I. THE OPEN SYMPTOMS OF THE DECLINE OF A NATION'S RELIGION. Those here mentioned are in circumstances and colour local and temporary; they were determined, as a matter of course, by what was peculiar to the religion of the country and of the day.
1. The roads of Zion are forsaken. There is no concourse upon the roads leading up to the metropolis, as was the case in the days of Judah's prosperity.
2. The gates are deserted and unentered. There was a time when the busy population passed to and fro, when the people gathered together at the gates to discuss the news of the day, the affairs of the city, when the royal processions passed in splendour through the gates leading to the country. It is now so no longer.
3. The festivals are unfrequented. Formerly, when the great and sacred national feasts were being held, multitudes of Israelites attended these holy and welcome assemblies to share in the pious mirth, the cheering reminiscences, the fraternal fellowship, distinctive of such solemn and joyous occasions. But now there are none to celebrate the mercies of Jehovah, none to fulfil the sacred rites. To the religious heart the change is not only afflicting, it is crushing.
4. The ministers of religion are left to mourn. The priests who are left, if permitted to fulfil their office, do so under the most depressing influences; and no longer are there virgins to rejoice in the dance. The picture is painted in the darkest, saddest colours. We feel, as we enter into the prophet's lamentations, how dreary and hopeless is the state of that nation which God gives over to its foes.
II. THE CAUSE OF THE DECLINE OF A NATION'S RELIGION. This ever begins in spiritual unfaithfulness and defections. The external observances of religion may be kept up for a season, but this may be only from custom and tradition. The body does not at once decay when the spirit has forsaken it. To forget God, to deny his Word, to break his laws, to forsake his mercy seat, - such are the steps by which a nation's decline is most surely commenced, by which a nation's ruin is most surely anticipated.
III. THE REMEDY FOR THE DECLINE OF A NATION'S RELIGION.
3. Prayer for pardon and acceptance.
4. Resolution to obey the Lord, and again to reverence what is holy and to do what is right.
5. The union of all classes, rulers and subjects, priests and people, old and young, in a national reformation. - T.
Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper.1. The cause apparent of all the miseries of God's people is the prospering and prevailing of their enemies.
2. It often comes to pass that the wicked prosper in all things of this life, and the godly contrary (Psalm 73:4; Job 21:7).(1) God will, by giving them prosperity, make the wicked without excuse.(2) The godly being assured of God's favour and yet pinched, they may the more earnestly bend their affections to the inheritance which is prepared for them.
3. It is the natural disposition of the wicked towards the godly to oppress them in action and hate them in affliction.
4. The wicked never prevail against the godly, further than the Lord giveth strength unto them (Job 1:11, 12; 1 Kings 22:22; Matthew 8:31, 32). This teaches us —(1) To he more patient towards the instruments, and not to be as the dog that snatcheth at the stone cast at him, not regarding the thrower.(2) To seek the cause of our afflictions in ourselves, for else the just Judge of the world would not correct us.
5. All our afflictions come from the Lord, who is the chief worker thereof.
6. It is the sin of the godly that causeth the Lord to lay all their troubles upon them (Daniel 9:6; Nehemiah 1:6).
7. When God withdraweth His strength from His servants, they fall into many grievous sins, one after another.
8. When God meaneth to punish man, He will not spare to deprive him of that which is more dear unto him.
9. The wicked bear such malice unto the truth that when they get the advantage they spate neither age nor sex, thinking to root out the godly from under heaven.
TopicsAbundance, Adversaries, Adversary, Afflicted, Attacker, Captive, Captives, Captivity, Caused, Chief, Ease, Enemies, Enemy, Exile, Foe, Foes, Goes, Grief, Haters, Infants, Masters, Multitude, Ones, Prisoners, Prosper, Sins, Sorrow, Suffer, Transgressions
Outline1. The miseries of Jerusalem and of the Jews lamented
12. The attention of beholders demanded to this unprecedented case
18. The justice of God acknowledged, and his mercy supplicated.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesLamentations 1:5
LibraryNo Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow! A lthough the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophecies (Luke 24:44) , bear an harmonious testimony to MESSIAH ; it is not necessary to suppose that every single passage has an immediate and direct relation to Him. A method of exposition has frequently obtained [frequently been in vogue], of a fanciful and allegorical cast [contrivance], under the pretext …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1
Epistle vi. To Narses, Patrician .
"Come unto Me, all Ye that Labour, and are Wearied," &C.
Meditations for one that is Like to Die.
Concerning the Sacrament of Baptism
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