The prophecy delivered by Jeremiah in the gate of Jehovah's house is continued from Jeremiah 7 to the end of Jeremiah 10. In Jeremiah 8, the Lord reproaches His people that they were more dull than the very animals and birds which are not remarkable for their wisdom. "Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of Jehovah" (Jer. 8:7).
The people did not know the time: they did not know His judgment; they were going on in self-security. They thought that perhaps things were not quite as right as they appeared to be, but were not so bad as this troublesome man, Jeremiah, said. And so they were crying "Peace, peace," where there was no peace. They were not even ashamed when they had committed abominations. The prophet could only give himself up to sorrow over them. "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? "
In his grief, Jeremiah desires (Jer. 9) that his head should be a fountain of tears. "Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" (Jer. 11:1)
Jeremiah felt the ruined state of Israel. It was the complete moral ruin of the nation before the judicial ruin came. This state is exactly where we are morally in Christendom now. It is remarkable, but it is easier to prove the moral ruin in Christendom than when it was in Judea. If I ask a Roman Catholic what he thinks of religious affairs, he declares it very deplorable that there are so many systems and divisions and that everyone does not belong to the true church. If I ask a Protestant, he thinks that the state of the Western Church and the Greek Church is deplorable, and, moreover, if he is a strong denominationalist he naturally does not like the rivalry between the sects that is going on so actively; and, except an optimist who is always fancying every time the best, and except a few persons of a very sanguine temperament, almost everybody would allow that the general condition of the Christian profession is very far from God, and a shattered ideal.
But then, this prevalent condition of departure from the truth has a very serious aspect to faith's judgment. What is the consequence? It is not Nebuchadnezzar that is coming: it is not the Assyrian that is coming: it is the Lord Himself that is coming. This raises, therefore, the solemn question whether we can face the Lord about the terrible failure. If I cannot face the Lord morally now, I ought not to be comfortable in expecting the Lord to come. The Lord will judge what is wrong, and woe, woe, to those who are found promoting and helping on what is wrong when He does come.