Jeremiah 9:21, 22
For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without…
Behold - .
I. DEATH'S CARNIVAL. In many an ancient continental city you may see portrayed in still vivid colors, on the roofs of their covered bridges, across on that of the old bridge at Lucerne, - on the walls of their churches, and elsewhere, the grim' Dance of Death.' These verses remind of those paintings, and tell in yet more fearful form of Death's dread carnival. With what diabolic zest he is represented at his work here! He is shown to us, not as coming in in ordinary manner to the sick-chamber, where his coming has long been expected and may even be welcomed; but as breaking in roughly, unexpectedly, cruelly, like a thief coming in at the windows. Nor as drawing near to the poor, the defenseless, the miserable; but entering into our palaces, the abode of the great, the rich, the strong. Nor as calling home those whose day's work is done, who have lived their life, and to whom eventide has long ago arrived; but as cutting ruthlessly down the dear young children in the very blossom of their days. Nor as ridding the earth of the cruel and vile; but tearing from us the innocent, the children. Nor are vigor, strength, and promise any more a defense against him than decrepit old age; for "the young men" are his victims even as others. And no multitude of slain will satiate him. Ver. 22 represents the numbers of the dead as so great that they have to be left unburied and uncared for to rot upon the open field. It is true that this frightful picture is taken from the awful experiences of a besieged city, but with slight modifications it is true everywhere and always. This life is the carnival of Death. What are men but a long succession of mourners? As the poet says -
"Our hearts like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave." And when we contemplate the cruel consequences of this carnival of Death, which is going on still, the mind and heart reel, and faith in the fatherhood of God would fade utterly out of men's souls were it not that in brighter colors still the Word of God portrays -
II. DEATH'S CONQUEROR. Christ has abolished death. The broken pillar, the turned-down torch, the "Vale, vale, in aeternum vale," of the old Pagan world, have now no appropriateness because no truth. Death is sorrow still, even to those who believe in him who is "the Resurrection and the Life;" but it is not and cannot be that hopeless, unutterable, unfathomable woe which it was till he came who hath abolished death. No doubt this terrible verse (Ver. 21), which tells of Death's dread doings, is yet far more true than we would like it to be, and often and often, in the blank desolation and shattered hopes which earth's bereavements bring to us, we fail to derive all the consolation and help which Death's glorious Conqueror has given to us. But, nevertheless, he has given them, and it is true that "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." Let us see to it that we are, by a living abiding trust, "in the Lord," and then, though we sorrow, and sorrow bitterly still, yet it will not be, it is not, "as those that have no hope." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.