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the wisdom of men fhall check the pride of the Babylonians, and proclaime them vain.
The taunting Proverb which the seventy render here,@poßañμa: fignifieth Dicterium: a bitter quip uttered in an ænigmatica!! manner of fpeech, a fecret gird full of falt and fharpnesse,where under fome obfcurity of words is fecretly couched some galling and cutting tartneffe of meaning.
We must fearch this fpeech for two things, for here must be ¿woodique, a wise saying, and here must be a taunt and falt taxation in fome obfcure and ænigmatical fpeech.
The first is in the former words, wherein he denounceth a woe to him that makes up his heap wich other mens goods, and he cryeth to him, how long? taxing his infatiableneffe.
The fharp and falt reproof is in thefe words,
And to him that ladeth himself with thick clay,
For firft wherein he thinketh to gather an happineffe, he reapeth nothing but woe.
2.Wherein he hopeth for ease and relaxation of his cares,he getteth a burthen, which the word of loading implyeth.
3. He is charged that he is author to himself of that burthen: he loadeth himself; as David, he difquieteth himself.
4. That for which he doth himself fo much hurt, bringeth on himself so much danger, it is no better then thick clay.
The gold and filver of the earth is fharply and fcornfully mentioned as no better then thick clay. And indeed as it cometh from the melting to the eye, gold feemeth fuch, even like to a thick and mafly clay, it hath no beauty in it to affect the eye.
And feeing the world prizeth this rich metall at to high a rate, that the Babylonian doth make no confcience of cutting the Jews throat,& breaking all laws of nations to get their gold, God doth in this fmart quip fhew how the Chaldean fhall be cenfured, and taxed abroad for his scraping, when all that he hath gotten is but thick clay.
If we go to our principia nature, principles of nature, we fhall find that God made the earth, and whatfoever after. that, either mineral growing within the earth, grafle or pearle, flower, tree or fruit growing on the earth, beast or bird, fish or fowle, worme or fly living on the earth, or in the water,
and man the lord of all, all are made of earth.
Farch the chiefeft material in their building, there fore to A dam, faid God, Terra es.
If man the moft excellent of creatures in the compo fition of his body, be but thick clay:
The ftile is high enough to give that title to any, either mineral, or vegetable whatsoever.
7. Shall they not rise up fuddainly that shall bite thee ? and Awake that shall vexe thee? and thou shalt be for booties unto them? Some Interpreters think this verse alfo a part of that taunting speech which many fhall use against Babylon and the Chaldæans, wherein they shall declare that they do look Pride fhould have a
The manner of fpeech frequent to the Hebrews by interrogation, Shall they not rife up, &c. hath more weight in it, and implyeth both vehemency in the Commination, and affurance of the judgment threatned, more then if he had faid, They shall arife that shall bite thee.
Read fay 13. and see the burthen of Babylon, and pafle to the 14.for this v.is but a fhort abridgment of that full prophecie,
And expoundeth these words of my text, that the Medes and Perfians fhall very shortly arise to destroy Affyria, and all the Chaldæans.
The fame judgement is threatned by the Prophet Jeremiah, cap. 50.cap. 51.
A Nation coming out of the North, to make their land defoJate; For Media is a city north from Babylon, whence Cyrus came against it.
And for the manner of the taking of Babylon, it is here fet down to be fudden.They shall rise up fuddenly that shall bite thee.
Herodotus reports that upon one of their great Holy-days, Chro. 3 5. when all the city were in their dancing and difports,
Ex inopinato eis Perfa aftiterunt, on a fudden the Perfians came upon them, they came into the city, and took a part of it, when the other part fung out their fong, and danced on, and knew not that the enemy had furprized them.
So they were bitten, and vexed, and taken, and the mighty and glorious great city of Babylon, was made a booty and prey to the Perfians.
The greatneffe and riches of this city of Babylon, is by Herodo tus thus expreft.
The whole dominion of the Chaldeans being laid and affef fed to maintain the Kings wars for defence of his ftate, for the twelve moneths in the year,the charge of four moneths was imposed on Babylon, and all the rest of Afia bore the charge of the 8 months fo that one third of the impofition lay upon Babylon.
Verf. 8. Because thou hast spoiled many nations.
The firft Monarchy that we read of in holy Scripture is that of the Affyrians,began by Ninus, of whom Niniveh took name, and by Nimrod, whom hiftories call Belus, and after him fucceeded by Semiramis his wife,
This Monarchy grew by continual wars and violations of their neighbours, to an exceeding height and ftrength.
So that the exaltation of that Monarchy was the ruine of ma-, ny nations in power, and their fubjection to the Affyrians, and this Monarchy lafted as fome write, an. 1300.
Saint Auguftine de Civ, dei lib. 16. cap. 17. fpeaking of this Monarchy, faith, In Affyria prævaluerat dominatus impia Civi tatis; hujus caput erat illa Babylon: He calleth it nomen aptiffi mum. Confufio, Confufion,
Actively; for it confounded all the parts of Afia, bringing. them under one Regiment, and it came it felf after to a shameful confufion.
This victorious graffation of the Affyrians over-running all like to a deluge of waters,did fo fwell them with the pride above reproved, and here threatned, that the Prophet Isaiah doth call this Monarchy Lucifer.
How art thou fallen from Heaven O Lucifer Son of the morning. As in the judgement of the ancient learned fathers, alluding to the fall of the Angels that kept not their first estate.
Nimrod their founder, is called A mighty hunter before the Lord, That is, a mighty tyrant and a great Oppreffour of men. The blood of men was not precious; the Land, the City, and the Inhabitants,all bent to (poil and to violence. Therefore it is faid,
The remnant of the People fhall Spoil thee.
There was not fuch an universal subjection to the Monarchy of the Affyrians, but that there were a remnant left to come upon them,and to overcome them.
These as hath been faid,were the Medes and Perfians, whom Ifa. 13 3. God calleth his fanctified ones, his mighty ones for his anger;
Because he hath called them, and fet them apart from others, to be Ministers of his vengeance for the deftru&tion of this proud nation.
For he will make inquifition for blood; and they that have fmitten
De verbis hactenus.
In these words, which are the Declaration of Gods juft judg. ment against the Chaldæans, before we proceed to the full handling of them,
We must first take notice of the juft proces of God against this pride of the Chaldæans. For it pleaseth God to give us here an account of his provocation, and he giveth in evidence against them, that their pride went not alone, but was accompanied with many fins.
1. Their gripple covetoufneffe in seeking to increase their own heap; and covetoufneffe is a finne that God abhorreth St. Paul doth call it the root of all evil.
2. Their violent invafion of the goods of others by injury, op. preffion and extortion; for he increaseth that which is not his. Not to be content with our own is ungodlines: but to spoil and rob others, and to be our own Carvers to take what we can get, is wrong to our brethren: covetoufnes corrupteth our felves, but oppreffion doth violate our neighbour, of whom the law giveth fuch charge, ama proximum ut teipfum.
3. Their folly. for what is this great stock which they have gathered, and what is the rich heap that they have caught? it is but thick clay; and what have they done with all their labour and travel,but made a burden thereof for themselves?
4. Their cruelty is charged upon them, which is expreft in fun. dry circumftances of amplification, as
1. In the extremity of it,no lefle then fpoiling, which comprehendeth all kinds of hard meafure that can be offered.
z. In the extent of it, which is amplified by two circumftances.
CI. Not Perfons, nor Societies, Towns, Cities, but whole
3. In the effect of their cruelty, which alfo brake forth into blood, the blood of men, a thing that God holdeth at such a price, that he not only made fevere laws for prefervation of life; but he maketh a curious inquifition for blood, when contrary to his law it is unjustly fpilt: unto which God hath given
For there is vox fanguinis, a voyce of blood, as we fay in Abels ftory, and to which voice he lendeth an eare, for that blood cryeth unto him.
4.In the general infection of this cruelty which hath corrupted the whole land of the Chaldæans: the City, the great City of Babylon, and all the People that dwell therein.
The Prophet in the former chapter did complain to God of the pride, and cruelty, and covetoufneffe of the Chaldæans, in which as they exceeded, fo the poor Church of God smarted, and the patience of God forbearing to punish them, made them think that God gave no regard to them, and it made many even within the Church ftagger, fearing leaft God had taken no notice of their sufferings, and their enemies injuries,
Do you not now receive it from the mouth of God himselfe, that he hath all those things written in his book, that he keeep. eth an exact account both of the offences done, and of the offenders?
5. To fhew that they have abused his patience and long-fuffering, by continuing in the evils above-mentioned, he faith, How long to fhew that he hath contended with them in patience al this while, and that no forbearance will recover them from their evil ways; no fpoile or cruelty will fatisfie them in their evil ways; therefore he proceedeth to judgement against them. The argument of this text is the punishment of the pride of the Chaldæans, punished
1. With just reprehension of all.
Sith derifion, they shall be taunted.
With spoile and destruction.
Here we must first take notice of the juftice of Gods proceffe a gainst them; for he giveth account of his provocation, and rendreth a reafon of his judgments.
Our leffon is, Whenfoever God punisheth, there is a fault de