted with His written word contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.

5. Ministers of the word must have no partial respect to the persons of men.

6. In order to a suitable discharge of ministerial duties, much fortitude and resolution is necessary.

7. Those ministers of the Gospel who, sensible of their own weakness, are enabled humbly to depend upon the power and grace of God for protection, and support in their work, are most likely to discharge the duties of their office with acceptance and success.

8. They must take care that they do not run unsent, or thrust themselves into the office of the ministry without a lawful call, the call of God and the call of the Church.

9. They are to deliver their message authoritatively, as not acting in their own name, but in the name of God. If ministers, in preaching the Word, act as the messengers of the Lord of hosts, the people to whom they preach ought to receive their message with reverence and submission. If they reject it, or slight it, they put an affront upon Him who sent them. They despise not man but God.

(D. Wilson.)

Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
Whenever fear comes in and makes us falter, we are in danger of falling into sin. Conceit is to be dreaded, but so is cowardice. Our great Captain should be served by brave soldiers. What a reason for bravery is here. God is with those who are with Him. God will never be away when the hour of struggle comes. Do they threaten you? Who are you that you should be afraid of a man that shall die? Can you not trust Him? Do they pour ridicule upon you? Will this break your bones or your heart? Bear it for Christ's sake, and even rejoice because of it. God is with the true, the just, the holy, to deliver them; and He will deliver you. Remember how Daniel came out of the lions' den, and the three holy children out of the furnace. Yours is not so desperate a case as theirs; but if it were, the Lord would bear you through, and make you more than a conqueror. Fear to fear. Be afraid to be afraid. Your worst enemy is within your own bosom. Get to your knees and cry for help, and then rise up saying, "I will trust, and not be afraid."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Just as much as a man drives out fear, marches boldly on, says his say, does his act, by so much is he a valiant man. In the old Norse ballads it was indispensable to be brave. Odin cast out of his heaven, the Valhalla, all who were tainted with cowardice; and over a battlefield the priests taught, went the Valkyries, or choosers of the slain, heavenly messengers who took care only to admit the valiant. The kings when about to die, lay down in a ship with its sails set, drifted out into the ocean, charged with fire too in the hold, so that the king might blaze in his tomb and be delivered to the sky. The valiant is the really valuable man.

The truest way not to be afraid of the worst part of a man is to value and try to serve his better part. The patriot who really appreciates the valuable principles of his nation's life is he who most intrepidly rebukes the nation's faults. And Christ was all the more independent of men's whims because of His profound love for them and complete consecration to their needs. There come three stages in this matter: the first, a flippant superiority which despises the people and thinks of them as only made to take what the preacher chooses to give to them, and to minister to his support; the second, a servile sycophancy which watches all their fancies, and tries to blow whichever way their vane points; and the third, a deep respect which cares too earnestly for what the people are capable of being to let them anywhere fall short of it without a strong remonstrance. You have seen all three in the way in which parents treat their children. I could show you each of the three today in the relation of different preachers to their parishes. Believe me, the last is the only true independence, the only one that it is worth while to seek, or indeed that a man has any right to seek. An actor may encourage himself by despising or forgetting his audience, but a preacher must go elsewhere for courage. The more you prize the spiritual nature of your people, the more able you will be to oppose their whims. These must be the fountain of your independence.

(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)

Fire broke out on a prairie not far from the dwelling of a settler. His son, seeing flames advancing, cried out they would all be burned, but the father took his boy to some high ground, and showed him that all round their dwelling was a wide clearing, too broad for the flames to overleap, and so they were safe. How frequently we worry ourselves because of some threatening danger, whereas, if we took higher ground and looked with the eye of faith, we should see that God has arranged a defence, that it may not hurt us.

(The Signal.)

See, I have this day set thee over the nations.
1. He is made a (paqid), a prefect or superintendent of the nations of the world. A Hebrew term corresponding to "bishop" of the Christian Church.

2. He has widest scope for the exercise of his powers: he is invested with authority over the destinies of all peoples. If it be asked in what sense it could be truly said that the ruin and renascence of nations was subject to the supervision of the prophets, the answer is obvious. The Word they were authorised to declare was the Word of God, that fulfils itself with all the necessity of a law of nature (Isaiah 55:10, 11).

3. What strength, what staying power may the Christian preacher find in dwelling upon this fact, that God's Word is fulfilling itself, though that Word may be disowned, and the efforts of the preacher may be thwarted.

(C. J. Ball, M. A.)


1. By your public ministry root out errors in doctrine.

2. By leading the Church, in the exercise of faithful discipline, root out evil-doers.

3. By rendering your pastoral visits subservient to the purposes of conviction and correction.


1. As a builder —

(1)Be sure you lay a right foundation.

(2)See that your materials be fitly framed together. Implying that —

(a)They be hewed and squared.

(b)They be formed by the same rule.

(c)Every one be put in the situation for which he is formed.

(3)So frame the whole as that it may be a fit habitation for God.

2. As a planter.

(1)Sow "wholly a right seed."

(2)Give attention to the plants as you see them grow.

(3)Cultivate them by every means.

(4)Pray that they may be watered by the Holy Spirit.

(Andrew Fuller.)

I. CONTRAST. Jeremiah, the prophet of disaster and despondency, could look back to a holy and happy past — the son of the faithful priest Hilkiah, the friend of the godly king Josiah; he fell upon evil and apostate times. Saul had to turn his back upon his old life — count all things but loss that had been gain to him — thus he was ever looking forward, reaching onward — the apostle of faith and hope.


1. Each is elected by God, and therefore trained by his circumstances for his work. The call of Jeremiah, the conversion of Saul, was to each a revelation of a God that had formed him from the womb for his work (cp. Galatians 1:15, 16 with Jeremiah 1:5).

2. The two-fold nature of that work — destructive and constructive. To root out, pull down, destroy; yet to plant and to build. We may almost say this is the work of all whom God has called to labour for Him. This was the type of Christ's work. His coming laid an axe to the root of the tree (Matthew 3:10, see also 15:13). Yet was He the Sower. It may be the teacher, like Jeremiah, does not live to see his work grow — yet who can doubt the effect of Jeremiah upon those who returned purified and repentant from Babylon? The two must go together. Root up error and plant truth. Pull down the strongholds of sin, and build up the temple of Christian holiness.

(John Ellerton, M. A.)

To throw down, to build, and plant.
"To root up, and to pull down." What a mercy of God to the Church was it that the same day that , that arch-heretic, was born in Britain, the Great, confuter of that heretic, should be born in Africa — providence so disposing that the poison and the antidote should come into the world together.

(John Trapp.)

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