Jeremiah 51:1
This is what the LORD says: "Behold, I will stir up against Babylon and against the people of Leb-kamai the spirit of a destroyer.
Sermons
Heaven NeglectedJeremiah 51:1
Jerusalem to be Enshrined in Memory and HeartHomiletic ReviewJeremiah 51:1
Longing for HeavenHeinrich StillingsJeremiah 51:1
Looking HeavenwardJ. Pearce.Jeremiah 51:1
Quickened Memories for God's House and WorshipJeremiah 51:1
Sacred MemoriesJeremiah 51:1
The First Place in Our Thought to be Given to Christ's ChurchJeremiah 51:1
Babylon is continually taken in Scripture as the type of the kingdom of evil, that which our Saviour termed "the gates of hell." Her antiquity, her vast power, her wickedness and cruelty, her utter overthrow, all justify the similitude which St. John especially so frequently employs. But the kingdom of evil is to be destroyed. For this purpose "the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." And as when the literal Babylon fell there was a "cry," so shall it be when that yet more dread power of which she was the type shall, in its turn, fall and perish. But that cry will be of a varied nature. On the part of all those who have trusted in and served it there will be -

I. A CRY OF TERROR. Their confidence, their pride, will be shattered, and they will quail at "the wrath of the Lamb" which they have provoked. But there will be many who will behold that overthrow and from them -

II. A CRY OF WONDER will be heard. That kingdom of evil so widespread, so ancient, so established, so seemingly undisputed in its possession during all the long ages hitherto, now completely overthrown. How many valiant soldiers of the cross and faithful servants of God have in past ages hurled themselves against her ramparts and tried to storm her citadel, and have, apparently, but thrown their lives away! Therefore, when at length it is proclaimed, "Babylon is fallen!" what wonder and astonishment will fill the minds of all beholders! But it will be also -

III. A CRY OF JOY. It will be the day of jubilee, the setting free of the oppressed, the opening of the prison doors, the giving of liberty to the captives. Hence the psalms perpetually bid us sing unto the Lord - sing a new song; "for he cometh, he cometh to judge the earth." We are accustomed to speak of the judgment day as one of terror only; we forget that it will be a day of unspeakable joy to the multitudes of the oppressed, like as, when Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore, they sang their song of triumph. And it will be also -

IV. A CRY OF THANKSGIVING, of adoration and praise. How can it be otherwise? "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together" beneath hell's dread oppression. Shall there not be unspeakable gratitude felt when the Lord crushes this awful tyranny and destroys it forevermore? CONCLUSION.

1. Remember that this overthrow will take place. They who believe in this kingdom of evil say, "We shall never be moved." But they are deceived and will, one day, be terribly awakened.

2. Which cry shall be ours? - C.







Let Jerusalem come into your mind.
The captives in Babylon are charged to remember Jerusalem, because the temple of their God was there; to keep them from settling down in Babylon.

I. THERE IS A JERUSALEM HERE BELOW WHICH SHOULD COME INTO OUR MIND. The Church of the living God is our holy city, the city of the Great King, and we should have it in mind —

1. To unite with its citizens. Join with them in open profession of faith in Christ, in Christian love and mutual help, in holy service, worship, communion, &c.

2. To pray for its prosperity. Our window, like that of Daniel, should be opened towards Jerusalem.

3. To labour for its advancement. Remember it in the allotment of money, use of time, employment of talents, exercise of influence, &c.

4. To prefer its privileges above earthly gain. Consider these privileges in our choice of our residence, occupation, &c.

5. To act consistently with her holy character. God's people must not degrade His name and cause by living in sin.

6. To lament its declensions and transgressions (Luke 19:41; Philippians 3:18).

II. THERE IS A JERUSALEM ABOVE WHICH SHOULD COME INTO OUR MIND.

1. Let the believer's thoughts often go thither, for Jesus is there, our departed brethren are there, our own home is there, and thither our hopes and desires should always tend. It should be upon our minds —

(1)In our earthly enjoyments, lest we grow worldly.

(2)In our dally trials, lest we grow despondent.

(3)In our associations, lest we idolise present friendships.

(4)In our bereavements, lest we grieve inordinately.

(5)In old age, that we may be on the watch for the home-going.

(6)In death, that visions of glory may brighten our last hours.

(7)In all seasons, that our conversation may be in heaven.

2. Let the unconverted permit such thoughts to come into their mind, for they may well inquire of themselves thus —

(1)What if I never enter heaven?

(2)Shall I never meet my godly relatives again?

(3)Where then must I go?

(4)Can I hope that my present life will lead me to heaven?

(5)Why am I not taking the right path?

(6)Unbelievers perish: why am I one of them? Do I wish to perish?

(7)How can I hope to enter heaven if I do not so much as think about it, or the Lord who reigns in it?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

, Heinrich Stillings.
It may be a sin to long for death, but I am sure it is no sin to long for heaven.

( Matthew Henry, D. D.)Blessed are the home-sick, for they shall come at last to the Father's house.

(Heinrich Stillings.)

John Eliot was once on a visit to a merchant, and finding him in his counting-house, where he saw books of business on the table, and all his books of devotion on the shelf, he said to him, "Sir, here is earth on the table, and heaven on the shelf. Pray don't think so much of the table as altogether to forget the shelf."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homiletic Review.
But these captive Jews were not to be despairing Jews. In seventy years their captivity was to end. Meantime, as a resource against discouragement, against the infecting Babylonian evil with which they were to be surrounded, Jeremiah commands these Israelites, "And let Jerusalem come into your minds." Think of what she has been; think of what restored Jerusalem is to be; remember that you are really citizens, not of this Babylon, but of God's Jerusalem; and as citizens of this Jerusalem, even though you be in Babylon, endure, hope, live. Everywhere in Scripture the earthly Jerusalem is the symbol of the heavenly. We have right to generalise. From the fact that whatever God says is to be in this world comes to be, we have reason to believe that whatever God says concerning the other world certainly is. When the Scriptures tell me that the earthly Jerusalem points to a heavenly Jerusalem, because I find God s Word so true about everything in this world, I have right to believe it true about things in that; I have right to believe that there is a heavenly Jerusalem. So let the heavenly Jerusalem come into your minds.

1. Let Jerusalem come into your mind when it seems to you as though life were not worth the living. There is a better life beyond, for which this is preparation.

2. Let Jerusalem come into your mind when you seem to yourself specially baffled.

3. Let Jerusalem come into your mind when the fight with sin is sore and weary.

4. Let Jerusalem come into your mind when death seems complete victor. This is the greatest of questions for each one of us, Have we any title in that Jerusalem? Can we let it come into our minds as our own?

(Homiletic Review.)

Jerusalem should come into our mind so that we should prefer its privileges to earthly gain. Whenever we are about to make a settlement in any place, and have the choice of residence left to ourselves, the first matter we have to consider is the religions advantages and disadvantages. I admire the action of that Jew who, when he was about to select a city in which he would pursue his business, asked his friend the rabbi, "Is there a synagogue in such and such a place?" The rabbi replied, "No." So the Jew said, "Then I will not go to live there, for I will" not settle in any place, where there is no synagogue, for I must gather with my people for the worship of God.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Church of God should come into our minds as spontaneously as the recollection of our wife or mother. When we look at a map of any country, we should think of how the cause of God prospers in that region. If we make a profit in business, one of our first thoughts should be, "Now I can do something more for the work of the Lord." When the newspaper is read, it should be in relation to the progress of the kingdom of God. This one thing should tinge all other things with its own colour, and draw all other thoughts into its net. The cause of Christ should be an all-absorbing maelstrom, into which all our thoughts and pursuits should be drawn. A man of one idea aces thy universe by the light of it, and he who loves the Church of God with all his heart will do the same. How can we say, "Lord, remember me," to Christ in heaven, if we do not remember His Church on earth?

These words were addressed to the exiled Jews in Babylon, in view of their enfranchisement, and their return to their own country. A four months' journey lay before them, a road infested by savage men and marked by many discomforts had to be trodden, and hence this counsel was given to hearten and comfort the pilgrims. Let the dear place shine before your eyes, let its spell be upon your hearts, and this will relieve the tedium of the journey, make you brave to face the foe, keep you from fainting, and secure the success of your journey. The text is relevant to all times, and especially if we think of the heavenly instead of the earthly Jerusalem. Jesus was always reminding His hearers of the upper universe. Paul admonishes us to "Seek those things which are above." And again and again we are reminded of our fugitive life in this world — we are "strangers," "sojourners," "pilgrims," and are urged to look upward. In recent years there have been those who have disparaged everything in the nature of other-worldliness. I think it was George Eliot who set this modern fashion of condemning attention to the celestial world, but her life was a sad, suggestive commentary on her loss of faith. But George Eliot has had not a few followers in her anti-heavenly propaganda. Rationalists, Agnostics, and Socialists have vetoed the other-worldly life. There was little need for this adjuration. Heaven is one of the most neglected subjects in present-day preaching. The Sunday is not more restful and healing because given up to the consideration of secular subjects; character is not more refined, ethereal, and blessed because men look down instead of up; the world is not richer but poorer for ignoring the Ideal, the Mystical, the Transcendental, the Divine. The grandest souls of the past — noble-tempered, fine-charactered men and women of majestic mien — are thus described: "They looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." There are three or four reasons why we should earnestly cultivate this other-worldly disposition.

I. IT IS NECESSARY FOR OUR SALVATION. The Christian life is one of perpetual peril. We are menaced from every quarter. The microbe is ever on our track, and we need to be on our guard to ward off our foes. But the perils of our body are as nothing compared with our soul-perils. Our danger arises from this present evil world. It is always near us, appealing to us, setting its snares, offering us its bewildering and beguiling baits. It comes, too, in such subtle forms, in the form of a fair-faced friend; it can make use of such attractive things, and sometimes souls are ensnared before they are aware of it. Think of a man living daily in some social circles with their artificialities, their unrealities, white lies, lamentable hypocrisies; or in the world of politics with its "understandings," trickeries, untruths; or in the world of business with its corners, monopolies, injustices, sharp practice! What does it mean? Full often the dulling of the mind, the paralysis of the conscience, ay, it means the heart loses its freshness, and the life its whiteness. And, mark you, it is not that one need voluntarily yield himself up to these blighting phenomena — not to resist is to suffer. Then, what can be done to break the spell of this present world, and ensure our salvation? Let Jerusalem come into your mind, suffer the better world to overshadow the worse world, get into God's own climate, cultivate the heavenly vision. Fetch heaven's light down to earth. Fetch the fresh air of the eternal hills down to this stifling, stagnant scene. Fetch the music of heaven down to this terrestrial sphere. The better saves from the worse. Its glory will be glory no longer, its unreality will be sighted, and he will be saved. It is the far-off look that is needed, a vision of the eternal things which is our salvation. Sir Redvers Bullet has told us that in the late war the Boers fought better than our own soldiers, because they had better eyesight, and could see much farther, and no doubt the reason why many Christians are overtaken by spiritual calamities is because they cannot see afar off, they do not lift up their eyes on high. Let us accustom our eyes to see the glories of the New Jerusalem.

II. IT IS NECESSARY FOR OUR AMPLIFICATION. Familiarity with the world does not broaden men, but narrows them. "Born a man and died a grocer," says the epitaph, and the shrinkage of a soul is one of the painfullest features of life. Many people feel they are sadly caged up, with no poetry, romance, interests, change in their lives. Well, what are we to do? How to make life broader? Thank God, we have an answer — annex heaven. "Reinforce," says one, "this world with the world which is to come. What do they do in an inland state that is surrounded by other countries, and cramped in on every side? They fight to get down to the sea. Give a country only a few miles, and it is satisfied. Why? Because it will build a harbour there, and it will make ships there, and the enterprising spirits of the nation will man the ships, and the ships will go to the ends of the earth, carrying out such poor things as they have to send, but bringing home untold treasures. That single harbour holds the whole earth in its grasp." It is even so in our spiritual life. When I am linked with the skies, when I do commerce with heaven my life cannot be petty, narrow, insignificant. I am not lost in my trade, business, profession, nor does my soul undergo any shrinkage. Nay, I do my buying and selling, my getting and spending, in the eyes of heaven. A literary lady who went to consult an oculist about her eyes was told that her eye-weariness and brain-jadedness would pass away if she would now and then pause from her work, and sight the glorious hills in the distance, and she found it so. Is not this what we sorely need to save our life from getting cramped by what is sordid and petty — pauses to look away from life's manifold engagements to the bright-topped hills of immortality? It is ours, like the apostle at Patmos, to see the fair city of our King, to fraternise with the denizens of the skies, to consort with God Himself, and to do this is to find the grandest emancipation.

III. IT IS NECESSARY TO OUR CONSOLATION. He was a wise professor who used to say to his students when going to preach, "Never fail in any service to have at least a word of comfort." There is a sore, ii not a broken, heart in every religious assembly. Existence were a poor mockery if this world were all. To how many life is just one long bitter struggle. Think of those, the bruised and broken, who are on their back all their days; think of those who, through no fault of their own, are face to face with poverty most of their time; think of those who have been overtaken by a black bereavement with tragic suddenness; think of these who are left orphans when young, and are at the mercy of an unfeeling world; think of those who have secret trials — trials of which they never whisper even to their dearest friends; think of those who, in trying to live the Christian life, are sorely, buffeted! Where is the compensation? This: "Let Jerusalem come into your mind. Think of it as the place where all life's wrongs will be ended, where the weary-footed will lay aside their sandals, and the weary-hearted will find sweet rest, where the homeless will find a home, where the broken circles will be re-formed, and where the miseries of a lifetime will be forgotten in the first moment of hallowed bliss.

IV. IT IS NECESSARY TO OUR INSPIRATION. One of our primary needs is inspiration, we so soon begin to flag and lose heart. It is needful for the maintenance of our ideals, for the shaping of a holy character, to keep us steadfast in the midst of strife and sorrow. It is painful to note how that when men forget the heavenward look, they drift from the golden life, part with their noble dreams, sink beneath their troubles, and fall into bondage to a sensuous life. There are wrecks on all sides of us — Demases who have loved this present world. "We surmount the flesh by ascending with Christ to the realm of the spirit. In those who are occupied with Christ and His kingdom, who 'set their mind on the things above where Christ is,' carnal passions cease to be nourished, the former channels of thought and desire are left bare and dry, the man's soul is caught by a keener excitement and a mightier current, he is drawn into the orbit of the Sun of Righteousness. He is absorbed in the great and entrancing things of God, and the old frivolities can no longer divert him." The same is true of every other phase of our earth-life. This was the temper of Moses, and it heartened him for the most prodigious tasks. "He looked for the recompense of the reward." This was the temper of the old-world pilgrims, "they desired a better country, that is a heavenly." The saints of God, the men for whom duty, religion, faith, love, character, possess their full meaning, are known by this far-away look, this detachment of spirit. At the bottom of their souls is a Divine home-sickness for the Eternal — and this made them spiritual stalwarts. This, also, was the temper of Jesus. Never for a moment did He forget the Father, the will, the home, the friendship and fellowship of the Father, "I speak unto you the things that I have seen with the Father." "I go to My Father." And a share of His glory He assured to all His faithful followers. I have read somewhere of a bewildered party on a mountain. Pressing on in the blinding snow, the track lost and the cold increasing, one of them at last in sneer fatigue sank flown to die. His friends coaxed him, urged him, expostulated with him so as to get him forward, but all to no purpose. But some one took from his pocket a picture of wife and children, and showed it to him. That was enough; what coaxing and threats failed to effect was done in an instant by that vision of the far-off home. He at once threw off the death-drowse that was so surely embracing him, and rousing himself with the new power that came from that vision, he pushed forward with his friends to a place of safety. And our Divine Leader, when we are flagging and wearying, gives us pictures of the heavenly home to hearten us.

(J. Pearce.).

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