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of Moses, which preserves for us so many fragmemts of ancient Hebrew poetry, we read :
“ They that speak in proverbs (or "sing in ballads )
“ The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee,
Whose habitation is high;
down to the ground ?
(Obadiah iii. 4.)
A fire is gone out of Heshbon,
(Numbers xxi. 27–29.)
Again we read in Jeremiah, regarding Moab:
“ With more than the weeping of Jazer will I weep for thee, O vine of Sibmah: thy branches passed over the sea, they reached even to the sea of Jazer: upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage the spoiler is fallen. And gladness and joy is taken away, from the fruitful field and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to cease from the winepresses, none shall tread with shouting; the shouting shall be no shouting." (Ch. xlviii. 31-33.)
The predictions that follow, concerning Damascus (where a couplet from Amos is quoted almost verbatim) Kedar, the nomad, tent-dwelling Arab tribes ; Hazor, the Arabians who dwelt in villages ; and Elam, to the east of Babylonia, with the great discourse already noted against Babylon and Chaldæa, complete the circle of doom. More significant, however, are the promises of restoration intermingled with some of the darkest oracles. Of Moab, of Ammon and of Elam it is distinctly announced that in the latter days Jehovah would “bring again their captivity," would restore them to freedom and new life. How are we to understand this? Elam indeed may be said, in some literal way, to have become merged in the larger Persian Empire; and from reference in 2 Maccabees? we learn that the country of the Ammonites was still recognized long after the days of the exile and return; but such can hardly be the resuscitation to which the prophecy points. Rather do we see in the prediction a foreshadowing of the inclusion of the peoples in the spiritual kingdom; of which indeed we have a hint in the narrative of the great Pentecost—"Parthians, Medes, Elamites," receiving the summons to the world's Redeemer. For, as we shall see, Jeremiah, the “ weeping prophet” of disaster and ruin, was also pre-eminently the herald of a new and wider hope.
But now he had spoken his last words in the land of his fathers; he had uttered his Lamentations ; he is surrounded by his ungenial, unsympathising compatriots in the land of Egypt—the latest and bitterest part of his career. And yet he remains a faithful witness to the last.
Compare this with the language of Isaiah :
“The fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the nations have broken down the choice plants thereof; they reached even unto Jazer, they wandered into the wilderness; her branches were spread abroad, they passed over the sea. Therefore I will weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon and Ellaleh : for upon thy summer-fruits and upon thy harvest the battle-shout is fallen. And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the fruitful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither joyful noise : no treader shall tread out wine in the presses : I have made the vintage shout to cease.” (Isa. xvi. 8–10.)
JEREMIAH IN EGYPT.
Other extracts might be given, almost as striking in their parallel, in which Jeremiah takes up the language of earlier prophecy. Then again, in sections too long to be quoted here, Obadiah repeats the words of Jeremiah concerning Edom. In fact, of the twenty-one verses which compose Obadiah's brief prophecy, nearly one-third already existed in the forty-ninth chapter of his predecessors. For Obadiah plainly delivered his oracle after the fall of Jerusalem in which the Edomites had played so inhuman a part. Hence, with a yet greater emphasis, the later prophet repeats the words of the earlier :
At Tahpanhes, the first recorded action of the prophet was symbolical, as in his former days. By divine direction he took up some large stones and buried them in the mortar of the brickwork (not brick-kil', as in the ordinary version), fronting the king's palace, so as to form with them a kind of pavement. On this pavement, he says, shall the throne of the Chaldæan monarch be set up; and here will he spread his royal pavilion. Thus, as often as the exiles should pass that way, they would behold in vision, before the Egyptian monarch's portals, the Babylonian throne and its tapestried canopy, and would await the descent of Nebuchadnezzar to occupy the land. For he wiil come, the prophet intimates, with as easy a mastery as that of the peasant flinging his garb of sheepskin around
“As for thy terribleness, the pride of thine heart hath
deceived thee; O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock,
That holdest the height of the bill ; Though thou shouldst make thy nest as high as the
eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith Jehovah.”
(Jeremiah xlix. 16.)
his form. How or when this prediction was fulfilled, we do not accurately know. If we may trust Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar made an incursion into Cæle-Syria in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem ; proceeding thence to the subjugation of Ammon and Moab, then falling upon Egypt, where he slew the reigning king, setting up another in his place, taking captive the Jewish refugees and leading them away to Babylon.
and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty,” who handed to the Jewish patriot a sword of gold, and assured him of triumph over his adversaries.
Thus vividly was his personality stamped upon the popular memory. In him, with a deeper appropriateness, the Christian recognises the prototype of the Man of Sorrows. We all remember how his language in the Book of Lamentations has been adopted in Church liturgies, and is echoed both in one of Charles Wesley's most evangelical hymns, and in the grandly pathetic strains of Handel's Messiah :“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by ?
Behold and see
Which is done unto me;
In the day of His fierce anger." At the same time, there is no prophet who has given utterance to larger and deeper conceptions of spiritual religion. When the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews would express in the strongest terms the glory of the new dispensation as compared with that of earthly priesthood and ritual, it is to Jeremiah that he appeals :“ This is the covenant that I will make with the
house of Israel
And their sins will I remember no more." Another remarkable prophecy, belonging, as it would appear, to the earliest period of Jeremiah's ministry, had emphatically proclaimed the future disconnection of true religion from the ancient material symbol of the Ark.
“In those days they shall say no more,
The Ark of the Covenant of Jehovah,
A FINAL DISCOURSE : WOMEN'S PROTESTS.
One last discourse of the prophet remains, addressed to the Jews in Egypt “ at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros." From this enumeration it would appear that they had been long enough in the country to become dispersed and to settle down in various localities. Unhappily, they had relapsed into idolatry, for which they are sternly upbraided by Jeremiah. With some spirit, although with strange perversity, the women in the crowd answered him again. Their arguments are characteristic. When we burned incense, they say, in our old home, to the queen of heaven, “we had plenty of victuals, and were well and saw evil ;" whereas, since we have discontinued the practice, “we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and the famine." In fact, they had come to the conclusion that moon-worship paid better than the worship of Jehovah! And then, they cunningly add, if it was wrong, we were not wholly responsible. Did we offer to the queen of heaven without our husbands? It was the converse of the ancient apology : -“ The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me!” But the prophet will have none of these excuses; rather do they aggravate the sin and the certain doom. This little colony of Jews in Egypt will be exterminated, save only a scanty remnant which shall make their way back to the land of Judah. Then with the announcement of the approaching fate of the Egyptian king, the ministry of Jeremiah comes to a sudden close.
(Ch. ii. 16.)
THE END. The rest is silence. Whether, as a Rabbinical tradition represents, he was carried with Baruch to Babylon, and there held in honour until his death, or whether, as Jerome asserts, he was stoned to death at Tahpanhes by the Jews, cannot now be known.
not he actually died a martyr's death, he bore throughout his mournful ministry a martyr's heart. Not in vain was he regarded by his countrymen in future ages as "the prophet"-the typical prophet of Judaism. There was a legend 3 that when Judas Maccabaus was about to engage in desperate struggle against his heathen foes, Jeremiah appeared to him in vision—"a man with gray hairs,
Josephus, Antiq. x. 9, § 7. But Herodotus says that the Egyptian king (Apries or Pharaoh-Hophra) was deposed and slain by his subjects, led by Amasis, who became his successor.
It is not a little remarkable that one of the national traditions respecting Jeremiah represents him as rescuing this very ark from the ruins of the Temple, and as concealing it in a cave upon Mount Pisgah, with the altar of incense, and the tabernacle," against the time of the regathering of the people. So imperfectly did they understand the true scope of his prophecy ! Rightly read, the prophet of the decline and fall of the Jewish kingdom became the harbinger of that new era in which He, of whom Jeremiah was the preeminent type, should, through bitter suffering and apparent defeat, “gather 'all nations” to His spiritual Jerusalem, and bring life and salvation to the world.
2 See John i. 25.
S. G. G.
i See 2 Maccabees ii. 4-7.
whose wrongs it avenges, and whose merits it rewards ! The proverbial epithet 'the holy Baxter' (like that older one, “the venerable Bede') is just the verdict which a seraph, “full of eyes within and without,' might be expected to pronounce, after having deliberately reviewed the whole history and works of the sage of Kidderminster.” (Essay on his Genius, Works, and Times, prefixed to his “ Practical Works,” 4 vols, 1835.)
left with those on Jonathan Edwards, Edmund Burke, and others of equal value, uncollected and inedited—the late Professor Henry Rogers thus finely speaks of Baxter and his compeers :
“It is both soothing and inspiring to mark how time vindicates character, and rewards real merit. It is not necessary in order to the full enjoyment of this great truth to have anything personal, or even directly relative, at stake upon it. I have nothing; and yet no recollection nor anticipation, which is not heavenly, yields me equal delight. There may, indeed, be something selfish in this pleasure; inasmuch as the final verdict of posterity confirms my own private judgment of the men who won and warmed my heart by their writings, whilst I knew but little of their history, and still less of their times. It is not, however, this chiefly, that thrills the heart and satisfies the whole soul, when both the Urim and the Thummim of time (like space revealing new stars) sparkle with the names of Owen, Howe, and Baxter, enshrined thus: the judicious Owen; the seraphic Howe; the holy Baxter. This is enjoyed as the public triumph of truth and holiness over calumny and prejudice; and not as the public ratification of our private opinion. Accordingly it is enjoyed equally by all, Churchmen and Dissenters, to whom the vindication of the righteous is dearer than the peculiarities or the success of a Party. And how true time is to the real character of the men
None who has really mastered the facts of the illustrious career of this foremost of Nonconformists will seek in one iota to minimise this splendid eulogy.
In the “ Dictionary of National Biography" I have told the matterful story of his life, and recorded in my “Bibliograply” his amazing tale of books. It must be allowed me to refer
readers to those sources of information. Here and now I know not that I can better introduce our example of his handwriting than by culling a few out of the multitude of testimonies to his consecrated character and to the still living power of many of his books. I shall select representative names as declarative of the universality of recognition of him as man and writer.
The elder Coleridge said of the great autobiography, "Reliquiæ Baxterianæ " :
“Pray read with great attention Baxter's life of himself. It is an inestimable work. There is no substitute
time, he had been one of the Fathers of the Church. It was enough for one age to produce such a person."
7. BOYLE.—“ He was the fittest man of the age for
a Casuist, because he feared no man's displeasure, nor hoped for any man's preferment."
for it in a course of study for a clergyman or public
I could almost as soon doubt the Gospel verity as Baxter's veracity.”
There are pathetic personal avowals of measureless obligation to his writings : e.g. the patriot Lord William Russell, before his infamous beheading, sent to Baxter his “hearty thanks” for his “ Dying Thoughts.”
Such,” he wrote, “have made me better acquainted with the other world than I was before, and have not a little contributed to my support and relief, and to the fitting me for what I am to go through."
Dr. Philip Doddridge thus summed up one of many tributes :
“Baxter wrote as in the view of eternity; but generally judicious, nervous, spiritual, and evangelical, though often charged with the contrary. He discovers a manly eloquence, and the most evident proofs of an amazing genius, with respect to which he may not improperly be called the English Demosthenes.”
Boswell has recorded the opinion of Dr. Johnson :
“I asked him what works of Richard Baxter's I should read. He said, “Read any of them; they are all good.'”
Similar well-weighed and choicely expressed judgments might be adduced from Archbishops Ussher and Tillotson ; Bishops Stillingfleet, Wilkins, and Burnet; Dr. Isaac Barrow, Dr. Samuel Clarke, John Wesley, Robert Boyle, William Wilberforce, Dr. Thomas Chalmers, and Thomas Erskine. I content myself with Barrow and Bishop Wilkins and the great Boyle :
Turning now to our facsimile, it consists of the close of a letter of no fewer than ten closely-packed
It is No. 5 of vol. i. of Baxter's letters in Dr. Williams' library (as before). The us. is the original penned by its venerable writer, so that a transcript must have been made for the “ Mr. Henry Oasland,” to whom it was addressed as “my worthy and much valued brother." A more extraordinary letter has perhaps never been written. It is a passionate defence of himself for continually seeking peace, healing, unity, and of his denunciations of division and evil-speaking against conscientious Conformists. The letter must assuredly be published in full somewhere. Meantime, in addition to the portion photographed
, I go back from it to a characteristic and vehement condemnation of "over-pleasing" the people
, and failing thereby to tell them of their sins and danger.
How pungent and prophet - like is this “ burden”!-
“I pray you marke whether your words imply not vi that you are ruled by ye people, & are as much : servant to yo hearers as yo Curates are to y® Bps. [bishops]. When you talke how you melt your hearers
, & how men are lost ye lose their favour, & talke how D' Owen [is lost] in men's esteeme (whose esteeine I promote as much as most do) & when you subject 1 interest of Christ so much to yo people's honour, y' they may not be ill spoken of, & such like; I confess I have a carefull feare of you lest you are servant of men & live too much upon yo people's breath (O poor reward !); not y' I think y# this is yo all or cheife but too much of
a. Barrow.—“His practical writings were never
mended, his controversial seldom refuted.” B. Wilkins.—“He cultivated every subject he
handled and if he had lived in the primitive
your felicity. I confesse as a stander-by, I discern not any greater signes of servility & Prelate-pleasing in most Conformists, than I do of servility & peoplepleasing in you, by your own expressions. And I will venture a little farther (though I doubt how you will take this much) it is worthy of your jealous care, lest some of ye people y' you thinke your converts, be but thereby converted into a dreadfull state of sin. I am sure ye love of God & man is ye wch true conversion worketh. And I am sure y' many under pretense of zeale for truth, are but possest with a sudden indignation age those y* conform, or ye we suffer by, or ye worship God by yo Comon prayer, &c. And if yo same represent Christ as lovely & differing Christians as loathsome & unlovely, so far as yo hearers affections are fired by it to ye hatred of those whom they should love, they are perverted & not converted. And if they melt into tears at a sermon ye stirs y up to hate other men (yea those we suffer by), teares wth hatred will prove but a pernicious conversion. You convert men no farther than you kindle love in them (not to all alike but to saints as saints, to professed Christians as such, & to men as men). I give you this but as a caution how you preach & how you judge of ye moving of mens affections. It is very easy to move y to wrath, but not to love, nor to make y” zealous of good workes. Many a sermon weh seemeth to convert men, preacheth y" into a hatred of their brethren, and so into more sin than they had before. If you say Persecutors be not brethren & neighbours, I answer, 1° not one conformable minister of many is a persecutor, 2o I desire you to read y Parliamı" Resolves of July 10, 1649, for sequestration, & then say so again if
How nobly catholic and broad-minded and broad -hearted was Richard Baxter's enforced Nonconformity !
The great letter thus closes (in the facsimile) :
" By paths & passions & strengthening a side, by studying ye disgrace of others, may do some present job for a necessity, but it ends in shame; And only plain truth, & principles of Catholike Christian Vnity, Love & welldoing, will hold out to y last : And to apply it to you & me, my reputation we by this at present I voluntarily cast away, shall live to posterity in sober daies, when they ye go ye dividing way shall leave a loathsome name behind y" (unlesse repentance be some reparation) when yo Churche's experience hath taught ye world, whether Vnion or Division be ye building worke!” Then comes
à portion not facsimiled, and a singularly striking bit :
“But alas, must we have more experience yet? 25°. Lastly, if either I be as injurious to y® Church as you thinke me, or you as by your letter you seeme to me to speake, q[uery] Whether such as we be not worthy to be silenced? And whether it be so haynous a crime to silence us as we make yo people believe ? Even when you y differ from me, shew y' you would silence me, if it were in your power, as to bookes & preaching, when I differ from yo' judgm' (And yet in my presence would never tell me of any difference, nor never seeke tocunvince me of an error)."
Then the close (as in facsimile) :“difference, nor neuer seeke to convince mce of an error.) I intreate you make good use of this freedome of speech from yo' faithfull brother,
“Ri : BAXTER. Totteridge, June 29, 1670.”
There is a very fine portrait of Baxter in the gallery of the Dr. Williams' library. It is far nearer to our ideal than the lean and ascetic face of White's engraving. We reproduce it.
ALEXANDER B. GROSART, D.D., LL.D.
Earlier, he has this startling defence of occasional conformity from the example of Christ; meeting the charge that to conform at all was to involve ourselves in all the opinions and conduct of the Conformists :
“Do you not [by this] accuse Jesus Christ openly, & his followers, for being ordinarily in ye Synagogues & comanding yo hearing of yo Pharisees, & attendance on yo preisthood in ye Temple, etc., when he & they were guilty of all ye sinfull entrance & standing of yo
differsned, nor nauer Juke to
of done of Speech from
Ria Barclagen . Jottinage Jun.2g