Jeremiah 13:21
What will you say when He sets over you close allies whom you yourself trained? Will not pangs of anguish grip you, as they do a woman in labor?
A Question to the ImpenitentW. Nevins, D. D.Jeremiah 13:21
A Serious QuestionHomiletic MagazineJeremiah 13:21
Future PunishmentJ. Burns, D. D.Jeremiah 13:21
No AppealLocal Preacher's TreasuryJeremiah 13:21
The Justice of Future PunishmentB. Beddome, M. A.Jeremiah 13:21
Sin its Own ScourgeS. Conway Jeremiah 13:21, 22

I. THERE ARE OTHER SCOURGES FOR SIN. The direct and positive inflictions of the Divine wrath. Not alone the Bible but the great books of history and experience must all be denied if we deny such positive punishment of sin. Never has there been yet any system of laws for moral beings which has been left to be simply self-acting, and which therefore have had no positive sanctions of penalty for transgression added. And God's Law is not such. As the Jews and other nations and individuals have found, and as the unrepentant will find hereafter, if not now, God's Word upon this matter is most assuredly true.

II. BUT SIN IS ITS OWN SCOURGE. That scourge is woven and knotted with many cords.

1. Conscience, ever passing sentence of judgment.

2. Habits of wrong-doing, hateful but fast clinging to the soul, and by which it is "tied and bound."

3. The manifold difficulty of repentance. The man would heartily turn from his evil way, but he has got into the current just above the falls, and it is bearing him on and down, resist as he will.

4. The sight of children, companions, etc., corrupted and perhaps ruined by our evil example. Oh, what a horror is this: seeing those whom, for every reason human and Divine we were bound to cherish and guard from evil, cursed by our sin!

5. The moral disapprobation of the good around us. Their sentence of condemnation is felt to have a binding power. What they "bind on earth is bound in heaven."

6. The "fearful looking for of judgment." Such are some of the cords which, woven together, make up the dreadful scourge wherewith sin scourges itself.

III. AND THIS SELF-MADE SCOURGE IS THE MOST TERRIBLE OF ANY. Deep and unfathomable as were the sufferings of our Lord, he distinctly declared that those coming on his enemies were worse. "Weep not for me," he said, "but weep for yourselves, and for your children If they do these things in a green tree," etc. It is evident, therefore, that suffering in which the consciousness of sin enters must be worst of all. Those "stripes by which we are healed," though they "ploughed deep furrows" on the body of our blessed Lord, yea, upon his inmost soul, still there are stripes more terrible even than they. The quenchless fire of God's positive inflictions would be more tolerable were it not for the gnawing of that undying worm - the sinner's own remorse. Are not they, then, "fools" indeed who "make a mock at sin"? - C.

What wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?
It was in view of certain threatened calamities that were to come on Judah from the hand of the Lord, that this question is asked of her. I put this question to each individual who is not obeying the Gospel of Christ. What wilt thou say, dying as thou art living, appearing before God in judgment as thou appearest to Him now, continuing impenitent, persisting in disobedience to the Gospel, if the character thou carriest into eternity be that which you are now forming for it? But perhaps you have no faith in future punishment; perhaps you do not believe that you, or any sinner will ever be brought into these circumstances. Then you have no faith in the veracity of God, or in the Bible as His Word. You are fulfillers of prophecy, for it is said (1 Peter 3) there should be such as you. But you say, the belief is unreasonable; it conflicts with all our ideas of benevolence and justice. What! that a righteous moral Governor should punish incorrigible offenders, rebels that refuse to be reconciled to Him, though often invited, and the meanwhile most kindly dealt with by their injured Sovereign, and when the terms of reconciliation are easy as they could be made, and the whole expense of bringing it about is borne by God! The question is not, what now you have to say, for now you imagine you have a great deal to say. And some can speak long and fluently in a strain of self-exculpation; but then, when confronted with your Maker and Judge; and when all things are seen by the clear and searching light of eternity; then, what wilt thou say?

1. You will not be able to say that you were ignorant of the existence of the law, for the transgression of which you are condemned.

2. Nor can you say that this law is unintelligible. Whatever obscurity attaches to the doctrines of the Bible, none rests on its precepts.

3. Nor, again, can you reasonably complain of the character of this law. "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, lust, and good." Its spirit is love; its tendency happiness.

4. Nor can you complain of any want of adaptation in this law; that it transcends your capacities, exceeds your natural powers of performance. No; you want no new faculty to obey it perfectly. You want only a rectified heart. You want but the will.

5. You cannot plead ignorance of its penalty. You cannot say that you were not warned of the consequences of disobedience; and that God strikes, before He speaks. What has not been done to deter you from sinning? What obstructions have not been thrown in your way to destruction! But you surmount them all. What then wilt thou say, when He shall punish thee? That you have never transgressed this law, or only once, or but seldom, and then inadvertently, through infirmity? This you will not say; you cannot. Who has not sinned many times, and deliberately? Will you say that your sin did no harm, injured no one, no one but God? But you must allow the Lawgiver to be the judge of that. The consequences of a particular sin He alone is able to trace out. Will you be able to say, that, when you had sinned, God hastened the execution of the sentence against you; waited not for a second offence, and gave you no opportunity to evade the stroke; that as soon as you found you had sinned, you were sorry, and penitently sought His face, but was spurned away; and that, seeing your case to be hopeless, you went on sinning in despair? What will you say? That there was an irreversible Divine decree that stood an insurmountable obstruction in your way to heaven, and even impelled you in the downward direction? You will see by the light of eternity that that was not the case, nor indeed the doctrine of those who were supposed to hold it. What then wilt thou say, when He shall punish thee? I can think of nothing, nothing exculpatory, nothing extenuating. You will be speechless, not through intimidation, but from conviction, not as unable to speak, but as having nothing to say; self-condemned, as well as condemned by your Judge; conscience confirming the decision against you, and your own self through all eternity reproaching you, and thus nourishing a worm gnawing within worse than the fire that shall burn about you. And shall it come to this? Shall this be the issue of life?

(W. Nevins, D. D.)


1. Sometimes it commences in the present world.

2. It will assuredly be inflicted after death.

3. It will be consummated at the judgment day.

4. It will be proportionate (Matthew 19:27; Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23).

5. That it will be everlasting.


1. Will you say it is unrighteous?

2. Will you say it is severe?

3. Will you say that you were not warned?

4. Will you plead for a further period of trial?

5. Will you confess your guilt, and seek mercy?

6. Will you endeavour to resist the almighty arm? (Isaiah 27:4; Nahum 1:5)

7. Will you endeavour to meet your doom with firmness? (Proverbs 1:27; Revelation 6:17.)Application —

1. Future punishment may be averted. Bless God that you are favoured with time and opportunities; with mercy, and with gracious invitations.

2. Timely repentance, and sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, will infallibly preserve you from the wrath to come.

(J. Burns, D. D.)


1. All the afflictions to the wicked have the nature of punishment: they are not salutary. Grace turns the serpent into a rod; but sin turns the rod into a serpent. The former turns poison into a remedy; the latter, the remedy into poison.

2. Punishment is the natural and necessary consequence of sin. If we drink of the cup of abominations, God will give us the cup of trembling (Psalm 75:8).

3. Whoever are the immediate instruments of inflicting punitive evils, God is the author of them.

II. CONSIDER THE SOLEMN INQUIRY IN OUR TEXT. "What wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?"

1. Wilt thou charge God with injustice, or say that the punishment is undeserved? To admit such a thought betrays the greatest insolence and pride, as well as an entire ignorance of all the principles of truth and righteousness (Romans 3:5, 6; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7).

2. Wilt thou say that God is severe and that though punishment be deserved, yet it is too great for the offence? (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.)

3. Wilt thou say that thou wast taken by surprise, without being warned; and that, therefore, judgments came unlooked for? The very heathens cannot say this; for as the creatures instruct them, so conscience warns them.

4. Wilt thou desire a further time of trial, that judgment may be deferred, and a longer season of probation be afforded thee? Instead of wishing for a greater extension of Divine forbearance, God might say to the dying and desponding sinner, The measure of thine iniquities is already full, and further forbearance would only make it run over. "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe."

5. Wilt thou say that thou hast sinned by an inevitable necessity, and that thy ruin was predetermined? But if this be the language of sinners in this world, it will not be so in the world to come. They will then know that if they were the slaves of sin and Satan, they were so voluntarily, and by choice; that if they were sold to commit iniquity, like Ahab, they sold themselves; and that if any spiritual blessing were withheld, it was that to which they had no claim and for which they had no desire (Jeremiah 7:10; Isaiah 63:17; Matthew 23:37 John 5:40; Acts 2:23; John 12:39; John 15:22; Romans 9:19, 20).

6. The question proposed in the text implies that the sinner will have nothing to say when he falls into the hands of God.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Homiletic Magazine.
I. THE PUNISHMENT REFERRED TO. A freethinker once said, "I am seventy years old, and have never seen such a place as hell, after all that has been said about it." A child at once replied, "But have you ever been dead yet?"

1. The punishment itself. This is brought before us —

(1)By express declarations.

(2)In figurative forms.

2. Its infliction.

(1)God, faithful to promises, must also be to threatenings.

(2)Graded, in accordance with degree of crime.


1. Atheists.

2. Unbelievers.

3. Hypocrites.

4. Persecutors.

5. Backsliders.

III. THE QUESTION, "What wilt thou say?" Many can talk now, revile, question, sneer. What will you say then?

(Homiletic Magazine.)

Local Preacher's Treasury.
Advert to the time when, in the order of the Divine government, ungodly sinners will be punished according to law. What wilt thou say in extenuation of thy guilt, and against the justice of the punishment that He shall inflict upon thee?

1. Will you say that you did not know the law which you had broken? Whose fault was that? Had you not a Bible as your own? Had you not a law in your conscience which acquitted or accused you in the actions of life?

2. That you meant no wrong in what you had done? Then why do wrong? For pleasure? For profit? Was this any justification of wrong-doing?

3. That your sins had not done such evil as to deserve such punishment? Can you be a judge in this?

4. That God might have prevented you sinning, and the results of your sins, if He had been so disposed? Yes, had He destroyed your free agency. But did not God use means to prevent you, and you would not?

5. That you sinned only a short time in comparison with the duration of your punishment? Punishment is not given in its duration according to the time taken in the act of transgression. The act of murder, and its punishment.

6. That you have only done as others have done? A thousand doing wrong is no justification or extenuation of one doing a similar or the same wrong that they have committed.

7. That you have not been so bad as others? The law knows nothing of degrees in crime, so far as exempting from punishment. Besides, he that offends in one point is guilty of all.

8. That while you have done many things that have been wrong, you have done others that have been right? Doing a right will not save you from the punishment of doing a wrong.

9. That you had great temptations to do as you have done? But there were at your command resources of help sufficient to keep you from their power.

10. That you were led into sin by bad examples? There were good examples to follow as well as bad, why did you not follow them?

11. That you were never educated? Education has nothing to do with moral principles and actions.

12. That you were never warned or admonished against sin? Can this be true? If you were not, whose fault was it? Had you not warnings and admonitions of conscience and of the Spirit of God?

13. That the Spirit of God never strove with you? This is false, or God's Word is, and human experience. Perhaps you so quenched the Spirit as to harden your heart.

14. That you were born into the world with a sinful nature, and could not help sinning? But God made every provision to meet your case in this respect.

15. That the inconsistencies of Christians were a stumbling block to you? If one man walk awry, or if he stumble, is that any reason why you should do so

16. That you were preordained by God to do as you have done? This is false, both in reason and in Scripture.

17. That your punishment is too severe? It is no wonder you should say this. Is it undeserved? Is it against law and justice?

18. That your punishment is more than you can bear? You should have thought of this before. Did you in committing sin think of how others could bear the wrong you were doing them? How God could bear your sins?

(Local Preacher's Treasury.)

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