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liation. Let these holy books, therefore, be in our hands, until they have wrought their proper work in our hearts; that is to say, until, by believing the doctrines and practising the duties taught therein, we shall have learned to live the life of faith and charity. So shall we be CHRISTIANS, in word and in deed; so shall we be "the DISCIPLES whom Jesus will "LOVE."
JEREMIAH, XXXI. 15, 16, 17.
Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel, weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine
end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Or the events which befel the church of Israel in old time, many were by Providence ordained and disposed to be figurative of other events in the latter days, relative to the church Christian or universal. Let it be supposed for example, in the present instance, that the Babylonish captivity, and subsequent restoration, to which these words of Jeremiah relate, did, like the Egyptian bondage and the redemption therefrom, represent that more wretched, durable, and general captivity, in which mankind were detained by their grand enemy, with the resto
ration from it, which the Son of God, as at this season, was born to effect. And let us try, upon this plan, to show the beauty and propriety of the application which St. Matthew has made of the passage to the slaughter of the Bethlehemitish infants, and the lamentations of those who were thus bereaved of their children by the sword of Herod.
It is not easy, perhaps, to find a more judicious illustration of the case in hand, than the following one, given by the excellently learned Dr. JACKSON, to whose most useful labours, on a curious and difficult subject, I must here, once for all, acknowledge myself indebted for the substance of what I am now about to lay before you.
"We know," says this able divine, "that a map, "" though in itself a thousand times less than the least parcel of enclosed ground, may represent the exact "form or proportion of the country whose name it "bears, though that be ten thousand times bigger "than the largest field that our eyes can look upon. "And thus hath the wisdom of God, under the same "words and phrases, included two deliverances, of "which the one is a map to the other. He, there
fore, who should deny passages to be literally meant "of the deliverance of Judah and Benjamin from "Babylon, because they are only fulfilled in our de"liverance by Christ, will give the Jew no small "advantage; he will commit as great an oversight,
as if an heir, possessed of a goodly estate, should "burn the map or terrar of it, which his ancestors "had truly taken for the benefit of their successors, "if they should know how to use it, when any con
troversy should arise concerning the bounds or ex"tent of their inheritance. The Jew, on the con"trary, in denying these places to be meant of Christ "and us, because they have been literally verified "of the deliverance of his fathers by Zorobabel, and "Joshua the priest, is like a man distracted, who "boasts he hath a goodly heritage, because he can "show the map or engrossed terrar of those lands "of which the law has deprived him, since he knew "not how to use them aright."
In the prosecution of this design, permit me in
First place, to collect and present to you the historical circumstances concerning the person introduced by Jeremiah, as making lamentation over her children, and the occasion of her so doing, with the prophet's consolatory address to her, upon that occasion : after which we shall be prepared, in the Second place, to take a view of those parallel circumstances, which offer themselves in the lamentation made by the Bethlehemitish mothers, and the cause thereof, with the consideration which was to administer comfort to them, in the day of their great and bitter affliction.
The mournful scene is laid by Jeremiah in Ramah, a city belonging to the tribe of Benjamin, of which tribe, it may be observed, the prophet himself was a member, as we learn from the first verse in his book: "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Ben
"jamin." The person introduced by him, as making lamentations, is Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob, and the mother of that tribe. She had before born Joseph, at which time, by divine instinct, with allusion to the name just imposed, she said"The LORD shall add to me another son." In childbirth, however, through the prevalence of her pains, she was induced to give up her former hopes of a second son for lost. Her attendant endeavoured to comfort her with her own prediction:, "Fear not, for thou shalt have this son also." Yet, "when her soul was in departing (for she died !)"— never surely was there a more affecting parenthesis"when her soul was in departing (for she died!) "she called his name Benoni," that is, the son of my sorrow. "His father," seeking to avert the omen with speed, "called him Benjamin," or, the son of the right hand, that is, of power and glory.
Heu nunquam cana parentum auguria-the observation of a heathen poet, is found more particularly verified in the history of the patriarchs, because among them there was often a foresight more than human, and the prospect into futurity was opened to them by a light from above. The different fates of the tribe of Benjamin seemed to have answered the different names imposed at the birth of its founder, by father and mother. No tribe more various than that; none more af flicted with disasters and calamities. At one time slaughtered by its fellow tribe, almost to excision, atrue Benoni to Rachel, who, had she been alive, must have "" wept for her children, with an ex