12 FEBRUARY (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S EVENING 1774)
‘How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!’ Jeremiah 50:23
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Jeremiah 50:1–10
Babylon was the great enemy of Israel, and by God’s permission triumphed over it for a season, laid Jerusalem in heaps and led the people into captivity. But the prophet in this chapter foretells the destruction of Babylon, and that in consequence of it, Israel should return to their own land in the manner described in my text [50:5]. But the Scriptures principally testify of Christ. The prophecies concerning Israel are not to be confined to the literal and immediate sense; they are typical, and receive their full accomplishment and signification when referred to gospel times. Mystical Babylon is the kingdom of Satan—Jesus, the true Cyrus, triumphed over him and destroyed his power by his death. Then he spoiled principalities and powers, broke the gates of brass asunder, and effected the deliverance and redemption of his people, which now is not suspended upon any conditions on their parts, but wholly depends upon the efficacy of his grace and promise. He has made their deliverance not only possible but certain. He has said, They shall ask the way and he has likewise said, ‘They that seek shall find’ [Luke 11:9].
FOR MEDITATION: I began to pray. I could not utter the prayer of faith: I could not draw near to a reconciled God, and call him Father. My prayer was like the cry of the ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear.… One of the first helps I received (in consequence of a determination to examine the New Testament more carefully) was from Luke 11:13.… Here I found a Spirit spoken of, which was to be communicated to those who ask it. Upon this I reasoned thus: if this book is true, the promise in this passage is true likewise: I have need of that very Spirit by which the whole was written, in order to understand it aright. He has engaged here to give that Spirit to those who ask. I must therefore pray for it; and if it is of God, he will make good his own word.… About this time I began to know that there is a God that hears and answers prayer. How many times has he appeared for me since this great deliverance!
Narrative, 1764, Letter 8
SERMON: JEREMIAH 50:5 [2/7] [TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE]