Jun 12, 2013

Jeremiah 6:16 - William Button

The next scripture mentioned is Jer. 6:16. “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls; but they said, we will not walk therein” (p. 39). That the persons here addressed are wicked, unregenerate sinners is granted—that the ways they are to stand in and see, and the old paths they are to ask for, may mean the ordinances and commandments of God, I think is probably: and that the good way may have reference to Christ, I will not deny: But what is all this to the purpose? Why Mr. F. seems to lay a stress upon the exhortation “walk in that good way,” which he says “can be nothing short of true faith in him, seeing it is promised that they had so done, they should have found rest for their souls” (p. 40). But suppose this walking in the good way does mean true faith in Christ, yet do you not perceive this way must be discovered to them first? They were to stand and see, look out and enquire: that is, diligently attend the means, and when it was the good pleasure of God to shew them the good way; when the Holy Spirit should enlighten their dark understandings, and discover to them their wretched state, and shew to them the good and only way of salvation, it was their duty to walk therein.—It was their duty to enquire for it, but I should suppose not their duty to walk in it till they had found it. And I suppose also they could not find it to purpose, till it was discovered to them. Then they would walk in it, and ought to walk in it, and to seek no other. This sense of the passage (and I hope it is not a forced one) sets aside the sentiment of faith being the duty of the unregenerate. All the duty of the unregenerate here pointed out, is their diligently waiting on public ordinances. I say diligently, in opposition to what Mr. F. intimates respecting those who differ from him, “Here (says he) they were enjoined to stand and see, not barely to attend public ordinances, and lie in the way, as some express themselves” (p. 40). We don’t’ say, Sir, they are barely to attend in a careless and indifferent manner, and lie in the way in an indolent posture, indulging themselves in sloth and sleep, as he insinuates, though he knows better. We say it is the duty of sinners to attend the means constantly and diligently, with a who can tell but the blessing of the Lord may be conveyed through these channels. And when the blessing comes, when the Holy Ghost opens the eyes of sinners to see their sin and danger, and shews them the good way Christ, then it becomes their duty to walk in him; and this their duty they will readily attend to, under the influences of the same Spirit.

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