Jeremiah 6:16 “…Ask for the Old Paths, Where the Way is Good, and Walk Therein…”

“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.” Jeremiah 6:16

From Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible regarding Jeremiah 6:16:

III. They are put in mind of the good counsel which had been often given them, but in vain. They had a great deal said to them to little purpose,

(1.) By way of advice concerning their duty, Jeremiah 6:16. God had been used to say to them, Stand in the ways and see. That is, (1.) He would have them to consider, not to proceed rashly, but to do as travelers in the road, who are in care to find the right way which will bring them to their journey’s end, and therefore pause and inquire for it. If they have any reason to think that they have missed their way, they are not easy till they have obtained satisfaction. O that men would be thus wise for their souls, and would ponder the path of their feet, as those that believe lawful and unlawful are of no less consequence to us than the right way and the wrong are to a traveler!

(2.) He would have them to consult antiquity, the observations and experiences of those that went before them: “Ask for the old paths, inquire of the former age (Job 8:8), ask thy father, thy elders (Deuteronomy 32:7), and thou wilt find that the way of godliness and righteousness has always been the way which God has owned and blessed and in which men have prospered. Ask for the old paths, the paths prescribed by the law of God, the written word, that true standard of antiquity. Ask for the paths that the patriarchs traveled in before you, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob and, as you hope to inherit the promises made to them, tread in their steps. Ask for the old paths, Where is the good way?” We must not be guided merely by antiquity, as if the plea of prescription and long usage were alone sufficient to justify our path. No there is an old way which wicked men have trodden, Job 22:15. But, when we ask for the old paths, it is only in order to find out the good way, the highway of the upright. Note, The way of religion and godliness is a good old way, the way that all the saints in all ages have walked in.

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(3.) He would have them to resolve to act according to the result of these inquiries: “When you have found out which is the good way, walk therein, practice accordingly, keep closely to that way, proceed, and persevere in it.” Some make this counsel to be given them with reference to the struggles that were between the true and false prophets, between those that said they should have peace and those that told them trouble was at the door they pretended they knew not which to believe: “Stand in the way,” says God, “and see, and inquire, which of these two agrees with the written word and the usual methods of God’s providence, which of these directs you to the good way, and do accordingly.”

(4.) He assures them that, if they do thus, it will secure the welfare and satisfaction of their own souls: “Walk in the good old way and you will find your walking in that way will be easy and pleasant you will enjoy both your God and yourselves, and the way will lead you to true rest. Though it cost you some pains to walk in that way, you will find an abundant recompense at your journey’s end.”

(5.) He laments that this good counsel, which was so rational in itself and so proper for them, could not find acceptance: “But they said, We will not walk therein, not only we will not be at the pains to inquire which is the good way, the good old way but when it is told us, and we have nothing to say to the contrary but that it is the right way, yet we will not deny ourselves and our humors so far as to walk in it.” Thus multitudes are ruined for ever by downright willfulness.”

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