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Full text of "An exposition of the prophecy of Hosea"

EXPOSITION 



THE PROPHECYOF HOSE A. 



REV. JEREMIAH '^BURROUGHS, 



RECTOR OF TIVETSHAXL, NORFOLK. 

1643. 



COMPLETED BY THE 



REV. THOMAS HALL, B. D. RECTOR OF KING'S NORTON, 



RIGHT REV. EDWARD REYNOLDS, D.D., BISHOP OF NORWICH. 



REVISED AND CORRECTED 

BY THE REV. JAMES SHERMAN, 

MINISTER OF SUEilEY CHAPEL. 



EDINBURGH: JAMES NICHOL. 

LONDON : JAilES NISBET & CO. 
M.DCCCLXm. 



EDINBLTROU : 

PBOrtEO BT BALLA>T\TCE AlfD COSIPAST, 

piOl'8 WORK. 



BRIEF NOTICE 



THE REV. JEREMIAH BURROUGHS, A. M. 



It is deeply to be lamented that no life was given to the church of this excellent minister of 
Christ ; concerning whom Mr. Baxter says, " If all the Episcopalians had been like Arch- 
bishop Usher, all the Presbyterians like Mr. Stephen Marshall, and all the Independents 
like Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs, the breaches of the church would soon have been healed." 
From the few scattered notices of him in different authors, and chiefly from those of his 
enemies, we learn that he was born in 1599. He studied and took his degree at Emmanuel 
College, Cambridge ; after which he became colleague with the Rev. Edmund Calamy, at 
Bury St. Edmund's. In the year 1631 he became rector of Tivetshall, in the county of Nor- 
folk; but upon the publication of Bishop Wren's Articles and Injunctions, in 1636, he was 
suspended and deprived of his living. 

The Earl of ^Varwick, who was the friend and patron of the persecuted ministers, and 
one of their constant hearers, gave him an asylum in his house, till the fire of persecution, 
which raged so strongly against him, obliged him to fly to Holland. He was chosen as- 
sistant minister to the church at Rotterdam, of which the Rev. William Bridge was pastor. 
The violence of party strife at that period raised against him many accusations for leaving 
his country, but his vindication of himself and his conduct in retiring to Rotterdam is so 
ample and circumstantial, and withal written in so meek and humble a .spirit, as to raise in 
the reader a high estimation of his veracity and piety. 

The church at Rotterdam gave him a most hearty welcome, and belaboured among them, 
in conjunction with Mr. Bridge, with great acceptance and usefulness for several years. 
After the commencement of the civil war he returned to England : " Not," says Granger, 
" to preach sedition, but peace ; for which he earnestly prayed and laboured." The renown 
which he had acquired at Rotterdam accompanied him to his native land. His popular 
talents as a preacher, his peaceable spirit, and his exemplary character, soon excited great 
attention ; and as a proof of it, he was chosen lecturer to the congregations of Stepney and 
Cripplegate, then accounted the largest and wealthiest in England. At Stepney he preached 
at seven o'clock iu the morning, and Mr. Greenhill at three in the afternoon : one was 
called the morning star, and the other the evening star, of Stepney. He was chosen one of 
the Assembly of Divines, and united with his brethren, the Revds. Thomas Goodwin, 
Philip Nye, William Bridge, and Sydrach Simpson, in publishing their " Apologetic Nar- 
ration" in defence of their own distinguishing sentiments, which contain the general prin- 
ciples by which congregational churches are governed in the present day. In the year 1645 
he was elected one of the committee of accommodation, and was of great service in all their 
important deliberations. 

Though, after his exile, he never accepted a parochial benefice, or became pastor of a 
separate church, he laboured extensively in preaching at various and distant places, and in 
rendering other important services to the church of Christ. But his incessant labours, and 
grief for the distractions of the times, brought on consumption, of which he died in the 
forty-seventh year of his age. 



iv BRIEF NOTICE OF JEREMIAH BURROUGHS. 

In the spirit of union among all Christians, which he so powerfully advocated, he was far 
before the opinions of his day. The following sentiment, in reply to one of his bitterest 
enemies, does equal credit to his piety and discernment : " I profess, as in the presence of 
God, that upon the most serious examination of my heart, I find in it, that were my judg- 
ment presbyterial, yet I should plead and preach as much for the forbearance of brethren 
differing from nic, not only in their judgment, but in their practice, as I have ever done. 
Therefore, if I should turn Presbyterian, I fear I should trouble Mr. Edwards, and some 
others, more than I do now ; perhaps my preaching and pleading for forbearance of dis- 
senting brethren would be of more force than it is now." The last subject on which he 
preached, and the last treatise he published, was his " Irenicum," or an attempt to heal the 
divisions among Christians. Oh that we had more of his spirit among all who take the lead 
in the Christian church ! The estimation in which he was held by unprejudiced persons 
who were capable of forming a judgment of his spirit and character, was very high. Granger 
says, " he was a man of learning, candour, and modesty, and of an exemplary and irreproach- 
able life." And Fuller has classed him among the learned writers of Emmanuel College, 
Cambridge. 

The following Exposition was delivered in lectures to the wealthy citizens of London, at St. 
Michael's, Cornhill, where crowds constantly attended to hear his luminous exhibitions of truth, 
and forcible appeals to the conscience. The first volunie'only was published during his life, in 
the preface to which he remarks, the expositions " were taken from me in preaching. I per- 
used the notes, but I could not bring the style to the succinctness that I desired, except I had 
written all over again, lor which I had no time." Both this volume, and those published 
after his death, were most imperfectly printed ; unimportant sentences were reprinted over 
and over again ; and the supervisors had literally, as they say, done little more than usher 
the books into the world with the sanction of their names. Mr. Burroughs lived to carry on 
the Exposition as far only as chap. xiii. ver. 1 1 . The remaining verses of that chapter were 
expounded by the Rev. Thomas Hall, who published his Exposition as a supplement to that 
of Mr. Burroughs, and will be found exceedingly valuable. The fourteenth chapter had 
been previously treated in a very able manner by Bishop Reynolds, who must ever rank high 
as an expositor of God's word. The whole are united in this volume, and form a most useful 
comment on this difficult book of Scripture, to aid the minister of Christ and the private 
Christian in rightly interpreting the sacred text. Dr. Williams, in his " Christian Preacher," 
observes, that the Exposition of Mr. Burroughs on Hosea, is a pleasing specimen, to show 
how the popular preachers of his time applied the Scriptures in their expository discourses to 
the various cases of their hearers. 

The editor has only to remark, that the present volume is produced at great labour and 
expense ; that the most scrupulous regard has been paid to accuracy, and in no single in- 
stance has a sentiment of the writer undergone any change to adapt it to the editor's mind. 
He commits it to the blessing of the great Head of the church with nmch prayer and hope 
that it may prove equally useful with the other Expositions which he has ventured to 
publish. 

Surrey Parsonage, 
Jan. 14, 1843. 



THE ORIGINAL PREFACES. 



TO THE EXPOSITION 

ON 

THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS. 



TO THE RE.\DER. 



You have these lectures as they were taken from me in preaching. I perused the notes, but I could not bring 
the style to the succmctness that I desired, except I had written all over again, for which I had no time ; my 
perusal was but cursory, therefore many things have slipt me : you have them as I preached them, without any 
considerable alteration. I had thought to have been far briefer, but meeting with so many things almost in 
every lecture so nearly concerning present times, caused me to go something beyond an expository way. In 
the remaining part of the prophecy, if God gives life to go through it, I shall keep myself more closely to ex- 
position. What here you have, take it as you find it ; what good you meet with, receive it in. This will be the 
encouragement of 

Thy friend in Christ, 

J. B. 



TO THE EXPOSITION 

ON THE 

FOURTH, FIFTH, SIXTH, AND SEVENTH CHAPTERS. 



TO THE READER. 

Readee, 
AVe here present thee with a continuation of Expositions and Observations upon other four chapters of the 
prophet Hosea, delivered by that worthy man, now with God. Himself in his life-time published the three first 
chapters : these, now made public, were compiled out of the manuscripts which himself under his own hand 
left, which, being short, have been filled up and enlarged out of the best copies of sermon notes taken from his 
own mouth. We must not undertake for aU imperfections or mistakes that haply may be found, though a 
diligent and a skilful hand had the collecting of them. We only give letters of credence to them, that they are 
genuinely the author's, and that they are singularly worthy of all acceptation, especially by such readers as have 
their thoughts exercised in observing the ways of God's proceedings in and towards the nations of the world 
where his name is called. One great piece of his dispensations under the Old Testament, was that towards the 
ten tribes, who remain in captivity to this day, and who were set up (as their predecessors in the wilderness) as 
types of God's dealing in like cases with us under the New Testament, 1 Cor. x. ; Rev. vii. ; as we may see in 
the instance of the Eastern and Grecian churches that have groaned under the Mahometan tjTannies and op- 
pressions, of whom the ten tribes may seem to be the liveliest pattern, as the condition of the saints in the 
AVestem European churches under the pope was exemplified in the captivity of Babylon, which befell the other 
two tribes. Yet so as, both in sins and punishment, tlie one and the other are general examples unto us, " upon 
whom the ends of the world are come," in which God acts over with a quick and swift motion, as being the last 
act, what was done more slowly under the Old. The worthy author was one of the most accurate spectators in 
b 



vl THE ORIGL\.\L PREFACES. 

his time, that with a curious and searching eye beheld what God was a doing in the world. He was as one of 
those "wise men that knew the times," (as it is said of Ahasuerus's seven counsellors, Esth. i. 13,) and skilled 
tliercin not, as they, in a human or political way, but as the transactions in the world do relate unto God, who 
governs this world by the rules and precedents in his word. He was one of those who, as the psalmist speaks, 
Psal. cxi., had pleasure to seek out the great works of the Lord, and to parallel those in these times with those 
of old under the Old Testament ; and unto that end, in the entrance to these alterations in our times, he pitched 
upon the explication of this prophecy, which the studious reader will with much delight read over, when he shall 
observe how he made application all along to the dispensations of that time in wliich he preached them. The 
I-ord bless them to them of this nation, for which they were principally intended. 



THOMAS GOODWIN, 
S'iDRACH SIMPSON, 
WILLIAM GREENHILL, 



WILLIAM BRIDGE, 
JOHN YATES, 
WILLIAM ADDERLY. 



TO THE EXPOSITION 



EIGHTH, NINTH, AND TENTH CHAPTERS. 



TO THE READER. 

Wii.\T we have by way of preface set before the edition of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters, may 
sufficiently 8er\'e for a premise to these eighth, ninth, and tenth chapters, as holding forth the use and scope of 
the whole prophecy, and the authors intentions in his comment thereon : so as we shall only need now to give 
letters of credence before the world, to the passing of these, as the best and most authentic notes that could any 
way be obtained, both as the extracts of the best notes of sermons taken from his mouth, and chiefly his ovni 
writings, which were more brief. Expect shortly the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters from the same 
hand. We commit them, and the reader, to the blessing of God. 



THOMAS GOOD^VIN, 
SYDKACH SIMPSON, 
WILLIAM GREENHILL, 



WILLIAM BRIDGE, 
JOHN YATES, 
WLLLLAM ADDERLY. 



TO THE EXPOSITION 

OM TUB 

ELEVENTH, TWELFTH, AND THIRTEENTH CHAPTERS. 



TO THE READER. 

God, who alone is perfect in himself, has retained this prerogative to himself, that his work should be per- 
fect (as Moses speaks) ; and, as another holy one hath it, doth all his pleasure. Paul, though in whatever he 
was to commit to writing (in matters sacred) had«infallibility of assistance, yet perfected not all he intended: 
" These things we will do, if God permit," said he to the Hebrews, Ileb. vi. But we no where find extant any 
evidence, that he accomplished what he there intended, namely, a full, methodical discourse upon those first 
principles and foundations of religion, which that speech had reference unto. It is no wonder then, that if such 
a kind of imperfection accompanied the works of so great a master-builder, it attend those who build on this 
foundation, and are not privileged (a< yet he was) from building hay and stubble. 



THE OKIGINAL PREFACES. Tii 

This sort of incompleteness hath befallen the works of this worthy author, in respect to the finishing of this 
prophecy, which he intended, and had performed ; wherein yet to the church of God there shall be no loss, 
there being no thoughts nor notions suggested to any man, which, though for the present they die with him, but 
the same Spirit who is the inspirer of all, doth bring to light in some one or other servant of God, in his own 
time. 

What a treasury of thoughts seemed to be lost and to die with the Saviour of the world, which he had not, 
could ;iot then utter ! which yet the Spirit, that filled him without measure, distributed amongst the apostles 
that came after him, according to the measure of the gift of Christ in each. There is no beam of Divine light 
has shone into any man's heart, that shall finally and for ever be put under a bushel, but in the end shall be 
set up, to give light to the whole house. 

The purpose of this preface is, to consign the passport through the world of these last notes of the author 
upon this prophecy, namely, the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters ; and to assure the reader, that they 
are the best and most genuine that can be expected, being collected out of those under his hand, all along, and 
the best copies of those that took them from his mouth ; and to subjoin this hearty prayer, for a blessing from 
Heaven on these, and the rest of these our brother's kbours that are published, that his works may follow him, 
and he receive (at the latter day) a full reward, even according to the fruit of his doings. 

THOMAS GOODWIN, WILLIAM BRIDGE, 

WILLIAM GREENIIILL, JOHN YATES, 

SYDRACH SIMPSON, WILLIAM ADDERLY. 



POSTSCRIPT BY THE SUPERVISOR 



THE LAST SER:M0N BY BURROUGHS. 

The author was prevented by several providences from preaching the foregoing sermon for some months to- 
gether, insomuch as himself wondered what purpose God had in it ; till at last God visited him by sickness, 
whereof he fell asleep in the Lord : his disease was thought to be infection, but without any sore, yea, and (as 
the gentlewoman his wife has related) without any spots or tokens of the plague ; there was only a black settling 
of blood on one side of his back, which she supposed might have arisen from a fall from a horse, which he had met 
with not long before. This is mentioned by occasion of some contrary reports concerning his death. About the 
time of his immediate dissolution, he lifted up his eyes, and was heard to speak these words, " I come, I come, I 
come :" and so gave up the ghost. 

It had been much to be wished that the author had been more concise and brief in some amplifications, which, 
though all exceedingly useful, yet have deprived us of his preaching and completing both the former sermon, 
and the rest of the prophecy. But God was pleased (for our sin no doubt) to deprive us of that mediator-like 
instrument between the divided godly parties of this nation, and of the further mind of the Holy Ghost which 
he had revealed to this his servant, touching the scope and use of this prophecy in these days. 

God took him away in the strength of his parts and graces, that he might not lose in the reputation of his 
ministry or piety, as some have before their death. 

Also, though we cannot afiii'm, as one of Josiah, that he was taken away lest the evil of the time should have 
wrought upon his temper ; yet we may say, as another doth, he was " taken away from the evil to come," Isa. Ivii. 1. 

Moreover, it is not an unuseful note, that the Preface to the Tigurine Bible hath, whereof the inference is, 
That whilst in some weighty point we labour for great exactness and preparation, we are either disabled by our 
diligence, or prevented by our tardiness and delay; whereas moderate preparation seasonably applied might 
be more usefid to the cluu-ch, than such exactness so deferred. Which is not spoken to reflect any thing on our 
reverend author, but to admonish others. 

Now among other arguments (good reader) to commend this excellent piece, this is one. That it has been 
brought to thy hand thrqugh several elements, having been in danger, part of it to be rotted in the earth where 
it was buried ;■ part of it to be consumed in tlie fire wherewith much of the town where it was flamed ; * part of 
it to be lost in by-holes where it was hidden in the midst of enemies. Make special use therefore of what is 
come (as it were) through fire unto thee for that end. And if thou find that fruit the super\-isor did in preparing 
it for thee, thou wilt not repent thy pains or penny. Farewell. 

* Tlic original was with the supervisor in Colchester when besieged, and much of the town burnt. 



THE OlilGLN.-VL PREFACES. 

TO THE EXPOSITION BY BISHOP REYNOLDS, 

OS 

THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER. 



TO THE HEADER. 



CiiuisTlAN" reader, understanding tliat my sermon, which was preaclicd three years since before the Honour- 
able } louse of Commons, on the day of their solemn humiliation, was to be reprinted, I thought fit to peruse, 
transcribe, and enlarge six other sermons, in which I had, at mine own charge in the country, on the ensuing 
fast days, briefly explained and ajjplied that whole chapter, (a portion only whereof was in the first handled,) 
and to send them forth together with it to the public : which I was the rather induced to do for these two 
reasons : 1. Because it has pleased God in his righteous and holy providence to make me, by a long infirmity, 
unserviceable to his church in the principal work of the ministry, the preaching of the gospel (which is no small 
grief unto me). So that there remained no other means whereby my life might, in regard of my function, be 
useful to the church, and comfortable to myself, than by inverting the words of the psalmist, and as he made 
his " tongue the pen of a ready writer," Psal. xlv. 1 , so to make my pen the tongue of an unready speaker. 2. I 
considered the seasonableness and suitableness of these meditations to the condition of the sad and disconsolate 
times wherein we live, very like those which our prophet threatened the ten tribes withal throughout this whole 
prophecy, unto which this last chapter is a kind of use, and a most solemn exhortation, pressing upon all wise 
and prudent men such duties of humiliation and repentance, as_ might turn threats into promises, and recover 
again the mercies which by then- sins they had forfeited and forsaken : which being restored to them according 
to their petition, they are here likewise further instructed in what manner to return unto God the praises due to 
his great name. And these two duties of humiliation and thanksgiving, are the most solemn duties to which in 
these times of judgments and mercies, so variously interwoven together, the Lord so frequently calls us. 

Places of Scripture I have, for brevity sake, for the most part, only quoted and referred thee to, without tran- 
scribing all the words, and have usually put many parallel places together, because by that means they do not 
only strengthen the doctrine whereto they belong, but mutually give light one to another. 

The L3rd make us all in this our day so wise and prudent, as to undei-stand the righteous ways of our God 
towards us ; that we may not stumble at them, but walk in them, and be taught by them to wait u])on him in 
the way of his judgments, and to fix the desires of our soul upon his name as our great refuge, and upon his 
righteousness as our great business, Isa. xxvi. S, 9: till he shall be pleased, by the dew of his grace, to revive us 
as the corn, to make us grow as the vine, and to let the scent of all his ordinances be over all our land, as the 
smell and as the wine of Lebanon. 

It will be an abundant return to my poor and weak endeavours, if I may have that room in thy prayers which 
the apostle Paul desired to have in the prayers of the Ephesians, " That utterance may be given unto me, that I 
may open ray mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel," Eph. vi. 19. 

The Lord sanctify all the ways of his providence towards us, that when we are chastened we may be taught, 
and may be greater gainers by the voice of his rod than we are sufferers by the stripes. 



AN EXPOSlTIOlSr 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



CHAPTER I. 



Verse 1. 

The iiord of the Lord that came v.iilo Ilosea, the son 
of Beeri, in the daj/s of Uzziali, Jotliam, Ahaz, and 
Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jero- 
boam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 

This day ve begin a Scripture exposition, an exercise 
which has lost much of its honour by its disuse. The 
best apology for it is to begin it immediately. It is an 
ancient practice in the church of God, old enough to 
speak for itself. In Neh. viii. 8, we read that Ezi-a, 
Jeshua, Bani, and the rest read in the book of the law. 
and gave the sense, and caused the people to understand 
the reading. 

I have determined to expound first the books of the 
minor prophets, of which Jerome remarks, * I know 
not which to wonder at most, the brevity of speech, or 
the greatness and abundance of sense. And the pro- 
phet Hosea in this respect is most excellent, of whom 
the same author says he is f exceedingly concise, and 
speaks by sentences. Why I chose rather to begin 
with Hosea than with Isaiah, I shall afterward inform 
you. If God continue life and this exercise, we may 
go tlii'ough all the prophetical books, both small and 
great. In these prophets we have most admirable 
truths revealed to us ; and it is a pity that the mind of 
God contamed in them should be so little known, even 
unto his chiUb-en ; that such treasures of heavenly 
truths should lie hid from so many for so long a time. 

"We might preface our work by labouring to raise 
your hearts to the consideration of the excellency of 
the Scriptm-es in general. Luther uses a high exprcs- 
.sion about them ; he calls them J the highest genus, 
that contains m it all good whatever. Take away the 
Scripture, and you even take away the sun from the 
world. ^Yhat is the world without the Scriptures, but 
hell itself ? AVe have had indeed the word of God as 
the sun in the world, but oh how many mists have been 

* Xescio utrura brevitatem sermonum, an magnitudinem 
sensuuiu atlinirari debeas. 

t Commaticum ct quasi per sententias loquentem. 

I Genus generali<simum omnium bonoruni. Si hoc au- 



before this sun! Seldom the sun shines clearly tons. 
Seeing there is such a glorious sun risen, it is distress- 
ing that there should be a misty day. Now the work 
to wliich we are called is, to dispel the mists and fogs 
from before this sun, that it may shine more brightly 
before your eyes, and into your hearts. 

Chrysostom§ in his twenty-ninth semionupou Genesis, 
exhorting his auditors to get the Scriptm-es into their 
houses, and diligently to exercise themselves in them, 
tells them that by them the seul is raised, elevated, and 
brightened, as ■\^•ith the beam of the Sun of righteous- 
ness, and delivered from the snares of unclean thoughts. 
In the Scripture the great God of heaven has sent his 
mind to the chilcben of men ; he has made known 
the counsel of his will, and opened his very heart unto 
mankind. The Bible is the epistle that ^ , 
God has sent into the world. Did w. ', 

but hear of a book dictated inmiediately ',_"' 

by God himself, to show the children nt ; , ; ', ;,. 
men what the eternal counsels of his will ; ' , "'™ 

were for conducting them to eternal ha])- ii 

piness, and his thoughts and intentions !u;[„'ij^..]^u;.i/^';,il 
concerning their everlasting condition; |SS'"i',ma„o ."S- 
did we, I say, but hear that there was such ri,";;'''"!"'',"^"^"*- 

1 ,. 1(11 f.i-ri. Wolfius in loc. 

a book m the larthest part of the Indies, 
should we not rejoice that the woi'ld was blest with such 
a mercy ? "NMiat strong and vehement desires should wo 
have to enjoy but one sight of it before we died ! AVe 
should be willing to venture upon any hazard, to pass 
through any difficulty, to be at any ex])ense, that we 
might have but a glance at such a book as this. My 
brethren, you need not say, AATio shall go to the farthest 
])art of the Indies to fetch us this book ? who shall 
descend into the depth, or go to the uttermost part of 
the earth, to gain us a sight of this book of Scriptm-e ? 
for, behold, the word is nigh unto you, it is in your 
houses, and we hope in yoiu' hearts, and in this exercise 
it is to be in our mouths, not only to toll you what it 
saith, but to explain to you the mind of God in it. 
To exercise om'selves in tliis book is sweet indeed. 

feras, solem e mundo sustulisti : quid mundus, sublato vorbo, 
quam infernus ? 

^ 'AXXi icai oiVrtOE tfi-ri Xiipa^ Xantai/iiVTa S-fTa piftXia.- 

n ^Uxi] TTTEpitTai K'Cti /XETapO-lOS yii/ETat, TW tpOlTl T8 T^? 

5iKaio(7vvi]'i iiXiH KaTavyuX^ofxiv)\; S;c. 



AX EXPOSITIOX OF 



Chap. I. 



Luther professes himself out of love wth 
^p.'opio.S'h!: his own books, and wished them burnt, 
SSiSliiK"".'. lest men, sijcnding time in them, sliould 
S.li1j2Si'sii> ^^ hindered from reading tlie Scriptures, 
turn, qua »*.<»»• which are the only fountain of all wis- 
«t'*c!"'LJui'S'in dom : I tremble, said he, at the former 
Gen. c. 19. jjgg^ wliich was so much busied in read- 

ing Aristotle and Averroes. AVe read in Neh. viii. 5, 
6, when Ezra opened the book of the law to expound 
it to the people, he " blessed the Lord, the great God : 
and all the peoi)le answered. Amen, iVmen." And now 
blessed be the Lord, the great and gracious God, for 
stirring your hearts uj) to such a work as this, and 
blessed be his name for those liberties we have thus 
freely to exercise ourselves in this sers'ice. Oh praised 
be the name of the gi'eat God for this day's entiance 
into so good a work as this. Yea, they not only blessed 
God, but " they lifted up their hands, and bowed their 
heads, and worsliipped tne Lord with their faces to the 
ground." Wliy ? Because the book of the law was read 
to them and expoimded. How came it to pass that 
their hcai'ts were so ready to hear the book oi tne law 
expounded to them ? Surely it was because they were 
newly retm-ned out of captivity. When they came 
into their own land, and heard the law of God opened 
to them, they blessed his gi'eat name, and bowed theu- 
faces to the ground, worshipping him. This day, my 
brethren, witnesses our great deliverance and retimi 
from bondage. Not long since we could not have 
either ordinances, truths, or religious exercises, but 
according to the humours of vile men. But now, 
through God's mercy, a great deliverance is granted to 
us, that we may come and have free liberty to exercise 
ourselves in the law of our God. O bless the Lord, 
and bow your faces to the ground, worshipping him ! 

In the 12th verse of that chapter we read, that after 
they had heard the law read and expounded to them, 
they " went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send 
portions, and to make great mirth." A\Tiy ? " Because 
they had understood the words that were declared unto 
them." I hope, if God shall please to give assistance 
in this work, many of you shall go away from this as- 
sembly rejoicing, because you know more of God's 
mind revealed in his word than formerly ; and this will 
be tlie comfort of your meat and drink, and of your 
trading, and the very spirit of all the joys of your hves. 
As the sweetness of tne fruit comes from the graft, 
rather than from the stock ; so your comforts and the 
blessing of grace must come from the word ingrafted 
in your souLs, rather than from any tiling you have in 
yourselves. 

In the 1st verse, Nehemiah saith, " All the people 
gathered themselves together as one man into the sti'eet 
that was before the water gate," to desire Ezra to bring 
the book of the law, and to read it and to open it unto 
them. Behold, it is thus this day in this place ; here 
is a great company met together, some to know what 
the business will he, some for novelty, and some for 
other ends ; but we hope many have come that they 
may have the book of tne law read and opened unto 
them. Now we expect that from you which is said of 
them, ver. 3, " And the ears of all the i)eople were 
attentive unto the book of the law," when it was read 
and ex])ounded. And truly that attention which now 
you show promises that we shall have an attentive 
auditory. But yet tliat is not all ; let us have further 
a reverential demeanour and carriage in the hearing of 
the law, as it becomes those who arc to deal with God. 
It is said, ver. 5, that when Ezra 0])cned the book of 
the law, " all the ])eople stood up." AVe do not expect 
the same gesture from you, but oy way of analogy we 
expect a reverential demeanour in your carriage during 
the whole work, as knowing we are to sanctify God's 
name in it. Those people after the first day's exercise 



were so encouraged, that they came again tlic second 
day: vcr. 13, '• On the second day were gathered toge- 
ther the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, 
and the Le^ites, unto Ezra, to understand the words of 
the law." And I hope God will so carry on this work, 
that you shall find encouragement too to come again 
and again, that you may know more of the mind of 
God ; and that this work shall be profitable not only to 
the younger and weaker class, but to tlie fathers, to the 
priests and Levites also. 

Let it be with you as it was with them ; according as 
vou have any truth made known unto you, submit to 
It, yield to it, obey it immediately, and then you shali 
know more of God's mind : " If any man will do his 
wiU, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of 
God," John vii. 17. Thus did they; for, ver. 14, when 
thev found it WTitten in the book of the law, that the 
children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of 
the seventh month, (this was one passage of the law 
wliich was expounded, how they should keep the feast 
of tabeniacles. and what booths they should make,) the 
peo])le immediately went forth to the mount, and 
letched olive branches, and palm branches, and branches 
of thick trees, and made themselves booths, every one 
upon the roof of his house. In this prophecy of Hosea 
you will find many truths suitable to the times wherein 
we live ; the Lord grant you obedient hearts to what 
shall be delivered. 

I must not retard the work, nor your expectations, 
any longer with a larger preface, only somewhat might 
have been said about the rides for the interpretation of 
Scripture ; I will only observe that, to the inteq)ret- 
ation of Scriptui-e, a Scripture frame of heart is neces- 
sary, a heart holy and heavenly, suitable to the holiness 
and heavenliness wliich are m the word. As it was 
said of TuUy's eloquence, that nothing but the elo- 
quence of TuUy could describe its excellency ; so it ma\ 
be said of the spirituality of Scripture, nothing but a 
heart filled with Scripture spiritualness can set fortli its 
excellencies. And because the authority of Scripture 
is supreme, wc desire the jirayers of you all to God for 
us that his fear may fall upon our hearts, that seeing we 
are men full of error and evil, yet we may not bring 
any scripture to maintain any eiToneous conceit of our 
owii heads, nor any evil of our own hearts : this we 
know to be a dreadful evil. It was a fearful evil for 
Lucifer to say, " I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt 
my throne above the stars of God : I will sit also upon 
the mount of tlie congregation, in the sides of the north: 
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds ; I will be 
like the most High," Isa. xiv. 13, 14. It is as great an evil 
for any to seek to make tlie Highest ajipear like Lucifer ; 
for they who make the Scripture justify any erroneous 
opinion, or any way of e\il, go about to make the blessed 
God and the "Holy Ghost to be the fathers of lies. It 
is counted a great evil in a commonwealth to jiut the 
king's stamp upon false coin ; and to put the stamp of 
the Spirit of God upon an error, upon a conceit of a 
man's own, is certainly a great evil before the Lord. 
God made the priests vile and contemptible btfnre the 
peonle, because they were partial in the law, Mai. ii. i). 
.Vnu for you, my brethren, our prayer shall be, that the 
fear of God may fall upon you likewise, that you may 
come to these exercises with Scripture frames of heart. 

ANTiat frame of heart is a Scripture frame? The Holy 
Ghost tells you, Isa. Ixvi. 2, God looks at him that 
trembleth at his word : come with hearts trembling at 
the word of God ; come not to be judges of the law, 
but doers of it. You may judge of your jirofiting in 
grace by tlie delight you iind in Scripture ; as Quin- 
tilian was wont to say of jirofiting in clo- 
ouence, a man may know that by the SHJHid'^liJ,'' 
delight he finds in reailing Cicero. It is JJ' .IS,™ cJS'ii." 
a true sign of profiting in religion, when 



V£E. 1. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



the Scriptures are sweeter to us than the honey and the 
honeycomb. 

And now the work we have to do is, to open the dif- 
ficulties and to show you the Divine truths contained 
in tills portion of Scripture. May they spring up from 
the fountain of Hfe itself, and be presented to your 
minds with freshness and power. 

These five things are to bo inquired concerning the 
prophet whose prophecy I am now to open, which are 
contained either in the Ist verse or in the chapter : 

I. 'V\'lio he was. 

n. To whom he was sent. 

in. A\'Tiat his errand was. 

IV. His commission. 

V. The time of his prophecy. 

I. "\ATio this prophet was. 

I will explain only what you have of him in the 1st 

verse, " Hosea the son of Beeri." His name signifies 

a sa^dour, one that brings salvation ; it is the same 

root fi'om wliich Joshua is derived ; and 

"•'itrirT s^'^^'^i'- ™^'^y saving and savoury truths we 

shall find this prophet bringing to us. 

He was the son of Beeri. We do not find who this 

Beeri was in Scripture, only that he is here named 

as the father of the prophet. Surely it is hotioris gratia 

to the prophet, and hence 

06s. That parents should so live and walk, that it 
may be an honour to then- children to be called by theii- 
names, that then" chilcben may neither be afraid nor 
ashamed to be named with them. 

The Jews have a tradition which is generally re- 
ceived among them, that wlienever a prophet's father 
is named, that father was a prophet as well as the son. 
If that were so, then sui-ely it is no dishonour for any 
man to be the sou of a prophet. Let the children of 
godly, gracious ministers be no dishonoiu' to their 
parents, their parents are an honour- unto them. But 
we find by experience that many of theii- chilcben are 
far from being an honom- to their godly parents. Hov,' 
many sons of ancient godly ministers, who heretofore 
hated superstitious vanities, have of late been the great- 
est zealots for such things. It reminds me of what the 
Scriptui'e says concerning Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, 
and of the difference between his father and him. 
WTien Josiah heard the law read. Ids heart melted, and 
he humbled himself before the Lord, 2 Kings xxii. 19. 
But when Jehoiakim his son heard the law of God read, 
he took a pen-knife, and cut the roU in wliich it was 
written in pieces, and threw ■' it into the fii-e that was on 
the hearth, until aU the roU was consumed," Jer. xxxvi. 
23. There was much difference between the son and 
the father : and thus it is between the sons of many 
ancient godly ministers and them ; their- fathers indeed 
might be an honour unto them, but they are a dis- 
honoiu- to then- fathers. 

"The son of Beeri." The word Beeri is derived 
from nsa puleus, a well that has springing water in it, 
freely and clearly running. So ministers shotdd be the 
chflcfren of Beeri ; that which they have shoidd be 
springing water, and not the mud, and dirt, and filth of 
their own conceits mingled with the word. This only 
by way of allusion. 

II. To whom was this prophet Hosea sent ? 

He was sent especially to the ten tribes. I suppose 
you all know the division of the people of Israel wliich 
took place in Eehoboam's time ; ten of the ti'ibes went 
from the house of David, only judah and Benjamin re- 
mained ^rith it. Now these ten tribes, rending them- 
selves from the house of David, separated themselves 
also from the true worship of God, and hon-iblc ■s\icked- 
ness and all manner of abominations grew up amongst 
them. To these ten tribes God sent this prophet. He 
sent Isaiah and Micah to Judah, Amos and Hosea to 
Israel; all these were contempcrary. If you woidd 



know the state of Israel in Hosea's time, read but 
2 Kings XV. 24, " Jeroboam did that which was eyU. in 
the sight of the Lord, he departed not fi-om all the sins 
of Jeroboam the son of Xebat, who made Israel to sin." 
But notwithstanding Israel was thus notoriously wicked, 
and given up to all idolati-y, yet the Lord sent liis pro- 
phets Hosea and Amos to prophesy to them even at 
tills time. Oh the goodness of the Lord, to follow an 
apostatizing jieople, an apostatizing soul ! Jlercy yet 
pleaded while God w'as speaking in anger ; but woe to 
that people, to that soul, concerning whom the Lord 
shall give in chai-ge to his prophets. Prophesy no more 
to them ! 

III. AMiat was Hosea's en-and to Israel ? 

His errand was to con\'ince them clearly of their 
abominable idolatry, and those other wickeihiesses in 
which they lived, and to denoimce severe tlu-eatenings, 
yea, most fearful desti'uction. This was not done be- 
fore by the other prophets, as we shall afterward make 
appear ; but it was Hosea's errand specially to tlu-eaten 
an utter desolation to Israel more than ever was before, 
and yet withal to promise mercy to a remnant to di'aw 
them to repentance ; and to prophesy of the great 
things that God intended to do for his chm-ch and chil- 
cb-en in the latter days. 

rV. "WTiat was his commission ? 

The words tell us plainly, " The word of the Lord 
came to Hosea." It was the word of Jehovah. It is a 
great argument to obedience to know that it is the 
word of the Lord wliich is spoken. '\ATien men set 
reason agauist reason, and judgment against judgment, 
and opinion against opinion, it prevails not ; but when 
they see the authority of God m the word, then the 
heait and conscience jield. Therefore however you 
may look upon the insti-uments that bring it or open it 
to you, as yoiu- equals, or inferiors, yet know there is 
an authority in the word that is above you all ; it is 
" the word of the Lord." 

And this word of the Lord " came to Hosea." Mark 
the phi'ase : Hosea did not go for the word of tlie Lord, 
but the word of the Lord came to him ; he sought it 
not, but it came to him, yii'W-Ss rrn irs that is, the 
word of the Lord came or was made into him, was put 
into liim. Such a kind of phi-ase you have in the New 
Testament, John x. 35, " 11' he called them gods, unto 
whom the word of God came," irpbg oi'ie o Xoyog tov 
etou lyeviTo, that is, to whom the commission came to 
place them where they were. So the word of the Lord 
came to Hosea. The knowledge of a call to a work 
will help a man thi-ough the difficulties of the work. 
One of the most notable texts of Scrip- 
ture to encom-age a man to the work to JJ^J q^'Deo" 
wliich he sees he is clearly called, is that Y^^S' ''°°""""'- 
which is spoken of C'hiist himself, Isa. 
xlii. 6, " I the Lord have called thee in righteousness." 
'^Tiat follows then ? "I will hold thy hand, and will keep 
thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people, for a 
light to the Gentiles." If wo know God's call to a 
work, (as for the present this of om-s is exceecbng clear 
imto us.) though the work be difficult and liable to 
much censm-e, yet the Lord will hold our hands, and 
^^■ill be with our minds, and om- tongues, and om* 
hearts, and make us instruments to give some light to 
others. 

V. AMiat was the time when Hosea prophesied ? 

You have it in the text, " In the days of Uaziah, 
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hczekiah, lungs of Judah, and in 
the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel." 
It is computed by ehronologers that Hosea lived about 
814 yeai-s before "Chi-ist. In his time the eit)- of Rome 
was buUt. It was the beginning of the Ohinpiads. 
Eusebius tells us that there was no ^^^^Ji^,,, ^^ 
Grecian histoiy, and if no Greek learn- Greca'dLTempln- 
ing, then not any that was of any author- creditlfr,°EuMb?de 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



rrrp>r.E.jn.LM. j^.^ extant beforc the time of Hosea. 
He ])roi)hesie(l in the reigiis of Uzziah, 
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. AVe have much more 
of God's mind revealed in this than at first \-ie\v we 
a])prehcnd. Hosea prophesied a very long time, pro- 
bai)ly fourscore years ; but it is certain he was in the 
worli of his ministry above seventy years. I make that 
clear thus : He prophesied in the days of Jeroboam, who 
lhouf,'h he is here named last, yet was the first of these 
kings that took up some of his' time. But suppose you 
reckon from the end of Jeroboam's reign, from that to 
the beginning of Hezekiah were seventy years, ami yet 
the text declares he pro])hcsied both in Jeroboam's time 
and in Hczckiah's tmic. After the death of Jeroboam, 
Uzziah lived thirty-eight years. He reigned fifty-two 
in all. He l)egan" hisreign in the twenty-seventh year 
of Jeroboam, 2 Kings xv. 1. Now Jeroboam lived 
after that fourteen yeai-s, for he reigned forty-one in 
all. Take fourteen out of fifty-two, and there remams 
thirty-eight. After him Jotham reigned sixteen years, 
and then Ahaz succeeded him, and reigned sixteen 
years more. So that between these two kings, Jeroboam 
and Hezekiah, were seventy years, in which Hosea 
prophesied, besides the forty-one years of Jeroboam, and 
twenty-nine years of Hezekiah, in both whose reigns 
too you sec he lived; and therefore it is probable that 
Hosea continued in the work of his prophecy at least 
fourscore yeare. See what of God's mind will spring 
from tliis. 

Obs. 1. It jileases God sometimes that some men's 
labours shall aljide more full to posterity than others, 
though the labours of those others arc greater and as 
excellent as theirs. Hosea continued so long, and yet 
there is not much of his prophecy extant, onlv foin-teen 
short chapters. This is according to the diversity of 
CJod's administrations. Let the ministers of God learn 
to be faithfid in their work, and let God alone to make 
them eminent by having their labours extant. 

Obs. 1. It appears from hence that Hosea must needs 
begin to pro])hesy very young. If he were a prophet 
fourscore years, certainly he wa.s very young when he 
began to prophesy; and yet he was called to as great an 
emplovment as any of the prophets. It pleases God 
sometimes to stir up the hearts of young ones to do 
him great service. He sends such sometimes about 
great works and emplo^cnts ; so he did Samuel, and 
Jeremiah, and Tiraotny. Therefore let no man despise 
their youth. 

Obs. 3. Hosea prophcs^-ing thus long, it appears he 
lived to be old in nis work. When God has any work 
for men to do, he lengthens out their days. So he did the 
days of John the disciple, who lived a hundred years, 
if not more ; for the time of writing liis Gospel was in 
the ninety-ninth year of Christ, sixty-six after the 
ascension. Let us not be too solicitously careful about 
our lives, to maintain our health and slrengtli ; let us 
be careful to do our work, for according as the Lord 
hath work for us to do, so he will continue to us our 
health, and strength, and life, '\^'hen you come to die, 
vou mav die comfortably, having this thought in you : 
NA'cII, tfie work that the Lord appointed me to do is 
done, and why should I seek to live longer in the 
world ? God has others enough to do his work. It was 
a sweet expression of Jacob, "Behold, I die: but God 
shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land 
of your fathers," Gen. xlviii. 21. So may a prophet of 
fiod say. who has been faithful in his work, Behold, I 
die. but the Lord shall be with you ; my work is finish- 
ed, but God has others who are young'to carry on his 
work. 

Obs. 4. You may see by Hosea's continuance in so 
many several kings' reigns, that he went through a 
variety of conditions. Sometimes he lived under wicked 
kings, sometimes under moderate kings, sometimes he 



had encom-agement from godlv and gracious kings, 
though they were kings of Judah. Not only the people 
of God, but especially God's ministers, must expect a 
variety of conditions in the world ; they must not pro- 
mise to themselves always the same state. 

Yet further, Hosea projihesied in all these kings' 
reigns. Here appears the constancv of his spuit, not- 
withstanding the many difficulties lie met with in his 
work ; for, prophesying in the time of Jeroboam, Jotham, 
and Ahaz, who were wicked princes, he must surely 
have met with many discouiagements : and though he 
continued fourscore years, yet he saw but little success 
of his labour ; for the truth is, the people were not con- 
verted to God by his ministiT. Nav, it is apparent they 
grew worse and worse ; for it is said of that Jeroboam 
in whose time Hosea began his ]n-ophecy, that he did 
evil in the sight of the Lord, and continued in the ways 
of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, 2 Kings xv. 24; but after 
we read most horrible things of which Israel was guilty. 
In 2 Kmgs xvii. 1 7, it is said, " They caused their sons 
and their daughtere to pass through the fii-e, and used 
divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do 
evil in the sight of the Lord, to ])rovoke him to anger;" 
besides many other ibeadful things you may read in 
that chapter. This was in king Hoshea's time, which 
was towards the end of Hosea's prophecy. 

Obs. 5. God may continue a prophet a long time 
amongst a pcojile, and yet they may never be converted. 
It is a distemper in ministers' hearts to incline to aban- 
don their work because they see not desh-ed success. 
Latimer, in one of his sermons, speaks of a minister 
who was asked why he left off preaching, who replied, 
because he saw he did no good : this, says Latimer, is a 
very naughty answer. AMiat we have here may be a 
great stay to those who have laboured many yeai-s in 
the work of the ministry, and yet think they have done 
little or no good ; Hosea was fourscore years a prophet 
to Israel, and yet did not convert them. But notwith- 
standing all these discouragements, he continued con- 
stant, and that with abundance of freshness and liveli- 
ness, even to the end of his jirophesying. 

Obs. 6. It is an honour to the ministers of God, who 
meet with many difficulties and discouragements in 
theii' way, yet continue fresh and lively to the very end. 
Many young ministers are fresh and lively when they 
begin first : oh how full of zeal and activity are they 
then ! but after they have been a while in their work, 
or when they have gained what they aimed at, they 
gi'ow cold, and that fomier vigour, freshness, and zeal 
which appeared to be in them become much flatter. 
Like soldiers, who at the first are forward and active in 
service, but aftenvard come to live upon their pay, and 
can do no service at all ; or rather, as vessels when they 
are first ta])])ed, the wine is very quick and nimble, but 
at last gi-ows exceeding flat. As we commend that 
vessel of wine that draws quick to the very last, so it 
is an excellent thing for a minister of God to continue 
fresh, and quick, and lively to the last end. It is true, 
nature and natural abilities may decay, but a spiritual 
freshness may appear when natural abilities are decay- 
ed. To see an old jirophet of God, who has gone 
through many difficulties and sufferings, and yet con- 
tinues fresh and lively in the work of the ministiT, and 
has s|)iritual excellencies sparkling in him then, this is a 
most honourable sight, and calls for abundance of 
reverence. 

Obs. 7. It pleases God many times to let liLs prophets 
see the fulfilling of their thrcatenings upon the people 
against whom they have denounced them. Ho.sea pro- 
phesied so long, that he most ])robably saw the fulfilling 
of his prophecy; for he continued proiihesjing till Heze- 
kiah's time, and in the sixth vear of Hezekiah's reign 
came the destraction of Israel. Hosea had threatened 
an utter taking of them awav, but it was not done till 



Vee. 1. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



tlien. Perhaps the people go away, and scorn and 
contemn the prophets, and their words are but wind 
with them ; but God often lets his ministers live to see 
their words fidiilled upon them. For it ia common 
with individuals, when upon then- beds of sickness or 
death, to say, Ah, the word of the Lord is true that I 
heard at such a time, it is now come upon me ! So God 
dealt with the people in Jeremiah's time ; they laughed 
and contemned him, but Jeremiah lived to see the ful- 
filling of those thi-eatenings. And if they live not to 
see the fulfilling of then- words, yet soon after their 
death they are fulfilled, as it was at Hippo, where Austin 
threatened judgments against the people ; they were not 
executed in Ms time, but soon after he was taken away 
they came. 

Hosea not only prophesied in these Idngs' days, but 
in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel. Here are 
three questions : 

1. What is the reason that Jeroboam, who in truth 
was the fij:st of these kings, is named last ? 

2. AMiy only one king of Israel is named, and thi-ee 
kings of Judah ? for in the time of Hosea's prophecy 
there were six other lungs of Israel, Zachariah, Shal- 
lum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea. 

3. Why Jeroboam is named at all ? 

One answer will be sufficient for the first two ques- 
tions, why Jeroboam is named last, and why there is 
but one king of Israel named. The answer is this, 
God took no gi'eat delight in the kings of Israel, for 
they had forsaken the true worship of God. Though 
there was much con'uption in Judah, yet because they 
kept to the true worship of God, God took more de- 
light in Judah than in Israel. Therefore he names 
Jeroboam in the last place, though he was fii-st, and 
only him. 

But why was Jeroboam named at all ? 

It Avas that you might understand the state of the 
people of Israel at the time of Hosea's projjhecy. Much 
is to be learned from hence. The state of the people 
of Israel in the time of Jeroboam's reign was very 
prosperous, though their wickedness was very great. 
2 Kings xiv. shows you, that a little before this they 
had been in very great distress, and under sore afflic- 
tions ; but in Jeroboam's time they had the greatest 
prosperity they had ever know^l. For this Jeroboam 
was not the first Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, that caused 
Israel to sin, and occasioned the rent of the ten tribes 
from the house of David ; that occurred above a hun- 
dred and forty years before this ; but the Jeroboam in 
whose time God sent Hosea to prophesy this great 
wrath against the house of Israel, was the son of Joash. 
Now in all this time the kingdom was never in a more 
prosperous condition than in the days of this Jeroboam. 

Two things are to be observed concerning the con- 
dition of the people at tliis time. 

Fu'st, That they were a little before this in gi-eat ad- 
versity, and then afterwards they grew up to great pros- 
pcritv. That Hth c'napter of the Second of the Kings 
informs you that they were under sore aftiiction, ver. 
26, " There was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any 
helper for Isi'ael." It is a comparison taken from shep- 
herds, that shut up their flocks when they would keep 
them safe from danger ; but now here was such a 
general desolation and woeful affliction upon Israel, 
that there was none shut up, nor any helper left. But 
then comes this Jeroboam, and it is said, ver. 25, that 
" he restored the coast of Israel fi'om the entering of 
Hamath unto the sea of the plain." And, ver. 28, " He 
recovered Damascus and Hamath, which belonged to 
Judah, for Israel." This Hamath of which he speaks 
was of great use, it was the inlet of the Assp-ians ; aiid 
for Jeroboam to conquer that place, to recover Damas- 
cus, and to add that to the crow^l of Israel which be- 
longed to Judah, shows that after their bitter affiiction 



God granted a great mercy by Jeroboam's means, and 
that now Israel flom-ished greatly, and grew exceed- 
ingly prosperous. There is much of God's mind held 
out to us m this : as, in that the people of Israel had 
been under sore affliction, and delivered, yet God sent 
Hosea to them to show them their horrible wickedness, 
and to threaten de.struction. 

Obi: 1. Hence see the perverseness of the diildi-en 
of men, that after great deliverances granted them from 
bitter and sore afflictions, yet they will continue in their 
wicketbiess and rebellion. The Lord grant this may 
not be true concerning us. God has delivered us in 
great measm-e from those sore and bitter afflictions and 
heavy oppressions under which we lately groaned, and 
has restored to us many gi-acious liberties ; now have 
we not need of an Hosea to be sent unto us to rebuke 
us, and to threaten judgment for the evU of oiu' ways ? 
This is a sad thing. 

Obs. 2. God may let a sinner continue a long time 
in the way of his sin ; and when he has flomished many 
years, and thinks surely the bitterness of death is past, 
God may thi-eaten judgment. Jeroboam reigned one 
and forty years, and Hosea must have prophesied in the 
latter end of Jeroboam's time. Jeroboam might tliink, 
AVTiy does he come to contest with me, and to tell me of 
my sin and wickedness, and to threaten judgment? 
have not I continued these forty years king, and have 
prospered ? and sm-ely God hath been with me. Well, 
a sinner may hold out long, and yet afterward judgment 
may come. 

Obs. 3. A people in a flourishing condition, when 
they prosper most, and overcome then- enemies, and 
have all according to their hearts' desire, even that may 
be the time for God to appear in his WTath against 
them. So it was here ; therefore we must not judge 
our enemies to be happy, nor fear them, because of 
their present flom-ishing state, nor be secure ourselves 
because of the mercies we- enjoy. God does not always 
act thus, but sometimes he is pleased, as here, to stay 
tiU sinners are at tire height of their prosperity, and 
then to come upon them. Sometimes God is more 
sudden. Zachariah the son of this Jeroboam thought 
he might venture as well as his father : Jly father pros- 
pered in such ways forty-one years, and why may not I ? 
No, God came upon him in six months, 2 Kings xv. 8. 

Secondly, "\ATien Hosea came to prophesy against Is- 
rael, he saw them in their prosperity, and yet continued 
to threaten judgment against them. It was a fui-ther 
argument of the Spiiit of God that taught him, and of 
the special insight which he had into the mind of God, 
that he should thus prophesy destruction to them, w hen 
they were in the height of their prosperity. It is true, 
if Hosea had prophesied in Zachariah's days, when the 
kingdom was declining, or ui Shallum's time, and 
others after him, then he might have seen by the work- 
ing of second causes that the kingdom was going 
dowTi. But he comes in Jeroboam's time, when there 
was no appearance fi-om second causes of their destruc- 
tion, and then prophesied destruction unto them. 

Obs. 1. It is a sign of the special insight the soul has 
in the ways of God, that can see misery under the 
greatest prosperity. The prophet did not think Israel 
in a better condition because of then- outward pros- 
peiity ; a sign his prophecy was from God. Yet fur- 
ther, this being in tire reign of Jeroboam, when they 
were in gi-eat prosperity, then- hearts were exceedingly 
hardened against the prophet ; and it cannot be imagin- 
ed but that they entertained his prophecy with sconi 
and contempt ; for it is a usual thing, w-hen men are 
in the height of their pride, like the wild ass's colt, to 
scorn andcontemn all that comes against them. 

Obs. 2. It is easy for a minister of God to deal plainly 
with people in the time of adversity, but when men are 
in their pride and jollity, to deal faitlifuUy with them 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



CliAP. I. 



then is very difficult. That their great prosperity raised 
up and hardened their hearts with pride against the pro- 
phet appears plainly, if you will road .Vmos vii. 10 ; (for 
wo must find God's mind by comparing one place with 
another ;) there you sec the fruit of Jeroboam's pros- 
perity, for Amos and Hosea were contem])orary. AVhen 
Amos was propliesyiiig, '• Amaziah the priest of Beth-el 
sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saving, Amos hath 
conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Is- 
rael : the land is not able to bear his words." This was 
said of Amos, and it is likely that Hosea did not meet 
with better treatment. Amaziah the priest of Beth-el 
did this. If there be any enemies against faithful 
ministers, they are the priests of Beth-el, idolatrous and 
superstitious ministers. And what course do they 
take ? They send to the king, to the governors ; O they 
liave consi)ired against the king, they are seditious per- 
.sons, factious men, who stir up the kingdom, and break 
the peace of the church, the land cannot bear thcii- 
worcb. Such a message as this you see .iVmaziah sent 
to the king concerning Amos ; he turns off all from 
himself to the king, and all the punishment that must 
be inflicted upon Amos must be in the name of the 
king. And mark the 12th verse of that chapter, " Also 
Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee away 
into the land of Judea, and prophesy there." We are 
not holy enough for you, forsooth we are idolaters, we 
do not worship God aright, we are no true church ; get 
you to Judah among your brethren, and prophesy not any 
more here at Beth-el. AVhy? Because ''it is tiie king's 
chapel, and it is the Icing's coiu't." It seems llien in 
those times that the king's chapel and the king's coiu-t 
could not bear with a faithful prophet. And what was 
the ground of it, but because at this time Jeroboam 
pro.spered in his way, and the Idngdom was in a more 
flourishing condition than it ever Avas before. Here 
then was the trial of the faithfulness of Hosea's spirit 
yet to go on in the work of lus prophecy. 

Yet further; in that Ilosea ])io])hesied in the time of 
Jeroboam, it will appear that he was the first prophet 
that ever brought tliese hard tidings to them of the 
utter destniction of Israel. " The Lord said not that 
he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven : 
but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of 
Joash," 2 Kings xiv. 27. Mark, there is given the 
reason why the Lord saved them by the hand of Jero- 
1)oam, because he had not yet said he would blot out 
the name of Israel from under heaven ; that is, the Lord 
never before sent any of his prophets thus plainly and 
fiilly to declare his intention to them, to blot out the 
name of Israel, upon their going on in their sins. So 
that it is clear that Hosea was tlie first that was sent 
about this message. And certainlv it was so much the 
harder, he being the first of all. I'or they might have 
said, AVliy do you come with these new things, and in 
so gi-eat scveritj- ? who ever did so before you ? AVe 
know if a minister come with any thing that seems to 
be new, if he presents any truth to you that has but a 
show of novelty, though it be never so good and com- 
fortable, he finds little encouragement. Nay, if he but 
comes in a new way, as this verj' exercise, because it is 
likely to be pursued in a way that lias been disused, it 
will meet with many discouragements. "What then will 
the threatenings of hard things, of iudgmcnts and de- 
struction, do when they come with novelty ? Surely 
Hosea had a hard task of this, and yet he went on faith- 
fully with it. Thus much for the time wherein Hosea 
])rophesied. 

Ver. 2. The beginning of the uord of Ihe Lord hi/ 
Ilnsea. And Ihe Lord said to Hosea,' Go, lake unio 
thee a wife of irhoredoms and childreti of vhoredom.1 : 
for Ihe land halh commilled great trhoredom, departing 
from the Lord. 



Some from these words gather, that Hosea was the 
fii-st of the prophets whose vmtings have come down to 
us. Though it is true we cannot gather it diiectly from 
hence, yet it is apparent that notwithstanding Isaiah is 
set first, yet Hosea was before him ; for if you look into 
Isa. i., you find that his beginning was in the days of 
Uzziali. Now Hosea was in the days of Jeroboam, 
and Jeroboam was before Uzziah. And this may be 
one reason why, though I intend the whole prophetical 
books, yet I rather begin with Hosea, because indeed 
he was the fh'st prophet : it is clear you see from tlie 
Scri])turc, though we cannot gather it fromjhese words 
in this 2nd vei-se. 

But yet thus much we may gather from these words, 
" The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea," 
that this was the beginning of his prophecy. And what 
was this beginning 'P what did God set him about first ? 
Mark the next words, " And the Lord said to Hosea, 
Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children 
of whoredoms ; " and so declare to the people of Israel 
that they had "committed great whoredom, dejiarting 
from the Lord : " the most grievous charge and most 
severe and temble expression of God's wrath against 
that people that you meet with in all the book of God. 
This is Hosea's work, and he was veiy young when first 
he went about it. Now, as I told you before, God some- 
times calls young ones to gi-eat sen-ices ; but to call a 
young man to go to thLs peojjle with such a message, in 
the midst of all their pride and flourish to contest with 
them thus, and to tell them that they arc chikfren oi 
whoredoms, and no longer the people of God, for a 
young man to do this ! A\'hy, men grown old and sodden 
m their sins might reason. If this indeed came from the 
mouth of some old prophet, reverend for his years and 
experience, it had been somewhat ; but to come from a 
green-head, for an upstart to upbraid us with such vile 
things ! But let us know, my brethren, if God send any 
message unto us, though by young persons, he expects 
our entertainment of it. A\'hen God would destroy 
Eli's house, he sends the message by young Samuel ; 
but Eli did not reason thus, '\\ nat, this young boy to 
come and speak thus malapertly to me ! No, he stoops 
to it, and saith, " Good is the word of the Lord." 

Again, Hosea must tell them that they are children 
of whoredoms, and not the people of God. AMiat, for 
a minister when he comes first among a people to begin 
so harshly and severely! is it not better to comply with 
the people, to come with gentle and fair means, to seek 
to win them with love ? if you begin with harsh ti'uths, 
surely you will make them fly off immediately. Thus 
many reason. Now I beseech you take heed to your 
own hearts in reasoning thus. >Iany have done so, and 
have sought to comply with the ])eople so long, till they 
have complied away all their faitlifidness, and conscience, 
and vigoiu". AAlicn they eoinc to gi'eat men, rich men, 
men in place and eminence, they will comply with such; 
but let them have any of God's people in their parish 
wlio are of a mean rank and poor, they comi)ly little 
enough with them, but are harsh and bitter to them, and 
regard not the tenderness of their consciences at all. 

It is true, if ministers have the testimony of their 
own consciences tliat they would take no other way but 
what shall be for the greatest profit of their people, 
maintainiiip such a disposition as to be willing to under- 
go any sufferings to which God shall call them, they 
may say first when they come to a house. Peace be to 
this house, especially when they come to a place that 
has not had the means before. "But if it be to a people 
who act directly against the light of their consciences, 
a su])crstitious jieople, that cannot but be convinced, 
and have had many evidences, that their conduct Ls 
against the mind of God, and yet for their own base 
ends will go on and not amend ; in such a case we may 
come with harshness at the very first So Paul gives a 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



charge to Titus in dealing with the Cretians, who were 
evil beasts and slow beUies, that he should " rebuke them 
sharply " (so we ti'anslate it) ; the word is, ilfforo/jwj, 
cuttingly, Tit. i. 13. 

" The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea." 
The particle which is translated by signiiies in as well 
as bij ; it is not El, but Beth, and so it is read by some, 
The word of the Lord came in Hosea. This expression 
notes the inward and intimate converse that the Lord 
had with the spiiit of Hosea in the work of his minis- 
try. The Lord spake first in Hosea, and then Hosea 
speaks out unto the people. Some such expression we 
have conceVning Paid, Gal. i. 16, That Clu-ist may be 
revealed in me ; not only to me, but m me. The more 
inwardly God speaks and converses with the hearts of 
his ministers, the more inwardly and efficaciously they 
are able to speak to the people. This is deep preaching, 
when it is ii'om the heart to the heart. 
?md"mKS;"' And so Augustme says of Hosea, be- 
!Sratuf."AuB"st°" cause that which he spake was so deep, it 
c°v"°°S' '' '*■ '"" wTOught more sti'ongly. Hosea's pro- 
phecy must needs be deep, for God spake 
in him before he spake out to the people. A^'e say that 
which comes from the heart will go to the heart ; sm'ely 
that which comes fi'om the voice of God in the heart, 
will go beyond the ears to the hearts of people. And 
blessed are the people that have such muiisters who 
will speak nothing to them, but what has fii'si. been 
spoken by God in them. 

Agaui in this 2nd verse he twice uses the same ex- 
pression : " The beghining of the word of the Lord by 
Hosea ;" and again, " The Lord said to Hosea ;" and yet 
in the beginmng of the 1st verse, '• The word of the 
Lord came to Hosea.'' "Why all this three times ? With 
good reason ; for Hosea was to come with a terrible 
message to the people, and to reprehend them with 
much sharijness, to tell tliem that they were the chil- 
di'en of whoredoms, and that they had departed fr'om 
the Lord, and he would have no more mercy upon 
them, but would utterly take them away. He had 
need therefore have an express command for what he 
did, and to have much evidence of the Spirit, that what 
he said Avas from God, and not any thing of his own 
spu'it. A\Tien a minister of God shall come and repre- 
hend a people severely for then- sins, and tlu'eaten 
God's judgment, let liim then, if ever, look to it that he 
has a good wai'rant for what he saith, that what he shall 
deHver may be nothing but the word of God in him, 
the sheer word of God, without any mixture of his o-mi. 
It is an ordinary thing for ministers m reprehending 
sin, and denouncing tlu'eatenings, to mmgle much of 
theu' own spu-it and \^Tath. But if at any time minis- 
ters should take heed of mixing then' own wrath, then 
especially when they denounce God's wi'ath, then they 
shoidd bring nothhig but the word of the Lord ; for it 
being a hard message, the spu-its of men will rise up 
against it. If they once see the spu'it of the minister in 
it, they will be ready to say as the devil in the possessed 
man, " Jesus I know, and Paul I know ; but who are 
ye ? " So they. The word of the Lord I know, but what 
are you ? here is yoiu' O'mi passion, your own humom'. 
O let not any tliink to oppose sin with sin ; " the wi'ath 
of man worketh not the righteousness of God," James 
i. 20. You that are ministers, would you have a sen- 
tence ? I wUl give you one : TVIien you are called to 
reveal God's WTath, conceal yoiu- own. 

The scope of the prophecy is the very same as the 
scope of tins chapter, to declare, fii'st. The evil condi- 
tion m which the ten tribes were, both in regard of then- 
sins, and the punishment that was to be executed for 
their sins. Secondly, Gracious promises of mercy to a 
remnant ; to Judah, in the Tth verse ; and to judah 
and Israel both', from the 10th verse to the end of the 
chapter. 



First, God begins with conviction, to show them 
their sin, and the dreadfulness of it. Conviction should 
go before correction. Y''ou must not presently fly in 
the faces of those who are under you when they cross 
you ; fu-st Instruct them, and then correct them. God 
would fii'st convince them of the greatness of their 
sins, not by verbal, but by real expressions.- Things 
that assail the ear slowly stu' and work ^^^^^ .^,^^1^^ 
upon the heart, but things that are pre- unSnos demiss. 
stnted before the eye ai-e more operative ; !j"a.\"uni'<.cuS"' 
and therefore Hosea must not teU them J^oSplSf' 
only that they had committed whoredom, gorat ?e A?t° Poet, 
but must tell" them in this way; he must 
go and take a wife of whoredoms, and beget children 
of whoredoms. 

In the enti-ance of the prophecy you see we meet 
with a great difficidty. Fu-st, a command from God, 
from the holy God, to a prophet, a holy prophet, to go 
and take " a wife of whoredoms ;" not an ordinary harlot, 
but a most prostitute woman, " a wife of whoredoms :" 
as, in the Scripture phi'ase, a man of bloods, is a man 
who has shed much blood ; and a man of sorrows, is a 
man who has been exercised with many son'ows ; so 
" a wife of whoredoms," is one who has committed vUe, 
notorious lewdness. Y^et such a wife must the prophet 
take to himself, and his cliilcken must be children of 
whoredoms too. How can tliis be ? 

St. Austin, who had been a Manichee, havmg to deal 
much with Manichees, met with this objection against 
the Old Testament from one Faustus, a JSIaniehee : 
That Old Testament of yom'S, r^Ioses and the prophets, 
said Faustxis, is that of God ? do you not find there 
a command to take a wife of whoredoms, and can this 
be from God ? 

Austin answers it thus : Though she Quid , 



might be reclaimed; and so she might 'tSfoSuSe 
be called a wife of whoredoms, from that in cKstum conjuei- 
whoredom of which .she was heretofore &J! 'l^colt^' 
guilt)-. And so he thinks that it was a ^■^""- '- -=- '■ *- 
reality that Hosea did take to himself a wife of 
whoredoms. 

Theodoret is somewhat angry with Eorum nudnciam 
those who think it was not really done, "'f"i^*'f,eS'°' 
but only in a way of vision. I find many Jiccre jerba hsc 

,, Y , r ...1, -J esse rebus destituta. 

ot om- later men are of the same mmd : Theod. in hos. 
so Ai-ias Montanus, Piscator, Parens, ™"- "■ '- 
Tarnovius, and others think, and they explam it thus ; 
that it is a command of God, and therefore though it 
had not been lawful for Hosea to have done it, yet, God 
commanding it, he might do it. As they instance in 
other cases that seem to be somewhat of the like na- 
ture, as the chilcb-en of Israel's borrowing of the Egyp- 
tians, Abraham's kiUuig his son, and the like. 

K this shoidd be so, (and as many interpreters so 
explain it, it appears a thing not impossible,) we might 
learn thus much from it. 

Obs. 1. That God's command takes away all matter 
of ofl'ence. It would be a notorious, offensive thing for 
a prophet, a minister of God, to marry a wicked harlot ; 
vet so far as the offence is, God's command is enough 
to take it away. For the subject of offence is not duty, 
but indifference : any thing that is a duty to be done, 
we must perform it, "thougli it be never so offensive to 
others ; but if it be a tiling of indifference, then we may 
stop. God's command takes away all plea of offence. 
I speak not thus of man's command, for men, even 
raagish-ates themselves, are bound not to offend their 
brethi-en, as well as others. 

But then it may be said they should command nothing 
at aU, for some- or other would be offended. And shall 
not they command because some weak ones may be 
ofl'ended ? It is true, that which they believe in their 
consciences to be their duty, they are bound to com- 



,VN EXPOSITION OF 



CiiAr. I. 



mand, and they would sin against God if they did not 
command it, and require obedience to it ; they must do 
it, though never so many be offended. But in matters 
which they themselves acknowledge to be neither for 
God's ser\ice or for the good of a commonwealth, the 
rule binds them as well as others in regard of oflcnces 
to forbear. 

Obs. 2. That the prophet must suffer much in his 
credit before men, only to be ser\iceable to God for a 
further expression of his mind. Our credit, our names, 
and all we are or have, must lie down at God's feet to 
be seniceablc to him in the least thing, if but in a way 
of expression of his mind, much more in bearing witness 
to his truth. 

Obs: 3. AVe see the wisdom of God in putting the 
prophet in the verj- first service upon a very difficult 
work. It could not but be a tiling exceedingly ii'ksonie 
to his spirit to marry such a one, yet God commands 
him to do it. It is the usual way of God, when he calls 
any to great services, at the beginning to put them to 
such difficult works as shall try them, that if they go 
through them, then they may be confided in, that they 
will go through more afterward. 

But we shall rather undoi-stand this in a way of 
\ision, as others do ; not that Hosea did really marrv' 
such a wife, but it appeared to him in a vision, as if 
such a tiling were really done, only to declare what the 
condition of the people of Israel was at this time in re- 
spect of God : as if God should say, Ilosca, this people 
of Israel is to me no other than as if thou shoiddst have 
a wife that were the most notorious harlot in the world, 
and all their ehihb-cn arc to me as if thy chikken were 
the children of whoredom and fornication. And this I 
conceive to be more directly the mind of God. I will 
not give you my mere conception of it, but reasons why 
it must be so. 

First, Because we find in Scripture that which is his- 
torically related was sometimes done in a way of vision. 
It is a usual way of Scripture to express that which is 
done in vision as if it were a history, as if it were really 
done. I will show you two examples for this : one of 
Jeremiah, when he was at Jerusalem, yet the Scripture 
speaks as if he had been at Babylon ; and the other of 
Ezekiel, when he was at Babylon, it speaks as if he had 
been at Jenisalem. It is as fully related as this is here, 
and both must therefore needs be understood a.s in a 
way of vision. First, for Jeremiali, vou have it chap, 
xiii. 4. God requires there that he should " go to Eu- 
phrates, and hide his girdle there in a hole of the 
rock :" but this river was a river in Babylon, and Jere- 
miah was not in Babylon at that time, nor in all the 
time of the siege, nor in the time of the captivity ; nei- 
ther could he go to Babylon, for the city was now be- 
sieged, and when he did l)ut essay to go a little way to 
Anathoth, his own town, he was seized as if he had been 
a ti'aitor to his country. Therefore that which is de- 
clared as a history was only done in a vision. So 
Ezekiel was nt Babylon (for he was the prophet that 
pro])hesied to the pco])lc who were earned eajitivc to 
Babylon ; God sent a projiliet to them to help them 
there in their cajitivity) ; yet, chaji. viii. of his prophecy, 
l'2zekiel seems to be l>roiight to Jeremiah, and he is 
bidden there to dig a hole in the wall to see the wicked 
abominations that the aneicnts of Israel did there. 
Now Rzekiel was not there, he was at Babylon ; but it 
is declared as if the thing had been done really. So 
we arc to understand Isaiali's going naked twenty days, 
and Ezekiel's lying three hundred and ninety days on 
the one side, and forty-three on the other, Ezek. !v. 

Secondly, That it was a vision, and not really done. 
We observe, it was God's command, Lev. xxi. 7, that 
the priest must not marrv' with a whore. Of all men's 
wives, God is most careful of the wives of those who are 
In the work of the ministry, and who are church officers ; 



therefore when, in 1 Tim. iii. 11, but a deacon is de- 
scribed, his wife is described also, that she should be 
" grave, no slanderer, sober, and faithful in all things." 
You never read that when God appoints what a magis- 
trate's office should be In a commonwealth, that he 
takes such care to set down what his wife should be ; 
but when he appoints the lowest officer in a church, a 
deacon, he appoints what his wife should be too. 
Therefore the wives of ministers should go away with 
a lesson from hence, and know that God has a more 
special eye to them than to the wives of all the men in 
the world besides. God is tender of the credit of the 
officers of his church, and so should man be, for their 
discredit is a hinderance to their work. 

Yea further, we read, Amos vii. 16, that it was threat- 
ened as a curse to Amaziah the i)riest of Beth-el, that 
his wife should be a harlot, for resisting the prophet : 
shall then the wife of Hosea be a whore ? for Amos 
and Hosea prophesied both at the same time. And the 
Scripture saith, 1 Cor. xi. 7, that " the woman is the 
glory of the man." VThat a glory would Hosea have 
had in such a match as this ! ITie woman is the glory 
of the man; how? In two respects she is so. 1. Be- 
cause it is a glory to a man that he has such an image, 
for she is from the man ; and as the man, being the 
image of God, shows the glory of God, because he is 
the image of God and from him ; so the woman, being 
from the man, and as it were his image, she is the glory 
of the man. 2. Because man has such an excellent 
creature brought under subjection to him. Man is not 
only made glorious by God, in that God has put all 
other creatures under him ; but especially in this, that 
God has put such an excellent creature under him as 
the woman, for the woman is the glory of the man. 
This could not be here in such a match as this. 

Thirdly. It could not be that it was a real thing, but 
a vision, from the projihecy itself. If real, Hosea must 
have stayed almost a whf>le year before he could have 
gone on in his prophecy. For, fii-st, he must take to 
him a wife of whoredoms, and beget a child of whore- 
doms ; then he must have stayed till the child had been 
born, before he could have come to the people and said, 
My child is born, and his name is Jezreel, and it is 
upon this ground that I have named him thus ; and then 
he must have stayed almost a year more before he could 
have had Lo-ruhamah ; and then after that he must stay 
almost another year longer before Lo-ammi could be 
born. 

Foiu-thly, The expression used here is, that God 
spake in Hosea; speaking and appearing to him by an 
inward vision, as it were in an ecstasy, saith I'olanus ; 
therefore we must understand that this wife of whore- 
doms whom Hosea was to many was in a way of vision. 
It was to signify that Israel was to God as a wife of 
whoredoms, and as chilfken of whoredoms should have 
been to the prophet if he had been married to her. 

From all these reasons there is this residt, that the 
people of Israel were gone a whoring from God. Idol- 
atry is a.s the sin of whoredom ; and I cannot open this 
scripture, except I show you wherein idolatry is like 
the sin of whoredom. The idolatry of the church, not 
the idolatry of heathens, is whoredom. One that com- 
mits adultciT gives herself to another. The heathens, 
because they were never married to God, their idolatry 
is not adultery; but the people of God, being married- 
to the Lord, their idolatry is adulteiT. 

1. Adultery breaks the man-iago bond. There is 
nothing breaks the marriage bond lietween God and 
his people but the sin of idolatrj-. Though n wife may 
be guilty of many failings, and be a grievous trouble 
and burden to her husband, yet these do not break the 
marriage knot except she defile the mamage lied. So 
though a ]>eo]>lc may be guilty of notorious and vile 
sins, yet if they keep the worship of God pure, they are 



Vee. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



not guilty of whoredom, but still God is married to 
them. 

2. "SATioredom is a loathsome thing. Though delight- 
some to men, yet loathsome to God. Idolatiy is the 
same ; therefore the Scripture describes the idols that 
men set up by a cSlVj a word which signifies the very 
excrement that comes from creatures, Ezek. xxii. 3. 
Idolaters think their way of idol worship to be very 
delightsome, but that which they call delectable God 
calls detestable, if you compare these two scriptures : 
Isa. xliv. 9, they call their idols " delectable things ; " 
but in Ezek. v. 11, God calls them " detestable things." 
Idolatry is a detestable, loathsome thing. 

3. There is nothing causes so irreconcilable a breach 
between a man and his wife as defiling the marriage 
bed by adultery : Jealousy is the rage of a man, and he 
wUl take no ransom. There is nothing wherein God 
is so iiTeconcUable to a people as in the point of false 
worship. 

i. Adultery is a besotting sin. " 'Wlioredom and 
new wine take away the heart,'' saith the prophet, chap, 
iv. 11 ; and in Isa. xliv. 19, saith God, He hath no un- 
derstanding to say, " I have burned part of it in the 
fii'e ; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals there- 
of; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it : and shall I make 
the residue thereof an abomination ? shall I fall down 
to the stock of a tree ? " He hath no understanding to 
consider this. Idolatry is a besotting sin, as well as 
adultery. And therefore we need not marvel, though 
men of great parts and abilities continue in their su- 
perstitious way of worship, for notliing besots men's 
hearts so much as that. 

5. AMioredom is a most dangerous sin. " The mouth 
of strange women is as a deep pit : ho that is abhorred 
of the Lord shall fall therein," Pro v. xxii. 1-1. Oh most 
dreadful place to an adulterer ! If there be any adid- 
terer in tins place tliis day, when thou goest home turn 
to that scripture, and let it be as a dart to thy heart, 
" The mouth of strange women is as a deep pit : he 
that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein :" a sign 
of a man abhon-ed of God. And so is idolatry ; for in 
2 Thess. ii. 11, 12, God gave them over to believe a lie, 
that they might be damned. Those that follow the 
idolatries of anticlu-ist are given over by God to believe 
a lie. ThatKe of popery altogether is one lie. Hence 
it is that the popish party invent so many such strange 
lies, all to uphold that great lie. ^\^ly is this ? That 
they might be damned. Idolatry is a dreadful, danger- 
ous sin. Though idolaters think they please God in and 
by such ways of worship, yet they are given over by 
God that they may be damned. If this prove to be a 
place that concerns those who follow antichrist, and if 
Rome proves to be as that scriptm-e describes her, it is 
a di'eadful text to all papists. 

6. Harlots are accustomed to deck themselves in 
pompous atth-e and gaudy raiment. So idolaters 
deck up their idols in bravery, and lavish gold (as the 
Scriptiu'e speaks) upon their idols ; whereas "the King's 
daughter is all glorious within," and the simplicity of 
the gospel will not permit such things. 

7. Though women go a whoring from then' husbands, 
yet stdl they retain (before the divorce) the name of 
wives, and then' chUcben (though bastards) retain the 
]iame of chiUben, and bear the father's name. So 
idolaters retain the name of the church, and those that 
they beget must still be called the -only sons of the 
church. 

But how are his children said to be childi-en of 
whoredoms ? for suppose his wife were a wife of whore- 
doms, yet, being man-ied to her, wherefore should the 
ehildi'en be called chUtben of whoredoms ? 

To that is answered, 1. Some think upon this ground, 
because the children when they gi-ow up would follow 
the way of the mother, as is usual for children to do. 



Therefore you need take heed how you enter into the 
estate of marriage for your chUdi-cn's sake, for they 
wUl foUow the way of tlie mother. Or rather, 2. Be- 
cause, though they were begotten after marriage, yet 
they will Ke under suspicion as those that are illegiti- 
mate. The children of one that has been a harlot 
are always suspected, and so in repute they are the 
chikben of fornication : so says God, These people are 
to me as if their cluldren were accounted chilcben of 
fornication. 

" For the land hath committed gi-eat whoredom." 
Or, as Arius Montanus reads it. In going 
a whoring it will go a whoring. They to?L""2 aSS'"" 
not only have, but will ; they are set upon "^^'o'fJroif "iJJJj,', 
it, they are stout-hearted in the way of 
idolatr-y. It is the land that has done it, the people 
of the land. 

But why the land ? It is a secret check to them, and 
an upbraiding them for theb unthankfulness, that when 
God gave them so good a land, the land of Canaan, that 
flowed with milk and honey, the land of promise, and 
gave it to them to nourish u]) the true worship of God, 
yet they made this land of God, this land of promise, 
to be a land to nomish up most vile idolaters. 

"Departing fi'om the Lord," from Jehovah. The 
more worthy the husband is, the more vile and odious 
the adultery of the wife. What ! to go a whoring from 
God, the blessed God, in whom is all beauty and ex- 
cellency, and turn to blind idols ? AVhat ! change the 
glory of the invisible God into the similitude of an ox 
that eateth gi'ass ? AVith what indignation doth God 
speak it ! O you that go a whoring after your sinftil 
lusts, this will lie most tbeadfully ujion your consciences 
one day, that it was from the Lord that you departed, 
from that infuiite, glorious, eternal Deity, the fountaiii 
of all good, to cleave to base, sinful, and unclean lusts. 

Who is this whore ? and what are the chikben that 
are begotten to Hosea by her ? 

Ver. 3. So he icent and took Gonier the daug/iter of 
Diblaim ; tihich conceived, and bare him a son. 

We must obey God in things that seem to be never 
so much against om- reason and sense. 

" He took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim." The 
word Gomer, noj comes from a word which signifies both 
perfection and defection ; and so it may be applied botli 
ways. Some apply it to perfection ; that is, a harlot 
that was perfect and complete, both in her beauty and 
in her fornication. The word hkewise signifies rotten- 
ness, corruption, and consumption : so indeed are all 
things in the world ; as soon as they grow to any per- 
fection, they begin to decline quickly to con'uption. 
AU but spbitual things do so ; they Mideed gi'ow still 
higher and higher. 

This Gomer we wiU take rather in t.. '■ second ac- 
ceptation of it, as it signifies rottenness and consump- 
tion. AMio was this Gomer ? She was D'Vat-na " the 
daughter of Diblaim." The signification is, according 
to some, " one that dwells in the desert," in reference 
to that famous desert Diblath, of which we read Ezek. 
vi. 1-1, noting the way of idolaters, that they were wont 
to go into woods and deserts, and there to sacrifice to 
their idols. But rather, according to most, Diblaim 
signifies bunches of dried figs, which were the delicacies 
of those times ; so CEcolampadius, from which he ob- 
serves, that rottenness and corruption proceed from 
voluptuous pleasm-es and delicacies. Though the plea- 
sures of the flesh are very contentful to you, yet 
desti'uction is the fruit of them ; destruction is the 
daughter of sensual pleasm-es and delights : so saith the 
Scriptm-e : '• If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," Rom. 
viii. 13. ""VATiose end is destruction, whose God is theb 
bellv, whose glory is in theb shame," Phil. iii. 19. 



AX EXI'OSITIOX OF 



Chap. I. 



But to apply it to Israel Israel vas as " Gomer the 
daughter of IJiblaim ; " that is, the people of Israel were 
now near to destruction, and were the daughtei-s of 
sensual delights, they gave themselves over to sensual 
pleasures. 

It is the usual way of those idolatei's who forsake the 
true w orslii]) of God, to give themselves up to the plea- 



sures of tlie ilcsh. Sensuality and idolaUy usually go 
oeelher. ^^^len tlie peojjle of Israel sacrificed to the 
alves, what did they ? They ate and (bank, and rose 



up to ])lay ; that was all then- work, and good enough 
for llie worshipping of such a god, a calf. You know 
the more we began to decline in the worship of God, 
we began to be more sensual ; there must be proclama- 
tion to peojjle to take their sports and delights upon 
the Lords day ; and indeed it usually accompanies de- 
fection in tlie way of God's worshi]). False worship 
lays not such bonds upon men's consciences for the 
mortifying the lusts of the llesh as the worship of 
God does. Therefore those men wlio love to give 
liberty to the flesh arc soonest enticed to ways of super- 
stitious worship. Jeremiah, in chap. xxiv. 9, sets forth 
the state of those naughtv Jews that were in captivity 
by the similitude of a baslict of rotten figs ; which is 
agreea))le to this, and the more confinns this intcrra-et- 
ation, that Israel was as Gomer the daughter of Dib- 
laini, that is, rottenness, the daughter of sensualit)'. 

Thus for the mother. But now the son that is be- 
gotten of this mother is Jezrecl. 

V'er. 4. And the Lord said unio him. Call his name 
Jezreel ; for i/el a Utile u-hi/e, and I will avenge the 
blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause 
to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. 

" Call his name Jezreel." The prophet must give a 
name to his son. It belongs to parents to give names 
to their children. Goilfathers and godmothers (as they 
call them) are of no use for this, or for any thing else 
that I know ; and, in such holv things as sacraments 
are, we must take heed of bringing in any unuseful, any 
idle things. 

But here we are to inquire, Fii'st, The signification 
of this name ; Jezreel signifies the scattered of the 
Lord. Secondly, The reasons why tlie son of Hosca 
must be called by this name, Sxynf Jezreel. Five 
reasons may be given. 

First, That hereby God might show that he intended 
to avenge tliat blooil which was shed m Jezi-eei. 

Secondly, To show that Israel had lost the honour of 
his name, and was no more Israel, but Jezreel. There 
seems to be much similarity between the name Israel 
and Jezreel, but there is a great deal of difl'erence in 
the signification : for Israel is one that prevails with 
God, " the strcigth of the Lord ;" Jezreel is one that is 
" scattered 1)' the Lord." Many outlive the honour of 
their name and reputation. These ten tribes are no 
more worthy to be called by the name of Israel, their 
famous progenitor; but now Jczi-eel, the scattered of 
the Loru. 

Thirdly, Jezreel, to show the way that God intended 
to bring judgment upon these ten ti-ibes. And what 
was it ? God would scatter them. 

God brings judgment speciallv upon n kingdom when 
he scatters the people. 'U e read, 1 Kings xxii. 17. that 
when Micaiah saw the destruction of .Uiab and his 
])co])le lie had this vision ; " I saw all Israel scattered 
upon the liills, as shcc]) that have not a shepherd." There 
is a twofiiUl scattering ; a scattering among ourselves liy 
(hvisions, and a scattering by the enemy one from 
anotlier to flee for our lives. I'hc one part of tliis judg- 
niKTit (tlic Lord lie merciful to us) is upon as alrcaJ\-, 
a).d 111 this sense we may lie called Jezreel. Oh iioiv is 
our kinjidoni divided ! how is it statlcred! The Lord 



keep us from the other scattering, that we be not scat- 
tered one from another bv being forced to flee for our 
lives before the enemy. It is just ^vith God, that if we 
scatter ourselves sinfidly by way of division, that God 
should scatter us in hLs wrath to our destruction by 
giving us up to our enemies. If wc love scattering, if 
we delight in di\-ision, we may soon have scattering 
enough, there may soon be divisions enough one from 
anotlier. 

Foiurtldy, Call liis name Jezreel, to note that the 
Lord would scatter them even in tliat ver)- place where- 
in tliey most gloried, as they did in the valley and city 
of Jezreel. But God woid({ scatter them even in that 
place in which they so much boasted. 

Fifthly, Jezreel, because the Lord would hereby 
show tliat he would tuin these conceits and apprehen- 
sions that they might have of themselves quite the con- 
trary way. As thus : Jezreel signifies indeed scattered 
of the Lord, but it signifies also tlie seed of the Lord, 
or sown of the Lord ; and so the Jews were ready to 
take the name Jezreel, and would be content to own it, 
because it signified the seed of God: and hence it 
comes to signify scattered too, because that seed is to 
be scattered when it is sown ; and hence it was that 
they might glorj' so much in that name. O, they were 
the seed of the Lord, in an abiding condition, as beuig 
sown by the hand of God himself. No, saith God, you 
are mistaken, I do not call you Jezreel upon any such 
terms, because you are sown of me ; but quite the otlier 
way, because you shall be scattered and eventually de- 
stroyed by me. It is usual with God to ixam those 
things which men take as arguments for tlieir comfort 
to their confusion. Haman made a false interpretation 
of the action of Esthers inviting him to tlie banquet 
alone with the king, the right interpretation of it had been 
that it was to his destruction. And so here ; whereas 
they might make such interpretation of Jezreel, as that 
they were the seed, the sown of the Lord, the true in- 
terpretation is that tliey are tlie scattered of tlie Lord. 

All these five reasons you have cither in the nearness 
of tlie name Israel with Jezreel, or otherwise in the 
words that follow after. 

" For yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood 
of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu." Here now we 
come to that whicli is the main part of this scripture ; 
and tliese four questions are of great use, and will tend 
much to edification. 

I. What is this " blood of Jezj-eel " that God will 
avenge ? 

II. Why God " will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon 
the house of Jehu?" 

III. AMiy is it called " the house of Jehu," and Jehu 
alone, without the addition of the name king, as it is 
usual in othci-s, as Hczckiah king of Judah, and such 
a one king of Israel ; but here only the house of Jehu ? 

IV. A^^lat is this " little while " bod speaks of? •• yet 
a httle while." 

The words arc read and passed over ordinarily, as if 
there was little in them ; but you will find that they 
contain much of the mind of God. 

I. AXTiat was the '-blood of Jezreel" that here God 
threatens to avenge ? You may read the historv' of it 
in 2 Kings ix. 10, 11. It was tlie blood of the house 
of Ahab, the blood of Jezebel, the Vdood of tlie seventy 
sons of .\hab, whose heads the elders of Jezreel sent to 
Jehu in baskets. This was the blood that was shed in 
tliis place, which God saith he will avenge. God will 
certainly avenge blood ; and if God will avenge the blood 
of Ahaf), he will surely avenge the bhiod of Abel ; if 
the blood of Jczelicl, tlien sumv the blood of Sarah ; if 
the blood of idolaters, tlien the blood of his saints. 
What vengeance then hangs over antichrist for all tlie 
blood of the saints that has been spilt by him ! The 
scarlet wliore has d\ed liersclf with this blood; vca, and 



Veu. 4. 



THE PKOPHECY OF HOSEA. 



11 



Vengeance will come for that blood of cm- brethj-en 
which hath been slied in Ii'eland, upon those who have 
been instrumental in it, gi-eat or small : certainly the 
righteous God will not sufter that wicked and horrid 
work to go unavenged, even here upon the earth. Let 
us wait a wliile, and we may live to see that time wherein 
it shall not only be said by the voice of faith, but by 
the voice of sense itself, " Verily there is a God that 
judgeth the earth." 

II. "Why will God " avenge the blood of Jezreel upon 
the house of Jehu ? " 

Indeed tliis at fii'st sight is one of the strangest things 
we have in all the book of God. Compare it with 
other scriptm-es, and nothing appears more singular 
than that it should be said that the Lord would avenge 
the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu. For in 
2 Kings is. 7 you find that Jehu was anointed by the 
Lord on purpose to shed that blood. He had a com- 
mand fi-om God, he was bidden to go and shed it, and 
the holy oil was poured upon liini for that end, that he 
might shed that blood ; yet now it must be avenged, 
and avenged upon the house of Jehu. Yea, chap. x. 
30, God said, because he had shed the blood of the 
house of Aliab in Jezreel, he woidd reward him for it, 
and that his children to the fourth generation should 
sit upon the throne of Israel and govern that kingdom. 
But that which Jehu was anointed and commanded to 
do, that for which God afterward rewarded him for do- 
ing, now God says he will avenge, and avenge it upon 
his house. 'What are the reasons of this ? There are 
three reasons why God would avenge this blood upon 
the house of Jehu. 

1. Because though Jehu did it, yet he looked at 
himself and his own ends rather than at God in it ; his 
aim was to get the Idngdom to himself, but he never 
aimed at God in the work, therefore God says he will 
avenge it upon his house. 

2. Because though he did that which God set him 
about, yet he did it but by halves. Indeed he destroyed 
Allah's house, but he should have destroyed Ahab's 
idolatry too ; but he omitted that, and therefore now 
God comes upon liim. 

3. Yea, though he was made Ahab's executioner for 
his idoIatiT, yet he proved Ahab's successor in his idol- 
atry. He was God's rod in punishing Ahab, but he 
continued in the sins that Ahab committed ; therefore 
now God saith he " wUl avenge the blood of Jezreel 
upon the house of Jehu." 

From hence we have most excellent observations that 
spring natiu-ally, as a fountain bubbles up li-esh and 
springing water. I wQl only show them to you, and so 
pass them over. 

Obs. 1. That a man may do that which God com- 
mands, and yet not obey God. He may do that which 
God would have done, and yet not please God. He 
may do what God requires, and yet serve himself 
therein, and not God. 

Ohs. 2. A canial heart is contented to go so far in 
God's commands as wUl serve his own turn, but there 
he stops. So far- as might serve the elevation of Jehu 
to the crown of Israel, to settmg him on the tlu-onc, so 
far he goes in the way of God's command, but no far- 
ther. Such a heart is like the hand of a rusty dial : 
suppose the hand of a rusty dial stand (as now) at ten 
o'clock; look upon it, and it seems to go right, but 
it is not from any inward right state of the clock it does 
so, but by accident ; for stay tdl after ten, and come 
again at eleven or twelve, and it stands still as before 
at ten. So let God command any thing that may hit 
with a man's own ends, and be suitable to him, and he 
seems to be very obedient to God ; but let God go on 
further, and reqiui-e sometliing that will not serve his 
turn, that ■n-ill not agi-ee with his own ends ; and here God 
may seek for a servant ; as for him, he will go no farther. 



Obs. 3. God knows how to make use of men's parts 
and abilities, and yet to punish them for their wicked- 
ness notwithstanding. Jehu was a man of a brave and 
valiant spu-it, full of activity and com'age, and God 
would make use of this for the destruction of the house 
of Ahab ; yet Jehu must not escape. INIany men have 
excellent parts of learidng and state policy, which God 
may use for pidling Aovra his proud adversaries ; yet 
God may pimish them afterward notwithstanding. 
Many that have but weak parts, and can do but little, 
shall be accepted of God : and others that have strong 
parts, and can do much, shall be punished by God. ^ye 
read, Eev. xii. 16, " the earth helped the woman ;" yet, 
chap. xri. 1, the vials of God's -ni-ath were poui-ed 
forth upon the earth : men may be useful for the pub- 
lic, and yet not freed fi'om the -oTath of God. 

Obs. -i. The Lord knows how to make use of the 
sins of wicked men to fui'ther liis own comisels ; yet no 
excuse to them, but liis curse will come upon them at 
last for those sins. God knows how to make use of 
the proud heart and ambitious spirit of Jehu to fulfil 
liis purpose against tlie house of Aliab ; and yet after- 
wai'd, when God has done with him, he comes agamst 
Jehu with a judgment. There are many whose strong 
lusts God overrides for liimself, and overpowers for 
the furtherance of liis ow^n ends. Many a scholar 
who, through the mere pride of his heart, will study 
hard and preach very often and well, God makes use of 
for the good of otliers, and yet the minister may be 
damned liimself. 

0/is. o. God may sometimes rewai'd a work in this 
world, yet may cvu'se a man for the work afterward. 
Many there ai'e who perform some outward service for 
God, and perhaps rejoice m it, and think that God must 
,needs accept them : they have been excellent men in 
the commonwealth, they have stood for mmisters, they 
have been forwai'd m a good cause. Well, thou hast 
done these : has not God rewarded thee ? Hast thou 
not health and strength of body. Look upon thy estate ; 
art not thou blessed there ? look upon thy table, thy 
wife and chQdi-en ; art not thou blessed there ? Thou 
hast thy penny for what thou hast done. But yet, after 
thou hast had' thy pay here in this world for what thou 
hast done, God may ciu'se thee hereafter even for the 
sinfulness of thy heart in that work which for the mat- 
ter of it was good. God may reward thee for the mat- 
ter, but curse thee for the manner of thy work. 

Obs. 6. It is a most dangerous tiling for men to sub- 
ject the works of God, especially the public works of 
God, to their avm base ends ; God ^•iU be sm'e to be 
even with them for that. The more excellent any work 
is, the more dangerous it is to subject it to a lust. It 
is an evU thing to make meat, and druik, and clothes 
scrriceable to om' lusts ; but to make public services to 
God stoop and bo serviceable to your base lusts must 
needs be grievous mdeed. It is accomited bui-den 
enough for the basest servant to be serdceable to some 
base lust of his master ; but if the master shoidd make 
his wife serviceable to his filthy uncleanness, oh what a 
vUlany were that ! So I say, the greater the thingis 
any man makes serviceable to liis lust, the more vile 
and the more dangerous is the sin. Hearken to this, 
you that are professors of religion. The di'unkard 
makes beer serviceable to liis lust, and he shall be 
danmed for tliat : but you make the worship of God, 
prayer, and hearing, and fasthig, serriccable to your 
lusts; oh what shall become of you ! A base wTetch, that 
sits tippling in an alehouse, you account vile, but it is a 
poor creature that he subjects to his base lust. A 
minister or a magistrate subjects things of a higher 
natm-e to then- lusts : oh this is exceeding vile. We 
had need, my brethi-en, all pray earnestly for those 
whom God employs in public works, that they may not 
onlv have strength to assist them, and success in them, 



12 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



but that they may have hearts to give God all the glorj- 
of them ; for though they may do never so worthily for 
God in the diurch or in the commonwealth, yet if they 
be not careful to give God all the glory, God will curse 
them at last notwithstanding. 

Obs. 7. When but half the work is done, God curses 
the whole for our neglect of the other half. Jehu does 
somewhat which God commanded him, but not all. I 
remember Calvin upon tliis place likens Jehu to king 
Henry the Eighth : Henrv', saith he, east off some de- 
gree of popery so far as would serve his own turn, but 
there were the five articles in force still, for which many 
suffered at that time ; and so he was like Jehu in that. 
God will be served with the whole heart ; for all our 
good is in God, and therefore all om- hearts must make 
out after God. God must have perfect obedience in 
the desire and endeavour, or else he will have none. 
Certainly that which must make any man acceptable, 
is not so much that there is somewhat done, but that 
that whidi God commands is done, or done in regard 
of the endeavour ; for that indeed will be acceptable : 
thougli we cannot do all at once, if we bring somewhat 
to God as a part, and acknowledging the whole debt, 
work for the remainder, it will l)e accepted. As 
suppose a man owes you one huncb'ed pounds, and 
brings vou but fifty in part of jiaj-ment, yet if he ac- 
knowleiige the rest, and promise tlie jiajTnent of it, 
if you know he will be foitliful in tlie payment of 
the other, you will accept it ; but if a man bring 
you fourscore pounds in lieu of all, you will not accejit 
it. So it is here ; hypocrites say they cannot be ])er- 
fcct in this world, and so think to put off God with 
a little. It is true, if thou hadst an upright heart, and 
didst bring God but part and labom- after the whole, 
lie would accept it ; but if thou bringest him ten times 
more than a smcere Iieart can bring liim, it will not be 
acceptable, no, not ninety-nine pounds will be accepted, 
if brought instead of the whole. God must have a 
man according to his own heart, such a one as David : 
you know what was said of iJavid, " I have found a 
man after my own heart, that shall fulfil all my wills ; " 
for the word is plural in the original, not all my will, 
but all my wills. 

Obs. 8. Jehu (Ud but half, and the worst half too, 
and therefore God comes upon him. For the great 
care of Jehu was only to reform things in the state and 
kingdom, and therefore that indeed lie did thorouglily; 
he transferred the government from the Iiouse of 
Ahab, and set up another government. But for the 
matter of the worship of God, he cared not what be- 
came of that. StiU the calves continued in Dan and 
Bethel. He took no care that the people of Israel should 
go up to Jerusalem, the place that God had appointed 
to worsliip him in a right way. This is that for which 
God thus cureed him and his house. It is a very evil 
thing in reformers, who have power in their liands, to 
be more careful of the state than of the church ; to be 
more solicitous about affairs in civil jjolicy than in re- 
ligion ; to be so afraid to meddle with religion, because 
of hinderances and disturbances in civil jiolicy, that 
they sacrifice religion for it : this is an evil thing and a 
bitter. Or if tliey reform the church, yet to reform 
only that which is notoriously evil and vile : so far Jehu 
went; he destroyed the priests of Baal, but not the 
priests of Dan and Bethel ; tlic idols of Ba.al were de- 
stroyed, but the idols of Dan and Betliel were retaine<l. 

.^^^ It is the speech of the philosopher in his 

f,li^ i7Tiu>\ti. politics, when he gives a rule of ])olicy, 
,vr,.,. „ . I. ,. c. . pi^p ^.^j.^ ^j. jjjyjijp thiiirrs must bc first ; 

and that is the best policy. Politicians must tnist God 
in tlie way of policy, and take care of divine things 
first. Yea, and go to a thorough reformation too ; for 
Jehu did something in religion, but left other things, 
therefore God cursed him. Men must take lieed of 



betraying the cause of God for the maintenance of 
state policy; let them be never so excellent in their 
way, yet if they do thus, God will blast them. 

Obs. 9. Men can see the evil of sin in others, rather 
than in themselves. Jehu saw the danger of that wicked 
and abominable sin of idolatry in others, but he coidd 
not see it in himself. " What peace," said he to Jorani, 
" so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel " con- 
tinue ? Wiat peace ? Then what peace, Jehu, so long 
as the whoredoms of Israel continue afterAvards ? This 
is common, my bretliren, for men to see e\"il and danger 
in the sins of others ; but when they come to themselves, 
to be blind there! to inveigh against the sins of other 
men, when they seem to be far off fiom them, or that 
they cannot make use of them ; but when they can 
make use of them, then to embrace them. Thus it 
was with Saul ; he was exceedingly severe against witch- 
craft, all the witches in Israel must be put to death ; 
but in liis hour of need Saul himself goes to the witch 
of Endor. 

Obs. 10. Those ways of sinful policy, by which many 
think to raise theii- houses or themselves, are the means 
to ruin them. Jehu thought, by retaining the calves in 
Dan and Bethel, to preserve the kingdom to his pos- 
terity, and this proved the ruin of his posterity. He 
that walks uprightly walks surely. 

06*. 11. Let tlicm who punish the sins of others 
take heed what they do, lest they be found guilty 
themselves ; for if they be found guilty, God >vill plague 
them, as if they did the greatest act of injustice. God 
punishes Jehu because he continues in the same sin that 
Ahab was punished for. This is of excellent use, espe- 
cially to magistrates ; and indeed it is a dreadful place 
to magistrates, if considere(L As for instance, suppose 
a magistrate should take away the life of a man lawfully 
for that for which God would have him take it awav ; 
yet if this magistrate shoidd be guilty of the same sin, 
or that which amounts to the same sin, God wiU avenge 
himself upon this magistrate as upon a murderer : as 
here, God avenges himself upon the house of Jehu as 
for murder, yet Jehu was a magistrate, and this was 
conmianded Jehu by God himself. So supnose a magis- 
trate fine a man for any evil, and that justly ; vet if he 
be guilty of the same himself, God will deal with this 
magistrate as if he robbed by the highway-side, and 
took away a man's money by violence. It is apparent 
out of tlie text. Certainly, my bretliren, great wrath 
and vengeance hangs over the head of wicked ma^is- 
ti-ates. All this you learn from what is here said, that 
God " will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon tlie liouse 
of Jehu." 

III. "Why is it called " the house of Jehu ? " 

The house of Jehu is his posterity, or family who 
were to succeed. Though it was to the fomth gener- 
ation till God came against them, vet the posterity of 
the ungodly, especially idolaters, shall suffer for their 
fathers' sin.' It is very observable, that God in no other 
commandment but the second tlu-eatens the sin of the 
fathers ujion tlie chiKben. The reason is this : 

That commandment forbids images, and superstitious 
worshippers, above all men, are strengthened by the ha- 
dition of their fathers. Our fatliers did thus and tlius, 
and what shall we be wiser then our forefathers ? We 
have now a company of upstart men, and they will be 
wiser than tlieir ancestors. Because superstitious wor- 
shijijiers liarden themselves so much from the example 
of their fathers, tlierefore in that very commandment 
against making and worshipping of images God threat- 
ens to visit the sin of the fatliers upon the cliildi'cn, 
and in no other. 

What, the huiise of Jehu, after Jehu was dead ! how 
can that be ? Yes, as a prince tliat has to punish two 
traitors, both of whom have deserved death, but the 
prince is inclined to show mercy. Against the one there 



Vee. 4. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



13 



comes this accusation, This man's father was a traitor, 
and his grandfather and his gi-eat gi-andfiither were 
traitors. Then let liim die, saith the prince. But of 
the other, that is guilty of as much as this man was, it is 
told the king, Sir, this man's father perfonned excel- 
lent service for the commonwealth, not one of his 
liouse but was a loyal person. This man is spared, 
though he deserveth death equally with the other for 
the same treason ; and the king is just in this. The 
first man may be said to die for his fathers' sin ; that is, 
he would not have been executed if his forefathers had 
not been in the fault. Take heed what you do in the 
com-se of your lives ; if you regard not yourselves, yet, 
for yom- chikben's sake, leave not a curse behind you 
u])on your offspring; look upon them, pity them. 
Though you youi'selves may escape in this world, yet 
you may leave the inheritance of your sins unto yom- 
chilcb-en. Pity yom- children, that they may not have 
cause to curse the time that they were born of such 
parents, and wish that they had rather been the off- 
spring of dragons, and a generation of vipers, than to 
be bora of such parents that have left them a ciu'se for 
an inheritance. It had been better if you had not left 
them a penny, than to leave them to inherit the cur.sc 
of your wickedness. 

" Upon the house of Jehu." Tlie house of Jehu fares 
the worse for Jehu. Those who desire to raise and 
continue the honour of their houses, let them take heed 
of ways of wickedness ; for wickedness will bring 
do\m any family whatsoever. But why is it " the house 
_ of Jehu," without any addition of Jehu the king, as in 
other cases it is usual? Hereby God woidd give a 
check to Jehu, and bid him look back to the meanness 
of his birth, for Jehu was not of the kingly race : yet 
how unthankful was he, who was raised from the dung- 
hill, thus unworthily to depart from the Lord ! You 
whom God has raised up on high to great honours and 
estates, look back to the meanness of your beginning, 
from which God has raised you, and laboiu- to give him 
an answerable return of oliedience. Those who will 
not give God the glory of their honours and estates, it 
is just that theii' honours and estates should be taken 
from them. 

IV. ■^^1at is this " little while" God speaks of? 

" Y'et a little while." This is to be understood either 
in reference to Jehu, or in reference to the house of Is- 
rael. " Y'et a little while, and I will avenge the blood of 
Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and wiU cause to cease 
the kingdom of the house of Israel." It was a long- 
while before God came upon the house of Jehu, still he 
saith, yet but a little while, I will stay but a little 
longer ere I avenge the blood of Jezi'eel upon the house 
of Jehu. It was now the third generation since Jehu 
committed those sins, nay, it will appear that it was 
above a huncb-ed years from the sins of Jehu to God's 
avenging the blood of Jezreel upon his house : for Jehu 
reigned twenty-eight years, his son Jehoahaz seven- 
teen years, and Jehoash his son sixteen years, and 
Jeroboam his son forty-one years, and then in the days 
of Zachariah, the son of this Jeroboam, God came to 
avenge this blood, which was above a huncbed years, 
2 Kings X. 36 ; xiii. 1, 23. Oh the patience of the 
Lord towards sinners ! But though he stayed long, he 
saith, " yet a little while." 

Obs. 1. That God sometimes comes upon sinners for 
their old sins. Sins a long time ago committed, and 
perhaps forgotten by you, yet remain, are filed and re- 
corded in heaven above a hundred years after the com- 
mission. It is likely that these sins of Jehu were for- 
gotten, yet God comes now at last to avenge the sins 
of Jehu upon his house. So he did for the sins of 
]\Ianasses, and for the sins of Joseph's bretlu'en. It 
was twenty-two years before they had their consciences 
troubled, and then say they, "We are verily guilty 



concerning our brother; therefore is tlus distress come 
upon us ;" and now (saith Keuben) " behold also his 
blood is reqidi-ed," Gen. xlii. 21, 22. 

Look to yourselves, you that are young, take heed 
of youthful sins. Y'outhful sins may prove to be the 
terrors of age. Perhaps you think it was a great while 
ago, when you were a young man, that you were in 
such a tavern or in such a joiu-ney, and committed such 
and such sins. Have you repented for them ? have you 
made your peace with God for them ? Though you 
were then young, and did not fear the wrath of God 
to come upon you ; yet now you are old the wrath of 
God may come upon you for sins committed in your 
ajjprenticeship. '• A sinner being a huncbed years old 
shall be accursed," Isa. Ixv. 20. 

Obs. 2. A long time after the floui'ishing of a nation 
God may reckon with it in ways of judgment. " Y'et 
a little while, and I will cause to cease the kingdom of 
the house of Israel." This nation had continued a 
pompous, successful nation, though idolati'ous, for about 
two hundi'cd and sixty years before that ^^Tath of God 
came upon it which was here tlu'catcned. This may 
make us look back to the sins committed in the days of 
Henry the Eighth, and of Queen Mary. Let us not 
plead from our forefathers for the maintenance of super- 
stitious worship, but let us look to the sins of our fore- 
fathers, and bewail them before the Lord, for God may 
come upon a nation for former sias after it hath flourish- 
ed a long time. Y'ou ask me, Was it really but a little 
while from the beginning of this prophecy till the 
ceasing of the kingdom of the house of Israel ? No, 
my bretlu-en, it was many years. And it is very ob- 
servable, that fi'ora the beginning of this prophecy, 
Avhich was in the end of the reign of Jeroboam, to the 
fulfilling of what was here threatened, viz. to the ceasing 
of the kingdom of the house of Israel, it was seventy- 
six years. For, from the end of this Jeroboam, spoken 
of ver. 1, unto the time of Hezekiah, was seventy years, 
and in the sixth year of Hezekiah Israel was destroyed 
by the king of Assjiia; and yet God saith here by 
Hosea, " yet a little while." 

Obs. 3. Seventy-six years are but a little while in 
God's account. Sinners think, either in ways of judg- 
ment or mercy, a little while to be a great while. If 
God defer mercy seven years, it is a gi'eat while in our 
account. We think our parliament has sat a long time : 
how long ? Almost two years. A gi'eat while ! We 
think every day a great while, but seventy-six years, 
yea, a hinidred, a thousand years, are but as one day 
unto God. So for judgment : a sinner, if he has com- 
mitted a sin seven years ago, he thinks it is a great while, 
and he has not heard of it, therefore surely it is forgot- 
ten. But what if it be seventy years ago ? You that are 
sinners of seventy years old, all is but a little while in 
regard of God. 

Obi-. 4. The apprehension of a judgment just at hand 
is that which will stir the heart and work u])on it most. 
" Y'et a little while," and God vnW cause the kingdom 
to cease ; therefore if ever you repent, repent now, for it 
is but a little while ere God will cause the kingdom to 
cease. The apprehension of a sinner to be u])on the 
brink of judgment, beholding his poor soul ready to 
launch into the infinite ocean of eternal destruction, 
and to lie vmder the scalding ckops of the wTath of the 
Almighty ; this works upon the heart indeed. It is the 
way of the flesh and the devil to put far from us the 
evil day, to make us believe the day of death is a great 
way off. But it is the way of God to exhibit things 
present and real ; and in this consist the efficacy and 
power of faith to make things future as if present. We 
say in nature there must be a contiguit)' and nearness 
between things that must work. So we must appre- 
hend a nearness between the evil that is to come upon 
us and ourselves, that so it may work upon our hearts. 



14 



AX EXPOSmON OF 



Chap. 1. 



An excellent scripture you have to this purpose in 
1 Kings xiv. 14; where the Loril threatens to " raise 
him up a king over Israel who should cut off the house 
of Jeroboam that day: but what?" (he immediately re- 
calls his word :) " even now :" you may think the day a 
great way ofl', but it is " even now ;" and therefore now 
come in, return and repent. O sinners, consider that 
your danger is now ; not only in that day of C'luist : but 
what P even now, it may be at hand. 

Obs. 5. God suffers some sinners to continue long, 
others he cuts off speedily. Jeroboam had continued 
above fort}' years in liis sin, but now Zachariah liis 
son, upon whom this threatening was fulfilled, con- 
tinued but six months. Perhaps he tliought to escape 
as long as his father. No ; though the father continue 
old in his sins, if the son presume to follow his steps 
he may be cut off presently. 

" And I will cause to cease the kingdom of the liouse 
of Israel." Kingdoms and monarchies are subject to 
change. "V^'hat is become of all the glorious monarchies 
in the world ? how hath the Lord tossed them up and 
down as a man would toss a ball ! IdolatiT is enough 
to destroy the greatest monarchy in the world. 

But there is some instruction in the elegance of the 
word 'nswni " and I will cause to cease." It is a 
metaphor (according to some) taken from instruments, 
that a man uses for a while, and when he lias done 
with them, either hangs them up against a wall and 
rcgaids them no more, or else brings them to the fire to 
be biuTied. So saith God, " yet a little while, and I 
will cause to cease," &c. As if he shoidd say. Indeed 
there was a time wherein I made some use of the rent 
between Judah and Israel, and of tliis kingdom ; but I 
have done with that use, there is an end of it, and now 

1 will cause to cease the kingdom, I will take them 
away, they shall be to me as an instrument not to be 
used any more, or for the fire. When the Lord has 
any use of a pcojile, or of any particular men to do him 
service, he will preserve them, though they are wicked ; 
and when he has done with them, he either lays them 
aside, or else brings them to the file. A husbandman, 
so long as he can use thorns to stoj) a gap, he destroys 
them not, but when there is no further use for them, 
he bruigs them to the fire : so God here, " I will cause 
to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel." 

But how and where will God cause to cease the king- 
dom of Israel ? 

Ver. 5. .-Ind it shall come to pass at that day, that I 
will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. 

By " breaking the bow," is here meant tlie blasting 
and Winging to nothing all the sh'cngth of their warlike 
power, all their arms and ammunition ; for the bow was 
a great warlike instniment in those days ; therefore, in 
Psal. xlvi. 9, " He maketh wars to cease ; he breaketh 
the bow, and cutfeth the spear in sunder." 

But here, by " breaking the bow," something more 
is meant. There is this particular reason why the bow 
is instanced here, because, whereas Jehu did many 
memorable things in his warlike affairs, yet none 
more than that he did by his bow. Mark that place, 

2 Kings ix. 24, " And Jehu (b-ew a bow with liis full 
strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and 
the aiTow went out at his heai't." So that the victory 
that Jehu obtained over the two kings of Israel and 
Judah was by the bow especially. '\Yhat observe we 
from hence ? 

Obs. 1. That even in those things wherein mcked 
men have been most prosperous and successful, God 
will curse them, and let out liis wrath upon them. 

Obs. 2. Carnal hearts tmst much in their warlike 
weapons, but they are nothing when God breaks a 
people's strength. " Break the bow," Wast all tlie 



power of their ammunition. God has the power of all 
ammunition. The Lord is called the Lord of hosts, and 
he delights much in this title, first, because God has 
not only the power over ammunition and all warlike 
weapons, so that they cannot be used but by him ; but 
secondly, because when they are used, they can have 
no success at all but by him : and so the Lord is the 
Lord of hosts in a peculiai- sense. He is the great 
General of all ai-mies, more than all other generals, for 
the success of all depends upon him. My brethren, 
why then need the church of God fear the strength of 
weapons, the bow, the cannon, or all the ammunition 
of the enemies of the church, seeing our Lord is the 
Lord of hosts ? No weapon can be used or have success 
but by tills Lord of hosts : he can break the bow, 
tliough of steel, when he pleases, and can give his 
])eoplc strength to do so too. For this you have an 
admirable promise, Isa. liv. IG, 17; " Behold," (saith 
God,) " I have created the smith that bloweth the coals 
in the fire, and bringeth forth an instrument for his 
work ; and I have created the water to destroy. No 
weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." 
'What need the church fear then? God breaks the 
bow when he pleases ; for as God has a providence over 
all the things m the world, so he has a specialty of pro- 
vidence to order battles, to give the victory not to the 
strong or to the multitude, but sometimes to the weak 
and few, even as he pleases. And therefore he is the 
Lord of hosts, because though his providence is general 
over all creatures, yet there is a specialty of providence 
exercised by God in warlike affairs. 

But what was this valley of Jezreel ? 

It is worthy our time to inquire after this valley, in 
which God will break the bow of Israel. There were 
two places called Jezi-cel, the one belonging to Judah, 
Josh. xv. 56, the other belonging to Israel, Josh. xvii. 
16; xix. 18. Jezreel was a fruitful valley, ten mUes 
long, and by it there was a famous city built, which, in 
Ahab's time, was the metj-opolis of the kingdom, in 
which was a glorious tower, from whence they might 
see over Galilee and Jordan. Now there were two 
gi'cat cities that belonged to the ten tribes, Samaria and 
Jezreel ; as we in England have two principal cities, 
London and York. But this Jezreel was the most for- 
tified, in which they put much confidence, yet God saith 
here, " He will break tlie bow of Israel in the valley of 
Jezreel ;" that is, in that verj- city which they accounted 
the great strength of their kingdom, there he would 
break the bow of Israel. 

06*. 3. Fortified cities cannot help when God comes 
out against a people. If we can fortify our cities 
against sm, we may soon fortify them against an enemy. 
If sin once get in, the enemy will quickly follow. " AH 
thy sti-ong holds shall be like fig trees vnth the first-ripe 
figs : if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the 
mouth of the eater," Nah. iii. 12. With the least wind, 
like tlie fii-st-ripc figs, all your strong holds shall fall ; 
yea, " thy people in the midst of thee are women : the 
gates of thy land shall be set wide open imto thine 
enemies : the fire shall devour thy bars," ver. 13. You 
see what the valley of Jezreel is, and the meaning of it. 

But why will God " break the bow of Israel in the 
valley of Jezreel ?" There are these two reasons for it : 
1. Because God would deal with tliis people of Israel 
as judges deal with malefactoi-s ; hang them up where 
their fact was committed, as we see some hanged up in 
chains near to the city, at or about the place where 
their villany was done. So in Jezreel was shed the blood 
of Jezebel, and the blood of the seventy sons of Ahab, 
and the blood of Jehoram, and there will God break 
the bow. Hence guilty consciences arc often afi^d to 
go near the places where they have committed wicked- 
ness, because they fly in their faces, for fear God should 
come upon them where the crimes were peqietrated. 



Vek. 6. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



15 



But, 2. He " mil break the bow of Israel in the val- 
ley of Jezreel," that is, in that fortified place in which 
they so much gloried. 

Ubs. 4. Even in the place in which a kingdom most 
glories, and seems to trust most in, God many times 
comes and breaks the kingdom in that very place. " Ai't 
thou better than populous No, that was situate among 
the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose 
rampart was the sea, and her wall was fi'om the sea ?_" 
Nah. iii. 8. Mark, a people just like England in this 
ease. AATiat ! we overcome by the enemy ? we that 
have the seas for om- wall, and such a multitude of 
people amongst us ? These have been and still are the 
two pleas which England uses for herself, because om- 
people are many, and we have the seas for a wall : but 
" art thou better than popidous No ? Yet was she car- 
ried away, she went into captinty," ver. 10. Thus the 
prophet pleads with them. 

But fm-thcr ; These trusted in Jezreel, they seemed to 
scorn the prophet. What! the kingdom of Israel 
cease ! what think you of Jezreel, such a strong place 
as that ? Just as we shoidd say, TVTiat ! an enemy come 
to us ! what say you to London, a brave city, a strong 
city ? "What say you to the ammunition, to the militia, 
to the strength that is there ? Ai-e the)- not able to re- 
sist all that can come agamst it? Have we cause to fear 
danger ? It is true, the kingdom has cause to bless God 
for London, and London has not yet been " the valley 
of Jezi'eel,'' but Israel, the strength of the Lord, and 
has prevailed with God, as an instrument : and there- 
fore we bless God for the protection we have had. 
But yet let us not trust in it, for even in London, in the 
valley of Jezreel, the bow may be broken ; and God 
knows how to bring things about, so as to make the 
ammmiition of London to be broken in pieces, and 
turned against its people : O, therefore, do not trust 
here. Only let it be yom- care, ye people of this city 
of London, that you prove not the valley of Jezi-eel, 
and then we shall do well enough, oiu- bow shall not 
be broken. 'UTiat attempts have there been to make 
London by this tmie the valley of Jezreel, that is, a 
scattered valley, and to bring divisions into this city, 
that it might be a scattered people ! And woe to the 
kingdom if this had been effected ! better these men 
had never been born, than that they should have had 
success in that horrid enterprise. O London, now the 
blessing of God is over you, the means of grace abund- 
antly among you, the eyes of the kingdom are upon 
you ; take heed you be not the valley of Jezi'eel ; your 
divisions will cause gi-eat thoughts of heart : continue 
you united one to another, and then you are as one 
Israel of God, the instrument of God for om- sti-ength. 

Thus we have done with the mother and with the 
fu'st son. 

Ver. 6. And she conceived again, and bare a daugh- 
ter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-rwia- 
inah : for I tcill no more have mercy upon the house of 
Israel ; but I will utterly take them away. 

" She conceived again." This conception sets out 
also the estate of Israel in regard of her sm and miser)' : 
sin is fruitfid, and what does it bring forth ? Parents 
bring forth a lilceness to themselves, and so does sin ; 
and what is that ? notliing but ruin and misery. 

This second child is a daughter, denoting the weak- 
ness of the ten tribes at this time. They were gro^^-n 
effeminate in regard of their' lust, and the baseness of 
their spu-its ; and in regard of their strength also they 
were weak like the female sex. 

There are tlu'ee estates of the people signified by the 
thi'ee chikh'eu of Hosea ; fu'st, then- scattered estate, 
and that was signified by Jezreel, the first son ; and the 
story of that you have 2 Kings xv. 9 — 19, where you 



may read their woeful seditions ; for Zachariah reigned , 
but six months, and then Shallum slow him, and reigned 
in his stead, and he reigned but one month, for Mena- 
hem came and smote ShaUum and slew him, and reigned 
in his stead : so here were nothing but murders and se- 
ditions amongst them. A scattered people. 

The second state of the people of Israel v.as their 
weak condition, signified by this daughter; and the 
liistoi-y of that you have from ver. 16 of tliat chapter 
onwards, where, when Pul the king of AssvTia came 
against Israel, Menahem jielded to liim liis demand, 
gave him a thousand talents of silver to go from him, 
and laid a tax upon the people for it. Here they were 
brought into a very low and v.'eak condition. And af- 
tei-wards this lung of Asspia came to them again, and 
earned part of them into captivity. 

The thii'd child was Lo-ammi ; and the history of 
the state of the people signified by that you have in 
2 Kings xra. 6, where they were fully earned away, 
and wholly rejected for ever. And because they were 
a little before that time grown up to some strength more 
than formerly, therefore this last was a son. We are 
now to speali of the second. 

" She conceived again, and bare a daughter. 

From the intei-pretatiou I have given, this denotes 
the weakness and effeminacy of the people at this time, 
a little before their ruin. 

TVTien the manliness, and courage, and vigour of the 
spu'its of people are taken away, they are under a fear- 
ful judgment and near to ruin. Even when then- men 
shall be as women, as Nah. iii. 1 3 ; when there shall 
be such baseness of spmt in people, that for the enjoy- 
ments of then' present ease and quiet they yield to any 
thing. So it was -with these, and their effeminateness 
was showed, 

1. Allien the king of Assj'ria came to them, they 
v-ielded to any terms he would appoint; and when the 
taxes were laid upon the people, they inquired not 
whether they were just or no, but merely for their peace 
and safetj' paid them. We must take heed of brmging 
oui'selves into ti'ouble, we had better pay this than ven- 
tiu'e the loss of all ; we must not displease those that 
are above us, we know not what hard things may follow ; 
it is our wisdom, though things are hard, and we com- 
plain the taxations are heavy, to suffer something. 
They had rather have a little, though with baseness, 
than venture any thing for fiu:ther peace and Kberty 
for themselves and then' posterity. 

2. The efleminateness of their spirits was shoA^-n in 
this, that they were willing to submit to the govern- 
ment of most vile miu'dercrs, without any inquii-ing 
after them, or taking any com-se to find out then' mur- 
ders and -ndckedness. Zachariah was slain by Shallum ; 
then came Menahem, and he kiUcd ShaUum ; after Me- 
nahem reigned Pekahiah, and against liini conspired 
Pekah, the son of Rcmaliah, and smote liim m Samaria, 
and with him killed fifty men, and reigned in liis room ; 
then came Hoshea the son of Elah, and made a con- 
spu'acy against Pekah, and slew him, and reigned in 
ms stead. Here were miu'derers upon murderers, and 
yet the people aU this while bow down then' necks, and 
look not after these tilings : They have gotten power in 
then- hands, and we must take he-ed of inquiring after 
those things that are above us, it wiU displease them, 
we had better be quiet and hold oiu- peace: and so 
they bowed then- necks to the yoke. Such hon'ible 
guUt of mm'ders must not be questioned, because the 
murderers had got power in their hands. Theii' cow- 
ardly, timorous spu'its were much like the temper of Is- 
sachar : " Issachar is a strong ass coucliiug down be- 
tween two bm'dens : and he saw that rest was good, and 
the land that it was pleasant ; and bowed his shoidder 
to bear, and became a servant unto ti'ibute," Gen. 
xlix. 14, 15. 



16 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



ClIAP. 1. 



And when men's spiiits are effeminate with respect 
to the civil state, they quickly grow so in regard of 
their consciences, and religion too. Purity of religion 
in the church cannot stand long vith slavery admitted 
in the state. We read, Itev. iv. 7, of four ages of the 
chui'ch set out by four living creatures : the thuxl 
li\'ing creatui'e had the face of a man, and that was to 
note the state of the cliurch in the time of reformation ; 
they began then to be of manly spirits, and to cast off 
that yoke of bondage which was upon them, to inquire 
after what liberty God liad granted to them. Not like 
those we read of, Isa. li. 2.'5, that would obey such as 
would say to their souls, '• Low down, that we may go 
over." 

This, my brethren, was the condition of many of us ; 
there has been that cffeminateness of spirit in us that 
we have bowed down our necks, yea, our souls, to those 
that would go over us ; yea, as it is in Isa. li. 23, they 
made themselves the very street to them that went 
over them, their very consciences were ti-amplcd upon 
by the foot of pride, and all for the enjoyment of a little 
nutward accommodation in their estates, in their shops, 
and in their trading ; O, they dare not venture these, 
rather yield to any thing in the world. And traly we 
were ah-aid, not long since, that God was calling us by 
tho name of this daughter Lo-ruhamah, for our cffemi- 
nateness of spirit ; that the Lord was departing from om' 
nation. But blessed be God, that now there is a rising 
of spirit among us, especially among oiu- worthies in 
parliament; and their warmth, and vigour, and life 
liave put warmth, vigour, and spirit into the whole king- 
dom. Now our kingdom will never bow do^ni and sub- 
mit their consciences, nor estates, nor liberties, to the 
foiTiier bondage and oppression. No, they had rather die 
honourably than live basely. But why do I make such 
a disjunction ? Die honourably, or live basely ! Had we 
spii-its we might free ourselves and posterity from Uving 
"basely, and we need not die at all ; for the malignant 
party has neither spirit to act nor power to prevail; if' 
we keep up our spirits and are strong in the Lord, we 
ore safe enough, we shall not have our name Lo- 
ruhamah, but Piuhamah ; the Lord will have mercy 
upon us. 

In 1 Kings xiv. 15, God threatens to smite Israel, that 
they shall be " as a reed sliakcn in the water j" and mark 
what foDows, and then " he shall root u]) Israel out of ' 
this good land, which he gave to their fathers." If this 
judgment be upon England, that our spirits be shaken 
as a reed with the wind, that we bow and yield to any 
thing in a base way, the next may justly follow, that the 
Lord may root us out of this good land. As Israel grew 
effeminate before their destruction, so do Judah also be- 
fore theirs : Isa. iii. 2, 3, when God intended judgment 
against them, you may observe that lie took away " the 
mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the 
prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain 
of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor ;" 
men of truly noble spirits were removed, tlieu' nobles 
became vile and sordid, and yielded to any humours 
and lusts, then they were near ruin ; and ver. 12 saith, 
'•women rule over them:" for women that have manly 
spirits to rule is no judgment at all, but for women of 
revengeful spirits to rule over a nation is a most fearful 
judgment. But so much of the first, that it is 8 daujriitia: 
born to Hosea. 

'What is this daughter's name ? Call her name " Lo- 
ruhamah," eitlier not beloved, or one that has not ob- 
tained mercy, for God's mercy proceeds from his love. 

" I will no more have morcy," or, I will add no more 
mercy ; noting that God liad showed abundance of 
mercy to Israel before, but now he declares, I will not 
add any more, I will sliow no further mercy to tliem. 

" But I will utterly take them away ;" so turned by 
some, in taking them away I will take them away"; 



others, I will lift them up, that I may east them down 
so much the more dreadfully. The old Latin thus 
reads, oblivisce7ido obliviscar, forgetting I will forget. 
And this was upon a mistake of the Hebrew word, be- 
cause there is httle tlifference in the Hebrew between 
nr: signifying to forget, and SC'J which signifies to 
take away. The Sejituagint, avrtraaaofitvoQ avrtra^ofiat, 
setting myself against them I will set myself against 
them. AV'ell, the name of the child must bear this 
upon it, that God will have no more mercy upon them. 
Hence, 

Obs: 1. Sometimes the very children of families, and 
in a kingdom, bear this impression upon them, that 
God will have no mercy upon this family. My Ijrethren, 
one may read such an impression upon the eliikb'en of 
many great families in tliis kingdom, when we look 
upon the hoiTible ■\Wckcdness of the young that are 
growing up. How ditt'erent from their former religious 
ancestors ! Wc may see, with trembling hearts, such 
an imj)rcssion of wrath, as if God had said, I have done 
with this family, I intend no further mercy to it. As 
sometimes, ■« hen we see in a family gi-acious childi'cn, 
gracious young gentlemen, noblemen, we may see the 
impression of God's mercy to that family ; Kuhamah, 
I intend mercy to it. 

It was not long since that we might, and we thought 
indeed we did, see such an impression upon tlie young 
people of this kingdom, in the city, and in the chief 
families in the country, that we were afi-aid Lo-ruhamah 
to England was ^n■itten upon them ; for, oh the rude- 
ness and wickedness of the young ! But blessed be God 
that we see it otherwise now. Because of that graeious- 
ness and forwardness of so many young people amongst 
us, we think wo see v.ritten upon them Kuhamah to 
England, mercy to England ; God has taken away his 
Lo, and writes only Kuhamah, mercy to you. The 
great ground of the hope we have for mercy to England, 
is the impression of God upon the young : when God 
has tender jilants grooving up in his orchard, certainly 
he will not l)reak down tlie hedge or dig it up. 

Uba. 2. There is a time when God will not have 
mercy upon a kingdom, or upon a particular people. 
" Gather yourselves together, yea, gather togetlicr, O 
nation not desii'ed ; before the decree come forth," 
Zcj)h. ii. 1, 2. There is a time for the decree to come 
forth against a kingdom ; a time when, though Noah, 
Job, and Daniel should stand before him, yet he will 
not be enti'cated ; though they cry, cry early, ci-y aloud, 
cry with tears, crj' \\-ith fasting, yet God will not be en- 
treated. God's mercy is precious, and lie will not let it 
run out to waste, he will not be prodigal of it ; a time 
wherein God will say, Now I have done, I have done 
with this people, mercy has had her tmn. It is true, 
except we had that immediate revelation whicli the 
propiiets had we cannot now determine the ))articular 
time. Those wlio laboiirrd n" DSt to search God's mind 
in his word, were afraid tliat this decree had gone out 
upon us in England. It is true, God seems for the 

{iresent to tell us that he has a prerogative, and he will 
lave mercy u])on whom he will have mercy. But they 
are not altogetlier to be blamed who, even in their own 
hearts, determined tliat mercy was gone, except they 
wholly limited God. and left nothing of prerogative to 
him. It wa.s God's ordinarv way, and except God liad 
wrought with us in a w ay of sovereignty other^vise than 
ever lie did with any nation before, they concluded that 
the decree was gone forth : and so it might be true ; and 
what God may do with us yet we do not know. But 
this we can say, if the decree be not gone forth, if there 
be mercy for us, God shows his prerogative, that he will 
now go on in a way different from his former paths in 
tlie world ; and if God icill do so, who can say against it ? 
A time tlierc is likewise for God to say against jiar- 
ticular persons, he will not have mercy upon them ; a 



Vee. 6. 



1'HE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



17 



time when God will s-ay, Those men that were bidden 
shall not taste of my supper, Lvdie xiv. 24 ; he that 
u-ill be filthy, let him be filthy still, Kev. xxii. llj 
my Spisit shall no longer strive with them, Gen. vi. 
3. He has no need, my brethren, that we should 
receive or entertain his mercy ; we have need that God 
should grant it. God many times is quick in the offer 
of Ills mercy ; " Go and preach the gospel ; he that bc- 
lieveth shall bo saved, he that believeth not shall be 
damned." A quick work God makes many times in 
the effect of mercy. 

06s. 3. " I will not have mercy :" this is pronounced 
as the most di-eadful judgment. What! not have mercy 
upon them ? then indeed is a state or kingdom in a 
dreadful condition, when God shall say of them, that 
he will not have mercy. " AVoe to you," saith the Lord, 
"when I depart from you!" woe then to you, when my 
mercy is for ever gone! then all judgments and mise- 
ries must needs flow in upon a nation, or a particular 
soul. 'Wlien the sea-bank is broken up, then the waves 
will all flow in. " All ye beasts of the field, come to 
devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest." WHiy, what is 
the matter ? " His watchmen are blind," Isa. hi. 9, 
10. I argue fi'om thence, if the prudence of the watch- 
man is taken away, which should stop miser)', then all 
evils come flowing in upon a nation. "VATiat then, if the 
mercy of God, that should stop misery, be taken away ? 
whither shoidd the poor creature go if mercy be gone ? 
to what creature should it look for help ? if it cries to 
any creatm'e, the creatm'e saith, I can afford no com- 
fort, because God affords no mercy. Wliat shall uphold 
the heart when it has no hope at all ? It must needs 
sink. 

Obs. 4. Jlen best know what the worth of mercy is, 
when mercy is taken away from them. I will not add 
mercy ; showing that what good they had received be- 
fore, it was from his mercy, though thev would take no 
notice of it. Well, saith God, you shall have no more ; 
vou have taken no notice that it was my mercy that 
helped you before, but when my mercy is gone, then 
you will know it ; but then I will not add more. 

Obs. 0. God usually takes not away his mercy fully 
from a people, or from a soul, until after much mercy 
has been received and abused. You have a parallel 
place to this, Judg. x. 13 : " I will deliver you no more," 
saith God ; I have deHvered you many times, my mercy 
has been abused, I will deliver you no more. It is just 
with God, when mercy is abused, that we should never 
know further what mercy means. Mercy, as it is a 
precious tiring, so it is a tender thing, and a dangerous 
thing to abuse. There is nothing that more quickly 
works the ruin of a people, or of a soul, than abused 
mercy. 

Ob.s. 6. God's second strokes usually are more di'ead- 
ful than the first. '• I will utterly take them away." 
Before it was only that they should be scattered, the 
name of the fii'st child before was but Jezreel, that they 
should be the scattered of the Lord ; but the second is 
Lo-ruhamah, that they shall have no more mercy from 
the Lord. God begins fii'st with the house of coi-rection 
oefore he brings to the gallows. There is branding 
first, before hanging : there are warning pieces before 
mm-dering pieces. God makes way for his wTath by 
lesser afflictions before he comes with desti-oj-ing judg- 
ments. 

I remember Knox, in his History of Scotland, relates 
that Sir James Hamilton, having been mm-dered by the 
king's means, he appeared to liim in a vision with a 
naked sword cb-awn, and struck off both his arms, with 
these words. Take this before thou receive a final pay- 
ment for all thy impieties; and within twenty-four 
hours two of the king's sons died. God comes to na- 
tions and particular persons with a sword, cuts off 
arms before he takes their lives. As when the Lord 



comes in a way of abundance of mercy, lesser mercies 
make way for greater mercies. When manna was 
rained down, the dew ever came before it: so, lester 
judgments to the wicked are forerunners of, and make 
way for, greater judgments ; first they arc parboiled, 
before they come to be roasted in the iii"e. 

Obs. 1. AVith God a multitude of sinners is no argu- 
ment for then- escape of judgment. I will not add 
mercy to the house of Israel. He does not say, I will 
nbt add mercy to this or that particular man oi' Israel, 
but to the house of Israel. It is a ride, indeed, with 
man, Multiludo peccantium tollit peccalum, Multitude 
of offenders take away their offences : men know not 
how to execute the offenders when they are in multi- 
tudes ; here and there some of the ringleaders may be 
taken, for example' sake. But it is no rule with God ; 
though it be the whole house of Israel, God has no 
mercy for the whole house of all the people of Israel. 
Let no man presume to sin against the Lord because 
there arc multitudes that offend, and thiiik that he shall 
escape with the multitude. No ; all the nations of the 
world with the Lord are but as the drop of a bucket, 
and as the small dust of the balance ; nothing, even less 
than notliing. 

Obs. 8. The nearness of any to God exempts them 
not from the wrath of God. " No more have mercy 
upon the house of Israel ;" though it be the house of 
Israel, yet no mercy upon her. If it were the house of 
Pharaoh it were not so much ; but what I no mercy 
upon the house of Israel ! God hates sin, and hates 
sin most in those nearest to liim : '' You only have I 
knoTiTi of all the families of the earth ; therefore I will 
punish you for all your iniquities," saith the Lord, 
Amos iii. 2. As we hate a toad in oiu' bosoms more 
than when it is at a farther distance, so God hates sin 
in those that are nearest to Mm more than in those 
that are farther off; for " God wiU be sanctified in all 
those that cbaw nigh unto him." 

But why will God have no more mercy upon the 
house of Israel ? Wiat hath the house of Israel done 
that God shoidd be so angry with it ? It is worth our 
searcliing and inquii'ing after, it concerns om'selves 
nearly. 

1. The first and a main reason is, because of their 
continuance in theu" false worship, notwithstanding all 
the means that God had used to bring them oft'; not 
only by his prophets, sending them again and again to 
show them it.s evil in those two calves that were set up 
in Dan and Bethel, but by most remarkable works of 
his providence against them. As for example ; the 
work of God against Jeroboam, when he was stretching 
out his hand against the prophet that came to denoimce 
judgment against the altar upon which he was offering 
sacrifice ; his hand chied up, so that he could not pull it 
in again to liim, and upon the prayer of the prophet it 
was restored, and became as it was before, 1 Kings xiii. 
4, 6. Again, the remarkable work of God in anointing 
Jehu to destroy the house of Ahab and his seed for 
their idolatry. Y'et, notwithstanding these prophets, 
and these works of God, with many others, they still 
persisted in theii' way of idolatry ; and this caused 
the Lord now not to have mercy upon the house of Israel. 

Let us take heed of this : God has used and still uses 
means to bring us oft' fully from all ways of false wor- 
ship ; not only by sending his ministers from time to 
time to declaim against such things, but by wonderful 
and remarkable works of his providence towards Eng- 
land, especially at this day. Never had any nation, 
never had England heretofore, more remarkable works 
of God to di-aw them off from all ways of false wor- 
ship, to bring them to worship God in the right way 
according to his will. Now let us ti-emble at this sen- 
tence; I will not add mercy, I wiU have no more 
mercy. God has added mercy to us again and again. 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I 



from time to time. And now, methinks, in this work 
of God's mercy, that he is about concerning us, he 
speaks to us as he tlid to the people, " Come and put 
off tliy ornaments ft-om thee, that I may know what to 
do unto thee," Exod. sxsiii. 5 ; come now and humble 
yourselves that I may know what to do ; as if God 
should say. Come and'pve in your last answer. Now 
I am showing mercy once more, take heed of rejecting 
it, lest vou have a Lo-ruhamah upon you, I will add no 
more mercv. Consider not only what we have done, 
J)ut what we do ; how we have abused mercy, and how 
we now abuse present mercy ; how opposed the spirits 
of most are to the work of rcfomiation now com- 
mencing, who even say to the Lord Christ, Depart from 
us, we {Icsire not the knowledge of thy ways. AVlicn 
the people of Israel were offered Canaan, and God bade 
them go in and possess it, they were then near unto it ; 
but as they then refused Canaan, God sware in his wrath 
that they should not enter into his rest. If ever a 
people were offered Canaan, were offered the ordi- 
nances of God in liis OAvn way, certainly we are at this 
time. Let us tremble lest God, if we reject tliis mercy, 
should swear in his wrath, I will have no more mercy 
upon you, and so we prove to be a Lo-ruhamah indeed. 

2. fiut a second reason why this people could have 
no mercy, might be because of tlieir foi-saking God 
even in the ci^il state : for the people of Israel had 
not only left God in their churcn state, and defiled 
themselves with false worsliip, but they had in their 
civil government wickedly departed ft-om those whom 
God had appointed over them ; they had departed from 
the house ot David, and rent themselves from it. It 
is true, tliis was of God's permission, but yet it was the 
wickedness of their hearts, and no excuse at all for 
them. Hence, Hos. viii. 4, God charges tliem that they 
had set up king«, but not by him. From whence we 
observ"e, 

Obs. 9. It is a most dangerous thing for a people to 
forsake, or to rebel against, the civil government which 
God sets over them. When the people, in 1 Sam. viii. 
7, required a king, and would not be ruled by judges 
any more, the Lord saith to Samuel, " They have not 
rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should 
not reign over them." A most fearful declai-ation: and 
I confess freely to you, this one text of Scripture was 
the first that made "impression upon my thoughts and 
heart, about fearing to adopt a wav of chmch govem- 
mcntthat God had not appomted. Eor thus I reasoned: 
What ! is God so provoked against a people that will re- 
ject but a ci\il government that he has appointed, which 
concerns but the outward man ? Tlien if God has ap- 
pointed any government in a church, which is a Divine 
mstitution, which concerns the good of the soul, and 
is immediately to work upon that, siu-ely God will be 
much more provoked for rejecting it. And though we 
have not a civil government appointed by God, as the 
Jews had, yet for the church state we have one ap- 
pointed even by God himself. And reason there must 
138 for it ; for whatever has a spiritual efficacy upon the 
heart, must have a spu-itual rule for its warrant and 
direction. Indeed prudence and reason are enougli 
for ordering things that concern the outward man, ex- 
cept God will come in with his ovm institution : but 
when it comes to the ordering of the heart, and there 
is a spiritual efficacy expected, as in all church ordi- 
nances there must be, and that authority by which they 
are executed gives a gi-eat influence into them, nothing 
can go beyond its principle, tlierefore it must have a 
Divine institution to give it its efficacy. 

It may here be demanded, whether God has not ap- 
pointed over us a pai-ticular civil govenunent, as he cbd 
over the Jews ? That our government, and all lawfiU 
government of other nations, is ajjpointed by God, we 
must conclude Is a certain truth. But not so appointed 



by God as the government of the Jews was. And the 
reason is this, because the church and commonwealth 
of the Jews were involved in one, and therefore the 
apostle, speaking of the Gentiles, saith they were " aliens 
ft-om the commonwealth of Israel;" it was meant of 
the chui-ch state. There was such a kind of pedagogy 
under the law, that the church and state were involved 
in one, for Christ would be the Head of the chiuch and 
commonwealth too, and appoint them laws ; and so 
their government was immediately fiom heaven. Now 
for us : that we should have a govei-nment according to 
the rules of wisdom and justice, that indeed is appointed 
by God. God would have us have a just and wise go- 
vernment ; but he leaves the ordering of that govern- 
ment to general rules of prudence and justice. So 
that now it is lawful for any kingdom or coimtn- to 
agree together, and, according to the rules of wisdom 
and justice, to appoint what kind of government they 
will, as whether it shall be a monarchy, or an aris- 
tocracy, or a democracy ; and to limit it according to 
covenants of agreement, as whether the fiindamental 
power shall be wholly put out, or any part reserved, 
how far this or that man or societ)' of men shall have 
the managing of it, and the like ; then so far as it is 
agreed upon, we are bound in conscience to obey either 
actively or passively, but no fiuther are we bound to 
obey any man ; conscience is not tied. Though such 
men be in authoritj-, yet not to do what they would 
have, is no resisting of authoritv-. Yea, though the 
thing be lawful which thev command, if it be not ac- 
cordEng to the law of the kingdom, to the first agree- 
ment, I may be bound by the rules of pi-udence to save 
myself; but it is not authoritj" that binds me to obey 
out of conscience : for we must of necessity distinguish 
between men in authoritv', and the authority of those 
men. TMierefore so long as we seek to keep authority 
in the right channel, that it flows not over the banks, 
we cannot be charged with resisting the govei-nment 
God hath set over us, though we do not obey the will 
of those who are set over us ; and thei-cfore there is no 
cause that wc should fear, that God should say to Eng- 
land, upon this ground, Lo-ruhamah, he will have no 
mercy. 

Ver. 7. Bui I will have mercy upon the house of 
Judah, and uill save them by the Lord their God, and 
will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, 
by horses, nor by horsemen. 

The people of Israel might say, Hosea, thou ait a 
severe preacher ; what ! preach nothing but judgment, 
nothing but wrath, to be utterly taken away ? Is there 
no mercy at all ? Is not God a merciful God ? Yes, 
saith the prophet, though you be taken away, God 
knows how to glorify his mercy ; he has othei-s that he 
can make objects of liis mercy, though you be destioyed. 

Obs. 1. TTiough God utterly reject some, yet in the 
mean time he has others to wnom he can show mercy. 
Therefore it is no plea for any sinner to say. Well, I 
have sinned indeed, but God is merciful. What if God 
be merciful ? so he may be, though thou perish ever- 
lastingly. Yea, whole" kingdoms and nations may 
perish, yet God may be merciful, God has still infinite 
ways to" glorify his mercy. Many people, in desperate 
moods, lay violent hands "upon themselves, and certainly 
there is a kind of spirit of revenge in it, as if they 
thought there would be some trouble about it, and so 
God shoiUd lose some honoiu:. But if you will have 
yom- will in this, or in any tiling else, though you be 
dead, and your souLs perhaps in chauis of darkness, God 
will have ways to be glorious in his mercy, whatever 
become of you. 

Obs. 2. "God -n-ill always have a church. He will 
never destroy liis church at once. The Lord loves pub- 



Vee. T. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



19 



lie -worship in the world. Though he will utterly talic 
away the house of Israel, yet he '' will have mercy upon 
the house of Judah." Israel might say to the prophet, 
^\^lat ! ^^•ill not God be merciful to us ? What does Judah 
get by worsliippiug God in that which you say is the 
only right way r" Judah indeed keeps herself to Jeru- 
salem, and to worship in the temple, but what does she 
gain by it ? for aught we see, Judah is in as hard an 
estate, and as low a condition, as we ? Well, saith God, 
let Judah be what she will, I will have mercy upon 
her. 

06s. 3. Though carnal hearts, when they look upon 
the low condition of the true worshippers of God, think 
that there is no diflerence between those who are iu a 
good way, and themselves who walk m the ways of 
sin, yet God will make a difference ; I will have mercy 
upon Judah, but not upon Israel. Many carnal men 
please themselves with argiung thus : I see others who 
are strict, who pray in their families, who nm to ser- 
mons, and will not act as others, yet they are as poor, 
in as mean a condition, as others ; what do they get by 
theu' forwardness in religion ? Ai'e not we in as good 
a condition as they ? Well, friend, though thy carnal 
heart think there is no difference " between lum that 
serveth God and him that serveth him not," God has 
a time to manifest a difference : " Then shall ye retm-n, 
and discern between the righteoiLS and the wicked, be- 
tween him that serveth God and liim that serveth liim 
not," Mai. iii. 18. I \dll not have mei'cy upon Israel, 
" but I will have mercy upon Judah." 

066". 4. If a people keep the worsliip of God piu-e, 
God ^vill favom' them, though there be many weak- 
nesses, j-ea, many wickednesses, amongst them. Judah 
indidged at this time in many gross and fearful cvUs. 
It woidd require much time to show you the horrible 
wickedness of Judah ; yet God saith, " I wiU have mercy 
upon the house of Judah." "\ATiat is the reason of 
this ? Because though Judah had many gross evUs, 
yet Judah kept to the right way of worsliipping God, 
kept to Jerusalem and to the temple ; and so far kept 
the worship of God pure. It is true, many spirits ai'e 
most bitter agauist those who seek to woi-ship God in 
the right way ; if they observe them tripping in any 
small thing, they charge it against them with all bitter- 
ness. This is not like God, who favoiu's those that 
worship him in a right way, though in other respects 
he may have many charges against them. 

But, you will say, this seems to contradict what you 
said before, that the nearer any are to God, the more 
he hates their sins ; and the sins of those that make a 
show of worshipping God in a pm-e manner are worse 
than the sins of others. It is ti-ue, but as their relation 
to God in the nearness of his worship is an aggravation 
of their sins, so their relation to God is a foundation of 
their- hope of mercy from God. How is this ? It 
makes then' sin indeed worse, so as to provoke God to 
punish them sooner, and perhaps more bitterly; yet 
then- relation to God keeps this ground of faith, that 
God is then' God still, and will have mercy upon them 
at last. But the wicked, though God spare them longer 
than his own people, yet when he comes against them 
he rejects them utterly ; so he did Israel. Judah mdeed 
was punished, but yet Judah had mercy at last ; but, 
saith God, " I ■niU have no more mercy upon the house 
of Israel ; but I wUl utterly take them 'away." 

06*. 5. God sometimes shows mercy to poor affiicted 
ones, and yet rejects those who ai'e greater and enjoy 
more prosperity m the world. Israel had prevailed a 
little before against Judah, for in 2 Kuigs xiv. 12 — 14, 
you find that " Judah was put to the worse before Is- 
rael; and they fled every man to theii- tents. AndJehoash 
king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of 
Jehoash, the son of /Uiaziah, at Betli-shemesh, and came 
to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem 



from the gate of Eplu'aim unto tlie corner gate, four 
huncbed cubits : and he took all the gold and silver, 
and all the vessels that were found in the house of the 
Lord, and in the treasm-es of the king's house, and 
hostages, and retm-ned to Samaria." And tliis was but 
a little before this time, Israel had thus prevailed 
against Judah, and brought Judah under; yet now, saith 
God, I will have mercy upon Judah, but not upon Is- 
rael. Many who are in a low, afflicted condition, God 
tooks upon and shows mercy unto them, when brave 
ones that carry it out, and tm-ive and hve gallantly in 
the woiid, are often rejected of God. Mai'k what God 
saith, Zeph. iii. 12, " 1 will also leave in the midst of 
thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust 
in the name of the Lord." God looks not at the brave 
and gaUaut ones of the world, but at the poor and 
afflicted ones, and they shall ti'ust in the name of the 
Lord. We must not then judge of the happiness of 
men from their success m the world ; for you may 
now be delivered, and others kept under affliction, yet 
afterwards you may be rejected, and they received to 
mercy. 

06*. 6. How impartial the ministers of God ought to 
be in then- work. Hosea was the prophet of Israel, he 
was sent to the ten tribes, yet Hosea tells Ihem, whose 
prophet especially he was, that God would have no 
more mercy upon them. And he speaks to Judah, (to 
whom he was not sent,) and tells them that God would 
have mercy upon them. Ministers must not go accord- 
ing to their private engagements with any people, 
though bound to them in many respects : if they be 
wicked, they must deal faithfully and plamly, and de- 
nomice the judgments of God. And if others, though 
sti'angers to them, be godly, they are to give them that 
comfort which belongs unto them. ]\Iy brethi'en, par- 
tiality m those in pubKc places, especially of the minis- 
try, is a great evil : it was for this that God said he 
had made the priest and the Levite " contemptible and 
base before all the people :" why ? because they were 
" pai'tial in the law," Mai. ii. 9. 

066-. 7. It is a great aggravation of the misery of 
some, that God shows mercy to others. For it is here 
set down as a part of the threatening against Israel, " I 
wUl have no more mercy upon the house of Israel, but 
I will show mercy to Judah." To aggravate the miseiT 
of Israel, God manifests his mercy to Judah. Mai-k 
how God, in Isa. Isv. 13, makes it a part of his thi'cat- 
ening against the wicked, that he will show, mercy to 
his servants : " Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye 
shall be hungry : behold, my servants shall di'ink, but 
ye shall be thu'st)' : behold, my servants shall rejoice, 
but ye shaE be ashamed: behold, my seiTants shall 
sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of 
heart, and shall howl for vexation of spuit." These 
"buts" are cutting ones to the heart of the wicked. 
And observe, the word " behold " is fom- times used in 
setting out the difference that God will make between 
his servants and the wicked ; and how God will aggra- 
vate the misery of the wicked by showing mercy to his 
people, because it is a thing much to be considered. A 
sipiilar passage you have in Matt. viii. 11, " Many shall 
come fi'om the east and west, and shall sit do-rni with 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of 
heaven; but the ehikben of the kingdom shall be cast 
out into outer daiioiess : there shall be weepuig and 
gnashing of teeth." Mark, they shall gnash their teeth 
when they shall see how they are rejected and others 
received, gnash then- teeth for enTy and vexation of 
spuit, for it is a great aggi-avation of men's misery. 
And is it not fulfilled this day ? How do many gnash 
their very teeth to see the mercy that God shows to his 
people in these days; giving them libert)' to meet 
together, and encouragement in his service, while he 
casts shame and contempt upon their faces, and bruigs 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



^HAP. I. 



them forth to answer for theii- wickedness, anil to suffer 
condign puni-.hment ! 

It is observable, that, in Acts xxii. 21, 22, Paul was 
speaking a great w hile to the Jews, and they heard him 
quietly till he came to that sentence, " Depart : for I 
will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. They gave 
him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their 
voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the 
earth ! for it is not fit that he should live." What ! to 
disgrace us thus, and to think that the Gentiles should 
come to have more mercy than wc ! Away with such 
a fellow from the cartli ! We have such an expression 
likewise in Luke iv. 25 — 29 ; our Saviour, Christ, told the 
Jews of the widow of Sarepta, that Elias the ijrojihet 
was sent only to her, and that Xaaman the Snian, of 
all the lepers in Israel, was cleansed. They of tlie sjnia- 
gogue, when they heard these things, " were filled with 
wTath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city, and 
led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city 
■was built, that they might cast him down headlong." 
They were so vexed at Christ's seiTOon that they would 
have broke his neck as soon as he had done j)reaching. 
It was at this statement, " many widows were in Israel 
in the days of Elias, but unto none of them was Elias 
sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman 
that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the 
time of EUseus the projdiet ; and none of them was 
cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." Christ intimated, 
that though there were many of the jjeople of Israel, 
yet the Lord would have mercy but upon a few of 
them ; yea, that God would choose to show mercy to 
other people rather than to them : at this they were 
enraged. And certainly tliis will bo the 
S'or" "S,""'" aggravation of the misery of the lost, 
ffiJloSoJusI""'''"' *° li-now the mercy of God to others. It 
may be wicked parents shall see their 
chiltb-en at the right hand of Jesus Christ in glory, and 
themselves cast down into eternal torment ; this will be 
a stinging aggravation of misery, no mercy unto thee, 
but mercy unto thy gracious cliild ; the child that thou 
rebukedst for being forward is now at the right hand of 
Christ, and thou cast into everlasting misery. So a 
])oor servant, or a poor boy in a family, may stand at 
the right hand of Jesus Christ hereafter, and ascend 
with him in glory ; while his rich master, that mur- 
mui'ed at him, and would not suffer him to have the 
least time for God's service, but checked and mocked 
him in every thing with, O, this is yom- preciseness, 
finds himself cast down into eternal misery. 

But yet further ; God declares, " I will have mercy 
upon the house of Judah." Here is another remark 
very oliservable, and wliich much concerns our jn-esent 
condition. God promises to Judah mercy, after Israel's 
rejection; yet if we seai'ch the Scriptures we shall find 
tliat both before and after the rejection of Israel was 
executed, Judah was under very sore afflictions. In 
2 Chron. xxviii. G, you find that '■ I'ekah the son of 
Kemaliah .slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thou- 
sand in one day." We never heard of such a slaughter ; 
we wonder when we hear of five or ten thousand slain 
in the field ; here we have one hunibed and twenty 
thousand slain, and this slaughter was made after this 
promise : yea, further, vcr. 8, there were besides •' car- 
ried away captive two hundred thousand, women, sons, 
and daughters ;" yea, furtlier, ver. 17, " again the Edom- 
ites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away 
captives." And, ver. 18, " The Philistines also had in- 
vaded the cities of the low counti-y, and of the south of 
Judah ; and they dwelt there :" and, vcr. 10, it is said, 
" tlie Lord brought Judah low :" and, ver. 20, it is said, 
" Tilgafh-pihuser, king of Ass\Tia," (whom Ahaz had 
sent Id lulp him.) " came unto him and distressed him, 
but strengthened him not." Pekah, the son of Kema- 
liah, slays one hundred and twenty thousand, and 



carries away captive two hundi'cd thousand : then come 
the Philistines and invade the country ; and then the 
Edomites cany away captives, and God brings them 
low ; and then comes Tilgath-pilneser, and he, instead 
of helping, distresses them. AVhat a case were they 
in now ! Yet this was after the promise, for this promise 
was made to Judah in the beginning of Hosea's pro- 
l)hecv i so it is, ver. 2, " The begimiing of the word of 
the Lord by Hosea," which was before the rejection of 
Israel. It was in the reign of Ahaz that Judah wa3 
brought into this low condition, about twenty-two years 
before the execution of the sentence against Israel, for 
that was fulfilled in the sixth year of the reign of Heze- 
kiah, which, if you take it from the begimiing of the reign 
of Aliaz, who reigned sixteen years, makes twenty-two 
yeai's. Now this promise to Judah was made in the 
days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and of Jeroboam, king 
of Israel, which was at least seventy-six years before the 
rejection of Israel ; and vet, after the making of this 
promise, Judah is reduced to this sad condition. 

Yea, and we shall find, besides, that though God had 
said he would reject Israel, and be merciful to Judah ; 
so that when Israel was rejected a man would think 
that Judah .should come into a better condition than 
ever ; yet see how Judah was dealt with. 2 Kings 
xviii. 13 saith, that '• in the fourteenth year of Heze- 
kiah, Sennacherib king of Assj-ria came up against 
Judah ;" and this was after the casting off of the ten 
tribes, for that was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, as 
ver. 10 : and seven years after came Sennacherib 
against Judah, thinking to prevail against them as they 
had done before against Israel ; and then Hezekiah 
was disposed to give him all the silver that was found 
in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the 
king's house; yea, ver. 10 saith, that "Hezekiah cut 
oft' the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, 
and from the piUai's, and gave it to tlie king of Assyria." 
Now the Lord keep our kingdom and our parliament 
from giving the gold of the temple doors in any way of 
compliance with any malignant paity, who regard with 
an evil eye the beauty of our Zion. 

Yea, and after Sennacherib had gotten this, not con- 
tent with it, he sends Kabshakeh from Lachish, with a 
great host against Jerusalem. The adversaries of the 
chm'ch are never satisfied, yield to them, gratify them 
in what you will : this is the fii'st temptation. 'What ! 
will you be so strict and rugged, and yield to them in 
nothing ? say some : but if they prevail with you to be- 
gin to yield, they will encroach upon you. Hezekiah 
yielded to Sennacherib, even to take away the gold of 
the temple doors, yet a little while after he comes again 
w itii a great host, so that Hezekiah said, it was " a day 
of trouble and rebidse," chap. xix. 3. Nothing will quiet 
them but the ruin of the church, they must needs have 
that ; " Down with it, down with it, even to the ground ! " 
nothing else will satisfy them. 

To this low estate and sad condition was Judah 
brought, though God promises mercy to them. 

Obx. 8. God may intend much mercy, yea, God may 
be in a way of mercy to a people, yet may bring that 
people into very great straits and difficulties. The pro- 
mises of God's mercies are always to be understood with 
the condition of the cross. If we think that upon the 
promise of mercy we shall be delivered fiom all trouble 
and affliction, wc lay more upon the promise than the 
promise w ill or can bear. It is a great evil, which pro- 
ceeds from much weakness of spirit and distemper of 
heart, in people for whom God has done great things, 
if there come any difficulty or trouble, to say, Now we 
are all lost, now God has left Us ; we hoped that there 
would have come mercy, we looked for liglit, and behold 
darkness ; now the heart sinks, and all hope is abandon- 
ed. Know, my brethren, this is an evil, untliankful, 
and unbelieving heart. God lias indeed done great 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



21 



things foi- us ; yet how ready are -we, though God be in 
such a glorious way of mercy, if we hear of any diffi- 
culty, any combining of the adversaries together, to ex- 
pect nothing but blood, and to bid adieu to all our 
peace : we thought to have had happy days, but now 
the Lord is coming out against us, and all that is done 
must be undone again. "WTiy are you so full of unbe- 
lief ? Surely this is unworthy of Christians that pro- 
fess an interest in God, and unworthy of all the good 
that God has done for us. Though Peter had walked 
upon the sea through the power of Christ, when the 
waves came, he cried, " Master, save, or else I perish." 
Has not God made us walk upon the waves of the sea 
all this while ? wTOUght as great a mu-acle for us in 
England as he tUd for Peter ? Yet when a wave does 
but rise a little higher than before, we are so distressed 
in oiu' spirits that we can scarcely cry, O blaster, save 
us ; but we look one upon another, and instead of cry- 
ing unto God, we cry out one to another in a discou- 
raging way, and so pine away in our iniquities. Cer- 
tainly God is exceedingly angry at such a demeanour 
as this, and yet this is common, both with nations and 
particular persons. 

With nations : it was so with Judah. Though God 
had made this promise to Judah, yet if we look into 
Isa. vii. 2, (Isaiah was contemporary with Hosea, and 
it was not much after the making of this promise,) we 
shall see how they were troubled with fear : " It was 
told the house of David, saying, Sp-ia is confederate 
ivith Ephraim. And the heart of the king of Judah was 
moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the 
wood are moved with the wind j" they were afraid, and 
shook as the very leaves of the trees shake. "Well, but 
God speaks to the prophet, in chap. viii. 11 — 13, " with 
a strong hand, and instructed him that he should not 
walk in the way of this people, saying. Say ye not, A 
confederacy :" — Oh, the king of Israel and the king of 
SjTia are confederate together ; what shall we do ? we 
are undone, we are lost for ever ! " Say ye not, A con- 
federacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A con- 
federacy ; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 
Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; let him be your fear, 
and let him be your cb-ead." Thus God would have 
his saints act now. Wlien you hear of confederate ene- 
mies, or any ill tidings abroad, exclaim not, Oh, the 
papists are linked together, a confederacy, a confede- 
racy ! Do not say, A confederacy, fear not their fear, but 
" sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be 
your fear, and let him be your cbead ; and he shall be 
for a sanctuai-y" to you. And mark the resolution of 
the prophet afterward, ver. 17, " I will wait upon the 
Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and 
I will look for him." Oh that this were the disposition 
of oiu' hearts ! Take that note away with you, amongst 
many, though you cannot remember all : when you hear 
so many rumom-s of fears and troubles, as if all were 
gone, and there were now no more hope, let this be 
your answer, '• I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth 
his face from the house of Jacob ;" for God is in a way 
of mercy, and mercy certainly we shall have, let us look 
for it then. 

AA^th particular persons : though God be in a won- 
derful way of mercy towards them, yet if they do but 
feel their corruptions stirring never so little, how com- 
mon is it for them to say, All is lost ! I was indeed in a 
good way, but God is gone, Christ is gone, mercy is 
gone, and all is gone, surely God intends no thoughts 
of good to me. O, be not faitliless, but believing: 
for this is the way of God, though he promises great 
mercy, yet in the mean time he may bring into great 
afflictions. 

" I will no more have mercy upon the house of Is- 
rael, but I will utterly take them away ; but I will have 
mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them." 



For a people to be saved when others near them are 
destroyed, is a great display of God's goodness to them : 
as to stand upon the shore safely, and see others suffer 
shipwreck before us, is a gi'eat augmentation of God's 
mercy towards us. AATien the people of Israel stood 
upon the banks, and saw the Egyptians tumbling in 
the Ked Sea, and then- dead bodies cast upon the shore, 
then " sang Moses and the cliildren of Israel unto the 
Lord," Exod. xv. 1. And this kind of mercy the Lord 
has granted to us in England, for while neighbouring 
nations have been in a combustion, and many of them 
spoiled, we have sat under our own ^■incs and fig trees, 
and our greatest afflictions have been only the hearing 
of what our bretlu-en have suffered, and yet do suffer. 
All about us is as the fieiy furnace, and we walk in the 
midst of it like the thi-ee children, and our garments 
are not touched, nor the smell of the fii-e passed on 
them. We see all countries as Gideon's fleece, wetted 
with the tempest of God's ^^Tath, yea, with their own 
blood ; but, behold, we are cb-y, and the sunshine of 
God's mercy is upon us ; the blackness of the misery of 
our brethren is the brightness of our mercy. 

" I will save them." It is the Lord that will save 
them. This is an upbraiding of Israel. O Israel, you 
think to be saved by your own policy, you have gone 
beyond God ; you are afraid that the people should go 
up to Jerusalem to worship, therefore you have set up 
the two calves to save yourselves. But Judah shall be 
saved, and saved after another way : Judah need not go 
to such carnal policies to save themselves, for the Lord 
shall save them. Though carnal hearts think and en- 
deavour to save themselves only by their own policy 
and carnal ways, yet let God's people know that they 
have a stronger means to save them than all the policy 
in the world. So long as the wisdom, the power, the 
mercy, the faithfulness of God is for them, they need 
no other string to their bow. 

" I will save them by the Lord." This, by interpret- 
ers, is expounded concerning Clirist : that God the 
Father promises to save by Clu-ist. In Dan. ix. 17, 
we have such an expression in prayer, " Now therefore, 
our God, hear the prayer of thy servant — for the 
Lord's sake ; " that is, for Christ's sake : so here, God 
will save by the Lord ; that is, by Christ. 

Obs. 9. The acbninistration of God's gi'ace to his 
people is given into the hands of Jesus Christ. It is 
Chi-ist that saves the people of God, and has saved 
them in all former times : " As for thee also, bj- the 
blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners 
out of the pit wherein is no water," Zech. ix. 11. All 
the prisoners of God's people, ever since the world be- 
gan, have been sent out of the pit by the blood of the 
covenant, by the merits of Christ : and not oidy so, but 
Christ, in the administration of God's grace, has been 
the chief; he has been the Angel of God's presence, 
who has stood up for his people in all their necessities ; 
he has been the great Captain and Deliverer, the Saviour 
of them all. Let Christ then have the honour of a 
sovereign to us mth respect to our salvation in outward 
deliverances. Let us look up to him for salvation in 
all om- straits. And if Christ was the Saviour of his 
people in all ages, and still will be, then surely those 
ages and places where Christ is most known and hon- 
oured may expect the greatest salvation. And this is 
our comfort, for above all the ages since the world be- 
gan, Christ is most known and honoured in this age ; 
and of all places in the world, here in England, and 
amongst our countr}Tnen ; and if Christ will be a Sa- 
viour "of those places where he is known and honoured, 
surely England may expect a salvation. England has 
had it ; and as England is peculiar in the knowledge of 
Christ, so England shall be peculiar in God's grace 
to her. 

Obs. 10. It is a great upbraiding of a people when it 



22 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. 1. 



can be said of them, that they have forsaken the Lord. 
" I will save them by the Lord their God." Not your 
God, O Israel, but their God. Thus lie upbraids the 
people of Israel that they had forsaken their God ; that 
Judah had kept their God, but Israel had not. It is a 
woeful thins not to have God to be our God at all ; 
when conscience can charge upon a man what Daniel 
did upon Belshazzar, " That God in whose hand thy 
breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not 
glorified," Dan. v. 23 : but it is dreadful when conscience 
can chai-ge this. That God, whom thou hast chosen, and 
with whom thou hast entered into covenant, O thou 
apostatized soul, thou apostatized nation, thou hast for- 
saken, he is not now thy God. This is a sore and 
hea\'y cliarge indeed. 

Obs. 3. Those, then, who do not worship God in a 
right way, God wiU not acknowledge himself to be 
worshipped by them at all. It seems he is the God 
of Judah, though Judah had many evils, but not the 
God of Israel. The people in the wilderness pro- 
claimed a fast to Jehovah, and yet the apostle, 1 Cor. 
X. 7, calls them idolaters ; and it is said they sacrificed 
to idols, because they worshipped God by a calf, and 
not in God's way. Though we may think we worship 
God, yet if we do not worship him in his own way, he 
does not own himself worshipped by us at aU. 

Ob.s: 4. Carnal hearts cannot endure that any one 
should think they have more interest in God than them- 
selves. This could not but sting Israel, that Judah 
should be thought to have more interest in God than 
Israel had. Thus they scorned at Clu-ist: O, he trusted 
in God, he thinks he has more interest in God than 
others, now let his God come and save him. We read in 
the Book of JlartjTS, that the papists were much vexed 
^vith the protestants, because they used to say, our God, 
and our Lord, by which they seemed to claim more in- 
terest in God than others. And, indeed, what is the 
cause of the quan'el against God's people, but because 
the world think they claim more peculiarity and inter- 
est in God than others ? And tliis is the reason that 
soul-searching preaching cannot be endm-ed, because it 
makes n diflerence between the one and the other, and 
shows that some have an interest in God more than 
others. Hence it is that in no places in the world men's 
sph-its so ft-et against preacliing as in England. A^Tiy ? 
Because there is not such soul-examining, such soul- 
distinguishing preaching in the world as in England. 
Yea, that is the reason of the bitterness of one professor 
against another, because one is a protestant at large, 
and the other manifests more power of godliness, is 
more stiict in his course, and seems to claim a greater 
share in God than the former. Profession in Eng- 
land is a more distinguishing profession than in other 
places. 

Obs. 5. So long as God is our God we need not fear 
our adversaries. God is the God of Judah still, there- 
fore God will save them. You have heard of the Pal- 
ladium of the heathens in Troy. They imagined that 
so long as that idol was kept safe, they were unconquer- 
able, all the strengtli in Greece was not able to prevail 
against it. 'WTierefore the Grecians sought by all the 
means they could to get it from them. I 
StAi''™'Sr have read that the men of Tvtus were 
fyi^imZ'S afraid their god A])ollo should forsake 
them : they therefore chained and nailed 
that idol to a post, that they might be sure of it, because 
they thought their safety was in it. Let us fiisten our- 
selves to God in an everlasting covenant, and certainly 
God will be fast to us, and then we we safe enough. 

" I will save them:" but how? "What shall Judah 
he saved by, and not Israel ? Judah, a poor, contempt- 
ible jieople ! How .saved ? 

" And will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor 
by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." It shall not 



be by any outward means, but by the immediate hand 
of God. This promise, that God would save them not 
" by bow nor by sword," was performed two several 
times, and there is a tliii'd time for the fulfilling of it, 
which is yet to come. It was done fii-st when '• the 
angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camj) of 
the AssjTians an hundi'cd fourscore and five tliousand," 
2 Kings xis. 3d : and God tells them that the king of 
AssjTia should " not shoot an an-ow there, nor come 
before the city with a shield:" so God saved them 
without bow, for they had no need to use the bow then, 
because the angel of the Lord desti'oyed them. The 
second time was when he saved Judah in theu' return 
from captivity, then, as it is Zecli. iv. 6. he saved them 
" not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith 
the Lord of hosts." Mark the phrase : as if God should 
say, I have strength, for I am the Lord of hosts ; lean 
command annies, if I would, to save you : no, though I 
be tlie Lord of hosts, yet I wiU not save you "by might, 
nor by ])ower, but by my Spuit." Therefore, Isa. xxx. 
7, " their strength" is said to be "to sit still ;" and ver. 

15, " in quietness, and in confidence, shall be your 
sti-ength." Thus they were saved, " not by bow, lior by 
sword." Then the tliii'd time, which is yet to come ; 
that is, in the wonderful work of God in calling the 
Jews, when God shall raise up out of them a gloi'ious 
people to himself, and save Judah once again, and it 
shall not be by sword, nor by bow, but by the Lord 
then- God ; for, as it is said, Dan. ii. oi, the stone that 
smote the image " was cut out T\-ithout hands ; " so there 
shall be a power not visible from whence it comes, but 
Jesus Christ shall come from heaven to do his great 
works. " As the lightnmg eometh out of the east, and 
sliineth even unto the west ; so shall also the coming 
of the Son of man be." 

Obs. 1. God ties not himself to the use of outward 
means in procuring good to his people. Though all 
outward means fail, vet there may be ways of salvation 
for the saints. Wicked men's hearts presently sink, if 
outward means fail. And if ow hearts faint when 
outward means fail, it is a sign that we before rested 
upon the means, and if we had had the means we 
should have robbed God of his honour. We must use 
means, but not rely upon the means. I might show 
you excellent texts of Scripture for this, as Psal. xxxiii. 

16, " There is no lung saved by the midtitude of an 
host : a mighty man is not delivered by much strength." 
And Psal. xliv. 5, 6, " Through thee will we push down 
om' enemies : tlirough thy name \vill we tread them 
under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in 
my bow, neither shall my sword save me." 

Obs. 2. Deliverance of a people without bow and 
without sword is a great merey. For such are the 
woeful miseries that a people suffer when wai- comes, 
that usually the victory will scarce pay the charges of 
the battle. Though we are sure to be saved at last, 
yet if we must be saved by bow and by sword, the 
misery that we may suffer in our salvation may be 
more than the salvation. It was the height of that 
mercy promised, Isa. ix. 5, that it should be without 
" confused noise, and garments rolled in blood." Such 
a mercv we have had ; and had CJhrist come to have 
reigned amongst us, though he had come riding upon 
his " red horse," with his garments rolled in blood, we 
should willingly have entertained him : but bcliokl, he 
comes riding upon his " white horse," in peace and 
merey. Tlic mercies we have had have been very 
cheap, they have not been bv bow, nor by sword. And 
if God should come at length by the sword, and bring 
perfect salvation to us by blood, which God forbid, we 
lia\e had already more mercy without blood than our 
blood is worth. Should we now have our blood shed, 
God lias paid us beforehand. ^X]\o almost in this con- 
gregation, but two or three years ago would have lost 



\EK. 8. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



23 



bis blood to procure so much mercy to England, as 
England has had already ? 

Obs. 3. Such is the love of God to his people, that he 
is pleased to work for them beyond means. The other 
point was, that he can save his people -without means ; 
this, that he wiU do it beyond means : for the grace 
and love of God to Ms people is so high and glorious, 
that it is beyond that which can be conveyed by means, 
therefore it must be done more immediately. " Tliy 
right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power ; in the 
greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthi-own them 
that rose up against thee," Exod. xv. 6, 7. Fii-st, it is 
the " hand of God." Secondly, it is " the right hand 
of God." Thii-dly, it is " the right hand of God in 
power." Fourthly, this is " glorious in power." Fifthly, 
there is " excellency." And sixthly, there is " the 
greatness of excellency." It is a high expression, 213 
■|;1KJ in the gi-eatness of thy lifting up; for the same 
word signifies pride, which is here translated excel- 
lency ; and if God be Kfted up in any thing it is when 
he shows himself for his people. Now take all these 
six expressions, God's hand, God's right hand, his 
right hand in power, a right hand that is become 
glorioiis in power, his excellency, the greatness of his 
excellency, and all this for his saints; siu-ely this is 
more than can be conveyed by means ; God must come 
immediately and save them by himself. 

Obs. 4. 'The more immediate the hand of God ap- 
pears in his mercy to his people, the more sweet and 
jirecious ought that mercy then to be. " Be thou ex- 
alted, O Lord, in thine own sti"ength : so will we sing 
and praise thy power," Psal. xxi. 13. When God 
comes in his own strength, and not in the sti'ength of 
the creatm-e, then the saints sing and praise the power 
of God. We are accustomed to say, Dulcius ex ipso 
fonte, that wliich comes immediately comes exceecUng 
sweetly. Then the saints may boast in God, when he 
comes immediately with his salvation: "Thou hast 
saved us ft'om our enemies, and hast put them to 
shame that hated us." What follows ? " In God we 
boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever," 
Psal. xhv. 7, 8. So that the saints of God then praise 
God ; nay, they may la^^•fully give up themselves to 
boast, when God works immediately. '\^Tren God works 
by means, then they must take heed of ascribing to the 
means ; but when God comes immediately, then they 
see his hand, and may well boast. 

It is the blessedness of heaven, that God's mercy 
comes immediately. Created mercies are the most 
[Perfect mercies. vSuppose God had been with them by 
bow and by sword when Sennacherib came against 
them, coidd the salvation have been so precious ? God's 
hook that he put in his nose, and the bridle that he put 
in his lips, (for so God said he would do with him, that 
is, use him as a beast,) were better than their sword or 
bow. Surely, if ever any nation knew what it was to 
have immediate mercies come doi^Ti from heaven, Eng- 
land does ; if ever nation saw God exalting himself m 
his own power, England has; we have lived, blessed 
be God, to see the Lord exalting himself in his own 
power. O, let us cry out with the psalmist, " Be thou 
exalted, O Lord, in thine o-rni strength," amongst us ; 
" so will we," still, and still, and stiU, " sing and praise 
thy power." 

Ver. 8. Now uhen she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she 
conceived, mid bare a son. 

We finished the signification of the name of the 
second child of Hosea, Lo-ruhamah. We now come 
to its weaning, and the begetting of the thu'd child, 
Lo-ammi. 

" "\Mien she had weaned Lo-nihamah." We do not 
read that the fii-st child, Jezreel, was weaned; but that 



the second child, Lo-ruhamah, was weaned, before the 
thii'd child, Lo-ammi, was conceived. "VMiat is the 
meaning of this ? 

This second child, Lo-ruhamah, was to typify the 
people of Israel being carried out of their own country 
in capti\ity to AssjTia : it was to signify to them that 
they should be weaned from the comforts and delights 
wliich were in then- own land ; that they should be taken 
away fi-om their milk and honey, and be fed in Assp-ia 
with hard meat, even with the water of affliction and 
the bread of advcrsit)-. The fii'st child only signified 
tlieir scattering, especially in regard of theu' seditions 
amongst themselves ; but the second cliild signified 
tlie carrjing them away whoUy into captivity from their 
own land ; therefore the second child is weaned. Cibis 
sustentabitur immicndis, so Jerome mterprets it. They 
should be canued amongst the Gentiles, 
and be fed with imclean meat, they should SJa 'St dStifuL- 
be deprived of prophecy, of the milk oi "" Jf''" net j>ro- 
the word, and of the ordinances that they vatnS infoc.'"' 
enjoyed : so Vatablus. 

Ordinances are as the breasts of consolation, out of 
which the people of God suck soul-satisfying comforts. 
" That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of 
her consolations ; that ye may milk out, and be de- 
lighted with the abundance of her gloiy," Isa. ls«. 11. 
And, " We mil remember thy love more than wine," 
Cant. i. 4. The Vidgate reads it. We will ,, 

, ,, , ^ ^ , . ,Mcmcircs ubcnim 

remember thy breasts above wme ; and t..oruin super vi- 
so the words will bear. These people °'""' 
shoidd be deprived of tliose breasts out of which they 
had sucked much sweetness before ; even deprived of 
all comfort in God. God's people hang upon God, and 
(b'aw comfort from him, even as the urfant upon the 
mother's breast, which sucks sweetness, and comfort, 
and nom'ishment fi-om thence. 

This expression, then, of weaning the chUd, implies 
these two things : 

1. That tlie enjojTnent of the comforts of a sweet 
native land, specially where Divine ordinances abound, 
is a very great blessing of God ; and to be deprived of 
it is a great affliction, yea, to some it comes as a cm'se. 
The vei-y sucking of our native an- is certainly a great 
blessing fi-om the Lord. Those who have been banished 
and deprived of it, have been more sensible of it than 
many of you who always have enjoyed it. ^lany have 
lain so long sucking the sweetness of our Enghsh au-, 
and the comforts which flow from then- accommoda- 
tions, tin they have sucked in tliat which, if God's 
mercy had not prevented, would have proved poison to 
then- souls. But I speak not of aU, I make no question 
but there have been many of God's dear servants that 
have tarried in then- native soil, and kept the upright- 
ness of their hearts and consciences as clear as others 
that went away. It is true, the comforts of a native 
soil are sweet, but except we may enjoy them with the 
breasts of these consolations, the ordinances of the 
church, they are not able to satisfy the soid ; yea, ex- 
cept we may suck out of these breasts sincere milk, 
not soiled nor som-ed by the inventions of men, better 
a gTcat deal that we were weaned from all the sweet- 
ness and accommodation we have in oiu- native soU, by 
the mortifying of our affections to it, than that God 
should wean us from it, by sending us into captivity, 
or by giving the adversary power over us, or by making 
the land too hot for us. 

2. That it is an evil thing for a child to be taken 
from the mother's breast too soon, and sent away to be 
nursed by others. The expression fully imphes this, 
for it is to tell us the evil condition of the people, that 
they should be taken from their o-rni and sent to_ an- 
other country. The affliction is set out by a child's 
being taken from its mother's breast. It could not 
express what it intended, except it were to intimate 



24 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



thus much unto us ; that it is an enl thing for a child 
to be taken from its own mother's breast. It is un- 
natural then for mothers, out of daintiness and pride, 
to deny the fruit of their wombs the comfort of their 
breasts. It is true, in time of weakness and danger, 
when it may be dangerous to themselves and the child, 
God ])crmits it. But when it is merely out of pride 
and affectation, certainly it is an evil against nature 
itself. Hannah's care of her son Samuel is recorded, 
and it is mentioned liy the Holy Ghost in her com- 
mendation, that she gave him suck; "The woman abode, 
and gave her son suck until she weaned him," 1 Sam. 
i. 23. It is said of tlie ostrich, Job xxxi.x. 16, " She is 
hardened against her young ones, as though they were 
not hers : " the ostiich is reckoned among the fowls that 
are unclean : and Lam. iv. 3, " Even the sea monsters 
draw out the breast, they give suck to their young 
ones : the daughter of my peojile is become cruel, like 
the ostriches in the wilderness;" more cruel than the 
very sea monsters themselves, that draw out theu' 
breasts and give suck to their young ones. The in- 
struction of the son belongs to the father, the nursing 
of the son belongs to the mother. The mother's milk is 
the most profitable and wholesome for every one, (saith 
Lac uiiii«iimiim Plij^y') cccpt it be in some extraordi- 
cuiqtic maTemum. nary casc. Ue read, in 2 Tim. iii. 3, that 
_. c. . jj^ jj^p latter day, when evil times should 
come, some should be daTopyU, " without natural affec- 
tion : " that 'Topyri, wliich is there spoken of, is the af- 
fection of the parents to the children, as well as of the 
childi-en to the parents. 

But enough of this ; if not too much, to such as 
with theur pride and daintiness, the chikben of their 
own fancies, neglect natiu-e's duty to the childi-en of 
their bodies. 

But further observe here. That the Lord stays for 
the weaning of the child; he stays till Lo-ruhamah was 
weaned, before Lo-ammi was conceived. And there is 
much to be known in this. AMiy does God stay ? This 
is to show the gi'eat patience of God toward his people; 
for God was now about to reject them utterly from 
being his ))coplc ; God was coming in the height of his 
WTath, to declare that they were no more his people ; 
and here God makes a stop, stays till Lo-ruhamah was 
weaned. I have read that it was the custom of the 
Jews to be a long time, three years sometimes, before 
they weaned theii- children. God then it seems stayed 
long here, till the third child, Lo-ammi, was bom, 
before he would come with that cbeadful sentence, "Ye 
are not my people, and I will not be your God." First, 
T7hen Jezreel was bom, they are scattered up and down, 
but they arc not all carried away captive. Then Lo- 
ruhamah is born, and then they are canned away cap- 
tive, never to return again. But for all this, God may 
yet own them in their captivity. This is not so bad as 
for God to say, I will have no more to do with you as 
my people. Lord, though we be under affliction, under 
the power of our enemies, O'wn us still, acknowledge 
us to be thine; though we be in the fiery fiu'nace, yet 
let us have thee to be our God. No, (saith God,) you 
shall not only be scattered, but you shall be all carried 
away captive, and I will not own you, I will cast you 
of!', you shall not be my people, neither will I be your 
God. Now before this Go<l makes a stop. Hence, 

Obs. \. That God stops in his anger for a while, as long 
as he pleases. God is called, Nab. i. 2, The Lord of 
anger ; so the words ncn Sya signify, though trans- 
lated otherwise. We may apply it at least thus, God 
is the Lord of his own anger, he can let it out as far 
as he will, he can stoi) it when he will, he can command 
it to come in when he pleases. It is not so with us ; 
oui- passions are lords over us ; if we once let our anger 
arise, we cannot get it down again when we would, we 
cannot still our passions when we please ; if we let our 



affections run, we cannot rein them in in a moment. 
That is the frame of spirit which we should all labour 
for, to be like God, though angrv-, yet sm not, so that 
we can stop when we will, and command oiu' anger as 
we jjlcase. God says to the proud waves, " Hitherto 
shaft thou go, and no further." Oh that we were able 
to say to those proud waves of our passions, Hitherto 
arc you gone, but you shall go no further ! 

Obs. 2. Those who have been once the people of God 
must not be suddenly rejected from being God's people. 
Mark here, God stops in his anger for a w liile. When 
this dreadful judgment was about to be executed, God 
is even ready to say, as he said aftenvard in this \>xo- 
phecy, " How shall' I give thee up, Ephraim ? How 
shall I deliver thee, Israel ? " Hos. xi. 8. 'When we 
are about eitlier to reject any particulai- person, who 
has made profession of religion, from being God's, or 
to reject a church from being God's, we had need 
pause, and examine the matter well ; yea, and when we 
nave examined it, to stop again, and betJiink ourselves 
what we do. We must not be too sudden in rejecting 
those who have been once the people of God, from 
being the people of God now. Many men are too hasty, 
in rejecting both particulai- servants of God, and par- 
ticular churches from belonging to God, as soon as they 
see some few things amiss in them ; especially if there 
be any thing gross, immediately they are no chm'ches 
at all, they are altogether anticliristian, they belong to 
the beast ; and so, while they strike at the beast, they 
wound the Lamb. Certainly there is to be acknowledged 
much of Christ, not only in particidar saints, but with 
respect to the church ordinances of many particular 
congi-egations in England : we must take heed there- 
fore of too sudden rejection of them from belonging to 
God, or refusing them, as his people, chui'ch fellowship. 

'' She conceived, and bare a son." ^^'e come now to 
the conception of the third child ; it was a son, and liis 
name was Lo-ammi. The second child a daughter, 
l)Ut the third a son ; what is the meaning of this ? 
I told you, that by the second child was noted the state 
of the ])eople at that time, that it gi-ew weaker and 
more efl'eminate ; weaker in regard of their ouhvard 
strength, and more effeminate in regard of their spirits : 
and tliat statement I made good to you out of the history 
of those times in the Book of the Kings. Well, but 
now it is a son ; what ! do they grow stronger now thev 
are nearer to destruction than before ? Yes, thougfi 
nearer to ruin, and more hea^-y wrath, than they were 
before, yet they get up a little strength before that 
time ; therefore the third child is a son. Concerning 
the strength this people had a little before thcu- utter 
rejection, upon which their spirits were raised, you shall 
find the history in 2 Kings xvii. 4, where you have a 
declaration of the state of the ten tribes when Lo- 
ammi was born ; for the text tells us, that they began 
to join in confederacy with the king of EgT|-])t ; and 
whereas fonuerly they had done homage, by presents, 
to the king of AssjTia, now being confederate with the 
king of Egypt, they refused to bring any more presents 
to him ; they begin now to be a jolly people, and hoped 
to cast off that Assyrian yoke of bondage under which 
they had gi'oaned. 

66s. God sometimes pemiits men, and nations, and 
churches, to rise a little out of their affliction before 
their utter ruin ; he gives them a little reviving before 
theu' death. Many men think themselves in a very 
good condition, if, having been in afftiction, their af- 
flictions begin to abate, and they begin to rise a little ; 
now they think they are safe, and they are ready to say, 
with Agag, " Surely the bitterness of death is past," 
surely the worst is gone, 1 Sam. xv. 32. But you may 
sometimes be recovered, when God mtends jou should 
be suddenly rejected. Many may be preserved from 
some judgments, bccflusc they are reserved to greater 



Vee. 8. 



THE PROPHECY OF ROSEA. 



25 



judgments. The Lord has begun, indeed, to give to us 
in England a little reviving, a little strength to enable 
us to rise against the cruel oppressions of our adver- 
saries ; but let us not be seciu'e, notwithstanding this ; 
for though we have some little reviving, if we follow 
not God in the way of humiliation and reformation, this 
our little reviving may be but a lightning before om- 
death. 

And yet further, it is very observable what the con- 
dition of Israel was at this "time, when God was about 
to say, " Lo-ammi, they are not my people ;" what it 
was not only in regard of their strength, but of their 
very sins. For if you examine the history, you find 
that the people of Israel not only had gotten somewhat 
more strength, but they were somewhat better in re- 
gard of their sins than they had been ; I mean, they had 
less sins than they had before : yet now God is saying 
to them, " Lo-ammi, ye are not my people." And if 
you read 2 Kings xvii. 2, you will observe that the very 
time of the utter rejection of Israel was in the days of 
Hoshea, a king who did " evil in the sight of the Lord, 
but not as the kings of Israel that were before him." 
He was not so bad as the former kings of Israel, and 
yet in his days there comes utter destruction upon Is- 
rael. Yea, and as the king was not so bad as others 
before him, so it seems the people were not so bad as 
in former time, for ver. 9 saith, that " the chilcken of 
Israel did secretly those things that were not right 
against the Lord theu- God." They were sinful, but 
tlieu' sinfulness was secret, they did not sin with such 
an open, impudent face as heretofore. Yet in this king's 
time, and when these people were thus improved, comes 
their utter ruin. 

Hence we learn, that sometimes when there are 
greater sins patience stays judgment ; and yet after- 
ward, when a people seem to be in a better condition, 
not only in regard of then- outward strength, but in re- 
gard of then' sins too, then God comes with his wrath 
upon that people. Let us not flatter ourselves, although 
_ we can say that some things amongst us are not so bad 
as they were heretofore. Suppose there be some par- 
tial refoiTiiation, this is not ground enough to secure us. 
We cannot reason thus, Why heretofore the land was 
more sinful than now, and the governors were more 
oppressing than now. This is not enough, we may be 
nearer the sorest misery at this time, if oiu' reformation 
be not a thorough reformation, than we were before. 
And the reason is this, because God, when he comes 
against a nation, does not only come against it for the 
present sins of which they are actually guilty, but to 
reckon with them for then- sins committed before, 
though the judgment is inflicted just at that time. A 
concourse of events in God's providence might so meet 
as to suit with God's ends, that the destruction of this 
nation should be now, rather than some time ago, yet 
the nation not more sinful than before, but m order to 
fulfil other events of providence that God intends ; and 
then he comes to reckon with them for sins that were 
long ago committed and for their present sins all toge- 
ther. As he does sometimes with particular persons : 
perhaps they have been cb'unkards, unclean, wicked, 
twenty years ago; God has spared them ; afterward, upon 
some lesser sms, God may take advantage to come 
Litim.is iciiu non against them for all then' other sins to- 
stetnit quEtcum. gethcr. We commouly say. It is not the 
last blow of the axe that fells the oak : perhaps the 
last may be a weaker blow than any of the former, but 
the other blows made way for the felling of it, and at 
length a little blow comes and completes it. So our for- 
mer sins may be the things that make way for our ruin, 
and then at length some lesser sins may accompHsh it. 

'V ou that have been guilty of gross sins, take heed of 
small sins ; for though God has spared you when you 
were guilty of great sins, do not say that he will spare 



you now you commit lesser sins ; at this very time of 
committing lesser sins, you may be called to an account 
for grosser. Did you never know a house stand out 
against many strong and blustering winds, yet after- 
ward some little puff of wind has thrown it down ? So 
it is with nations and jJeople that sometimes stand out 
through God's patience, when their sins are gross and 
vile, and afterwards upon some lesser sins are utterly 
undone. 

Ver. 9. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi : for 
ye are not viy people, and I ivill not be your God. 

The name of this son is Lo-ammi, and the word sig- 
nifies, as it is interpreted here by God himself, " j'e are 
not my people, and I will not be your God." The 
people to whom Hosea prophesied might have object- 
ed against him thus : What ! Hosea, do you say that 
God will not have any more mercy upon us ? '\Miat ! 
will not God have mercy upon his own people ? Is not 
God our God ? Why do j'ou tlu-eatcn such things as 
these ? The prophet answers. It is true, God has been 
yoiu- God, and you have been his people, but there is 
an end of those days ; God now degrades you from those 
glorious privileges that you formerly possessed, he wLU 
own you no more to be his, and you shall have no fur- 
ther right to own him to be jom-s. From whence, 

Obs. 1. A people that have been once a people dear 
to God, may be so rejected as never to become a people 
of God more. For so these did not, though afterwards 
we shall hear of the promise for others in other ages. 
God has no need of men. God is able to raise up a 
people wliat ways he ])leases, even from the very stones 
in the street " to raise up chikben unto Abraham." 
Rome may boast that she has been a glorious chmxh. 
True, there has been heretofore a glorious church in 
Rome. "\Miat then ? Those who were his people are now 
no more his people. ■ We shall meet further with this 
in the next chapter. 

Only here observe but this thing, the gi-eat differ- 
ence between the estate of a Christian in communion 
with Chi-ist by grace, and a church estate. Men and 
women may lose then- church estate, and that for ever ; 
but their estate in communion with Jesus Christ by 
grace they can never lose. This is a great difierence, 
and affords abundance of comfort. True, our church 
state, I mean in regard of an instituted church in con- 
gregations, is a great privilege and mercy ; but our 
communion with Jesus Chi'ist is a higher pri^^lcge, and 
that privilege can never be lost : we may be cut off 
from the one, but never cut off from the other. 

Obs. 2. It is a most heavy judgment for any to have 
been heretofore the people of God, now to be unpeo- 
pled, for God to be no more theirs, and for them to be 
no more the Lord's. A hea\-y judgment for the Lord 
to say. Well, I will be no more a God to you, whatso- 
ever I am to others, no more yom's in my goodness, in 
my mercy, in my power, or whatsoever I am in myself 

The being cast off from God, 1. Takes us oft' fi-om 
that high honour that was before upon a people. 
" Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been 
honom-able," Isa. xUii. 4. The people of God gathered 
together in church communion, certainly are in an 
honourable condition ; when they are dispeopled, they 
are cast oft' fi-om this then- privilege, from their honour. 
2. They have not the presence of God with them, nor 
the care of God towards them, nor the protection of 
God over them, nor the delight of God in them, nor 
the communication of God to them as before. But, 
among other privileges, they want this, namely, that 
great pri«lege of pleacling with God for mercy upon 
this relation, which was the usual way of the prophets 
to plead with God, because they were the people of 
God : so Isa. Ixiv. 9, " Be not wroth very sore, O 



26 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. 1. 



Lord, neithcT remember iniquity for ever." Upon what 
ground ? '■ Behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all 
thy people." This is a good argument. Again, Jer. 
xiv. 9, " Why shouldest thou be as a man astonished, 
as a mighty man that cannot save ? yet thou, O Lord, 
art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name ; 
leave us not." This text is ours this day, and well may 
we say, " O Lord, why shoiddest thou be as a man aston- 
ished?" Yet if we" can but take up the second part, 
and say, " ^Xe are called by thy name," we may make 
more comfortable use of the former, " Viliy shouldest 
thou be as a man astonished?" How doth a man 
astonished stand ? He stands still in a place, as if he 
knew not which way to go ; he is in a kind of distrac- 
tion, fii-st he goes one way, and by and by he returns 
again. The Lord knows his pm-pose from eternity, but 
the Scriptures are pleased to express God's ways to- 
wai'ds us in this similitude. Has not God stood 
amongst us " as a man astonished?" God has been in 
a way of mercy, and then stood still, and then gone 
fom'ard a little, and aften^•ard gone back again, and 
yet back and back still ; and we have prayed and cried, 
and God has again stood as a man astonished, as if he 
were not yet resolved which way to go. Let us pray 
earnestly "to God that he would not stand as a man 
astonished, but that the way of the Lord's mercy may 
be made clear before him, and clear before us. But 
this I bring in to show that the relation wluch a people 
have to God, is the ground of then- encouragement to 
pray to God, and when a people is rejected they lose 
this privilege. Our relations to God are veiy sweet and 
glorious things, though ordinarily they are exceedingly 
abused. As it is said of other relations. Relations are 
of the least entity, but of the greatest eificacy ; so it is 
here, our relations to God are of very great efficacy, 
whatever the entity be ; and therefore to lose our rela- 
tions to God, especially this relation of God's being 
ours, and we being his, is a sore and heavy cm'se. 

Obs. 3. We first begin with God in oui- apostacy, be- 
fore God begins with us in his rejection. Mark here ; 
the first is, " you are not my people," before the second 
comes, " I will not be your God." I woidd not have 
withdrawn myself fi-om being yom- God if you had not 
first rejected me, and would not be my people. Wlien 
God loves, he begms first ; we love not him, but he 
loves us first : but when it comes to departing, it bc- 
guis on our side, we first depart before the Lord does : 
and this will be a di-eadful aggravation to wicked men 
another day, .to think with themselves. This evil is come 
upon us, God is gone, mercy is gone ; but who began 
this first ? where is the root and principle ? Thy per- 
dition is of thyself. I began first, and therefore all the 
loss of that grace and mercy that is in God, I may thank 
this proud, this distempered, this base, passionate, 
wTetched heart of mine own/or it. 

Obs. 4. It is a gi-eater misery to lose God himself, 
than to be deprived of whatsoever comes from God. 
" I will not 'be your God." He does not say. You shall 
not have the frliit of my patience to be yours, you shall 
not have my crcatiu-es to be yours, you shall not have 
those fruits of my bounty to' be yours : no, but I will 
not be yours, I myself wUl not be yours. This is the 
sorest threatening that can possibly be to a gracious 
heart. And this indeed is one special difference between 
a h\-pocrite and a truly gracious heart ; a h^i)oeritc is 
satisfied with what comes from God, but a truly gi'acious 
heart is satisfied with nothing but God himself. Thn\igh 
God lets out never so many fruits of his boimty and 
goodness to him, yet he must have union with God 
himself, or else he is unsatisfied. It is a notable speech 
of Bernard, " Lord, as the good things that come from 
me please not thee without myself, so the good things 
that come from thee please not me without thvselt." 
This is the expression of a gracious heart. Let us 



tender up to God never such duties, with never so great 
sti-ength, except we tender up to God otu-selves, they 
never please him. So let God bestow never so many 
favours upon us, except God give us himself, they 
should never please us ; I mean, please us so as to 
satisfy us, so as to quiet us, if for our portion. 

Y'ou know what God said to Abraham, " Fear not, I 
am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. But 
Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, see- 
ing I go chOdless ?" Gen. xv. 1, 2. What is all this to 
me, so long as I have not the promise fulfilled, that so 
I may come in C'lmst to enjoy thyself? And Closes 
woultl not be contented though God told him his Angel 
should go before thm ; no, saith he, " If thy presence 
go not with me carry us not up hence," Exod. xxui. 20 ; 
xxxiii. 15. The harlot cares not so much for the per- 
son of her lover, as for his gifts; but the true lover 
cannot be satisfied T\-ith love-tokens, but she must have 
the person himself. So it is with a gi-acious heart. It 
is verj- observable that David, in Psal. li. 9, prays, 
" Hide tliy face fi-om my sins ;" it seems God's face was 
angrv-; and yet presently, ver. 11, "Cast me not away 
from thy face, or presence." God's face _ . , . . . 

J ' 1 . , , CujiH facimi limct, 

was an angi-y lace, yet Uavid would not ipsiui facicm imo- 
be cast away from tliis face of God : O "^ ' "=' 
no, rather let God be present with a gi-acious heart, 
though he be angry ; though his anger continue, yet 
let rac have his countenance. In that God says not. I 
will not give you these and these favours, but " I will 
not be yoxu- God ;" tliis is the sorest thi-eatening that 
possibly can be to a gracious heart. 

06s. 5. This is the judgment for sin, God not being 
their God. It hence appears that sin carries along with 
it in itself its o\\ii punishment. How is that ? Thus : 
by sin we refuse to have God to be our God ; by it we 
depart fi-om God, we do not trust God, nor love him, 
nor fear him. The very nature of sin causes a smner to 
depart fi-om God, yea, to reject God from being a God 
to him ; and this is" the pimishment, " I wiU not be your 
God." And this is the sorest punishment to a sinner, 
that he shall not have God for ever for his God. 

Obs. 6. AMien any forsake God, and disavow him to 
be their God, we should do as God does, reject them 
from being om-s. If they will not be God's, neither 
should they be ours. W'Ul not such a man have ac- 
quaintance with God, win he forsake him and his ways, 
then he shall not have our acquaintance, we wiU for- 
sake him. How far we may withdraw from a church 
that it shall not be ours, -we shall fully meet with in the 
second chapter. Only now thus much : though it be 
true, when a people forsake God, we ai-e to forsake them, 
yet lot them gi-ow never so -wicked, our natural and 
civil relations caimot be broken because of thcu- wicked- 
ness ; but the relations of husband and wife, father and 
cliild, master and servant, must be acluiowlcdged ; serv- 
ants mtist be dutiftd to their masters though never so 
wicked ; and the wife must be lo\-ing and dutiful to her 
husband, though he be never so wicked a man. But 
any intimate familiarity with those, not thus joined in 
such relations, ought not to exist ; if they reject God, 
if they will not be God's, they should not be ours. It 
is said, Job viii. 20, that God will not help the enl- 
doers ; it should be ti-ue of us all, that we should not 
take the ungodly by the hand, to help them in e\-il. 
Thus much for the name of this tlm-d cluld, " Lo-ammi : 
ye are not my people, and I will not be your God." 

That wliich remains in the chapter, is a promise of 
mercy both to Israel, ver. 10, and afterwards to Israel 
and Judah together, ver. 11. To Israel fii-st, and that is, 

Ver. 10. I'et the number of the children of Israel 
shall be as the sand of the sea, trhich cannot be measured 
nor numbered ; and it shall come to pass, that in the 
place uhere it was said unto them, Yc are not my people, 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



27 



there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the 
living God. 

And so lie goes on with wonderfully gracious pro- 
mises of mercy to Israel in futm-e generations, though 
for the present God had determined what to do with 
Israel. Here then we have, fii-st, a promise of mercy to 
Israel. Secondly, tliis mercy to be in futui-e generations. 
And thii'dly, to consist in the multitudes that should 
be gathered to Israel. 

I. Here is a promise of mercy to Israel. 

Obs. 1. That the Lord in judgment remembers mercy. 
It is a sore thing when God in mercy remembers judg- 
ment, but it is as comfortable when God in judgment 
remembers mercy. \Mien God thi-eatens most di-ead- 
fuUy, yet he promises most graciously. We should 
therefore, when we most fear the thi'eats of God, look 
up to the promises of God. look up to see, when wrath 
is denounced in the most hideous and dreadful way, 
whether we can spy a promise, whether there be not 
yet a little cloud, though but as big as a man's hand, 
whether there be not yet a little cre\ice, through wliich 
we ma)" see whether God doth not break forth with a 
little light in a way of promise. 

Obs. 2. It is usual, when we are in prosperity to 
forget all threatenings, and when we are in adversitj- 
to forget all promises. "Ulien we hear of mercy to 
God's people, we never think of God's wrath ; and on 
the other side, when we hear of Ms wrath, our unbe- 
lie^Tng hearts never think of his gi'aee and mercy. 
AVe ought to sanctify the name of God in both ; when 
God is in a way of justice, look up to his gi-ace ; and 
when he is in a way of grace, look up to his justice. 
For that end I shall give you two notable texts of 
Scriptiu-e, as famous as any I taiow in the book of God: 
the one declares to you that when God expresses the 
greatest mercy, yet then he declares the greatest wrath; 
and the other, when God expresses the greatest wi-ath, he 
then declares the greatest mercy : and I shall show you 
how the name of God ought to be sanctified in both. 

The fii'st is in Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7 ; when the Lord 
passed by before ISIoses he " proclaimed. The Lord, 
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and 
abundant in goodness and ti'uth, keeping mercy for 
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and 
sin." 'What abundance of mercy is here expressed ! 
Now it follows, •' and that will by no means clear the 
guilty; visiting the miquitj' of the fathers upon the 
childi-en, and upon the children's children, unto the 
thu-d and to the foiuth generation." Here is an ex- 
pression of gi-eat T\Tath. And then for our sanctifjing 
of God's name in this, it follows, ver. 8, And when 
Moses heard this, he " made haste, and bowed his head 
toward the earth, and worshipped." Thus we must bow 
and worsliip before God, sanctifying his name in both 
his mercy and justice. 

On the other side, Nah. i. 2, " God is jealous, and 
the Lord revengeth ; the Lord revengeth, and is fuiious ; 
the Lord will take vengeance on ms adversaries, and 
he reserveth \vrath for his enemies." Dreadful expres- 
sions! Yet, ver. 3, " The Lord is slow to anger;" there 
is a mitigation at first : then he advances in expres- 
sions of wrath, but he is " gi-eat in power, and will not 
at all acquit the wicked : " and ver. 5, " The mountains 
quake at h i m , and the hills melt, and the earth is hm'ued 
at his presence, yea, the world, and alL that dwell there- 
in : who can stand before his indignation, and who can 
abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured 
out like fii-e, and the rocks are thi-own down by him." 
■\\liat more terrible expressions of wrath than these ? 
Now mark, ver. 7, " The Lord is good, and a sti-ong 
hold in the day of trouble ; and he knoweth them that 
ti'ust in him."' "\Miat a sti-ong expression of grace is 
here ! observe it, my brethren, that in the midst of 



God's anger, yet God is good stUl. A gracious heart 
must acknowledge, though God be provoked to anger, 
yet he is a good God still ; and it is a good sign for the 
soul to fall down before God when he is in the way of 
his vrrath, and to say, " The Lord is good." As that 
good old man Eh did, after the denunciation of that 
dreadful sentence against him and his house by Samuel, 
" It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." 

Obs. 3. God, in the midst of his anger, knows those 
that trust in him. All of you wOl say, when God be- 
stows fevom's upon you, The Lord is good, O bl&ssed 
be God, he is a good God : but when God reveals his 
greatest wrath, truly then the Lord is 
good. Luther declared he woiUd acluiow- JjLmS°omnM lo- 
ledge God to be a good God, though he ?i?« perderet. 

Ill 1 11 . 1 1 1 Luther. 

snould destroy all men in the world. 
JIuch more then is he to be acknowledged in a day of 
trouble, when he appears most gi'aciously to his saints. 
'• The Lord is good, and a strong hold in the day of 
ti'ouble." God is a sti-ong hold now, when such wrath 
is revealed, to his saints in the day of trouble ; and 
he knoweth those that trust in liim ; though his wrath 
is abroad in the world, he knoweth those that trust in 
him. Wlien men are angry they scarce Imow the dif- 
ference between then- foes and then- friends. K any 
displease them, they come home and are angry with 
then- wives, with their servants, with their childi'en, 
with theu' friends, with every one about them. "\Miile 
they are in their passion, their wives, and childi'en, and 
servants wonder what the matter is with them : Siu-ely 
some one has displeased my master to-day, he is so 
touchy, and angiy at every Uttle thing. jNIy brethren, 
it is a dishonour to you in the eyes of your servants, 
and it lays low yom- authority in your families, for them 
to see you come home in such a pet that you know not 
how to be pleased, though they have done nothing to 
chsplease you. God does not act so; though he be 
never so angiy, yet he knows those that trust in him. 
Let God's anger be never so public and general in the 
world, if there be but a gracious soul that lies in a poor 
cottage, or in a hole, the Lord knows it, and takes notice 
of it, and that soul shall understand too that God 
knows it. It is true, when the wrath of God is revealed 
abroad in the world, it seems as if it woidd swallow up 
all the saints ; and those wiiose spirits are weak and 
fearful are afi-aid that they shall be swallowed up in 
the common calamit)-. But be of good comfort, God 
knows those that trust in liim, even when his wrath is 
never so dreadful and general. In this case it is with 
God's childi-en as it is with a child in the mother's 
amis ; if the father violently lays hold upon liis serv- 
ant, and thrusts him out of doors for his demerits, 
there is such a tenible reflection of the father's anger 
against the servant upon the child, that the poor child 
begins to cry. So when the children of God see 
God laying hold upon wicked men. to execute wrath 
upon them, they cry out, they are afi-aid lest some evil 
should befall them too. O no, be of good comfort, 
" The Lord is good, and a strong hold in the day of 
ti-ouble ; and he knoweth them that ti'ust in him," when 
liis anger is never so great and general. So though 
this Israel be " not my people," yet " the number of the 
clulch-en of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea." So 
in Nah. i. 15, "Behold upon the mountains the feet 
of him that bringeth good titUngs, that publisheth 
peace !" What! at this time, though God's way be in 
the whirlwind, and so tenible, yet now, " behold the 
feet of him that bringeth good tiduigs, that publisheth 
peace." God abroad publishes war, yet he has a mes- 
senger to. publish peace and life to some. 

Is it not so this day ? It is ti-ue, the wrath of the 
Lord Ls kindled, and bmns as an oven against the un- 
godly, but peace shall be upon Israel. And let us 
sanctift- the name of God in this too, for so it follows, 



AN' EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



Nah. i. 15, "O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform 
thy vows : for the wicked shall no more pass through 
thee ; he is utterly cut off." And because God reveals 
such rich fp-ace in the midst of judgment, let this en- 
gage your hearts to the Lord for ever. 

Obs. 4. Not only when God threatens judgments, 
but when judgments are actually upon us, let us sanc- 
tify God's name in looking up to promises. Suppose 
we should live to feel most fearful judgments of God, 
yet even then we must look up to promises, and exer- 
cise faith, and have an eye to God in the way of his 
grace at that time ; this is more difficult than in threat- 
enings. You have a notable passage in Isa. xxvi. 8, 
" In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited 
for thee ; the desire of our soul is to thy name." Bless- 
ed be God, my brethren, the Lord calls" us to wait upon 
him in the ways of mercy for the present. Not long 
since the Lord was in a way of judgment toward Eng- 
land ; and some of God's people would wait upon God 
and keep his ways ; but there were many, when they 
saw that they were likely to suffer, departed fi-om Goil 
and declined his ways. Much cause of bitterness of 
spu'it, and of dread of humihation, have they that did 
so. But others may have comfort to their souls, that 
in the very way of God's judgments they waited for 
him, and they can now with more comfort wait upon 
God, when he is in the way of his mercy. But if God 
sliould ever come unto us in the way of his judgments, 
let us learn even then to wait upon God and keep his 
way. 

jer. xxxiii. 2-1 may seem more pertinent to illustrate 
this truth : " Considerest thou not what this people 
have s))oken, saying. The two families which the Lord 
hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they 
have despised my people, that they should be no more 
a nation before them." Mark the low condition of the 
people at this time ; God has cast them off, they are 
despised and contemptible, not worthy to be accounted 
a nation : but though they were brought low, and in a 
condition contemptible, yet now God confu-ms his co- 
venant with them : for obser\e, ver. 25, 26, " Thus saith 
the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, 
and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven 
and earth ; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and 
David my servant." As if God had said. Let them 
know that -nhatcvcr their condition is now, yet my love, 
my mercy, my faithfulness, is toward them as sure as 
my covenant with day and night, and as the ordinances 
of heaven and earth. An admirable text to help not 
only nations, but individuals, when they are under the 
contempt of ungodly men. Yet at that time the Lord 
is most ready to eonfh-m his covenant with them, to be 
as sure as his covenant with day and night, and heaven 
and earth. It brings honour to God when at such 
times we can look up to him and exercise faith. And 
indeed this is the glorj-, and dignity, and beauty of faith, 
to exercise it when God's judgments are" actually 
upon us. 

II. To whom did this promise refer ? It was not a 
promise to any who then lived, but to be fulfilled in 
future ages, yet introduced by the prophet as a comfort 
to the people of God then living. Hence 

06s. Gracious hearts are comforted with the promises 
of God made to the church, though not to be fulfilled 
in their days. If the church may prosper and receive 
mercies from God, though I be dead and mouldering 
in the grave, yet blessed be God ! AVhen Jacob was 
dying he said to Joseph, " Behold, I die ; but God shall 
be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your 
fathers," Gen. xlviii. 21 ; he will fulfil his promises to 
you though I am dead. Our forefathers, that genera- 
tion of the saints who lived a while since, how comfort- 
ably would the) have died, if God, before their death, 
had revealed to them, that within three, or four, or 



seven years, so much mercy shoidd come to England 
as we now see ! Y'ea, how comfortably would any of us 
have died (I appeal to any gracious heart here) if God 
had said thus to thee. Go and be gathered to thy fathers 
in peace, within these two years such things shall be 
done for England as we now live to see ! would not we 
■willingly have died ? would it not have been comfort 
enough against the fear of death, to have had revealed 
to us what should have been done to our posterity ? 
AMiat mercy then is it now, that it is not only revealed 
to us, but enjoyed by us ! 

III. AMiat was this promise ? " That Israel should 
bo a multitude, that the number of them should be as the 
sand of the sea shore." "We shall examine the excel- 
lency of the mercy of God in this promise by and by. 
Only for tlie present, inquire we a little why God 
should manifest his grace " to midtiply them as the 
sand of the sea shore ? " 

If we compare Scripture with Scripture, we shall find 
that God ])romises this, because he would thereby show, 
that he remembered his old promise to Abraham, that 
God would multiply his seed " as the stars of heaven, 
and as the sand which is ujion the sea shore ;" and now 
God a long time after renews this promise. Hence 

Obs. That the Lord remembers his promises, though 
made a long time since. '• God is ever mindful of his 
covenant," Psal. cxi. 5. AVhcn we have some new and 
fresh manifestations of God's mercy, oiu- hearts rejoice 
in it, but the impression of it is soon gone. "\Mien some 
of you have been seeking God, have had many mani- 
festations of his love, and God has entered into cove- 
nant with you, for a while you have been comforted, 
but you lose all yoiu' comfort again within a short, time. 
O remember, " God is ever mindful of his covenant," 
though made twenty or forty years ago ; he remains 
the same still ; be you the same still ; be you ever mind- 
ful of your covenants. Wien men are brought into 
the bond of the covenant, their consciences are awed 
with it, at first they M'alk very strictly, and dare not in 
the least thing go from the covenant ; but after a few 
months or weeks are over theii- heads, they forget the 
covenant they made with God. There is not such a 
strong bond upon their spirits as there was before. O 
my brethi'en, know that this is a gi'eat and sore evil in 
you ; " God is ever mindful of his covenant," so you 
should be. 

And as of his covenant, so of his threats too, by way 
of ])roportion. God remembers his tlu'eats that were 
made many years ago : we are affected with God's 
threats for the present, but within a while the impres- 
sion is gone ; but let us know, time alters not God as 
it does us. 

Vi'e must, however, inquii-e more fully into this pro- 
mise, because it is often declared in Scripture, that the 
childi-en of Israel should be like the stars of the heaven, 
and as the sand upon the sea shore. Viliy did God 
express himself thus in his covenant to Abraham ? 

First, Abraham left his father's house and all his 
kinda-ed at God's command, and upon that God made 
this covenant with him, that he would make his seed 
" as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is 
upon the sea shore." As if God had said, Abraham, be 
willing to leave your father's house, I will make a gi-eat 
house of you, a great family of youi-s. 

Secondly, Observe that afterwards God confirmed this 
covenant to Abraham, and that with an oath. A\'hen 
he came first out of his countn,', and left his father's 
house, God made this promise of increasing his seed, 
but not with an oath ; but afterwards, in Gen. xxii. 16. 
1 7, God renews this promise of multiplying his seed, and 
that by an oath : " By myself have I sworn, saith the 
Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast 
not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing 1 
will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply tliy 



Vee. 10. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



21 



seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which 
is upon the sea shore." Mark here, it was upon Abra- 
ham's being willing to offer up his son Isaac, his only 
son Isaac. Abraham was willing at God's command 
to offer up his own son, and upon that God promises to 
multiply his seed as the stars of heaven, and as the 
sand of the sea. Yea, with an oath. By myself I swear, 
saith the Lord, that I will do it, because thou hast done 
this. 

Ois. 1. There is nothing lost in being willing to lose 
for God. Abraham was willing to lose his father's 
house, the comfort of his family, for God : I wdl make 
thee a glorious family as the stars of heaven, saith God. 
Again, Abraham was willing to lose one son, his only 
son, for God. Art thou willing to lose one son for me, 
saith God, thou shalt have ten thousand sons for this 
one thou losest, yea, though it be lost but in thy inten- 
tion. Thou shait have thy own son, and yet have ten 
thousand sons besides. O, let us not be afraid to part 
with any thing for God. God's people know how to 
make up in God whatever they lose for God. But God 
will not oidy make it up in himself, but w-iU make it up 
even in the very creatui'e itself thou losest for God. 
Art thou willing to lose a little of thy estate ? Thou 
mayst with comfort expect, as far as, if thou knewest all, 
thou thyself wouldst desire, to have it made up in abund- 
ance, even m that very way. You know the promise, 
" And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, 
or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or chikben, or 
lands, for my name's salve, shall receive an hundredfold, 
and shall inherit everlasting life," Matt. xix. 29. How 
hath God fulfilled this promise this day in many of 
our eyes, and to many of om- experiences ! How many 
have you known who were willing to part with what 
they had. and to put it out, as it were, to the wide 
world! But God has made it up to them, not only 
in himself, but in the very thing itself; and thereby 
taught them, and all the world, to be willing to ventm'e 
to part with any thing for God and his cause. 

06^. 2. When we are ^^•illing to lose for God, then 
is the time when God will renew and confii-m his cove- 
nant with us. God confii-med his covenant with Abra- 
ham when he was willing to part with his son, to be 
deprived of all his seed. The way to make sure of 
what we have is to be willing to part with it. You all 
desire to be siu'e of your estates ; Oh that we could in 
these times, wherein we see nothing sure, make om- 
estates sm-e ! Would you make sm-e of your estates ? 
Be willing to employ yom' estates for God and for a 
good cause. This is the way to have God renew his 
covenant to you for an assurance that way. This is 
the best assiu-ance office in the world. 

But how comes this promise in at this time, and to 
this people, in Hosea's proph(Wy ? Because the Lord, 
by the prophet, would answer an objection of the 
people. They might have said, Hosea, do you thus 
threaten the destruction of Israel ? You promise mercy 
to Judah, and Judah is but a handful to us ; we are the 
ten tribes, and with us is the greatest part, almost all 
the seed of Abraham, and yet yo>i thi-eaten our de- 
struction ; it can never possibly be. What will become 
of God's promise to Abraham, that liis seed should be 
as the stars of heaven, and as the sand on the sea shore ? 
You seem to speak conti-ary to God ; God said that he 
would multiply that seed, and you take a coui-se to 
make men believe that the seed of Abraham shall be 
brought to nothing. 

The prophet answers thus : Do you say, "VATiat will 
become of Abraham's seed ? Know that God can tell 
how to provide for Ms church and fuhil his promise 
made to Abraham, whatever becomes of you. You are 
mistaken in thinking that you alone are the seed of 
Abraham. Abraham has not only a carnal, but a 
spiritual seed ; all those that shall join in the faith of 



Abraham, and subject themselves to the God of Abra- 
ham, shall be the seed of Abraham, and so they shall 
be the chUcb-en of Israel as well as you. Thus God 
will make good his word. To expound this truth the 
apostle quotes this promise, " As he saith also in Hosea, 
I will call them my people which were not my people," 
Rom. ix. 25 ; and applies it to the Gentiles. The Holy 
Ghost, who is the best interpreter of Scripture, there 
shows that it is at least in part fulfilled in so many 
of the Gentiles coming in, and being converted to the 
faith of the true ^Messiah. 

This and many other excellent prophecies concern- 
ing the glory of Israel, were made good in part in the 
fii-st times of the gospel. They were, however, but the 
fu-st-fruits of the fulfilling of those promises and pro- 
phecies ; the accomplishment of them is yet certainly 
to come, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come 
in, and the Jews be converted. Then not only the 
spuitual seed, but the very carnal seed of Abraham 
shall have this promise made good, and be multiplied, 
and come into the faith too, Rom. xi. 26. The apostle 
speaks there of a general salvation of Israel that was 
to come after the fulness of the Gentiles. So it appears 
plainly, that those prophecies concerning the glory of 
Israel, though they were in part made good in the 
first times of the gospel, yet there was a fui'ther ac- 
complishment of them, when there should be a fubiess 
of the Gentiles come in, and then all Israel should 
be saved. From hence 

Obs. 1. All believers, though of the Gentiles, are of 
the seed of Abraham, they are of Israel, and therefore 
have the same privileges with Israel, the same in efl'eet, 
yea, better. They are all the heirs of Abraham, who, 
Rom. iv. 13, is said to be " the heir of the world ;" they 
have the dignity of Israel, to be the peculiar people of 
the Lord, to be God's treasure and portion. Whatever 
you read of excellent titles and appellations about 
Israel, they belong now to all believers, though they 
are Gentiles. A comfortable and most sweet point to 
us Gentiles. 

Obs. 2. God has a time to bring in abundance of 
people to the profession of the faith ; multitudes, even 
as the sand of the sea shore. He wUl do it, and he has 
ways enough to accomplish it. Though for the present 
men cast this reproach upon the people of God, that 
they ai-e but few, a company of poor mean people, a 
handful, that ai-e nothing in comparison of the rest. 
But this reproach will be wiped away, and we may yet 
expect, that before the world come to an end, the 
greatest part of its inhabitants shall embrace the faith 
of Ciurist, and become godly too. Isa. xlix. 19 — 21, 
" Thy waste and desolate places, and the land of thy de- 
struction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the 
inhabitants." This yet has not been fulfilled. Thy chil- 
di-en shall say, " The place is too strait for me, give place 
to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine 
heart, who hath begotten me these ? " "WTien was this 
fulfilled ? '■ The stone," in Dan. ii. 35, " that smote the 
image became a great mountain, and filled the whole 
earth." God's people shall fiU the whole earth. Now 
take all Christians to be God's people that only ac- 
knowledge Chi-ist to be the Son of God, they are com- 
puted to be not above the sixth part of the world ; and 
yet tliis must be fulfilled, that the chm-ch shall be as the 
stone that smote the image, become a gi-eat mountain 
and fill the whole earth. " John saw," in the Revelation, 
" the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from 
God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her 
husband," Rev. xxi. 2, 10: and when God comes to 
dwell with men by his Spuit, all people shall come and 
flock to the chm-ch, as the prophet saith, like "the 
doves to then- wmdows," Isa. Ix. 8; and they, you 
know, fly together in flocks. In Chr-ist's time the 
people of God were a little flock ; " Fear not, little 



30 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



flock." The Greek has tno diminutives, 
^owwo"" ^it\c, little flock, and so it may be ti-ans- 
latcd, " Fear not, little, little flock ; for it 
is your Father's good pleasure to give vou the king- 
dom,'' Luke xii. 32. It ^\as a little flock then, but it 
shall be a gi-eat flock when the Father shall come to 
give them the kingdom. Clu-ist is promised to have 
the '• heathen for liis inheritance, and the uttei-most 
parts of the earth for his possession," Psal. ii. 8 ; he 
shall possess them. A king does not possess a king- 
dom who only possesses some town, or one shire of it : 
Christ shall jiossess the utteimost parts of the earth. 
Yea, it shall be said, " The kingdoms of this world are 
become the Idngdoms of om- Lord, and his Christ," 
Rev. xi. 15. They are the Lord's indeed in some sense 
always: but he speaks in a special sense, wherein it 
shall be said not only a few congregations are the 
Lord's, and his Christ's, but the whole kingdoms of the 
earth, which, with their great kings, shall come and 
bring their glory into tlie chuixh. 

Obs. 3. Is it so? let every one then come in, and help 
on this work. Has God promised this, that there shall 
be multitudes come into the church ? Come thou in 
then, and thou ! What ! shall so many embrace the 
faith of Jesus Christ, and shalt thou stand out, and be 
sliut out at last amongst the dogs ? Do you come in 
and add to the number-, to make good this word of the 
Lord. Yea, let us seek to di'aw in all others as much as 
we can : therefore it is that we have such excellent 
promises in the Scriptm-e to encourage us to di-aw in 
others to the faith. " He that turneth many to right- 
eousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever," 
Dan. xii. 3. 

Obs. 4. Although God defei-s fulfilling his promise 
for a time, yet at last he does it gloriously. The paucity 
of the number of the saints of God now shall not dis- 
com-age always ; let us be above this stumblingblock. 
There are but few yet ; what then ? there shall be many, 
" The number of the cliildren of Israel shall be as the 
sand of the sea." What though we do not see ways 
how this promise shall be fulfilled for the present, yet 
let us believe it. For, observe, when God fii-st made 
this ])i;omise to Abraham, that his seed should be as 
the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea shore, it 
required much exercise of faith in Abraham to believe 
it. It was twenty years after this promise before Abra- 
ham had a child.' At last he had a chUd, and a child 
by promise; then he must go and kill that chOd; but 
lie was spared. Well, Isaac grows up, and he was 
forty yeai's old before he man-ied ; all this while there 
^^ as but one of the promised seed. Wien Isaac mar- 
ried, Kebekah his wife continued twenty years ban-en ; 
wliat became of the promise all this wliile, that the 
seed of Abraham shoidd be as tlie sand of the sea ? 
Here are twenty years gone, and forty years gone, and 
twenty years more gone, and yet there are no other chil- 
di'tn of the seed by promise but Isaac. Nay, it appears 
that upon their going into Egj-jit, which was two hun- 
dred and fifteen yeara after the promise, there were but 
threescore and ten of them all. Wrere is the promise 
then, that Abraham's seed should be as the stars of 
heaven for multitude ? But now mark, God afterwards 
comes on apace, for in Numb. i. 4G, you find that at the 
end of the next two hundred and fifteen years they 
were reckoned when they came out of Egypt, and 
" they were sLx hundred thousand and three thousand 
and five hundr-ed and fifty" fighting men of twentj' 
years old and upwards, besides all the women and chil- 
(hen, and all the tribe of Levi, which made two and 
twenty thousand more, Numb. iii. 39. In the fii-st 
two hxmtbtd and fii'teon year's they were but threescore 
and ten, and the next two hunilred and fifteen yeai-s, 
w hile they were in bondage, they increased to six hiui- 
di'cd thousand and three thousluid and five hunchvd 



and fifty, besides women and children, and the tribe of 
Levi. Thus, though it was long, yet when God's time 
eame he fulfilled the promise to Afcraham. So though 
we do not for the present see God making good the 
promise, yet let us believe, for God has ways to fulfil all, 
and he will do it, and when he comes he will come 
gloriously above our faith. 

We can hardly believe there should be such great 
things done in England as we desire and expect, but 
there is nothing yet to accomi)lish which is more diffi- 
cult than that which has been ah-eady done, therefore 
we may believe : and when God once comes in the way of 
mercy, he ti'iumphs gloriously ; therefore let us be will- 
ing to wait his time. Let us not pro])ortion out God's 
ways, nor di-aw an argument from what has been done 
in one time, that therefore no more shall be done iii 
another. You see what he did m the f ulfillin g of the 
promise to Abraham ; and you may observe in yom' read- 
ing of the New Testament, what low beginnings there 
were of the chm'ch at the fii-st : therefore saith Christ, 
" AVliere tw o or thi-ee are gathered together ;" as noting 
that there would be but a very few at the fii-st. AMien 
Paul was called by a wonderful vision, in wliich he saw 
a man of Macedonia appearmg to him, and jjrapng 
him to come over to Macedonia and help them, Acts 
xvi. 9 ; one would have thought that when he preached 
there, aU would have come flocking to heai', and there 
would have been a glorious work done, that he would 
have brought in a great number to the faith. But when 
he came to Macedonia he was fain to go into the fields 
by a river's side to preach, and only a few women came 
there to hear him. That was all tlie autlitory he had, and 
amongst them there was but one poor woman ^^Tought 
upon, " God opened the heart of Lydia." This was 
the present result only of such a mighty call ; and vet 
we know how gloriously God wrought by Paul. Tliis 
I note to confii-m -^ou in this, that though the begin- 
nings be very small, yet we may expect a glorious in- 
crease afterward. As it was with the church at the 
beginning, so it wiD be here : that which BUdad said 
of Job, chap, \-iii. 7, may well be applied to the chm-ch, 
" Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end 
shall gi-eatly increase." 

Obs. 5. As God has a time to multiply his chmxh, so 
it is a great blessing to the chm-ch of God when it is 
multiplied. It is a fi-uit of God's gi-eat grace and mercy 
to m;ike the church a numerous people : as " in the 
midtitude of people is the king's nonom-," Prov. xiv. 
2S ; so it is the glory of Jesus Christ, and therefore it 
was prophesied of him, tliat converts should come into 
the church as the " dew of the morning," Psal. ex. 3. 
Thus it began in the primitive times, and soon after 
multitudes united with the church. I remember that 
Jerome, writing to Cromatius, affinns, that there might 
be computed for every day in the year (except the tir-st 
of January) five thousand martyrs ; therefore the chmxh 
was grown to a numerous multitude. And Tertullian, 
ui his Apology to the Heathens, states, they were be- 
come so numerous in his day, that they had filled then- 
cities; and that if they would they had strength enough 
to make their party good against them, but tliey were 
patient and submitted themselves to their tjTanny. 

I know many make this statement of Tertullian an 
argument that men ought to lay do^vn their necks, il' 
tAose who rule over them \\t11 it ; and that if they can- 
not obey actively, tliey must obey passively, anv thing 
that is according to the will of their rulers. Wliy, say 
they, did not the Christians resist in the primitive 
times? Yes, though they were under idolaters, and 
were commanded to deny Christ, which was utterly 
unlawful, if they could not obey activelv, they obeycel 
l)asslvely, they submitted themselves to their rage ; and 
though they had strength vet they would not resist. 
Whv slioulcl not Cluistians clo so now ? 



Vee. 10. 

You are exceedingly deceived witli this argument. 
True, we are bound to obey authority, actively or pas- 
sively, and yet this argument does not serve the tm-n. 
There is much difference between authority abused, 
and men that are in authority commanding ; here the 
difference lies not in authority abused, but in that 
which is no authority at all. " For there is no au- 
tliorit)' that we are subject to now, but according to 
the laws and constitutions of the country in which wc 
live. Not to the commands and mere will of men are 
we boimd m conscience to submit, either actively or 
passively. Though it be a good thing that is com- 
manded, conscience does not bind to it, ea ratione, to 
jdeld to it because it is commanded, tQl it be brought 
to a law, and is according to the agTeements and cove- 
nants of the country wherein we live. And suppose 
this authority is abused, and there Ls an LU law made, 
then I confess, if that law be of force, we must either 
leave the countay, or submit, or suffer, for then the 
power of God is in it, though it be abused, and we are 
to be subject to all powers. '\ATien then it comes to 
be a power, to be a law, it is authority, though abused, 
and we must peld obedience to it, either actively or 
passively. But we must inquu'c whether it be a power ; 
it is not because the man that is in authority com- 
mands it, except he command it by viilue of that 
authority which is according to the nature and condi- 
tion of the fundamental constitutions of the country 
where he lives. 

Now in the primitive times they submitted them- 
selves to suffer when they could not do the thmgs that 
were commanded, as to deny Christ, because by the 
constitutions of that country they had a legal power to 
proceed against them. Therefore the Clndstians were 
willing rather to suffer any thing than to resist ; and 
were om's the same case we should do so too. K once 
it come to pass, that mischief be established by a law, 
tliough it be miscliief, yet if we cannot obey it actively, 
we are bomid to suffer, or else to quit the country, if it 
be urged upon us. We may seek what wc can to get 
it alleviated, but we must either do or suffer, if once it 
be framed into a law ; otherwise we are not boimd in 
conscience ; bomid we may be in regard of prudence, 
and for preventing other disturbances, but conscience 
does not bind to the will of men, but to laW'S. Thus 
much for the satisfaction of conscience in this case. 

Obs. 6. We should rejoice in multitudes joining the 
church. The Chi-istians were wonderfully increased 
at this time. Now we know we are to rejoice when the 
chm-ch is uicreased, and to esteem it as the gi-eat bless- 
ing of God when its members ai-e made as the sand 
upon the sea shore. In Psal. Ixxii. S, there is a large 
prophecy made of the kingdom of Christ, and of his 
glory in this particular : " He shall have dominion 
from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends cf 
the earth :" then ver. 11, " All kings shall fall down be- 
fore him : all nations shall serve him :" and ver. 1 7, 
" His name shall endm-e for ever : his name shall be 
continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed 
in him : all nations shall call him blessed." Mark how 
the samts rejoice and bless God; what! shall all nations 
come m and serve Clirist ? shall there come multitudes 
in and join the church ? " Blessed be the Lord God, 
the God of Israel, who only doeth wondi-ous tilings, and 
blessed be liis glorious name for ever : and let the whole 
earth be filled with his glory; Amen,,and Amen," saith 
the chm-ch of God then. Let all the saints send forth 
their echo. Amen ; yea, and Amen too to this, that all 
the earth shall be filled with the glory of Christ ; this 
is that with which they ai-e affected, tliis is that they 
deske. as if they should say, This is a blessed thing 
indeed ! 

My brethren, it is- a good and comely sight in a gra- 
cious eve to see multitudes flock to Christ and to his 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



31 



ordinances. It is true that the spirit of anticlu-ist, which 
is in many, camiot look upon tliis but with a malevolent 
eye, and then- hearts rage and fret. They love to scat- 
ter Cluist's chm-ch up and down, but to see people 
flocking to ordinances, to see multitudes come and join 
themselves to Cln-ist, this they cannot endure. The 
same malicious spirit that was against Clrrist, of which 
we read in the Acts of the Apostles, yea, and in the 
Gospels too, we find still in such kinds of men. Mark 
that text, Acts siii. 44, 45 : " Almost the whole city 
came together to hear the word of God ;" to hear a ser- 
mon. Now when the Jews " saw the multitude, they 
were filled with emy :" w-hy, what harm was there 
done ? They saw no harm done, but merely saw- the 
multitude, and they speak against those things that 
were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 
Mark again the vUe spu'its of the Pharisees, who envied 
at the multitude that followed Christ himself: not only 
did they emy the apostles, for they might be factious 
and singidar men in then- esteem ; but what say you to 
Clirist himself? John xii. 19, " The Pharisees said. 
Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing ? behold, the whole 
world is gone after him." Certainly the same Phari- 
saical spirit has prevailed in om- days. _ We know that 
many a godly, painful, conscientious minister, has been 
ousted of all" he had in an instant, and his mouth stop- 
ped, though his persecutors had notlimg against hini, 
no, not for their own laws, but because he was a popu- 
lar man, and multitudes foUow-ed liim. "SATiat a dan- 
gerous thing has it been of late times for men to be 
populai-, that is, to be such as multitudes would flock 
to the word preached by them. Certainly it is an evil 
spu-it, for the promise of God to liis church is, that 
there shall come midtitudes and join with the people of 
God in his ordinances. 

I Itnow some reply to this, they do not object that 
multitudes should ibl'low that which is good, but it is 
the humom- and pride of such men to have multitudes 
to follow after them, and that they oppose. Take 
heed of putting this accusation off w-ith such a plea. 
Consider whether it will hold at that great day. The 
devil himself never pleaded against Chi-ist or any of his 
ways, but with some colour. Surely these men judge 
thus by looking into their own hearts ; they know that 
if multitudes should come to tliem their hearts would 
be lifted up, and so they judge accordingly of others. 
But suppose it be so, for men are but men, that they, 
through coiTuption, should have any such workings of 
pride, yet do they say any thing that is not justifiable ? 
do they preach any thing that is not according to 
Chi-ist ? If they do not, then thou shouldst encom-age 
that which is good ; and as for that which is evil, leave 
it to the coming of Clirist, except thou canst by prayer 
and insti-uction help to remove it. It is worse to en\-y- 
at multitudes coming to hear the gospel now, tlian it 
was for the Jews to en-^y Paul for multitudes following 
hiim, for they thought they could contradict the false 
doctrine which they supposed Paid preached, and there- 
fore they had some colour for then- conduct. But here 
it is nothing but merely because multitudes come to 
hear the word. K men preach fii-st in comers private- 
ly, where they have but a few auditors, they object : well, 
if they preach publicly, and multitudes come to hear 
them, then they cry out of that too. Nothing can 
please en\-ious and malicious spmts. If we keep_ our- 
selves retired, that has exceptions enough, and if we 
come in a public way, they have exceptions to that too. 
Here the gi'oss malice aiid cunning of Satan appear, 
because when the thing itself camiot be excepted 
agamst, he runs to the intention of the heart, and to 
men's inward aims, and bringeth an argument against 
that w-hich he knows no man can confute. For who 
can say that that is either true or false, that men have 
mward amis of pride, and vain-glory, and self-seeking, 



32 



AN EXPOSITIOX OF 



Chap. I. 



in multitudes flocking; after them ? Nay, suppose we 
profess before the Lord and Christ, as we desii-e to stand 
before him, and answer it at that day, what our aims 
are, this will not serve the turn. A\"hy, then, my bre- 
thren, if men will choose such an argument as camiot 
possibly be answered before the coming of Christ, and 
so make a stumblingbloek, there is no help, but men 
must stumble and fall ; and many do stumble and fall. 
However, let " wisdom be justified of her children ;" let 
the saints rejoice in this, that .multitudes come to the 
ministrj- of the word and to the ordinances of Christ. 
Be careful and wise in your coming, and give no just 
occasion for reproach, but all due respect to those to 
whom you have the most relation. 

This you see is the promise, that there shall come in 
such multitudes to the church. But mark how the 
promise runs : 

" As the sand of the sea." Rabbin Ezra makes an 
allusion from hence : " As the sand," saith he, "keeps the 
waves of the sea from breaking in, and ib'owning the 
world ; so Israel, so the saints, keep the world from 
being drowned by the waves of God's ^^Tath." I do 
not say that this is the intention, but the intention of 
God is mainly to signify the multitudes that should 
come into the church. Only this idea we may use, as 
being a comfortable and pretty allusion, and it is a truth 
that Israel is as the sand of the sea, not 
maris voiunt obru- Only in resjject of multitudes, but as tlie 
mundum^'TiSlii- saiul to keep in the waves of God's wrath 
toi™nio7fn"riV fro™ cb-omiing the world. Were it not 
.i«. et non pnMiirit for thc cliuixli of God, the waves of God"s 

otmuian muntlo. , , , /■ ,, 1 11 , 

wrath would overilow all the world, and 
the world would quickly be confounded. So saith he, 
" When the waves of God's anger seem as if tliey 
would overflow all the world, they do but see Israel 
and immediately i-etum back ; they retire, and are not 
able to ovei-flow the world as they desire." 

Luther, in his comment upon tliis prophet, makes the 
second chapter to begin at the tenth verse ; from 
vvliich to the end we have the promise of future mercy 
to Israel, both to Israel and Judah together. Some 
part of God's promise of mercy to Israel we have ex- 
pounded. Now we proceed : 

" And it shall come to pass, that in the place." This, 
according to some, has reference to the land of Canaan, 
that God will have a very glorious church there, espe- 
cially in Jerusalem, before the end of the world come ; 
and many prophecies seem to mcline that way, as Zech. 
xii. G, " Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own 
place, even in Jerusalem." Tliis cannot be meant only 
of their return out of captivity, that was in the time 
of C)Tus. Thc ])ro])het saith, in the day that Jerusa- 
lem shall be inhabited, " the feeble among them shall 
be as David ; and the house of David shall be as the 
angel of God ; " and also that God will " pour upon 
them the spirit of grace and supplication ; and they 
shall look upon him whom they have pierced," ver. 8, 
10. The return of their captivity at first was not glo- 
rious ; if you read the story of it, you find that even 
all that while they were in a contcnij)tible condition 
before the surrounding nations. But God .speaks here, 
and in otlier places, of a glorious return of their cap- 
tivitj', and coming into their own land. 

The Jews have a tradition, that there 
f"ei'iu!iiicZ'^ is a time that all thc Jews, wherever they 
die, shall come tlirough viealua terra-, 
and rise again at Jerusalem ; and therefore when some 
of them tliink they have not long to live, they sell all 
their possessions, and go and live near Jerusalem, to 
prevent the trouble of coming through tliose yncalus 
lerrtp, of which they speak. Thus they are deluded in 
their conceits. 

But yet more generally, " In that place." 

A\Tiereas the place of my people was confined to a 



little and narrow room, hereafter it shall be enlarged. 
AMiere I was not known, amongst the heathen, even 
there shall I be known, and there I shall have a people ; 
and not onlv a people, but sons, the sons of the living 
God ; and that so apparently, that it shall be said unto 
them, " Ye are the sons of the living God." 

Thus St. Peter seems to interpret this place : 1 Pet. 
ii. 10, speaking of tlie Gentiles, that God would have 
a jjcople among them, the apostle saith, " ANTiich in 
times past were not a people, but are now the people 
of God." Inteqiretcrs generally conclude that the 
apostle liad reference to this very place in Hosea. A\'e 
may build then upon this interpretation, that it is the 
intention of the Spirit of God, tliat God would call 
home the Gentiles to himself, and so they that were no 
])co])le should become liis people, liis sons. It should 
be said in that place where before it was said that they 
knew him not, tliat now they are his sons. Yea, the 
heathen shall be brought in, they shall be convinced 
of the vanity of theu' idolatry. "We worshipped dead 
stocks ; our gods were dead stones. We were vassals 
to them : but now we see a people come in to the pro- 
fession of this Christian religion, they worship the liv- 
ing God, their God is the true God : certainly here are 
the sons of the living God. This is the scope of the 
Holy Ghost. 

Obs. 1. It is a comfortable thing to consider that 
where God has not been known and worshipped, that 
afterward in those places God shall be known and 
worshipped. 

That such nations, countries, and towns, which have 
been in darkness and idolatry, should now have the 
knowledge of the true God, that the true God should 
be worshipped amongst them, is a blessed tiling. Eng- 
land was once one of the most barbarous nations in the 
world, and in that place, where it was said, " Ye are not 
my peojjle," where there was notliing but a company of 
savage bai'barians that worshipped the devU ; how in 
this place, in England, is it said, even by the nations 
round about us, Smxly " tliey are the sons of the living 
God ! " And so many times in dark corners in the coun- 
try, where they never had the knowledge of Jesus 
Clu-ist, but were nursed in popery, and in all kinds of 
superstitious vanity, God is pleased to send some faith- 
ful minister to carry the light of the knowledge of 
Christ unto them, and efficaciously to work faith in 
their hearts, and then, oh what an alteration is there in 
that town ! It may be said of many a house and 
family, in which nothing but blasphemy, atheism, scorn 
of religion, uneleanness, and all manner of wickedness 
have been, now it is a family filled with the servants 
and sons of the living God. As it is a grievous thing 
to think that in a place where God has been ti-uly wor- 
shijjped, the devil should be served there ; so it is a 
comfortable thing to think of other places wherein the 
devil has been served, that God is now truly worshipped 
there. The Turks have possession of the temple at 
Jerusalem ; there where thc ark, and the cherubim, and 
the seraphim dwelt, now are tigers, and bears, and 
savage creatures : but on the other side, consider that 
in places where there have been none but tigers, and 
bears, and savage creatm'cs, they are now filled with 
cherubim and seraphim ; this is a comfortable thuig. 

04*'. 2. God has a time to convince the >\orld of the 
excellency of liis saints. It shall be said they " are 
the sons of the living God." They shall not only be 
the sons of tlie living God, but it shall come to pass 
tliat it shall be said they arc the sons of the living 
God: all about them shall see such a lustre of the 
glory of God upon them, that they shall say. Verily, 
wliatever other people have said hei'etofore, whatever 
tlie thoughts of men have been, these are not only the 
servants, but the sons of thc living God. We have an 
excellent prophecy of this in Zech. xii. 5, "The go- 



Ver. 10. 



THE TROPKECY OF HOSEA. 



33 



vernors of Judah shall say iii their heart. The inhahit- 
ants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of 
hosts then- God." Not only the people shall be con- 
vinced of this, but the governors of Judah shall say 
in their hearts. Our strength is in the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, in the Lord of hosts theu- God. However 
they were heretofore scandaHzed as seditious and fac- 
tious, and as enemies of the state, yet now the govern- 
ors of Judah shall acknowledge that their strength is 
in them, and in the Lord their God, that this Lord of 
hosts is theu' God. That time will be a blessed time 
when the governors of Judah shall come to be con- 
vinced of this ; when God shall so manifest the excel- 
lencies of his saints, as that both great and small shall 
confess them to be " the sons of the living God." It is 
promised to the chui-ch of Philadelphia, Rev. iii. 9, that 
the Lord would make them that said they were Jews 
and were not, and said they were the church and were 
not; but were " of the synagogue of Satan, to come 
and worship before their feet, and to know that I have 
loved thee." There is a time that ungodly men shall 
be forced to know that God loves his people. 

And one thing, amongst the rest, that will much con- 
vince the men of the world of the excellency of the 
sauits, will be the beauty of God's ordinances that shall 
be set up amongst them, that shall even dazzle the eyes 
of the beholders. For this you have an excellent pro- 
mise, Ezek. xxxvii. 28, " The heathen shall know that 
I the Lord do sanctity' Israel." How shall they know 
it ? " When my sanctuary shall be in the midst of 
them for evermore :" they shall know that I the Lord do 
sanctify Israel, when the beauty of my ordinances shall 
appear in them. 

And if God be not only satisfied in doing good to his 
people, but he wiU have the world know it, and be con- 
vinced of it ; let the ])eople of God then not be satisfied 
only in having theii' hearts upon God, but'let the world 
know that they love God too. You must do that which 
will make it appear to all the world that you are the 
childi'en of the living God. '• Let your light so shine 
before men, that they, seeing youi' good works, may 
glorify yom- Father which is in heaven." It is one 
thing to do a thing that may be seen, and another thing 
to do a thing that it may be seen : and yet God's 
people may do both ; not do good only that may be 
seen, but if they keep the gloiy of God in their- eye, as 
the highest aim, they may desu'e, and be willing too, that 
it may be seen to the praise of God. But tliis, I confess, 
requu'es some strength of grace, so to act, and yet to 
keep the heart upright. The excellency of grace con- 
sists not in casting ofi' the outward comfoils of the 
■world, but to know how to enjoy them, and to overrule 
them for God : so the strength of grace consists not in 
forbearing such actions as are taken notice of by men, 
or not daring to aim to publish those things that have 
excellency in them, but in having the heart enabled to 
do this, and yet to keep it under, and to keep God 
above in his right place. 

Obs. 3. It is a great blessing to God's childi-en that 
they shall be accounted so before others. It shall be 
said they are sons. 

Not only that they shall be so, but that they shall be 
accomited so. " Blessed are the peacemakers : for they 
shall be called the children of God," Matt. v. 9. This 
is a blessing, not only to be God's chikken, but to be 
called God's childi'en ; we must account it so, and 
therefore we must walk so as may convince all with 
■whom we converse that we are the childi'en of God. 
Let us not think this sufficient; Well, let me approve my 
heart to God, and then what need I care \i-hat all the 
world thinks of me. God promises it as a blessing to 
have his people called the childi'en of God ; then this 
must not be slighted. You find in the gospel that 
Christ often made it his great business to make it mani- 



fest to the world that he was sent of God ; he would 
have them know that his Father sent him, and that he 
came from him : so the people of God should count it 
a blessing, and walk so as they may obtain such a 
blessing, that the world may know that they are of God. 

Obs. 4. The grace of God under the gospel, is more 
full and glorious than the grace of God under the law: 
" In the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not 
my people, there it shall be said unto them, Y'e are the 
sons of the living God." 

Mark, it is not in the place where it was said they 
" are not my people," it shall be said to them, they are 
my people. No ; but further, it shall be said they are 
sons, and " sons of the living God :" this goes' beyond 
being his people. 

For this is spoken of the state of the church under the 
gospel : they were God's people indeed under the law ; 
but the appellation, " the sons of the living God," is re- 
served for the times under the gospel. Sometimes under 
the law they are called by the name of sons ; but it appear- 
eth by this text, that in comparison of that glorious son- 
ship which they shall have under the times of the gospel, 
that in foi'mer times they were rather servants than sons. 
Tliere is very little of our adoption in Christ revealed 
in the Old Testament. No, that was reserved for the 
Son of God, for him that came out of the bosom of the 
Father, and brought the treasures of his Father's coun- 
sel to the world to reveal. Both adoption and eternal 
life were very little made known in the time of the law, 
therefore St. Paul saith, that " life and immortality 
wei'e brought to light tlu'ough the gospel," 2 Tim. i. 10. 

(2.) Sons, because, in the time of the gospel, the 
spirits of the saints are of son-like dispositions, they are 
ingenuous, not mercenary. In the time of the law, 
God induced his people to obey by ofi'ering rewards, 
especially prosperity in outward things ; but in the time 
of the gospel we have no such rewards in temporals. 
In the time of the law afflictions are not much spoken 
of, but much outward prosperity ; but in the time of 
the gospel more affliction, because the dispositions of 
the hearts of people should not be so mercenai')' as they 
were before, they should be an ingenuous, willing 
people in the day of Christ's power. 

(3.) Sons, because of the son-like affection toward 
God their Father, out of a natiu-al aropyij, that tliey 
should have more than in the times of the law. I sup- 
pose some of you have heard of the story of the son of 
Croesus ; though he was dumb all his days, when he 
perceived a soldier striking his father his afi'ection 
broke the bars of his speech, and he cried out to the 
soldier to spare his father. This is the affection of a 
son, and these affections God looks for from his chil- 
dren, especially in the time of the gospel, that they 
should hear no wrong done to him ; but though they 
could never speak in theii' own cause, yet they should 
be sure to speak in then- Father's cause. 

(4.) Sons, because they have not such a spirit of.ser- 
vility upon them as they had in the time of the law. 
Christ is come to redeem us, that we might " serve tlie 
Lord in holiness and righteousness before him, without 
fear, all the days of our life ;" to take away the spu'it of 
fear. Hence the apostle saith, 2 Tim. i. 7, We have not 
received " the spirit of fear ; but of power, and of love, 
and of a sound mind :" and Heb. ii. 15, Christ is come 
" to deKver them who through fear of death were all 
their Hfetime subject to bondage." The spu'it of a sou 
is not the spirit of fear : " Y'e have not received the spi- 
rit of bondage again to fear ; but ye have received the 
Spu'it of adoption, whereby we en', Abba, Father," Rom. 
viii. 15. It is unseemly in the children of God, espe- 
cially in the time of the gospel, to be of such servile 
spirits as to fear every httle danger ; to be distracted 
and amazed. Has not God revealed himself to us as a 
Father to his childi'en, that we should not fear ? He 



34 



AS EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



would not have us fear himself with a servile fear, as 
men do, and therefore surely not to fear men, be they 
what they will. We are sons. 

(5.) Sons. Not only sons, for we might find in Scrip- 
ture where the jieople of God, under the law, perhaps are 
sometimes called so, but older sons, sons come to years; 
(it is true, they were before us, and so in that respect we 
are not elder;) notchildi-en under tutorage, not under 
schoolmasters and governors, as they were imder the 
law. You know what comparison the Scripture makes 
of the difference between the chui-ch in the time of the 
gospel, and tliat in the time of the law. In the time 
of the law it is true indeed they were childi-en ; but 
how ? they were children under tutors and govemoi-s, 
they were not as yetT come to years, they were but as 
young children that were put out to school. But now. 
as the apostle saith. Gal. iv. 5, Christ hath redeemed 
us from being under the law, " that we might receive 
the adoption of sons :" mark, that we might receive it ; 
so that now the state of the church is like a child that 
is of age, and by that is freed from his tutors and go- 
vernors, and comes to his inlteritance, sui juris, as it 
were. 

Therefore the saints now are not to be dealt with as 
if still they were in their childish condition. How 
were the Jews dealt with in their childish concUtion ? 
Thus, they had external tilings to gain them to serve 
God, they worsliipped God much in external things. 
As we deal with childi-en, we give them apples and fine 
things to induce them to obey, so God dealt with them. 
And as chiltken, when they begin to learn, must have 
a great many pictures in theii- book ; so God taught 
the Jews with outward ceremonies, which afterward 
the Scripttire calls but beggarly rudiments. C'luldi'en, 
you know, are pleased much with gay tilings ; and they 
that would bring Jewish ceremonies, or ceremonies of 
their own invention, into the church, ti'eat the church 
as if in her chOdish condition still, as if gay things 
would please her. Therefore they must have pictures, 
and images, and such things to gratify the ijcople, 
which make the people of God beneatli themselves, as 
if they were yet cliildren. No, in the state of the 
gospel they are come to the adoption of sons. And 
so children you know are pleased with hearing music, 
and pipes, and such things, which men would bring 
still into the church in the time of the gospel. I re- 
member Justin MartjT, in answer tcf that 
■fbufTaTm u^ii- about musical instruments, saith that Uiey 
toKvti^ictsfif ' are fit for cliildren and fools, as organs 
?att *«''.fr;air »"d the like, and therefore they were 
irpooifirroi _n not in use in the church. iVnd indeed, 
i',j2"r\T^J' for the childish state of the church those 
upu'oTstr"'^ things ai'e fit, but now when they arc 
(MtSSuot'^ come to the adoption of sons, other ser- 
\ices that arc more spiiitual are more 
suitable and honourable. As a man, that is gi'owntobe 
a man, would think liimself wronged much to be taught 
as a chUd, to be ])ut off with gay things ; so shoiUd the 
people of God under the gospel think it a great WTong 
that has been done them, when men have sought to 
teach them witli pictures and images, instead of spiritual 
instruction. 

Obs. 5. A^^len God is pleased to be reconciled to a 
people, he is as fully theirs as ever, ^ea, sometimes 
more fiUly. "It shall be said. Ye are the sons of the 
living God." Israel, that was cast off from God, now 
shall be brought in more fully than before. He comes 
rather with more full grace than formerly he did. 

Peo]>le before, but sons now. Oh what an encou- 
ragement is tliis to all apostatizing souls that have fallen 
off from God ! Come in, come in, and be reconciled to 
God, and thou shalt not only find God as good as ever 
thou didst, but thou shalt find him much better and 
much sweeter than ever thou didst in all Uiv life. Sel- 



dom we act so. '\Mien men fall out one with another, 
though possibly they may be reconciled, yet it is sel- 
dom that they are so fully reconciled, ko fully one as 
they were before; they are but as a broken vessel 
soldered together, tliat is very weak in the soldering 
place ; or as gannents that nave been rent, and are 
mended, soon torn, and quickly ready to fall in pieces 
in the place where they were mended : it is not so be- 
tween God and a penitent soul. 

Again, " sons," not oidy of God, but " of the living 
God." There is much in tliis, that the people of God 
under the gospel should be called the " sons of the liv- 
ing God." The life of God is the glorj- of God : he 
swears by his life : by this he is distinguished from the 
heathen gods, tliat he is the li\-ing God. Life is the 
most excellent tiling in the world : Austin therefore 
saith, that the life of a fly is more excellent than the 
sun in the finnament : and certainly it is the glory of 
God, that he is the li\ing God. God, as the living God, 
is the object of our faith, and so he is the happiness of 
his people: "Trust in the living God," 1 Tim. vi. 17. 
" My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : O 
when shall I come and appear before God?" Psal. 
xlii. 2. 

But why is God called " the living God" in reference 
to his church here ? Tliis is a treasure of comfort to 
his people, that he is called the living God in reference 
to liis chmch. God would hereby declare to them that 
all that is in him shall be active for the good of his 
church for ever. He will show himself not only to be 
a God, but a li\-ing God. He will show all liis attri- 
butes to be living attributes, for the good of Ids people. 
Did God show himseK active for his people in former 
times ? much more may liis church in the time of the 
gospel, expect the Lord to manifest himself to be active 
amongst them. Thei-efore^we may make use of what 
we read of jGod's activeness for the good of his church 
in fonner times, to plead with God to show himself as 
active now. See how the chm'ch pleads it : " Awake, 
awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord ; awake, as 
in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Ait 
not thou it that hatli cut Rahab, and wounded the 
dragon P .(Vrt thou not it which hath dried the sea, the 
waters of the great deep?" Isa. li. 9, 10. O Lord, 
hast thou not sho^vn thyself glorious in defence of thy 
people, in helping thy servants in their great straits, and 
in destro)-ing thine enemies ? wilt not thou be so still ? 
In the times of the gospel we may expect more active- 
ness of God than ever he manifested since the world 
began. Therefore, when God would set out the state 
of the church under the gospel, mark how he takes 
that tide to himself. Rev. iv. 9, the foiu- living 
creatures (mentioned in the verses before, by which 
is meant the state of the church under tlie gospel) 
" give glory and honour and thanks to liim that sat 
on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever ; " and 
ver. 10, " the four and twenty ciders fell down before 
Him tliat sat on the throne, and worsliipped him that 
liveth for ever and ever ; " and chap. v. 14, both join 
together: "The foui- livuig creatures said. Amen. And 
the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped 
him that liveth for ever;" and chap. x. 5, C, " The angel 
which I saw stand upon tlie sea and upon the earth 
lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that 
liveth for ever and ever." Thus life, the attribute of 
God, is made use of for the state of the church in the 
gospel, to show how active God will be for them. 
Hence, Heb. xii. 22, the church is called " the city of 
the li\ing God." Now to ajiply this to ourselves. 

Obs. 1. If we expect that God should be a living 
God to us, it becomes not us to have dead hearts in his 
service. If God be active for our good, let us be active 
for his honour. A living, and a lively Christian, is 
beautiful in the eyes of God and man. Let us labour 



Vee. 10. 



the; prophecy of hosea. 



35 



not only to be living, but to be lively, for God and his 
cause. Abundance of service and good may li\ing 
and lively Chiistians do in the places where they Uve, 
especially in these times. But oh how few are there, 
■\\ho are active and stu-ring, and are carried on by the 
spirit of wisdom and zeal for God and his caxise ! Away 
now with om- cold and dead wishes and desires, let us 
up and be doing, and the Lord will be with us. The 
adversaries are Hvely ; so saith the psahnist, " Mine 
enemies are lively, and they are strong," Psal. xxxviii. 
19. "We may well make use of that expression too ; om- 
enemies are lively and strong ; shall they be more lively 
and active for Satan, and for then- lusts, than we for 
the hving God ? As God is the object cf our happiness 
as he is the Kving God, so we arc the object of God's 
delight as we are living too. " God is not the God of 
tlie dead, but of the living." 

Obs. 2. We should be lively and active, for we live 

upon the bread of life, and dimk the water of life, we 

have lively oracles, lively ordinances, therefore life and 

activity are requu'ed of us : " fervent in 

^'''cwTil"' spirit, serving the Lord," Kom. xii. 11 ; 
be burning, boiling up in your spirits, 
for you are serving the Lord, the living God: dead 
spu-its become not the services of the living God. 
Grace is called " the Di^Tiie nature," 2 Pet. i. 4. It is 
also called the very "life of God," Eph. iv. 18. It is 
impossible, then, but a Chi'istian must needs be active, 
seeing his grace is the very life of God in Iiim. 

06s. 3. By being lively and active, we shall prevent 
abundance of temptations that otherwise will befall us. 
A dead, lazy spmt is liable to a thousand temptations : 
as when the honey is boiling, the flies t^tII not come to 
it ; when it is set in the window and gi'ows cold, then 
they come to it : so when the spirits of men are boiling 
hot for God, Beelzebub, the god of flies, with his tempt- 
ations, comes not upon them : but when their spirits 
begin to cool, and grow dull and hea\y, then comes 
Beelzebub, and all manner of temptation, upon their 
souls. The breath that comes from the body of a man 
is warm, but the breath that comes from a pair of bel- 
lows is cold, because it is artificial ; so when men are 
cold m the sei'vices of God, it is to be feared that their 
breath in praying, and other duties, is but artificial ; 
it is not the breath of Hfe ; if it were hvmg it would be 
warm. That was the reason why God would not have 
an ass offered him in the law in sacrifice, but his neck 
must be broken, because the ass is a dull creature : God 
loves not dull creatures in his service. 

I have read of a people who worshipped the sun for 
their god, to which they sacrificed a fl;iing horse ; the 
reason was this, because they would ofi'er to the sun 
somewhat suitable to it. They honom-ed the sun for 
the swiftness of his motion, and a horse you know is a 
swift creature, and therefore somewhat suitable, espe- 
cially having the emblem of wings upon him. They 
that would honom- the sun as a god for swiftness, would 
not ofler a snail, but a flj'ing horse ; so if we honom* 
God for a hving God, an active God, let us not ofi'er 
snails to Mm, dull, heavy, sluggish services, but quick 
and lively heai-ts. 

That which the coui'tiers of Nebuchadnezzar flatter- 
ingly said unto him, in the name of God say I to you, 
'• Live for ever." Saith Clirist, " As the living Father 
hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that 
eateth me, even he shall live by me," John vi. 57. 
Christ was active, exceedingly active, in the work he 
was sent about ; why ? because "■ the living Father sent 
him :" so let us consider that in all our seiTices and 
emploj-mcnts it is a living God that sets us about them, 
and we should be active as Christ was. 

I am wilUng a little to enlarge on this, because of its 
impoi-tance to oiu' present times, and give me leave to 
do it by teUing you wliat tliis Christian activeness is. 



1. Stay not for company in any good cause. An 
active spuit will not stay till he see others to accom- 
pany him, but if he must go, rather than the cause 
should fall he will go alone. Mark that saying, Isa. li. 
2, " I called Abraham alone, and blessed him." Be not 
discouraged, if C>od give thee a zealous spii-it, and others 
will not appear ; God calls thee alone, and he will bless 
thee. 

2. ^Then you have company do not lag behind, but 
be willing to be foremost, rather than any cause of God 
should Eufier by your indolence. Do not wait till 
others go before you. Hence in Prov. xsx. 31, amongst 
the goings of many things, the going of the he-goat is 
said to be very comely ; why ? because he is accustomed 
to go before the flock. Those who, out of love to the 
cause of God, are willing, if they are called to it, to go 
before the flock, go comely in the eyes of God. 

3. Do not forbear the work till all difiiculties about 
it are over. That is a sluggish spuit that ■niU not 
begin the work, till they can see how aU the difiiculties 
about the work are, or may be, removed. You must up 
and be doing, be doing presently, and fall to woi-k 
■wisely, to prevent and avoid the difficulties that come 
in it. As those active sphits did, of whom we read in 
Neh. iv. 17; when they were at work, ■with one of then- 
hands they ■pTOught, and with the other hand they held 
a weapon ; they did not stay the building of the wall of 
Jerusalem till all their adversaries were quashed, but 
immediately began it. This is an active spirit. 

4. We must not be active in a sudden mood, and 
upon a mere flash, and then give over, but in a con- 
stant, solid way. Active, yet solid. I\Iany indeed are 
stm'ing and active for the present, but are like the 
flame of a wisp of straw, wluch makes a noise and a 
great stir for the present, but soon after there remains 
nothing but black, dead ashes. But we must be con- 
siderately active. Therefore observe, the Scriptm-e saith 
(speaking of the saints, specially in the time of the 
gospel) that they are " Hvely stones," 1 Pet. ii. 5. 
What ! a stone, and yet Kvely ? A stone, of all things, 
is most dead, and so it is used to describe a d(?ad spuit 
in the stoi'y of Xabal ; when Abigail came to tell him of 
the business of David, " his heart died witliin him, and 
he became as a stone." A^Hrat is this but to show, that 
though we must be lively and active, yet we must be 
solid, fu'm, and substantial in our activeness ; and again, 
that when we arc soKd, fii-m, and substantial, yet we 
must be lively. There are many that know not how to 
be active solidly, and therefore gi-ow slight and vain in 
their acti\'ity ; and many others, striving to be sohd 
and substantial, quickly grow dull; many, thi-ough 
a kind of affected gi-avity, would forsooth be accomited 
solid and wise, and so become at last duU, and heavy, 
and of very httle use in the chvu'ch of God. Take heed 
of either, and labour- to unite both together : that is ac- 
ceptable to God, to be living stones before him. 

Ver. 11. Then shall the children of Jiidah and the 
children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint 
themselves one head, owrf they shall come np out of the 
land : for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 

Here you haye a promise both to Israel and Judah 
together. Great was the enmity between Judah and 
Israel heretofore. They worshipped the same God, but 
in divers manners. Judah worshi])ped God according 
to his own institution ; and Israel worsliipped the 
same God, but according to their o^mi inventions, as 
might best suit with theu- pohtical ends. Bitterness 
and vexation abounded betv.een these two people, 
though worshippmg the same God; and God here 
makes it a great matter to bring these two together, 
that they should be gathered together in one. Here 
we have the promise : Fh-st, that there shall be a 



36 



AX EXPOSITIOX OF 



Chap. I. 



union. Secondly, that there shall be a union under 
one head. Hence 

Obn. 1. The enmity of such as seem not to differ 
much in matters of religion, and yet do differ, is some- 
times exceedingly great and bitter. There shall be a 
union between jiidah and Israel, saith God. Here is a 
mercy, a wonderful work of the Lord. It requires a 
mighty work of God to reconcile those who differ even 
but little. It api)eai-s it was so between Judah and 
Israel. 2 Chron. xxviii. 9, the prophet Oded tells the 
cliildi-en of Israel, when he came to reprove them after 
the slaughter committed by them of the children of 
Judah, "Ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth 
u]) unto heaven." Wiat a rage was this ! and yet thus 
the people of Israel were enraged against the people 
of Judah ; yea, they were often more bitter against 
each other, than they were against the heathen, the 
Philistines, Assyrians,' and Eg.\-])tiaus, who were round 
about them. 

Thus it has been, and until that blessed time come 
here spoken of, thus it will be. Though the Calvinists 
and Lutherans agree together against papists in fun- 
damental articles, yet, oh the bitterness of their spirits 
one against another ! A Lutheran is scarce so bitter 
against a papist a-s he is against a Calvinist. Luther 
himself complains,' Not only openly wicked men are 
our enemies, but even our friends, and those who at 
first received the doctrine of the gospel from us. per- 
secute us most bitterly. iVnd he complains particularly 
of Zuinglius ; t Zuinglius accuses me of cverj' wicked- 
ness and cruelty, so that the papists do not tear me so 
much as these my fiiends. Again, speaking of C'arolo- 
stadius,! He is more deadly against me, more set against 
me, than any of mine enemies ever were. Even he, 
whom God used for the fui-therance of the gosjiel, has 
bitterness to another, with whom he agrees in doctrine. 

And has it not been so amongst us ? Those who are 
protestants, and such as are nick-named pui-itans, though 
they agree in all the fundamental ])oint.s against popen,-, 
yet for some difference m matter of discipline and cere- 
monies, oh what bittcmess of spu-it is there ! It is so 
much the more suiful in those who say that discipline 
and ceremonies are but indifferent things ; they are 
specially to be blamed for bitterness on their side, 
because the conscience of the other is bound up, and 
cannot yield. Yea, not only such as contend against 
popish discipline, but such as go a degree further in 
reformation of discipline, yet because they differ in 
some few particulars, oh the bitterness of spirit that 
exists even among them ! These are times that call all 
the peo])le of God to see in what they can agree, and 
in that to join against the common adversan,-, and not 
to tear one another by dissensions. God may justly 
give us over to our adversaries, if we agree not among 
ourselves, and they may chain us together. Perha])s a 
jirison may make us agree, as it was said of Ridley and 
Hooper. Kidley opposed Hooper in point of cere- 
monies, and they could not agree, vet when they came 
to prison they agreed well enougfi there. The Lord 
deliver us from that medicine of our dissensions, that 
we be not made so to agree : yea, that we be not sol- 
dered together by our own blood. 

04s. 2. God has a time to gather Judah and Israel 
together, that is, to bring peace to his church. God 
has a time to gather all his churches together, that 
there shall be a universal peace amongst his churches. 

For though it be meant here of Judah and Israel 
literally, yet Israel and Judah set out to us all tlie 
churches of God that shall exist among the Gentiles : 

• Kon solum hostcs palam iinpii persequunlur nos. scd 
cliani hi qui fuerunt dulces amici nostri, qui a nobis acccpcrunt 
iloclrinam Evan^clii, fiunt insensissimi hastes uostri, perse- 
quoiilos nos acemnie. 

t Nihil est scelcrum aut cruilclitatis, cujus mc non rcum 



and as God will fulfil this scripture literally, so he will 
fulfil it s])iritually, to bring Judah and Israel, that is, 
all the churches of God, under one head. " Ephraim 
shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex 
Ephraim," Isa. xi. 13. Ephraim envied Judah, because 
Judah challenged to himself the true worship of God ; 
and Judah on the other side envied Ephraim, because 
he was the gi-eatest ; they were vexing .spirits one agauist 
another. This shall not always be, saith God, but " the 
en^T of Ephraim shall depart," I will take away this 
envious, vexatious spirit. Those two staves of which 
the Holy Ghost speaks in Zech. xi. 10, 11, 14, the staff' 
of "Beaut)-," and the staff of "Bands," were both 
broken, but God has a time to unite them together 
again, and for that, mark that excellent prophecy in 
Ezek. xxx^li. 16, 17, 22, 24. There you find declared, 
God brings Judah and Israel, and joins those sticks 
together again. " Son of man, take thee one stick, 
and write upon it. For Judah, and for the childi"en of 
Israel his companions : then take another stick, and 
write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and 
for all the house of Israel his companions : and join 
them one to another into one stick ; and they shall be- 
come one in thine hand." And then, ver. 19, this is 
interpreted of the union of them, " Behold, I will take 
the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, 
and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them 
with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make tlicm 
one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand :" and 
ver. 22, " I «'ill make them one nation in the land upon 
the mountains of Israel ; and one lung shall be kiii^ 
to them all." And in the 24tli verse that king is saiu 
to be David, which we shall afterward show more fully, 
when we describe the head which they shall be under. 
Now this God has never yet fulfilled, that the ten tribes, 
and Judah and Benjamin, should come together and be 
set in one stick ; he has never set together the staff of 
Bands that was broken, and vet this must be done j it 
is the great blessing of God upon his churches, the 
bringing about of this union. Mark that text, Jer. 
xxxiii. 11; God having promised that in the latter 
davs he would bring Judah and Israel together, and 
build them as at first : in the 14th verse, "Behold, the 
davs come, saith the Lord, that I avUI perform that 
good thing which I have promised unto the house of 
Israel, and to the house of Judah." \Miat is that good 
tiling that God had promised to the houses of Israel 
and Judah ? That good thing, my brethren, is the 
building tliem up together as they were at first. " Be- 
hold, how good and how pleasant it is for bretluren to 
dwell together in unitv ! It is like the precious oint- 
ment upon tlie head, tliat ran down upon the beard, 
even Aaron's beard : that went down to the skirts of 
his gai-ments ; as the dew of Hci-mon, and as tlie dew 
that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there 
the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever- 
more," Psal. cxxxiii. In the churches of God, where 
this peace and union dwell, there is blessing, there is 
God commanding blessing, that is, blessing comes 
powerfully and efficaciously, the blessing of life, and life 
for evermore. Oh, who would not then love union and 
peace in the churches ! " The Lord shall be king over all 
the earth ; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his 
name one," Zech. xiv. 9. The churches now have one 
Lord, they all acknowledge God and C'lu-ist to be their 
Lord ; yea, but this Lord has not one name : though 
they all pretend to honour Christ, and set up Christ, 
yet this one Lord has many names. But here it is ])ro- 
phesied that there shall be but one Lord, and his name 

agat, adco ut ncc papistx mc sic laccrent hotles mei, ut illi 
amici nostri. Ep. aJ Mich. Stifeliuum. 

X lufonsior nuhi est quam uUi hactcnut fueriot inimici. 
Luther cp. at) Spalatiiium. 



Vee. II. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



37 



shall be but one. And Zeph. iii. 9, " Then will I turn 
to the people a pure language, that they may all call 
upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one con- 
sent." The words in the original are, inN dd» one 
shoulder; all the people of God shall have but one 
shoulder, that they shaD set to the service of God. O 
blessed time, when they shall be so united as to have 
but one shoulder ! And the greater this blessing of 
Judah's and Israel's gathering together will be, if you 
consider these two things ; I beseech you observe them. 

First, That they shall have this perfect union toge- 
ther, even then, when " Israel shall be as the sand of 
the sea." AVhen there shall be such multitudes flock- 
ing to the chui'ch, yet then they shall be united in one, 
and then there shall be peace in the churches. It is 
not a hard matter, when there are but very few of a 
church, perhaps half a dozen or half a score, for them 
to be of one mind, and to agree lovingly together, and 
to have no divisions nor dissensions among themselves ; 
but when a chm-ch grows to be a multitude, then lies 
the difficulty. A\Tien did ever any chui'ch, though 
never so well constituted at first, but increase in divi- 
sions and dissensions, as they increased in number and 
multitude ? You find it very hard in a meeting in any 
society, when any business concerns a gi'eat many, so 
to agree as to be of one and the same mind. An in- 
sti'ument, as a watch, or any thing that has many 
■wheels, is sooner out of frame than that which has but 
a wheel or two. So when numbers come together about 
any business, it is mighty hard to brmg them to be 
united in one. There are few families that consist of 
many persons, but quickly dissensions gi'ow among 
them : perhaps, where there are two or tlu'ee in a family 
they keep well enough together ; but where there are 
seven in a family they cannot so well agree, nor so 
long a time togetherj as the seven devils did in Mary 
Magdalene. But God has made this promise to the 
church, that though it shall increase as the sand on the 
sea shore, and that multitudes shall come flocking to 
it, yet they shall be all gathered together into one, un- 
der one head, and they shall have peace. 

Secondly, They shall agree in one, not only when 
they are a multitude, but when they enjoy the full 
privileges and liberty that Chi'ist has purchased for 
them, even then there shaU be a blessed agreement. 
For it is spoken here of those times, when they shall 
come under one head, and Chi'ist alone shall rule them, 
and not men's inventions. Chi'ist will grant his chm'ch 
those privileges that he has purchased for them, and 
rule them according to those, and then there shall be a 
blessed agreement among them all. Men now think it 
impossible for those Kberties to be enjoj-ed without dis- 
sensions ; O, say they, let them have but such liberty as 
they speak of, and we shall have nothing but babbling 
and divisions. WTiat! shall every man be left to do what 
he Hst ? why then we shall have nothing but breaches 
in the chui'ch, and heai't-biu'nings one against another. 
No ; Christ has never purchased so much liberty, for 
every man to do what he lists in things apparently un- 
lawful, against the common principles of rehgion : in 
those there may be compidsion. But the liberty which 
Chi'ist has pui'chased, is the lawful use of things in- 
different, and the lawful use of his ordinances. And 
though now many think that, in things indifferent, if 
men be left at their liberty, there will be heart-bm'ning 
and dissensions, and no peace at all in the church, they 
are much mistaken in this ; for the only way to have 
true peace in the church, is to leave tilings as Chi'ist 
has left them, and to force nothing upon men's con- 
sciences that Chi'ist would not have forced ; this is the 
■way of peace. And the special way of dissension (we 
have had experience of it) has been, and ever will be, 
the urging upon men's consciences those things Christ 
■would not have urged ; this makes the greatest rent 



and division in tlie church. The m-ging of uniformity 
in all indifferent things as necessary to unity, is a most 
false principle. It is a principle that many have been 
led by, but it is a false and con'upt principle, and is, and 
mil be found to be, the cause of the gi'eatest distractions. 
"Wlien the time comes here prophesied of, there shaU 
not be such need of any antichi'istian chain to unite the 
servants of God together, but they shall be one without 
any such doings. It is ti'ue, papists and prelatical men 
ci-j' out against others ; they say, there ai'e such divi- 
sions among them, none of them can agree, there is 
more uniformity and unity with us than with them. 
Jlark these two answers to that. 

1. They have little cause to boast of theu' unity, if 
we consider all ; for though many thousands of Clu'is- 
tians, and huncb'eds of faithful, painful, and conscien- 
tious ministers of God, (that did more service to God 
and his chui'ch than ever they will do,) be banished out 
of their country, and put upon miserable extremities, 
and endure sore afflictions for their conscience' sake, 
this is no breach of unity with them. 

2. But suppose by then- power they could have 
brought all to a uniformity in their own inventions 
and innovations, as they desu'ed. '\^^lat then ? they 
have little cause to boast of that unity. Certainly, there 
the remedy 'vvoidd have been worse than the cUsease, 
and work a greater mischief. Their boasting of unity 
would have been, as if a couple of prisoners chained to 
a block, and kept close all day, should see others go 
abroad in tlie streets at a distance, and should cry 
out to them. Why do you not take example by us ? you 
keep at a distance one from another ; see, we keep close 
together from morning to night : pray take example by 
us, and do not go so distant one fi'om another. Would 
not such an argument be most ridiculous ? 'WTiat is 
the reason of their union, but their chain ? Certainly, 
there is the same argimient in pleatbng for that uni- 
formity which they force upon men by such a kind of 
antichristian chain. What breach of unity is it if, in a 
broad street, one goes a little distant from another? and 
so what breach is it if, in matters of indiftcrence, one 
take one way and another another ? It is the corrupt 
and perverse spii'its of men that think they cannot have 
unity, and yet have things as Christ has left them. 
Christ needs no such things to cause unity in his church, 
the spii'it of his people, which loves truth and peace, is 
enough to cause the unity he would have. And oh that 
this gathering together were come, of all churches to 
be made one, and to be under one head ! for abundance 
of mischief is done now among the churches, and in the * 
world, by the spirit of division and dissension. The 
devil delights (especially that devil that is the spirit of 
division) to live in the region of the church. There are 
some devils especially that are spirits of pride, as the 
dumb devil, and some of dissension, and some of one 
kind, and some of another. Cajetan remarks upon 
Mark v. 8, 9, where our Saviour t'hrist cast the devils 
out of the possessed man, they besought him that he 
would let them enter into the swine, and that he wotdd 
not send them out of that region ; because, saith he, 
they have several regions where they most haunt, and 
they that are in such a region are loth to be put out of 
it, but would fain keep theii' ])lace. "V^Tiether that be 
so or no we will not say, but this we say, that if there 
be any region m the world which the unclean spu'it of 
division loves, and is loth to be cast out, it is the region 
of the church, for there he does the greatest mischief. 
But Chi'ist has a time to cast this unclean spirit out of 
the region of the church so eflectually, that he never 
shall retui'n again. 

This point, as we meet with it so fitly, and is so fully 
agreeable to the necessity of oiu- times, I cannot tell, 
thougli I go a httle beyond the ordinal-)' way of expo- 
sitions, how to get away from it. 



38 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



This union of the church is that which wiU be the 
stability of it. You Iiave an admiiable place for this, 
Isa. xxxiii. 20, " Thine eyes shall sec Jerusalem a quiet 
habitation." Oh that our eyes might be blessed to be- 
hold Jerusalem a quiet habitation ! then we should be 
willing with old Simeon to say, " Lord, now lettest 
thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have 
seen thy salvation." Mark then what follows : " a quiet 
habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down ; 
not one of the stakes tlicrcof shall ever be removed, 
neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But 
there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad 
rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with 
oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby." The 
■cingdoms of the world, though they seem to be built 
upon mountains, yet God will toss them up and down, 
and they shall come to nothuig ; but the chm-ch, when 
it is made a quiet habitation, though it be bat a taber- 
nacle and set upon stakes, yet this tabernacle shall not 
be taken down, nor one of the stakes thereof ever re- 
moved ; though it be tied by hnes, yet not a cord 
thereof shall be broken. Yea, in this the glorj' of the 
church consists, for when it is a quiet habitation, the 
glorj' of God shall be there, God shall dwell among 
them as a glorious God. No church was more honour- 
able than the chiu'ch of Pliiladelphia, for that is the 
chm'ch the adversaries must come and bow before. Rev. 
iii. 9, and that church carries brotherly love in its very 
name, for so it signifies. Cant. \i. 9, " My dove, my 
imdefiled is but one, the only one of her mother." 
AMiat follows ? " The daughters saw her and blessed 
her ; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they 
pi-aiseil her." '\\Tien Christ's dove and undefiled comes 
once to be but one, the daughters shall see her and 
bless her. In Isa. xi. 13, you have a promise of Judah 
and Epliraim's joining together. Mark what follows, 
chap. xii. 1, " And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, 
I will praise thee." Observe, " in that day." And 
again, ver. 4, " And in that day shall ye say. Praise the 
Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the 
people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing 
tmto the Lord ; for he hath done excellent tilings : this 
is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou in- 
Iiabitant of Zion." God indeed does excellent things, 
when he makes Ephraim and Judah to be one. There- 
fore saith the apostle, 1 Cor. xii. 31, " Yet show I unto 
you a more excellent way." What is that way ? In 
the chapter following, he wi-ites his commendation of 
love, the liighest commendation of any grace found in 
the book of God ; that is the more excellent wav. In 
Cant. iii. 9, the church is comjiared to the chariot of 
Solomon : " The pillars thereof of silver, the bottom 
thereof of gold, the coveruig of it of jiurple, and the 
midst thereof being paved with love." Then the church 
rides in tj-iumph m her chariot, when tliere is miich 
love and peace in tlic midst of it. 

Itis true, my brethren, considering the weakness and 
peevishness of the spirits, yea, of good men as well as 
evil, we may wonder however this shall come to pass : 
Is it possible that this shall ever be so ? Indeed it must 
be a mighty work of God to do it. AVe must not tliiiik 
1o effect it by struggling one with another, and to say, 
We will make them be at ])cace and unity, or they shall 
smart for it, and we wDl pull them together by law. 
This will not do it ; but we must look up to God for tlie 
r.ccomplishing of this great thing. Jcr. xxxiii. 3, " Thus 
saith the Lord, Call unto me and I will answer thee, 
and show thee great and mighty things wlilch thou 
luiowest not." Miiat are those great and mighty things 
that we must call upon God for.' Amongst others, this 
is a prmciijal one, ver. 7, " And I will cause the caj)- 
tivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, 
and -nill build them as at the first," and so make them 
both one. And then, ver. 9, " It shall be to me a name 



of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of 
the earth, when they shall hear all the good that I do 
unto them." Mark, joy, praise, honom-, yea, a name of 
joy, jjraise, honour, follows upon this blessed imion, and 
that before all the nations of the earth. For the ac- 
comphshmg of tliis, " come. Lord Jesus, come quickly ! " 

Y'^et let us fiirther observe the difference between the 
scattering of the wicked, and the scattering of the 
saints. Judah and Israel were scattered, but now they 
shall be gathered together. 

06*. 1. There is a great deal of difference between 
the scattering of the saints, and the scattering of the 
wicked. When God scatters the saints, he scatters 
them that they may be gathered : when he scatters the 
^vicked, he scatters them that he may destroy them. 
Psal. Ixviii. 1, " Let God arise, let his enemies be scat- 
tered." How scattered ? " As smoke is driven away, 
so drive them away." Smoke, you know, is so chiven 
away and scattered, that it comes to nothing. Psal. 
cxliv. 6, " Cast forth lightning and scatter tliem, shoot 
out thine arrows and destroy them." This is the scat- 
tering of the wicked. But as for the saints, they may 
be scattered, but it is to spread abroad the gospel by 
them in the world. Acts viii. 4, " They that were scat- 
tered abroad" (by reason of the persecution of Said) 
" went everv where preacliing the word." But v\ ithin 
awliile our God shall come, and all his saints vdih him, 
and he \n\l gather together the outcasts of Israel with 
abundance of mercy. Micah iv. 6, " In that day, saith 
the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will 
gather her that is driven out, and her that I have af- 
flicted." Isa. Uv. 7, " For a small moment have I for- 
saken thee, but with great mercies wiU I gather thee." 
God will gather his people with great mercies. God 
has fulfilled this in a great part in our eyes even this 
day. I\Iany of those who were driven out of their 
places and countrv', those that were afflicted, and those 
the land could not bear, God has gathered together 
these outcasts of Israel. Let every one take heed how 
he hinders this work of the Lord, and how he adds af- 
fliction to those that have been afflicted. • 

Obs. 2. The more the gospel prevails, the more peace 
there shall be. They shall " be gathered together ;" 
that is, in the time of the gospel, when tliat shall pre- 
vail, then Judah and Israel shall be gathered together. 

The gospel is not the cause of divisions, of seditions, 
of factions. No ; it is a gospel of peace, the Prince of 
it is a Prince of peace, the embassage of it is an embas- 
sage of peace. It is next to blasphemy, if not blas- 
])hemy itself, to say that since the preacliing and pro- 
fession of the gospel we have had no peace, but it causes 
factions and divisions among the people. People who 
ai'C in the dark sit still and quiet together, as it is said 
of the Egv])tians, when they were m the dark for tliose 
three days together, they stiiTcd not from their seats, 
there was no noise among them; shall the light be 
blamed, because afterward, when it came, cveiy one 
stirred and went, one one way, and another another ? 
So when we were m gross darkness, we saw^ notliing, 
we knew nothing ; now light begins to break forth, and 
one searches after one truth, and another after another, 
and vet we cannot attain to ])crfection ; shall we accuse 
the light for tliis ? Y'ea, but we see too apparently that 
those who seem the strictest of all, that would worship 
God (as they say) in the purest manner m his ordi- 
nances ; yet there are woeful divisions and distractions 
even amongst them. How then is the gospel a gospel 
of peace ? 

Consider this one reason in answer to this, to satisfy 
your consciences, Uiat tlic gospel may not be blamed, for 
indeed wlierc the gospel comes there is promised peace. 
Because so long as we arc here we are partly flesn and 
))artly sjiirit. Those who have the gospel prevail with 
their consciences, cannot move any fui-ther than they 



Vee. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



39 



can see light for, and their consciences will give them 
leave. But other men have more liberty, they quarrel 
not one with another ; why ? because they have wide, 
elastic consciences : having ends of their own, they 
will }-ield to any thing to attain those ends ; so that 
here they have this advantage, that if they see conten- 
tion will bring them more trouble than they conceive 
tlie thing is worth, they wUl condescend, though it be 
against the light of conscience ; wliilst others upon whom 
the light of the gospel has prevailed, have that bond 
upon conscience, that though aU the world should diifer 
fi-om them, they must be content to lie down and suffer; 
they cannot yield; though you woidd give them aU the 
world, they cannot go against that Hght. They may 
search, and it may trouble them that their apprehen- 
sions of tilings should be different fi-om the apprehen- 
sions of theii- brethi-en, and that they cannot jield to 
that to which their bretlu-en jield. It is true they 
should be humbled, and suspect then- hearts, and look 
to themselves, and fall down before God and pray, and 
use aU means for ad^^ce and comisel, and consider of 
things again and again. But suppose they have done 
all tills, and yet the Lord does not reveal to them any 
further light, though it be a sad ailiiction to them, yet 
they must lie down under it, for they camiot Afield; one 
known truth is more to them than all the world ; there- 
fore, unless others will bear with them in their infii'm- 
ity, they ■will suffer whatever men will lay upon them. 

The world calls this obstinacy, and stiffness, and being 
wedded to then- o\^-n opinion ; but they luio-\r it is other- 
wise, and can appeal to God and say. Lord, thou know- 
est what a sad affliction it is unto me, that I cannot see 
what my brother sees, and that I cannot yield to what 
my brother yields : thou hast hid it fi-om me : I will 
wait upon thee tiU thou shalt reveal it ; and in the mean 
time I will be quiet, and not make distm-bance in the 
places where I come, but pray, pray, pray for light, and 
that thou wouldst incline the heart of my brethi-en 
unto me, that they may not have hard thoughts of me. 
Do but thus, thou shalt have peace with God, and in 
tliine own heart. 

If we would have light let into us, we must so prize 
it, as to be willing that in the discussion of truths there 
should be some hazard of differences in lesser things. If 
a man have a house closed on every side with a thick 
brick wall, and he is so desirous to keep his house safe 
and strong, that he will rather aU Ms days sit in the 
dark, than be at the ti-oublc to have a hole digged or 
a few bricks broken to let in any light, we shoidd accuse 
that man of folly. It is true, we must not be so de- 
sirous of light, as to break so much of the waU as to 
endanger the house, we must keep that safe ; but yet 
it is difficult to let in light without taking away some 
bricks, and occasioning some trouble. A child, when 
he sees the workman with his tools breaking the waU, 
and making a deal of rubbish, thinks he is pidling 
down the house ; but a wise man knows it is but a little 
trouble for the present, to let in light that shall be for 
the beauty of the house afterward. 

Agi-eemcnt in error is far worse than division for the 

sake of truth. Better to be divided from men that are 

erroneous, than to agree with them in the ways of 

ubisivcfoiderepi- theu' en'or. A company gathered with- 

cis,sWeobser™,iia Qut the coveuaut of peacc, without the 

etreg.mintAcepha-vObservance 01 Gods law, IS a headless 

^gata fafririon multitude, says BernaKl, it has much of 

Ssio.'BSy^m"' Babylon, but" little of Jerusalem. 

^licumS'hir O**- '^- ^'^ ^°"'i ^5 '"i"}' are converted to 

bet. Bern s<.r, 5. do the faith, thev are of a gathering disposi- 

tion. ihey desu-e to gather to the saints 

immediately. Every child of God is a gatherer; as 

Solomon is called EcclesiastPs, in the Greek, but the 

p-,^., Hebrew wor<l is mterpreted by some, a 

■' '■ soul gathered, because it is in "the femi- 



nine gender. None in the world love good fellowship 
so much as the saints of God. They fly as doves to 
their -n-indows, and doves you know fly in great flocks, 
thousands together. The more spii'itual any one is, of 
the more joining and uniting nature he is. Thousands 
of beams of the sun will meet together in one, better 
than the beams of a candle. In the apostles' times, 
when men were converted, it is said, they " were added 
to the church," they gathered presently. So, in Isa. 
Ixvi. 20, it is obsei-vable : " They shall bring all your 
brcthi-en for an offering unto the Lord out of all na- 
tions upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters." How 
comes tliis ? Those who dweU a great way off shall not 
make that their excuse for not joining the people of 
God, It is a great journey ; no, but there are horses to 
be got. But it may be some cannot ride ? Then get 
chariots. But some, perhaps, are so weak that they can 
neither ride on horses nor in chariots. Then they will 
get Ktters; and litters you know are to eaiTy weak and 
sick persons. This shows the intention of spu'it in the 
people of God to be gathered to the chui-ch, either to 
be carried on horses, or in chariots, or in litters, one 
way or other they will come and join themselves to the 
people of God. For there is the presence of Clirist, 
and the protection of Christ, and the commmiication 
of Christ in tlieii- union and communion, and "'WTiere- 
soever the body is, thither wiU the eagles be gathered 
together." Oh they love a life to be going towards 
Zion, gathering one to another, as in Psal. Ixxxiv. 7, 
" They go fi-om strength to sti-ength, every one of them 
in Zion appeareth before God." " From strength to 
sti-ength," that is, thus : from one place of the country 
perhaps there come half a score, or twenty, to go to- 
ward Zion, and perhaps before they come to such a 
to^\ll or tm-ning they meet with half a score more, and 
so they gi-ow stronger ; when they are a mile or two 
farther perhaps they meet with another town coming, 
and they join presently and are stronger ; and so they 
go fi-om strength to strength comfortably together till 
they come before God in Zion. 

" They shall appohit themselves one head." Although 
they are multitudes, and are as the sand of the sea, 
yet this is no great matter, unless they come under one 
head, and a right head too. ^Multitudes are not a suf- 
ficient ai-gument of truth. A multitude coming under 
one Head, under Christ as one Head, they are the true 
church. The papists give universality as the mark of 
the church, that there are so many papists m the world. 

But, 1. We must not regard how many the people 
are, but under what head they are : they shall be ga- 
thered under one head: look to the head they foUow; 
for St. Paul teUs us, that there shall be an apostacy 
before the revelation of that man of sin, 2 Thess. ii. 3. 
And Rev. xiii. 3, " All the world wondered after the 
beast : " and ver. 2, " The di-agon gave him his power, 
and liis seat, and great authority-:" and Rev. xvii. 1, 
"The great whore that sitteth upon many waters;" 
and, ver. 15, these " many waters" are interpreted to be 
" peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." 
The whore sits upon them, that is, uses them \-ilely and 
basely ; sits upon the very consciences of them in a 
base manner. And who does she sit upon ? Upon 
peoples and midtitudes. It is not an argument then 
of a trulB chuich, though they are multitudes, though 
they are as the sand of the sea, though they are gathered 
together, for they must be gathered under one head, 
under Chiist. 

2. Neither is unity a suflScient argiunent of the verity 
of the chiu-ch. They shall be gathered together, they 
shall be joined together in one way, with one consent; 
but if it be not under one head, they are like Simeon 
and Levi, brethren m iniquity. It is not enough that 
we are one, unless we are one in Clirist ; and tnkt is a 
blessed union : for there shall be much unity under an- 



40 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



tichrist. " These have one mind, and they shall give 
their power and strength unto the beast," Rev. xvii. 
13. And chap, xviii. 5, " her sins have reached unto 
heaven." Tlieir sins cleave together, and so get up to 
heaven. Here is a union of persons, and a union of 
sins amongst them. The Turks have as little dissension 
in their religion as any ; they are all united in one. 
But well may that garment have no seam, that has no 
shape. Look at Psal. L\.\xiii. 5, " They have consulted 
together with one consent, they are confederate against 
thee." There are two or three things exceedingly ob- 
servable in this psalm about the union of the wicked : 
First you have ten countries join together against the 
church ; ver. G — S, " The tabernacles of Edom, and the 
Ishmaelites ; of Moab, and the Hagarenes ; Gcbal, and 
Amnion, and Amalek; the PhiUstines with the in- 
habitants of TjTe ; Assur also is joined with them : 
they have holpen the chikb'en of Lot." And it was 
not' by accident that they joined, but in a deliberate 
way, " they consulted together," and not only consulted 
together, but consulted together " with one consent," 
or heartily, for nn' sS which is translated there, with 
one consent, signifies, with heai't together, their very 
heart was in the consultation ; but mark, it was " against 
thy liidden ones," so ver. 3. Let them consult together, 
let ten of them consult together, and consult with their 
hearts, yet the saints are God's hidden ones. " They 
shall siu:ely gather together, but not by me : whosoever 
shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy 
sake," Isa. liv. 15. My brethren, peace, though we 
should all desire it, yet not at too costly a price ; peace 
is too chargeable when it costs us the loss of any truth. 
Take heed of any such costly peace : " Though hand 
join in hand " together in wickedness, yet they " shall 
not be unpunished." Prov. xvi. 5. And Nahum i. 10, 
" AViule they are folded together as thorns, they shall 
be devoured as stubble fully thy." Wicked men are 
as thorns to prick the people of God, yea, they are 
thorns folded together, there is a peace amongst them : 
yet, though they be folded together, they shall be de- 
voured, they shall be devoured even in their folding. 
The division that comes by truth is better than the 
union that comes by error. It is a notable speech of 
Luther, Rather than any thing should 
TCgiTcl^rliri, a "" fall of the kingdom of Clu-ist and his 
fiat^Tiium'pnx, glor>', Ict uot Only peace go, but let heaven 
Luther"'" '' """' ^^^ earth go too : we should love peace, 
yet peace and truth better. 

AATiat is this " head ? " 

I find both the Jews and divers of the ancients. 
Theodoret, C'jtLI, and others, would make this head to 
be Zerubbabcl, and only to have reference to the return 
of the people from their Babylonish cajjtivity. But 
this certainly cannot be, for these two reasons, to name 
no more. 

First, Because both Israel and Judah are here to 
join together and to return out of the land : there it 
was Judah, and not the ten tribes, tliat were delivered 
from their ca])tivity. 

Secondly, Compare this scripture with others, and 
we shall find that Zcrubliabel cannot be meant. In 
Ezek xxxiv. and xxxvii., wc have expressions such as 
plainly appear that they are but comments upon this 
text of Hosea (for Ezekiel pro])hesied after Hosea) : 
and especially in the 3Tth chapter we have a prophecy 
of the union of all the tribes together. Judah and Israel ; 
and ver. 24, " David my servant shall be king over 
them ;" and ver. 25, " My servant David shall be 
their prince for ever." The one head which they shall 
have when they come together shall be David. And 
so in chap, xxxiv. 23, "I will set one shepherd over 
them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David ;" 
and ver. 24. " I the Lord will be their God, and my 
servant David a prince among them." That head then 



that they shall have shall be David, not Zerubbabel. 
Now by Da^'id we are to imderstand Christ clearly, 
for in other places, as in Isa. Iv. 3, " I will make an 
everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies 
of David," they can only be meant of the sure mercies 
of Christ ; and so it is interpreted by St. Paul, Acts 
xiii. 34. Therefore, then, we conclude certainly this is 
meant of Christ ; thev shall appoint Christ to be their 
Head. 

This is then the first great point in this text, a head- 
point of divinity indeed, that Jesus Christ is the 
Head of the church. And, secondly, he shall be so 
appointed. 

Obs. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, and 
shall appear so hereafter, further than now he doth. 

The church is not a headless multitude, it is a com- 
munity of saints who have a glorious Head. That body 
cannot be contemptible that has a Head so honoiu'able. 
It is he that is the brightness of his Father's glorj-, in 
whom " all fulness dwells," yea, " the fulness of the 
Godhead bodily." It is he by whom all things consist, 
that is the beginning of all things. It is he that is 
the Head of angels themselves : " Ye are complete in 
him, which is the Head of all principality and power,"' 
Col. ii. 10. 

1. He is the Head of angels; how? 

(1.) Because the angels are joined together with the 
chiu-ch, and are part of the church triumphant, and so 
Christ is their Head. 

(2.) Yea, the angels have influence from him. That 
gi'ace which they have from God, which is beyond 
naturals, is fi'om Christ, for Christ is canalii- ^raliee, the 
channel of grace from God. Their estabhshment in 
theh- condition is from Chi-ist, for it is not due to them 
in a natural way ; yea, the gloi-y they shall have in join- 
ing with the church is above that which is due to their 
natural state, and all that is fi-om Christ. 

2. He is the Head of all men ; '• the Head of everv' 
man is Christ," 1 Cor. xi. 3. " The Head of every man ;" 
how ? "What ! are all men in the woxdd the body of 
Christ ? if he be the Head, then it seems they are all 
the members. No, though Christ be the Head of angels, 
yet angels are not said to be members of him ; yea, in 
the same place of the Corinthians, God is said to be the 
head of Christ, and yet Christ is not a member of God. 
So that he may be the Head of every man, and yet every 
man not a member of Christ. He is the Head of every 
•man in regard of that superiority that Christ has over 
ever)' man, and some kind of influence e^•en from 
Christ comes to ever)- man ; he enlighteneth every 
man that eometh ijito the world. 

3. Yea, he that is the Head of his church, is the 
Head of all things ; " God hath given him to be the 
Head over all things to the chm-ch," Eph. i. 22. Mark 
it, it is a most admirable place, that Christ is " the 
Head of all things." But how ? " To the chmxh," for 
the sake of the church, as aiming at the good of the 
church especially. 

(1.) It is the honour of the church to have such a 
Head, who is the brightness of his Father's gloi-y, the 
Head of angels, the Head of every man, the Head of 
all things for the good of his church. 

(2.) He is their Head because he is their strength. 
Christ is the Head of the church in regard of the 
strength that the church has by him. An oppressed 
multitude cannot help itself if they have no head, but 
if God shall please to give them strength and a head, 
and that in a legal Avay, if they have hearts they may 
deliver themselves from oppression, this God has done 
for us ; if therefore Cod docs not vote us to misery and 
slavery, if we be not a 'leople given up of God to ruin, 
we may have help. Tl.^ church is a communion of 
saints op])ressed here in tht world ; their strength is in 
heaven, in their Head, who h. s received all power to 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



exercise it for them ; to him they cleave, for him they 
bless God, even the Father, because lie is theu- strength. 

(3.) He is then- Head, because the saints hold all 
upon Chi-ist ; aU that they have they hold in Capile, as 
the best tenure of all. The tenure upon which the 
saints hold all their comfort, all theii- good in this 
world, is in another way than other men hold it : other 
men have what they have through the bounty and pa- 
tience of God ; but the saints hold all ?>( Capi/e, in 
their Head, in Chi-ist, in the right they have in him. 

(4.) He is their Head, because their safety is in him: 
though all the members of the church be under water, 
yet all is safe when the head is above water ; our Head 
Lutherus apud iiios is in heavcn. Luther said he was even 
cSufre^atet <>s a devQ to some, they so violently ac- 
»'"'«■ cused him ; but let Chnst live and reign. 

Christ is above, the head is above water. 

(5.) He is their Head in regard of his compassion to 
his church and people. The meanest member here, if 
wronged, Christ is sensible of it. ^\^len but the toe is 
trodden upon, the head cries. Why do you hurt me ? 
Chi'ist the Head cries, " Saul, Saul, why persecutest 
thou me?" And observe, the meaner and the poorer 
the members of Chi'ist are here in the church, the more 
is Christ sensible of their soiTOWs and afflictions, and 
the more will he appear for them, when he shall appear 
a Head yet more gloriously than ever he has done. 
Ezek. xxxiv. 16 — 26, is very notable. You find there, 
Christ is said to be " one shepherd" to his people, and 
" a prince" to them ; but mark what is promised. That 
he will " bring again that which was driven away, and 
will bind up that wliich was broken, and will strengthen 
that which was sick : but he will destroy the fat and 
the strong, and feed them with judgment. — And he will 
judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and 
the he-goats. — He will judge between the fat cattle and 
the lean cattle ; because ye have thrust with side and 
with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your 
horns, till ye have scattered them abroad." "VVlien 
Christ shall appear, he will not show such respect to 
the brave, stout, joUy spirits of those that were in the 
church, who thought to cany all before them with 
force. Xo ; he will look to the poor of the flock ; and 
those that thrust with the side, and pushed with the 
horns, and scattered the poor and the lean, they shall 
be judged. 

Sly brethren, have you not known times when stout- 
hearted and cruel men have thrust with the side, and 
pushed with the horn, and scattered up and down in 
divers countries, thousands of weak and tender-con- 
scienced Clu'istians ? Well, but here is a promise, that 
Christ our Head will come, and he shall be one Shep- 
herd, and he shall show his tender afl'ection toward the 
poor afflicted of the flock, he shall take away fi'om the 
land the evil beasts, as you have it there in the 2.3th 
verse. He is the Head in regard of his compassion. 

(6.) Chi'ist is their Head in regard of guidance and 
direction. The body is to be moved and guided by the 
head ; so aU truths, all doctrines of religion, must hold 
on Christ. Col. ii. 19, the apostle, rebuking worship- 
ping of angels and other false opinions, saith, that 
they did not hold the head. All doctrines in the 
church therefore must hold the Head, and must not be 
obti-uded upon the chiu'ch, but as they come from the 
Head, and hold there. 

(7.) And that principally, and upon which we must 
stay a while, which is most of all intended in the text, 
Christ is their Head in regai'd of his rule and govern- 
ment ; and therefore he that is called " one head" here, 
is called " a prince " in those two forenamed chapters, 
Ezek. xxxiv. and xxxvii. It would spend time need- 
lessly, to show you in Scripture how governors are call- 
ed heads, that I suppose you are all acquainted with. 
This, therefore, is the main thing that we are now to 



open, how Chi'ist is the Head of the cnurch in regard 
of his rule and government. Tliere are many things of 
importance in this point. I shall desire to decline, what 
possibly I may, all things that ai'e controversial, espe- 
cially with OUT' brethi'en, and only speak of what I think 
for the present you are fit to bear. 

There are four things, especially of the government 
of Chi'ist in his cliui'ch, for which he is to be accounted 
the Head. 

1. AU oflices and officers in the church hold upon 
Chi'ist, and are from him as from the Head. As in a 
civil body, the offices of a civil state hold of the king, 
hold upon him in a legal way ; the power of the king 
being regular, it regulates all power in aU other officers ; 
that which is done, is done in the name of the king. 
So aU the officers and oflices in the chui'ch are in the 
name of Chi'ist, they all hold on liim. There can be 
no officer nor offices in the church, but such as Chi'ist 
himself has appointed, for they must be by institution. 
I beseech you observe the difference between officers 
in a civil state, and officers in a church. 

(1.) A civil state, because it reaches only to the out- 
ward man, has liberty to appoint what officers it please, 
according to the rules of prudence and justice; and 
more or less, according to the necessity of the country 
and place. But it is not so in the church, there we 
have no liberty to go accorcUng to the rules of prudence, 
merely to erect any office because we think it may 
make for the good and peace of the church. I say, 
therefore, to erect any new office not established before 
in the word, we have no liberty, we cannot do it, we 
are too bold if we attempt it, for such an office wiU not 
hold of the Head. In the state, none can erect new 
offices, new courts, but by the supreme legislative 
power ; so in the church, none can erect new offices, 
but only from the Head. In the civil state, God leaves 
a great deal of hberty ; there may be change of officers,, 
those that are good now, perhaps, may seem not so fit 
afterwards, and those in one country may not be so fit 
for another. But for the officers of the church, they 
must be aU the same in all places, where they can be- 
had, and no more than those appointed by Christ. 

(2.) The civil state may limit their officers as they 
think fit. They may choose one into an office, he shall 
have power but in so many things ; this shall be the 
object of his power, when he is come hither there he 
shaU stop ; though he that was before him had more 
power, yet he that comes after him may not have that 
power, the civU state may limit that, if it see fit. But 
in the church state it cannot be so ; and upon this 
gi'ound, because they hold upon tlie Head. Indeed the 
men that beai' any office in the church, are designed to 
it by the chui'ch, but they do not hold of the church, 
they hold of Christ the Head ; therefore it is not in the 
power of the church to limit them being in it, but they 
must go to the word, for their office once taken upon 
them, whether it be the office of teachers or of pastors, 
they cannot then be limited by any power, but what 
the word saith is the office of a teacher or of a pastor : 
they cannot have the rule so propounded to them, as. 
You shall go but thus far, and you shaU do so much of 
the office of a teacher and no more ; but when they are 
once ui, they are in without any limitation of the power 
of their office ; it is only from Christ the Head. 

(3.) In a civil state there may be alteration, raising 
the cUgnity of the office, and making it lower than be- 
fore ; but in the church no such thing, the officers of 
the church are always the same, no raising, no depress- 
ing ; why ? because they hold upon the Head. Others 
depend upon man's prudence, but these are institutions 
by Chi'ist, and hold of the Head. 

2. Chi'ist is the Head in regard of rule, because aU 
ordinances, laws, and institutions hold upon him. It 
is not in the liberty of man to erect any new spiritual 



42 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



CUAT. I. 



ordinance in the church, no nor to make spuitual laws 
in the church, for the government of the spirits of men. 
No new ordinance, no new institution, can be in the 
church. Li the civil state there may be thousands of 
new institutions. 

I call that an institution that has an efficacy in it 
for attauiing such an end by virtue of the institution, 
not by virtue of any natui'alness in the thing. As for 
example, to instance in Divine institutions : The sacra- 
ment is an mstitution, and therefore there is a virtue, 
a spiritual efficacy, to be expected from that and by 
that, through the strength of the institution, more than 
it has in it in any natural way. So iii preaching the 
word, and ecclesiastical censures, there is more to be 
expected, more efficacy to work upon tlie soul, for the 
spu-itual man, by vu-tue of the institution, than there 
is in the natm-al tilings that are done there. So for 
laws : Chi'ist makes a law in the church, it being an 
institution, there is to be expected a spmtual efficacy 
and vu-tue to go with that thing which C'lu-ist com- 
mands, beyond what it had before it was commanded. 
Now then, in this way, no man in the world can make 
any chm-ch institution, no, nor law for the church, so 
as to appoint any thing, to have any s])ii'itual efficacy 
by vii'tue of that institution, beyond what it has in a 
natural way. We must take heed of being so bold, 
that when Cluist has made an institution, an ordinance, 
and revealed it to us, for us to tliink we may imitate 
Christ, and make another ordinance, or another insti- 
tution, like that ; because Chtist has done so, because 
we find such a thing in the word, therefore we may do 
so too. No, this is too bold, this is to set our post by 
God's post, for which the Lord charged the people, 
Ezek. xliii. S. In Isa. xxxiii. 22, it is said, " The Lord 
is our judge, the Lord b our lawgiver, the Lord is oiu 
king " in this thing. 

We are to consider that there are some things be- 
longing to the chm-ch (I beseech you observe) com- 
mon with all other societies ; and therefore they have 
that which belongs to them, natural and civil, concern- 
ing which laws may be made : there the power of man 
may come in, there the rule of prudence may order 
things. Those things, I say, that belong to the chm'ch, 
that yet are not so peculiarly the chm'ch's, but belong 
to other societies, there man's reason may come m. As 
for instance : First, a church is a spiritual society and 
community, they must meet fogetlier, and if they do 
meet, they must meet in some place : this is common 
to all societies in the world, a they will meet, they 
must meet in a place. Yea, Secondly, if they meet in 
a place, this place must be determined where it shall 
be. Tills also is common to all societies. Thirdly, 
this likewise is common to them with all other societies, 
that what they tlo in that place, must be done decently 
and in order. As if many things are to be done, one 
thing must be before another, one thmg must not ex- 
clude another ; if they come together, they must come 
together as befitting men in a decent way. Therefore 
that rale of the apostle, " Let all things be done de- 
cently and in order," is not properly an histitution, it 
is nothing but the dictate of right reason ; so that if we 
had never found such a maxim in Scri])turc, it had been 
a ti'uth that we were bound in conscience to observe. 
Again, if men will come and meet together, it is natu- 
ral and common to all societies, that they should be 
decent in their garments and otherwise. 

But then vou will say, AVhen is it an institution [jro- 
per only to Christ, with which none must meddle ? 

Thus", when any man shall by virtue of any law, or 
impo'^ition, put more efficacy in an institution for tlie 
worship of God, than God or nature has done, this we 
call sinful. 

As for instance, (1.) Suppose we instance only gar- 
ments. That all who meet together in Clmstian as- 



semblies, ministers and others, should meet in decent 
garments, the light of nature tells us ; and there may 
be law, if men -will be refi-actory, to compel them so to 
meet. But now, if we say, such a garment shall be 
decent for God's worship because it is appointed, where- 
as if it were not appointed, it would not be decent at 
all ; then I say all the decency does not depend upon 
what God has put into it, or what is natural to it, but 
merely upon the institution of man. For some kind 
of gaiTuents, if men were left to their freedom, and 
there were no institution, would not be decent to wear; 
if it would not be decent, then it seems it is the insti- 
tution that puts all honom' upon them, and more than 
nature, or the God of nature, has put upon them. 

2. There is more put upon a thing, than nature liath 
put into it, when there shall be expected, by virtue of 
an institution, some kind of spiritual efficacy to work 
upon the soul ; then it is sinful. As thus, when that 
creatm-e, by vii-tue of the institution and appointment, 
shall be made, esteemed, or accounted more effectual 
to stir up my mind, or to signify such a thing, to piuity 
or holiness, than another creature that has as much in 
it naturally to signify the same tiling, and to stir up 
my mind ; this is to imitate God's institution, which is 
too much boldness in any man. 

As, when God appoints a thing in his church, a 
ceremony or the like, he -nill take something that has 
a resemblance, to put men in mind of such a holy thing, 
that has some kind of metaphor or likeness in it. But 
when God has taken this creature and sepaiated it 
from others, this creature must be expected to have 
more efficacy to signify' the tiling to my soul, and to 
stir up my soul to think of this holiness, than any 
creature in the world, not so appointed, though other 
creatines have as much in them naturally to do it. 
Tills is God's institution. Now man's institution, that 
comes near to God's, where there is a setting om- post 
by his post, is when man shall take one creature from 
thousands of others, and all those thousands have as 
much in them natm-ally, and put mto tlicni by God, to 
remind me of holiness, and to stu- up my heart ; but 
this creature shall be separated from the rest, and by 
vfrtue of an institution put upon it, there shall be ex- 
pected more efficacy in this to stir up my mind, and to 
thaw my heait nearer to God, than other creatm'es, 
that only do it in a natm-al way. This, I say, is in- 
trenching upon that which belongs to the government 

of Clu'LSt. 

Therefore I beseech you, my brethren, be not mis- 
taken ui this, because I know you are ordinarily led by 
that speech of the apostle, " Let all things be done de- 
cently and in order." Understand it aright : it is tnie 
we must do so, and it is a sin not to do tilings decently 
and in order, in the worship of God ; but this does not 
at all comitenance any institution of man, to diaw the 
heart nearer to God^ or God nearer to the heart, by 
virtue of man's separation of it from common use. 

I might instance other things, such as places : that 
tliere should be a convenient place for God's worship, 
the light of nature wdl tell us; but when any man 
shall set one place aside sepai-ated from another, and 
shall make the worship of God to be better, and have 
more efficacy to draw men nearer to God, or God 
nearer to men, than another place that has as much 
natural decency and fitness in it as that place ha.s ; then 
it has evil in it. 

By these few instances you may judge of all things, 
when they come to be institutions in God's woi-ship, 
and beyond the rule of the apostle, " Let all things be 
done decently and in order." Tliis is the second thing 
of Christ's government, that all ordinances, all laws in 
the church, must hold on him the Head. 

3. Those laws which Christ makes for the ordering 
and sovernment of his church, not onlv hold on him as 



<ER. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OP HOSEA. 



43 



the Head, but hare such a virtue and efficacy in them 
as coming from the Head, that they bind the con- 
sciences of men. Because they come from him who is 
the Head of the chiu-ch, they lay bonds upon con- 
sciences, and that primai-ily, and more efficaciously than 
any law of any man in the world can. Yea, they lay 
such a bond upon conscience, that though a thing bo 
commanded that has no other reason for the command 
but merely the will of Christ, and that we cannot see 
to what good the thing tends, Ijut merely because Christ 
TS-ill have it, yet we are bound to obey, yea, and that in 
secret ; yea, so far as the rule goes, we ai'e bound to do 
what is required by it, though we should suffer never so 
much prejudice to ourselves. Here is the binding 
power of CHn-ist in binding conscience. But no law of 
man can in this way bind conscience. 

But what will you say then to that text of Scriptm-e, 
which I suppose is in every one of your thoughts, and 
wotdd be ready in every one of yoiu' mouths if you 
were from the assembly, " Let every soul be subject 
unto the higher powers ; for there is no power but of 
God, the powers that be are ordained of God. '\\nioso- 
ever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordi- 
nance of God; and they that resist shall receive to 
themselves damnation," Rom. xiii. 1, 2. Yea, " ye 
must needs be subject, not only for -rn-ath, but also for 
conscience sake," ver. 5. This text seems to imply that 
the laws of men do bind the conscience ; and we find 
how tliis is urged by many, so that there is no institu- 
tion of man whatever, (except we can apparently show 
it is contrarj' to the word of God,) but they think by 
virtue of tliis text the consciences of men are boimd ; 
they do not submit to authority, they sin against theu' 
consciences. INIany men will jeer at those who are so 
conscientious in God's commands about those which 
seem to be but little things (and in themselves are little 
things) ; O, they dare not disobey because they are 
bound in conscience ; they will jeer at the scrupulosity 
of their consciences. But when it comes to man's com- 
mands, then they must obey in the least thing, whatever 
it be ; though in its owm nature it be never so indiffer- 
ent, yet tliey must obey for conscience sake. 

I shall desire, as fuUy and as clearly as I am able, to 
satisfy conscience in this very thing. To open therefore 
that scripture unto you : 

Fh-st, You must obsen-e, that every one is bound to 
be subject to the higher powers. JNIark, it is not to 
the man first, but it is to the power, " Let every soul 
be subject imto the higher powers," wherever this 
power lies. It is not to the will of a man that has 
power, but it is to the power of that man. Now the 
power, the authority, is that which man has in a legal 
way. That fii-st must be imderstood. 

Secondly, We must consider in what they must be 
subject. The laws of men are of three sorts. 

Some perhaps command that which is simply unlaw- 
ful, to which we all jield the Scriptm-e does not bind 
us to be subject ; there " we must obey God rather than 
man." Others command tilings that are lawful; and 
they are of two sorts. 

Either such thuigs as tend, by the rules of justice and 
prudence, to the good of the community of which we 
are members ; and there we are bound to obey for con- 
science sake. But stiU this is not according to that 
obedience we owe to Cluist our Head, it is secondary, 
not primary, because commanded by man : and then, 
because there exists a law of Cluist to us, to walk and 
live according to the rides of justice and prudence ; so 
we are bound for conscience in those things, but not 
primai-Uy, and so they cannot be said to bind conscience, 
as Cluist's laws do. 

There ara other things which are commanded bv 
man, (and that especially concerns our question,) and 
these are such things as indeed are neither here nor 



there for the pubUc good. The good of the community 
does not at aU depend upon them, and there is nothing 
in them but merely the satisfaction of the wiU of those 
who are in authority. Now here is the question, how- 
far those laws bmd men, and bind conscience ? Indeed 
many poor Clu-istians w-ho are conscientious have been 
extremely snared in these things. 

To that I answer, that though such things should be 
commanded to be done, yet if they be not done, (so 
that they'are not omitted out of contempt, nor so as to 
bring scandal upon the authority that enjouis them, 
and those that omit them patiently and willingly sub- 
mit to what pimishment the law of the land shall re- 
quu'e,) in such things a man's conscience shall not, nor 
need not, bind him over to answer before God, that he 
has sinned against that rule. 

You will say, How- do you prove that ? How doth it 
appeal- ? I will make it appear from the natui-e of sub' 
jection reqiiii-ed in the text, and fi-om reason. 

Fu-st, this text, Rom. xiii. 4, gives this as the ground 
why we are to be subject, " For he is the minister of 
God to thee for good." So that that which is the special 
ground of our subjection is, because they that are in 
place are ministers for oiu- good. But here is then an 
abuse of their power, if they command what does not 
tend to the good of the public, but merely the satisfac- 
tion of then- own rmiids. 

But suppose it to be an abuse, the text saith we must 
be subject. 

Mark, therefore, the text saith not, you must do the 
thing for conscience sake ; (I beseech you observe it ;) 
it saith, avdyKi) v-oruaaiadai, you must be subject, we 
must not resist, but be subject; the meaning is, w-e 
must be subordinate for conscience sake. Here is aU 
that is requii-ed, that I must be subordhiate and not 
resist, that is, if there be a thing commanded by 
authorit)-, though tliis authority should be abused, yet 
I may not resist, I must be subject. If then out of 
that reverent respect I have to authority, though I do 
not the thing, yet I do not forbear out Of contempt : it 
is a thing exceedingly prejudicial unto me, and it is not 
for the common good, but yet I am so careful that 
authorit)' sbaU not be despised that I will keep it 
secret, I will not refuse to do it so as shall be a scandal 
imto authority. And yet further, if authority shall so 
far urge upon me as to inflict punishment because I do 
it not, I will patiently bear it. Now when these tlu-ee 
thuigs are done, here is that subordination to authority 
which the apostle in that scriptiu-e reqmres. 

And the reason w-hy tliis of necessitj- must be grant- 
ed, is, because otherwise all that Chiistian liberty of 
which the Scripture so much speaks, may be utterly 
taken aw-ay in the practice, and be in the power of man 
wholly to "deprive us of it. This scriptm-e cannot be 
so understood, that all the liberty we have in things in 
their own natiu'e indifferent, should be so under the 
power of men, as that we for the practice, and for our 
consciences too, must be tied, that we cannot have 
liberty, no, not in secret. Certainly, that is against the 
judgment of aU orthodox divines of the Reformed 
churches. 

But it may be said, A^lio shall be judge whether 
things tend to the public good or not? will you take 
upon you to judge yourself? To that the answer is 
plaui, that indeed those who are ajipointed by law have 
the power to judge legaUy and authoritatively, to judge 
so as to bind others. "But every man has liberty so far 
as concerns his o-nii act to judge at his perO. And that 
a twofold peril. Fu-st at his peril, lest he, judging him- 
self, should sin against God in this, that he should judge 
that not good for the pubUc which indeed is good; 
that he should perhaps judge that to be of an indiffer- 
ent nature that justice and prudence require of him. 
Here he misjudges at his ]>cril, lie sins against the 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. 1. 



Lord, against the rules of justice and prudence, and 
endangers his own soul if he go amiss. Secondly, if he 
misjudge, it is at his peiil by the laws of men, as he is 
in danger then to suffer -what the laws of men shall in- 
flict upon him. And so submitting this way, his con- 
science may have some ease ; and yet no gap open at all 
to liberty, or any disturbance to any lawful authority. 
This is necessarj- for men to know, that they may un- 
derstand aright how to answer that question about laws 
binding of conscience. You hear it is the prerogative 
of Christ our Head, so to be our lawgiver, as to lay 
bonds upon conscience in sucli a manner as no man can 
do the like. That is the thii-d. 

4. Christ is the Head of the church, say some, even 
personally, so as to come and rule in the world in a 
glorious manner, personally. They think this may be 
interpreted, that Christ shall be a Head, that he shall 
come personally, and rule and govern things even in 
this world. As Christ in his own person exercised his 
priestly and prophetical offices, so they think in his 
own person he shall exercise his kingly power and 
office. AMiich opinion, because the further discussion 
of it I suppose generally you are not able to bear yet, 
therefore in modesty I will forbear ; and though out of 
modesty I shall for the pi-esent forbear, yet out of con- 
science I dare not altogether deny it, but so we will 
leave it, to see what ti-uth may be in it. We must ex- 
pect to have light let in by degrees. 

In these fom- things then we have the nale of Christ, 
three determined of, the fourth only propounded, about 
which Christ in time will show fui'ther light. Christ is 
then the Head. 

Now from all this there follows three consequences 
that are very useful, — That seeking after the right go- 
vernment of Christ in his church is not a light matter, 
it concerns the headship of Chi-ist. — By what has been 
said, we may learn to know what is properly antichris- 
tian, and what not; — and we shall come to have light 
how far the king may be said to be head of the church. 
In these things you will find it needful for conscience 
to be infomied, and I shall can-y them on too, I hope, 
with modesty, fulness, and safety. 

1. I say it follows from hence, that it is not a light 
matter to seek after the right government of Christ in 
liis church, it concerns the headship of Christ in a spe- 
cial manner. There are some other things in wliich 
the headship of Clrrist consists, which perhaps may be 
spoken of hereafter, but in this place especially that. 
In the primitive times, the greatest contention was 
about the doctrines of religion, what doctrines should 
hold upon Chi-ist and what not, and the people of God 
suffered most for contending about them. They would 
not receive a doctrine but what held on Christ ; and 
what was obti-udcd upon them, not holding upon Christ 
the Head, they rejected. And Luther upon this place 
saith how much the church in after-time suffered for 
this very thing ; What kind of dangers environed the 
church, and do environ it for acknowledging Christ to 
be the Head, these our times sufficiently testify. And 
further, because we preach Christ to" be the whole 
Head, therefore we are subject to anathemas, and to 
all kinds of punishment. Iia these latter times, it is 
likely that the great contention will be, ratlier about 
the headship of Christ in the point of his government, 
than in the other, the other bemg so clear unto us ; and 
the sufferings of the people of God will be so much the 
more gi-ievous, because this is accounted such a little 
thing, such a poor business. And rather, because this 
does not seem to be altogether so dearly re\ caled in 
the Scriiiture, as other doctrinal i)oints that hold u])on 
t'luist tlie Head. Christ has so disjjoscd of things, that 
this sliould not be so clearly revealed, because he in- 
tended to suffer antichrist to rise to his height: and it 
cannot be imagined, if the doctrine of Christ's govern- 



ment in his church had been clearly and demonstra- 
tively laid down, so as there could have been no gain- 
saying it, how it is possible for antichrist to have risen 
to the height he has attained. But the nearer the time 
comes for antichrist to fall, the more clearly this shall 
be revealed. 

2. By this we may leani, what to account antichris- 
tianism, and what not. For there are many amongst 
us, who cry out against every thing that displeases 
them, that it is antichristianism, and yet understand 
liut very little what antichristianism is. But by what 
has been said, you must know that antichristianism is 
not every error. It is true, in a large sense antichrist 
is as much as against Christ, and so evei-y sin, every 
eiTor, is against Christ, and is antichristianism, if you 
take it so. But you are to know the Scripture speaks 
of antichrist, and of antidmstianism, in a special ac- 
ceptation. ANTiat is that ? 

Antichristianism is that which shall oppose Ou'ist as 
a Head, and set up another headship ; this is the pecu- 
liarity of antichrist and antichi-istiauism. 

First, "Whoever shall obtrude any doctrine upon the 
church, to be beUeved by his own authority, he is guilty 
of antichristianism ; not whoever shall preach or hold 
an error in the church. But when any .shall presume 
to obu-ude upon the chui'ch any doctrine that holds 
upon human authority, to be urged by the authority 
of those that impose it, this, I say, is properly anti- 
christianism, for it opposes Chi-ist in his headship. 
Secondly, The intrusion of such offices and officers 
in the church, as merely belong to the spii'itual man, 
such as are properly church offices, that do not hold 
upon Christ the Head, but only hold upon men, this is 
antichristianism. Thirdly, The imposing of any ordi- 
nance, any new institutions, upon the chui'ch, belongs 
to antichi'istianism. Fourthly, The imjjosuig of laws 
so to bind conscience as the laws of Christ do, here is 
antichristianism. 

Not only because these things are directly against 
the headship of Christ, but because these things set up 
another head ; and so the word antichrist may signify- 
as well for one to be instead of Chi-ist (for so di/ri, the 
Greek, signifies, sometimes as wcU for, as against ; as, of 
his fulness we receive grace for gi-ace, it is x"?'" "*"■« 
xapiTog, grace for grace). So antichrist is one that shall 
claim to himself that headship which is proper unto 
Jesus Clu-ist, and not to be communicated to any fi-om 
Jesus Chi-ist. 

Now the apostle saith that there were many anti- 
christs in his time, and this mystery of iniquity did 
woi-k then ; but now it grows to a great height in that 
great antichrist of Rome, for (you know) in these four 
special things he is the antichrist : Because he obti-udes 
doctrines, articles of faith, upon the church by his own 
authority. He makes all offices of the church to hold 
on him ; and appoints laws, ordinances, and institutions 
likewise to hold on liim. He claims the binding of 
consciences, which is proper only to Jesus Christ. All 
those who hold thus on antichrist, and are his abettors 
in these things, are guilty of this great sin of anti- 
christianism. 

3. The third consequence. You say Christ is the 
Head, but you know the king is called the head of the 
church ; m what sense are we to understand that ? or 
how may we come to understand aright the oath of 
supremacy ? 

These things (my brethren) are necessary for inform- 
ation of conscience, and the burden lies upon us to 
make them out as clearly unto you as we can, that you 
may go along with the more freedom of spirit and 
conscience in your way, and yet give every one their 
riglit too. You are to know, therefore, that the oath 
of supremacy came into England thus : In the time of 
popery, the pope claimed to himself the headship of 



Ver. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



4.3 



the church : he being exc.uded, then came in that oath 
to acknowledge the king or queffn the head of the 
churcli. But now you must know, fii-st, that this title, 
The head of the chxu'ch, as it has been attributed to 
the king, has been much abused, and has given some 
advantage to our adversaries ; for the king is not the 
head of the chmxh, neither as Christ is, nor as the 
pope claimed it. 

Not as Christ is. Christ is the Head to govern uij- 
limitedly. No limits or bounds are set to the govern- 
ment of Christ, but only his own will. No prince in 
the world is so the head to govern. But aU governors 
nave a twofold limit ; they are limited by the laws of 
God, and by the laws of man. 

Neither is he the head as the pope challenges to 
himself. How is that ? you will say. In the forenaraed 
four things, the pope challenges holding of doctrines, 
and holding of offices, and the like, upon him. Offices 
do not so hold upon any governors, upon the king or 
others, as the pope challenges to hold upon him. How 
does he challenge them to hold upon him ? Thus, that 
all are in him vu-tually, and so to be derived from him 
to others. And in great part many of oui- prelates say 
that they are the head of the chm-ch, thus ; that is, that 
all the offices hold on them, that they are all in them 
wtually, and so go fi'om them to others. Hence they 
account none others ministers but their cm'ates, and 
they must not pray but as they will, and do nothing 
but what they will. '\^'Tiy ? because they are but their 
substitutes, as if all offices were virtually in them, and so 
came from them to others ; whereas every officer in the 
church, even the meanest, holds upon Christ the Head. 

Now, in the ci'S'il state in some sense it may be said, 
that the officers of the commonwealth are ■sdrtually in 
the king, he being the supreme ; but you must not 
think that all ai'e thus \irtually in him in church affairs, 
for if they were virtually in him, then he could him- 
self cUspense those things that others dispense by \-ii'tue 
of then- offices, but that he cannot, as to give the sa- 
crament and the like. 

But how is he the head, then, or in what sense may 
we quiet our consciences in acknowledging the king to 
be the head of the church ? Only thus ; he is said to be 
the head because he is the supreme to govern in a civil 
way, not only the cinl state, but even afi'aii's that belong 
to the church. We do not deny the power of princes 
even in affau-s that belong to the church. And because 
the king is the supreme in that civil power, to govern 
by civil laws, to see Clii-ist not dishonoured, to keep out 
idolatry, to protect the chm-ch, to punish enormities 
that exist, to defend it fi-om enemies, in that sense he 
is said to be the head ; but the title of supreme go- 
vernor, being understood in a civil way only, is more 
proper. 

To make it a little plain that the king has some su- 
premacy, not only m the civil state but in chm-ch affairs. 
For we must not exclude the king quite out of all 
church affair's, as some would do ; but though we would 
inform yom- consciences aright, yet we would not by 
any means take away any lawful power God has put 
into him. Now that he has power even in church af- 
fau's, there are many reasons that fully move me to be 
persuaded in it. 

The first that I shall name I think will least prevail 
(though it be the most ordinary) with them that make 
most doubt of it, therefore I will not stand upon it, 
only name it. We know that among the Jews in the 
time of the Old Testament, the governors, and kings, 
and princes had power in affairs that belong to the 
church, as well as to the state. But this I say I do 
not think to be the gi-eatest Sitrength in this point, 
especially to persuade them that make any scruple of 
it ; they will tell us that the power there was but tj-pi- 
cal and the like, and so binds not now. 



There are therefore other reasons that persuade the 
same thing. 

The first is this, because I find that in the prophets, 
where we have a prophecy of the state of the church 
in the times of the gospel, God promises that he will 
make kings to be their nursing fathers, and queens their 
nm'sing mothers. Now if they are to be nursing fathers 
of the church, surely they must have some influence 
by their power in it. 

Secondly, Rom. xiii. 4, speaks indifferently, and saith, 
" he is the minister for thy good." It does not say for 
this good, or that good, for this civil good, or ecclesi- 
astical good, but " he is the minister of God to thee 
for good," for all good unto thee so far as his power 
can reach. It is a hard thing, you know, (if men will 
put us unto it,) to show in the New' Testament the 
power that kings had, because there was then no king 
but heathens, yet saith he, they are ministers for thy 
good, and he speaks to Christians. 

But thu'cUy, and that which yet may seem to have 
more in it, I find in the New Testament that St. Paul, 
when he was accused by his brethi'en in matters of 
religion, appealed unto Ca>sar, Acts xxv. 19, who was a 
heathen magistrate, his accusation was in matters of 
religion, in questions about their law, and about " one 
Jesus that was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." 
Yet in his answer to those things he appealed to C^sar, 
therefore there is somewhat that Csesar has to do in 
overlooking the affairs of the chm'ch. 

But you will say. How can he be a competent judge ? 
Can Caesar, a heathen, be a competent judge in matters 
of religion ? is that possible ? Or suppose that a go- 
vernor be wicked, can he be a competent judge in 
matters of religion ? 

I answer, a governor, though he be a heathen, yet 
loses not his power, he has still a ti'ue and lawful 
power ; yea, he has some oversight in things that con- 
cern church affairs. How can that be ? I answer, 
Christianity gives not the authority, but enables to 
execute the authority; a heathen magistrate has au- 
thority, it is his duty to see that Chr'istians be not 
■vvi'onged, and if he does not, it is his sin ; but if he be- 
comes a Chi'istian, he is the better able to do what he 
ought, but this puts not the po-wer into him. 

But if a man bo wicked, and understand not the 
things of tlie church, how can he be a judge ? Thus ; 
though the king be not a competent judge of the 
principles upon which the church acts, whether right or 
no, yet he may have ability to judge between man and 
man, whether one wrongs the other in matters of re- 
ligion. As thus ; though he does not think the prin- 
ciples upon which they act to be right, yet he can judge 
whether according to those principles they do right one 
to another, or whether according to theii' principles they 
do not wrong one the other. And this is a great mat- 
ter, to be able to judge and to punish with civil punish- 
ment when any of the chm'ch ^^Tongs his brother 
against the principles which he himself professes. 

As for example, a man who is not a physician does 
not understand the difference between poison and a 
wholesome medicine, yet when things are brought be- 
fore him, he may be a competent judge, by evidence, to 
condemn a physician who has poisoned a man instead 
of giving him wholesome physic. And that objection 
against his competency in judging in the affau's of the 
church, has no moi'e power than if it should have been 
objected that he must not judge a physician, whether 
he has poisoned a man or no, because he himself is not 
a physician. 

Thus we have done with these thi'ee consequents that 
follow upon the opening of the headship of Chi'ist in 
point of his government. And now we see more clearly 
how Christ is Head, and none bat Christ, and what glory 
we are to give to Chi'ist as the Head of the chui'ch. 



46 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



There is one thing more belongs to the headship of 
Christ, which must not be passed by, though it is not so 
fully aimed at in the text as tliat which lias already 
been expounded, and that is, the influence of spiritual 
life which comes to the church by Cluist the Head, as 
the animal spirits come fi'om the head to the members. 
And this is the veiy reason, first, why gi'ace in tlie 
saints is of such a beautiful and glorious natui-c as it is, 
because it comes fi"om Christ the Head. Secondly, this 
is the reason of the power and efficacy of grace in the 
saints, because it comes from Christ the Head. Thu'dly, 
this is also the reason why grace in the saints is of such 
an everlasting natm-e. It has more beauty, it has 
more power and efficacy, and it is of a more everlasting 
natui'e, than the grace Adam possessed, because the 
grace of the saints holds upon Clu-ist the Head, and 
has an influence fi'om Christ, God-man, in a special and 
peculiar wav, such an influence as Adam had not. Tliis 
IS the excellency of grace in the saints. 

And to conclude this point of the headsliip of Christ. 
God the Father thus advanced Clirist to be the Head, 
because he was willing to stoop so low, to be as a worm 
under foot, for so he saith of himself, " I am a worm, 
and no man," Psal. xxii. 6. Clu'ist was low in his own 
eyes, and submitted himself to such a condition ; and 
now, behold, the Father has advanced him, God has 
made him " Head overall thmgs," Eph. i. 22 ; has made 
him Head over principalities, and powers, and do- 
minions, over angels, and over all men and all things 
in the church ; has advanced him to tliis high and 
glorious dignity. We see somewhat of it now, and we 
shall see more gloriously the headship of Christ here- 
after. 

In tlvis God the Father shows, that as he has dealt 
with his Son, so he is willing to deal with the mem- 
bers of his Son. His Son, who was willing to be so 
low and under foot, is now advanced to such high glory 
that all must stoop, and yield, and submit to him. Let 
us be willing to lie low, though it be under foot, to be 
trodden upon by the ^vicked and ungodly in the world : 
though we caimot expect to be advanced to be head, 
yet we may expect to be advanced to glory and dignity. 
You know wliat God said to Saul, " '\Mien thou wert 
little in thine o^ra eyes, then I made thee king," 1 Sam. 
-w. 17. The less any of us are in our o^ti eyes, the 
more are we likely to be advanced by God ; for God 
win observe a proportion between liis dealings with 
Clirist the Head, and his dealings with all liis members. 

" And appoint themselves one head." In Eph. i. 22, 
it is said, God gave Christ " to bo tlie Head over all 
things to the church." How then is it said here that 
they shall " appoint to themselves one head ? " 

It is ti-ue, God the Father has advanced his Son, and 
extoUcd him above all things, and given him to be 
Head over all ; but yet when the church chooses Christ 
to be theu- Head, when they shall willingly submit 
themselves unto liim, lifting liim up above all, honoui- 
ing Ills ordinances, laws, and uistitutions, and depend- 
ing upon him for light, then they arc said to appoint 
Cluist to be their Head. Tliough God's eternal decree 
has made himself to be the God of liis saints, yet when 
the saints choose God to be thcii- God, God accounts 
himself to be made their God by Uicm ; they make God 
to be their God in choosing him. So though Christ by 
the Father is appointed to be Head over all, yet the 
net of tlie church in choosing Christ, and coming to 
him freely, and submitting to liim as to the Head, Is 
accountecl an appointing of Christ to be Head. 

Tliis is that happy work wliich the saints have been 
doing, and which we are to do now, and which they will 
do to the end of the world. Though tliere lie some 
special time to which this text refers, yet in all ages of 
the church, when the saints choose Clirist to be their 
Head, they are said to appoint him. 



Let us join in this blessed work, an honourable work 
for creatures, to appoint the Lord Jesus to be Head 
over them. Let us say, as Hushai did in another ease, 
2 Sam. xvi. 18, " AMio'm the Lord, and this people, and 
all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him 
will I abide." So, he whom God the Father shall give 
to be Head over all things, he whom the saints have 
in all times chosen for then- Head, he shall be our 
Head and our King; his will we be, and with liim will 
we abide. Let us give Christ the pre-eminence, prizing 
his government, his ortlinanees, above all tlie comforts 
we have in tliis world. " If I prefer not Jjcrusalem 
above my chief joy," Psal. cxxxvii. 6. The words ai'e 
'nnce- vk-i hy if I make not Jerusalem to ascend above 
the head of my joy ; whatever is high in our thoughts, 
as a head, let Christ be above it. Christ in his ordi- 
nances must be above the head of our joy, for other- 
wise he is not a Head unto us. IS you invite a man of 
quality to your table, though you provide excellent 
cheer for him, yet if you set any people of mean quality 
above him, he would not regard all your com-tesies. 
\A'hen you tender up any thing unto Chiist, when you 
seem to entertain him with the greatest respect, yet if 
there be any thuig you set above him, especially if a 
vile lust be set above him, he cares not for all your en- 
tertainment. We read in Col. ii. 19, that there were 
some blamed for not '-holding the Head:" what is 
that ? because they gave more honour to angels than 
was due to them ; though never such glorious creatmes, 
yet by overprizing them they come not to hold the 
Head. AATiat ! is the gi^■ing undue lionoui- to angels 
enough to take us ofl' from Cnrist the Head ? Certainly, 
then, prostrating oiuselves before our vUe and base 
lusts, much more takes us ofi' from holding Clirist to be 
the Head. Let us look at all the offices and ordinances 
of Clu-ist, as holding upon him the Head, that so we 
may have a more reverent esteem of them. Let us 
depend upon him for influence of life, and not depend 
upon means. Let us manifest in our conversation the 
spirit and life that we have received fiom such a Head 
as Christ is, that we may not be a dishonoiu- to this our 
Head. Chrjsostom, in his comment upon ^-^ ;,,,v,\ui- 
the first chapter of the Ephcsians, says, /itAriow tiK><' 
in tliis respect we must be better than J^ixi» ut<{ow, 
angels, yea, greater than archangels. He '''^■ 
has three most excellent remarks, to prove that Chris- 
tians should take heed of dishonouring Christ their 
Head. First, saith he. Suppose a man had a precious 
tliadem upon liis head, or a crown of gold, that would 
be some argument to him to make liim take heed of 
doing things unworthy of that ornament : but we have 
not a diadem, not a croAvu of gold upon our heads, we 
have Clirist lumself to be om' Head, therefore let us do 
nothmg unworthy of tliis our Head. SecontUy, he re- 
marks, Oh the honour that God afibrds to us in this ! the 
tliought of this were enough to terrify us from sin, 
more tlian the setting of hell itself before our eyes. 
And indeed so it is. The right understanding of Christ 
to be our Head, and having so neai- a union with him, 
is of power to terriiy- us from sin more than the sight of 
hell, if it were before us. Thirdly, he observes, A\Tiat ! 
is Ciirist your Head ? Do you know next to whom this 
your Head sits in heaven ? Is he not placed at the 
right hand of the Father, above all jnincijialities and 
powers ? And shall the members of tins Head be 
trampled upon by tlic devil ? God forbid. 

And yet so honour the Head, as to give due honour 
likewise to those he has placed under him for the ad- 
ministration of any of his ordinances to us. AVe must 
not, under iiretenee of gi\ ing Cluist all the honour, dis- 
honour those that arc set over us by Christ. St. Paid, 
in 1 Cor. i. 12, when reproving the dissensions of the 
church of Corinth, remarks, '• Every one of you saidi, I 
am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and 1 of Cephas, and I of 



VEE. 11. 



THE PROrHECY OF HOSEA. 



47 



Christ." A\Tiy, are these all blamed ? how coiild those 
who said that they held Clii-ist be blamed ? Thus : 
amongst the Corinthians there were some that made 
divisions, some were for one officer, others for another : 
We are for Paul, said some ; We for Apollos, said others ; 
and, We for Cephas ; And for cm- parts, said others, we 
are neither for Paul, nor for Apollos, nor for Cephas, 
but for Christ. "^Tiat are men? what ai-e officers? 
W'hat are ordinances ? what are all those to us ? Christ 
is all in all to us, he is our Head, and wc are complete 
in liim, and we hold upon him. These are blamed_ as 
well as the other, because we must so hold upon Clmst, 
as to give all- due honour to the ordinances, institutions, 
officers, and offices of Christ. 

Yet I confess, if any that are in Christ's stead, to dis- 
pense his ordinances to us, prove to be wicked, of all 
people in the world they are the most contemptiblefand 
a just judgment of God is upon them. Isa. ix. 15, 
•• The ancient and honom-able, he is the head, and the 
prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail." Mark, the 
prophet speaks against those who were in place and 
power, though they were naught, yet still they retained 
the name of ancient and honom-able ; but the prophet 
that teacheth lies, a contemptible name is put upon 
him, he is the taQ ; no generation in the world more 
contemptible than those, when once they degenerate. 

But you will say, though they ai-e vile in theu- lives, 
yet their wickedness does not liinder the wtue and 
efficacy of the ordinances, they depend not upon the 
officers. True, the efficacy of no ordinance depends 
upon men, and it is not either because the minister is 
vile, or communicants ai'e wicked, that the vu'tue of an 
ordinance is lost, if the church contract no guilt upon 
themselves by retaining such in place, and by not cast- 
mg out such as come into communion with them. Take 
for granted that there is no guilt conti'acted, and then 
it is not the wickedness of the minister, or of the people, 
that hinders the efficacy of any ordinance. But if it 
prove that there be guilt conti'acted upon the chm'ch 
tlirough their negligence of duty, then the case is the 
same with those of Corinth, 1 Cor. v. G, " A little leaven 
leaveneth the whole lump ;" what is that whole lump 
but their communion ? 

They shall " appoint themselves one Head?" But 
was not Clrrist the Head before. It is spoken of a glo- 
rious time, when the Jews shall be called again, and 
Israel and Judah shall join together. Now they shall 
appoint themselves one Head, Clu-ist to be then- Head. 
Cmist was tlie Head to the fathers under the law, how 
now is he appointed then- Head ? I answer, 

Christ indeed was a Head to the forefathers, but now 
in the times' of the gospel, especially at the calling of 
the Jews, the time spo"ken of here, Christ ■nill appear a 
Head in another manner, to govern in another way, far 
more gloriously than he now does, and far more influ- 
ence of grace and light will come &om liim to liis 
members. Though Christ has always been a Head to 
his chm'ch, yet there is a time coming when the seventh 
ti-umpet shall be soxmded, spoken of Kev. xi. 15; when 
that voice shall be heard that yet was never heard, " The 
kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of 
om' Lord, and of his Cluist, and he shall reign for ever 
and ever." — A time conung, wherein Christ shall say to 
his people, " To him that overcometh will I grant to 
sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and 
am set down with my Father in his tlu-one," Rev. iii. 
21. The throne that Chi'ist sits upon now, is his Fa- 
ther's tlu-one ; he does not call it his ; and at the day of 
judgment, the Scriptui-e tells us that he shall give up 
the kingdom imto his Father. There is a time there- 
fore for the throne of Qirist to be exalted more than it 
has been, which Cluist has promised to those that over- 
come. — A time coming, when there shall be heard the 
noise, not only of " many waters," but as of " mighty 



thunderings, sajing. Alleluia; for the Lord God om- 
nipotent reigneth," Rev. six. 6. He shall be a Head 
another way. 

Now if it be true, that Christ himself is appointed by 
the church to be Head, then the officers and ministers 
of the chm-ch should not tliink much to be appointed 
in their places by the chm-ch too. It is true, their 
offices hold on Christ the Head, but the designation of 
the persons must be fi-om the chui-ch. We do not now 
list to enter into the controversy, who of the chiu-ch 
should do it, but there must be more than a civil act to 
make any man a pastor or teacher of a chm-ch ; some- 
what to make conscience yield and submit to him as an 
officer that Jesixs Clu-ist has placed over them. Christ 
himself would be appointed a Head by liis people, that 
they might submit to him the more cheerfully, and give 
glory to him vrith the more freedom of spu-it. And as 
for all such as tlu-ust themselves upon a people, no 
marvel if they complain of want of respect from them, 
or of theii- going away fi-om them. They never did any 
thing towards appointmg them as officers over them. 

They shall " appoint themselves one Head ;" not 
force Christ upon others by fu-e and ,„„eci„ritatiBcom- 
sword. Heretics are to be burnt with bVendi sunt hire- 
ih-e, saith Luther ; but with what fire ? the "' " '"' 
iii-e of chai-ity. 

They shall appoint to themselves. Let others 
choose what head they please, yet the saints will ap- 
point to themselves the Lord Christ to be theii- Head ; 
they will bless themselves in Christ, he shall be a Head 
unto them, whatever he is to others. Others, it may 
be, will choose to themselves other heads, but the saints 
say as they in Micah iv. 5, " All people will walk every 
one in the name of liis god, and we will walk in the name 
of tlie Lord om- God for ever and ever." Other people 
will walk in their ways, and choose to themselves such 
as give them most liberty ; they perhaps tluiik the go- 
vernment of Christ too strict for them : but for us, we 
will bless om-selves in our Clu-ist, we will never prosti- 
tute om- consciences to men, or to lusts and humom-s, as 
we have done ; Chi-ist shall be om- Head, and we will 
submit to liim. Secreia mea viecuin, (is a Hebrew 
provei-b,) My secret is with myself; what good we find 
in Cluist it is to ourselves : let Christ be a stumbhng- 
block and a rock of ofience to others, to us he is 
precious, he is one of ten thousand, " he is altogether 
lovely," Cant. v. IG. 

Tliey shall " appoint themselves one head." But 
one ; the church is not a monster of divers heads, it 
has but one head. There cannot be a ministerial head 
of the chm-ch, Christ is always present, and has left his 
laws -with his people. If we consider the difference 
between ecclesiastical power and civil power, we shall 
see clearly that there cannot be a ministerial head of 
the chm-ch. A ministerial head is absurd. In the 
civil power, it is not against any institution of Clu-ist, 
nor against any law, that there should be one head 
over all the world. But to have one head over the 
chm-ch, yea, to have any general officers over all the 
chm-ches, cannot be. The reason is, because there can 
lie no delegation of power that belongs to the chm-ch. 
There may be a delegation of a civil power, one man 
may be king over many countries, and he may appoint 
substitutes mider him, and delegate them to officiate for 
liim. But in- the church there is no delegation_ of 
power fi-om one to another. Grant but once delegation 
of the teaching power, and you establish nou-resideney ; 
gi-ant but delegation of the ruling power, and you im- 
mediately establish a papacy. There is no such thing 
therefore. 

Again, the civil power is by way of coaction ; _a 
magistrate is not always bound to give a reason of his 
injunctions, he may by way of compulsion require obe- 
dience. But church power is to deal with conscience ; 



48 



AX EXI'OSITIOX OF 



Chaf. 1. 



and therefore everj' one that has any power must of- 
ficiate himself, and deal with the consciences of men to 
l)ersuade and to instruct. 

These two things being granted, it is impossible that 
there can be a head over all the churches, yea, or over 
many. Vi'e must join nothing with Jesus Christ, in the 
way of his headship. As Alexander said to Darius, 
when he sent to him that he would be willing to divide 
the kingdom ; Xo, said Alexander, there is but one sun 
in the firmament, and there can be but one king in a 
kingdom. So saith Chiist, But one Head : he must be 
Head alone, or no Head at all ; nothing must be joined 
with him as head. Indeed, the heathen gods were 
contented to divide their honours : and hence the senate 
of Kome rejected Christ from taking liipi in to be a 
God, after they consulted about it ; For, said they, if 
Christ is acknowledged as a God, he will not share with 
the rest, he will have all himself; and so upon this reason 
they refused him. Thus many reject Chiist as God, 
and as a Head, because Christ will not share with others, 
he must be but one. 

And a special help is here given to our faith, in look- 
ing u]) to Clirist for help and protection when all means 
fail ; I beseech you, observe it. Does Chi'ist reqiure of 
us that we should make him Head alone, and j oLn no- 
thing with him ? Then we may well expect from him 
protection in all oin' wants, and that he alone will help 
lis. Or, otherwise, the condition of a Clmstian were 
worse than the condition of a heathen ; for the gods 
of a heathen would be content to have but part of the 
honour of the heart and life, because they could help 
but in part. If a heathen god should requu'e the 
whole soul to be lifted up to him above all, and he 
alone to be honoured and worshipped as a god, yet, 
•when help and protection are requu-ed, he could do 
nothing without another joined with him, a heathen 
might well reason the case against him, as doing him 
-wrong. Certainly Christ will never wrong his people, 
so as to require them to Lift up him alone, and join no 
other with him, and yet when they require help and 
SUCC0U1-, that there should be need to call in others 
hesides himself to their help. Therefore, as Chi-ist 
challenges us to make him our Head alone, so we may 
challenge Christ to help us alone, when there is no 
other help for us. 

Thus we have finished both the headshi]) of Christ, 
and the church's appointing liim to be that Head. 

Now follows the next blessing, and that but in a 
•word, and then we come to the conclusion of this chapter. 

" They shall come up out of the land." Jerome in- 
terprets it, a ferreitis affeclibus, a coming up from their 
earthly aiicctions ; Luther, a rtla miserabili, a coming 
up from their miserable life and condition. But rather 
thus, "come up out of the land," that is, out of their 
captivity. Judah and Israel shall join together in 
coming to Jerusalem, and so unite in the same kind of 
•worship. As they were wont to come out of all parts 
of the countn,^ to -worship at Jerusalem, and there were 
united in one kind of worship, so they shall now come 
from all parts of the world where they are scattered, 
and join in the same way of worship, yea, and it is very 
probable in their own land. 

There was a time when the peojjle of God sang songs 
of praise in the wilderness, Exod. xv. ; but the time 
shall come when they shall do it in their own land'; 
and this shall be a blessing of God u]ion them. " In 
that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah ; 
A\'e have a strong cit)- ; salvation will God ajipoint for 
walls and bidwarks," Isa. xxvi. 1. It shall be sung in 
the land of Judah. " In the mountain of the height 
of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house 
of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me : there will 
I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, 
and the fu-st-fruits of your oblations, with all your 



holy things," Ezek. xx. 40. " I will take the childi-en 
of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be 
gone, and will gather them on even' side, and bring 
them into their own land," Ezek. xxxvii. 21. 

This blessing has God granted to many of his serv- 
ants this day, -who never thought to have seen their 
own good land : but God has been pleased to gather 
them up, not only to come into their own land, but 
they find the arms and hearts of the saints open to 
embrace them, and call them to public employments. 
Not long since the land could not bear them ; we hojie 
that the time will come ere long, that the Lord Christ 
may so rule in our land, that it ■nill as hardly bear 
wicked and ungodly men as it has borne the saints ; 
though it were difficult to say that so much violence 
should be used, even to keep them from sin, as was 
usW against the saints to keep them fi-om their God. 
Yet, time may come ere long, that wicked men may be 
glad to flee, though not forced into another land, because 
they cannot have the enjoj-ment of their lusts so freely 
here ; as the saints have been forced to flee out of their 
land that they might serve the Lord, and keep their 
consciences clear. 

But we let this pass, and come now to the close of 
the chapter, to the epiphonema of it all. 

" For great shall be the day of Jezreel." They shall 
" appoint themselves one head, and come up out of the 
land; for great," &c. Tremellius renders it, although 
the day of Jezreel be great : and the Hebrew particle 
13 signifies quamvis, as weU as rjtiia, it may be translated 
" although," as well as " for." And translating it, al- 
though the day of Jezreel be great, takes it in this 
sense, that is, although the people of Israel shall be 
brought into great affliction, yet God wiU. be so merciful 
when his time comes, that they shaU be gathered to- 
gether again, and appoint themselves one head, and 
come up out of the land. And from such an intei-pret- 
ation of the words there might be an excellent medi- 
tation raised, and it is this. 

Obs. That the gi-eatness of the miseiy of the chuixh 
is no hinderance to the course of the freeness and 
abundance of God's mercy towards it. Although the 
day of Jezreel be never so calamitous, never so afflic- 
tive, never so grievous, yet they shall come up out of 
the land, and ajjpoint themselves one head. The great- 
ness of the church's misery is no hinderance to the 
church's deliverance. "\ATiy ? because their deliver- 
ance depends upon a God who dehghts not only to 
manifest some power, but the excellency and the glory 
of his power, in their deliverance. Isaiah (Ixii. 8) speak- 
ing of these verj- times of God's being merciful to his 
people, saith, " The Lord hath sworn by his right 
hand ; " and we have not only mention there of God's 
right hand, and swearing bv it, but his arm too ; mark 
that, " and by the ami of his strength :" there is God's 
hand, God's arm, the arm of his sti-ength, and God 
swearing by it. Surely when God delights to put forth 
such power for the deliverance of his church, it is no 
great matter whether its afflicted state be great or 
small. It makes no greater hinderance to the church's 
delivery than if you should see two bubbles of water 
rise up, one having a little thicker skin than the other. 
Now there is as much dift'erence in the difficulty of 
bursting that thick-skin bubble above the tliinner, when f 
a mighty piece of ordnance is shot off' with a weighty 
ball against them, as the greatest and sorest affliction 
that the people of God were ever under in this world 
makes a ditt'erence in tlic difficulty of their deliverance 
from the least affliction that ever the church endured, 
when they have to deal with an infinite God. If a 
child should see the thicker-skin bubble, he might think 
it is harder to be broken than the thinner; but if a can- 
non be shot off', nay, if it be but a gust of wind, it makes 
no difference. Now the afflictions of God's people are 



Veb. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF ROSEA. 



49 



to this right hand of God's power, and the arm of his 
strength, but as a bubble of -n-ater before a mighty can- 
non. Yea, if there be no help at all to deUver God's 
people in time of affliction, God can create help, " He 
will create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and their people a 
joy." Y'ea, suppose their condition be such as never 
was the like since the beginning of the world, yet, 
" since the beginning of the world men have not heard, 
nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O 
God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for liim that 
waiteth for liim," Isa. Ixiv. 4. 

And as the greatness of the church's deliverance is 
no hinderance to God's power in delivering them, so it 
should be no hinderance to the work of our faith. Com- 
mon prudence and reason will go a great way to uphold 
us under some afflictions, but when the affliction be- 
comes giievous and long, prudence and reason sink 
under the bm-den ; but then shoidd faith lift up itself, 
and cast an eye upon this right hand of God's power, 
this arm of his sti'ength by which he has sworn, and 
exercise itself in the glorious acts it has WTOught. For 
certainly faith is appointed for such a time as this, when 
the chui-ch is under giievous extremities. The ordinary 
afflictions of the church do not call for such a work of 
faith, but when they come to extraordinary calamities, 
these require such a power of God for theii' deliverance, 
and call for a work of faith proportionable. As Alex- 
ander, when he was in great danger, said, 
■"amiJo Ai"x™d?i" Now there is a danger fit for the spirit of 
Alexander to encounter ; so when the 
church is in any great danger, all the members of it 
shoidd say. Here is a danger, here is a trouble, fit for the 
spirit of Clu-istians, fit for the spirits of those that ai-e 
able to exercise the most noble and glorious acts of faith. 

We are scarcely for the present put to tliis glorious 
exercise of faith, for reason and sense see much help. 
They see that the cause of God at tliis day has the bet- 
ter of the adversary. Let us not look upon every dif- 
ficulty as a thing that calls for such a mighty, glorious 
work of faith, when men, by reason and prudence, may 
carry themselves imder such difficulties much better 
than most of us do. However, we do not know but the 
Lord may call us to such difficulties and dangers as will 
require such an exercise of faith as I have spoken of. Let 
us therefore lay up this instruction for the time to come. 

" For great shall be the day of Jczreel." If the words 
be read as they are in your Bibles, and yet have 
reference to the calamitous time and grievous extremi- 
ties of the day of Jezreel, then 

Obs. 1. That God's bowels of compassion work toward 
his church because of the gi-eatness of then- afiliction. 
WTien then- afflictions are very gi'eat, and the greater 
they are, the more God's bowels of compassion work 
toward them. AVe know the misery of God's people 
was a marvellous quickening argument to the compas- 
sion of God ; " I have sm-ely seen the affliction of my 
people, and then- soiTows, and therefore am come doAvn 
to deliver them," Exod. iii. 7, 8. Kthe greatness of the 
affliction of the church move the bowels of God's com- 
passion, then let not the greatness of affliction hinder 
cm- faith. Let not the greatness of ti-ouble reason 
downi our faith, but let it rather reason up our faith, for 
so indeed it should ; and so the saints of God hereto- 
fore have done. It is time for thee, O Lord, to work, 
for men have almost destroyed thy law ; yea, the high 
time is come for thee to have mercy upon Zion, for thy 
people begin to favour the dust thereof. Was this a 
good argument, " For thy name's sake, Lord, pardon 
mme iniquity, for it is great," Psal. xxv. 11, to move 
God withal ? Sm'ely then this is a good argument. De- 
liver us in afflictions, for they are verv great. For sin 
makes more distance between God and us than afflic- 
tions : yet if the greatness of sin can be put as an argu- 
ment for God's mercy and compassion to work, much 



more the greatness of afflictions. Yet this is the grace 
of God in the second covenant, that even the sins wliich 
before made the creature an object of hatred, now make 
it an object of compassion. So afflictions, that before 
were part of the cui'se, are tm-ned to argume!its for 
moving the bowels of God's tender compassion toward 
his people. 

Obs. 2. The promise is the only support of the soul, 
and that which caiTics it through the greatest affliction. 
Afflictions are as lead to the net ; the promise is as tlie 
cork, which keeps above water when the lead pulls 
down. But I leave these meditations, though I find 
many mterpreters run this way ; and I rather take it 
as a fm-ther expression of God's wonderful mercy to liis 
chm-ch. 

" For great shall be the day of Jezi'eel ;" that is, God 
has a great day of mercy for Jezreel. They shall ap- 
point themselves one head, they shall be gathered 
together and be made one, they shall come up out of 
the land ; why ? for God has a great day of mercy to 
his people, a " great day of Jczreel." And herein, there- 
fore, God makes use of the name of Jezreel in a good 
sense. They who interpret Jezreel the other way would 
have the name signify, great is the day of scattering, or 
of the scattered people. But Jezreel signifies Uke^\ise 
the seed of God. Before Ciod used thcu- name in the 
worst sense, that lie would scatter them according to 
their name ; now he uses their name in the best sense, 
they are the seed of God, and there is great mercy from 
God for them. 

Obs. A^'^len God is reconciled to a people he takes all 
in the best sense, and makes the best acceptation of every 
thing, as he does here of the name Jezreel. We have 
only these two things to consider in tliis expression : 
That the saints of God are God's Jezreel ; that is, 
they are the seed of God. And that there is for tliis 
seed of God a great day. 

1 . They are the seed of God ; the seed of the blessed, 
and there is a blessing in them. They are the precious 
seed which God preserves in the world, and has done 
ever since the beginning of the world. They are that 
seed that preserves the glory of God in the world. 
Were it not for a few gracious, holy people in the 
world, where would the glory of God be ? what would 
become of it ? The godly, however contemptible in the 
world, are the precious seed, that God reserves for great 
and glorious ends. They are the seed to preserve the 
continuation of the doctrine of the gospel ; as Isa. xi. 
13, " The holy seed shall be the substance thereof." 
Though they are under great afflictions, yet there shall 
be a holy seed that shall be the substance thereof, and 
there shall be his blessing. Psal. Ixxii. 17, "His name 
shall endure for ever ;" the words are read by !Monta- 
nus, Fitiabilur nomen ejus. His name shall be childed ; 
that is, so continued as families are continued, one 
generation after another, one begetting another. Thus 
shall the name of Christ continue in the world, as it 
has done. 

Though seed be but a handful in comparison of the 
harvest, so the samts of God then were, and yet are 
but as a handfid in comparison of the glorious harvest 
that shall arise, yet they are very precious before God, 
and God win make the world hereafter know that they 
are the precious ones of God. Isa. Ixi. 9, " AU that see 
them shall acknowledge them that they are the seed 
which the Lord hath blessed." A man vAM be careful 
of his seed, whatever becomes of his other corn. In 
time of dearth, the husbandman will rather pinch his 
stomach, than have his seed-corn spent. So in times 
of common calamity or dearth, God's care is over his 
seed. The saints are (as I may say) God's seed-corn, 
to preserve his name in the world to succeeding gener- 
ations, he will not therefore have them destroyed. 

Seed is the most precious of the corn, which is most 



50 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



■winnowed and cleansed ; so are the saints the clean and 
the most precious ones. God winnows them more than 
others by the fans and winnows of afflictions ; why ? be- 
cause they are his seed. Other com wliich has chaflf 
in it, the husbandman will give to the fowls and the 
cattle, he bestov.s not much winnowing upon it ; but 
the corn that is for seed he carefully winnows, he would 
not willingly have a darnel an-.ongst it. It may be 
thou eomplaincst thou art more wmnowed than other 
men ; perhaps thou art more precious in God's eyes, and 
thou art resen'ed as seed, as the seed of the blessed. 

The wicked indeed ai-e seed too, but a conupt seed, 
" a seed of evil-doers," Isa. i. 4 ; the grandfather was an 
enemy unto God, yea, the gi'eat-grandfather ; and the 
father, and the childien after him, continue enemies to 
God. And God, in mercy unto his church, many times 
cuts down the wicked before they seed too much. You 
who have gardens, if you see the weeds come up and 
grow towaids seed, you think then that it is time to 
pull them up, you will not suffer them to seed. God 
looks upon many families, and sees wretched and sinful 
men as " a seed of evil-doers " ready to seed', and if 
they be not cut do\^-n suddenly, there will be a -m-etch- 
ed brood of wicked ones in such a family. This is the 
reason of God's sudden cutting down many wicked 
families. 

But to come to the point chiefly intended, that is, 
that this seed of the Lord shall have a great day. 

" Great shall be the day of Jezreel." The men of 
the world have their day in which they ruffle it out. 
St. Paul seems to .speak of tliis in 1 Cor. iv. 3, that he 
did not regard'" man's judgment," the words are, avBpoi- 
■!riv)js I'jiiipac, man's day. Nov.' men have the day, they 
have all the bravery of the world ; well, observes St. 
Paul, I do not regard man's day, I expect another day. 
I know not how it is otherwise translated ; you translate 
it judgment in your books, but in the original it is day, 
man has a day. As men have a day, so shall God's 
.saints have a day too. We used often to say, when we 
saw our enemies jocund and mei-ry, Sm-ely they hope to 
have a day. ^ly bretlu-en, be joj'ful in the Lord, God 
has a day for you, and a gieat clay too, " Great shall be 
the day of Jezreel." The beginning of God's mercy to 
his people, is called " a day of small things," Zech. iv. 
10 ; and that must not be despised, " AA'ho hath de- 
spised the day of small things ? " It was the beginning 
of the refoi-mation, and deliverance of the people of 
Judah from then- captivity. But God has a day of 
gi-eat things, and certainly that day shall be honowable. 

1. It shall be a great day, in which the glory of God 
shall exceedingly appear, ^'herein God shall be (as I 
may so speak with holy reverence) as it were in his 
robes. As we know princes upon gieat days put on 
then- robes, so the King of glory shall have a day for 
his people, wherein even he himself will put on his 
robes: Psal. cii. 16, " T^^len the Lord shall buUd up 
Zion, he shall ajipear in his glory." It seems, while 
the church is in aftiiction, and the witnesses prophesy 
in sackcloth, that God is as it were clothed in sackclotli, 
" in all their afflictions he was afflicted ;" but because God 
I'.as a day, a gi-eat day to his chuichcs, he will reserve 
his robes till then, and when that day comes he will 
put them on. A great day it shall be for Jezi-eel, for 
the seed of the Lord. 

2. It shaU be a great dav, for this day shall be the 
riches of the world. Mark,lPaul, speaking of the Jews, 
saith, " If the fall of them be the riches of the world, 
and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles ; 
how much more theii- fuhiess?" Rom. xi. 12. It was 
a rich mercy to the Gentiles when they were brought 
out of darkness, and called to the knowledge of Jesus 
Chiist. But God has a gi'caler day than that, for it is 
spoken of here as a day that is to come ; that is, their 
fall wa.s the riches of the Gentiles, much more their 



calling in again. So then, there is such a day of call 
ing home the people of God, as shall be the riches of 
the Gentiles, the riches of all the world. 

3. Great shall be this day, for it shall be as a day of 
resunection from death to life : so Dan. xii. 2, " Many 
of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to 
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting 
contempt." This is not spoken of the great resuri'ection 
at the last day of judgment ; for, first, it is spoken but 
of some that shall arise. Secondly, the greatest gloiT 
that is here put upon the just, is but to shine as the 
stars in the firmament ; but at the last day, the saints 
shall sliine as the sun in the firmament, more and 
above the stars. Yea, thirdly, tliat which is here re- 
vealed to Daniel, must be sealed up as a great secret 
till the appointed time come ; but the resurrection at 
the last day is no great secret, that they knew wel' 
enough. But this resurrection is to be scaled up as u 
great secret that was not known in the world, nor 
should be much known tUl tlie aj)pointed time should 
come. And then, lastly, it was promised to Daniel ii- 
the 13th verse, that he shoidd " stand up in his lot," r. ■ 
a peculiar and special favour that God would bestov 
upon him. Now it is not such a peculiar and specir, ; 
favom- for a saint to stand up at the last day, but tl.i- 
was a favour to Daniel as an eminent saint, that ht 
should stand up in his lot. Therefore this resurrection 
is the same with this gi'eat day of Jezreel, wherein there 
shall be such a glorious work of God in calling Israel 
and Judah together, and the fulness of the Gentiles, 
that it shall be as the resun-eetion from death to life : 
so the apostle calls it in Rom. xi. 15, " "Wliat shall the 
receiving of them be, but life from the dead ? " 

4. " Great shall be the day of Jezreel ;" for tliis day 
shall bring refi-eshing to all the saints, this is " the time 
of refreshing," Acts iii. 19. There shall be such things 
then as will refi'esh and revive the spuits of all the 
saints. 

5. A great day, for it shall be the day of restitution 
of all things. Acts iii. 21, " Until the times of restitu- 
tion of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth 
of all his holy prophets since the world began." I 
know this text is ordinarOy interpreted concerning the 
last day ; but that it cannot be so appears, because 
that then there shall not be the restitution of all things, 
but the anniliilation of many things. Further, tliis 
speaks of a restitution of all things, that was spoken of 
by the mouth of all the holy prophets. Now the holy 
])rophets spake but very little concerning the day of 
judgment, or the life to come; and therefore the apos- 
tle, in 2 Tim. i. 10, saith, that " life and immortality are 
brought to light tlu-ough the gospel." Not but that it 
was kiio'wn somewhat before, but it was verj- darkly 
kno-mi, there was vei-y little spoken of life and immor- 
tality in the prophets : but this speaks of a time of 
which aU the holy proi)hets spake, as an argument that 
was the general tnenie of them all. And, indeed, there 
is no ai-gument whatever that is more general among 
the prophets, than this great argument of this gi'cat day 
of Jezi-eel. 

G. A great day, for it shall be the day of a new 
creation ; a new heaven and a new earth shall be made, 
when tliis great day of Jezreel shall come. " Behold, 
I create new heavens and a new earth," Isa. Ixv. 17. 
In ver. 18, you see what this new heaven and new earth 
is : " But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which 

1 create : for, beliold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, 
and her people a joy." Those'are the new heavens and 
the new earth which are to be created, and plainly 
mean the chiuch, for ver. 21 sjjcaks of " building 
houses," and " inhabiting them," and of " planting 
vineyards," and "eating tie fruit" of them, upon the^ 
new heavens and this new earth's creation. And. 

2 Pet. iii. 13, " Nevertheless we, according to his pro- 



Vee. U. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



51 



mise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherehi 
dwelleth righteousness." This is usually taken for the 
kingdom of heaven hereafter. But where is this pro- 
mise ? We do not find it anywhere, but in Isa. Isv. 17. 
Now it is appai-ent that promise speaks of a state of 
the chiu'ch in this world ; it speaks of a new eartii, as 
well as of a new heaven; if it only spoke of new 
heavens, it had been another matter, but it speaks of a 
new eai-th likewise, therefore meant of a state in this 
world, that is, there shall be such glorious things done 
by God, as shaU manifest a creating power, as if God 
now made " new heavens and a new earth." 

7. " Great shall be the day of Je2a'eel," for it shall 
be as another world, when this day comes. '• Unto the 
angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, 
w'hereof we speak. But one in a certain place (Psal. 
viii. 4) testified, sajing, 'Wliat is man, that thou art 
mindful of him ? or the son of man, that thou visitest 
him ? Thou madest hiin a little lower than the angels ; 
thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst 
set him over the works of thy hands : thou hast put all 
thuigs in 'subjection under his feet," Heb. ii. 5 — 8. 
This the apostle interprets of Christ, as ver. 6, that 
all things must be subjected to him as man, " '\^Tiat is 
man, that thou shouldst regard him?" that is, that 
thou shouldst advance the nature of man so far a.s to 
unite it to thy Son, and " put all things in subjection 
under liis feet." But, saith he, " we see not yet all 
things put under him," that time is yet to come, for, 
saith he, " he hath not put in subjection the world to 
come, whereof we speak." Therefore, mark, my bre- 
thren, there must be such a time wherein all things, all 
creatures, must be put tmder subjection to Christ, and 
this is in the world to come. It cannot be meant of 
that world to come, where the saints shall reign glo- 
riously in heaven, for the heavens must depart as a 
scroll, and many things shall then rather be annihilated, 
and the kingdom must then be given up by Chi'ist to 
God the Father, 1 Cor. xv. 24. But this place speaks 
of a, time when all creatures must come under subjec- 
tion to Cluist, and it is called " the world to come ; " 
why ? because of the great change there shall be of 
thuigs, it shall be, as it were, a new world. As we call 
this world fi'om Noah's time, a new world, and when 
we speak of the other world, we call it the old world ; 
so the Scripture calls it, 2 Pet. ii. 5, God '■ spared not 
the old world ;" and, chap. iii. 6, " The world that then 
was, behig overflowed with water, perished." So, this 
world in wliich we live shall be as the old world ; this 
day of Jezi-eel shall make such a glorious change, all 
thmgs being put in subjection to Cluist, that it shall 
be as it were a new world. God has made an excellent 
world, in wliich there is much beauty and glory, and 
yet his enemies have the rule here ; what then will that 
world be that God intends for his saints ? 

8. " Great shall be the day of Jezreel," for it shah 
be such a great day that all former things shall be even 
forgotten because of the lustre and glory of that great 
day. As Isa. Ixv. 17, the former heavens and the 
former earth " shall not be remembered, nor come into 
mind." And so Jer. iii. 16, 17, "In those days, saith 
the Lord, they shall no more say. The ark of the cove- 
nant of the Lord : neither shall it come to mind : nei- 
ther shall they remember it ; neither shall they \isit it ; 
neither shall that be done any more. At that time 
they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord ; and 
all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name 
of the Lord, to Jerusalem : neither shall they walk any 
more after the imagination of their e\al heart." jMarli, 
my brethren, " In those days the house of Judah shall 
walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come to- 
gether out of the knd of the north to" the land that I 
have given for an inheritance unto your fathers," ver. 18. 
It is apparent that it is spoken of this great day of Jez- 



reel ; for now God declares he will gather Judah and 
Israel together, and they shall walk together, and that 
then former things shall be forgotten. '• They shall caU 
Jerusalem the tlirone of the Lord." Heretofore, even the 
temple itself, the glory of Jerusalem, was but as the 
place of God's feet, and the ark of God was but his 
footstool. 1 C'lu'on. xxviii. 2, " As for me, I had in 
mine lieai't, saith David, to build a house of rest for the 
ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool 
of oiu- God :" and Isa. Ix. 13, " I will make (Zion) the 
place of my feet glorious." But now m tliis great day, 
Jerusalem, that was but God"s footstool, shall be God's 
throne. A gi'eat day certainly this shall be, when all 
things are thus forgotten. 

9. " Great shall be the day of Jezreel," because it 
shall be a day after which there shall be no night. And 
that you will say wUl be a great day indeed, in which 
the saints shall be raised to such a state of prosperity 
and happiness, that it shall never be darkened any 
more. The chiu'ches here have often had some little 
release, they have had thek days of peace for a while, 
but it has soon gi"own to be night, and a dismal night 
of darkness. But when this great day shall come, it 
shall be a day that shall never be succeeded by night, for 
so God promises here to his Jezreel, to make it an eter- 
nal excellency, and to make Jerusalem an everlasting 
joy ; and, Dan. ii. 44, God shall in the days of those 
kiiigs " set up a kingdom which shall never be destroy- 
ed," that is, the great day of Jezi'eel. 

This win more clearly appear, if we consider more 
fully wiiat shall be done for the chm'ch and the world 
on this day. (1.) There shall be the deliverance of the 
churches from woeful affliction, in which they shall be 
fomid a little before. For so the Scriptm'e tells us, 
Dan. xii. 1, that before this day " there shall be a time 
of ti'ouble, such as never was since there was a nation 
even to that shme time : and at that time thy people 
shall be dehvered." I might tell you how much some of 
the ancients have spoken of this ; though it be a point 
that seems to be somewhat strange to us, yet it was 
one of the most ordinaiy things known in the primitive 
times. It was then so generally acknowledged, that 
Justin MartjT, who was but thu-ty years 
after St. John, observes. There is no sSt'pe'o'mnia'or- 
man who is of the orthodox faith in all 01^^,"^.°"* 
tilings, but acknowledges this. Lactantius l 7 c 15 m 28 
shows the glory of tliis great day of Jez- 
reel, but withal declares that a little before there 
shall be most grievous times, such times as that aU 
right shall be confounded, the law shall perish, nobody 
shall know what is Ills own, the wicked shall have the 
pre-eminence, and the saints shall be persecuted; so that 
though in this om- time wickedness is gi'own to such a 
height, that a man would think it could increase no 
higher, yet in comparison of the time a little before 
that great day, these times may be called golden ages. 
So that great times of affliction will be before that gi-eat 
day ; and it is therefore called a great day, because of 
God's appearing so gloriously in the deliverance of his 
chm-ch. The Sciiptm-e speaks of wonderful things 
which God wUl do, and show himself marvellous, as he 
did when Israel came out of Egj-pt. '^i^Tio knows but 
that God is now sending abroad so much of the light 
of his gospel, and so working in the hearts of men, and 
giving us such a time of reviving, and caUuig so many 
youths as he does, because this great day is at hand, 
and because before this day we may have a day of dis- 
mal darkness, and by this he will prepare people for 
those times ? God wiU have a numerous seed in the 
world, therefore so many yoimg people are converted 
and are so forward, because, I say, God means to pre- 
pare them, by this light that we now have, for this great 
day. And you that are young may expect to go thi'ough 
some difficulties and hardship before this great day 



52 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. I. 



comes, hut be of good comfort, you may hope to live 
to see all the glory of tliis gi-eat day : God gives you 
now time that you may lay uj), and be fit seed for such 
a glorious day as this, that, when sufferings come, you 
may not be found among the number of the fearful 
ones, spoken of in Kev. xxi. 8, who " shall have their 
portion in the lake which buraeth with fii-e and brim- 
stone." Those who through base cowardice and com- 
pliance shall yield to vile superstitious 'vanities, shall be 
cast out among dogs when that great day comes. God 
now gives you a day that you may see the evO of super- 
stitious vanities, that you may have truths revealed to 
you with more freedom than formerly ; and who knows 
but tills may be to prepare you for that darkness which 
may come a little before this gi-eat day of Jezreel ? 

(2.) There shall be the subduing of the adversaries 
of the church. Though they shall have gi-eat power a 
little before ; yet when that great day of Jezreel comes, 
they shall certainly be all subdued and brought under. 
Christ, when he shall come in this great day, shall have 
his " vesture dipped in blood," in desti-oying the wicked 
and ungodly, Kev. xix. 13; and when the saints sec 
the wicked destroyed as the Egyptians were in the sea, 
they shall again " sing the song of Moses," Rev. xv. ',i. 
AVhat was this song of Moses, but the praising of God 
for the destruction of their advei"saries in the sea? God 
has another sea to destroy the wicked, and another day 
for his saints to sing over the song of Moses again, 
especially for the destruction of popery. My bretlu'cn, 
be not troubled to see papists flock together, for when 
this day shall come, God will so order things that his 
adversaries shall flock together, but it shall be that 
they may be destroyed, for God has a gi'eat feast and 
a great sacrifice, and he will sacrifice them especially. 
.Vnd therefore Lactantius, who lived one thousand three 
Komanum nomen hundred ycai'S siucc, speaking of this 
1'ont.^nimus di- ' day, saith, I have a thing to say, but I even 
futuriim <5!_u.u'tur ti-cnible to uttcr it, but I must speak it ; 
c ttrra. . ,. c. 15. ^^^^^ ^vhat was it ? Pomanum nomen de 
terra lolletur ; the Koman name shall be taken off' from 
the earth. In those primitive times he prophesied of 
the destruction of Home. Terliaps, though he did not 
see it so clearly, God might intend it for these times. 
God will destroy the enemies of his churches then. 
Yea, Ezek. xxviii. 24, there is a promise to the saints 
that there shall be no more " a pricking brier, nor any 
grie\'ing thoni," of any that are round about them that 
despise them ; and in another place God saith, that he 
will " take away the Canaanite out of the land." 

(3.) The glorious presence of Christ among the saints 
shall be displayed. Let it be personal, or what it will, 
we detei-mine not, but thus far we may confidently 
aftii'iii, that tlicre shall be a more glorious presence of 
Jesus Clirist among his people, than ever yet was since 
the beginning of the world. Rev. xxi. 22, " The Lord 
God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it :'' 
and chap. xxii. 3, 4, "The throne of God and of the 
Lamb shall be in it ; and his servants shall scree him : 
and they shall see his face." And tlic very last words 
of Ezek. xlviii. are, " the name of the city from that day 
."ihall be" Jehovah-shammah, that is, "Tho Lord is 
there." 

(4.) Gloiy shall there be put upon the saints. Glor^' 
shall be put upon them, first in regard of their admirable 
gifts and graces, which shall be heightened and en- 
lai-ged ; tlie weak shall be as David, and they that arc 
as David shall be as the angel of God at that day. 
Their adversaries shall bow down before them. They 
shall have high esteem, even in the thoughts and judg- 
ments of many great ones of the world ; they sliall be 
called up to heaven, that is, those that are in liigliest 
])Iacc and dignity shall advance and honour them in 
that day ; yea, the kings of the earth in that day shall 
come in, and bring their glory to the church. There- 



fore it is apparent that Rev. xxi. 'M cannot be under- 
stood of heaven ; for it is said, " the kings of the earth 
do bring their glory into it ;" they shall not bring their 
glory to the chui'ch, when the church shall be in 
heaven. 

(5.) There shall be a wonderful change of all crea- 
tures, and glorious, fruitful times. Lactantius says, 
that the rocks themselves should issue Trm ai«Tict fi- 
forth honey and precious things ; but "°i',!^5Ss"(l!J!";g 
that we cannot affu'm ; yet that there shall •u»sp<.iite genera- 
be a wonderful change of all things, and mfiit'sul.w'nt.'&c. 
all creatures brought to a further happi- '^'»'"'- ■- '■ '■ *■ 
ness, even the sensitive creatures, as well as others, 
than they had before, the Scriptures are clear enough. 
And we are to understand many scriptures literally 
that tend this way, concerning the fruitfulness of the 
earth, and the external glory that there shall be in the 
creatures. As upon a great marriage feast, or corona- 
tion day, all the servants of the prince are in their best 
aiTay ; so when Clu-ist, this Bridegi'oom, shall come and 
meet his spouse, all creatui'es shall be put into a new 
dress, shall have further glory. 

(G.) A multitude of all nations and Tunc qui enint in 
]ieopIe shall flock to the church, that they SKtiJJSv"" 
shall be as "the sand of the sea." But jnuit sm.™ inBr.i- 
this I have spoken of before at large. g.nerabunt, et em 
Now put all these things together, and iktel'Ti^oS"'"^ 
" great shall be the clay of Jezreel." t^ictint. ibid. 

Yea, but shall these things be so ? Though flesh 
and blood may reason against these things, yet I may 
apply that place, Zech. ii. 13, "Be silent, O' all flesli. 
before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy 
habitation." God has made known in liis word the 
great things he intends to bring to pass. And Zech. 
^•iii. 6, " Thus saith the Lord of hosts ; If it be manel- 
lous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these 
days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes ? saith 
the Lord of hosts." These things may seem marvellous 
to your eyes, especially because we have been but little 
acquainted with them, but they arc not marvellous in 
the eyes of God. Yea, we find it, that these things 
were to be kept hidden till the appointed time should 
come, till we cb'aw near to that great day. God tells us 
that they were to be scaled up even to tlie time ap- 
pointed, Dan. xii. 4 ; and God tells Jolin that he " must 
prophesy again before many people, and nations, and 
tongues, and kings," Rev. x. 11 ; that is, before the time 
of tlie fulfilling of all things, that book of the Revela- 
tion shall be made out as cleai' as if John were come to 
prophesy again before men. And we hope it is coming, 
because God begins to let in light, and the morning 
star seems to arise. 

In Zech. xiv. 6, 7, you have mention of a day, that we 
may apply to the present day : " And it shall come to 
pass in that day, that the light sliall not be clear, nor 
dark ; but it shall be one day which sliall be known to 
the Lord, not day nor night : but it shall come to pass, 
that at evening time it shall be light." Mark wliat 
shall be in that day, ver. 8, " And it shall be in that day, 
that living waters sliall go out from Jerusalem j" and 
ver. 9, " In that day shall there be one Lord, and his 
name shall be one;" and then ver. 20, "In that day 
shall there be upon the bells of the horses. Holiness unto 
the Lord ;" and ver. 21, " In tliat day there shall be no 
more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts." 
Certainly, my brethren, tliese scriptures speak of a 
glorious day that is apiiroaching, but yet, in the begin- 
ning of it. It is just such a day as we have at present, 
wherein the light is neither clear nor dark. It is tiue, 
not long since it was dark, now this darkness begins to 
be a little dispelled, but it is not clear yet. many things 
for the present darken the light. Opjiosition and many 
damps are upon the hearts of God's jieople, and things 
go not on as we desire ; but blessed be God, it is not 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



53 



night -iN itli us ; though it bo not so dark as it was, or as 
clear as we desire, it is as it were twilight. Well, but " it 
shall be one day," that is, a special day ; and indeed it is 
our day now, it is the greatest day that ever jet Eng- 
land had. " It shall be one day which shall be known to 
the Lord," a day in which the Lord has great purposes 
to do great things ; and, certainly, this our day is known 
to the Lord, great tilings God is about to do for his 
churches, and lay a foundation of glorious things for 
the good of his people. And then mark, though it be 
" neither day nor night," yet " at the evening time it 
shall be light." ■\Miat a strange exijrcssion is here ! 
It shall be a duskv, cloudy day, and then a man would 
think that at evening it should be quite dark. To be 
cloudy at noon, and darkish at three or four of the clock 
in the afternoon, swcly then it must needs be more 
dark in the evening. No, though it be not clear now, 
though it be a cloudy day, yet at the evening time it 
shall be light. When light is least expected, and when 
we most fear darkness, when we are ready to conclude, 
Our day is gone : once God did bring a day to England, 
a comfortable day; though it was a little dark, yet there 
was a glorious light in comparison of what we had be- 
fore ; but now the evening begins to shut upon us, '' we 
looked for light, but behold darkness." If we see 
things go on with difficulty and opposition, we shall be 
ready to have our hearts sink within us, and to cry, 
Now our day is gone, and the evening is coming. But, 
my brethren, be of good comfort, for " at evening time 
it shall be light;" when we expect evening, when it is 
most unlikely to be Ught, then shall the light of the 
Lord break forth most gloriously. For whenever this 
day of Jezreel comes, there must be such a glorious 
work of God, as may magnify his name before the eyes 
of all men, and therefore at the evening it shaU be 
light. " And it shall be in that day, that living waters 
shall go out from Jerusalem : " we have had some 
drops of living waters in this our day, but there is a 
day coming wherein living waters shall even flow out 
of Jerusalem. 

Now, to wind up all, there is a day for the saints, a 
rest for the people of God, a day wherein God will de- 
liver them from all afflictions. I have met with one, 
who, observing that the Jews might kindle no fire 
upon theu' sabbath, because that rest was to signify 
the rest of the saints, remarks, That was a type tluit 
there is such a time of rest for the saints, that they 
shall be delivered fi-om all fieiy ti'ials, all their afflic- 
tions shall be taken away. " Great shall be the day of 
Jezi-eel." 

Obs. 1. Let the consideration of this be a strong 
argument to draw all people to the ways and love of 
godliness, to come and join with the churches in aji- 
pointing Christ Head over them. All you wicked ones 
who have forsaken the Lord hitherto, come in and join 
now, and submit unto Jesus Chr-ist as your Head, " for 
gi-eat shall be the day of Jezi'eel." There is a great day 
for the church of God, a day of glory, a day of abund- 
ance of wonderful mercy &om God to the churches. 
They shall have their day ; come you in and embrace 
religion, that you may partake of their glory. Certain- 
ly, the saints of God shall have the best of it, shall have 
the day of all the world, let the world strive against 
them as they can. Every man desu-es to follow the 
stronger party, and to cleave to that. Would you clea\e 
to the stronger part? Cleave to the saints of God, for 
certainly they are the stronger part. The church is 
rising, and will rise more and more till it be risen unto 
the height. Though there be some opposition, yet it is 
such as shall make the glory of the day so much the 
more. 

Those men who now stand up to plead for antichrist. 
and to oppose this work of God, are men born out of 
time, born in an iU hour. Papists and superstitious 



people heretofore prospered in their way, because the 
day of God was not so near, but that was the day of his 
patience in permittmg antichrist to continue. But dost 
thou resist now ? what ! superstitious now ? what ! op- 
posing the work of God now, when God is coming out 
to fight against popery and superstition, when God is 
about to do such great things for his churches ? Thou 
fightest against God, and God will fight against thee, 
and thou shalt be thi-own. Thou art bom in the worst 
time that possibly could be, worse than all the adver- 
saries of the truth in former times. 

06s. 2. If there be such a day, let us be willing to 
suffer a little for a while, and to mourn for the chm-ches 
a while in that way of mom'ning to which God calls us, 
for there is a recompence coming, glory enough coming 
even in this world. There is a time of triumphing, let 
us be content with our warfare here for a while. 

Obs. 3. Let us study these things. It is useful for 
people in these times to search into these truths of God, 
that they may be the better prepared to meet Christ 
their Bridegroom when he comes. Ezek. xl. 4, speaks 
of the glorious times of the gospel, especially of these 
times which I am describing ; where God saith to the 
prophet, " Behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine 
cars, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show 
thee." And what did God show him ? The measure of 
the temple, and all the glorious things that should be 
in the chmxh in future times. So I say to you, my 
brethren, concerning all I have spoken of the gi'eat day 
of Jezreel ; behold with your eyes, look into God's book 
and see what is said there, and hear with your ears, and 
set your hear"ts upon what has been set before you. In 
Isa. xli. 20, you have a passage somewhat like this : 
speaking of the mercies of God to his church in latter 
times, the prophet saith, " That they may see, and 
know, and consider, and understand together, that the 
hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of 
Israel hath created it." IMark how one word is heaped 
upon another, that they may " see, and know, and con- 
sider, and understand" what God would do for his 
people. And when God revealed the glorious tilings 
he intended for his church in future times in the book 
of the Revelation, mark how he begins. It is said, God 
gave this fu-st to Clirist ; secondly, Christ to the angel ; 
thirdly, the angel to John ; and then there is pro- 
nounced a blessing to him that reads and hears the 
words of this prophecy, and understands it. What a 
solemn way of blessing is here ! There is no instance 
in the Bible of a blessing so solemnly proclaimed to 
the reading and hearing of any of the books of God, as 
to that book. Therefore, though they are things that 
seem to be above us, yet, certainly, God would have us 
to inqiure into these things. It is the fruit of the piu'- 
chase of the blood of Christ to open these seals, Rev. 
v. 9. There was no man in heaven nor in earth that 
was able to open the book, and to loose the seals there- 
of; only the Lamb that was slain, and that hath re- 
deemed us unto God by his blood, he was only worthy 
to open the seals. It is a fruit, I say, of the slaughter 
of Christ and of his blood, and therefore cry to him to 
open these things to thee. And though thou art very 
weak in regard of parts, and thinkest. How can I im- 
derstand such tilings as these ? know that Christ tlirough 
his blood comes to open these seals, and seeing it is a 
fruit of his blood, it is no matter whether thou art weak 
or strong if he open them to thee. God saith to the 
prophet," Jer. xxxiii. 2, " Call unto me, and I will show 
thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not ;" 
so I say to you, be a praying peo])le, call upon God, and 
he will cause you to understand great and excellent 
things that you have not known. 

Obs. 4. Seeing these things shall be thus, what manner 
of persons ought we to be ! how heavenly our conversa- 
tion ! Oui- hearts should rise up from the earth, seeing 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



God intends to do such great things for his people. 
" Arise, sliine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of 
the Lord is risen upon thee," Isa. Ix. 1. So I say to 
the churches now, Arise, ai-isc, shake off the dust of 
your earthly affections, for the light of God is now 
ready to aiise upon you. Now mrsicm corda, now lift 
up yoiu' hearts above the things of the world. We read 
in Rev. iv. of the fom- living creatures that appeai'ed 
unto John ; the first was like a lion, and the second 
like an ox, and the third had a face as a man, and the 
foui'th was like a flying eagle. They ai-e, according to 
the interpretation of Brightnian, to describe to us the 
four states and conditions of the chm-ch. The primitive 
times were lion-like for then- valour ; the second age 
like an ox, to bear the hui-den of antichrist ; the thii-d 
had a face as a man, that stood for theii- liberties, and 
would not be under slaverv', and they are om- times ; 
and then the foiu'th as an eagle that soared aloft. In 
the state of the churcli hereafter, they shall be like an 
eagle, have heavenly hearts, no such drossy, base, 
earthly hearts as we have now. Labour we even now 
to be so that we may be fit for that day. 

Obs. 5. Let us all prepare for the Bridegroom against 
his coming. How shall wo prepare? The clotliiiig 
then shall be " wliite linen, which is the righteousness 
of the saints." That great docti'ine of our justification 
by the righteousness of Christ shall be the great busi- 
ness of that day, in which the glory of the saints shall 
much consist ; they shall be clothed with that ; it shall 
be clearly understood of all men ; they shall be ashamed 
to rest upon duties and ordinances as now they do. 
Let us study the doctrine of the righteoiisuess of C'luist 
aforehand, for that is to be our clothing at that day, 
that is the white linen of the saints which shall be their 
glory. Let us prepare oiu' lamps, and keep them all 
burning and shinuig ; the oil not only of justification, 
but of sanctification, active, stUTing in om- heai-ts ; that 
so we may be fit to entertain the Bridegroom whenever 
he comes. 

Obs. C. All of you laboiu- now to instnict yom' chil- 
dren in the knowledge of God and of Christ, bring 
them up in the fear of the Lord, that they may be seed 
for tliat day. Acquaint them with these things, for 
though perhaps you may be dead and gone before tins 
great day, yet they may live to see it ; therefore cate- 
chise them', and mstruct them, and di'op into them 
those principles that may fit them for meeting Jesus 
Chi-Lst their Bridegroom. 

Obs. 7. To conclude all, Let us be all praying Chris- 
tians. It is that which is charged upon us in Isa. Ixii. 6, 
7, " Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, 
and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make 
Jerusalem a praise in the earth." God has a day to set 
up Jerusalem as the praise of the whole earth ; O be 
pravnng, praj-ing Christians ever)- one of you, and give 
Goel no rest tiU he effect this. Remind God of aU his 
promises, search the prophets, search the book of God, 
and urge God with these promises to the chiu-ch. And 
vou that are the weakest, be not discouraged in your 
prayers, you may be a means to fiurther and hasten this 
great day of Jezrecl. Psal. cii. 17, the psalmist had 
spoken before of God's building up Zion, (and certainly 
that psalm is a prophecy of the future, glorious times 
of the chm-ch,) mark what he now saith, " He will re- 
gard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise then- 
prayer." Speaking of those who shall Uve a little before 
this day of Jezreel, the Lord shall regard the prayer of 
the destitute. The word nj)ij)n translated destitute, 
signifies a poor shrub in the wilderness, that the foot 
of every beast is ready to tread down ; and that poor 
shrub, that perhaps is despicable in the eyes of the 
world, and despicable in his own eyes, yet saith the 
text, the Lord shall regard the prayer of that poor 
shrub. Is there ever a poor shrub present, though 



never so destitute or despicable in the eyes of the 
world, or in thhie own eyes ? yet be thou a praying 
Clii'istian, prajing for those glorious things for the 
church, and God will regai-d thy prayer, he will not 
despise thy prayer. Perhaps thou art ready to despise 
thy prayers thyself, but God will not despise them. Let 
all om- hearts be lifted up, and let us all cry with the 
chmch. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. O let this 
day come, " for great shall be the day of Jezi-eel." 



CHAPTER II. 



Ver. 1. Sai/ ye unto your brethren, Ammi ; and to 
yotir sisters, Ruhamah. 

Some join the fust verse of this chapter to the end 
of the foi-mer ; and (according to a sense that may be 
given of the words, agreeable to the scope of the latter 
part of the former chapter) it may seem more fit to be 
made the end of that, than the beginning of this. 
There God was promising mercy to Ms people, that 
those who were not his people should be his people, 
and those that had not received mercy shoidd receive 
mercy. Now he calls upon aU whose hearts were with 
God, to .speak to one another of this great favoiu- of 
God to his people, for their mutual encouragement, 
and for the praise of his name. As if he should say, 
WcU, you have been under di-eadful threats of God, 
yom- sins have called for severe punishment, but my 
grace is free, it is rich and powerful, therefore you that 
were not my people shall become my people ; you that 
had not obtained mercy shall obtain mercy : " Say unto 
your bretlu-en, Ammi ; and to your sisters, Ruhamah ;" 
that is, O you that are godly, speak one to another, and 
tell one another, for the quickening of one another's 
hearts, of this great favour of God, his free gi-ace ! O say, 
Ammi, Ammi, the people of God; Ruhamah, God's 
mercy : we were not his people, but now Ammi again, 
God has promised to make us his people, we were 
rejected ft-om mercy, but mercy is come again, now 
Ruhamah. Oh the mercy of God ! oh that free grace 
of our God ! that we who have been so vile, we who 
have so provoked the eyes of his glory, we who have so 
sinned against mercy itself, that mercy should thus 
follow us, to make us his people, and to save us from 
his wrath ! Ammi ! Ruhamah ! 

Obs. 1. It is a good thing to speak of the loving-kind- 
ness of our God. " It is a good thing to give thanks 
unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O 
Most High ; to show forth thy lovmg-kindness in the 
morning, and thy faithfulness evei-)- night." Psal. xcii. 1, 
2. That psalm is appointed for the sabbath. It is a 
woik of the sabbath to be speaking one to another of 
the goodness of God ; especially in tills case, when a 
people were afraid that they should have been for ever 
rejected, and yet God calls them agam, Ammi, my 
people, and says now that he will have mercy upon them. 
" One generation shall praise thy works to another, and 
shall declare thy mighty acts : I will speak of the 
glorious honour of thy majesty, and of tliy wondi-ous 
works," Psal. cxlv. 4. 5. Atark what the works of God 
are .toward his chm-ch, when he comes in tlie ways 
of mercy : they are wondi-ous works of God, they arc 
the mighty acts of God, they are such wherein the 
honour of God appears, yea, they are the honour of his 
majesty, yea, they are the glorious honour of his ma- 
jesty. He displays majesty, honoiu- of majesty, glorious 
honour of majesty, the mighty works of God, the won- 
derftd works of God. When these appear, these are fit 
to be declared indeed. And for them to be able to say 



Vep.. 1. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



to one another, Ammi, and Euhamah, it was to declare 
the -n-onderful works of God, and the glorious lionoui- of 
his majesty. Yea, it follows further in that psahu, ver. 
6, " men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts : 
and I will declare thy greati-.ess." And ver. 7, "They 
shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great good- 
ness." Montanus renders it, eruclabunt, they shall not 
be able to keep it in, but break forth in the memoiy of 
thy goodness. 

Happy are tho?e people to whom God grants such 
subjects of discoui-se, that they may say to their bre- 
thren and sisters, Ammi, and Ruhamah. It was not 
long since, that, when we met with our brethren, we 
could not have such a subject of discourse as this, but 
usually when Christians met together, after their saluta- 
tions, their first question was ; Oh ! what shall we do ? 
what course shall we talve ? All the news almost in the 
kingdom, and the subject of discom-ses, specially among 
the saints, was this ; buch a minister silenced in such a 
place, such a one banished in another place, such a one 
imprisoned in another place, such a one high-commis- 
sioned in another place, such signs of the wrath of 
God upon \ts, we are afraid that God is going, if he be 
not quite gone already ; we are afraid that he will not 
only reject us fi-om being his people, but reject us from 
being a people upon the face of the earth. 

But, blessed be God, he has changed the subject of 
cm- discoiu'ses. Now, God's ways have begun to be 
towai'ds us as if he intended to make us again his 
people. Now, when we meet together, we have plenti- 
ful subjects of discourse about God's gi'ace and mercy ; 
we say, Ammi, Ruhamah, O the Lord manifests good- 
ness to an unworthy nation, we have hope that yet he 
will own us to be his people, that yet he wQl show 
mercy to us, though never so unworthy. Who would 
have thought to have seen and heard such things as we 
have seen and heard ! who would have thought to have 
seen the hearts of the adversaries so daunted, their 
power so cui'bed, then' rage so quelled, the wicked in 
their own works so insnared, and theii' hopes so disap- 
pointed ! '\\Tio woidd have thought to have seen the 
saints so rejoicing, theii- liberties so enlarged, their 
hearts and expectations so raised! Tliis is the free 
grace of God : Ammi, Ruhamah, we have obtained 
mercy, God has dealt with us in abimdance of grace. 
But we must not discourse of this when we meet as 
matter of news only, we must speak of it to the praise 
of God, for the sanctifying of om- hearts. 

Oiu- brethi-en in Ireland have another subject of dis- 
eom-se at this day. AVhen a brother and a sister meet, 
they say. Oh my father, my mother, taken such a day 
by the rebels and cruelly massacred ; such a kinsman, 
such a kinswoman, taken such a day and fearfully mur- 
dered ; such houses were fired, such cities and towns 
were taken! and with what sorrowful faces do they 
look one upon another, when they are thus relating 
these sad things ? The word of God came out against 
England, but it has lighted upon Ireland. O unworthy 
are we of these mercies which we enjoy, if, when we 
meet together, oiu' discourses be frothy and light, about 
vain and trivial tilings, when God has given us such a 
subject of disooiu'se as he has done by such gracious, 
wonderful, and glorious ways of his mercy towards us 
in this latter age. 

Obs. 2. As the mercies of God are to be incidcated 
upon OIU- spirits, we should not only tell them one to 
another, but again and again impress them upon our 
hearts. " Say to yoiir brethren, Ammi ; and to your 
sisters, Ruhamah." Indeed God's mercies at fii'st seem 
to take impression upon our spirits, but the impression 
is soon vanished. 

Obs. 3. A gracious heart should rejoice in God's 
mercies towards others. " Say to your brethren ;'' that 
is, according to some. Let Judkh, to whom God showed 



special mercy, say to Israel, to the ten tribes, w'nich 
were more threatened to be cast off from being the 
people of God, than Judah was. Let Judah rejoice in 
tliis, that then- brethi-en are received again, to mercy. 
God's mercies are an infinite ocean, there needs no en- 
vjing there, no grieving for that which ot'ners have. 
\\Tien one man is richer than another, another is ready 
rather to envy liim than to rejoice. A courtier envies 
the favom- another has at comt ; why ? because these 
are naiTow tilings. But when wo come to God's mercj', 
there is room enough there ; that soul wliich has been 
made partaker of mercy, counts it a great happiness 
when in any way the mercy of God is magnified! 

Obs. 4. Those whom God has received unto mercy, 
we should receive into brotherly affection. "Say to 
your brethren and sisters :" has God showed mercy to 
such and such, well may vce account them our brethren 
and sisters then. If God takes them to mercv, we must 
be ready w iUingly to take them into brotherly society. 

But if we take these words as the beginning of the 
second chapter, we shall see them interpreted ui a dif- 
ferent way. And taking them so, as most do, I shall 
first show you the scope of the chapter in the parts of 
it, and then in what sense the words may be expounded, 
as the beginnmg of this chapter. 

The scope of this second chapter is much accordhig 
to that of the first, viz. to show to Israel then- sin and 
danger; and, secondly, to promise God's abundant 
grace and mercy again. The fii'st is especially from 
the beginning to the 14tli verse ; and the second from 
the 14th verse to the end of the chapter. 

Y'et this is not an exact division, neither can we give 
one, more than we could give of the other chapter, be- 
cause things are so intermixed. They are the pathetical 
expressions of a loving, and yet a provoked, husband. 
He is convmcing his spouse who has dealt falseh* with 
him, and showing her her sm ond danger ; but whilst 
he is manifesting his displeasure, the bowels of his 
compassion begin to yearn, and he must use some ex- 
pressions of love in the midst of all ; then, when he has 
had some expressions of love, he again rebukes her and 
shows her her sin, and then his bowels yearn, and he re- 
tmms to expressions of love again. We have found it 
so in the former chapter, and shall find it so in tliis : 
for though the beginning of this chapter, to the 14th 
verse, is specially spent in convincing of sin and tlu'eat- 
ening of judgment, yet in the 6th and 7tli verses there 
are promises of mercy and favoiu', and expressions of 
love ; and then in tlie 8th verse he thi-eatens again, 
and ill the 14th verse begins to express mercy again. 

As God acts in this case, so should we. Wnen we 
rebulie others we should manifest love to them : and 
when we manifest love, to do it so as to take notice of 
what is amiss, and to reprove them. Many parents 
know not how to rebuke then- children, they do it with 
nothing but bitterness ; and they know not how to mani- 
fest their love, they do it with nothing but fondhng and 
immoderate indulgence. God unites both together. 

What then must be the sense and the scope of the 
words, " Say to your brethren, Ammi," iS:c. Some- 
thing must be siipphed for nialdng up the full sense. 
As if God had said, O Ammi, you whom I have re- 
served to be my people, you to whom I have showed 
mercy, there yet is remaming a handfiJ of you ; while 
you remain to be my people, and otliers cast off, and 
you obtaining mercy, and others rejected, let it be your 
care to exhort, persuade, convince, and to use all the 
means you can to bring your bretliren and sisters to 
that grace of God which "you have received. " Say to 
vour brethi-en :" say; it is not expressed what they 
should say, but by that wliich follows we may under- 
stand what the meaning of God is. "N^lien he saith, 
" Plead with your mother," S:c., that is, Y'ou, the rem- 
nant, that have received mercy, and are my people, do 



oG 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



not think that, so long as you escape, and are well enough 
yourselves, it is no gi-eat matter what becomes of others ; 
O no, but let your hearts be much toward your bre- 
thren and sisters, let your bowels yearn toward them. 
O seek, if it be possible, to draw them unto God, that 
tiiey may receive mercy too ; labour to convince them ; 
say, and sjieak to them, that they may not yet stand 
out against God and he obstinate : " Say to your bre- 
thi-en, Ammi, and to your sisters. Ruhamah." 

Obs. 1. That in the most corrupt times God usually 
reserves a people, to deliver some from the guilt of the 
general con'uptions of the place where they live. This 
Ammi and liuhamah were a remainder, whom God 
delivered through his grace from the general corrup- 
tions of the place where they lived ; for otherwise they 
had not been fit to have said to their brethren, or to 
have spoken to their sisters, in this sense. . 

Obs. 2. Tliose whom God delivers from the guilt of 
general corruptions, are to be acknowledged the people 
of God. Such as have received mercy from God in a 
special manner. It is free grace that has made this 
„ ,. . ... . difTercnco between vou and others. Au- 

miiiia, non ait reuc- gustme remarks on 1 Jvings xix. 18, "I 
r'mt"s', Md'reliqS ; havc left me scvcn thousand in Israel," 
Mm'^£"A""°" God says not, there are left seven thou- 
f "v 'I'i c°Ts''"' ^^"fl' o"" tl'^y h^'^'6 Isft themselves, but 1 
have left. It is the special work of God 
to preserve any for himself in evil times. 

Obs. 3. The Lord takes special notice of those who 
are thus by his grace preserved in evil times. Ammi, 
Euhamah. There are a peo])le among these that are 
Ammi, my people, that have obtained mercy from nie, 
mine eyes are upon them, my heart is toward them ; 
there is a number who have kept their garments unde- 
filed even in Sardis, and I will remember this for ever 
for their good. "Noah was a just man and perfect in 
his generations," Gen. vi. 9 : and what then? chap. vii. 1, 
" Come thou and all thy house into the ark ; for thee 
have I seen righteous before me in this generation." 

Obs. 4. Such as keep themselves from the coiTuptions 
of the times wherem they live, they, and only they, are 
fit to exhort and reprove others. Those that are not 
guilty themselves as others are, are fit to speak to others, 
to say to their bretlu-en and to theii' sisters. They are 
Torpc^idoctei, fit to exhort, who perfoi-m the duties 
c.im culpa rcdarguit thcmselves that they exhort unto. AVe 
"'"'""■ say it is a shameful thing for one to be 

teaching, if he be guilty himself; he cannot with free- 
dom of spirit say to his brethren and sisters, Ammi. 

Obs. 5. It Ls the duty of those whom God has de- 
livered from the con-uption of the times, to seek to 
draw all others to God ; to seek to convmce others of 
theii- evil ways, and so bring them in to the truth. AVc 
read, Lev. xix. IT, ''Thou shalt not hate thy brother in 
thine heai't : thou shalt in any wise rebuke" thy neigh- 
bour, and not suffer sin upon him." Surely those who 
have obtained mercy, and have the impression of God's 
mercy upon their spirits, are far from having hateful 
hearts ; now it is hatred for any to sutler sin to lie u]ion 
liis brother, and not to do what in him lies to help him. 
It is des])erate pride for men to trium])h over others in 
theii- falls, and it is wiclced cruelty to suffer others to lie 
down when they are fallen, if they can raise them. 
Seafaring men, who are delivered themselves from shij)- 
wreck, and all is safe with them, if they see another 
ship ready to sink in the sen, and those on ship-board 
cry out to them to come to help to save them, tliough 
they be never so for remote, yet if it sliould be known 
that they decline to go out to help them, all the seamen 
■would cry out shame on such, and be readv to stone 
them for letting a ship sink when they might have 
helped. Certainly it is the same case with those to 
whom God has showed mercy, if others lie in their 
sins, and they do not what they can for their help. 



Obs. 6. The nearer the relation of any persons is to 
us, the more should our compassion be towards them, 
in seeking to deliver them from their sins. " Say to 
your brethren, and to your sisters." There is more 
likelihood of prevailing with your brethren and sisters. 
Has God converted you, and have you a brother or a 
sister not converted, or any of your kindred ? go, and 
tell them of the danger of their evil ways, tell them of 
the excellency of tlie ways of God, exhort them to 
come in, and to make ti-ial of the blessed ways of God. 
AATien a brother speaks to a brother, or a sister to a 
sister, it is the bringing a hammer of gold to work upon 
gold, and of silver to work upon silver. 

Obs. 7. Exliortations to and reprehensions of others, 
should be given with much love and meekness. " Say 
to your brethi-en and sisters." Look upon them as 
brethren and sisters, though they have not yet obtained 
the like mercy that you have. St. Paul, 2 Thess. iii. 
15, speaking of one that walks inordinately, from whom 
we are to withdraw in familiar society, yet, saith he, " ad- 
monisli him as a brother." Those who reprove and 
admonish others with bitterness of spirit and evil speak- 
ing, are like a foolish fowler, who seeks to get the fowl, 
but goes boisterously, and makes a noise : the way, if 
he would get it, is to go on quietly, softly, and gently ; 
so the way to gain a brother, is not by boisterousness 
and violence, but softness, and gentleness. It is ob- 
served by some of the Jews concerning Exod. xxv. o, 
where the matter of the tabernacle is said to be gold, 
and silver, and brass, stiU you do not hear of iron re- 
quired for the building of it ; no, u'on, rigid, severe, 
liard dispositions, are not fit either to be- matter of the 
tabernacle themselves, or to di'aw others to be the 
matter of it. 

Yea, but if saying will not be enough to do the deed, 
then follows jilcading. That is the second. Say to 
them, admonish them, exhort them, but what if that 
will not do? do not leave them immediately, but 
" plead," yea, and •' plead with youi- mother " too, not 
only with yoiu' bretlu-en and with your sisters, but with 
your mother. 

Ver. 2. Plead it-ilh your mother, plead : for she is 
not viy jt'ife, 7ieither am I her husband : let her there- 
fore put auat/ her whoredoms out of her sight, and her 
adulteries from between her breasts ; 

13>"\ Plead, Litigate, so some, Contendite, Strive ; the 
Vulgate reads Judicate, Judge your mother. It may 
seem to be a harsh phrase at fii-st, but we shall labour 
to acquaint you with the mind of God in it. Here is 
an exhortation to the private members of the church, 
to all, one or other, to plead with theu' mother, to plead 
even with the church of which they are members, and 
so to plead as to deal plainly, and to tell her that she is 
not the wife of God. 

Ohs. 1. Here we see God's condescension, that he 
will have us plead the case betwixt others and himself, 
as Isa. V. 3, " Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my 
vineyard." This shows the equity of God's dealing. 
Plead the case ; perhaps some of you might think I 
deal hardly with your mother in so rejecting lier, and 
in bringing such judgments upon her. No, not so, but 
plead you the case, plead rather with her, than complain 
of me for my dealing with her. 

Obs. 2. Wlicn exhortations and admonitions will not 
do, we must strengthen ourselves by pleading. If there 
be any way more powerful than exhortation and ad- 
monition, we should take that way, and not presently 
give over ; for though it is not said here. Plead witii 
your brothers and sisters, yet they arc included in this, 
when ho saith " Plead with your mother." 

06*. 3. It is a hard thing to convince idolaters of 
their sin, and of the justice of God coming against them 



Vee. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



57 



for theii- sin. " Plead with your mother, plead ;" she 
will not acknowledge it, she will stand it out, and say 
she has not done so ill, she is not worthy to be cast oti'; 
you had need plead, and plead hard with her. Idolaters 
have so many distinctions, evasions, and pretences, that 
it is a thousand to one if you prevail with them. AMicn 
you deal with pajjists about worshipping of images, they 
will have such thstinctions of worship per se, and wor- 
ship per accidens, of honoui'ing the crcatm-e propter se, 
el propter aliud, proprie, improprie, and a Imndred of 
such distinctions and evasions, till they distinguish 
away the truth, and scarce understand themselves what 
they mean by then- distinctions. Hence, idolaters scorn 
at judgments threatened, they think only a company 
of foolish and timorous people fear such tilings ; they 
ci'V out, Say they that we are idolaters, and that griev- 
ous judgments of God are coming upon us ? a company 
of fooUsh, melancholy people, they fear their own fan- 
cies ! Was it not so heretofore, -when we were going 
on in the ways of idolatry apace ? Was it not the jeer 
and scorn of all such spiiits? If any seem but to 
question about idolatry, they would never be convinced 
of such a sm.nor ever fear any judgment hanging over 
our heads. Though God has prevented it through his 
grace, and has showed his prerogative in the ways of 
his mercy, yet certainly there was sign enough of 
drcadfid wrath hanging over us, and what yet may be 
we know not. 

Obs. 4. God loves to have people dealt with in a 
convincmg way. " Plead with your mother, plead." 
It is a forensic word, and carries with it such a kind of 
pleading as must be convincing and powerful. The 
Lord does not declare to the prophet, or to those other 
good people who were free from idolatry, that the peo- 
ple of Israel were generally corrupted ; he does not bid 
them go and terrify them, and .speak bitterly to them ; 
but go and plead the cause with them, seek to convince 
them, not rail upon them, but convince them. God 
loves to have people dealt with in a convincing way. 
Let not therefore any one think it enough, either minis- 
ter or lapnan, that he can speak terribly to people, and 
en' out against their sins ; but let him labovu- to con- 
vince them, to deal with them as rational creatiu'es, and 
to take away then- secret objections and shifts, and to 
make theu' sins plain before then- consciences. A con- 
vincing preacher, and a convincing Christian, is such a 
one as may be very useful, and do abundance of good 
to the church of God. 

Obs. 5. It is very fit that God should have some to 
plead for him, to plead his cause, as well as Satan has 
to plead his. The devil never wants pleaders. '\Mien 
did there ever such a bad cause come to a bench, or to 
any society, but found .some that would plead for it ? 
A shame that the worst cause in the world should have 
pleaders for it, and many times the cause of God sutlers 
by men being mute. God will take this very ill at theli- 
hands. It is true, God saith he wiU plead his own 
cause, and we are bound to pray, according to the 
psalmist, that God would " arise and plead liis own 
cause." And indeed, if God had not risen and pleaded 
his own cause better than we did, his cause would have 
been in the dirt before this. God is raising up his OMii 
cause, no thanks to us ; we have cause to lay oiu' hands 
ujion our mouths as guilty, in that we so basely and 
cowardly let the cause of God suffer ; and God appear- 
ing so immediately and gloriously, is the rebuking of 
us because we did not, we would not, before stand up 
to plead his cause. 

Obs. 6. AVhen any have found mercy from God, the 
sweetness of that mercy so warms their hearts, that they 
cannot endure to see that blessed God dishonoured. 
Plead you, Animi, Ruhamah : AMiat, my people, those 
to whom I have showed mercy, what' though it be 
your mother, what though it be any dear to you, what 



though they be gi'eat ones, what though they be a 
multitude, yet plead, plead for me against them. God"s 
mercy is so sweet, it so inttames them, that they must 
plead for God against any in the world. 

" Plead with your mother." That is, with the church, 
called a mother, because, as the mother is as it were 
the root from whence chikhen come, and divides her- 
self into branches ; so the community of a common- 
wealth or a church is called in Scripture a mother, and 
the jiarticular members are as several branches that 
grow from that root, they are as cliildren. Therefore 
you have such expressions in Scripture, as " the daugh- 
ters of Jerusalem ;" and there is no great difference be- 
tween calling Jerusalem which is the state, mother, or 
Jerusalem which is the church, mother ; for indeed the 
church and state were mixed both together. Learn 
hence, 

Obs. 7. It is lawful for childi-en to plead with their 
parents. Though it is true, this aims at something 
higher than what is between natural children and their 
parents, yet fi'om the expression tliis is intimated and 
implied. That it is lawful for chQcben to plead with 
their parents. If chUdi'en see then- parents in an im- 
godly way, they may lawfully plead with them, and 
their parents are bound to hearken to then- pleachng 
God's cause. It is a speech of Tertul- ^,„,„^,,, „, 
lian's. The begetter is to lie beloved, and ior.'siii', ripuuai- 
we may add, he is to be honoured, but 
our Creator is to be preferred. Childi-en must give 
due respect to their parents, yet so, as preferring the 
Lord before them ; and if the parents go agamst God, 
even then- chikhen must plead against them. As it is 
a great sin for parents to prefer their childi'en before 
God, so it is a great sin for childi'cn to prefer theu- pa- 
rents before God. 

L)o not think I aim to set chilch'cn against then- pa- 
rents, be but content to hear to the end, and you will 
be convinced that it is fit for children to plead with 
then- parents when they go from God. Thus we see it 
was with Jonathan, 1 Sam. xix. 4 ; he pleaded with his 
father, when he saw him in such a ])assionate mood and 
cruel sph'it toward poor David, " Let not the king sin 
against his servant, against David." " Let not the 
kmg," he gives him very respectfid words, and shows 
his due honour to his father : " Let not the king sin 
against his servant," and then goes on and tells his 
father of the good service David had done, and that 
David chd not deserve such ill usage from him. Thus, 
when childi-en see their fathers or mothers in a passion, 
it is fit enough for them in a humble, submissive man- 
ner to say, I beseech you, father, or mother, consider 
that by these tUstempered passions, instead of helping 
youi'self, you sin against God ; you know by experi- 
ence, that often in such passion many sins have broken 
from you, and you have grieved for it afterwards, oh do 
not again that wluch your conscience has so often 
checked you for. If chUdreu thus plead with their 
parents, they do no more than then- duty, and their 
parents are tjound to hearken to them. I confess, they 
shoidd be very careful to preserve due respect to then- 
parents, and not speak pertly, but with aU reverence 
and submission ; and privately too, if possible, not to 
(Uvulge their parents' weaknesses. You know Ham was 
cursed for di-scovering his father's nakedness, though he 
was drunk, he did not show due respect at that time to 
him ; but if he had sought to cover his father's naked- 
ness, and after had come and pleaded the case with 
him, certainly he had not been cursed, but received a 
blessing. 

Yea, and there is a great deal of reason that childi-en 
should plead with their parents, and that you should 
give them leave so to do, because, you know, childi-en 
are the worse for your sins, God threatens to " visit the 
sins of the parents upon the children, to the third and 



.\X EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



fourth generation ; " there are many threateuir.gs against 
children for the sins of their parents, therefore it con- 
cerns Your children that they should plead with you, 
and tfiat you should suffer them. For if you say. 
Sirrah, what have you to do with me ? v.hat does it 
concern you ? Yes, the child, if he does it in modesty 
and humility, may say, O father, it does concern mc, I 
may fare the worse for your sins ; God may come upon 
me for them ; therefore give me leave, I beseech you, to 
plead the cause of God with you. And if you will not 
give your children leave in tliis, they may rise up as 
witnesses against you another day. 

It is a very suitable and powerful pleading, that when 
children cannot prevail by humble and submissive ad- 
dress, then to plead with teai-s. We read that when 
C'ranmer and Ridley came to King Edward the Sixth, 
and were so earnest that he should give way to his 
sister, the Lady Mary, to have mass, he stood out and 
pleaded the case ■with them, and told them it was a sin 
against God. They used many carnal arguments to 
persuade the king, but he withstood them a great while. 
At length, when King Edward, who was but about fif- 
teen years of age, saw he coidd not prevail by pleading 
with words against those grave men, he burst into tears, 
and that so prevailed with them, that they went away, 
and concluded that the king had more cli\inity in his 
little finger than they had in all their bodies, and so 
yielded to him. Certainly, in such pleadings, the heart 
of a parent must needs be much hai-dened if he will 
not break and yield to his child. 

You that are parents, look upon your cliildren's plead- 
ing with you, and consider vdth yourselves, WHiat ! does 
God send one of my childi-en to come and plead the 
cause of God with me, to Axav; me from the ways of 
sin, and to do good to my soul for ever ? surely it is a 
mercy to have one out of my own bowels to stand for 
the cause of God ; sm'ely God is in it ; I see this child 
in other things walks humbly and obediently unto me. 
As indeed you cliildrcn, that plead -with your parents, 
need be careful so much the rather to be obedient to 
them, and not use an unseemly manner to check and 
reprove them ; and then it cannot but convince the 
heart of a parent. AVliat a blessing will it be to you 
children, if you, who have received your natural life 
from your parents, should be a means of their spiritual 
and eternal life ! 

Obs. 9. The members of a state and church shotdd 
behave towards it as children to a mother. They should 
have the affection of childi-en to it, they should take 
much to heart those things that conccni it, the suffer- 
ings of state or clun'ch should be the sufferings of all 
its members. There are children of Belial risen up 
among us, a viperous generation, who are even tearing 
the bowels of om- mother: let om- hearts break for this, 
as Psal. XXXV. 14, " I bowed down heavily, as one that 
mourneth for his mother." Let us not lift up otir heads 
and be merry now, but for the present bow do\\-n heavily, 
as those that arp called, tliough in some respects to re- 
joice, yet, in many others, to mourn this (lay for our 
mother. Yea, let our hearts rise against those vile 
monsters that join with a party to bring such woeful 
confusion and ti-ouble to our mother. We may say to 
them justly, as Saul said to Jonathan passionately, " You 
children of the rebellious and perverse, why have you 
chosen to join with them to your own confusion, and to 
the confusion of your mother's nakedness?" Let us do 
what we can to help. Shall we see her bowels torn, 
and not stu- at all ? She calls now to us to come and 
help her, and lets us know that if it go ill with her it 
cannot go well \nth us. If the mother's breast, through 
some incm-able disease, must be cut off, the tender 
father takes away the children, and will not suffer them 
to behold the torture of their mother. Who knows 
but that this has been God's end in taking aw-av his 



dear children in former times, because he would not 
have their tender hearts see so much sorrow and evil 
as should befall their mother ? And what God has re- 
served for us to see in the sufferings of om- mother, 
wc do not know. However, let her not suffer by us, 
let her not suffer for want of our help, let her not suffer 
without us, let us not be so unnatm-al as every one to 
be shifting for himself, neglecting our mother, that 
shoidd be as dear to us as the bowels out of which we 
came. 

06*. 10. Those that are godly should not only de- 
vote themselves to do good to themselves or friends in 
private, but they are to labom- to do good to the public 
also. Not only say to yoiu- sisters and your brethi-en, 
but " plead with your mother." There are many uan-ow- 
spiiited men, who, if they can discharge, as they think, 
their consciences with their families, and can plead 
with their servants and children, or some of their own 
near acquaintance, they have done enough, though for 
the public they take no care at all. 

06*. 11. It Ls apparently implied, that all those who 
are members of any chiurch ought to be men of know- 
ledge. Why ? because they are such as are called 
upon to plead -mih their mother. It is not for an ig- 
norant sot to plead ^ith a chmeh of God. The mem- 
bers of evei-)- church, therefore, should be enlightened, 
as in some cases they must plead 'ndth their mother. 

Obs. 12. God gives liberty to some private members 
of churches, yea, it is their duty in some cases to plead 
with the whole chm-ch. This we must speak of a little 
more. God's ways and his cause are so equal, that pri- 
vate Christians, though they are verj- weak, yet they 
may be able to plead with a chm-ch. It is true, a poor, 
weak, private Christian has a great disadvantage when 
he is to deal with a whole church, where there are many 
godly and learned : but if there is a disadvantage one 
way, the advantage is as much the other way, as the 
cause of God is on the one side, and not on the other. 
The goodness of the cause is as great an advantage, as 
the abilities and number on the other side is a disad- 
vantage. And sometimes particular members of a 
church have no other way to free themselves from tlie 
guilt of the sins of the church, but by pleading with 
them. 

Yea, and sometimes God has blessed the pleading of 
some few, and of weak ones too, with a multitude. 
Perhaps you may have heard of that notable story we 
have in ecclesiastical history of Paphnutius, who being 
in the council of Nice, where tliere were three himdred 
and eighteen bishops, and the business was about the 
marriage of ministers ; generally they decided, that those 
who were single shoidd not man-y. Paphnutius alone 
pleads against them aU in that case, and God so wrought, 
that he carried the cause, and he, one man, convinced 
all these tlii-eo hundi-ed and eighteen bishops. There- 
fore it is no discom'agement for one man to stand up 
and plead against a great many. So Petrus AValdensis, 
in the storr of the Waldenscs, though he was but one 
at first, yet ho stood against many thousands, and God 
blessed that wliich he did for the conversion of thou- 
sands. And Luther, you know, stood against almost all 
the world. 

. Yea, and though this one man may be but a private 
man, a weak man, God may bless that which he saith 
sometimes more than that which more learned men shall 
say. I have read in the Centuries this story : A com- 
pany of bishops being met together, there was a philoso- 
pher that stood out agauist the Christian religion, and 
so reasoned against them all, that he seemed to have 
the better of it. Amongst them there was one very 
godly and holy man, but a very weak man ; he, seeing 
the cause of CTod likely to suffer, desired leave to speak 
and encounter tliis philosopher. All the rest were 
troubled at it. thinking that God's cause would suffer 



Vee. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



59 



more by him, knowing that he was a verj- weak man ; 
but yet, knowing withal that he was a reiy holy man, 
none would oppose, but let him speak. So he began 
with the philosopher, reciting many articles of the 
faith ; TeU me, said he, -with majesty and authority, do 
you believe that these things are so ? do not so reason 
the case about these articles of our faith, but do you be- 
lieve ? Presently the philosopher acloiowlcdged him- 
self overcome. Hitherto, said he, I have 
"udM'e?vQba%d- heard words, and returned words, but 
S^Jirti'Sit'' °°'"' I f^^l ^^^ Di\-ine power, and I can- 
ijim respondere ' not fmlher answer ; and so yielded to 
be a Christian upon the pleading of this 
poor weak man, yet a veiy holy and godly man. God 
has blessed the pleading of weak ones, though against 
those that are very strong, therefore they must not be 
contemned. 

Qicolampadius saith,* Christ would be contemned 
and dishonom'ed, if we woidd not hear, were it but a 
child speaking with his Spmt, though all the world 
shoidd be against it. And in Isa. xi. 6, there is a 
promise, that in the times of the gospel the spirits of 
men should be so brought down, that they shoidd not 
stand upon their greatness and learning, but " a little 
ehUd should lead them;" that is the humble temper 
that God would have imder the gospel. 

But it may be said, "Will not tliis argue self-conceit ? 
"^Miat ! for one man, a private man, to plead with so 
many, with a church ? It is a sign that such a one is 
very opinionated, that should think that v.hat he ap- 
prehends is sufficient to stand against the apprehension 
of so many learned and godly men as are in the church. 
How can this be freed from aiTogance and proud con- 
ceitedness ? I answer, not so, it may be conscience, 
and not self-conceit, for the rvde of conscience is not 
the abOities, nor the holiness, nor the multitude of 
others, but it is that light that God lets in to convince 
according to his word. Nay, further, I suppose I may 
convince you that this pleading for God may proceed 
from much self-denial, and the not pleading may pro- 
ceed from vile, sinful self-respect. How will that ap- 
peal" ? Thus : for a private man when he sees the 
truth of God suffer, if he be of a humble and an in- 
genuous spirit, it cannot but be exceeding gi'ievous 
to him to think, that he must contest with such a mul- 
titude of able and godly men. He would rather a 
hundred times, if he looked at his own quiet and ease, 
sit down : For, t hink s he, if I speak, by this I shall be 
endangered to be accounted self-conceited, I sliall have 
the accusation of pride, I shall displease many of my 
friends, I shall make a great disturbance in myself; I 
am sure of my own peace, whatever I do to others, and 
how much better were it for me to sit still and be quiet. 
A htunble spirit would reason thus, but conscience 
puts him upon it : I shall contract guilt to myself if I 
be not, at least, a witness for God's truth ; therefore 
though I shall suffer so much in it, yet, rather than the 
truth shall suffer, rather than conscience shall plead 
against me, I will plead, though never so much to my 
(hsadvantage. Now, if such a one can-y it humbly and 
quietly, certainly he is rather to be accounted a self- 
deming man ; for it is a very hard task. AVhereas, on 
the other side, self-love is more likely to think thus : It 
is ti-ue, these things are not right, I see they are not ac- 
cording to the truth of God. Conscience indeed would 
have me speak, but I shall trouble myself, and what 
will they think of me on the other side, where there 
are so many able and godly men ? sm-ely I shall be 
thought a conceited fool,- and therefore I were as good 
hold my peace, and sleep in a whole skin, and be quiet. 
Thus because they have so much self-respect, and love 

* Contemneretur ecclesia Christi, si vel unum puelliim ejus 
Divino Spiritu loquentem non audiremiis, etiamsi oranes re- 
clament. CEcolampadius. 



then- own quiet, and cannot endure to suffer any trouble, 
they win leave the truth to suffer, and theij- consciences 
to be pleading against themselves, rather than thus 
plead for the cause of God. 

Certainly they that are charitable would rather take 
things in the better part, than in the evil. It is pos- 
sible that a man may through pride of spirit plead 
with others, but yet you may perceive it in the gei;eral 
course of his conduct. Now if, in the general com-se of 
a man, he carries himself humbly and submissively, so 
that you see him yielding as much as he can in all law- 
ful things, and when he pleads against an evil he is not 
sudden, nor rash, nor pleads against every light evil, 
but approaches it with trouble in his spii'it, and carries 
it with all quietness and humility ; it is your rigidness, 
and that spirit which does not beseem a Christian, 
which is not the spfrit of Chi'ist in this thing, to judge 
this to be pride. For certainly under this false judg- 
ment the cause of God has suffered much. 

You will say. How can it be imagined, that one man 
should see more than many, more than others equally 
able ? To that I answer. In a community, where there 
are many, though they should be godly, yet many of 
them may have their spirits biassed with prejudice and 
self-ends, and so not come to see the truth, though they- 
are more able. Again ; perhaps, though they may be 
more able in most things, yet in some one thing God 
may leave them ; yea, though they may be more able 
at other times, yet for some one time God may leave a 
man in a thing that he is very able m at another time. 
And perhaps a great many of them for the present may 
have so much distemper of spirit, as they may not speak 
according to what they tliink themselves. Therefore 
it may be useful for some one man to be pleading vdtb 
many others. 

I beseech you consider tliis, it is verj- useful. Men 
must not tliink that God dispenses the knowledge of 
his truth always according to natm-al abilities. For 
want of this consideration many are led into much evil. 
For they think with themselves,- if a man have more 
ability to understand natui-al things than others have, 
therefore he must needs have more ability to imder- 
stand spiritual things than others have. This is a mis- 
take. A learned man may have great abiUties, and un- 
derstand the rules of natm-e, yet a poor weak man may 
have the mind of Chiist more than he has. For the 
promise is to them that fear God : " The secret of the 
Lord is vrith them that fear him," Psal. xxv. 14. It 
may he another man has more abilities, but liis spirit 
may be more distempered than the poor weals, man's. 
" I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because thou hast hid these things fr'om the wise and 
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so. 
Father : for so it seemed good in thy sight," Matt. xi. 
25, 26. 

If multitudes had been an ai'gumeut against the 
truth, then in the primitive times, when the Chi-istian 
reUgion began, certauily very few would have followed 
Jesus Chi'ist. Yea, and" there is not more disadvantage 
and disproportion between one or two private members 
of a church and the whole church, than there was at 
that time between the whole church and tlie world. St. 
John saith, " We know that we are of God. and the 
whole world lieth in wickedness," 1 John v. 19. " We 
know:" what a singular spirit was here! here was 
singularity indeed, if you talk of singidarity ; you 
are aii-aid you should be counted self-conceited and 
singulai- in differing fi-om others. " We know that 
we ai-e of God, and the whole world Ueth in wicked- 
ness." 

Thus we see the thing a little cleared, as tliis point 
had need be, but we have not yet done with it. There 
must be some rules given, or otherwise we should wrong 
the point in naming it. 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



Cliristians may plead with their mother, yet they 
must observe these rules. 

First, They must not plead -with her for eveiy light 
thing ; for the Scripture gives us this rule, " Love 
covereth a multitude of sins." We must not stand 
pleacUng for ever)' infirmity with our brother, but rather 
pass by many and cover them ; much less then with the 
church. But if there be that which is notorious, so 
that I cannot have communion with them, and I shall 
be wrapped up in the guilt except I testify the truth, 
certainly then I am bound to plead 

Secondly, It must be orderly done ; that is, if pos- 
sible, you must make the officers of the church to be 
your mouth in pleading. I say, if it can be. If it 
come to declaring the evil to the chmxh, it should 
rather be by him whom God has appointed to be his 
mouth to the church ; for you do it in God"s name, 
therefore the most orderly way to do it, if it may be 
done, is by him that is God's mouth. 

Thii-dly, It must be so as you must manifest all duo 
respect to the church ; showing in your can-iage, that 
you are apprehensive and sensible, even at this time, of 
that distance that is between you and that whole so- 
ciety whereof you are a member. 

Fourthly, You must do it in a yeiy peaceable way, 
so as to manifest that you desire peace, and not to be 
the least disturbance to the peace of the church, but 
that the peace of it is dear and precious to you. There- 
fore, -nhen you have witnessed the ti'uth, and discharged 
your conscience, you must be then content to sit down 
quiet, for so the rvde is in that case ; that the spirits of 
the prophets must be subject to the prophets. But if 
it should jjrove that the churcli continues the evil, after 
all means used and all patience exercised in such a 
case, you may desire to be dismissed from it, and de- 
part ; but in as peaceable a way as possible, continu- 
ing due respect to the church, though you should de- 
part, only leaving your witness behind you. 

The papists cry out against us for pleading against 
them, and say it is an ill bird that will defile its own 
nest, and they tell us the curse of Ham is upon us for 
discovering our parent's nakedness. They are to know 
this, that there is more Uberty for a member of a church 
to plead with a church, than" for a child to plead with 
his parent. Though there be liberty for a child, yet 
there is more liberty for the member of a church. For 
a parent, though he should be never so evil, yet he 
does not lose his right over his child. Though your 
parents should be very wicked, yet know, that their 
wickedness does not discharge you of your dutv ; that 
all children should take notice'of. But a church may 
so fall ofi' from God, as that the members of it may be 
free from their duty to it, and therefore may have more 
liberty to plead, than a child with his parent. And 
certauily, so far have they fallen from God, when they 
discharge those that plead against them. 

Well, but if a member may plead with a church, with 
their mother ; certainly, then, there is no one member 
of a church so high, but he may be jileadcd with by 
another ; yea, any that is an officer of a clun-ch may 
be pleaded with, even by private pcojile in that church. 
Col. iv. IT, " Say to Archippus, Take heed to thy minis- 
try." It is an exhortation to all the churcli, to say to 
Archiijpus, and admonish him to look to his ministrv. 
For though the officer of a church bo nearer to Chi-ist 
the Head than other members are, as the arm is nearer 
the head than the hand ; yet if the arm sliall send fortli 
any thing to the hand that it has not from the head, 
(as in a flux of putrid humours that rest in the ann.) 
then it would be the strength of the hand to resist 
t'aose ill humours which the arm sends forth. So if 
any officer of the church shall send forth that which 
he did not receive from the Head, to any member, 
but some putrid humour of his own, it is the vurtue 



of that member to resist the receiving of any such 
humour. 

It is the pride of many that scorn any private per- 
son's pleading. Pride in men, which, through want of 
that right order which should be in all churches, is 
grown to such a height, that those who take to themselves, 
as proper, the name of clergy, think it a dishonour to 
them for any one who is not a clergyman to speak to 
them or achnonish them, or to reason with them about 
any thing ; or when they have preached, to come to 
them for further satisfaction in somewhat that they 
have delivered ; or if they be neghgent in their duty, 
to tell them of it, though never so submissively and 
meeldy; their pride makes them rise so high. And 
observe, that they do so upon the ground that thev are 
the clergy, which signifies God's inheritance and God's 
lot, and so contemn others as inferior. You shall find 
in Scripture, that the people are called clergy in dis- 
tinction from the ministers, and never the ministers in 
the New Testament in distinction from the people, the 
word K\i]poQ is not attributed to them to my remem- 
brance, but I am sure it is attributed to the congrega- 
tion, to the private members, by way of distinction from 
them. That you see in 1 Pet. v. 3, " Neither as being 
lords over God's heritage." Mijii' uig KUTaKvpuvovTiQ 
riiv Mfpuiv, not lording it over God's clergy, over God's 
lot. Certainly, that exhortation is adckessed to the 
officers of the church, that thev must not lord it over 
God's inheritance, that is, over God's clergy. The word 
k-Xijpoj, therefore, from whence clergy comes, is, you see, 
attributed to the jicople. We find in Acts xviii. 24, 
that Apollos, " an eloquent man and mighty in the 
Scriptures," and a man of a fervent spii-it, permitted 
AquUa and Priscilla, ivho were private people, to take 
him unto them, and expound to him the way of God 
more perfectly." AMiere have you an Apollos now, an 
eloquent man, a scholar, a great clergjinnn, Ijut would 
scorn and contemn a poor man and his wife, who should 
attem))t to take him home and instruct him in the way 
of God more ])crfectly ? Y'et Apollos, an eloquent man 
and mighty in the Scriptm-es, took it well, and was 
willing to receive further instruction from these people. 
And we find, Cant, v., that in the time of the refoma- 
ation of the chiu'ch, the church went to tlie watchmen, 
and the watchmen beat her, she had more relief from 
the daughters of Jerusalem than from them. 

There may, however, be a notorious abuse of both 
these, and it is exceccUngly difficult for a people to 
understand their liberty without abusing of it, either 
against the church, or against the officers of a church. 
This power may be abused by ])ersons, who in pride, 
arrogancy, and a spirit of contention, take delight in 
contradiction. There are many ])eople of such a hu- 
mour, that it is their very delight to contradict, and 
they think they are nobody except they have somewhat 
to say against then' officers, or against ^^•hat is delivered ; 
and upon that very groimd wiU quarrel not out of mere 
conscience, but that it may appear to others that thev 
see farther than other men. And if they be in a com- 
munity, they conceive that every one would think them 
nobody if they say nothing, therefore, that they may 
appear to be somebody, they will find fault, though they 
scarce understand what they say, or whereof they af- 
firm, showing their disapprobation in a vh'ulent spirit, 
and insulting those whom God has set over tliem. 
Certainly, this is a gross and abominable thing, whereas 
tlie rule of Christ is, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat 
him as a father," 1 Tim. v. 1 ; do not think that because 
you may plead with them, and God's cause may suffer 
by your sdencc, that tlu'refore you may rebuke them in 
an undecent and unseendy manner. You may indeed 
go in a humble manner, acknowledging the distance 
betwixt you and him, he being an officer, and so "en- 
treat him as a father." Do many of you so when you 



Vr,E. 2. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



61 



go and reason the case with a minister, whom you 
yourselves will acknowledge to be an officer of Christ ? 
It may be that sometimes, through bitterness of spirit, 
you cast them off from being otKcers of Chi-ist before 
you have sufficient warrant for it ; and tlierefore the 
apostle saith in the same chapter, ver. 19, " Against an 
elder receive not an accusation but before two or tliree 
witnesses : " mark, you must not " receive an accusa- 
tion," much less a condemnation, for the credit and 
honour of the ministers of Christ are very dear and 
precious unto him ; therefore take heed how, through a 
violent and turbulent spu-it, you cast any dishonour 
upon those whom Christ has set over you. 

Thus I have endeavoured to discover the truth to 
you, and so Kmited as I liope it may be for edification, 
and not for injury to any. 

" She is not my wife, neither am I her husband." This 
pleading has much bitterness in it, yet it is in as fair 
terms as can be set out. " She is not my wife." He does 
not bid them say to their mother, she is a harlot, but, 
" she is not my wife." You will say, Why ? what cHfFerence 
is there between her not being his wife, and her being a 
harlot ? Jlay we not call things as they are ? True, the 
thing is the same, but hence the Spirit of God teaches us, 
that those who plead against others must not give ill terms, 
especially when they plead against superiors ; you may 
declare your minds fully, but in as fair, modest, comely, 
and the least provoking terms possible. It is a foul 
evil in many, if they see ministers or churches act im- 
I)roperly, to give reviling speeches ; they cry out. There 
is one of Baal's priests ; eveiy tiling they dislike tliey 
call antichristian ; whereas they should study if there 
be any term more mollifying than another, and use 
that : although the fault you plead against might bear a 
harsher term if rebuked by one in authority, yet they 
who are but private Christians should be very careful, 
in the fairest, gentlest terms to reprove wliat they dislike. 

" She is not my wife." That a people wiio have been 
God's people, may prove not to be God's people, we 
have aheady met with in the former chapter. "We 
shall not speak of it as then we did. Only now we 
have it more fuUy, that a chiu'ch may come to be un- 
churched. This is a difficult case. When I began this 
jjrophecy of Hosea, though I had spent some time in 
it before, I little thought to have met with so many 
things so fully presented to me as I have found, that, 
l5y God's providence, so nearly concern us and tlie 
times. I would not violently introduce any thhig but 
what is so presented to us, but I should injure the 
Scripture, and you, not to notice it. We have already 
met with chfficidt points, and this also is exceeding dif- 
ficult I desire in this to interpret as I have done, your 
own consciences witnessing with me as in the otlier, 
without the least spirit of contention and division, or 
meddling with controversies, but laying the truth in 
tlie principles of it plainly before you. 

Wlien may a church, that had God before to be her 
Husband, come not to have God to be her Husband P 

I confess that I cannot find any thing to pitch upon 
certainly, when the Jewish church ceased to be a church, 
but this ; either when God sent them a bill of divorce 
by some extraordinary men, (as they always had some 
propliets amongst them,) or when they wholly left off 
the schoolmaster which God put them under; for I 
find that then- idolatry was not enough actually to cut 
them off fi-om being a church. It is true their idolatry 
deserved it ; they broke the marriage bond by theij- 
idolatry, but God did not always take advantage of that, 
and alwajs send them a bill of divorce when they com- 
mitted idolatry. These ten ti'ibes had been idolaters a 
long time before God said to them they were not his 
Avife. Therefore, idolatry merely did not cut off the 
Jews. Neither do I think that all idolatry (if it be 
tlu-ough ignorance) cuts off a church now in the time 



of the Christians. The Lutherans are certainly guilty 
of idolatry by consequence, and so other churches may 
he through ignorance, and yet tliey do not cea.se to be 
churches. 'Therefore, in the time of the Jews, I say I 
do not find any particular sin that actually cut them 
off, so long as they kept under the pedagogy of the 
law ; unless God by some extraordinary messenger sent 
them a bill of divorce, they yet remained the people of 
God. " Where is the bUl of your mother's divorce- 
ment ? " saith God, Isa. 1. i. It is true you have de- 
served it ; but where is it ? I have not given you a bill 
of divorce ; therefore they were a church. 

But for the time of the gospel, this I tliink may very 
safely be asserted, that so long as there is a communion 
of saints embodied, holding forth the profession of all 
fundamental truths, and joining in all orcUnances as far 
as they are convinced, this multitude, though it should 
have abundance of corruptions, though many wicked 
be mingled amongst them, yet they are a church of 
God. Though they should not set up all ordinances, 
though perhaps, tlrrough ignorance, they are not con- 
vinced that such an ordinance is an ordinance of God ; 
yea, though they be convinced that it is an ordinance, 
and yet perhaps they are not convinced that it is God's 
mind they should set it up, though this shoidd be then* 
eiTor, yet this communion of saints embodied remains 
a true church of Chi-ist. Y'et, though it be a true 
church of Christ, it may be such a church, that perhaps 
you, or I, or another, cannot have communion with. 

You will say. How is that possible for any church to 
be a true church of Christ, and yet we may not have 
communion with it ? I answer, communion we may 
have, so far as to acknowledge it to be a church, and 
to have communion in some duties ; but it may be a 
true church of Christ, and I may acknowledge it so, 
and yet not have communion in all ordinances. In 
what cases may that be ? Fu'st, if this chm-ch shall so 
mingle any ordinance, any work of then- public com- 
munion, as I for the present cannot join without con- 
tracting guilt upon me, as not seeing God's will in it, I 
cannot have communion witli them in such ordinances. 
Yea, secondly, if a church shall requu"e me to jaeld in 
my judgment, and subscribe to such things as I cannot 
satisfy my conscience in, they put me off communion 
with them. It is not my fault, but they violently keep 
me off. Thirdly, when they shall not sufi'er me to do 
the duty that God requires of me, I cannot have com- 
munion with them ; because if I should join with them, 
not doing my duty which my conscience tells me I am 
Ijound to do, I thereby contract guilt. Nay, further, 
a man may be of a chui'ch, and perhaps tliey may not 
be so ill, but it may be lawfid to have communion with 
them in many ordinances, and yet, for those who are 
free, and are not by any special call of God tied to such 
a place, they are bound in conscience in some cases not 
to join with them, as members, in a constant way. As 
thus : 

(1.) "When I cannot enjoy all ordinances \rith them, 
but God opens a door to another place where I may 
have communion in all ordinances, I may receive sacra- 
ments with them occasionally, and yet not be constantly 
with them as a member of that church. If God did 
shut the door that I could not enjoy all ordinances any 
where, then it were better to join with a church that 
has not all, though I do but enjoy some. 

(2.) "\\Tien God offers me elsewhere that I may enjoy 
the ordinances with more power, purity, and fi-eedom 
of spu-it, and I am not tied ; then, if there be nothing 
but outward accommodations that shall cast the balance 
on the one hand, and the purity and power of the ordi- 
nances on the other, if I shall rather choose the one 
than the other, it will be apparent that I love my body 
better than my soul. In this case conscience bids me 
to show more respect to my soul than my body. This 



G2 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



can be no controversy, for it is generally acknowledged 
liy all, that if one will but remove his residence from 
one parish to another, he may go and join with that 
parisli. But that which 1 affinn is not so far as that ; I 
only suppose that a man is free, and not yet actually 
joined; then he should regard more the purity and 
power of the ordinances tlian outward accommodations. 

Obs. 1. The end of all pleading and exhortation, is 
reformation, and not contention. 

Plead with her ; to what end ? " let her put away 
her whoredoms." Plead with her that she may reform, 
do not plead for contention's sake. There are many 
men who will rebuke others, and plead with others, but 
what for ? merely in a spii-it of contention, merely that 
they may triumph over them, and shame them ; not out 
of love, to reform them, they caie not whether they re- 
form or not ; if they have vented their gall and malice, 
they have what they wish. 

But how will you know that ? How can you know 
a man's heart ? 

First, You shall know that men plead not for reform- 
ation, but for contention, if they rather make it appear 
that they are glad of the sms of their brethren, and do 
not giieve for them. Many a man comes in a fui-y to re- 
bulte those against whom he has advantage, but not 
v.ith a spirit of sorrow and moui-ning; if he came to 
plead and rebuke them for reformation, he should have 
come with a mom'ning spirit. Ye should have mourned, 
that such a one " might be taken away fi-om among 
you," saith the apostle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. v. 2. 
Y"ou should mourn at your- very' hearts, that the church, 
or the member of it, has offended. 

Secondly, "When men are partial in their pleading, 
when tliey will sharply rebuke others who are distant, 
but are careless of such as are near. 

Tm-n ye, turn ye, that ye may not die, Ezek. xviii. 
32, " turn yourselves, and live." Now the word is laicn 
do you make to return, for so the Hiphil form may 
v> cil be translated. Alias ^lontanus renders it reverli 
facile, make others to return. Y'ou must plead so as 
to desire reformation, not that you may get the victory 
and have the bettor of it by youi' pleading, but with 
bowels of compassion seek reformation ; you must not 
cut as an enemy to conquer, but as a sui-geon to heal. 
Therefore before you go to rebuke and to plead, you 
must go to prayer, that God would bless your rebuking 
and your exhortation to youi' brethi'en ; and when you 
have done, pray again to God for a blessing upon it. 
And look after yom' reprehensions, and see what be- 
comes of them ; and if they do not prosper to reforma- 
tion, then momTi, and cry to God for your brethi-en ; 
and if they prosper, then bless God that you have con- 
verted a som. Thus when the tiibes on this side Jor- 
dan pleaded with the tribes on the other side Jordan, 
you find that the answer of their bretliren " pleased the 
children of Israel; and the cliildren of Israel blessed 
God, and did not intend to go up against them in 
battle," Josh. xxii. 33. So you should go and plead 
with your brethren ; perhaiis your brethi-en may plead 
best, ahd convince you that that wiiich you apprehend 
to be a sin is not a sin. Now many men perhaps are 
angry, and will not be convinced that it is a sin ; Shall 
I go away with the shame ? shall I rebuke liim of a 
sin, and is it no sin ? Jlany a man holds on in an ar- 
gument wliich he has begun, and is loth to yield tliat it 
is not a sin, whereas he should be glad to jield it. If 
a minister plead or preach that men commit that which 
he conceives is a sin, and another come and convince 
him that it was no sin, it is a vUe spuit in any minister 
not to bless God that he is mistaken : why ? because 
tlie guilt of his brother is removed from his heart. If I 
had not been mistaken, my credit had been greater ; 
but I am mistaken, tlie sin is removed from my bro- 
ther ; oh blessed be God that my brotlier is not gviilty, 



though I am mistaken. If we plead against others with 
such a spirit as this, God will bless it. 

" Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of 
her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts." 
" Plead with your mother," and plead so as to teU her 
plainly that she is no more my wife, she has her biU of 
divorce, she is now none of mine. Well, it seems then 
there is no hope, no help, God has forsaken us, he ha-; 
said we are no more his wife, we have our bill of di- 
vorce, and must be gone. Not so either, but now it 
follows, "let her put away her whoredoms out of her 
sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts.'' 
Hereby insinuating at least, that her condition, not- 
withstanding the gi-eatness of her sin, and the fearful- 
ness of the threat, is not altogether hopeless, but he 
would have those that plead with her, exhort her and 
bid her even then to put away her whoredoms. It is 
true, when a man puts away liis wife for whoredom, 
and gives a bUl of divorce, he wUl never take her again 
upon any tei-ms. Jer. iii. 1, Will a man, when he put- 
teth away his wife, retiu-n unto her again ? As if he 
should say. No, certainly, no man will do it. " But thou 
hast played tlie harlot with many lovers; yet return 
again to me, saith the Lord." 

Obs. 1. God mercies ai'e beyond man's. There is no 
di'eadful tlu-eatening against any sinner in the word of 
God for any sms, (if we except the sin against the Holy 
Ghost,) but there is a door of hope left. Here seems 
to be the greatest sin, idolatiy and forsaking of God ; 
and the most di-eadful thi-eatening, "she is not my 
wife," .she is divorced from me. Y'et here is insinuated 
a hope of mercy. See that notable text, Judg. x. 13, 
14, compared with ver. 16. In the 13th and 14th 
verses, saith God, "Y'e have forsaken me, and seiTed 
other gods ;" wiiat then ? " I will deliver you no more." 
I am resolved against you now ; I have delivered you 
often, but now " I ^TiU deliver you no more. Go and 
cry unto the gods wliich ye have chosen ; let them de- 
Uver you in the time of yoiu- tribulation." One would 
tliink this people to be in an ill case, to whom God 
thus spake ; for observe these four things : Fu-st, God 
charges them with the gi'catest sin, they had forsaken 
God and tiu'ncd themselves to idols. Secondly, This 
great sin is aggravated with the most aggravating cu'cum- 
stance, they had done it notwithstanding God was won- 
derfully merciful to them, and had often delivered them. 
Thu-dly, Here is one of the most pcrcmptoiy resolutions 
against showing mercy that we can imagine, "I will 
deliver you no more," now I have delivered you so oft. 
Foiu-thly, Here is a most bitter sarcasm, a biting, up- 
braiding, taunting speech for their sening other gods. 
As if he should say, AMiat ! do you come now ? do you 
cry and how 1 to me now you are in your trouble ? In 
yom- prosperity I was no God for you, you left me then 
for other gods, and now I will be no God to you ; to 
other gods I leave you ; go now and cry to those other 
gods, and see whet'licr they will help you. Put these 
together, and one woidd think this people were in n 
hopeless condition. Is there any help for this people 
yet ? are they not a lost people ? Is not repentance too 
late for them ? No, for all this, repentance is not too 
late ; for mark the 15th verse, " And the children of Is- 
rael said unto the Lord, We have sinned ; do thou unto 
us whatsoever secmcth good unto thee ; deliver us only 
tills day:" and ver. 16, " They put away the sti-ange 
gods from among them, and served the Lord." They 
do not lie down sullenly in their sins, and say, Tliere is 
no help, therefore we may as well go on in our sinful 
ways ; but they venture to put away then- strange gods, 
and cry unto the Lord, and tell him that they had sin- 
ned. 'NATiat then? The ".soul" of the Lord "was 
grieved for the misery of Israel." Though he had thus 
pronounced against them, yet his soul was grieved for 
them. It is true he said, "I will deliver you no more," 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



63 



you impemtent ones ; but God did not say he would 
not give them repentance; but when they bad put 
away then- strange gods, though they had grieved Gods 
Spirit with their sins, God was grieved for theii- aiflic- 
tion ; though God had thus thi-eatened them, yet his 
bowels now yearn towai'ds them ; he comes again with 
mercy, subdues then- enemies under them, he conquers 
the c!iilch-en of Ammon, and gives them twenty of their- 
cities, Judg. xi. 33. 

God never thi-eatens any people, but the condition 
of mercy upon repentance is either expressed or im- 
plied, it is therefore the frowardness and suUenness 
of the hearts of sinners to give up hope, upon the 
thought of the greatness of then- sins, or the severity of 
God's threatenmg against them. Oh no, you great sin- 
ners, who have been guilty of many horrible sins, come 



hope in Israel concermng 

Many carnal hearts cavil against many faithful and 
zealous" ministers, that they do nothing but preach 
judgment and threaten damnation, and say people shall 
be damned, and go to hell, and tlie Like. This_ they 
speak agamst them, not mentioning the conditions 
upon which damnation and hell is threatened. Cer- 
tainly, there can scarce a minister in the world be found 
that threatens damnation or heU absolutely, but upon 
the terms of impenitence. I will give you one scrip- 
ture, to show how the perverse spiiits of men will take 
a piece of the words of the prophets, and separate the 
threatening from the condition, on pui-pose that they 
may cavil at the word. In Jer. xxvi. 4, 5, saith God to 
tlie' prophet, " Thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the 
Lord ; If ye ^411 not hearken to me, to walk in my law, 
which I have set before you, to hearken to the words 
of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you ; 
then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make 
this city a cm-se to all the nations of the earth." See 
how fairly the words of the prophet go, '■ K ye will 
not hearken to me, to walk in my law, wluch I have 
set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants 
the prophets, whom I sent unto you," then I will do so 
and so. The prophet delivers his message fau-ly. But 
see now their perverseness in the Stli verse, " It came 
to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speak- 
ing all that tlie Lord had commanded him to speak 
imto all the people, that the priests and the prophets 
and all the people took him, saying. Thou shalt sui-ely 
die." What is the matter ? " A\Tiy hast thou prophe- 
sied in the name of the Lord, saj-ing, This house shall 
be like Shiloh?" They leave out "if," whereas he 
said, '■ If you will not return and hear the words of the 
Lord, this house shall be as Shiloh." They lay hold 
upon him with -siolence, " '\^Tiy hast thou said. This 
house shall be like Shiloh ? " and leave out the other. 
This is the perverseness of the hearts of men. Well 
then, the conclusion of this observation is tliis, that the 
best pleading against any for then- sins, is not to sink 
them in despair-, but to tui-n theu- hearts towards God 
that they may receive mercy. " Let her put away her 
whoredoms." 

Obs. 2. While God is pleased to speak to a people, 
and exhort them to turn to him, the condition of that 
people is not desperate. After such pleading, that in- 
cluded in it a most di-eadful thi-eatening, '■ She is not 
my wife," yet God exhorts, " Let her put away her 
whoredo.ms." Exhortations from God argue that the 
condition of a people may be hopeful. So long as the 
king is but speaking to a traitor, especially giving him 
good counsel, there may be hope. If he turn his back 
upon him, and wiU speak no more, then he looks upon 
himself as a lost man. Slany people are troubled, that 
God continues exhorting so constantly by his ministers 
and others, and they cannot be at rest. ' If thou hadst 



such a qidet, as that God should leave exhorting and di-aw- 
ing thee from thy sins, woe to thee, thou wert a lost 
creatiu-e ! !Make much of exhortations and threat enings. 

Come we now to the exhortation itself, '■ Let her 
therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and 
her adulteries from between her breasts." " Her whore- 
doms," and " her adulteries," in the plural number, 
they were many, she must put them all away. If a 
wife who has been naught, shall be contented to forsake 
divers of her lovers, and retain but one, there is no re- 
conciliation, aU her adulteries must be put away. 

Let her put them away out of her sight. The eye is 
the receiver of much uncleaimess into the heart, and 
by it the uncleanness of the heai-t is much expressed. 
The Scripture speaks of eyes full of adultery. " Let her 
put her whoredoms out of her sight," let them be abo- 
minable now in her eyes; those things that before were 
delectable, let them now be detestable. Let them cast 
away then.- idols, and ■«'ith indignation say. Get ye hence. 

Or, from before her face, so it is m the Hebrew, 
noting her impudence in her idolatry, that it appeared 
in her very face. Though men at fii-st may be a Uttle 
wary, yet "at length they grow to manifest outwardly 
their idolati-y in their very face. 

And because Israel did not, according to the exliort- 
ation of those who pleaded with her, put her whore- 
doms out of her sight, God put Israel out of liis sight, 
for so we have it, 2 Kmgs xvii. 22, 23. " The chilcben 
of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he 
did; they depai-ted not from them;" promises could 
not di-aw them, threatenings could not deter them : 
'■ untU the Lord removed Israel out of liis sight." They 
might have prevented this ; if they had put their whore- 
doms out of then- sight, God would never have put 
them out of his sight. 

" From between her breasts." Harlots used to dis- 
cover their filtliiuess, either in the nakedness of theii- 
breasts, or in those ornaments which they hung about 
them, as they were wont to do in those countries, to 
entice then- lovers. 

The nakedness of the breasts has been condemned, 
not only m the churches of God, but amongst the hea- 
tlien. Tertullian_, in his book de Habitu i^t^j. ^e Hat. 
JIuhebri, has this expression : AVomen ""i- <=• *■ 
adorning themselves immoderately with gold, and sil- 
ver, and precious apparel, is crimen ambitionis, the sm 
of ambition ; but for them to seek to adorn themselves 
solicitously about then- hah- and their skin, and those 
parts that draw the eyes, this is crimen prostitutionis, 
the sin of prostitution. 

Yea, besides, Tertullian, in his De velandis Virginibus, 
introduces the heathen rebuking Christian women in 
those times. The very women of Ai-abia, j„ai»abunt vo, 
saith he, shall judge you, for they not AiabisjtEmmiE^^^ 
only cover their faces, but even their caput'SsladcSi" 
hea"ds; rather than immodestly expose JJ'gT'uC'mo"' 
theli- whole face, they will let the Hght ?^„";°SSi'SSi 
but into one eye. Now if the heathen J;;jj^','„£'^''f„i,m 
did so, if they would not have their na- prostjtuere^ T«tui. 
kedness in any thing appear, much more ' "' ' "='"■ "' 
should Christians cover those parts that are incitements 
to lust. That which is the maniac's madness, and the 
beggar's misery, namely, nakedness, that is the harlot's 
pride and glory. 

" Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out ot 
her sight, and her adidteries from between her breasts." 
That wliich is intended especialh" here, is, that they 
should not be content merely with a change of then- 
hearts, to say. Well, we will acknowledge the Lord to 
be the true (3od, and oui- hearts shall wholly ti-ust iii 
him, but for these external things, what great sm is 
there in them ? Oh no, they must abstam from all ap- 
pearance of evil, fr-om the badges of idolatry-, there 
must cot be so much as the garb and dress of a harlot 



(H 



.\N EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



upon them, they must take away their adulteries from 
between their breasts." 

The breasts of the church are her ordinances, for out 
of them the saints suck sweetness and spii-itual nourish- 
ment ; so they are called in Isa. Ixvi. 11, "That ye 
may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her con- 
solations." Now certainly it is an evil thing, for any 
thing that is adulterous to be in the ordinances of the 
church. No, the breasts are so near the heart, that it 
is a pity any thing should be ujjon them but Christ 
himself; it is most fit that he should lie there. Cant. 
i. 13, " A bundle of mjTrh is my wcll-bcloved unto me, 
he shall lie all night between my breasts." JIjttIi we 
know is a bitter thing, but though Christ were as a 
bundle of mjTrli, and brought many afHictions which 
add bittemess to the flesh, yet the church would have 
Christ lie between her breasts, and slie would rejoice 
in Clirist ; Christ was sweet to the church, though witli 
afflictions, As " a bvmdle of m^-rh is my well-beloved." 
So, many faithful ministers of God have been contented, 
yea, joj-ful, tokeep Christ between their breasts, and in 
tlie ordinances, though as a bundle of mjTrh : he has 
brought some afHictions to them ; yet, rather than they 
would endure any expression of that which is adulter- 
ous upon the ordinances, the word and sacraments, 
Christ Jesus, a bundle of mjiTh between their breasts, 
has been delightful to them. 

I find another reading of the words in the Septuagint 
translation. Whereas we render it, " Let her put away 
her whoredoms out of her sight ; " they regard it as a 
speech of God, and translate it, i^apu'i tt/v wopviiav avrijg 
U jrpouuiTrou /jou, I will take away her whoredoms from 
my face. And C_n-il, reading the words thus, has an 
excellent remark : God, saith he, threatens 

VvireptaitTpuiTov , , ■!, 1 1 11 

Tffii. iv To.t cuiua- that he will take away her whoredoms 
l'iJxt^h'i^",i;^p'v f'-'O'ia his face ; as when a member of a 
Tfui'eTa, ,i7«i/ body is so putrified that it cannot be 
«i'c."cinL'm''Ho«. c. cured by medicine, it is cut off, and the 
disease removed : so God labours to cure 
the people of Israel by admonitions, by exhortations, 
by threatenings, by promises of mercy, and when all 
would not do, he threatens to cure them another way, 
that is, by cutting them oft' by the Assp-ians ; I will 
send an enemy against them, and he shall take them 
out of their own land, and carry them into a strange 
land, and then they shall be far enough from their 
calves, far enough from Dan and Bethel ; so I w ill take 
their whoredoms from before my face. Thus, many 
times God takes away the sins of a people, or of a par- 
ticular person, from before his face. As for instance, 
thou cb'unkard, thou unclean person, hast had exhort- 
ations, threatenings, and many merciful expressions 
from God to draw thee from thy sins ; they will not do ; 
God comes with some noisome disease ujjon thy body, 
that thou shall not be able to act thy sin any more, 
and God takes away the act of thy sin in such a violent 
manner by his judgments. Sometimes men and women 
wlio have estates will be proud, and vain, and make 
their estates the fuel of their lusts; when the word 
cannot take away their sins and the exjjressions of 
their wickedness, God by some violent judgment takes 
away their estates, that tney shall not be able to commit 
those sins they did before, though they woidd never so 
fain. This is a di-eadful taking away of sin. Yea, 
God shall so take away the sin of men and women, as 
to take away their .souls together with their sin : for so 
it is threatened. Job xxvii. 8, " Wliat is the ho])e of 
the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God takelh 
away his soul?" Thou that wouldst not suffer the 
word to take away thy sin, must expect tliat God will 
take it away anoflier way, even by taking away thy 
soul. It may be said of some sinners, as in Ezek. xxi. 
29 God tln-eatens, their " day is come, when their 
iniquity shall have an end." God will suffer them to 



live no longer to sin against him : he will take away 
their sins, but so as to take away their souls, they shall 
not sin any more against God in this world. 

Ver. 3. Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the 
dui/ thai she teas born, and make her as a wilderness, 
and set her like a dry land, and slay Iter with thirst. 

There is much in these words, and because they are 
so exceeding suitable unto us, you must give me liberty 
to insist a little upon them. 

"Lest I strip her naked." It seems by this that 
Israel, when she was bom, had been in a very low con- 
dition, in a very pitiful estate ; but God had put many 
ornaments upon her; and now he threatens to bring her 
again into the same condition, and to strip her naked. 

" In the day that she was born." This, I find, inter- 
jireters refer to divers conditions of Israel, but met to 
the time of their deliverance out of Egypt, called here 
l>y God, " the day that she was born." "We must in- 
quire, first, '\\liat was the condition of Israel " in the 
(lay that she was bom." Secondly, '\^^lat ornaments 
God had put upon her afterwards : and then we shall 
come to sec the strength of the threat, that God would 
" strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she 
was born." 

For the first two we shall not need to go far, we have 
them fully and most elegantly set out unto us in Ezek. 
xvi. Tliat chapter may be a comment upon tliis, what 
Israel was in the day wherein she was bom, and what 
ornaments God had ])ut upon her. In the third verse, 
" Thus saith the Lord God unto-Jerusalem ; Thy birth 
and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan ; thy father 
was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite." 

^^'hen thou wert born, thou wert in this condition. 
AATiat ! their father an Amorite, and then- mother an 
Hittite ? Abraham was their father, and Sarali their 
mother ; why here an Amorite and an Hittite ? Because 
there were other nations besides Amoritcs and Hittites, 
there were the Jebiisites and the I'erizzites ; why r'ather 
an Amorite and Hittite, than a Jebusite and Pcrizzite ? 
These two questions must be answered. 

First, Though Abraham was then- father, yet, because 
they were in such a disposition, so like the Amorites 
and Hittites, so vile and so wicked, they deserve not to 
have the honour of Abraham's being their father, but 
to be called the chilch-en of the Amorite and the Hit- 
tite. As John Baptist calls the Pharisees the viperous, 
the serpentine brood, so those that are like the devil, 
are called the chikb'en of the devil. 

Secondly, Why the Amorite and Hittite rather than 
others ? For the first, the Amorite ; because the Amor- 
ites were the chicfest of those nations in Canaan which 
were driven out. All the five were called by the name 
of Amorite : " The sins of the Amorites are not yet full." 
Sccondlv, the Hittite, because they seemed to be the 
vilest of the five, and there is a text of Scriptm-e that 
seems to infer so much. Gen. xxvii. 4G, " I am weary 
of my life" (saith Rebekah) " becau.se of the daugliters 
of Heth." She only mentions the daughters of Heth, 
and those that were now called Hittites were of the 
daughters of Heth : and saith slie, " What good will my 
life do me. if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of 
Heth?" Why, there were other daughters besides 
them, but those were the vilest, therefore slic only 
mentions them. Yea, but what was Lsrael at this time, 
when they w ere delivered out of Eg^'jjt ? for that is the 
time wherein she was born that is spoken of here. 
Were they in so ill a condition, as that their father was 
an Amorite and their mother an Hittite at that time? 
There are two most useful observations that flow from 
hence, before wc proceed any further in the explication 
of the words. 

Obs. 1. Israel, though they had been four hundred 



Vli;. 3. 



THE PIIOPIIECY OF HOSEA. 



years in Egypt under grievous afflictions, yet they con- 
tinued exceeding abominable and wiclved. The fire of 
their afflictions seemed to harden their heai'ts, as much 
as the foe of tire furnace liardencd the bricks. Their 
hearts were clay, foul, dii'ty hearts, and were hardened 
by their afflictions. 

' 064'. 2. "When God came to deliver Isi-ael out of 
EgjiJt, God found them in a very wicked condition. 
Then their father was an Amorite, and their mother an 
Hittite. They were thus vile when God came to deliver 
them, in the day wherein they were born. Oh the 
freeness of God's grace ! God often told them that his 
grace was free, and so indeed it was. Read the story 
of the people of Israel, and you find, when God sent 
Moses unto them, they were a very wicked and stub- 
born people, even at that very time when God came 
with liis deliverance. 

Let us then raise up oiu' hearts, and look up to the 
free gi'ace of God even toward us. We are vile, we 
are wicked ; mercies and chastisements have hardened 
us ; and yet all this hinders not the free grace of God 
for the deliverance of a people. God has begun to de- 
liver us ; and when did he begin ? Certainly England, 
never since it was born, since it was delivered out of 
spiritual Eg)i)t, out of the bondage of popery, was in a 
worse condition than when God came in lately with his 
mercies to us. Then, if ever, it might be said, that our 
father was an Amorite, and our mother an Hittite. 
We were in the very highway towards Egj^it again, 
when God came with his free grace to deliver us. As 
he dealt with his own people, so he has dealt with us. 
Magnified be the free grace of God towards us, an un- 
worthy people ! 

Further, Ezek. xvi. 4, " Thy navel was not cut." The 
loathsomeness of their condition is set out by that. 
Natui'alists observe, that the noxu-ishmcnt which the 
child hath fi'ora the mother is by the navel : as after- 
ward, the child sucks the breasts, and so is fattened ; 
but all the while it is in the womb, by a string in the 
navel it di'aws nourishment from the mother. Now 
when God deUvered Israel from Egypt, they had not 
their navel cut, that is, they di'ew their noimshment 
from Egypt ; they fattened themselves, and sucked out 
the Eg}-])tian manners, and customs, and superstitions ; 
and in their gi'oii\'th up, they seemed rather to have 
their noiu-ishment ft'om Egypt than fi-om God ; so God 
himself charges them, Ezek. xxiii. 8, " Neither left 
she her whoredoms brought from EgjiJt." 

Is it not thus in part with us ? Let me a little speak 
of this, by way of allusion at least. Is our navel cut to 
this very day ? It is true, God has delivered us from 
popery, from Egj-jjt, as he did Israel, but stUl do not 
we continue sucking, di'awing noiu'ishment from oiu- 
old superstitious ways of popery ? We seem to live 
still upon them, and to have our hearts delighting in 
them. Oh how just were it with God, to come in a 
violent way and cut oui' navel, even by the sword ! It 
is mercy he comes not thus to cut it, and so take from 
us all those secret hankerings that we have after the 
old Egyjrtian customs. 

Yet again, seeing it is such a full allusion, we may 
apply it to those that seem to be born again ; those 
that seem now to make very fan- profession of religion, 
and to forsake many evU ways in which formerly they 
have delighted : but yet then- navel is not cut ; they 
secretly suck sweetness from their former lusts; the 
curse of the serpent is upon them, upon then- belKes 
they go, and dust they eat ; their souls even cleave to 
the dust. 

" Neither wast thou washed in water." This also 
sets forth the woeful condition of Israel when he was 
born, he was not washed. AMien the infant comes into 
the world, it emerges from blood and pollution in which 
it was wrapped, so that (as Plutarch saith) it is rather 



like a child killed, than a child born ; ATuan ic^i'p- 
and were it not for a natural affection fpLufm. kL<" 
stirring in parents, they would even loathe .?'^i';i":^"''.i'.,"1.i, 
the fruit of then- bocUes. It is true, pa- i;;"'';"- f""*'„""' 
rents may see that with their bodily eyes, ;; tyv'q.v'Je, q',- 
but there is more pollution in their deAjiioie'p'rolis. 
souls ; they are wrapped up in original 
sin and filth, more than their bodies were WTapped up 
in blood and pollution in the womb. Therefore infants 
are washed ; but thou wast not washed, thou wast let 
go in thy filth. The barbarous Lacedemonians, when 
then- childi-en were born, used to thi-ow them into the 
ri\er, to consolidate their members and to make them 
strong. 

" Thou wast cast out in the open field." WTiat is the 
meaning of this ? We cannot xmderstand it fully, 
without examining the custom of the people in those 
times. We find in histories, that the custom of divers 
of the heathen was, when theii' chikben were born, to 
observe by their countenance, or by the structure of 
their members, whether they were likely to be useful 
to the commonwealth or not ; if not, they threw- them 
away, and if they were likely to be useful they nourished 
them up. They nourished up no other chikben but 
those that they judged by their countenance or shape 
would do good to the commonwealth. _^ 
Strabo tells us that the Indians and Brah- 
mins had certain judges appomtcd for that very end ; 
their office was, that when any child was born, to judge 
by the countenance and parts of the body of the child, 
whether it was likely to do any good in the common- 
wealth, and so either to save it or cast it out. So like- 
wise jEIian tells us, that the Thebans 
made an express law among them in these toeat'i Jfant,-m°e.f 
words. That none of them should cast ['ariaJ°m;f'ii"'ii 
out their childi'en ; noting thereby that 
it was wont to be the custom amongst them. So Cle- 
mens Eomanus tells us, as a thing pecu- „ 
liar to them, that amongst the Jews their ii.rans naius expo- 
childi'en are not cast out. "'""' 

So that the Holy Ghost alludes to the way of the 
Gentiles and barbarous people, and tells Israel that 
they were as a child cast out, such a one as the counte- 
nance promised no good. " Thou wast cast out in the 
open field," because they never hoped to have any good 
of thee ; and indeed (as if God should say) if I had re- 
garded what I saw in you, I might have passed this 
judgment upon you too, there was little hope of good 
from you. 

But v\hat though the child be cast out in the field, 
yet some may pass by accidentally, as Pharaoh's daugh- 
ter did, who may ])ity the chQd, and have compassion 
on it. No, saith God, thou wast not only cast out, but 
worse than this, thou wast so cast out as " none eve 
pitied thee." You have sometimes poor cliildren laid at 
yom- doors, and left there, some in baskets, or other wavs, 
yet, when you open them and see a cluld, and a child 
weepmg, there is some pity in you, and you wiU take 
care some way or other that it may be fed and brought 
up. But, saith God to Israel, " thou wast cast out in 
the open field," and " none eye pitied thee ;" that is, all 
the heathen were against you, and others in the land 
rose against you ; the Egy])lians came out to desti'oy 
you, you had the sea before you, and them behind you, 
none had pity upon you. This was the condition where- 
in you were born. 

Now see what ornaments God had put upon them. 
They were in a son'y condition, you see, when they were 
born. But mark, I took thee, '• and entered into cove- 
nant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest 
mine," Ezek. xvi. 8. That is the way a people become 
God's, his entering into covenant with them. The 
Lord has begun to enter into covenant with us, and we 
with him in former protestations, and if any further 



66 



AS EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II 



covenant binding iis more strictly to God be tendered 
to us, know that God in this deals ^vith us as he did 
with his owti people. We are as childicn cast out in 
the open field, and no eye pities us ; but many plot 
against us and seek our ruin. If God will be pleased 
now to enter into covenant with us, and give aU the 
people of the land hearts to come closer to the cove- 
nant, to renew their covenant with him, and that to 
more ])urpose than in fonner covenants, the Lord yet 
will own us. The covenant of God was the foundation 
of all the mercy the people of Israel had from God, and 
we arc to look upon it as the foundation of om- mercy ; 
and therefore, as in the presence of God, willingly and 
cheerfully to renew it with him. 

After God's taking this people to himself as his own, 
it follows, ver. 11 — 14, " I decked thee also with orna- 
ments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a 
chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, 
and ean'ings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon 
thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and 
silver ; and thy raiment was of fine Hnen, and silk, and 
broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, 
and oil : and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and tliou 
didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went 
forth arnong the heathen for thy beauty." Thus God 
did with the people of Israel ; he added to what they 
had when they were born. Miserable they were then ; 
but the mercies of God toward them are thus set 
out. ^\nd now he thi'catens that he will strip them 
naked, and set them as in the day wherein they were 
bom. 

Yet fui-thcr, for the opening of this, we must know 
that it was the custom among the Jews, when any mar- 
ried, that what dowiy they brought their husbands 
was wi-ittcn down in a table ; and if aftenvard he should 
divorce his wife, except there could be proved some 
gross and vile thing agamst the woman, though she 
should go away, yet she was to go away v. ith her table, 
with her dowry, she must not go away naked. But if 
there could be proved some notorious villany that she 
had committed, then she was sent away sine tabulis, 
naked, without those tables wherein her dowry and 
other things were 'written, and destitute of all things, 
as bemg unworthy of them, because she had played the 
liarlot. Thus God threatens this people. " She is not 
my wife," but unless she put away her whoredoms fiom 
before her face, and her adulteries from between her 
breasts, I will strip her naked as in the day wherein 
she was bom. She shall be sent away without any 
tables, naked and whoUy destitute. Thus you have 
the opening of the words. 

Obs. 1. The beginnings of gi'cat excellencies are 
sometimes very low and mean. This plainly rises from 
the opposition of her condition when she was born, and 
what she had gotten from God afterward ; " lest I strip 
her naked, and set her as in the day that she was bom." 
Tlierefore it is clear she was bom in a very mean con- 
dition, and gotten up to a verj- excellent condition ; 
tliough now high and glorious, yet once verv low and 
mean. God many times raises up golden pillars u])on 
leaden bases, and the most glorious works of God have 
had the lowest beginnings. This beautiful frame of 
licaven and earth was raised out of a chaos of confusion 
and darkness. This is tme, both personally and na- 
tionally, and that in regard of outward conditions, or 
sjiiritual. How poor, and low, and mean have many 
of your beginnings been in the world ! "Who could 
ever have thought that such low beginnings could have 
been raised to such high things, as some of you hiS\e 
been raised to in the world ? It was not long since 
when you came hither to this city, (which may be said 
to be tlie dav wherein you were bom for your civil 
estate, though not for yom' natural.) yoy were low 
enough, mean enough : you had but little to begin 



withal ; you came hither " with your staff," and " now 
behold two bands." 

It is sometimes so, likewise, in regard of the spiritual 
estate. You may remember, not long .since, what 
darkness and confusion abounded in your minds and 
hearts : what poor, low, and mean thoughts had you of 
God, and the things of his kingdom ; what unsavoury 
spuits, when at first God was pleased to work upon 
you ! Oh what a poor condition were you in then ! 
Though you had some Hght put into you, yet you were 
as a child new born, ^Tapped up in filth and blood, 
many noisome distempers there were in your hearts, as 
it is usual with new converts ; like a fu-e newly kindled, 
where there is a great deal of smother and smoke, that 
afterward wears away. But now, behold the shiuino; of 
God's face upon your souls. Oh the abilities that God 
has given you to know his mmd and do his ^-ill ! Oh 
the blessed communion that you have with God, and 
the sparkling of that Divine nature ! The glory and 
beauty of the Di\-ine natm-e is put upon you. 

So for nations, we will not go. farther than our own. 
How low and mean were we at the first ! We were 
as rude, barbarous, and savage a people, almost, as lived 
upon the earth. Britons had their name fiom hence ; 
in the old Britain language. Brith signifies blue- 
coloured, because those who lived here, instead of 
good clothes, as you have, with woad besmeared their 
bodies blue. Tania was added, as it is usual in other 
languages, for the signification of such a region, or 
countiT, as Mamitania, Lusitania, Aquitania, &c. So 
that Britannia is as much as to say. The region of the 
blue-coloured people ; so called because they were thus 
painted. The best food they were wont to eat (histo- 
rians teU us) was bark of trees and roots. HoUinshed 
in liis Chronicle says, ITiere were old men that he 
knew who told of times in England, that if the good 
man in the house had a mattress or flock-bed, and a 
sack of chafi'to rest his head on, he thought himself as 
well lodged as the lord of the town, for ordinarily they 
lay upon sti-aw pallets covered with canvass, and a 
round log under their heads instead of a bolster. They 
said pillows were fit only for women in child-bed : ancl 
in a good farmer's house it was rare to find four- pieces 
of pewter, and it was accounted a great matter tliat a 
farmer could show five shillings or a noble in silver to- 
gether. 

Camden, in his Britannia, tells of Aylesbury, a town 
in Buckinghamshire, where there was a king's manor, 
and the condition of holding certain lands there was, 
that the possessor or holder of them should find straw 
for litter for the king's bed, when he came there. Lati- 
mer, in a sermon before King Edward, relates, that his 
father, who, he says, kept good hospitality for his poor 
neighbours, and found a horse for the ting's service, 
brought him (Latimer) up at learning, and married his 
sisters with five pounds, or twenty nobles, apiece for 
their portions. This was the poor and mean condition 
of those times. And Jerome, contra Joviuianum, and 
Diodorus Sicidus, tell us concerning the people in Ire- 
land, our neighbours, that the best delicacies they used 
to eat in former times, was the flesh of yoimg children ; 
that the ships they used, were sallows wreathed together, 
and boughs twisted, and covered with the hides of 
beasts ; and the wives they had, were common to all 
their brethren and parents. As for their religion, they 
offered to the devil man's flesh, they worshipped Apollo, 
and Jupiter, and Diana, And Gildas, one of the most 
ancient historians, who relates the condition of these 
British people, says ilie idols they had were horrible, 
devilish, monsti-ous things, and that they even sur- 
passed the Eg\n)tian idols in number, „ _ , ^. . , 
JSn people had so many idol-gods, and so ?<■■«• numm>«fyi>- 
monstrous, as the Egyptians, and yet ""*'"■"" "• 
these went beyond them. 



Ver. 3. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



Afterward, no people in the world were more rent 
and torn with ei%'il wars than England has been. And 
in the times when popery was here professed and estab- 
lished, oh the outward and spiritual bondage we were 
under then ! Cm- bodies, our .souls, our estates, oui- 
consciences, were in miserable thi'aldom. 

It is the most sordid and miserable slavery possible 
for a rational creatiu-e to be under, not only to be bound 
to practise, but to believe for ti-uth, the dictates and de- 
terminations of men, yea, and that upon pain of eternal 
damnation. To believe what they say, as the articles 
of faith upon which salvation or damnation depends, 
and conscience must not question, or scruple any tiling : 
if any man that is a rational creatm-e should think 
there is any such distance between man and man, he 
debases himself beneath a man, and advances the other 
above a man. Better it is to be in slavery to another, 
to scrape kennels, than to be in this slaveiy. And to 
have the Scriptures kept from us, the epistle that God 
has sent fi'om heaven to us, that wliich enlightens the 
■world, revealing the great counsels of God concerning 
eternal life, is worse bondage than to be chained up in 
dark holes all the days of our lives. To have no ordi- 
nances but according to the lusts and humours of vile 
men, how great a slaverj- is this ! The manifestation of 
the least suspicion of the falseness of the vilest eiTors, 
dislike of the basest practices, was enough to confiscate 
estate, to imprison, yea, to take away life. Was not 
this a low condition, a base slavery, in which England 
was ? could any bear it. but such as were slaves to their 
own lusts ? But now, what ornaments has God put upon 
us ! No nation under heaven more renowned than we 
have been, oiu- renown has gone through the earth. 
England: its people. Angli, quasi Anoeli ; and itself, 
Albion, from the whiteness of its cliffs. From oiu' 
happiness we see now, that glorious excellences have 
many times low beginnings. 

Obs. 2. God's mercy is a people's beauty and glory. 
When we have any exceUencyj any beauty upon us, it 
is God's mercy that is all oiu- beauty. " I will sti-ip you 
naked, and set you as in the day wherein you were 
bom." If you have any excellency, it is my mercy. 
We have notliing belonging to us but shame, con- 
fusion, and misery ; if we have any ornaments, it is 
mercy, free mercy : therefore, in Ezek. x^^. 14, Thou 
wert perfect in beauty ; how ? " through my comeli- 
ness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord.'' Let 
God take away his mercy, we are quickly left naked, 
and poor, and miserable ; lilce the i-ugged walls in the 
court, when the king goes away, and aU the rich hang- 
ings are taken down, what a difference is there in then- 
appearance ! the beauty of the walls were the hangings, 
when the king was there. So, if we have any thing 
that makes us beautiful, they are the hangings that 
God has put upon us ; his mercies are those hangings 
of gold, and silver, and needle-work ; and when they 
are gone, we are poor, and ragged, and miserable. 

Obs. 3. Though sinners deserve gi-eat e\ils, to be 
stripped of all comforts, yet God, in patience and 
clemency, continues them a long time. " Lest I strip 
her naked." God had said before, that she was not his 
wife, she was guilty of whoredoms, yet it seems she 
was not yet stripped naked ; she was yet left with God's 
ornaments upon her, notwithstanding her sin. Sinners 
may be under fearfiil threatenings, and yet retain many 
comforts ; yea, the truth is, it is possible for a people 
to be cast off from God, and yet to continue for a while 
in outward prosperity. The tree that is cut up by the 
roots, may have the leaves gi'een for a while. Saul was 
rejected of God, 1 Sam. xiii. 14, yet, after that, God 
suffered Saul to prosper exceedingly in overcoming the 
Philistines and the Amalekites. 

Obs. 4. The mercies that God bestows upon a nation, 
are but common favom-s, not spiritual graces, they are 



such ornaments as a people may be stripped of. The great 
mercies a people have, they may whoUy lose. Here 
is the difference between true spiritual graces, in which 
Jesus Chi-ist adorns his spouse. When Chi-ist not only 
takes ill an outward way a people to himself, but marries 
them to himself in a spiritual way, he decks the soul 
with such ornaments, bestows .such mercies upon them, 
as shall never be taken away. Such a soul has no cause 
to fear that ever it can be stripped, as in the day wherein 
it was born, you need not fear that you shall ever lose 
the jewels given you at that marriage day. You may 
be stripped of common graces and gifts,.as many pro- 
fessors are, who have not truth at heart. "Ulien they 
prove naught, God takes away their gifts from them ; 
they have not that gift of prayer they were wont to 
have; though they have excellent words, yet a man may 
perceive such an unsavoiu-iness iflixed with their gifts, 
that it breeds loathing in others to join with them. 
As, when the king goetli away from liis palace, the 
hangings are taken do-mi ; so, when God departeth 
from a soul, (as from such he may,) then then' hang- 
ings, those excellent gifts, are taken from them. But 
of spu-itual gifts they are never stripped. We read in 
Ezek. xlvi. 17, when a king gave gifts to his servants, 
thev were to return to him again at the year of jubi- 
lee ; but when ho gave them to his sons, they were to 
be their inheritance. There are many who arc out- 
wardly in the church as God's sers'ants, they have many 
gifts, but God ^\^& take his gifts away, and strip them 
naked ; but then there are his children, they shall have 
their gifts as an inheritance for ever. It is ti'ue, God 
may stay a while : as, when the king is gone fi-om court, 
if there" be any thought of his retm-n_ the hangings 
continue, but if" the message come. The king will not be 
here these twelve months, or a long time, or, it may be, 
never any more, then the hangings are taken down ; 
so, though these gifts of the hj-pocrite may stay a while, 
yet they wiU vanish at last. 

Obs. 5. Continuance in sin, and especially the sin_ of 
spu-itual whoredom, is that which will sh-ip a nation 
fi-ora all their excellences, from all then' ornaments and 
beauty. The continuance in that sin especially : for so 
the -words imply, " Let her put away her adulteries 
from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked." If 
she continue thus, certainly naked .she shall be. _ This 
always brings nakedness meritoriously, but if continued 
in, eifectually, it makes them naked." In Exod. xxsii. 
25, you may" see what made the people naked at that 
time : the "text saith, that " Aaron had made them 
naked," that is, Aaron, by consenting to the people to 
make the calf, had made the people naked ; that is, 
destitute now of God's gracious protection, deprived 
of those favours fi-om God, which formerly they had. 
And as the priest had made them naked, so you may 
find, in 2 Chi-on. xx\-iii. 19, that the king made them 
naked too : " The Lord brought Judah low because of 
Ahaz king of Israel ; for he made Judah naked, and 
transgi-essed sore against the Lord." " He made Judah 
naked," that is, by countenancing idolati-)-, by siding 
■with those who were idolaters, he made Judah naked 
at that time. 

Here we may see who they arc that are liliely to sti-ip 
us, if ever God should come to strip us. We have 
many amongst us that see false bm-dens of all -the 
miseries and" troubles that come upon the nation ; they 
blame the puritans, and others that they say are factious, 
seditious, and turbulent spii-its, and all must be laid upon 
them. Certainly, whoever has eyes in his head,_ may 
easily see who makes us as naked as we are, and, if we 
be made more naked, who -will be the cause of all. 
Those who stand against the way of reformation, those 
that wUl keep their whoredoms in their sight, and then- 
adulteries between theii- breasts, those that will not be 
■willing that the church should be puiged fi-om that filth 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



and whorish attire it uses ; these are they that make us 
naked. We read in Lam. ii. 14, " Tliy prophets have 
seen vain and fooUsh things for thee : and they have 
not discovered thine iniquit)' to turn away thy cap- 
tivity ; but have seen for thee false burdens, and causes 
of banishment." ISIark it, " Thy prophets have seen 
vain and foolish things, and they have not discovered 
thine iniquity ; " they have not dealt plainly with thy 
people, neither have they told them the reason of their 
captivity ; " but have seen for thee false burdens and 
causes of banishment." The prophets say. It is a com- 
pany of these precise and strict ones, that will not be 
obedient to authority, and will not do what is com- 
manded in such and such tilings, and (when there were 
corruptions in God's worship) they would not submit 
to such and such orders. The prcqihets lay the blame 
ujjon them ; but they see false burdens, sa'ith the text, 
and folse causes of banishment. We have many such 
prophets amongst us, who see false burdens and causes 
of banishment, and they blame those who certainly are 
the causes of our peace, and of the good of the king- 
dom. TertuUian tells us, that in the primitive times, "if 
they had any ill weather, or trouble, they would blame 
the Christians as the cause of it, and presently the 
voice was, Ad leones, Let the Christians be ch-agged to 
the lions, and devoured by the lions. It has been so 
amongst us. But may we not answer, as EKjah an- 
swered Ahab, when Ahab told him that he was the 
man that troubled Israel, " I have not troubled Israel, 
but thou and thy father's house." May we not well 
.say to them, as Jehu to Jehorara, when he asked him 
whether there was peace, " AMiat peace, so long as the 
whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts 
are so many ? " Those that have been pojjish, certainly 
they have endangered us of being stripped of all. 
AMio were the causers of the first disturbances amongst 
us, even of all the persecution here of God's saints, and 
of all the discontent among the people ? who were 
they that persuaded the bringing in of an arbitrary 
government ? who were the cause of laying such things 
upon the people, that they could not bear ? who were 
the causers of the troubles in Scotland, and sending of 
books thither full of superstitious vanities ? was it not 
that prelatical faction, who are those that hinder the 
reformation at this day ? Certainly, if it were as appa- 
rent that they who are called puritans, had been the 
cause of such charge to the kingdom, and disturbance 
to the state, as the prelatical faction has been ; it had 
been impossible for them to go in the sh'eets, but they 
would have been stoned to death. I speak not this as 
though we should do the like, but to show what the 
virulence of their spirits would have been to them, if it 
had been apparent that they had been such charge to 
the kingdom, and such disturbei-s of the state. The 
truth is, we may charge our papists, and others that 
are of that way, (and we know who are next to them,) 
as the cause of stripping us so naked as we have been. 
It is clear enough, those that put not away their whore- 
doms fi-om them, but continue still superstitious and 
idolaters, they are they who endanger a people to be 
stri]5ped naked. 

Obs. 6. That it is time for peo])le to plead, when 
there is danger of desolation. " Plead witli your mother, 
])k'ad." AVhyso? why should we not be quiet ? "Lest I 
strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was 
born." '\Miat! )ou are in such a condition as you are 
in danger to be strip)(cd naked, and to be left desolate 
as a wilderness ? Is it not time then to plead ? O 
jilcad with God, and plead with those that are in au- 
thority, and plead one with another, and plead with 
all ; stir up yourselves, and do what you can ; let there 
lie no sluggish spii-it, no neutralizing spirit. It is no 
time for any to be neuters now. It is time now for all 
to :ome and plead, not so much now to dispute of 



things, but for every one to stand, and apjiear, and 
plead, not only verbally, but otherwise, as God calls 
them to it. Allien John saith, " The axe is laid unto 
the root of the trees," Luke iii. 9 ; what then ? Then 
every one cometh and saith, "AATiat shall we do?" 
" He," saith he to some, " that hath two coats, let him 
impart to him that hath none ; " and to the soldiers, 
when they say, " What shall we do ?" " Do violence to 
no man, neither accuse any falsely ; and be content 
with )our wages." Mark, "when the axe is laid to 
th.e root of the trees," every one then comes in, and 
saith, "What shall we do?" You that are women and 
inferior, do you pray, and cry, and fiu'ther your hus- 
bands in aU good. Be not you backward, do not cbaw 
them away, thi'ough your extravagance and folh', when 
they would be liberal and forward, and adventure them- 
selves. And you that are men of estates, if you ask 
what you should do, it is apparent ; " He that hath 
two coats, let him impart to him that hath none," be 
willing to part with much of your estates in such a 
cause as this. And so, soldiers, if you ask what you 
should do ; behave yourselves so as you may con\'ince 
others ; " Do violence to no man," but act according to 
an orderly way : and " be content with yom- wages ; " 
perhaps it may not come in so fully afterwards, yet let 
it appear that it is the cause that strengthens you, rather 
than youi- wages. Thus, every one should be of an in- 
quiring spuit when " the axe is laid to the root of the 
trees." When we are in danger to be stripped of all, it 
is not time then to stand about cm-iosities and niceties. 

Obs. "i. Those who will not be convinced by the word, 
God has other means to convince them besides the 
word. If pleading and connncing arguments will not 
do it, well then, stripping naked shall do it. The ex- 
pression is usual in the Scriptui-e, " Then ye shall know 
that I am the Lord," when I do thus and thus. As 
you do with those who are of a sleepy disposition ; if 
you call up a servant that is sluggish and sleepy, he 
answers. Anon, and then falls down and sleeps again ; 
you call liim again, and he answers, and sleeps again ; 
at length you come up and pull the clothes ofi' him, 
and leave him naked, and that will awake him. So 
God calls upon them to leave their whoredoms and 
idolatries, and to repent ; he threatens, and ofi'ers 
mercy, and they seem a little to awake, but to it again. 
AA'ell, saith God, I will come another way, and strip you 
naked, and that will do it. 

Obs. 8. AMiatever are the means of stripping a nation 
naked, it is God that doth it. " Lest I strip her naked, 
and set her as in the day wherein she was born." Lest 
/ do it. It is God that gives, and it is God that takes 
away. But let that pass. 

Obs. 9. It is a grievous judgment, for one that is ad- 
vanced from a low to a high degree, to be brought down 
again. " Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the 
day wherein she was bom." Thus Job (chap. xxix. and 
XXX.) aggravates his misery : " The cantHe of God 
shined upon my head ; I washed my steps with butter, 
and the rock poured me out rivers of oil ; my glory 
was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand," 
&c. " But now, they that are younger than I have 
me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained 
to have set with the dogs of my flock." Thus he aggra- 
vates his judgment, because he was brought into a low 
condition, having once been in a high one. The like 
aggravation of misery have we. Lam. iv. 2, " The pre- 
cious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are 
they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of men's 
hands !" and ver. 5, " They that did feed delicately are 
desolate in the streets : they that were brought up in 
scarlet embrace dunghills." Thus the Scrijiture is 
clear, and your experience is enough to confirm it. For 
a man who has been a bond-slave in the galleys, and 
afterward ransomed by the liberality of his friends in 



Vee. 3. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



69 



England, if lie should be taken and brought back again 
to the galleys, oh how tedious and grievous would it 
be ! but if he had lived long here, and floui-ished, and 
gotten preferment, and had grown a great merchant, 
and after this to be brought again to the galleys, how 
much more ten'ible would this be to him ! If some of )0u 
that have been beggars heretofore, if God by some way 
or other should bring you to your former poverty, oh 
how tedious would it be ! We see that many men, 
who have been raised fi'om a low estate to a high one, 
are so afi-aid of returning to a low estate again, that 
they will ventiu'e soul, and conscience, and God and 
all, ratlier than they will endanger themselves in the 
least degree in then- estates. 

Hence it is very observable, that the chief curse that 
God thi-eatens the people of Israel, is that they should 
return to Egj-jjt again, that the Lord would bring them 
back to the condition wherein once they were. That 
whole chapter, Deut. xxviii., is spent in denouncing most 
dreadful curses upon the people ; now the conclusion of 
all is the chief curse of all the rest, ver. 68, " The Lord 
shall bring thee into Egj-jit again with ships, by the way 
whereof I spake unto thee. Thou shalt see it no more 
again, and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for 
bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you." 

AVere it not a sad thing for us who have been ac- 
quainted with the glorious hght of the gospel, and with 
the blessed privileges that come in thereby, for us to 
be brought into popish bondage and thraldom again ? 
AVe may reason with Ezra, " Now for a little space 
grace hath been showed from the Lord oiu- God, to 
leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in 
his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and 
give us a httle revivmg in our bondage. Shoidd we 
again break thy commandments, and join in affinity 
with the people of these abominations ? " Ezra ix. S, 
14. As for ourselves, who have had of late a little taste 
of the sweetness of om- outward ])rivilcges and liberties, 
who could endure to be imdcr that bondage in wliich 
we were thi-ee or four years ago, under every apparitor, 
promoter, pursuivant, commissary, chancellor, and ty- 
rannical prelate, as formerly ? We could not have met 
together, and enjoyed the liberty of such exercise.s as 
these ; no, you could not have met in your families to 
pray, but one or other would have been upon you and 
endangered your estates. The bondage was intoler- 
able ; we may well complain, it was a yoke that neither 
we nor our lathers could bear. 

Obs. 9. When God has delivered a people out of 
miseiT, and bestowed upon them gi'eat mercies, it is 
then- duty often to think of the poor condition in which 
they were, and to use all the means they can that they 
may not be brought thither again. God loves this, that 
we should remember and seriously take to heart what 
once we were. " Lest I strip her naked, and set her as 
in the day that she was bom ;" as if he should say, I 
would have you consider what a low condition you were 
in when you were born, and consider the danger you 
are in to be brought thither again, look then about 
you, and seek to prevent it, if you have the hearts of 
men in you. This we shall find in Deut. xxvi. 1, 2, 5, 
6, AMien thou art come into the land which the Lord 
giveth thee for an inheritance, and dwcllest therein, 
" thou shalt take of the &-st of all the fruit of the 
earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord 
thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and 
shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall 
choose, to place his name there. And thou shalt speak, 
and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to 
perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, 
and sojourned there with a few, and became there a 
nation, gi-eat, mighty, and populous : and the Egyptians 
evil entreated us, and afflicted u.s, and laid upon us 
hard bondage." And Isa. li. 1, " Look unto the rock 



whence ye are hewn, and to tiie hole of the pit whence 
ye are digged."' It is very useful for us to consider 
our former low condition. Mr. Deering, in a sermon 
preached before Queen Elizabeth, uses this bold ex- 
pression to her, If there were a tune that you thought 
yourself tanquam ovis, as a sheep ready to be slain, 
take heed that the words of the prophet be not now 
true, that )ou be not tanquam indomila jxivencula, as 
an untamed heifer. You may note the chfference be- 
tween the spu'its of men in former times, in their- plain- 
ness and boldness ; and if there were an excess that 
way, how far the other way are oiU' court sermons now ! 
Queen Elizabeth was once in a very low condition, and 
she thought herself to be as a sheep appointed for the 
slaughter. It is usual for men raised up from a low 
condition to forget God and themselves, and to grow 
proud and scornt'id. Nothing is more sharp than a low 
thing when it gets up higli ; so there is none that have 
more proud and scornful spirits than those who are 
raised from the dunghill, they know not tlien where 
they are : as the proverb is. Set a beg- ^^.^^ 
gar on horseback, and he knows not how humiii cum surgit 
nor whither to ride. '" '""' 

Thus it was with Saul : the way to humble Saul, was 
for him to consider what he once was ; and that is the 
way to humble us all who are subject to be proud of 
our prosperity, to which God has raised us. When 
thou wast little in thine own sight, then thou wert 
made the head of the tribes of Israel. There was a 
time that he was little in his own eyes, and I beseech 
you observe the difference between the spirit of Saul 
when he was in a low condition, and his spu'it when he 
was raised. AVhen Saul was in a low condition, his 
spu-it was low, therefore, in 1 Sam. x. 27. you find that 
though there were some children of Behal that would 
not have Saul to reign over them ; AVhat ! say they, 
•' how shall this man save us ? And they despised him, 
and brought him no jjresents. But he held his peace." 
But, chap. xi. 12, when Saul had gotten some credit 
and honoiu' by his victories, some of the people said, 
'• "\Alio is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us ? bring 
the men that we may put them to death." No, saith 
Saul, " There shall not a man be put to death this day." 
Oh how meek was Saul ! what a quiet spu-it had he be- 
fore he got up high ! But afterward, when he had had 
many victories, what a furious and outi-ageous spu-it 
had Saul ! You know the story of the fourscore and 
five priests that must be slain in the city of Nob, and 
the whole city, men, women, and chikben, sucklings, 
oxen, asses, and sheep, must be put to the sword. 
"WHiy ? because one of them only gave a Uttle refresh- 
ment to David. AMiat a different spirit is here in Saul 
to that which he had when he was low ! 

Is it not so with many of you ? When God has 
brought you low, you seem to be humble, meek, and 
quiet ; then you are content with every thing, and prize 
every little mercy. Oh a huncb-cd times more mercy 
will not serve yoiu' turn now, as you would have been 
glad of then, and blessed God if you had had it. But 
now )ou know not yourselves, your hearts are raised 
up as your estates are. Well, it is good for you to look 
to the condition you were in when )0u were low ; as 
we read of Agathocles, that king, who was a potter's 
son, and after advanced to a kingdom, woidd always 
be served at his table in earthen vessels, to put him in 
mind of the condition he was in before. Certainly, if 
in any place in England it be seasonable to speak of 
this, it is in London, where many that have been pot- 
ters' childi-en, and in a low degree, have been raised up 
high, and acquired great estates. Let them remem- 
ber in what condition they were, that they may be 
humbled, and so may prevent the danger of being 
brought thither again. Many put others in mind of it 
in a taunting way, — I know what you were not long ago. 



70 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



I know what your father was ! but do you put your 
own souls in mind of tliis in a humbling way ? this is 
the way to continue mercies. 

But now apply we it a little to ourselves generally, 
and then we shall conclude all. Let us work this upon 
our hearts. Look we back to what we were lately, and 
let us check our hearts for any discontent in oiu: pre- 
sent estate. Not long since would not many of us have 
been willing to have laid do'mi our lives, to have pur- 
chased that mercy we have liad this year or two ? God 
has granted to us our foraier mercies, and raised us 
fi-om om- low condition, of fi-ee cost hitherto. God has 
been beforehand with us ; and what if those mercies 
that are to come, are at somewhat dearer rate than those 
we have had akeady? Those mercies we have had 
already have been veiy precious and sweet ; but sui-ely 
tl'cy that are to come are more precious and sweet, and 
t'uerefore we may be content though they cost us dear. 
Yet how vile are the spirits of men in foi'getting the 
sad condition they were in, the taxes, and monopolies, 
and uncertainty of enjojing any thing that was your 
own ! and now, if there be but a little charge, you im- 
mediately murmur- and repine : Oh these heavy bur- 
dens ! the ])arliament bui-dens the kingdom and the 
countiT, and as good have ship-money and other taxes 
as these burdens. O, unworthy, unworthy are you to 
live to see the goodness of the Lord in these days ! un- 
worthy to have your eyes open to see what God has 
done, and thus to murmur ! Thou shouldst magnily- 
God's mercies, and not miinnur at his proceedings. 
We have a notable parallel to this (Numb, xvi.) in the 
story of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ; those muiTnurers, 
when they were but in a little strait, came to Closes, and 
said, " Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up 
out of a land that floweth with milk and honey ?" ver. 13. 
"VMiat land was that, that ]\Ioses brought them up out 
of, that they said fioT.-ed with milli and honey ? It was 
the land of Egj-pt, the land of theu- bondage. Indeed 
tliey were promised a land of Canaan, that should flow 
Avith milk and honey, and they put that upon the land 
of Egj-pt; though they had been in bondage and 
slavery in Egypt, and were now going to Canaan, yet 
when they endured some trouble in the way, and had 
but some opposition, and were put to some straits, then 
Egj^it was the land that flowed with milli and honey, 
and who would come out of Egj-pt ? So though God 
be bringing us to Canaan, to a tlesscd land that flows 
with milk and honey, yet because there ai'e some straits 
in the way, some difficulties, some oppositions that may 
cost us Epmething, how do men cry out, We were bet- 
ter before ! you talked of reformation, but, for our part, 
would we might have but what we had before, and be 
as quiet as we were then ! why will you bring us out of 
a land that flows with milli and honey ? O base, mur- 
muring, and discontented spii-its, that forget what once 
they were, and rather prize the bondage they were in 
before, than arc thankful for God's present mercies. 

For us not to look back to God's former mercies, 
goes to the very heart of God. God has an expression 
in Ezek. xvi. 43, that it frets him to the very heart ; 
" Because them hast not remembered the days of thy 
youth, but hast fi'etted me in all these things." It is a 
thing that frets God to see a peojile so unworthy of 
mercy, when God comes in such ways of mercy to 
them. My brethren, God has done great things for us, 
■tthatever others say and think. Let them murmur, 
and repine, and say what they will ; let us .«ay God lias 
done gieat things for us. Let us lay to heart our late 
condition, that so we may be stirred up now to seek 
after God, that we may never be brought into that con- 
dition again. If ihey would have it again, much good 
may it do them ; but for us, let it be our care to seek 
God, and to use all lawful means to jnevent our bring- 
ing back to it again. 



For even our present straits are an aggravation of 
our former miser)- and present mercy, it shoxdd not 
therefore make our fonner misery, or present mercy, 
seem less, but gi-eatcr. How is that? you will say. 
Thus: if now we have so much help and power- to 
hinder a party that seek oiu- ruin, yet they have so 
much sti-ength and resolution, what w-ould have become 
of us if this had been before, when we had no way nor 
means to help us ? If men complain now, what would 
they have done then ? Therefore, whereas some make 
use of our sti-aits to lessen our foi-mer miscn-, and thinlc 
we are now in a worse condition than before, rather let 
us make it an aggi-avation of God's mercy towards us ; 
and if we be in such straits now, when God has raised 
up such means beyond all our thought to resist the 
flowing in of misery upon us. Lord, w-hither w-ere we 
going ? what would have become of us if the stream, 
wliich had been so long s-\velling, had broken in upon 
us when there was no means to have resisted it ? We 
may well see now, that if their intentions and resolu- 
tions are so sti-ong for mischief as will not be hindered, 
notwithstanding the present strength God has granted 
us to oppose them, surely they had most vile intentions, 
and dreadful things were determined against us, which 
would ha\e brought us low indeed, and have made us 
the most miserable people upon the earth, if God had 
not come in so miraculously for our help, as he has 
done at this day. 

Therefore, as we read in Jer. xxsra. 20, "Let my 
supplication," saith he to the king, " I pray thee, be ac- 
ceptable before thee, that thou cause me not to return 
to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there." 
So let us present om- supplications to the King of hea- 
ven, that we may not be sent back to that condition we 
were once in, that God may not strip us and leave us 
naked. We have many blessings ; Lord, do not strip 
us, do not striji us of all the oi-naments thou hast put 
upon us. 

And would you not have God stiip you of your orna- 
ments ? be you willing to strip yourselves of your oi-na- 
ments. Exod. xxxiii. 5, God calls upon the people 
there, "Put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may 
know what to do unto thee." This is true and season- 
able at this time, in the literal sense, you are called 
now to strip you of youi- ornaments. Strip from your 
fingers yom- gold rings now when there is need of 
them ; perhaps one of yom- gold rings would serve to 
maintain a soldier a month or five weeks, or more ; and 
yet you may have the benefit of it again aftenvard. 
Strip your cupboards from yom- pompous show of plate. 
It is much if you should not be willing to have youi- 
fingers stripped naked, when we are in danger to have the 
state stripped naked of all our comforts and oi-naments. 
Is it such a great matter to have yom- cupboai-d naked 
of plate now ? what if a white cloth were upon it, and 
all that glittering show taken away, were that such a 
great sacrifice now, when God is about to strip us naked, 
and set us as in the day wherein we were born ? Cer- 
tainly all of you, who shall keep your plate now for the 
pompous adorning of cupboards, cannot but be ashamed 
of it. Surely you must rather keep it up in your trunks. 
It cannot but be both a sin and a shame to sec such 
glittering ])omp and gloi-y in such times as these. 

Strip yoiu-selves of your ornaments, that God sti-ip 
you not ; and not only outwardly, but strip yourselves 
of your ornaments by your humiliation, for that is the 
meaning of that place in Exodus. O come and hum- 
ble yom-selves, and come now with naked hearts be- 
fore the Lord ; open your hearts befoi-e God, bring 
them naked and sincere before him, lest he strip you 
and the kingdom naked. Cry unto God for mercy : O 
Lord, thou knowest what a vile heart I have had, a 
l)ase, time-serving heart ; yet, Lord, I desire to take 
away all these cloaks now, and to rend and bring this 



\er. 3. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



71 



heai-t naked before thee ; though it be a fihliy heart, yet 
open it. Lord, thou knowest those vile things, those 
inuovations, those superstitions, those horrible wicked- 
nesses that were in danger to be let into the chui'ch 
and commonwealth, yet they were things that went 
down very well with me, and I had distinctions to 
colour them ; but, Lord, it was my base heart that I 
could not trust thee, but now here I open it naked be- 
fore thee. O Lord, these ordinances of thine, of the 
purit)' and power of which others spake so much, they 
have been things unsavoury to me, I had no skill in 
such things. Thou knowest I had a neub-ahzing spirit, 
I looked which way the wind blew ; how just were it for 
thee to give me up to be of a desperate malignant 
.spirit ! Now, Lord, I come as a naked, wretched crea- 
tm-e before thee, in the shame and guilt of my sin, and 
here I acknowledge thou mayst justly strip me naked 
of all the comforts of my estate, and leave me in the 
most miserable condition in which ever poor creature 
was left. My heart is open before thee, show me what 
I shall do ; and if thou dost reserve any of my estate 
and comforts which I have forfeited, in testimony of 
my humiliation for my former sins, I bring it before 
thee, and am wiUing to give it up for the public good, 
and to prevent that evil and mischief that I am sm-e 
my sins call for, for my sins cry for WTath against the 
land, that thou shouldst strip it naked. If all had been 
such base spii-its as I have been, what would have- be- 
come of the land by this time ? In testimony therefore 
of my humiliation for 'my sins, here I bring in this of 
my estate ; though indeed, if I had not been guilty of 
such sins, yet, out of common prudence, and respect to 
my own security, I might bring in some part ; but here 
is so much the more of my estate, because my conscience 
tells me of my former guilt. And, Lord, for the time 
to come, I am resolved to do the uttermost I can for 
thee and thy cause. And those worthies that carry 
their Uves in then- hands for me, God forbid that I 
should have the least hand in betraying them, in with- 
di'awing my hand and assistance fi-om them. Lord, 
here I give up myself to thee, and my estate, I sm-- 
render it to thee in an everlasting covenant. This is 
to come with a naked heart indeed before the Lord. 

Were it not better that we should be willing to strip 
om-selves naked, than that God should do it by violence, 
that God should send soldiers into our houses to strip 
us naked, as they have dealt with om- brethi-en in Ire- 
land ? they took not away their estates only, but aU 
then- clothes, and sent them in di'oves as naked as they 
were bom. We know we have deserved the like. If 
you W'ill not strip yourselves of your superfluities, God 
may justly by them strip you naked ; and not only 
bring you into the same condition you were in, but into 
a far worse ; for so he thi"eatens in Deut. xxviii.. You 
shaU not only be carried back again into Egypt, but 
" there you shall be sold unto your enemies for bond- 
men and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you;" 
they should be in a worse condition than when they 
were first in Egypt. So, if there be any of you will- 
ing to sell your consciences in hope of preferment, 
the other side may get power and prevail, and so, instead 
of being preferred, you may be disappointed, not only 
be brought into as iU, but into a far worse condition. 
And perhaps, though you would have sold yovu'selves, 
yet nobody will buy you ; if the papists come to have 
the power of your bodies and estates, you may miss 
that preferment you think of. So saith Ezi'a, chap. ix. 
1-t, after he had spoken of God's mercy in giving them 
liberty, and remitting their captivity, " Shoidd we agam 
break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the 
people of these abominations ? wouldst thou not be 
angTy with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there 
should be no remnant nor escaping ? " And, certainly, 
if God do not awaken the hearts of people now, if God 



do not give the people throughout the kingdom a heart 
to stick to the cause of ti'uth, and to those whom they 
have intrusted with theii' estates, liberties, and lives, in 
every good way, it would be the heaviest judgment of 
God that ever was upon a nation since the beginning 
of the earth, it would never be paralleled; that a people 
should have such an opportunity put into their hands 
to help, and to vindicate themselves fi'om slavery and 
bondage, yet, out of I know not what respects, to be- 
ti'ay all those that have ventm'ed their lives for them, 
I say it would be such an example as were not to be 
paralleled since the beginning of the world. There- 
fore I beseech you, my bretlu-en, let us lay this to heart, 
and the Lord make known to us all what is to be done 
in such a time as tliis, that we may not be " stripped 
naked, and set as in the day wherein we were born." 

" And make her as a wilderness, and set her like a 
cb'y land." God would bring this people, who dwelt in 
the land of Canaan., flowing with milk and honey, and 
were, for the beauty wliich God had put upon them, 
" excellent for beauty," now to be " as a wilderness." 
In the former chapter, the state of the ten tribes was 
set out by Hosea's wife, whose name was " Gomer," and 
this Gomer was the " daughter of Dlblaim." Gomer 
signifies perfection, and what Diblaim signifies I told 
you then. But there is another signification of this 
Diblaim, which we are to refer .to this expression of 
the Lord in this place, that he will " make her as a 
wilderness ; " for you find, Ezek. vi. 14, that mention is 
made of a desolate country, and a " wilderness towards 
Diblath," to which this that the prophet speaks of 
Gomer seems to have reference. 

Diblath then, it appears, was a place where there was 
a very desolate wilderness, and Gomer was the daughter 
of this Diblath, &om whence Diblaim ; that is, though 
the ten tribes were as Gomer, in regard of then- beauty, 
perfect, for so they were ; yet she was the daughter of 
Diblath, or Diblaim, that is, she came forth out of a 
low and mean condition, and was even brought out of 
a wilderness ; now she shall be brought again mto the 
same estate wherein she was, for I will set her '• as a 
wilderness." 

" As a wilderness." The chm-ch of God is in itself 
God's garden, Cant. iv. 12, " A garden enclosed is my 
sister, my spouse." It is the place of God's delight, 
not a place for beasts to invade, but enclosed, they are 
to be kept out of it ; a place where very precious fruits 
grow, which are very pleasing to God; a place that has 
the dew-, the showers of God's blessing, " the dew of 
Hermon," the dew " that descended upon the mountains 
of Zion ; there God commanded his blessing, even life 
for evermore," Psal. cxxxiii. 3. But now she must 
come to be " a wilderness." 

For, first, the hedge, the pale, the wall of God's pro- 
tection shall be taken away fi-om her, and she shall be 
laid open, liable for all wild beasts to come in and de- 
vour her. They loved liberty, and were loth to be en- 
closed, though it were in God's garden, though it was 
with tlie pale and wall of God's protection ; well, seeing 
you wUl have hberty, you shall have Hberty, and this 
pale and wall of my garden shall be taken away, and 
yom- condition shall be like the condition of the beasts 
in the wilderness. 

Again, you shall be " as a wilderness."^ There 
shall no good grow among you. No good thuig grew 
amongst you, that was your sin ; and there shall no 
good grow among you, that shall be your plague and 
punishment. The blessing of God shall be taken away 
from you, you shall not have those showers of blessing 
as formerly you were wont to have, but you shall be 
" as a wilderness." '• Cursed be the man that trusteth 
in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart 
departeth from the Lord." Why ? " For he .shall be 
like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



good .Cometh ; but shall inhabit the parched places 
in the wilderness, in a salt land and not 



hiTwlSi? Vstib "^ idolaters ; they are (by, unsavour)- 
tliey are destitute of all spiritual good. 
" And I will set her like a dry land." 
af' li^dtvi^oJ '^'^'^ Scptuagint read it, I will order her 
as a diy land. Your sins bring you out 
of order ; but God's plagues order that which sin dis- 
orders. " As a dry land." This is eontraiy to the 
blessing of the godly man, for he is said to be as the 
" tree planted by the rivers of waters," Psal. i. 3. The 
gi-aces and comforts of God's Spirit are compared to 
Avaters in the Scripture : " AH my springs are in thee," 
Psal. Isxxvii. 7; all my comforts, all my gifts, all the graces 
that I have, are in thee. But now God will set them as 
a cby land, he will take away his gifts and their com- 
forts from them, and so leave them waste and desolate. 
Obs. That sin is of a wasting nature : sin lays waste 
countries and places in which people live. We have a 
most remarkable place of Scri])tvn-e for that, Zech. vii. 
14, "They laid the pleasant land desolate." They; 
who are they? you shall find it, ver. 12, those that 
" made theu- hearts as an adamant stone, lest they 
should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of 
hosts hath sent in his spirit by the fonner prophets ;" 
they made the pleasant land desolate. AVe not only 
blame those that strip and waste, but commence actions 
against them. O let us not lay waste this pleasant 
land, this good land of ours, this garden of the Lord. 
It is indeed as an Eden, as a paradise ; our forefathers 
have left us this our land, as God's garden ; let not us, 
through oiu' sins, leave it to our posterities as a wil- 
derness, and a dry land. In Psal. cvii. 34, there is a 
thi-eatening that (3od will turn " a fruitful land into 
baiTenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell 
therein." Sin has heretofore laid waste as jjleasant 
and fruitful countries as om's. Those who travel in 
GeiTuany, their hearts bleed within them to see the 
spots where famous towns have stood, now overgrown 
with nettles, and laid waste as a wilderness. And in 
this God acts after the manner of great kings, who, 
when their subjects obey them not, threaten to lay 
then' countries waste, and to destrov thcLr cities. Eccle- 
siastical stories tell us of Theodosius, who laid gi-eat 
taxes upon the city of Antioch. at which the inhabitants 
were much grieved, and imagining, it seems, that the 
queen had a special hand in it, they pulled dowii the 
brazen statue of the queen, that was in the city, in 
anger. Upon this, Theodosius threatened to lay the 
city and country- waste, as a fruit of his displeasure. 
It IS a fruit of the anger of kings, accortUng to their 
power, to manifest it, not only upon particular men, but 
to lay whole countries waste. God is the great King, 
and he threatens this against his people for their sins, 
tliat he \i ill lay them waste as a wilderness. God had 
rather that the wild beasts should cat up the good of 
the land, than that wicked, stubborn sinners should en- 
joy it : God had rather have a land imdcr his curse, to 
have nothing but thoms and briers brought forth of it, 
than that wicked wretches should jiartakc of the sweet- 
ness and fniit of it ; for sin not only pollutes the sin- 
ner, but the land, and puts both the sinner and the 
land under a curse. 

" And slay them with thirst." In Psal. xxxvi. 8, we 
have a full expression of the ])lentiful provision of 
God's ])Cople that dwell in the house of the Lord ; 
"They shall be abundantlv satisfied with the fatness of 
thy house : and thou slialt make them drink of the 
river of thy pleasures." Oh what a sweet promise to 
those tliat dwell in God's house, and walk with God as 
hesecms those that are in his house ! they shall have 
fatness, and drink of the river of his pleasures; but 



here is threatened, that God will not only take away 
those rivers, but even (hops of water; they shall not 
have a drop to cool their tongues, bnt shall be slain 
with thirst. There was a time when God had such pity 
upon his people that he woidd cause water to gush out 
of the rock, rather tlian then- thii-st should not be satis- 
fied ; but now God threatens that he will make " the 
heavens as brass, and the earth as u-on ;" and though a 
little water might sa\e then- lives, they should not have 
it, he will slay them with thii-st. Oh what an altera- 
tion does sin make in God's administration of liis ways 
towards us ! 

It Ls a great judgment thus to be slain with thirst. I 
knew a man once, lying in a burning fever, profess, that 
if he had all the world at his disposal he would give it 
all for one (h'aught of beer : at so low a rate is the 
world at such a time as that. K the want of a little 
beer or water to satisfy thirst for a little while, be so 
great a judgment, what is it for all good to be etemallv 
withdrawn from all the faculties! I have read that 
w hen Darius fled from his enemies, and being in great 
thirst, (though those kings had a delicate drink that 
was pecuhar to them, which they called coaspis, and 
others, vcojp fiam\iK6v,) he met with a duly puddle of 
water, with can-ion h-ing in it, but he drank very 
heartily of it, and professed, that it was the sw-eetes't 
(b-aught that ever he drank. If a little 
dirty water can aftbrd so much comfort inM^m^'S"-"' 
when the faculties are in such a (hsposi- "nbiis inqoiuatim 
tion as fits them to draw comfort out of it, uliqlSip sT^ltUe 
oh, then, -nhat comfort and goodness arc qii'km''™iBc"t'""rt 
there in an infinite God, when he shall iiifSiinsbiSSt. 
communicate to his creature all that good 
which is communicable ! and when all the faculties of 
soul and body shaD be in a fidl disposition to receive all 
the good that is communicated; and not put into a 
disposition by reason of want, but by reason of the ex- 
cellency of the faculty- raised to such a height, and 
enlarged to receive what good God himself has to com- 
municate to his creature. 

But further, it is observable, though God brouglit 
them into a wilderness, and set them in a th-y land ; yet 
if they might have some drink, though but water," to 
refresh them in the wilderness, and in this dry land, it 
were not so much. Though they wei-e in a scorching 
country, in the wilderness, parched with heat, might 
they have but some refreshment there, the judgment 
were not so great ; but they shall be in a wilderness, 
in a (b-y land, and there they shall be scorched with 
heat, and then God shall deny them all succom-. He 
will slay them w-ith thirst. 

Obs. God bruigs wicked men into extremity, and 
there leaves them destitute of all succour. AVe have 
an excellent scripture for this, in Ezek. xxii. 20, " I will 
gather you in mine anger and in my fuiT ;" and what 
then? "I will leave you there, and melt you," saith 
God. This may be a comment upon this text, I will 
bring into the wildei-ness, and set them in a (b-y land, 
and slay them with thii-st. The saints may be brought 
into great extremity, but God leaves them not there. 
God makes their extremity his opportunity for mercv, 
he brings refreshing to them then. They never have 
more sweet refreshings from God than when thev are 
in the greatest extremities in regard of trouble" and 
affliction. God promises that he will be '• a shadow for 
them in the day time from the heat, and for a i)lace of 
refuge, and for a covert from stoi-m and from ram," Isa. 
iv. G. This is God's peculiar mercy to the saints ; jier- 
ha])s they have no shelter now, but when the storm 
comes they have a shelter then ; and they have a 
shadow when the lieat comes ; in their extremity they 
have comfort. But it is otherwise with the wicked ; the 
wicked perhajis mav have many slielters before the 
storm comes, hut wlien it arrives they ai-e destitute; 



Vi;k. 4. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



tliev may have many shady places before the heat 
comes, but -when it is felt they are left succom-less, then 
they are slain vdXh thu-st. When wicked men are in 
prosperity, there may come one blessing after another 
(I mean that which is in itself a blessing) heaped upon 
them, but when they come into adversity, when they 
have most need of comfort, they are left destitute. 

This slaying " with thirst" is applied by some spirit- 
ually ; I will bring a spu-itual famine upon them. 
When they shall be in a wilderness, in a dry land, 
when they .shall have most need of comfort for their 
souls, they shall be deprived of it. Many men, in the 
time of their health and prosperity, have sweet promises 
of the gospel revealed to them, many blessed manifest- 
ations of God's free grace and goodness in his Chi'ist 
made kno-rni to tliem, but they sUght and disregard 
them. But when God brings them into the wilderness, 
and causes them to be under the torment of a scorching 
conscience, then perhaps they may long. Oh that I had 
one cb'op of water, one promise out of the word to com- 
fort me ! Oh that I might have but never so httle re- 
fi-eshing ! Oh that I might hear again those things I 
have heretofore heard and neglected ! But then God 
may deny one drop of water to cool their scorching 
consciences, and slay then- souls with thirst at that 
time : and thus many poor creatures are slain with 
thirst, who so little regarded those rivers of consola- 
tion, which in the time of their prosperity they might 
have had. 

Ver. i. Jnd I will not have inerci/ upon her children , 
for they be the childreyi of uhoredoms, 

T confess, at the fii'st view, looking upon this vcrse^ I 
thought I might quickly pass it over ; the rather, be- 
cause we had some such expressions in the former 
chapter, where God threatened that he would have no 
mercy upon them : but the Scripture is a vast depth, 
and there are many excellent treasures in it, there is 
always alinuid reviienlibus, something for those that 
come and look again, and this something will appear 
to be much more than before had been observed. 

" And I will not have mercy." This particle a)id 
has much in it, it is a most terrible and. This con- 
junction many times in Scripttu:e is as a pleonasm, and 
does not serve for much use ; but in this place it is of 
great use, and is filled with terror, as full as it is pos- 
sible for such a little particle to hold. 

I know there may be many curious observations of 
particles and conjunctions ; but we shall not meddle 
with any curiosity, but speak of that which is plain, 
and the intention of the Holy Ghost here. I say this 
and is most dreadful ; mark the conjunction, you had 
four ands before : saith God, I will " strip her naked, 
and set her as in the day wherein she was born. a7id 
make her as a wilderness, and set her as a dry land, 
and slay her with thirst." Is not here enough ? O 
no, there comes a fifth, and that is more terrilile than 
all the former four ; '■ And I will have no mercy upon 
her chikhen." This adds terror to all the rest. Sup- 
pose that all the other foiu- had been executed, " I wUl 
strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was 
born, and I will make her as a wilderness, and set her 
as a dry land, and slay her with thirst," yet if there 
might be mercy in all this, then- condition had not been 
so miserable ; but (saith God) I will do all these, "and 
I will not have mercy upon them." O this has terror in 
it, impossible for the heart of a man that apprehends it 
to stand under. 

And for the opening of this, I shall show you that all 
the former four, not only may stand with God's mercy, 
but that they have stood with God"s mercy ; that God 
had heretofore showed mercy to them when they were 
in the low conchtion in which they were born, when 



thev were in the wilderness, when they were in a dry 
land, yea, when he did slay them, he showed mercy 
unto them. But now he saith, he will do thus and 
thus, and show no mercy unto them. So that then, 
though this and be conjunctive in grammar, yet in di- 
vinity it is a disjmictive, and a most dr-eadful disjunc- 
tive, to pai-t them and mercy asunder, yea, to part many 
of them and mercy eternally asunder. To show you, 
therefore, that in the fom- former God showed_ tliem 
mercy ; and that this is a more di-eadful condition in 
which God wUl show them no mercy, — observe. 

First, " In the day wherein they were born," they 
were " cast out in the open field," and they were " in 
then- blood," and " not washed," and the like : but 
mark, " I passed by thee, and looked upon thee ; be- 
hold, thy time was the time of love ; and I spread my 
skii-t over thee, and covered thy nakedness : yea, I sware 
unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, and 
thou becamest mine," Ezek. xvi. 8. Here are the high- 
est and fullest expressions of God's grace ; first, " I 
looked upon thee," and then, " the time was a time of 
love," and then, " I spread my skirt over thee, and I 
entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest 
mine :" here are all these expressions of mercy, at that 
time when they were cast out as forlorn in the open 
field, and no eye pitied them ; but now they are threat- 
ened to be cast out into the field again, and no eye to 
pity them in heaven or in earth ; no, nor the eye of God 
to pity them : now God threatens to cast them off for 
ever, so that he will see them in then- blood, but it 
shall be no more a time of love, but a time of WTath, 
and he will no more enter into covenant with them, 
neither shall they be his. 

Secondly, When God brought them into the wilder- 
ness, he there showed them mercy : see Deut. xxxii. 10, 
" He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howl- 
ing wilderness ;" but mark, " he led him about, he in- 
structed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." 
Though they were in a waste howling wilderness, yet 
they were as dear to God " as the apple of his eye." 
Yea further, ver. 11, " As an eagle stirreth up her nest, 
fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, 
taketh tliem, bearetli them on her wuigs, so the Lord 
alone did lead him." Paulus Fagius, citing Rabbi So- 
lomon upon this verse, observes, The eagle carries her 
young ones not as other birds, for other birds carry 
their young ones in their claws, the eagle bears hers 
upon her wings ; and this is the reason, because the 
eagle is more tender of her young ones than other birds 
are ; why ? for the other birds carrj-ing their young ones 
in their claws, if any shoot at them, they hit the young 
ones and kill them first, and may miss the old one, but 
the eagle can'ies hers upon her wings, that whoever 
shoots her young ones, they must shoot through her 
fii'st. So saith God, I cai'ried you in the wilderness, as 
tlie eagle carries her young ones upon her wings, that 
if any shoot at you to hurt you, they must shoot tlu'ough 
me before they can come at you. This was God's mercy 
to them when they were in the waste howling wilder- 
ness ; here is not such an and. 

Thirdly, God brought them into a dry land. In this 
wUderness they wanted water, yet (though they were 
ready to mmTiiur) " he made them suck honey out of 
the i-ock, and oil out of the flinty rock," Deut. xxxii. 
1.3. You will say. When did God make them suck 
honey out of the" rock? we read indeed, that water 
gushed out of the rock in a ch-y land, but here the 
Scripture speaks, that " he made them suck honey out 
of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock." Clu-ysos- 
tom, speaking upon God's making them suck honey 
and oil out of the rock, remarks : Not, saith he, that 
indeed honey or oil came out of the rock, but because 
they being in the wilderness, and in such great want, 
the water that came out of the rock was to them as 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chai'. II. 



sw'eet and delightful, as if it liad been honey or oil. 
Thence he gathers, that want and necessity will make 
every thing very sweet and comfortable, water will be 
as honey and oil to them that want. When you are at 
your full tables, this wine pleases you not,' and that 
beer gratifies you not ; but if you were in necessity, 
■water would be as wine, it would be as honey and oil 
to you. 

Yea, but what say you to the fourth and, " He will 
slay them with thirst ? " Can you show us any place 
■wherein God slew his people, yet showed mercy to 
them P Yes, I can. There is a place where it is "said, 
God slew his people, yet at that veiy time he showed 
abundance of mercy to them ; God came with his sword 
in his hand, yet with abundance of compassion in his 
heart. The scripture is Psal. Ixxviii. 34, 35, " A\1ien 
he slew them, then they sought him : and they returned 
and inquired early after God, and they remembered 
that God was their rock, and the high "God their re- 
deemer." "Well, "they sought him;" and "they re- 
membered " this, that '"' the high God was their redeem- 
er;" but did God redeem them at that time? Yes; ver. 
38, " He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquitv, 
and destroyed them not : yea, many a time turned he 
his anger away, and did not stir up all his WTath;" or, as 
the old translation has it. He called back his anger, 
lyhich here ho will not do. He -was " fuU of compas- 
sion," and " forgave then- iniquity," and called back 
his anger, though he slew them at that time. He denies 
to do so here, he lets out his anger to the full, and will 
not call it back; "I will have no mercy upon them." 
And it is observable, that the psalm declares before 
that, tliey did but flatter God with their mouth : though 
they did but flatter God with their mouth, yet such ■^vas 
God's mercy toward Ihcm, that he called back his anger. 
My brethi-en, God has a high esteem of his worship in 
a nation ; though it should be but external, (but ■n-e 
must not rest in that.) yet external humiliation and 
worshipping of God in a nation, has been effectual to 
deliver them from external judgments. Therefore we 
have much cause to be encouraged, in that God stirs 
up our nation at this day, and those particularly who 
are going in that expedition and ser\-ice for the "king- 
dom, to worship him. Our adversaries come against 
them with oaths and curses, andthey go against them 
with fasting and prayer, not externally only, but we 
hope many of them internally, and thousands' that join 
with them in our nation. And if God will show so 
much mercy to them ■n'hen they did but flatter him 
■with tlieu- mouth, surely, when there are so many true 
worshippers of him, yea, those that are the instruments 
of the work, we have much cause to thinlt that God 
will show mercy to us, and that if anger were come out 
against us, yet "God will call it back. 

Thus then wc sec, that so long as God's people be 
God's people, though they may be brought to great 
troubles, yet still there is 'mercy for them; so long as 
the knot is between God and "them, and they arc in 
covenant, there is mercy for them. But now when they 
are cast off, there comes an avcl, I will do thus and thus, 
bring them into those extremities, and I will show no 
mercy to them, there shall be judgment without mercy. 

064'. The oljservation then from hence is.AMien God 
comes upon the mckcd with wrath, he comes with pure 
\n-ath. wrath without mixture of mercy; and this is 
intolerable. "We have a remarkable passage in Ezek. 
vii. 5, " An c\ il, an only e^il, behold, is come." Mark, 
there may come an evil to the people of God, that 
which materially is evil, but it can never be said of 
God'.s people, that an evil, an only evil, is coming ; if 
an evil come, there comes a great good with that e\i\ : 
but ujion the wicked an evil, and an only evil, is coming. 
God tlu-eatens, Psal. Ixxv. 8, that he 'has "a cup" in 
his hand, " full of mixture ;" the mixture is an aggra- 



vation of the ■wrath in it : but here there is a cup in 
God's hand without mixture, and the want of mixture 
is the aggravation of the evJl of this cup. 

1. AVhen wrath is pme, then it is grown beyond 
anger, and gi-own to hatred. So long as it is but mere 
anger, it admits of mixture of love, but when once it 
is (as ■we may speak) gro^^ii to that height of somness, 
that all the mixture of love is gone, then it is turned 
to hatred. There was a time when Israel spake in a 
murmuring way, that God brought them into the wil- 
derness because he hated them, Deut. i. 27. But now 
God threatens to bring them mto the wilderness, and 
to hate them indeed, according to Hosea ix. 15, " All 
their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them." 
David prays, Psal. vi. 1, that God ■n'ould not " rebuke 
him in his anger, neither chasten him in his hot dis- 
pleasure ; " but what then ? " Have mercy upon me, O 
Lord." So long as God shows mercy, he does not 
chasten in his sore displeasure ; but when God comes 
with afflictions, and denies mercy, then he comes in 
sore displeasure indeed, it is hatred. 

2. AVhen God comes without mercy, he comes upon 
the wicked in the most unseasonable time for them. 
That is the difference betmxt the evils that come upon 
the godly and the wicked. There may be e^sils (that 
materially are so) upon the godly, yet they shall come 
upon them when it shall be seasonable for them ; but 
when they come upon the wicked, it shall be when they 
are most unseasonable for them. As a husbandman, if 
he would cut his tree so as only to lop it that it ma)- 
grow and flourish again, he mil be sure to do it in due 
time, as in January or Febi-uaiy, but if he would cut it 
that it may die, he will lop it when it flourisheth most, 
at midsummer. God indeed lets wicked men grow up 
and flourish to the height of theii- prosperity, and then 
he lops them, because then he knows they must die and 
perish. It were better to be lopped in January, in 
winter time before you flourish, then you may live for 
yom- good ; but if you stay tiU the summer, you die for 
it. You have an excellent scripture, Zeph. ii. 4, "They 
shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day." In those 
countries ■where the sun was exceedingly hot and scorch- 
ing, shepherds, and others who had theii- business 
abroad, used to keeji within then- houses at noon day, 
or get into some shady places and sleep. Now when 
God threatens a judgment in wTath, and denies mercy, 
he saith, " They shall di-ive out Ashdod at noon day," 
in the worst time that Ashdod can be driven out, in the 
midst of scorching. Because God intended to. destroy 
them, he drives them out at noon day. 

3. "VATien God comes upon the wicked and denies 
mercy, he regards not the proportion of any aflftiction 
or any e^\il ; whether it be enough or not enough for 
them, what is that to him ? "VMien he comes upon his 
own people he weighs out his WTatli. Never did any 
skilful apothecary more carefully weigh even" ilram of 
the potion which is to be given to a child, than God 
weighs out everv affliction which he sends upon his 
children. The difference is, just as if you should go to 
the apothecary's to take ratsbane to poison vermin; you 
do not weigh out how much you shoidd take, but give 
them it at an adventm-e, and let them take as much as 
they will, and die : but if you take any thing for your 
child, if it have any strong virtue in it. or without com- 
))osition may poison, you will take heed not to take a 
di'am or a grain too much, but will be sure to weigh it 
out exactly. Thus, though when God comes to his 
childi'cn, he weighs out their afflictions, yet when he 
comes with judgments upon the wicked, he cares not 
how much, how many or great they be, whether suit- 
able to their conditions or no, whether they can bear 
them or no, whether their backs break or no; he comes 
with judgments u])on them to destroy them. 

4. AAlicn affliction comes without mercy upon the 



Vkk. 4. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



75 



wicked, God stops his ears at tlieii- cries. If they cry 
when God comes -with judgments against them, he 
calls their crying howling ; he tells them, though they 
cry aloud, yea, cry -svith tears, he will not hear them, 
Hos. vii. 14 ; Ezek. viii. 18. 

5. God commands all creatures that they shall deny 
help to them. They may stand and be amazed, but 
help them they cannot. They all say, How can we 
help, seeing God helps not ? 

6. There is the curse of God mixed with eyery judg- 
ment to ch-ive them further from God, and to harden 
them more in then- sins. 

7. One judgment is but the making way for another ; 
yea, all judgments in this woi-ld are but the forerun- 
ners of eternal judgments. This is the poi-tion of the 
cup of the wicked, when God saith he will show them 
no mercy. The afflictions of the saints may seem to be 
more grievous outwardly, but thus God never afflicts 
them, there is mercy always for them. "V^lierefore, all 
ye saints of God who are under any affliction at any 
time, be patient and contented under it, for though 
your afflictions are sore and grievous, yet God delivers 
you from such afflictions as these, wherein he saith he 
will show no mercy. 

" I will not have mercy upon her childi-en." " Her 
children." -The judgment of God in punishing the sin 
of the fathers upon the cliildren, we spoke somewhat 
of in the chapter before ; we will wholly let that pass 
now, and only consider childi-en politically, for cer- 
tainly that is the meaning of the text ; " I will not have 
mercy upon her children," that is, I will not have mercy 
upon the particular people that belong to Jezreel. 
Private persons are called the daughters of Jerusalem, 
the daughters of such a country. So that the whole 
community together, with the officers and governors, 
are as the mother, and private persons are as the chil- 
dren. So that when God saith he wUl have no mercy 
upon her chikben, he not only tlii'eatens the state and 
the chm-ch, the governors and the whole community 
thus, but he threatens every particular person of them. 
Though you that are in the multitude perhaps think 
you may escape in the crowd ; No, saith God, I wUl 
look to every one of the private and particular persons 
of Israel, and my wrath shall not only come out against 
those that are in higher place, but it shall come out 
against you also, I wiU slay her childi"en. It is tiiie, 
indeed, the heads and governors of places are usually 
most involved in the guilt of the sins of nations, and 
their judgments are usually most di-eadful when God 
comes with national judgments ; as Numb. xxv. 3, 4, 
" Israel joined herself to Baal-Peor, and the anger of 
the Lord was kindled against Israel, and the Lord said 
unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang 
them up before the Lord, against the sun." The Lord's 
anger was kindled against the people, but he bade 
Moses especially look to the heads, and take them and 
hang them up before the Lord, that the fierce anger of 
the Lord might be tm-ned away from Israel. Certainly 
execution of wrath upon such as have been heads in 
e\il, is a sacrifice exceedingly well pleasing to God. 
But though God aim at them especially in national 
judgments, yet private persons must not think to 
escape ; and that upon these grounds. 

Fii-st, Because for their sins God often suffers their 
governors to do so much evil as they do. As Israel 
had sinned, and God was wToth with Israel, therefore 
David did what he did in numbering the people. 
When you see yom- governors do that which is naught, 
lament for your own sins ; do not spend your time only 
in ci-)'ing cut against them, but look to yourselves, it 
is for yom- sins that God has left them to do as they 
liave done. 

Secondly, The reason why governors do not refoim, 
may be the perverseness of people, that they are not in 



a preparation to receive that good which, otherwise, our 
governors had in then- hands and hearts to accomplish. 
As 2 Chron. xx. 33, " Howbeit the high places were not 
taken away :" why ? " for as yet the people had not 
prepared their hearts unto the God of then- fathers." 
Should they have pulled down the liigh places ? No ; 
but they should have been in a preparation for the 
pulling of them down. Certamly this is the great 
cause why our high places are not pulled down, why 
reformation has gone on no better than it has, and why 
we have so much evil remaining amongst us, because 
the people have not prepai'ed theii- hearts, are not in a 
cUsposition to receive the mercy that om* governors 
have hearts to bring to us. They have hearts to work 
for us, but when we speak to them of what is fit to be 
done, their answer is. But is England in a fit disposition 
to receive such a thing ? So that the truth is, although 
you are ready to blame yom- governors, and to say. 
They have power in their hands, why do they not re- 
form things ? yet the guilt, in great part, devolves upon 
the people, they are not in a fit disposition to receive 
such reformation ; therefore God threatens the chil- 
di-en, the people, here. 

Again, further. It may be that the governors who are 
evil, are so much encouraged and abetted in that which 
is evil by you ; though you do it not, yet you so much 
encourage them that the guilt redounds upon you. 

Yea, lastly. If you obey them in any thing that is 
exil, the guilt devolves upon you, for you should not do 
it, but rather obey God than man. Jlany think to 
make this their plea, they are commanded to do thus, 
and governors would have them do it, and it is a law, 
and the like ; and they think upon this plea they may 
do any thing in the world. This will not secure you, 
God may come with judgment without mercy upon the 
chilcb-en, as well as upon the mother. And if God's 
vrxa.Xh should come in national judgments against Eng- 
land, let the people know that they are likely to smart 
most dreadfully, for never was there a time in our days, 
nor in om- forefathers' daj-s, that so much depended 
upon the people as at this day ; never were they called 
to afford such help as they are now. So that the 
people now may liave reformation and blessings, if it 
be not thi-ougli their own fault. As in Cant. vii. 1, 
the church is described in her beauty, and it begins at 
her feet, " How beautiful are thy feet ! " And in Cant. 
V. 11, Cluist is described in his beauty, and it begins 
at the head, " His head is as the most fine gold." God 
sometimes makes use of the people to be great means, 
and perhaps the beginning of means, to bring beauty to 
the church, though they cannot perfect it. Heretofore 
private persons could do little ; alas, they were under 
gi'ievous oppressions, they knew not how to help them- 
selves. !^Ian)' men that had pm'ses, and strength, and 
heads, and heails, and all, knew not what to do, but 
make their moan one to another, and to Heaven ; but 
now it is otherwise, you may do somewhat besides 
making your moan one to another, yea, besides making 
youi- moan to Heaven : you that have piu'ses may see 
ways to employ them for the public good, for religion, 
for liberty ; you that have strength of body may know 
what to do ; you that have parts, you are called to help, 
you may join together for good, and the good of your 
countrj-, you may do much more than heretofore could 
be done. '\^1ierefore now, if you should desert the 
cause of God, and those you have trusted, you must 
expect the most dreadful -nTath of God upon the people, 
and that without mercy, that ever was upon any nation 
since the beginning of' the world ; for never any nation 
had more depending upon the people, than tliere is at 
this day upon the people of England. Consider it, and 
oh that all the people of the land did but know what 
God would have them to do in such a time as this ! 

" 1 will not have mercy upon her children ;" upon 



76 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



pai-ticular private persons in the society. One note 
more upon that, It is a dangerous thing for men in any 
society to do as the most do. If they be in a civil so- 
ciety, or in a church, to give their votes, and to act as 
the greater part act, without any examination, is dan- 
gerous. For though the community may do that whicli 
is evil, you shall not be excused by saying, "\Miy, what 
could I help it, when the most did the same ? God 
comes upon private and jjarticular men, upon the chil- 
dren, even every one of them : and why ? 

" For they are the children of whoredoms ;" that is, 
either passively or actively : passively, because they 
were begotten of whoredoms, and brought up, their 
education had been in whoredom, they had it from 
their parents : or else they are " the children of whore- 
doms" actively, they live in the same whoredoms their 
mother did. From hence, 

OLs. 1. There is little hope of children who are edu- 
cated wickedly. If the dye have been in the wool, it 
is -hard to get it out of the cloth. If evil principles 
have been dropped into children, there is little hope of 
them for good, especially of those children who have 
been brought up in ways of superstition and idolatry, 
their hearts being so defiled and hardened in super- 
stitious and idolatrous ways, that they seldom come to 
any good. Therefore that wliich has been ])roposed is 
very good, namely, to take the chikh-en of pajiists, and 
to bring them up in the education and knowledge of 
the truth. 

06*. 2. This shall not excuse childi-en, though they 
be '• children of whoredoms." It is no excuse for them 
to say, they had it from theii- parents, and they did as 
their parents have done, and as they commanded them, 
and according as they brought them up. for the wrath 
of God Cometh u])on " the children of disobedience." 
Then what a mercy is it for us to be brought up in the 
truth ; to have parents that profess the truth, and for 
our education to be in the way of truth ! It is a mercy 
of which we do not consider to give God the glory. 
How dangerous is it to have superstitious, idolatrous 
parents, and to have such kind of education ! If they 
have Turks, or Jews, or papists to their j)arcnts, and 
such education, it is not one of ten thousand that alters 
his religion. Therefore it is likely our contlition would 
have been the same, if God had not ordered it, that 
our parents should be such as profess the truth, and 
our education be according to the truth. Bless God 
for this. And you that are parents, look to your chil- 
di-en, and bi-ing them up in the truth. Chikben who 
have gracious principles dro])]icd into them, and water- 
ed by prayers and tears, there is hope of them ; and not 
of them alone, but of the nation where they live. 

Obs. 3. AV'hen God's judgments are abroad in the 
world, let " the chikb'en of whoredoms " look to it, God 
threatens " he will have no mercy u])on them, for they 
are the children of whoredoms." They are the butt of 
God's WTath when his judgments come. God saith in 
Isa. xxvii. 4, " Fury is not in me," that is, it is not in 
me toward my saints ; though I cojne out in fury, yet 
it is not in me towards them. AVhat then ? " Who would 
set the briers and thorns against me in battle ? I 
would go through them, I would bimi them together." 
■When my wrath comes against the briers and thorns, 
I will go through them and bm-n them together ; but 
toward my children, " fiuy is not in me.'' AMien God's 
wrath is abroad in the world, let not the children of the 
bride-chamber fear, but let the ehikh-cn of whoredcmis 
tremble. Let briers and thorns fear, but not the fruit- 
ftil trees in God's garden. God's judgments know how 
to make a difference between men, they are distin- 
gui>hing things when they come abroad : God sends 
not his judgments hand over head, but puts into tliem 
a distinguishing quality. God bas a chamber of rest 
and safety for his people, wherein lie will hide them till 



his indignation be oveqjast ; but for the children of 
whoredoms, superstitious, idolatrous, wicked, and un- 
godly people, they are the people of God's indignation, 
they are like Idumea, the people of God's curse, as you 
have it in Isa. xxxiv. 5. 

There are a people this day amongst us who are cer- 
tainly the people of God's curse, and let them look to 
it well. Kev. xiv. 8, " Babylon is fallen, is fallen," saith 
an angel ; and mark what follows, ver. 9, 10, '• And the 
third angel followed them, saying, with a loud voice. If 
any man worship the beast and bis image, and receive 
his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall 
(b'ink of the wine of the wrath of God, wliich is pom-ed 
out without mixture into tlie cup of his indignation." 
According to this text, God will have no mercy, they 
shall (b'ink of the wine of the wrath of God, without 
mixture of any mercy at all. And fm-ther, '• He shall 
be tormented with fii-e and brimstone in the presence 
of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb ; 
and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever 
and ever ; and they have no rest day nor night, who 
worship the beast and his image, and whosoever recciv- 
eth the mark of his name." Here is a di'eadful threat 
against such as follow the ways of that great whore of 
Babylon. Blessed are they that in these times have 
testimony in their own consciences, that it has been 
their care above aU things to draw themselves out from 
the guilt of all superstitious and idolatrous vanities, and 
to keep themselves, according to the light that God has 
tUscovered to them, pure from the pollutions of that 
man of sin. Blessed, I say, are these, they need not 
fear this day ; but for those who have involved them- 
selves in the guilt of those pollutions, they have need 
to himible their souls before God, and to ciy mightily, 
for wrath is going out against the children of whore- 
doms. It is not meant only of hell hereafter, but of 
judgment even in this world. And above all times that 
have been since antichrist began, it is a most desperate 
thing to be a papist in these days, because now is the 
time for God to make these cliikben of whoredoms the 
very butt of his WTath and indignation. 

We hear of wars, and rumours of wars : my bre- 
thren, keep your hearts chaste to God, and fear not, for 
God has another manner of people to deal with than 
you ; you shall be sealed fb'st, before the WTath come 
out. Though I cannot excuse you altogether from suf- 
fering some afflictions, these children of whoredoms 
may bring some trouble upon the saints for the pre- 
sent, yea, jierhaps some of you may have yom- blood 
spilt, but God has mercy to bestow upon you : but for 
them there is wrath, and wrath without mixture, God 
saith he wUl have no mercy upon the children of 
whoredoms. 

Let such as are going forth then in the service of 
religion and liberty, go forth with courage and un- 
dauntedness of spbit ; why ? for they fight against none 
but those whom God fights against. Wio are thev, 
but those who have showed themselves fighters against 
God, most abominable swearers and blaspliemers, such 
as make no other use of the light of the gospel, but 
to scorn and contemn it ; such as are open despisers of 
God and his truth, and of his jicople ? Certainly, if 
there be a cursed generation upon the face of the earth, 
these arc the people, whose mouths are full of curses ; 
and God's curse is upon them, who are so full of curs- 
ings tliemselves. If there be any of you here that are 
now going, or hereafter may go forth in this service, 
yoiu- spirits should rise with indignation against suc'n 
monsters upon earth, and go against them as David 
against Goliath, AVhat! shall this uncircumciscd Philis- 
tine defy the host of the living God ? Thus vour hearts 
should rise if you have any love to God and his truth ; 
Shall a company of cursed monsters, that do notliing 
but blaspheme, and curse, and swear, and defy God, and 



Ver. 5. 



THE PROPUECY OF HOSEA. 



his servauts, and his tabernacle, aiiJ worship ; sliall 
these uncircumcised Philistines go on thus, defying 
God and his truth >. If you have the hearts of men 
within you, especially of Christians, metliinks you 
shoidd not be able to bear it, but go forth against them 
with fulness of spii-it and resolution. Certainly, God 
■will make them a prey to you ; they are such as not 
only have put off Cliristianity, and are become atheists, 
but they have put off all kind of humanity, and are 
rather tui-ned monstrous beasts, or devils. Fear them 
not, though their hearts be full of pride and rage, and 
though they boast never so much what they are, or 
what they have done, or what they will do ; I say, fear 
them not, for this is part of the curse of God upon 
them, that though God fights against them, they wiU 
not see it, they shall not see it because God intends to 
destroy them ; though judgments are out against them, 
yet they wUI not repent. You find divers times in the 
book of the Revelation, that those who followed anti- 
christ, though they were tormented, and all the judg- 
ments of God were against them, yet they repented not. 
Rev. ix. 21 ; xvi. 9, 11. This, I say, is the curse of God 
upon such, God will not give them repentance unto 
life, for they are the childi'en of whoredoms, upon 
■n-hom God intends to have no mercy : therefore the 
higher their rage rises, the higher your hearts should 
rise against them. 

Ver. 5. For their yiwlher hath played the harlot : 
she that conceived them hath done shamefullij : for she 
said, I will go after my lovers, that give vie my bread 
and my icater, my ivoot and my flax, mine oil and my 
drink. 

" Their mother," that is, the state and the church, 
for they were both involved in one, " hath played the 
harlot." This "for" has reference two ways ; either it 
may have reference to those words, " I will not have 
mercy upon them," for not only they are defiled with 
whoredoms, but theu- mother also, she has played the 
hai-lot : or secondly, it has reference only to the latter 
part, " they are the children of whoredoms, for their 
mother hath played the harlot : " either it refers to the 
reason why God will not have mercy upon them, be- 
cause their mother hath played the harlot ; or to the 
reason why they are the chikben of whoredoms, for 
theii' mother hath played the harlot. And from both 
these references we have very usefid observations. 

Obs. 1. God cannot endm-e a succession in wicked- 
ness. I will not have mercy upon them, " their mother 
hath played the harlot," and they are children of 
whoredoms themselves, there is a succession of wicked- 
ness among them, and that I cannot bear. The ground 
is, because those that keep up a succession of wicked- 
ness from the mother to the clulcben downward, are 
guilty of all the wickednesses that went before them 
in that line : else, how can that be understood, where 
Christ saith he will require all the blood from Abel to 
Zaoharias upon that generation, but because they, con- 
tinuing in that way of sin, kept up the succession of 
that sm ; and so that generation was guilty of all the 
sins of that kind that went before, even unto Abel. 
The father is a whoremonger, and the child proves to 
be one too, and so it descends ; the child is not only 
guUty of his ovra sin, but of his father's, and of his 
grandfather's, and of all that land of sin committed 
before, even up to the beguming of the world ; why ? 
because he keeps up the succession of that sin in the 
world. This is a most terrible thing to consider, enough 
to wound the strongest heart in the world, especially 
of those that know they have had wicked parents. 

Obs. 2. Children usually follow the example of their 
parents. " For their mother hath played the harlot," 
is assigned as the reason why the^ are children of 



whoredoms. It is a usual thing where there are profane 
parents, to have profane children ; if the parents swear, 
to have swearing children ; if parents be superstitious, 
to have superstitious childi-en ; if parents be scorners 
at religion, to have children scoruers too. That new 
nick-name brought against the godly in room of the 
former, is as frequent in the mouths of children as in 
otliers, because chilch'cn follow theu' fathers. 2 Kings 
ii. 23, when Elisha the prophet was going up to 
Bethel, " there came forth little chdcben out of the city, 
and said unto him, Go up, thou bald-head ; go up, 
thou bald-head." The thing that I note it for is this, 
that not only the children did it, and so were destroyed, 
(for two she-bears came out of the wilderness, and tare 
forty-two of them,) but what chikbeii were they ? If you 
observe the text, you find that they were the childi'en of 
Bethel; and what place was that? one of the places where 
the cahes were set up, a place of much superstition, and 
the childi'en were as superstitious as their parents. A 
place that had the name. The house of God ; but no 
jilace degenerated more from the name than it, it was a 
Beth-aven, a house of vanity and wickedness. The 
place was most superstitious, and its children were those 
who scorned at the prophet. Again, the prophet saith, 
Jer. vii. IS, "The chiltbcn gather wood, and the fathers 
kindle the fire, and the women knead theu' dough : " 
the children joined, you see. Pelagius thought that 
there was no sin came into the world, but by children 
imitating theu' parents. Certainly, imitation is of great 
power and force to prevail with the hearts of chikben. 
You that are wicked parents, had need look to what 
you do before your chikb'en. He that sins before a 
child, especially a parent, sins doubl}', 
for a child will be ready to imitate it. "JueKspre"" 
^Vhat! wUl you not only sin against God, 
and be enemies unto him, but will you leave a succes- 
sion, part of yourselves, to blaspheme God after you are 
dead ? Suppose, parents, you had a plague-sore upon 
you, would you go amongst your chilch'en and breathe 
upon them ? This cruelty is much worse : will you go 
into your families, and breathe infection into yom' chil- 
cben, and so make them like you, and guilty of your 
sins, and of the plagues of God together with you ? O 
cruel parents ! 

On the other hand, as they were chikken of whore- 
doms, because " theu- mother hath played the harlot," 
why then should not childi-en be gracious and godly, 
who have gracious and gocUy parents ? Why should it 
not be said. This child is a godly child, for his mother 
was a gracious woman, his father was a godly man ? 
Children, let this be your encomium, Y'ou are godly 
and gracious chikben, because you had godly and gra- 
cious parents ; this wiU be yoiu' honour before the saints. 
But how vile is it, when it may be said. Here is a wicked 
wretch, yet he had a godly father and mother ; here is 
an unclean and filthy liver, yet he had gracious parents ! 
It is no wonder to say. This man is filthy, for his father 
was unclean, and his mother was a harlot ; but to look 
upon one and say, Here is an adulterer, yet his father 
was a godly, gracious man ; here is a harlot, yet her 
mother was a holy woman : oh how vile is this ! The 
reverend Mr. Bolton, upon his death-bed, called his 
chikb-en to come to him, and thus addi-essed them, " I 
do believe not one of you will dare to meet me at the 
tribunal of Christ in an um-egenerate condition." You 
that are evil chilcben of godly parents, let me, in their 
names, speak to you : AVith what face do you think you 
shall dare to nieet your godly father and gracious 
mother before the judgment-seat of Chi-ist Jesus? at 
that day, if yom- godly father stand at the right hand 
of Chi-i'st, how can you appear before that face in the 
guUt of those horritjle wickednesses in w'hich you now 
live ? Certainly, the thought of this has power to daunt 
your hearts. 



78 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



" She hath done slramefully." The word rnr»3in is 
in Hi])hil, and may be translated transitively, she hath 
made ashamed, as well as done shamefully; and by 
some it is thus interpreted, she has made ashamed her 
husband, she has made ashamed her chOdien, she has 
made ashamed herself: and all these three may be 
meant ; yea, I conceive the intent of the Holy Ghost 
is to express them all. 

Her husband first. The church is the spouse of Jesus 
Christ ; Christ is the husband of the church ; and you 
know the Scripture saith that '■ the woman is the glory 
of the man ;" so the church, being the spouse of Christ, 
should be the glory of Christ. The woman should be 
the glory of the man, but yet, being wicked, she makes 
her husband ashamed. The evil of the wife is a shame 
to the husband ; so the evU of the church is a shame to 
Jesus Clirist. The chiurch in Scripture is called the 
glory of Chi-ist : If " our brethren be inquired of, they 
are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of 
Clu-ist," 2 Cor. viii. 23. " Upon all the glory shall" be 
a defence," Isa. iv. 5. It should be so ; but when it is 
defiled it shames Christ, its wickedness reflects upon 
Chiist. Chi'ist is said to " walk in the midst of the 
seven golden candlesticks," Rev. ii. 1. Every- chm-ch 
is a candlestick, and it should be a golden candle- 
stick : but if it be a filthy and rusty candlestick, it 
is a dishonour to Christ who walks amongst them. 
Wicked men do not shame Clu'ist, but the godly do. 
Mv brethren, let us take heed of that ; it is an evU 
thing to bring shame to ourselves and one another, but 
to bring a shame upon Jesus Clu'ist is the greatest e\i.\. 
Many of you perhaps are ashamed of Christ, take heed 
that you be not a shame to Christ. They are ashamed 
of Christ that are ashamed to appeal- in the cause of 
Christ; but as for you that are so, Christ has more 
cause to be ashamed of you, for you ai'e a shame to 
him. I cannot deny, but many chmches of God of 
late have brought shame to Jesus Christ by their dis- 
sensions and fractions. They have taken shame to 
themselves, and have acknowledged it to the glory of 
Christ, and thus, in some measure, have washed off that 
shame which they have brought to Clirist. 

Again, wicked parents are a shame to their childi-en. 
"WTien a child appears in a place, and is luiown to be 
very hopeful, some who knew his family say, I Avonder 
to see him so forward, for his father is a drunkard, and 
his mother of a \ile and malignant spirit : how the 
child is ashamed to hear of the evil of his f;ither, and of 
the evil of his mother ! As foohsh children arc a shame 
to their parents, so %rickpd parents are a shame to theii- 
children. You that ha-\e gi-acious childi-pn, take heed 
you be not a shame to them, and so a shame to youi-- 
selves. 

And then a shame to herself. " She hath played the 
harlot : she hath done shamefully." Wherein had she 
done shamefully ? I \rill only mention one particular. 
Her shame was especially in subjecting rehgion to car- 
nal policy. For what was the gi-eat sin of the ten 
tribes ? It was this, the)- were afraid, if they went up to 
Jerusalem to worship, the people would then depart 
from the house of Jeroboam to the house of David, 
therefore out of political regards they would have wor- 
ship set up at Dan and Bethel ; there they would have 
cahes, and they would not go up to Jei-usalem, the 
jilnce which God had appouited for worship. This was 
a mere politic fetch, for they could not but acknow- 
ledge that God required them to worship at Jerusalem 
where the temple was. Here then they did shamefully. 

Obs. 1 . For govei-nors, or any other persons, to sub- 
ject religion to policy is a shameful tJimg. (1.) It is 
.shameful to make religion an underling, and to make 
pohcy tlie head. Perhaps they call this wisdom, pru- 
dent conduct. We must, say they, be careful and wise 
to foresee inconveniences that may foUow. But what 



if God give it another name ? God may give it a name 
of base temporizing, a name of folly and wickedness. 
To subject rehgion to poHcy is shamefid, because it 
abases that which is the gi-eat hoiioiu- of any country-, 
and makes it an underUng. "\ATiat is the excellency < 
man but religion? what is the excellency of a count i. 
but religion ? and what has England been glorious for 
more than for religion ? Now to put an excellent 
thing under an inferior, is to put the croAA-n, which is 
for the head, imder one's foot : although a thing has 
in itself but little excellency, if it be brought beneath 
itself under other things which have not so great an 
excellency in them, it makes it vile. 

(2.) Shameful, because it holds forth this, that we 
dare not ti-ust God for our cUil estate, and for our 
peace, therefore religion must come under. 

(3.) Shamefid, because it is gross foUy ; for there i- 
no such way to breed disturbance, or to tmdo a state, 
as to make rehgion an underling to pohcy. Was it not 
so here ? That verj- way which they took to uphold 
their pohcy, was the way to destroy their state ; and 
did desti-oy it at last. Wiat cause had they then to be i 
ashamed, when God took that by which they thought I 
to help themselves, and made that the very- thing tliat 
caused their ruin ! And certauily it will be so ; they 
that use the most deep and poHtic artifices, if they 
think to secm-e themselves, and preserve their peace, by 
the principle, that rehgion must come under, God will ] 
make them ashamed one way or other, it will be the ' 
only way to undo themselves and us. In matters of 
religion some commands are aftu-mative precepts ; these, 
thougli they ligare semper, yet not ad semper, there is 
not a necessity that at every time and mstant they 
should be urged ; so that a people may be in such a 
frame that men cannot but by degrees bring in a re- 
formation, and then it is not carnal pohcy to bring 
in such ways of God graduaDy, as are commanded 
by affirmative precepts : but negative precepts bind 
seviper and ad semper ; and the state must see, that ■ 
they do nothing against Christ out of jiohcy, that they 
do not hinder the gospel of Cluist by any positive law ; 
for though Chiist may be willing to forbear some ordi- 
nances for a time, and out of mercy to a people, and I 
will have mercy and not sacrifice, yet he will never 
allow any tiling done against him m that time. If, 
out of any state pohcy to preserve peace, or to gi-atify 
an evil party, they sacrifice any part of religion, or any 
godly person, Christ accounts this a shameful thing'; 
and whoever does so wiU be ashamed of it at the last. 
Now, my brethren, why should not God be trusted? 
Let us look at rehgion in the first place, and pray that 
those who are reformers, who have power in their 
hands, may never prove guilty of puttmg rehgion 
under pohcy. When Joshua had brought the people 
of Israel over Jordan, wliich you know was the begm- 
ning of their entrance into Canaan, they were to en- 
counter all their enemies. You may imagine, that 
when Joshua had passed the river, Israel might suppose 
that all the eounti-y woidd be about then- ears. One 
woidd think, that pohcy would have taught them to lay 
aside all thoughts of rehgion then, and to look to their 
enemies who were at hand ; If ever they are outrageous 
it will be now, therefore now let us mind nothing 
but arming ourselves against them. But mai-k, God 
goes another way to work ; as soon as they were gone 
over Jordan, and were upon the borders ot the land of 
Canaan, they must circumcise themselves, and when 
they were circumcised they could not fight. Simeon 
and Levi destroyed a whole city when tney were cir- 
cumcised, because they w-ere not then able to fight or 
defend themselves, but lay at the mercy of their ene- 
mies. But this was God's wisdom. Nay further, they 
must keep the passover too, tliey must mind and attend 
to religion : and mark the latter end of the chapter, that 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



79 



after they had been cuxumcised and kept the passover, 
then appeareth one to Joshua with a di-awii sword, and 
<iaith, " I am the Captain of the host of the Lord." 
'Die Captain of the Lord's host appeared to fight for 
them when they had obeyed ; whereas, had they neg- 
lected cuxumcision and the passover, and thought of 
fighting only, they might have missed the Captain of 
the Lord's host to have fought for them, and what 
would have become of them then ? So you see, God 
would have us mind religion in the most dangerous 
times ; and though we think we must mind our peace 
and safety, and lay oiu- hands upon our swords for om- 
defence, yet let us be careful of om- religion, and then 
we shall have a Captain of the Lord's host come and 
fight for us. 

In Mark viii. 15, we are charged to take heed of two 
sorts of leaven, " the leaven of the Pharisees, and the 
leaven of Herod." The leaven of the scribes and Pha- 
risees is cori-uption m chiu'ch afi'airs ; the leaven of 
Herod is corruption in religion, in bringing the things 
of God under the affau's of the state : for in this Herod 
was like Jeroboam, he was afraid of his kingdom, as 
Jeroboam was ; he had many ways and plots to keep 
himself in that kingdom, as Jeroboam had ; and many 
cleaved to Herod in his plots, as Israel clave to Jero- 
boam in his ; therefore says Christ, Take heed not only 
of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees, but of the 
leaven of Herod. And it may be, the Lord saw us too 
prone to ways of sinful compliances, even ready to have 
sacrificed much of his worship and many of his saints, 
for obtaining peace ui the state, and so to have fallen 
off from that reformation that both God and his people 
expected ; hence he has taken the work uito his own 
hands ; he will bring about his ovra work, though it may- 
cost us dear, who knows how much blood ? 

Obs. 2. That sin, but especially whoredom, is a 
shameful thing. Prov. xiii. 5, " A wicked man is loath- 
some, and Cometh to shame." Prov. xiv. 34, ■' Sm is 
a reproach to any- people." Sui, of its own nature, let 
it be what it will, is shameful. All sin brings a man 
beneath the excellency of a man, it is conti-aiy to the 
image of God m man, to that wherein ti'ue honour, 
beauty, gloiy, consist. It makes men vile : Dan. xi. 
21, " And in his estate shall stand up a ^ile person." 
■^Mio was that ? It was, according to interpreters, An- 
tiochus Epiphanes, the great king of AssjTia, and yet 
a vile person. Josephus tells us, when the Samaritans 
were in danger of suffering from him, because he 
thought them to be Jews, they wrote to him in this 
manner. To Antiochus the might)' god ; and his very 
epithet, Epiphanes, is in English 'as much as illustri- 
ous, Antiochus the illustrious, the famous, bright in his 
glory. He that was so illustrious and gi-eat a prince, 
as to be addressed as the might)- god, yet in Scriptm-e 
language, being wicked, is " a ^-ile person." It is a spe- 
cial mark of one that is fit to dwell in God's mountain, 
Psal. XV. 4, that he is able to see the vileness of sin 
through all the glory of the world ; " in whose eyes a 
vile person is contemned." Sin is a shame, because it 
deceives a man : '■ The way of the wicked shall deceive 
him." " What fruit had ye then of those things, whereof 
ye are now ashamed ? " It is a good sign of gi'ace, to 
be able to see into the deceits of sin, so as to be ashamed 
of it._ But, though all sin be shameful, yet whoredom 
especially, and that either bodily or spuitual. 

First, bodily. The expression of shamefulness, though 
it especially aims at then- idolatry, yet has its rise from 
bodily whoredom ; if that were not shameful, the expres- 
sion coidd not be appropriate, that .she had played the 
harlot, and done shamefidly. Prov. vi. 32, 33, " "WTioso 
committeth adultery with a woman, laeketh under- 
standing, he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A 
wound and dishonoiu- shall he get ; and his reproach 
ihall not be wiped away." It makes one to be as one 



of the fools in Israel : " And I," (saith Tamar, when 
Amnon defiled her,) " whither shall I cause my shame 
to go ? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools 
in Israel," 2 Sam. xiii. 13. Amnon, though a king's 
son, yet by his uncleanness makes himself as one of 
the fools in Israel. Deut. xxiii. 18, " Thou shalt not 
bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into 
the house of the Lord;" they are joined together, for 
Scriptiu'e makes those to be dogs who are unclean and 
filthy. When Ishbosheth charged Abner with the sin 
of uncleanness, 2 Sam. iii. 8, " Am I a dog"s head," 
saith he, " that thou chargest me to-day with a fault 
concerning tliis woman?" Many adulterers go veiy 
fine and spruce, many young wantons are bravely 
di'essed, but in God's esteem they are as dogs for then* 
uncleanness. It is not a harsher title than the Spfrit of 
God gives them. I have read of a people amongst the 
heathen, who condemned this sin with a shameful 
death, according to its nature. The adulterer's or adul- 
teress's head was put into the paunch of a beast, and 
stifled to death ; a punishment fit for so filthy a sin. 
This sin is ever shameftd, but especially the more lovely 
any yoke-fellow is who is forsaken, and the more vile 
and foul the harlot is, so much the more shameful is 
the sin. Athenaeus introduces Plato, bewailing himself 
and his own condition, that he was taken so much with 
a filthy harlot. It is more shameful for Christians than 
for heathens, because they know that the covenant of 
marriage is the " covenant of God," Prov. ii. 17. 

But fiu'ther, con'uption in God's worship is most 
shameful, for that is aimed- at especially here. The 
shamefulness of corrupting the woi'ship of God is ex- 
pressed in Exod. xxxii. 2.5. Aai'on made the people 
naked unto then- shame ; how was that, but by false 
worship, though it was of the true God ? In false wor- 
ship there is shame, because in that a man subjects his 
conscience to •v'ile tilings. Conscience, which is not to 
be subject to any creatm-e, only to God himself, is here 
made subject to low and vile tilings. It is not shameful 
to subject our consciences to God in the use of crea- 
tures, though never so mean, if appointed by himself; 
but those that subject them to creattu'es in wavs of 
false worsliip not appointed by God, subject not their 
consciences to God but to those creatures, and that is 
shameful. In false worship, though there may seem to 
be a great deal of humility, )'et there is notorious pride 
and presumption, and therefore much shame. For a 
creatm-e to take upon him, by liis own fancy and con- 
ceit, to raise up creatiu-es higher than God has raised 
them, to put higher respects upon crcatm-es than God 
has done, is boldness and presumption. Yea, he pre- 
sumes, by his own conceit, to raise up the creature so 
high, that God himself must come nearer to men, and 
be more present with these creatures than otherwise he 
would. Thus men presimie to bring God under their 
fancies ; and is not this shameful ? 

Fm-ther, it is extreme folly, for we contradict oiu-- 
selves when we think to honom- God, and yet go against 
him, when we put high esteem upon such things as are 
abominable and detestable. " I sent unto yOu all my 
servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, 
saying, Ob, do not this abominable tiling that I hate," 
Jer. xliv. 4. Mark, God cries out with energy. All my 
servants the prophets I sent, saying, " Oh, do not this 
abominable thing;" it is a delightfiJ thing in your 
eyes, but abominable in God's. And, Ezek. xxii. 3, 
they are denominated n'SlSj a word that signifies the 
very excrements of a man ; they glory in them, but he 
saith, they defile themselves by them. "^Mien God 
opens theii- eyes they will see false worship a shameful 
thing ; and when they do so God will show them the 
excellency of liis own. " Son of man, show the house 
to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of 
their iniquities : and let them measure the pattern. 



89 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



ClIAP. II. 



Aiid if they be asliamcd of all that they have done," 
that is, of all their false worship ; what then ? " sho^y 
them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, 
and the goings out thereof, and the comings in there- 
of, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances 
thereof and all the forms thereof, and all the laws 
thereof : and wTite it in their sight, that they may keep 
the whole form thereof and all the ordinances thereof, 
and do them," Ezek. xliii. 10, 11. Mark, my brethren, 
you see how God stands upon forms, " aU the forms 
thereof," and " all the forms thereof," and " the whole 
form thereof" Let us not slightly account any thing 
in God's worsliip, for God stands much upon liis own 
form in his own worship. Many who have no religion 
but a form, yet neglect God's form. Men love to stand 
much upon their own forms ; let them know God stands 
much upon his forms, and it is no hinderance, but a 
furtherance, to the power in religion, to keep close to 
God's form. If we would know what are God's ordi- 
nances, for many cry out. Oh that we could but know 
what is the right way, this is one way for you to know : 
First, be ashamed of what you have done, be ashamed 
of your former false worship, and then God will show 
you the ordinances of his house, and the true beauty 
of his worship : till then there are so many distinctions, 
and evasions, and objections, that you never come to 
understand it. When God humbles the heart, and 
makes it ashamed of what has been naught before, all 
the distinctions, and evasions, and objections, vanish 
away as the mist before the sun. 

And the more excellent the Lord is, and those ordi- 
nances are, from which we depart, the more shameful is 
that false worship to which oui' hearts decline. " She 
hath done shamefully :" why ? she has forsaken such a 
Husband, the Lord Jesus Clirist, who is so lovely ; she 
has forsaken the blessed ordinances that God has ap- 
pointed, and turned herself to vanities of her own. 
Christ is said, Cant. v. 16, to be altogether lovely, there 
is lovehness enough in Christ to satisfy the soul for 
ever. Ezekiel says, chap. vii. 20, '• As for the beauty 
of his ornament," "(speaking of God's orduiances in his 
temple,) " he set it in majesty : but they made the 
images of their abominations and of then- detestable 
things therein." Oh how shameful was this ! This 
shows the shamefulness of it, because God set the 
beauty of his ornament in majesty. The ordinances of 
God which he appointed himself, are God's " ornament," 
they are " the beauty of his ornament," they are " the 
beauty of his ornament set in majesty ; " and shall these 
beautiful and glorious things be forsaken for vanities 
of our o-mi inventions ? This is shameful. 

Obs. 3. Sin, especially whoredom, either bodily or spi- 
ritual, if suffered to grow, wUl make those who commit it 
not only shameful, but shameless in their doings. " She 
hath done shamefully, for she hath said." Here it is 
implied, that the thing done was not only shameful, but 
tliat she was shameless. " "Were they ashamed when 
they had committed abomination ? Nay, they were not 
at all ashamed, neither could they blush," Jer. vi. 15. 
At fii'st, sin may seem to be a little shame-faced, but 
afterward it grows brazen-faced; modest a little at first, 
but bold, impudent, and darmg afterward. If men 
were told beforehand what they Avould do afterward, 
they would be ready to say, as Hazael to the prophet, 
'• ]5"ut what ! is thy servant a dog, that he should do 
this great thing? " their hearts woidd even shake at the 
thought of it : yet, when sin has hardened their hearts, 
they will do it, "and that with open face too. AMiore- 
(liini, you know, at first, is that at which every man 
blushes ; but, within a while, unclean ones can boast of 
their filthiness. But especially spiritual whoredom, 
the coiTuption of God's worship, at first may be a little 
modest, but sec to what a height it grows if in time it 
be not prevented. I will give you a notable example 



of this. At first we find Solomon very modest in the 
matter of idolatiy. - Chron. viii. 11, saith, that he 
" brought up the "daughter of Pharaoh out of the city 
of David, to the house he had built for her, for he said. 
My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king 
of Israel ; " why ? " because the places ai-e holy, where- 
unto the ark of the Lord hath come." INIark, how 
careful Solomon was not to pollute any thing that had 
any seeming holiness in it. I have so much resjject to 
the ark of God, to the worship of God, and to those 
places that are holy, that my wife shall not so much as 
dwell there. But oh what did Solomon grow to after- 
ward ! he suffered idolatry most shamefully, he " went 
after Ashtaroth the goddess of the Zidonians, and 
after !Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites, — and 
built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of 
:Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem," 1 Kings 
xi. 5, 7 ; just there he built it too, as if it had been in 
defiance to the tem])le of God and his true worship ; 
and that " for Jlolech the abomination of the chikb-en 
of Amnion ; and likewise did he," saith ver. 8, " for all 
his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed 
unto their gods." Thus shameless was he grown! 
And thus we see it in experience. How fab- are men in 
their ways of superstition at fii-st ! decency is all they 
plead for. Well, afterward it rises from dc-cency to sig- 
nificancy, that is a little liigher, to put men m mind. 
Thirdly, from significancy it rises to efficacy, to stir ujj 
the dull mind of man. Fourthly, from efficacy it rises 
to necessity, that now it must be done, and the worship 
of God cannot be without it, and there shall be no or- 
dinance, no administration at all without it. Decency, 
significancy, efficacy, and necessity ; thus it rises to be 
shameful at last. So, amongst the papists in their tra- 
cbtions, at first they came with this argument, AVhat ! 
will you not regard them as you woidd other books 
and "histories ? they arc the traditions of om- fore- 
fathers ; but at length they came to this, in the fourth 
session of the council of Trent, the synod nmnes i.i.ros i»m 
" doth take and honour the books of the T'l'mJi'"' nil 'ou 
Old and New Testament, and the ti-a- '■"'''"-""'''Ji'^^ 
ditions of the fathers, with equal affec- !I"reKreni'n sus. " 
tion of piety and reverence." To this "f' »'= >™"-''""'- 
shamefulness they grew at last. And so for wor- 
shippping of images, why, it is for the decency of 
churches to have them, and they are but to put you in 
mind, at the most ; but at length these ,j^^ ^^^^^ j^,,,^,_,^ 
are the veiy words, " the same honoiu' is imagini et c»cm- 
due to the image and to the exemplar." '' "'' 

Obs. 4. "^ATien men grow shameless in evil, there is 
little hope of them. " I will have no mercy upon 
them ;" why ? for they have done thus, they are grown 
thus impudent. It is a good tiling to keep the bridle 
of shame as long as we can upon our children, serv- 
ants, and any of our inferiors : therefore take this one 
instruction, be not too ready to rebuke and chastise 
your servants, or your children, m a reproachful man- 
lier before others,' lest you bring them to see that they 
have no honour to lose, and then there is little hope of 
them : evermore keep such a hand over your chikkcn 
and servants that they may see they have some respect 
to lose ; that they may not" be so shamed by you, as for 
them to think th"cy cannot be worse, or more disgraced ; 
there is no such way to make them desperate as that. 
It is very gi'cat wisdom in governors to keep the briiUe 
of shanie. Your bridewell or jaU-birds seldom or 
never come to good ; why ? because they have no 
bridle to keep them in, they have lost all their honour, 
and they can lose no more ; and there is no rational 
creature' but would have honour. Not the meanest 
servant you have but has a respect to honoiu-, and that 
will do more than blows, except they are become very 
beasts. 

But how docs he prove that it is shameful ? Thus : 



Vle. 5. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



" For she said, I will go after my lovers, tliat give mc 
ray bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine 
oil and my chink." 

Obs. 1. Dehberate sins are most shameful sins. She 
hath said. This is a proof of her shamefulness, because 
that which she has done, she has done upon delibera- 
tion ; she said she would do thus and thus, she considered 
before what she would do, and yet she did it. Wick- 
edness committed de industria, ex consUio, of piu'pose 
resolved upon, is very shameful. Godly men may be 
overtaken with a fault : " If a man be overtaken with a 
fault," Gal. vi. 1. It is one thing to be 
■Eoi_Kt.; irpoXr'nd- overtaken with a sin, and another thing 
to overtake a sm ; a gracious heart may 
have sin overtake it, but it is a shameless heart that 
overtakes sin. 

Obs. 2. Those who are gtiilty of whoredom usually 
gi'ow extremely wilful. " She said, I will go." As if 
she had said. Let all the prophets say what they can, let 
them talk out then- very hearts, I will have my mind, 
I will follow my lovers still. Of those who commit this 
sin bodily, it is said, Prov. ii. 19, "None that go unto 
her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of 
life." It is a most di^eadfid scripture against all adul- 
terers and unclean persons : make it out how you will, 
there is " none that go unto her return again, neither 
take they hold of the paths of life." These are the words 
of the Holy Ghost : I leave the words with you. So 
Prov. xxiii. 27, " A whore is a deep ditch, and a strange 
woman is a narrow pit ;" they cannot easily get out, 
nor will they easily get out, they are so plunged in. 
" Having eyes fuU of adultery, and that cannot cease 
from sin," 2 Pet. ii. 14. AVhy cannot they cease to 
sin ? it is not because they have a heart but no power, 
but their wills are brought into that bondage and sub- 
jection that they cannot will otherwise ; therefore in 
Ezek. xlvii. 11, we find that though the -Raters of the 
sanctuary were very heahng. yet the miiy places and 
the marshes were not healed : mu-y, filthy, unclean 
hearts are veiy seldom healed by the waters of the 
sanctuaiy. jEKan rcjiorts, that there was 
'^''"fiSor!''"' ^ harlot who boasted she could easily get 
scholars away from Socrates, but Socrates 
could get no scholars from her, none of her followers. 
It is true that a harlot is prevalent, and when she has 
once overcome, it is almost impossible to get away from 
her. Therefore Heb. vi. 6, which speaks of that sin from 
which it is impossible to be renewed again to repent- 
ance, is intei"preted by TertuUian to be no other than 
the sin of uncleanness. Tlie author of this Epistle (saith 
he) knew no promise of second repentance to the adul- 
terer and fornicator ; showing how ordinarily those 
that are guilty of that sin, and are given up to it, grow 
wilful in it. And therefore in Eph. iv. 19, these two 
are put together, " being past feeluig," and " having 
given themselves over unto laseiviousness." Wantons 
usually grow past feeling. 

And for spiritual adultery, that usually is very wilful 
too, for those who are left by God to superstition and 
idolatry, seldom return again, but grow exceeding wil- 
ful in that mckedness. You have a notable text for 
that, Jer. xliv. 16, 17 ; the people say there, " As for the 
word thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, 
we will not hearken imto thee ; but we will do whatso- 
ever Cometh out of our own mouth, to burn incense to 
the queen of heaven." We will go on to burn incense 
to the queen of heaven, talk as long as you will. And 
so Jer. ii. 10—12, "Pass over," saith God, '■ the isles of 
Chittim, and see ; and send unto Kedar, and consider 
diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a 
nation changed then- gods, which are yet no gods ? " 
Alen are settled in the ways of idolatry, and will never 
give over worshipping their gods : " hut my people 
have changed then- glory for that which doth not pro- 



fit:" therefore "be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, 
and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the 
Lord." So Micah iv. o, " All people wiU walk every one 
in the name of his god." Theu- hearts are set upon it, 
they will do it. Spmtual whoredom mightily besots 
the heart. Isa. xliv. 19, 20, " None considere'th in his 
heart, neither is there knowledge and understanding to 
say, I have burned part of it in the fii-e ; yea, also I 
have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted 
flesh, and eaten it ; and shall I make the residue there- 
of an abomination ? shall I fall down to the stock of a 
tree ? He feedeth on ashes : a deceived heart hath 
turned him aside, that ho cannot deliver his soul, nor 
say. Is there not a lie in my right hand ? " And so 
Rev. xvi. 11, where those who were given up to anti- 
christ, though they were tormented they " blasphemed 
the God of heaven, because of their pains and their 
sores, and they repented not of their deeds." 

06*. 3. Wilfulness in any sin, but especially in this 
sin, is a very great aggravation of it. " I will have no 
mercy upon them," I will give them up ; why ? they 
have "done shamefully, and they have said, "I will go 
after my lovers." There are many who, in their passion, 
think it a brave spirit to say, I will, and I will, and I 
care not, say what you can, or whatever becomes of it, 
I win do, or I will have this. Especially men in place, 
and of estates, are not able to endure the controlling of 
then- will in any thing ; and therefore when their wills 
are but crossed,' they biu'st out into outrageous speeches, 
and fall blaspheming, and swearing, and saying they 
will have their will, though it cost them then- lives. 
Thus we find it in the people of Israel, 1 Sam. viii. 19, 
when Samuel came from God and told them in a long 
narration what hardship they should endm-e in having 
a king, for that was not then according to God"s mind ; 
they heard him all that he said, and they do not stand 
to answer any of Samuel's arguments, but presently 
they break out into this resolution, " Nay, but we will 
have a king." Those whom God leaves to hardness of 
heart, and intends to ruin, he usually gives them up to 
this wilfulness in their evil ways. The Scripture re- 
cords Pharaoh as a famous example of one hardened 
and prepared for ruin. He was of a most wilful spiiit. 
Exod. XV. 9, you shall find his wilfulness expressed four 
times in that one verse : " I will piu'sue," saith he ; and 
then again, " I will overtake ;" and, thu-dly, " I will 
divide the spoil ;" and then, fourthly, " I will draw my 
sword." There ai'e two other expressions to the same 
effect, which are equivalent to the former, even in the 
same verse, " jNIy lust shall be satisfied, my hand shall 
destroy them." Put all these six expressions, which 
you have in that one verse, together, and where have 
you such an exhibition of a wilful creature as Pharaoh 
was ? and what became of him you all know. Only- 
one more example I find in Scripture parallel to this, 
and that is the king of Babylon : Egjirt and Babylon 
were two countries most eminent for idolatry, and the 
persecution of the church, and these are the two most 
famous examples for wilfulness. In Isa. xiv. 13, 1-4, 
you have in those two verses five times / will : 1. '• I 
will ascend into heaven." 2. " I will exalt my throne 
above the stars of God." 3. " I wiU sit also upon the 
mount of the congregation." 4. " I wiU ascend above 
the height of the clouds." 5. "I will be like the 
:Most High." And what became of him you likewise 
know ; yea, the next words tell you, " Yet thou shalt 
be brought down to hell." 

These two little words, I and icill, do a great deal 
of mischief in the world. Luther, upon ^ ^.^^^ .^.^^^^ 
Psal. cxxvii., saith, I am of that opinion, sum. monarchias 
and verily persuaded, monarcliios would tms, J m'marcSe 
far longer endure, if those who are high ;;,°°„"°™rSnt. 
monarchs woidd but omit this one pro- ^^^^^ '" '"^ 
noun, /. It is true, in public ways they 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



exjiress themselves in the pltiral number, ue, but private 
resolutions are ni the singular number, /. The second 
is will, " I will," tliat is a little -word too ; but I may 
say of this will, as James saith concerning the tongue, 
It is indeed " a little member " in the body, but " it set- 
teth on fire the course of natiu'e, and it is set on fire of 
hell." So it is true that tliis little icill is but a little 
word, but it sets whole kingdoms on fire, towns and 
cities on fii-e, and is itself set on fii-e of hell. Bernard 
_ „ ... remarks, Take away 2L'ill once, and there 
«r noil erit infi-rn.is. Will be no hcll. Oil the mischiet that it 
docs in the world ! I will only say these 
two tilings to those that keep such ado with these two 
little words, /, uill. 

Fust, That which thou usest with so much pride, and 
thinkcst thyself such a man that canst say, I wUl, know, 
it may be .is heavy a judgment of God as can befall 
thee in this world, lor God to give thee up to thy will. 
There is nothing wherein God poui-s out liis wiath 
upon the chOchcn of men in this world, more than in 
giving them up to then- wiU. Therefore, tremble when 
thou usest so many expressions, I will, and I will do 
this. Observe what the Scriptm-e saith of those who 
had their will in ways of false worship ; " Go ye, serve 
ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if you will 
not hearken unto me," Ezck. xx. 39. Go, saith God, 
you will not hearken to me ; you hear out of the word 
what should be the way of my worship in its piu-ity, 
but you say, I love novelty, and you wiU not have it 
thus ; you answer not Goct's arguments, but you cast 
off his worship, and say you will not have it : Well, 
saith God, if you will not hear me, if you are set upon 
your will, go and serve youi- idols, and take yom- fill of 
your oflTi ways. And Psal. Ixxxi. 11, "My people 
would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none 
of me ; " they were all upon their will, they would not 
and they would not. Mark what follows ; " so I gave 
them up unto their own hearts' lusts, and they walked 
in theii- own counsels." You will have yoiu- own coun- 
sels, and your own will, and so God gives you up to 
them ; and then woe to you, you are undone ! 

Secondly, You that are set upon your wiU in that 
which is evO, know, God is and will be as wilful toward 
you as you can be toward him. ^Mark that notable 
text, Jer. xliv. 25, which sets out the notorious height 
of mcke(hiess that was in the people of those times : 
" Ye and your v^ives have both spoken with yom- 
mouths, and fulfilled -with yoiu- hand," that which is 
evQ; you will not only say you will do it, but will do it 
mdeed. WeD, saith God, vou have done so, " ye and 
your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and 
fulfilled with yom- hand, saying. We will surely per- 
form our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to 
the queen of heaven, and to pour out di-ink offerings 
unto her : ye will surely accomplish yom' vows, and 
surely perform your vows." You will" go on in your 
false w ays of worship. jSIark what follows in ver. 26, 
" Tlierefore hear ye the word of the Lord, all Judah 
that dwell in the land of Egypt ; Behold, I have 
sworn," you have vowed, and I have swoi-n, " I have 
sworn by my gi-eat name, saitli the Lord, that my name 
shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of 
.Tudah in all the land of Egypt :" and ver. 27, "Behold, 
I will watch over them for evil, and not for good : and 
aU the men of Judah that are in the land of Egj-pt 
shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, 
until there be an end of them." God will be as reso- 
lute as the stoutest sinner : you will, and God wOl; who 
shall have their will, think you ? Answer to tliis, you 
stout-hearted that are away from God ; answer to tliis, 
you stout-hearted children, and servants, and wives. 
A wilful man never wants woe. If you will be resolute 
in any tiling, my brethren, be resolute m that which is 
good; be resolute in the work of repentance, with 



David, Psal. xxxii. 5, " I will confess my transgressions :" 
indeed I had many thoughts to come and shame my- 
self, and open all unto God, but I could not get it off; 
at length I grew resolute and said, I will, and I have 
sworn to keep thy righteous precepts : and as they, 
Micah iv. 5, " We will walk m the name of the Lord oiu- 
God:" and as Joshua, I and my house will serve the 
Lord ; do you what you will, we are resolute that we 
will serve the Lord. This is a blessed wilfuhiess in- 
deed. Oh that the stoutness and wilfulness of many 
people might be turned to this resolution for God and 
for his truth ! Especially, carry this note home with 
you, you that give such often expressions of yom- will, 
and turn it to the wilhng of that which is good. I 
will follow my lovers, says the apostate fi-om God : I 
Mill follow my beloved, who is altogether lovely, let 
every gracious soul say. 

Obs. 4. Professed sins are shameful sins. " She said," 
she professed what she would do. It is an evil for sin 
to Ue Imking in any one's heai't, but for sm to break 
out into open profession, is a greater evil. This is to 
prove that she had done shamefully, because she said 
she would do it. There is a great deceit in the hearts 
of many men, they are ready to say, I may as well say 
so as think so ; I say so, and perhaps others think so, 
it were as well for me to speak it as to keep it in my 
heart. My brethren, there are two deceits in this kind 
of speaking. 

First, Y'ou suppose that when you speak so, it is not 
in your heart, and you make the comparison of what 
is in other men's hearts and in yom' mouths ; as if the 
evil were in your mouths only, and in their hearts 
only ; as if the comparison lay thus, they think and do 
not speak, and you speak and do not think. Here is 
the deceit, for if you speak you have it in yom' hearts 
too, you both speak and think, for so the Scriptm'e as- 
siu-es us, that " out of the abmidance of the heart the 
mouth spcaketh : " if you speak mahciously, you have 
a maUcious heart ; if you speak uncleanly, you have an 
unclean heart ; if oaths be in yoiu' moutlis, you have a 
profane heart. 

Secondly, Here likewise lies the deceit, as if you 
should have less in yoiu' heart because you vent it ; as 
passionate people will say, I may as well vent my mind, 
and then I shall be quiet. Thou dceeivest thyself ; the 
venting of corruption that lies in thy heart will never 
lessen it, but increase it. It is not with the corruption 
of om' hearts as it is with liquor in a vessel, that the 
more it is let out the less is witMn ; but as it is with a 
fii'e in a house, that when it is kindled within, and 
bursts out, there is not less within because it bursts 
out ; no, the more it flames out, the more it burns with- 
in : and as it is with water in a fountaui, when it flows 
out of the fountain, there is not the less water in the 
fountain ; it may rather have the less by stopping, and 
fu'c may be lessened by smothermg. Know, therefore, 
that professed wickedness is aggi'avated wickedness. 
Secret sms may be more dangerous m regard of the 
cure, but these arc more abominable to God in regard 
of the open dishonour that is done to him by them. 
The aggravation of the blood that was shed by the 
people is described. The blood that was shed, "she 
poured it not upon the groimd, to cover it ■n'ith dust ; 
that it might cause fiu-y to come up to take vengeance," 
Ezck. xxiv. 7, 8 ; you did not conceal the blood, you 
did not coyer it, but set it " upon the top of a rock." 
"\^'hat then ? Not being covered, but being professed 
and laid open, this causes fui'y to come up witn venge- 
ance against them. G'd's anger would have been 
against them if they had shed blood, though they had 
covered it ; but to shed blood and not to cover it, causes 
the fury of the Lord to come with vengeance. So you 
know he saitli in Isa. iii. 9, " They declare theu' sin as 
Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul ! " woe 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



83 



uuto them when they shall presume to declaie then- sin as 
Sodom. And as I said hefore, God will bo as wilful in 
punishing a sinner, as a sinner is wilful in sinning ; so 
here, God will be as professed in plaguing, as thou 
shalt he professed in sinning. In that forenamed place 
of Ezekiel, they did not cover the blood ; well, mark it : 
saith God, " I have set her blood upon the top of a 
rock, that it should not be covered. Therefore thus 
saith the Lord God ; Woe to the bloody city ! I will 
even make the pile for fire great." I will be as profess- 
ed in my plagues and punishments as you are professed 
in yom- sins. 

My brethi-en, if we will profess any thing, let us pro- 
fess that which is good, let us do that as openly as we 
can. 2 Cor. ix. 13, saith, that God is glorified for their 
professed subjection to the gospel; for then- subjection 
of profession, so the words are. It is not 
'Eji t;J tiroToT.? enousfh to be subject to the gospel, but 
there must be a proiessed subjection to 
it : therefore, in Piom. s. 10, confession with the mouth 
is made as necessary to salvation as beheving with the 
heart, they are put together. There may be times that 
confession may be called for, as well as believing, and 
as necessary to salvation. Wlien the friends of Gor- 
dius, a martyT, came to him, and would have him keep 
his heart to himself, and only with his mouth deny 
what in his heart he believed was true ; O no, saith he, 
it is fit that my mouth, which was made for God, should 
, speak for God. And ZuingUus is of the 

Ad aras JOTis aut ^ . . , ,, i . ^i 

Veneris adoraie ac opmiou, that WO may as wcU worship the 
fi'deii°o'i'cidtare. altar of Jupitor, or Venus, as hide our 
zuin. ep. 3. jf^jjjj ^^^ profcssion when we live under 

anticlirist. The way to honoiu- religion and bruig it 
into credit, is for those who are godly to profess what 
they know. I luiew one that was noble both in birth 
and grace, and who had to act often with those of his 
rank, who scorned at rehgion under the name of puri- 
tanism : he would usually take this coiu-se, — when he 
entered into such company, he would begin and own 
himself to be one of those whom they called pmitans, 
and by that means prevented much sm in them, and 
much scorn of religion, by thus avowing it. It is cer- 
tain, that the best way to honour rehgion is for every 
one to own it, though ignominious terms are put upon 
it. If ever we were called to profess what we believe, 
we are now called to it in these days. Certainly, God 
professes for us ; God not only respects us, but he does 
it professedly, in the eyes and before the faces of om- 
adversaries. Let us not only have God in our hearts, 
but profess his name openly before the faces of om- ad- 
versaries. It is time now to do it. It had been well, 
if you had professed heretofore when God's truth called 
for it. It may be, many of you are found gi-ulty of be- 
traying the truth of God, for professing no sooner than 
you did ; but, however, betray it not now for want of 
profession ; be wiUing now to profess of what party you 
are, that, as we read of Jonah, chap. i. 9, when he was 
in the storm, and the mariners awoke him, he said unto 
them, " I am an Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God 
of heaven, which hath made the sea and the di-y land," 
making an open profession of himself. My brethren, if 
we be not in a present storm, yet the clouds gi'ow 
black ; therefore, awake, you sluggards, you that are se- 
cure, awake out of your secm'it)', and now profess what 
you are. I am a Hebrew that fears God; however 
they give such men ignominious term.s and titles, I am 
one of them, and I am w illin g to appear so. Like 
Nicodemus, many of you come to Jesus by night, you 
are afraid to be seen. You would give money to the 
parliament, and help forward that work which God has 
in hand, but you are afraid to be seen. I know there 
may be possibly some reason why some men should not 
appear, but not many, the cases are very rare ; ordi- 
narily, it is not enough to do it, but to do it professedly, 



let it be declared who you are, and what side you 
take. 

If you say, We live in evil and wicked times, it is 
dangerous to appear ; I may not only keep my heart 
right, but I will do as much as another, but why should 
I appear ? 1. The worse the times are, the more thou 
shouldst appear. Mark viii. 38, " WTiosoever therefore 
shall be ashamed of me and of my words m this adul- 
terous and sinful generation ; of him also shall the Son 
of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of liis 
Father with the holy angels." K the generation were 
holy, it were nothing to appeal', not to be ashamed or 
afraid ; but we must not be either ashamed or afraid m 
the midst of an adulterous generation. 2. Why should 
wickedness have this advantage, that it dares appear, 
but godliness dares not ? 3. If all should reason as 
you do, what would become of the cause ? Why should 
others venture themselves more than you ? \Vhat is 
youi' flesh, yotu- estate, your hbertj', more than theirs ? 
4. You must appear for example sake, to provoke 
others. This is a duty as well as any. 5. If the ad- 
versaries prevail, they will find yon out, except you 
mean to give up your consciences to them, and then 
you will escape no more than others ; to be sure, you 
will not have so much peace as others who have most 
appeared. 

Obs. 0. It is a very dangerous and sinful thing for 
the people of God to jom in association with foreigners 
who are of an idolatrous rehgion, and to expect help 
fi-om them. " I wiU go after my lovers ;" — who are 
they ? either the Egyptians or Assyrians with whom 
they associated, or then- idols. Let us suppose the 
former : the people of God, Jer. xlii., were deteimined 
to have association with Egypt, and they coidd not be 
brought fr'om it : if you read that story, thefr conduct 
will appear very vile and dangerous ; they seemed to 
yield to God, that they woidd do what he w-ould have 
them, and they would not go into Egj-jjl if he forbade 
it ; but m chap, xliii., when Jeremiah told them the 
mind of God, that they should continue in the land of 
Judah, and not go down into Egj-jit, " Then spake 
Azariah the son of Ploshaiah, and Johanan the son of 
Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, 
Thou speakest falsely : the Lord our God hath not sent 
thee to say. Go not into Egypt to sojourn there." They 
are loth to break ofi' their association with Egj-pt. 
Gualter, in his comment upon Hosea, though not upon 
this text, states that the Grecian churches, who in the 
year 1438 were afi'aid of the Tm-ks breaking in upon 
them, sent to the bishop of Rome, and offered to be 
under his subjection, merely that they might have the 
help of the Latin churches to keep them fi-om the rage 
and tyraimy of their adversaries ; imt within a few years 
they were destroyed, Constantinople and the empire 
were subdued, so that heathenism and atheism prevail- 
ed ; and tills is the fruit, saith he, of seeldng the asso- 
ciation of others m a sinful way. But because this is 
not the chief tlung that is aimed at, we pass it by. She 
said she would go after her lovers, that is, her idols. 
Hence, 

Obs. 6. Idolaters usually keep good thoughts of then- 
idols. They call them then- lovers, they look upon 
their idols as those that love them ; and hence they 
used to call them Baahm, from Baal, a husband. So it» 
shoidd be the care of the samts evermore to keep good 
thoughts of God, to look upon God as then- lover, as 
one that attends to then- good. My brethren, let us 
not be ready to entertain hard thoughts of God, it is a 
dangerous thing. God's great care is to manifest to us 
and to all the world that he loves us. He has done 
much to manifest to us in England, and to our brethren 
of Scotland, that he loves us and them. In Rev. iii. 9, 
Christ saith of the church of Philadelpliia, that God 
loved them. Foi-tv vears ago, ^Ir. Brightman inter- 



84 



.\X EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



preted that text of the chui'ch of Scotland. Philadel- 
phia signifies brotherly love. You know how they are 
joined in covenant one with another, and we see that 
those who said they were Jews, that they were the 
church, but proved themselves to be of the sjniagogue 
of Satan, are forced to bow before them ; and if they 
were not mad with malice, they must needs acknow- 
ledge that God has loved that chiu'ch. And since God 
has done great things for us, to manifest that he is the 
lover of England, let us keep good thoughts of God. 

Obs. 7. Idolaters highly prize the love of their idols. 
They do not only maintain good thoughts of their 
idols, or think that their idols are their lovers, but they 
set a price upon them. She said, I will follow my 
lovers ; I make account of their love, they will do me 
good, for aught I know, more than any thing you speak 
of It is true both of bodily and spii-itual whoredom. 
I will only make use of one scripture, to daunt the 
heart of unclean persons, who so much prize the love of 
their hai'lots. You prize their love, but what get you 
by it ? you get God's hatred by it. Y'ou rejoice that 
you have their love ; and for that God hates and abhors 
you. Make that good, you will say. I will : " The 
mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit : he that is ab- 
horred of the Lord shall fall therein," Prov. xxii. 14. 
MTiat get you by this ? your harlots embrace you, and 
God abhors you. If there be any unclean wTetch in 
this congregation, either thou art an atheist, or this 
text must strike thee at thy heart. Art thou in that 
way, and yet not repenting, thou art the man Avhom 
this day God tells thee to thy face, that he abhors thee. 

But how then should we prize the love of Jesus 
Christ our Husband ! " We will remember thy love 
more than wine," Cant. i. 4. The church prizes the 
love of Jesus Christ, more than men in the world 
prize theu- delight in wine. And, my brethren, do you 
prize Oirist's love ; then Christ will prize yours : and 
it is observable, that according to the degree and way 
of yoiu- prizing Christ's love, so Christ will prize your 
love. In Cant. iv. 10, you have the same expression of 
Christ's love to his church, answerable to hers before : 
" Thy love is better than wine," saith the chm-ch to 
Christ ; " How much better is thy love than wine ! " 
saith Christ to the chm-ch. 

Obs. 8. The hearts of whoremongers and idolaters 
follow hard after their undeanness in bodily and spi- 
ritual filthiness. " I will follow them ;" not only say 
they are lovers, but I will express it by following them'. 
For bodily filthiness, observe how unclean men follow 
their lovers. Josephus. in his Antiquities, states, that 
Decius Mundus offered to give many hunch-cd thousand 
drachms, which amounted to six thousand pounds 
sterling, to satisfy liis lust one night with a harlot, yet 
could not obtain his desire. AVill not ye be content 
now who have been guUty of spending a great part of 
your estate in imcleanness, now to do as much for 
religion, for God, and Christ, and his kingdom, as ever 
you have done for that sin ? If there be anv in this 
place who have been profuse for their undeanness, and 
yet now arc strait-handed in these jmblic affairs, such 
are fitter to be taken out of Clu-istian congregations, 
and to be shut u]) in prisons. 

For sjiiritual whoredom, I shall show you how sujier- 
'stitious and idolatrous peo])Ie, as they prize theii" idols, 
so they follow hard after them. AV'hen the calf was 
to be set up. upon jiroclamation all the men and women 
took oft" tlieir earrings and their jewels, and brought 
tliem to Aaron to make the calf. AVhat a shame v.ill 
it be to us if we slioidd kce]) our earrings, and our 
jewels, and things perhajis that have not seen the sun a 
great wliile, now when God calls for them ! Let women 
do that for God and his truth, for their own liberties 
and ])osterities, that they did for their idol. Though 
you have earring*, and jewels, and rings, that you prize 



much, yet let them be given up to tliis public cause. 
And it were a shame that gold rings should be kept 
merely to adorn the fingers, when the church and state 
are in such necessity as they are. Away with vour 
niceties, your fineness, and bravery, now, and look to 
necessities, to tlie preservation of the lives and liberties 
both of yourselves and yom' childi-en. K you should 
see a maUgnant party come with their spears and 
pikes, and your cliildren writliing u]ion the tops of 
them, and theu- blood gushing out, what good would 
your gold rings and all your ornaments do you ? 

The Scripture strikingly describes the eagerness and 
earnestness of spirit which idolaters manifest m follow- 
ing after then- idols. Isa. Ivii. 5, exhibits them " in- 
flaming themselves with idols." In Jer. 1. 38, God 
says, " they are mad upon their idols." In Isa. xlvi. 6, 
it is said, " they lavish gold out of the bag." They not 
only gave theii- gold rings which were of no use, and 
parted with that which they could well spare, but they 
lavished gold that was in the bag ; they would not only 
bring some of it, but they lavished it ; and they lavished 
not their silver, but their gold ; and that not a piece or 
two out of a paper, but out of the bag, they brought 
their bags of gold, and lavished gold out of them. This 
they did for their idols : oh •nhat a shame is it then that 
any should l)e penm-ious, and not act generously, in the 
public cause of the chwch and commonwealth ! 

In Jer. viii. 2, we have five expressions in one verse, 
describing the pm-suance of the heart of idolaters after 
their idols ; the like we have not in all the book of 
God. First, he saith, " whom they have loved." Se- 
condly, " whom they have served." Tliirdly. " after 
whom they have walked." Foiurthly, " whom they have 
sought." And, fifthly, " whom they have worshipped." 
Oh how are the hearts of people set upon the ways of 
idolatry ! Camden reports that Canute, king of Eng- 
land, spent as much upon one cross, as the revenues of 
the crown came to in a whole year, he was so profusely 
liberal about his superstitious vanities. Calvin, in a 
sermon upon that text, " Seek ye my face," remarks : 
Foolish idolaters ! they endure much in then- pilgi-im- 
ages, spend their money, waste their bodies, and are 
abused in their journey ; yet they go on, and think all 
sufficiently recompensed, if they may see and worship 
some image of a saint, or holy reUc. ShaD the behold- 
ing some dead carrion, or apish idol, have more power 
to strengthen them, than the face of God in his ordi- 
nances shall have to strengthen us ? 

" My lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my 
wool and my flax, mine oil and my tb-ink." AMiat were 
these idols ? The idol that gave their bread was Ceres, 
she was the goddess whom the heathens worshijipcd for 
corn. Luna, the moon, was the idol they worsnip]Kd 
for their cb-ink, and all moist thuigs. For theii- wool 
and flax, Ashtaroth was their god ; and for their oil, 
Priapus. The Seventy tian.slate that " clothes " which 
we call here " wool ; " and that which we term " flax " 
they translate " linen." 

Obs. 1. Idolaters have a gi-eat many idols to supply 
their several wants. " My lovers," in the plural number. 
The idols of the heathen do not su])ply all good, but 
one one thing, and another another thing. And that 
is the difference between the ti-ue God and idols. The 
excellency of the true God is, that he is a universal 
good ; we have all good, flax, oil, bread, and wine, and 
all in one, in our God, in our lover. And that is the 
reason why God challenges the whole heart. Idols 
arc content with a partial obedience, because they are 
but partial in bestowing good things ; but God justly 
requires the whole heart of his worshippers, because he 
is a imiversal good to them. 

Obs. 2. The end at which idolaters aim in their wor- 
ship is very low. They follow their lovers, and arc 
very earnest ; for what, I pray ? for their wool and their 



Ver. 5. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



83 



flax, and their bread and their water, their oil and 
their di'ink. They desire no more, tliey look no higher ; 
satisfy their flesh, give them but liberty to sport on the 
Lord's day, to have their feasts, their wakes, and merry 
meetings, and they care for no more. Their S])ii-its are 
vile, and so accordingly is their worsliip. Therefore 
their worship is external, it is bodily, because their 
aims are at external and bodily things. As a man's 
end is, either base or honoiu'able, so is he. There are 
some men who seem as if they aimed at God and re- 
ligion in many things they do, they make a noise about 
religion, and (3od, and Christ, and his ordinances, and 
the public good ; but the ti'uth is, theu- aims are at gain 
and credit, at their wool and then' flax ; and herein they 
show the baseness of their spirits ; like lapwings, that 
scream aloud as if they were come near their nests, 
when their nests are some where else. MTiatevcr their 
cry be, for God or the public good, if you mark them, 
their nest is in their wool, in theii- flax, in their profit, 
in then- honour and preferment, in these outward things. 
But the end of the true worshippers of God is higher, 
they soar aloft, there is a spiritual height of soul 
whereby they are raised upwards by the grace of God. 
A godly man's feet are where a wicked man's head is ; 
that which he accounts his chief good, a godly man 
can trample under his feet. He looks at God himself, 
and his service. He worships the high God : he is a 
child of Abraham ; not Abram. but Abraham ; what is 
the signification of that ? Pater ea:celsus, A high 
father, for he is the father of chikhen of high spirits, 
not only of children that are believers, but of those 
that have high and raised spu'its. Cleopatra told 
ISIarcus Antonius, that he was not to angle for gudgeons 
and ti'out, but for castles, and forts, and towns ; so I 
may say of a Christian, he does not angle, especially 
in matters of religion, for wool, and flax, and oil, he 
has no such low and base ends, but at God, and Christ, 
and heaven, and gloiy, and immortality. He desu-es 
these things only that by them he may be fitted more 
to serve God. One who has been acquainted with the 
free grace of God in Clirist, will serve God for himself 
without bargaining with him, he will be willing to go 
into God's vineyard, and not indent for a penny a day. 
You that will indent with God m his service, and have 
your penny, you who have such low and mean spirits, 
God may give you your penny, and there's an end of you. 
Obs. 3. That way of religion by which we can get 
most bread, and wool, and flax, and oil, is the religion 
that most people will follow, because the hearts of most 
people are low and base, and aim at no higher things. 
That religion which brings the largest estate, and can 
please the sense, is the religion that pleases most people. 

Pamchtius, a heathen, once said. Make me 
« cSffnaflr" ^ bishop, and though I be now a heathen 

yet I will be a Christian as well as any 
other. He saw in what pomp the bishops hved, and 
by that he thought it was a fine thing to be a Christian. 
By outward pomp and glory antichi-ist draws many 
followers ; they go where they can have most wool anil 
flax ; they can get most preferment that way. ^neas 
Silvius observed, the reason why the pope prevailed 
against the council, though it was a general council, 
which was above the pope, was this, that the pope had 
a great many places of preferment and honour to give, 
the general council had none : the general council can 
inquii'e after truth, and present its decision, and can 
tell what is God's mind, but it has no honour, no pro- 
motion, no prefemient to give ; therefore, alas, the 
general council prevails little, the pope gets all, and 
all because he has bishoprics, and cardinals' places, 
and livings, and great honom-s, to bestow. Luther, in 
„ . ,. . his comment upon this text, relates that 

e^ uuo canonic.-,iu oue whoui liB knew, who lived like a 
«°!i"i?m"i3ito°de- noblcman by his many ecclesiastical pre- 



ferments, when excellent bread and wine ii.aiiorempanem,et 
were brought to the table, jiointing to siiutTsHmumSat 
them, said, These are the things that make ^mJ'l'.'T^ul'f;,."'' 
me that I cannot leave this kind of life. gl;;,"',"js';°;Vrc*on 
These are the arguments that [jrevaU hbrat Tnobuiiire 
most in the world ; arguments taken from 
bread, and flax, and wool, and oil, are stronger argu- 
ments than any taken from the Scrijjture, than any 
thing taken fi'om the honour of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. "When men come with Saul's arguments, 
1 Sara. xxii. "i, '■ Will the son of Jesse give every one 
of you fields and \ineyards, and make you all captains 
of thousands, and captains of hundreds ? " will you 
foUow him ? can he prefer you ? O no, he can do little 
for you. And when men argue, I pray what will this 
way bring you in ? what preferment wQl jou get by 
tliis ? you may get preferment in the other way ; this 
draws, this prevails. In a speech delivered by the vice- 
chancellor, not many years ago, in a public commence- 
ment at Cambridge, speaking to the young scholars, 
and wishing them to take heed of being pvu'itans, he 
said, "WTiatcan you get in that way? you Ma;is soiicLti de 
shall live poorly, perhaps you may have """'"^f'""' 
some three-halfpenny benefice in follow- taJ';, \i\ii)eoi 
ing them ; but come to be chikb-en of "i''.i"'udai'"ua'!li™' 
the chm-ch, and then you may be sure of ^''""" ''"""»'■ 
good benefices, you may come to be prebends, to be 
deans, to be bishops. Thus he persuaded the young 
scholars to take heed of puritanism. There is mighty 
strength in this argument upon the hearts of most. 

Hence the poverty of Christ is a great scamlal and 
offence to most people. A\'hen they see that religion 
win not bring them flax, and wool, and oil, but that 
they must live poorly, they are offended at this exceed- 
ingly. Charles the Great, having war with Aygolandus, 
king of Africa, who, being anxious to make peace with 
Charles, made some profession to become a Christian ; 
Charles was very glad of this, and brought him to his 
court to parley with him. There he saw thirty poor 
persons whom Charles fed, who were halt, and maimed, 
and blind, and in a very ])oor garb. Charles the Great 
did this, because he would have poverty before his eyes 
continually, that he might not be too high in and proud 
of his prosperity. When Aygolandus saw them, he 
said, "\ATio are these ? These, saith Charles, are the 
servants of God. Nay then, rephcd he, if your Ciod 
keep his servants no better, I will be none of his ; 
I thought to be a Christian, and to serve your God, but 
seeing those that serve him liave no better food or 
raiment than these, I will be none of those servants. 
Thus it is with many, though their consciences are con- 
vinced which is the best way, yet. because of the want 
of flax, and wool, and oil. they will not decide for Christ. 

Obs. 4. It is a shameful thing for men to put religion 
in subjection to their wool, and corn, and oil. Before 
I showed, that it is shamefid to subject religion to the 
political affau's of a kingdom, but to subject religion 
to our own base sensualities, for profit and preferment, 
this is very shameful. Gain gotten this way, is filthy 
lucre, as the Scriptm-e calls it, yet hujusmodi lucri dul- 
f M' odor, the smell of this gain is very sweet to many. 
Is thy rehgion serviceable only to gain a trade, to 
gi-atify sensual lusts ? what is this, but to stop the hole 
of a mud wall with diamonds and precious pearls? 
That were a folly, you will say, to make such precious 
things serviceable" to such base ends : thou dost as 
much, thou wouldst make religion subject to that 
^^■hieh only satisfies the flesh, llehgion, my brethren, 
is the glory of a man, and the glory of a nation ; and 
shall we turn this glory into shame ?" It is a base thing 
in magistrates, to subject the acts of justice to their 
base ends, for gain and profit ; for a judge, or a justice 
of peace, or a prelate, to .show most favour where there 
is most flax, and wool, and oil, where butts of beer or 



86 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



rundlets of sack are to be gained, this is baseness in 
them. But to subject religion to such ends as these, 
this is the villany of all baseness. A generous spirit is 
far from tliis. It is observed of the generous spuit of 
Luther, that when a papist was vexed at him for his 
preaching and writing, one bishop remarked to another, 
There is such a stir with this Luther, why do you not 
stop his mouth with preferment ? He presently an- 
swered, That Qerman beast cares not for 
'jSfXi"w'!2S!'' money, he is above money. He called 
him beast in his anger, whereas he might 
have called him an angel, because his spii-it was above 
these things, his mouth would not be stopped witli 
them. A bisliop in this land, hearing that a kinsman, 
of his was a zealous preacher ; Well, saith he, let me 
alone, I will .silence him ; and indeed he did ; how ? he 
gave him two livings, and they silenced liim presently. 
Some men's lust of malice goes beyond then- lust of 
covetousness, like those cockatrices, Jer. viii. 17, that 
" will not be charmed." It is a shameful tiling then, 
that our zeal for God should not go beyond our lust for 
gain. To subject your religion to flax, and wool, and 
oil, springs from a base diffidence in God, as if he w ould 
not provide for us such outward things ; therefore Lu- 
ther saith in his comment upon Ilosca, 
ut'dirSJ.^TcS": They followed their idols for bread, and 
Sf.'^liaUalito ■"■oolj and flax, and oil, as if God would 
not give bread to his church, or as if it 
were more safe to go to Satan for it. O let us trust 
God for all, for our clothes, for our meat and drinlv, 
for our estates, for om- childi-cii ; God certainly will feed 
his chm-ch. And yet the men who have hearts so base 
themselves, thinli it impossible for any man not to be 
taken with such arguments : They may talk of religion 
and conscience, say they, but I will warrant you they 
may be bought with money, and preferment, and places 
of profit and honour. They think it impossible for 
men to stand against these arguments. It reminds me 
of that speech that Balak used to Balaam, " Did not I 
earnestly send unto thee to call thee, wherefore camest 
thou not unto me ? Am I not able to promote thee to 
honour ? " As if he had said. Thou art a sti-ange man 
indeed; did not I send thee word that I would promote 
thee *o great honour, and give thee silver and gold, or 
whatever thou wouldst have ? AVhat ! will not prefer- 
ment and money tempt you ? I thought this would 
have tempted any man in the world. And thus many 
men think : but let all such know that there is a gener- 
ation of men in the world of true generous spmts, wlio 
are above these things, and take as much delight, and 
have as much sweetness, in denying these places of 
honour, and preferment, and gain, as those that ofler 
them Iiave in enjoying them. It was a notable S])cech 
that Pliny made concerning Cato, in his Epistle Dedi- 
catory to liis Natural History, Cato took as much glory 
in those dignities and honours which he refused, as he 
did in tliose which he enjoyed. Certainly it is so with 
the saints, tlie true generous spirit of Cliristians take 
as much content in those places of preferment they 
deny for Clirist, as in any gain they enjoy. There is 
no tempting such men. . 

Let us pray therefore for those who arc intrusted by 
us, not only for civU things, but for matters of religion, 
that bread, and corn, and wool, and flax, and wine, and 
oil may never tempt them ; that prcfei-ment and gain 
may never bias their spirits. Such ways have not been 
left untried by some, and have prevailed ; but through 
God's mercy he has preserved others, and made the 
world know that Christ has a people to whom religion 
and the public good arc more dear than all the flax, 
and wool, and wine, and oil in tlie world ; than all the 
estates, and high places, and great ])rcferments that 
can be offered them. And now, the Lord our God 
keep this in their and in our hearts for ever. 



Obs. 5. Prosperity and success in an evil way, hai-den 
the hearts of men in sin. I will follow after my lovers, 
for they give me bread, and water, and wool, and flax. 
Eusebius reports that Maximilian the emperor, in an 
edict against the Christians, vilifying the Christian re- 
ligion as an execrable vanity, and seeking to confirm 
the heathens in the worship of their idols, remarks. Be- 
hold, how the earth brings forth fr-uit for the husband- 
man in abundance, how our meadows are adorned with 
flowers and herbs, and moistened with the dews of 
heaven, what health we have, and what quiet and 
peaceable Hves. Thus, by their prosperity, he seeks to 
confirm the hearts of idolaters in their wicked ways. 
Prosperity in a wicked way is exceedingly hardening. 
Dionysius, haviiig committed sacrilege against the idols, 
by robbing then- temples, yet liis voyage being prosper- 
ous, boasted that though he did not worship the gods 
as others did, he prospered as much as they. In that 
year when those innovations in God's worship were 
principally brought in amongst us, especially in tlie 
diocess of Norwich, it proved to be a very fruitful year; 
and one commissary, among the rest in liis court, after 
the harvest was taken in, addiessed the counti-ymen in 
tliis way. Do you not see how God prospers us ? What 
a plentiful harvest have we had this year! This is 
suice you began to worship God with more decency 
than you were wont to do. Thus attributing all tlie 
goodness of God to that way. Let it be all our prayer, 
that God would never prosper us in a sinful way. 

Obs. 6. Carnal hearts look upon what they enjov as 
their o\\'n, and think they may use it as their own ; and 
especially such as are idolaters. It is very observable, 
how often this word "my" is iterated: give me my 
bread, and my water, and my flax, and my oil, and my 
wool ; nothing but my. Though they will acknowledge 
that what they have comes from tlie idols, as here they 
did, for they said their lovers gave it them, yet when 
they had these tilings, they thought they might do with 
them what they would ; they were theirs. Mine, mine, 
all is mine. Thus it is usual for carnal spirits to ac- 
knowledge in general, that what they have conies from 
God ; but when they have it, they think it is theii' own, 
not that God reserves the propriety of what thej' have 
after he has given it them. You mistake, if you think 
that that is' all the acknowledgment you owe to God 
for what you enjoy, that you liad it from God ; but you 
must acknowledge likewise, that God reserves his pro- 
priety after he has given it you. God never gives any 
thing in the way that one fi-iend gives to another. A 
friend may give you a gift, yet, when you have it, it is 
your own, and you may use it as you please, your friend 
parts with his own propriety. God never gives any 
thing so as to part with his own propriety ; though he 
has given it you, yet vou cannot say, It is mine ; in re- 
spect of God, it is still his. 

There is no such bond upon conscience to use all the 
comforts we have for God as this, to look up to God, 
and see that all comes from him in the way of the co- 
venant of grace. I say, that will lay a bond upon con- 
science, to make use of your estates, and of all you en- 
joy, for God, and not think to employ them for your 
own ends. It is not the slight acknowledgment idol- 
aters make, that all comes from God, will do it. Car- 
nal men look upon what they have coming from God 
through second causes, and no further ; but a Christian 
looks upon that which he has as coming from God in a 
covenant of grace, and this engages the heart strongly to 
use all for God, from whom all is received in such a way. 

Ver. 6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up ihy way 
in'lh thorns, and'make a wall, llial she shall ml Jind her 
jmlhs. 

This verse and the following are tne workings of 
C'.'.T . bowels of mercy, a jiarenthesis of grace to the 



Vee. 6. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



87 



elect, though mingled with some severity. They are 
indeed the epitome of the whole chapter, declarmg 
Israel's sin, with threatening judgment, and yet pro- 
mising mercy unto the elect, the penitent amongst 
them. 

" Therefore." Tliis has reference to somewhat before, 
end answers to wherefore : Because I have dealt witli 
you by the way of my prophets, in convincing, in ad- 
monishing, in threatenmg, and all this will not do, 
" therefore" I will deal with you in another way. 

" Therefore, behold." That way of mine of which 
I now speak, is a singular way ; you shall find much of 
mv grace in it, the way in which I will deal with you 
is full of wonders, " Behold." 

"I will hedge up thy way." There is a two-fold- 
hedge that God makes about his people. There is the 
hedge of protection to keep evil from them, and there 
is the hedge of afiliotion to keep them from evil. The 
hedge of protection you have, Isa. v. 5, where God 
threatens that he " -n-ill take away the hedge " from liis 
vineyai'd, that is, he wiU take away his protection ; and it 
is said of Job, that " God had hedged him about." But 
the hedge here meant, is the hedge of affliction. •' I 
win hedge up thy way," that is, I will bring sore and 
heavy afflictions upon you, but yet in a way of mercy ; 
these afflictions shall be but as a hedge to keep you 
from evil, they shall not do evil to you, or bring evU 
upon you. 

'• I wlU hedge up thy way with thorns." That is, I 
see you will go on in these ways of idolatry and false 
worsliip, I will make them difficult to 5-ou, you shall go 
thi'ough thorns: if you will get to yom- idols, you 
shall be pricked. It is a metaphor taken from a hus- 
bandman, who, when the cattle will break over pa.stm'es, 
makes thick and prickly hedges to prevent them, and 
to disti-ess them if they attempt it : so I -n-iU deal with 
you, saith God. Or, when a husbandman observes 
passengers make a path in his gi'ound where they ought 
not, and spoil the grass or the corn, he lays thoi-ns in 
the way that they cannot go into his corn ; or if they 
do, they shall go vrith some pain and ti'ouble : so saith 
God, "I will hedge up thy way ■nith thorns." 

'■ And make a wall." I will waU a wall, so the words 
are. It may be they will get tlu-ough the thorns, but 
if they do, I have another way to deal with them, I 
will come with stronger afflictions, and they shall be of 
more power to keep them from their" sin, they shall be 
as a wall ; and though they get through the thorns, 
they shall not get over the wall. 

" That she shall not find her paths." Mai-k the change 
of the person, " I will hedge up thy way," fii-st ; and 
then I wiU '■ make a waU, and she shall not find her 
paths." It often occm's in Scripture, and signifies some 
perturbation of spfrit. That maimer of speech is usual 
amongst men when their spuits are ti'oubled, they speak 
sometimes in one person, sometimes in another ; and, 
indeed, the Lord here speaks after the manner of men, 
as if his spuit were troubled witli the peiTerseness of 
his people. Besides, the change of the person is to 
express some indignation of God against their pervcrse- 
ness, therefore he speaks as if he would tm-n fi-om them, 
and rather speak to somebody else ; as if he should say, 
I speak to these, yet they are stubborn : well, I \yill 
speak to all tlie beholders. Take notice of their stub- 
bonmess and perverseness, and judge between them 
and me. 

Obs. 1. Though .such as are in covenant with God, 
may for their sins be involved in the same judgment 
with others, yet God will make a difference between 
them and others that are not in covenant with him. 
God wiU have other ends in his afflictions towards liis 
people, than he has towards the wicked ; though the 
difierence be not in the things they suffer, yet it is veiy 
broad in the ends for which the'v sufler.' When the 



briers and thorns, Isa. xxvLi. 4, are set before God, the 
fire of God's anger passes thi-ough them to destroy 
them; but when God comes to his people, though some 
anger be stin-ed up for a whUe, yet aU the fruit thereof is 
to talce away their sin, ver. 9. See what difierence God 
makes between persons even under the same aflliction. 
In Jer. xxiv. 5, God saith, " Like these good figs, so 
will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive 
of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the 
land of the Chaldeans for thek good." Though they 
be carried into the land of the Chaldeans, I wUl ac- 
knowledge them there to be my people, and it shall be 
for then- good. Well, now there was likewise a basket 
that had "very naughty figs," and tliey were carried away 
captive too, both went into capti\ ity ; what does he say 
of them ? ver. 9, " I will deliver them to he removed 
into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hm-t;" I 
win aim at thefr hm't when I deUver them into capti^ty. 

This should be a might)' support to the saints under 
aU their afllictions, though the affliction be tire same to 
sense and view with that of the wicked, yet you see 
the difference is broad. It is true, may the troubled 
heart say, there may be different ends of God's afflict- 
ing some and others ; he may afilict some for trial, and 
others for then' sins ; but what wiU you say if an afflic- 
tion come upon us for our sms ? Is there a difference 
here ? Yes, my brethi'en, though yom- afllictions come 
upon you for your sins, if you be in covenant witli 
God, the difference still may hold : so it is here ; tlrose 
afflictions wlrich God calls the hedge and the wall, were 
sore afflictions, and tliey were for thcu- sins, yet God 
intended good and mercy to them in those afflictions. 
This is the vu'tue of the covenant of grace, that it takes 
out the sting and curse even of afflictions, wliich are 
not only for trial, but for sin. If God bring some 
misery upon you, yet being in covenant with him, his 
blessing causes those troubles to keep you from greater 
misery that else would befall you. 

Obs. 2. There is even in the samts such a slamh 
disposition remaining, that they will stand out against 
God a long time, even against the admonitions, exhort- 
ations, convictions, and threatenings of his word. Not 
only the reprobate, but such is the perverseness of the 
heai-ts of men. that even the elect of God mil many 
times do so ; this is a sore and a grievous evd, that it 
should be said so of them. If there be ingenuousness 
in the spuits of men, the very intimation of the mind 
of God is enough to cause the heart to jield; and siurely 
grace makes the heart of a man ingenuous. God ex- 
pects that there should be melting of spirit at the very 
notice given of his displeasm'e ; yet, behold, even in the 
hearts of the godly there remains so much slavishness, 
that they ^vill not return but upon God's dealing very 
hardly witli them. They must have many afllictions, 
they must be whipped home before they wUl return 
home ; God must send the dog many times to worry 
his sheep before they will come into the fold. This 
God complains of : Jer. ii. 14, " Is Israel a servant ? is 
he a home-born slave? why is he spoiled?" ver. 11, 
"Hast thou not procm-ed this unto thyself?" So it 
may be said of many of the saints, when we see the 
dealings of God towards them ; yea, even God himself 
speaks thus, AMiat ! is such a one a servant ? is he a 
slave ? is not such a one my child ? how is it then that 
he must be dealt with like a slave, Ulie a servant ? 

Obs. 3. ^^lien one means wiU not keej) ourselves or 
others from sin, we must not rest there, but look after 
other means to prevent it. "WTiat ! wiU not this do it ? 
Is there any thing else that possiblv may do it ? That 
means then shall be used. Thus God (we speak with 
reverence) studies his administrations towards his people, 
when he is frustrated in one, if that will not do, he be- 
thinks with himself, Is there any thing else will do it ? 
if there be any thing in the world can do it, it shall not 



88 



AN EXPOSTTIOX OF 



Chap. n. 



he left unattempted. God does not presently cast off 
his people, because they stand out against him in the 
use of one means. It is true, for others that are not in 
covenant with him, God is quick ■nith them, and if they 
come not in presently, he cuts them off, and will have 
no more to do with tliem ; but for his own people, though 
they stand out long, yet God tries one means after an- 
other. This is the grace of God towards his own. 

It should be our care to imitate God in this. AATien 
you are to deal with others who are under you, with 
your chikken or servants, do not satisfy yom-selves 
with, I have admonished them, and tlu'eatened them, 
and persuaded them, yet they will not come in ; wliat, 
tlicn, will you have no more to do with them ? will you 
cast them off presently ? You should study what further 
course may be taken, study their (Uspositions ; "\\'liat do 
I think will work upon them, if this do not ? will fair' 
means ? will foul means ? will any thing do it ? If any 
thing will, you should labour to deal with them that way. 
So for your own hearts, when you are convinced of the 
evil of your sin, your consciences will not be quiet un- 
less you use some means against it. Well, but I have 
used means, I have laid the threatenings, the promises, 
to my heart, and I have followed God's ordinances. 
Will they not do ? will not thy heart come off? is there 
no other means to be used ? "\Miat do you say to the 
afflicting of your soul ? Try that : you have laid the 
word to your heart, and you find it does not work ; try 
the afflicting of your souls in humiliation, fasting, and 
prayer, for the overcoming of your sins. " This kind 
goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Thus, when 
admonitions and exhortations of the prophet will not 
do, God saith, I will try another way, I will bethink 
mo of some other course ; " I will hedge up their way 
with thorns," and I will sec whether I can bring them 
in that way. 

Obs. 4. For God to make the way of sin difficult to 
sinners, is a most singular mercy. " Behold ! " It is 
better for the way of sin to be hedged with thorns, and 
to be made difficult to us, than to have the smoothest 
path for its commission. As it is one of the greatest 
judgments of God upon wicked men to lay stumbling- 
blocks before them in the way of righteousness ; so it is 
one of the greatest mercies of God to his cliildi-en to 
lay stumbHngblocks and difficulties before them in the 
way of sin. It is usual with God in dealing with repro- 
bates, to make theii- sins, and his providences, stum- 
blingblocks to them in tlic way of life. They hate 
godliness, and therefore the hedge of thorns compasses 
about the way of righteousness to the wicked. In 
Pro v. XV. 19, it is said that "the way of the slothful 
man is an hedge of thorns ;" that is, a .slotliful man looks 
upon any duty that he should perform, as compassed 
about with a hedge of thorns. God, in his just judg- 
ment, suffers such difficulties at least to appear to the 
wicked in the way of his duties as make him have 
no mind to them. Now tliis is a grievous judgment of 
God, to cause the way of his fear to appear so difficult, 
and to scare them from it : ■\\"hat should I do meddling 
V ith such ways ? I see I must suffer much ; there are 
these stumblingblocks that I must go over, these 
troubles that I must meet ; I had better sit still and be 
quiet, I shall never be able to go through them. Such 
stumblingblocks God lays in the way of godliness be- 
fore the wicked, and they stumble at them, and fall, 
aiul ruin their souls. On the other hand, God, in 
abundance of mercy, casts stumblingblocks in the way 
of sin before his jieople, whicli they cannot get over ; if 
they stumble, it is but to break their shins, and to save 
their souls. liut when the wicked stumble, they break 
llieir necks, and damn their souls. But the ways of 
(■lid "are all plain to him that understandeth, and 
right to them that find knowledge," I'rov. viii. 9. 
God's ways arc very plain to the godly, and sin's ways 



are very difficult ; but on the other side, to the -wicked 
God's ways are veiy difficult, and the ways of sin are 
veiT plain. O unhappy men, says Lu- 
ther, when God leaves them to' them- i^SlZt^it 
selves, and does not resist them in their P'^» !!°?JSruut 
lusts! but woe to them, at whose sins notii'm fuiori et cu. 
God winks! AMicn God lets the way to !uis'iid'q™rum ™ 
hell be a smooth and ])lcasant way, it is Ei'^Lut'l""' 
a heavy judgment, and a sign of God's 
indignation against men, a token of his rejection of 
them, that he docs not intend good unto them. You 
bless yomsehcs many times, that in the way of sin you 
find no difficulty ; if a lewd or a malicious man, who 
would accomplish his owii ends, find all things go on as 
he desires, so that lie has not in his way so much as a 
thorn, he blesses himself. Bless thyself! if thou knew- 
est all, thou hast cause to howl, and wring thy hands, 
for the curse of God is upon thee, a dreadful cm'se to 
make the way of sin jjlcasant. On the other side, per- 
haps many of God's saints, when they find the ways of 
sin somewhat difficult to them, are troubled that they 
cannot have theii- will. Troubled ! thou hast cause to 
bless God who has thus crossed thee, for it is an argu- 
ment of much love to thee. There is a " Behold " put 
to this, that God should be so mercifid to make theii' 
ways of idolatry and superstition difficult to them. 

Obs. 5. There is much brutishness in the hearts of 
backsliders. " I wUl hedge up her way with thorns." 
Not only slavishness, but brutishness. That is, they 
must not only be dealt hardly with, as slaves, and so be 
brought home, but, as brute beasts, they must have 
some present evil put upon them. They will not re- 
turn from their evil way, except their sin be grievous 
and troublesome to them. It is not enough, you know, 
to threaten beasts, but if we would keep them from the 
place to which we would not have them go, we must 
use something that will give them pain when they at- 
tempt to enter it. A man who has some understanding, 
though he has a slavish spirit, may be kept from sin by 
fear of futm'e evils ; but when nothing but present evils 
will keep him off, he is worse than a slave ; he cannot 
be kept from sin by the exercise of liis reason, God must 
deal with him then as a brute beast, God must make 
some hedge prick him, or else he will go on in an evil 
way. This is brutishness, even in the hearts of the saints. 

Obs G. See the proneness of men's natm'es to idol- 
atry. The way must be hedged up to keep them from 
it. It is not enough to forewarn men of it, for all 
means that can be used are little enough to deter 
tliem. How wicked then is the way of many amongst 
us, who seek to make the way to idolatry as smooth, 
])lain, and open as tliey can ! Yea, instead of stopping 
such as have inclinations to it, they lay before them the 
inciting and enticing occasions, which add to their own 
])ro])ensity such delectation as puts them forward with a 
swift facility. 

Obs. 1. Afflictions to the people of God, are God's 
hedges to keep them from sin. The command of God 
is one hedge, and affliction is another. Therefore sin 
is called by the name of transgression ; that is, going 
beyond our bounds, going over the hedge ; a man that 
sins goes over the hedge. VCe find, Eccl. x. 8, " 'WTioso 
brcaketh an hedge, a ser])cnt shall bite him :" it is true 
in regard of the hedge of God's command, he that will 
venture to break that hedge, must expect the biting of 
conscience, its anguish and hoiTor. But when that 
hedge is broke, God comes with another hedge to keep 
his peojile from sin ; so you have it expressed in Job 
xxxiii. 17, 18: speaking of afflictions, By them " he 
withdraweth man from his ])urpose," and " he keepeth 
back his soul from the ])it." Suppose a beast running 
in a ])asture, bounded by a hedge at the brink of a 
preci])ice, perhajis he does not see (he hedge ; if he 
should run a little further, he would fall over and be 



Vee. 6. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



89 



destroyed; but the husbandman sets a hedge there, 
that when the beast conies to the thorns, they may 
withdraw him from his purpose, and so preserve his 
life : so it may be with a man that is running to such 
a sin, when he meets with something that hinders him, 
he is withdra'mi from liis purpose, and his sold is kept 
back from death. If you live in the country near 
ditclies and pits of water, you will hedge them about, 
for fear your children should fall into them ; and so the 
hedge keeps the children alive. As afflictions keep the 
saints from sin, as a hedge to them, so the difficulties 
in God's ways keep the wicked from God. When diffi- 
culties therefore happen, it should teach us to consider 
what way we are in : why ? for God uses to compass 
about sinful ways with difficulties, on purpose to keep 
his peo])le from them. Well, I am going on in this 
coui'se, I am sure I am compassed about with difficul- 
ties, it may be these difficulties are but God's hedges 
to keep me from sin ; how shall I know that ? Some- 
times difficulties are but trials of our graces, and they 
be in the most blessed ways of God's people ; then the 
work of the saints should be to stir up their graces, and 
to break through this hedge, though they be pricked 
and torn thereby. It is the excellency of then- faith 
that -n-ill carry them tlu-ough all difficidties in God's 
ways. Therefore here is the trial; when I meet with 
difficulties, I must not forbear because there are diffi- 
culties, but I must examine. Is it the way of God or 
not ? If it be the way of God, then lay aside the 
thought of difficulties ; if I have authority for it, let the 
difficulties be never so many, and the hedge never so 
thick, I must break through, and God is so much the 
more honoiu'ed by it : but on the other side, if, upon 
examination, I find the way I am in is not warranted 
by God, then I must know that God's end in laying 
difficulties in the way, is to stop my going on in it. and 
it is desperateness in me to seek to break through ; in 
seeking to break through I may break my peace : there- 
fore I must examine whether I have warrant from God 
for those ways in which I walk. 

Oh that men would think of this when they meet 
with difficulties in their ways ! How many of the saints 
have met with cbfficulties in their paths, and yet have 
gone on with strength ! That of Jacob is one of the 
most famous examples we have in the book of God. 
The difficulties he met with were all in the way that 
God himself bade him take. God commanded him to 
return to his father Isaac, and yet he met with six or 
seven most prodigious difficulties, enough, one would 
iiave thought, to make him doubt whether he was in 
<Tod's way or not, and to cause him to return back 
again. First, Laban pursued him, and intended mis- 
chief against him ; then Esau comes to meet him with 
a purpose to desti'oy him ; then his wife's nm-se died ; 
then Rachel herself died; then he had his daughter 
Dinah defloured ; and then his two sons committed that 
horrible wickecbiess in murdering the Shcchemites ! 
All these things fell out in Jacob's journey ; he might 
have said, Am I in the way that God would have me ? 
Yes, Jacob was in his way, he had an express waiTant 
from God to go that journey. Difficulties therefore 
must not diseoui-age us, but we must break through 
them, especially in these times. It were a low and 
])oor spirit, to be kept from a good way because of a 
few thorns that it meets in the way. If we know it be 
God's way, go through it in the name of God. let the 
difficulties be what they will. But if the way be not 
warranted by God, let the difficulties we meet with stop 
us, for God intends them to be a hedge to keep us from 
sin. 

Again, it should make us content when any affliction 
befalls us, because it is more than we know but that 
God intends abundance of good to us. It may be, if 
tins affliction had not befallen thee, thou hadst undone 



thyself: if this affliction, that thou dost so VTiggle to get 
out of, and thinkest thyself so miserable under, had not 
befallen thee, thou m'ightest have fallen into the pit 
and been lost ; therefore be not troubled so much at the 
affliction, but examine whether it be not a hedge that 
God has set, to keep thee from a further misery. 

Oi.s. 8. The perverseness of a man's heart is such, 
that he will break through many difficulties to sin. It 
seems that a hedge wiU not serve, there must be a wall, 
as well as a hedge. 

Wc read of idolaters, who would cause their children 
to pass tlu-ough the fu-e to their idols ; that was more 
than a hedge of thorns. We see often, that men's 
hearts are so strongly bent upon then' sins, that though 
they were to pass through much trouble, though they 
prick and tear themselves, yet they will have their sin. 
Ambrose tells us, that Philotimus, who brought his body 
to grievous diseases by imcleanness and ch-unkenness, 
when the physicians told him, that if he did not ab- 
stain he would certainly lose his eyes ; as soon as he 
heard that, he answered, Valeat lumen amiciun, Fare- 
well. O pleasant light ; rather than I will deny myself 
in this, I w ill never see Ught more : he would ventm-e 
the loss of his eyes, rather than lose the satisfaction of 
his lusts. Thus it is w ith many. Oh what do they ven- 
tiu-e for their lusts ! What an argument should that 
be to us to venture much for God, to endui-e hard things 
for the blessed God ! though there be some hardship 
between us and om- duty, break tlirough all to get to 
that duty ; w icked men will break thi-ough great diffi- 
culties to get to their sins. There need be a wall as 
well as a hedge. 

Obs. 9. God, when he pleases, will keep men from 
their sins in spite of their hearts, that they shall not 
have their desire. Well, if there be need of a wall I 
will have a wall, saith God; though she may break 
down the hedge, she shall not break down the wall, it 
is too sti-ong and too high. A\Tien God sees men set 
upon their wicked desfres, if they be those that belong 
not to him, perhaps God may condemn them for their 
wicked desires, and yet they shall not have them ; they 
shall go to hell for them, and never accompUsh them. 
How desperately set was Saul to mischief David ? but 
God made a wall that he could not get to have his de- 
su-e, do what he would. Many, especially great men, 
how strongly are they set upon then- desu-o ! they must 
have it, and they will have it, nothing comes from them 
but must and will : well, they may be deceived, God 
knows how to cross the most stubborn and stout hearts 
that live upon the earth, that they shall not have what 
they woidd have in this world. '• I wiU make a wall." 
God thus makes a wall about men's sins, by sending 
sore and heavy afflictions. When God brings some 
grievous disease upon the drunkard's body, perhaps he 
is so stopped that he cannot drink, that is a wall about 
his sin, that he cannot foUow it according to his desfre : 
so the unclean person, God brings such a disease upon 
him, that he cannot have the pleasure of his lust though 
he earnestly desu'es it: so God brings poverty upon 
others, that they cannot follow their ambition and pride, 
do what they can : these are as walls to them. But 
God does not always send this in a way of mercy. 

Obs. 10. Wlicn " lesser afflictions will not serve to 
keep men from then- sins, God usually comes with greater 
and sorer. First a hedge, and then a wall. I sec some 
of them will break through the hedge, " I will make a 
wall " therefore, that is, I will come with stronger and 
greater afflictions, and so keep them off. Lev. xxvi. 
18, 19, " If you will not yet for all this," saith God, 
" hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times 
more for yom- sins. And I will break the pride of your 
power." You think there is a power in yom- hand, 
and there is pride in your power, for power raises the 
heart up to pride ; I will break it, I will never leave till 



90 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. n. 



I have broken your hearts in spite of you : and you 
TV-ill find in that chapter four or five times mention of 
" seven times more." This is after the hedge, then 
there comes a wall. 

Obt. 11. God is able to sti-ike men with blindness, 
that they shall not see their way. " And they shall not 
find their paths." Though there be an evil way of 
mischief before them, thougli there be nothing to hin- 
der them m it, God can stiike men with blindness one 
way or other, that tliey shall not be able to see their 
way before tliem. We have it this day exceedingly 
fulfilled in our eyes ; how does God blind and besot our 
adversaries, that they cannot see their way ' The truth 
of Job V. 13, is this day before our eyes, ''He taketh 
the wise in then- own craftiness ; and the counsel of the 
froward is carried headlong." How has God taken 
Avise men in their own craftiness ! their spuits are fro- 
ward, because they are crossed and vexed, and their 
counsel is carried headlong ; God takes away their- un- 
derstanding, and baffles them in their o^\^l counsels. 
" The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have .slept their 
sleep ; and none of the men of might have found their 
hands," Psal. Ixxvi. 5 ; they are cast into a slumber, and 
know not how to make use of that power which they 
have in their hands. It follows, ver. 6, " At thy rebuke, 
O God of Jacob, both the chai-iot and horse are cast 
into a dead sleep:" a sh'ange expression, that a chariot 
shoidd be "cast into a dead sleep ;" the meaning is, 
they can no more teU how to make use of them, than 
if they all lay dead, or asleep. Let us not be afraid of 
the power of adversaries ; suppose they had power in 
then- hand, God can strike them with blindness, they 
shall grope to find the door, they shall be baffled in 
their own ways, they shall not tell how to make use of 
their power. Isa. xxix. 14, " Behold," (saith God.) " I 
will proceed to do a maiTeUous work among this people, 
even a marvellous work and a wonder." 'NMiat is it ? 
" The wisdom of then- -n-ise men shall perish, and the 
tmderstandiug of then- prudent men shall be hid." 
This is a wonderful thing that God will do ; yea, and 
he will "mingle a pen-erse spirit in the midst of them." 
Thus, Isa. xix. 11, "Surely the princes of Zoan are 
fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is 
become brutish : " and ver. 12, " "NMiere aie they ? 
where are thy wise menP" And again, vei-. 13. "The 
princes of Zoan are become fools, the jirinces of Xoph 
are deceived;" and ver. 14, "The Lord hath mingled 
a perverse spirit in the midst thereof; and they have 
caused Eg)pt to en- in every work thereof, as a th-imkcn 
man staggereth in liis vomit." Here is the jiidgmcnt 
of God upon men ; w-hen he list, he can blind them in 
theii- way that they shall en- in then- work, and stagger 
in their comisels and designs, as a di-unken man in his 
vomit ; they shall not find then- paths, nor know what 
to do. 

Well, thus God deals with wicked men : but now let 
us consider this in reference to the samts, to God's 
own people, " they shall not find their paths ;" then, 

Obs. 12. It is a good blinthiess for men not to see 
tlie way of sin. It is promised here m a way of mcrev, 
that " they shall not find their paths." This darkness 
is not " the sliadow of death ;" but " the way of life." 
It is rich mercy. Mai-is, bishop of C'halcedoii, a blind 
man, whom Julian the apostate called a blind fool, be- 
cause he liad rebuked Julian for his ajiostacy, an- 
swered him thus, I bless God that I have not my siglit 
to see such an ungracious face as thine. So, many 
may bless God for their bodily blindness, because it 
lias prevented abundance of sin that might have been 
let in at tlie casements of their eyes. But especially 
for blindness, not to see the way of sin, if we may call 
that blinchiess. It is a mercy that God does not grant 
to all, it is a singular mercy to the saints : for you find 
abundance of people exceedingly quick-sighted in the 



way of sin, that can find the path there, and yet are 
exceedingly blind in the way of God, and cannot find 
the path there. On the other side, the saints are blinded 
in the way of sin, but are quick-sighted in the ways of 
God. How many men are wise to do evil, as the 
Scripture saith, able to see into the depths of Satan, 
and are profound to damn themselves ; they can find 
out so many objections against the ways of God, they 
can answer such arguments against tlieu- own ways, anil 
have such cunning devices to accompHsh them ; but 
when they come to the ways of God, they are as blind 
as moles ; they cannot see the necessity for such strict- 
ness ; tliey cannot luidersfand, though men of great 
parts and of great understanding otlierwise, yet they J 
have no skill in the ways of God. •■ I thank thee, O / 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth," saith Chi-ist, " that 
thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, 
and hast revealed them unto babes." Hence the saints, 
though babes, are able to see far into the exceJlOTicy 
and glory of God's ways, they have understanchng 
there, though but weak othei-wise ; the beauty of the 
great mysteries of God. dazzles all the glorj- of the 
world in their eyes. They ai-e not so easily caught 
with temptations, but can see into the subtleties of the 
devil that would draw tliem out of God's ways ; but 
when they come to the ways of sin, there they want 
understanding, and it is God's mercy to them that they 
do ; there tlicy are but bunglers, they grope as blind 
men, they are not cunnuig artists in those ways. As 
the apostle saith, 1 Cor. ii. 12, "We have received not 
the spirit of the world," we cannot shift for ourselves 
as the men of the world can, we are not so cunning to 
contrive plots, and ti-icks, and devices for our on-n end*. 
as the men of the world ; but " wc have received the 
Spii-it of God," we can understand things (Uirough 
God's mercy) to eternal life. There are many men 
cunning for theii- own desti-uction, they can find ever-)' 
secret path of sin ; though sin be a labyrinth, they 
trace it, and find out even' by-path in that way. When 
the ways of God are propounded to wicked men, there 
is a mist before then- eyes, they cannot see ; and when 
the ways of sin are propounded to the saints, God in 
mercy casts a mist before their eyes that they cannot 
see. Eccl. x. 15, The fool " knoweth not how to go 
To the city;" wicked men know not the path to the 
chmch of God, to the ordinances of God : they talk 
much about such and such ordinances, and setting up 
of Christ in the way of his ordinances, but they know 
not what the true worship of God means. No, a fool 
does not understand the way to the city of God, he 
cannot find out that path. But the saints, though they 
know not the ways of sm, yet they can find out the 
paths of God, they know the way to the city. Possi- 
donius tells us, that when wait was laid for Austin's 
life, through God's providence he missed his way, and' 
so his life was preser\-ed, and his enemies were disap- 
jiointed. So many times when )ou are going on in 
such a way of sin, perhaps you httle think what danger 
there is in it; God in mercy therefore casts a mist 
before your eyes, and you miss tlrat way and save your 
lives. 

Ver. 7. And she shall follow after Iter lovers, but she 
shall not overtake them ; and she shall seek them, but 
shall not find them : then shall she say, I will go and 
return to mt/ first husband ; for then u;as it better tcilh 
me than now. 

In the 5th verse it was but .laSN vadam, " I will go 
after my lovers ;" but here it is, nsii " she shall fol- 
low," from a root w-hich signifies persequor, to foUow 
with eagerness ; not only sectari, but itiscctari ,- the 
word is the same that is used for persecutors, who 
eagerly pursue those they persecute. Psal. vii. 5, Da- 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



91 



vid speaks of his enemies following him, and uses the 
. same word, " Let the enemy persecute 
Ka.Ta 110 a., ep . ^^^ soul." The fomi of the word being 
in Piel, signifies to do any tiling anxiously, diligently, 
carefully, whereas in K.al it signifies barely doing a 
thing. Thus it is interpreted by Polanus, anxie prose- 
mta est, she has prosecuted or followed with a great 
deal of care. So that this is more tlian the other, for 
it seems that after she had some afiliction she grew 
worse for a while, and was more eager upon her idols 
than she was before. 

" But she shall not overtake them." Though she be 
never so much set upon that way of evil, yet I will 
take a com'se to keep her from it, she shall not over- 
take them. Yea, 

" She shall seek them, but shall not find them." Tlie 

word onit'pa signifies, to seek with much endeavour, not 

only to seek in one's thought and mind, but to walk 

up and down, that we may find. The 

'^Tia'^lmi iai'' Seventy use divers words, which signify 

a seeldng more than ordinary. 

" But shall not find them." Let her be never so set 
upon her ways of idolatry, yet I will keep her from 
them. 

" Then shall she say, I wiU go," &c. This shall be 
the efiect of it. One would think all this were nothing 
but thi'eatening ; O no, it is mercy, for it is for this end, 
that she might at length say, " I will go and retmn to 
my first husband," &c. 

You may take then the scope of this and the pre- 
ceding verse in this short paraplu'ase : as if God should 
say, O Israelites, you have grievously sinned against 
me, in forsaldng me and following yom' lovers. Sore 
and heavy e^ils are ready to befall you, even you, my 
elect ones, upon whom my heart is set for good. You 
have involved yourselves in the common guilt of tlris 
wickedness, therefore even you must expect to be in- 
volved in the common calamity that shall come upon 
the nation. "\Vhen you are under those calamities, 
know that I understand how to make a difierence be- 
tween sinner and sinner, though guUty of the same sm, 
and under the same afiliction. What shall be for the 
destruction of some, shall be in mercy to you, it shall 
hedge up your ways, keep you from further siiming, 
and make your ways of sin difficult, that so yom- souls 
may be saved ; and although your hearts will be a long 
time perverse, and will not submit to me, yet I will so 
' order things, in the way of my providence, that at 
length I wiU so work upon your hearts, that you sliall 
return unto me. You shall bethink yom-selves, and 
remember what sweetness once you had in my ways ; 
and you shall take shame to yourselves, and acknow- 
ledge that it was then far better with you than it is 
now ; and so I will remain to be your God, and you shall 
give up yom-selves to worship and serve me for ever. 
This is the meaning and scope of the words. 

06*. 1. Until God .subdues the heart to himself, men 
will grow worse and worse in then- sins. Even God's 
elect, to whom he intends mercy at last, tiU God comes 
with his grace to subdue theii- hearts, they may grow 
worse and worse. They would before '• go after their 
lovers," and now here afflictions come upon them ; yet 
still they vnH. follow their lovers, and that vdih more 
eagerness of affection, and with more violence, than be- 
fore. Afflictions in themselves are part of the curse of 
God, and there is no healing vii-tue in them, but an en- 
raging quahty to stir up sin, till God sanctify them by 
his grace ; and God may suspend for a time "the sancti- 
fying work of his grace to those to whom he intends 
good at last. Isa. h. 20, speaks of some whose afflic- 
tions were not sanctified, that " they lie at the head of 
all the streets, as a wild bull m a net : they are full of 
the fury of tlie Lord." They were fuU of the fury 
of the Lord, yet lay like a wild buU in a net, in a 



raging manner. This distemper of heai-t proceeds from 
two gi-ounds. 1. When outward comforts are taken 
away by affliction, the sinner, having no comfort in God, 
knows not where to have comfort but in his sin ; and if 
conscience be not sti-ong enough to keep from it, he 
runs madly upon it. 2. Because he thinks others look 
upon liim as one opposed by God for his sin ; there- 
fore, that he may declare to all the world that he is 
not daunted, and that he has no misgiving thoughts, 
(though perhaps he has nipping gi-ipes ■nithin,) he will 
put a good face upon it, and foUow his wajs more 
eagerly than foi-merly. 

Obs. 2. A man may follow after the devices of his 
own heart, and yet may not overtake them. "She 
shall foUow, but she shall not overtake." There is a 
great deal of difierence betwixt following God's ways, 
and om- own ways : there was never any in the world 
that was disappointed, if he knew all, in following 
God's ways, he obtained either the ven- tiling he would 
have, or somethuig that was as good, if not better, for 
him ; but in the ways of sin, in our own ways, we may 
and do meet with disappointment. Why should we 
not then rather follow God than om- o^^^l desu-es ? The 
desires after sin, as they are desideria futilia, so they 
are desideria inutilia, as one speaks ; as they are foolish, 
so they are fi-uitless desn-es, they do not attain what 
they would have. How has God disappointed men in 
our days ! they have not overtaken what they greedily 
sought after. Our adversaries blessed themselves in 
their designs, they thought to have their day, they 
propounded such an end and thought to have "it ; but 
how has God disappointed them ! But whether God 
has done this in mercy to them, as it is here, we know 
not ; we hope God has crossed some of them in a way 
of mercy, though perhaps he may deal in another way 
with others. 

Obs. 3. Disappointment in the way of sin is a gi-eat 
mercy. As satisfaction in sin is a judgment of God, 
and a fearful judgment ; so chsappointment in sin is a 
mercy, and a great mercy. God says in Prov. xiv. 14, 
'•The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." 
A cbeadful threatening to backsliders and apostates ! 
AVhen God has no intention of love and mercy for back- 
sliders, he will give them theii- own devices, they shall 
have their fill of their own ways ; you woidd have such 
a lust, you shall have it, you shall be satisfied to the 
fuU, and bless yom-selves in yom- own ways. This is 
the judgment of God upon backsliders. But for the 
saints, when tempted to such a way of sin, God will dis- 
appoint them, they shall not have it. We accoimt it 
orduiarily very grievous to be disappointed of any 
thing, and many times I have had this meditation upon 
it : What ! does it so trouble the heart of men to be 
disappointed almost in au}- thing ? oh what a di-eadfiil 
vexation and hoi-ror ■wUl it be for a man to see lumself 
disappointed of his last hopes ! Remember this, when 
you are troubled at any disappointment ; what wLU be 
the terror and anguish of spuit then, if it should prove 
that any of you are disappomted of yom- hopes for eter- 
nity ! But those whom God disappoints in the way of 
sin, may have hope that God will dehver them from 
that great disappointment. 

Obs. 4. Governors should take such a course as to 
remove idols and superstitious vanities from those that 
wiU worship them, and sm agamst God by them. She 
would have her idols, but God will take them away ; 
though she foUow after them, and have a great mind 
to them, yet " she shall not overtalvc them." The 
meaning is, God will remove them from then- idols, or 
their idols from them ; they should not come to their 
Dan or Bethel, they should either be removed far 
enough fioni their calves, or the e.ilves from them. 
Hence governors must either take people awav from 
those vanities, or theii- vanities fi-ora them ; they should 



92 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



not so much as suffer those things to be enticements 
and snares for the hearts of people ; though they are 
very grand, and abundance of gold and excellent arti- 
ficial work ai'e about them, yet, "Thou shalt not desh-e 
the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, 
lest thou be snared therein : but thou shalt utterly de- 
test it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it ; for it is a cursed 
thing," Deut. vii. 25, 26. You shall not look upon the 
ingenious work of their idols, and upon the gi'eat cost 
bestowed upon them, and therefore spare them because 
of that ; O no, but take them away, that men may not 
be insnared by them. 

Obs. 5. Idolaters' hearts are after their idols when 
they cannot get them. " She shall follow after her 
lovers, but she shall not overtake thera." Though they 
cannot get them, yet they will be following them. 
Their conduct is of excellent use for us : so should we 
do in piu'suing after God's ordinances ; though perhaps, 
for the present, we cannot enjoy the ordinances of 
God, yet be sure to keej) our hearts working after them. 
Many deceive themselves in this ; they say. We would 
have all the orchnances of God, but we see we cannot ; 
and so upon that sit still, and do not laboiu- to keep 
their hearts in a burning desire after them ; and hence, 
many times they let slip the opportunities of enjopng 
them. But now if thou canst not have the beauty of 
an ordinance, if thou keejiest thy heart in a burning 
desire after it in the use of all means for attaining it, 
know then, that the want of an ordinance is an ordi- 
nance to thee. You shall find in the English Chronicle 
of Edward the First, that he had a mighty desu-e to go 
to the Holy Land ; and because he could not go, he 
gave charge to his son upon his death-bed that he 
should take his heart thither, and a])pointed £32,000 
to defray the charges of carrying his heart to the Holy 
Land, out of a superstitious respect he had to that 
place : though ho could not attain it, his heart should. 
Thus should our hearts work after ordinances. 

And now we come to the blessed fruit of all this. 
" She shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not 
overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not 
find them." AVhat follows after all this ? Now mercy 
appears ; they shall return, at length they shall bethink 
themselves. " Then shall she say, I will go and return 
to my first husband ; for then was it better with me 
than now." 

Obs. 1. In times of aflfliction, the only rest of the 
soul is to return to God. They kept wriggling, and shift- 
ing up and down, to provide for themselves, but they 
could find no rest. As a poor prisoner that is shackled 
keeps a stir with his chains, but instead of getting any 
freedom he galls his legs. But when the poor soul, 
after all shiftings, and turnings, and vexings, comes to 
think of returning to the Lord, and of humbling and 
repenting itself before him, then it finds rest. " Keturn 
to thy rest, O my soul." Kemembcr, after all your 
afilictions, here is your rest, in returning to the Lord. 

Obs. 2. So long as men can liavc any tiling in their 
sinful way to satisfy themselves M'ith, they will not re- 
turn to God. Then they shall say, tliat is, when they 
are so stopped in their way, when they are hedged, and 
walled, and cannot overtake their lovers, then they 
shall return to the Lord. Tlicre is that pen-crseness 
of spirit in men. Only when men are stojiped in the 
way of sin, that they can have no satisfaction nor hope, 
then they begin to think of returning to God. As 
the prodigal ; what shift did he make ! he goes to the 
farmer, to the swine, to the husks to fill his belly, and 
it is likely if lie had had his bellyful of them he would 
never have thought of going to his father; but when he 
came to the husks, and could not tell how to fill his 
bellv there, when he was in a desperate state, then he 
begins to think of returning to his father. So you 
have it, Isa. Ivii. 10, " Yet saidst thou not, There is no 



hope : thou hast found the life of thine hand ; there- 
fore thou wast not grieved ; " thou wast not brought to 
such a desperate stand as to say. There is no hope : that 
intimates that till men are brought to such a stand 
that they can sav. Certainly, there is no hope or help 
this way, they will seldom tliink of returning to God. 
Thus is God infinitely dishonoiu'cd by us. It is very 
strange how the hearts of men will hanker after their 
sin this way and that way, and tUl God take them 
quite off from hope of comfort by it, they will never 
have a thought to return to God. God is fain to be 
the last refuge. AVe account ourselves 
much dishonoured when we are the last d/'^t"^iur°dm"; 
refuge; when nobody will, I must. It 
seems God is fain to yield to this ; when no one will 
give satisfaction to the soul, then men come to God, 
and God must. 

Obs. 3. Returning to God, if it be in truth, though 
it be after we have sought out all other helps, yet God 
is willing to accept. This is an observation full of 
comfort, the Lord grant it may not be abused; but it is 
tlie word of the Lord, and a certain truth, that return- 
ing after men have sought other means, and can fuid 
no help, though they are diiven to it by afflictions, yet 
it may be accepted by God. !Man will not accept upon 
these terms, but the thoughts of God are as far above 
the thoughts of men, as the heaven is above the earth. 
It is true, sometimes God will not, nay, God threatens, 
Prov. i. 28, Though " they call upon me, I will not an- 
swer;" though "they seek me early," yet "they shall 
not find me." God is not thus gracious to all at all 
times ; therefore you must not presume upon it. God 
sometimes at the very first affliction hardens his heart 
against men, that he will never regard them more, for 
his mei'cy is his own ; but those that are in covenant 
with him, though they come to him upon such terms, 
yet they may be accepted of him ; therefore, take this 
truth for helping you against this sore temptation, 
which, when you are in affliction, will be apt to intrude : 
Oh ! I cry to God now in my afftiction ; 1 should have 
done it before, siu'cly God •will not hear nie now. I 
confess I cannot speak in this ])oint without a trembling 
heart, lest it be abused ; but the text presents it fau4y 
to you, and you must have the mind of God made 
known to you, though others abuse it. " Mine eye 
nioumeth by reason of affliction : Lord, I have called 
daily upon thee," Psal. Ixxxviii. 9. This is spoken by 
Heman, and God did accept him, as it is apparent in 
the psalm, yet he cried by reason of affliction. And 
Psal. cxx. 1, "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, 
and he heard me ; " though it wore in my distress, yet 
the Lord heard me. Only take this one note about it : 
Though our being stopjicd in all other ways may make 
us cry to God, and God may hear us, yet, when God 
does hear us, he works more than crying out by reason 
of that affliction ; at first our affliction carries us to 
God, yet, before God has done with us, and manifests 
any acceptance of us, he works our hearts to higher 
aims than deliverance from our affliction. 

06*. 4. A heart eflcetually wrought upon by God is 
a resolute heart to return to God. " I will go and re- 
turn." As they were resolute in their way of idolatry, 
" I will go after my lovers ;" so their hearts, when con- 
verted, shall be as resolute in God's ways ; " she shall 
say, I will go and return to my first husband." AVlicn 
God works upon the heart to purpose, he causes strong 
arguments to fasten upon the spirit, and nothing shall 
hinder, no, not fatlicr, nor mother, nor the dearest 
friend. Perhaps the Lord begins to work upon the 
child, and the father scorns liini, and the mother says, 
"What shall we have of you now? a iiiuitan? This 
grieves the sjiirit of the child ; yet there are such strong 
arguments fastened by God u])on his heart, that it car- 
ries him tlirough, he is resolute in his way, he will return. 



Veb. 



THE PROPHECY OF ROSEA. 



93 



Obs. 5. Those who have ever found the sweetness of 
Christ in their hearts, though they shoukl be back- 
sliders, have something remaining that will at length 
draw them to him. Christ has such hold upon then- 
hearts, as at one time or other he will get them in 
again ; there will be some spai'ks under those embers, 
that will inflame and cbaw the soul to retiu-n again to 
Christ. Therefore, if any of you have friends in whom 
you were verily persuaded there was a true work of 
grace, though they have exceedingly departed from 
Christ, do not abandon your hope, for if ever there were 
any true taste of the sweetness that is in Christ, Christ 
has such a hold upon their heai-ts, that he will bring 
them in again one time or other. 

Obs. 6. There is nothing gotten by departing from 
Christ. " I will go and return to my fu"st husband, for 
then was it better with me." You go from the better 
to the worse, whenever you depart from lum : " What 
fruit had ye in those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed?" Rom. vi. 21. " I am the Lord thy God 
which teacheth thee to profit," Isa. xlviii. 17: sin does 
not teach you to profit, you can never get good by that, 
but the Lord teaches to profit. You may think to gain 
something by departing from Christ, but when you 
have cast up all the gain, you may put it info your eye, 
and it wlU do you no hiu:t. " What is the hope of the 
hj'pocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh 
away his soul ? " Job xxvii. 8. Perhaps a hj-pocrite, or 
a backslider who has departed from God, once forward 
in the way of godliness, but who now, like Demas, has 
forsaken tliose ways and cleaves to the world, thinks he 
has gained, and perhaps is grown richer, and hves 
braver than before ; yet what hope has this backslider, 
this hypocrite, when God taketh away his soul ? then 
he will see that he has gotten nothing. As it is said 
of the idolater, Isa. xliv. 20, " He feedeth upon ashes : 
a deceived heart hath tirrned him aside, that he cannot 
deliver his sold, nor say. Is there not a lie in my right 
hand ? " '\\Tiat ! shall there be more in a lust than in 
the blessed God ? than in Jesus Chr-ist, who is the glory 
of heaven, the delight of angels, the satisfaction of the 
Father himself? Can a lust put thee into a better con- 
dition than Christ, who has all fulness to satisfy God 
himself? Certainly it cannot be. 

Obs. 7. There must be a sight and an acknowledg- 
ment of our shameful folly, or else there can be no true 
retm-ning to God. " I will go and return to my fii-st 
husband, for then was it better with me than now." 
As if the ehm-ch should say, I confess I have played 
the fool, I have done shamefully, I have lost by depart- 
ing from Christ, it was better far than it is now. Jer. 
iii. 25, " AVe he down in our shame, and our confusion 
covereth us, for we have sinned against the Lord our 
God," saith the church ; so it should be with all that 
retmn to Christ, they must lie down in their shame. 
This is very seasonable in these times : we have many 
now, who not long since were vile apostates ; they have 
gone with the times, they saw preferment went such a 
way, and their hearts went that way; now they see 
they cannot have preferment in that "way, and God of 
his mercy has changed the times, they will be converts. 
We have m England many parliamentary converts, but 
such we are not to confide in. Do you ask, Why should 
we not confide in them ? If they repent and return, 
God accepts them, and why should not we ? It is true, 
such a one was before an enemy, and followed super- 
stitious vanities, but now he is grown better and 
preaches agamst them, and why should not we receive 
him ? I answer, it is true, if deep humihation has gone 
before that reformation ; if, together with their being 
better, they have been willing to shame themselves be- 
fore God and his people, to acknowledge their folly in 
departing fi-om God, and be willing to profess before 
all that knew them, and have been scandalized by 



them. It is true, God began with me and showed me 
his ways when I was young ; I began to love them, anol 
to walk in them ; but when I saw how the times went, 
and preferment went, the Lord knows I had a base, 
time-serving heart, I went away from God. No argu- 
ments satisfied my conscience, but merely livings and 
preferment, and now I desire to take shame and con- 
fusion of face to myself. AVoe unto me for the foUy 
and falseness of my heart ! it is infinite mercy of God 
ever to regard such a WTetch as I. If they did thus 
take shame to themselves, and acknowledge their folly, 
this were something. AVe read in the primitive times 
of Ecebolius, who, when he had revolted fi'om the truth, 
came to the congregation, and, falling down upon the 
thi'eshold, cried out, Calcate, calca/e insipidum salem ; 
Tread upon me, unsavoury salt ; I confess I have made 
myself unsavoury salt by departing from the truth, let 
all tread upon me. It was a sign of ti'ue retm-ning, 
when this went before, and reformation followed. We 
have done foolishly, it was better with us than now. 

06^. 8. Though acknowledgment must go before, j'et 
returning must follow. " I will return." It is not enough 
to see and acknowledge, but there must be a retm'ning ; 
for as reformation without humiliation is not enough^ 
so humiliation without reformation suffices not. And 
I speak this the rather, because these are times wherein 
there is a gi'eat deal of seeming humiliation, and we 
hope time humiliation : but many in the days of their 
fasting will acknowledge how sinful, how vile, how 
passionate they have been in then- families, how world- 
ly, what base self-ends they have had ; and they will 
make such catalogues of their sins in those days of 
their humdiation, as cause admiration : the thing itself 
is good ; but I speak to this end, to show the horrible 
wickedness of men's hearts, that after they have ripped 
up all their sins, and with all aggravations acknow- 
ledged the folly of their evQ ways against God, yet they 
often manifest no returning ; after all this, they are as 
passionate in their families, as froward, as peevish, as 
perverse, as earthly, as light and vain in their carriage 
as ever. They will acknowledge what they have done, 
but they will not return. Remember, humiliation must 
go before reformation, but reformation must foUow^ 
after humiliation. 

Obs. 9. How much better it was when the heart 
cleaved to Chi-ist, above what it is smce its departure 
from Chi-ist, is an effectual means to cause the heart to 
return to him. This is the way that Christ himself 
prescribed. Rev. ii. 5, " Remember therefore from 
whence thou art fallen, and repent." Thou wert in a 
better condition once than now thou art : O return ; 
and that thou mayst retmni, " remember from whence 
thou art fallen." I will give a little glimpse of what 
might be said in this point more largely. The reason- 
ings of the heart in the sight of tliis may briefly be 
hinted thus : Heretofore I was able through Ood's mercy 
to look upon the fiice of God with joy. AATien ray 
heart cleaved to him, when I walked close with God, 
then the glory of God shuied upon me, and caused my 
heart to spring within me every time I thought of him ; 
but now, now, God knows, though the world takes little 
notice of it, the very thoughts of God are a terror to 
me, the most terrible object in the world is to behold the 
face of God. Oh, it was better with me than it is now. 

Before my backsliding I had free access to the throne 
of God's free grace, I coidd come with humble and 
holy boldness to God, and pour out my soul before 
him ; such a chamber, such a closet, can witness it : 
but now I have no heart to pray, I must be haled to it 
by conscience ; yea, every time I go by that very closet 
where I was wont to have that access to the throne of 
gi-ace, it strikes a terror to my heart ; I can never come 
into God's presence, but it is out of slavish fear. Oh, 
it was better with me then than it is now." 



94 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



Before, oh the sweet communion my soul enjoyed 
with Jesus Christ! one da)''s communion with him, 
how much belter was it than the enjo}-ment of all the 
world ! But now Jesus Christ is a stranger to nie, and 
I a stranger to liim. Before, oh the sweet enlarge- 
ments that my soul had in the ordinances of God! 
when I came to the word, my soul was refreshed, was 
warmed, was enhghtened ; when I came to the sacra- 
ment, oh the sweetness that was there ! and to prayer 
with the people of God, it was even a heaven upon 
earth to me : but it is othem-ise now, the ordinances of 
God are dead and empty things to me. Oh, it was 
better with me then than it is now. 

Before, oh the gracious mitations of God's Spirit 
that I was wont to have ! Yea, when I awaked in the 
niglit season, oh the glimpses of God's face that were 
upon my soul ! what quickenings, and enlivcnings, and 
refi'eshings did I find in them ! I would give a world 
for one night's comfort I then had by the visitations of 
God's Spii-it, but now they are gone. Oh, it was better 
with me then than it is now. 

Before, oh what peace of conscience had I within ! 
however the world railed and accused, yet my con- 
science spake peace to me, and was a thousand wit- 
nesses for me : but now I have a grating conscience 
within me ; oh the black bosom that is in me, it flies in 
my face every day ! I could come before from the society 
of the saints, and my conscience smiled upon me ; now 
I go to ■n-icked company, and when I come home, and 
in the night, oh the gnawings of that worm ! It was 
better with me then than it is now. 

Before, the graces of God's Spirit were sparlding in 
me, active and lively ! I could exercise faith, humility, 
patience, and tlie like ; now, I am as one bereft of all, 
anfit for any tiling, even as a dead log. Before, God 
made use of me, and employed me in honourable ser- 
vices ; now I am unfit for any service at all. Oh, it was 
better with me then than it is now. 

Before, I could take hold upon promises, I could 
claim them as mine own, I could look up to all those 
blessed, sweet promises that God had made in his word, 
as mine inheritance; but now, alas, the promises of 
God are very little to me. Before, I could look upon 
the face of all troubles, and the face of death, with joy ; 
but now the thoughts of affliction and of death, God 
knows how ten-ible they are to me. Oh, it was better 
witl> me then than it is now. 

Before, in all creattues I coidd enjoy God, I tasted 
the sweetness and love of God even in my meat and 
drink ; I could sit with my wL*e and cliildrcn, and see 
God in them, and look upon the mercies of God through 
them, as a fruit of the covenant of grace ; oh how sweet 
was it with me then ! But now the creature is as an empty 
thing unto me ; whether it come in love or Iiatred I do 
not know. Oh, it was better with me before than now. 

Before, I was under tlie protection of God wherever 
I went, but now I cfo not know what danger and 
miseries I am subject to daily, what may befall me be- 
fore night, God only knows. Before, the saints re- 
joiced with me in my company and communion ; now 
every one is shy of me. Before, I was going on in the 
ways of life ; now these ways I am in, God knows, and 
my conscience tells mc, are' ways of death. Oh, it was 
better with me then than it is now. 
_ Now then, put all these together, as I make no ques- 
tion these tlioughts are the thoughts of many back- 
sliders, if we knew all that were in their hearts. As 
the prodigal, when he was feeding upon the liusks, be- 
gan to bethink himself; AVhat! is not there food 
enough in my father's house ? every servant there has 
food enough, and here I am ready to starve. So may 
many backsliders say, Alas ! before, I had sweetness 
enough, and was satisfied with those abundance of 
pleasures that were in the house of God, and in his 



word and ordinances ; now I feed upon husks, and 
amongst swine : oh that it were with me as it was be- 
fore ! As Job speaks in another case concerning his 
aiflictions, " Oh that I were as in months past, as in the 
days when God preserved me ; when his candle shined 
upon my head, and when by liis light I walked through 
darkness !" Job xxix. 2, 3. Before, I had some aiflictions, 
but I could walk through all afflictions by the light 
wliich I had from God. Oh that it were with me now 
as it was then ; " as in the days of my youth, when the 
secret of God was upon my tabernacle, when the 
iVlmightj- was yet with me ! " It may be said of many 
backsliders, as Lam. iv. 7, 8, they were once as polished 
sappliires, but now they are become " blacker than a 
coal." 

But oh that you had hearts to say. Let me retm-n, 
let me return, because it was otherwise with me hereto- 
fore than it is now ! Oh that this day there might an 
angel meet thee, as he met with Hagar when she fled 
from Sarah! the angel said to her, "Hagar, Sarah's 
maid, whence comest thou, and wliither wilt thou go ? " 
So I say to. thee, O backslider, whence comest thou, 
and wliither wUt thou go ? Mark, " Hagar, Sarah's 
maid, whence comest thou ? " Dost thou come from 
Sarah ? fi'om Abraham's family, where God is worsliip- 
ped, where the church of God is ? and whither goest 
thou ? canst thou be any where so well as there ? So 
I say to thee, thou who wert a forward professor be- 
fore, whence comest thou ? Dost thou come from 
such ordinances, from such communion with the saints ? 
AVliat hast thou gotten by those base ways ? Thou 
canst eat, and drink, and laugh a little, and have some 
esteem with such as are carnal ; oh, whither wUt thou 
go ? Oh that God would show you this day whither 
you go ! 

Obs. 10. Seeing there is so much grief and shame in 
complaining of oui- backsliding, whenever God awakens 
us it should teach all that are not yet apostates, to take 
heed what they do, that they may never bring them- 
selves into such a condition. It is a note of caution to 
you who are, through God's mercy, in his way ; you are 
now well, know when you are well, and keep well. And 
you young ones who are beginning to give up yom' 
names to God, take heed that you do not decline from 
what you now do, that you do not apostatize from 
God aftemard, lest this be yom' condition at best ; for 
this is at best, thus to lament the change of your con- 
dition. Perhaps you wiU go on, and God will never 
cause you to see your shame and foUy, till you be eter- 
nally undone ; but at best you must be brought to this 
shame and confusion of face, to acknowledge how much 
better it was with you before than now. How much 
better was it when I lived in such a family, under such 
a master, in such a to-mi ! oh it was better then -with 
me than it is now ! Oh the precious days that once I 
liad when I was young! those days are gone, and 
whether ever they will come again, God knows. 

Yet, further, when the judgment passes on God's 
side, that it was better before than now, then the soul 
is in a hopefid way. So long as the judgment holds for 
God and his ways, though thou ai-t a backslider, though 
perhaps thy heart be drawn aside from God, and thy 
affections be »mruly, thou art not in a desperate con- 
dition, there is hope of thee. Tlierc are two sorts of 
apostates. There are some apostates, who though they 
are so tlirough the unrulincss of their affections, and 
the strength of temptation, yet they keep their judg- 
ment for God's ways, and acknowledge God's peojjle to 
be best, and his ordinances to be best, and themselves 
in the danger; these arc properly backsliders. But 
tlicre are some apostates who so fall off from God and 
his ways, that they begin in their very judgments to 
think that those ways which they professed Ijcfore were 
but fancies, and that the people of God are but n com- 



Ver. 7. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



95 



pany of humorous people, and bless themselves in theu- 
own ways, and think that they are better now than 
they were before. Oh, tliis is a hideous thing. If thy 
judgment be once taken, that thou thinkest the ways 
of sin to be better than those ways of God, that thou 
professedst before, then the Lord have mercy upon 
thee, thou ai't even a ruined man. We do not know 
what God will do mtli thee, but in the judgment of 
man thou art undone. 

Latimer, in a sermon before King Edward, has tliis 
passage : I have Ivaown many apostates, but I never 
knew more than one that proved a scorner, and yet re- 
turned again. Take heed therefore, saith he, of apos- 
tacy. Though a man may fall from God, and possibly 
return ; yet, if he fall off, so that his judgment is taken 
that he is become a scorner, that is a woefid condition, 
such a one scarce ever returns. Many such apostates 
you have in England, and I would challenge you all to 
give me one example of any one that ever retimicd 
again that so fell. I know many scorners are converted, 
but they that have been for\vard in professing, and then 
fall off, and prove scorners, where have you any of them 
come in ? In Lev. siii. 44, you find when the priest 
shall come and see a man that has the leprosy in his 
head, he shall pronounce him utterly unclean ; for the 
plague is in his head. Observe, when the priest found 
uncleanness in any other part, he was to pronounce it 
unclean, but if the leprosy be in the head, he shall 
pronounce the part utterly unclean ; there is not that 
utter imcleanness any where as when the plague is in 
the head. So I may say here, when a man falls off 
fi'om the ways of God by some strong temptation or 
imi'uly affection, this man is unclean, verUy, he is un- 
clean ; but when it comes to the head, that his judg- 
ment is against the ways of God, and so contemns 
tliem and those that follow them, and thinks his o-wn 
ways better, this man is utterly unclean, for the plague 
is in his head. The Lord deliver you from that plague. 

Obs. 11. Backsliders may have hope of attaining 
their former condition, to be as well as ever they were : 
" I will return to my first husband ; for then was it 
better with me than now." 

In this, God's goodness goes beyond man's abimd- 
antly. " They say, If a man put away his wife, and she 
go from him, and become another man's, shall he re- 
turn unto her again ? shall not that land be greatly 
polluted ? but thou hast played the harlot with many 
lovers ; yet return again to me, saith the Lord," Jer. 
iii. 1. Hence, ver. 22, the Holy Ghost exhorts to re- 
tm-n upon this veiy ground, " Return, ye backsliding 
children, and I will heal youi- backslidings." Is there 
any backsliding soul before the Lord ? God now offers 
to heal thy backslidings, thou knowest that it is not 
with thee now as heretofore ; lo, God tenders his grace 
to thee that thou mayst be in as good a condition as 
ever. Oh that thou wouldst give the answer of the 
church there, " Behold, we come unto thee ; for thou 
art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped 
for from the lulls, and fi-om the multitude of moun- 
tams : truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of 
Israel." It is true, God might justly satisfy thee in thy 
present ways of backsliding, as sometimes he does. 
" The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own 
ways," Prov. xiv. 14 ; he shall have enough of them ; 
and Prov. i. 31, " They shall eat the fruit of then- own 
way, and be filled with their own devices." But, be- 
hold, wisdom itself caEs thee now to retm-n again, and 
makes this fan- promise, Prov. i. 23, " Turn you at my 
reproof: behold, I will pour out my sphit imto you." 
There is not only a possibility of being received into 
thy former condition, but Christ woos thee, and calls 
after thee, he promises to pom- out his >Spirit imto you, 
yea, and there would be triumph in heaven upon "thy 
retiuTiiiig. 



But let me say thus much to thee, though there be 
a possibility of coming again into as good a condition 
as thou wast in before, yet, 1. There had need be a 
mighty work of God's Spirit to raise thy heart to be- 
lieve this. It is not an easy thing for one who has been 
left of God to that fearful sin of backsliding, to believe 
that ever God shoidd receive him, and that he should 
retm-n to the ways of mercy and comfort as before. 
Yea, 2. Though there be a possibility to be recovered 
to mercy, yet you must be contented to be in a meaner 
condition if God shall please. You must come to God 
with such a disposition as to be content with the lowest 
condition, only that thou mayst have mercy at the 
last ; as the prodigal, " Make me as one of thy hked 
servants." And know, lastly, that if you do not return 
upon Iris gracious offer, God may give thee up for ever, 
take thy fill and there is an end of thee. " He which 
is filthy, let him be filthy still." 

Yet, further, this expression sti'ongiy presents occa- 
sion to digress a httle in comparing our present times 
with former, to examine whether we can say, it was 
better with us heretofore than it is now ? In these days 
there is much comparing our present times with times 
past, and divers judgments about present times ; some 
complaining of the hazards and dangers we are in, in 
these present times. Much better was it heretofore, say 
they, than it is now. 

'To such let me say, fu-st, as the Holy Ghost saith. 
Eccl. vii. 10, " Say not thou, "What is the cause that the 
former days were better than these ? for thou dost not 
inquire wisely concerning this." Certainly, those people 
who make such grievous complamts of present times, 
comparing them with times past, do not wisely inquu-e 
concerning this thing. There are many sad things for 
the present amongst us, things that om- hearts have 
cause to bleed for, such misunderstanding between king 
and parliament, some blood shed ah-eady, and danger 
of sheddhig much more ; yet, perhaps, if we inqiure 
wisely concerning this thing, we shall find that, not- 
withstanding all this, we have little cause to complain 
that it is worse with us now in comparison of what was 
before. 

Consider, first, that which men most complain of, 
which makes the times hardest now, is but the break- 
ing out of those mischievous designs that lay hid long 
before, and would have done us a great deal more mis- 
chief if they had been kept m. Now they break forth, 
and break forth as the desperateness of the hopes of 
those who had such designs ; because they could now 
go no longer underhand, but being brought into a 
desperate pass, they are fain to see what they can do in 
ways of violence ; and this certamly is better than that 
mischief should work secretly under-board. Secondly, 
by this we have a discovery of men, wliich way they 
stand, what was and is in tlicir hearts ; and this is a 
great mercy. Tlui'dly, with the breaking forth of these 
things, God grants that help now to England, that it 
never yet had so fully in the like way, and puts such a 
fair price into the hands of the people of England, 
that never yet was put into their hands. Yea, and 
consider, fom'thly, that the more violent men are now, 
the more does it tell us what a lamentable time was 
before ; for if now, when there is such means of resist- 
ance, and yet the adversaries prevail so much, what 
would they have been by this time, if this means of re- 
sistance had not been ? "What a case were we in then, 
when they might do what they woidd, and we had no 
means to help om-selves ? Certainly things then lay at 
more hazard than now. Fifthly, though there be many 
sad things amongst us, yet God hath been beforehand 
with us, we have had aheady, even of free cost, as 
much mercy as all these troubles come to. SixtMy, 
these troubles are maldng way for glorious mercies to 
come ; though there be some pangs, yet they are not 



96 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



the pangs of death, they are but the pangs of a travail- 
ing woman that is bringing forth a man-child. Any 
prince would think, tliat though his queen should be 
put to some pain in travail, yet her condition is better 
than when she had no pain and was barren, or than 
that she should lie upon her sick bed, and bereft of her 
senses, and ready to die. The pai:is of a ti-availing 
woman are better than a senseless dying. Yet further, 
if you think that you had better times heretofore than 
now, to what times will you refer in making the com- 
parison ? 1 suppose you will instance the times of the 
first reformation ; then things were in a good way when 
thoi;e worthy lights of the church and blessed martjTS 
had such a hand in the reformation. Many magnify- 
the times of the beginning of reformation for their own 
ends, that they may thereby hinder reformation now. 
This, you know, is the great argument that prevails 
with most : AMiat ! were not those prayers composed by 
learned, godly men, as C'ratmier, Latimer, and Ridley, 
and othei-s ? and can we be wiser than they ? did not 
they seal their profession with their blood ? 

My brethren, we need go no further to show the 
weakness of this argument, but only to show how it 
was in the church in those times, and you will find that 
you have cause to bless God that it is not so with you 
now as it was then ; and if that will appear, then the 
argument you will see can no further prevail with 
rational men. Certainly, those first reformers were 
worthy lights and blessed instruments for God : I woidd 
not darken their excellency, but weaken the argument 
that is abusively raised from their worth. It is reported 
of Mr. Greerdiam, that famous practical divine, that in a 
letter to the bishop of Ely, in gi^^ing his reasons for re- 
fusing subscription and answers to that prelate's objec- 
tion against him, that Luther thought such ceremonies 
might be retained in the church ; he tlius replied, I 
reverence more the revealed wisdom of God, in teach- 
ing Luther so many necessarj- things to salvation, than 
I search his secret judgments, in keeping back il'om his 
knowledge other things of less importance. The same I 
say of those worthy instruments of God's glory in the 
first refonnation ; and that it may bo clcai- to you that 
God kept back his mind fi'om them in some things, 
consider, whether you would be willing that should be 
done now that was then : as in the achninistration of 
baptism, we find that in tlie book of liturgy in King 
Edward's time, which was composed by those worthy 
men ; fii-st, the child was to be crossed in the forehead, 
and then on the breast ; after a prayer used ; then the 
priest was to say over the child at the font, " I command 
thee, thou vmclean spirit, in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and ol the Holy Ghost, that thou comest 
out of this infant ; thou cursed spirit, remember thy 
sentence, remember thy judgment, remember the day 
is at hand wherein thou shall be bm-nt witli everlasting 
fire prepared for thee and thy angels, and presuine not 
hereafter to exercise any tjTanny over this infant whom 
Christ hath bought with his ]n-ec!Ous blood." Then 
they dipped the child thrice in the water, the godfathers 
and the godmothers laid their hands upon the cliild, 
and the priest put a white vestment over it, called a 
chrysome, saying, " Take this white vesture for a token 
of thine innocency, which by God's gi-ace in this holy 
.sacrament of baptism Ls given to tlice, and for a sign 
whereby thou art admonished as long as thou livcst to 
give thyself to innocency." Then the priest must anoint 
the infant upon the head, saying, " .Vlmighty God," tVc, 
" who hath regenerated thee by water and the Holy 
Ghost, who hath given thee remission of all thy sins, 
vouchsafe to anoint thee with the unction of his Holy 
Spirit." Would you now have your children bajitizcd 
after this order ? yet these learned, holy men thought 
that to be a good way. So at the burial of the dead, 
the priest casting earth upon the corpse shall say, " I 



commend thy soul to God the Father Almighty, and 
thy body to the ground ;" and in another prayer, " Grant 
to this thy servant, that the sins he committed in this 
world be not imputed to him, but that he, escaping the 
gates of hell and pains of eternal daikness, may ever 
dwell in the region of hght." 

You will say, things are otherwise now. True ; there- 
fore I say, there is no strength in that argument, that 
those men who composed the liturgy were worthy 
lights in the church ; for they were but newly come out 
of popery, and had the scent of popery upon them, 
therefore it is too uMcasonable to make that which they 
did the nile of our reformation now, as if we were to 
go no fm-ther than they did. The like may be said of 
the primitive times, which many plead for the justifica- 
tion of their superstitious vanities, for the Cluistians 
then came but newly out of heathenism, and lived 
among licathens, and therefore coiUd not so soon be 
delivered from their heathenish customs. I coidd re- 
late to you sad things there were in Queen Elizabeth's 
and in King James's days ; but I must not take too 
much liberty in this digression ; only let us hereby 
learn not so to cry out of e\"il times m which we live, 
as to be imthankful for present mercies ; let us bless 
God for what we have had, and look to him and his 
word for further reformation. 

Ver. 8. For she did not know that I gave her corn, 
and wine, and oil, and mxdtiplied her silver and gold, 
ichich they prepared for Baal. 

The Spirit of God returns here again to convincing, 
upbraiding, accusing, threatening of Israel. The sin 
of Israel went ver)- near to the heart of God, and God 
speaks here as a man troubled in spirit for the unkind- 
ness, unfaithfulness, unreasonableness of the dealings 
of his spouse with him. It runs in his thoughts, his 
heart is grieved at it, and he must vent liimself, and 
when he has told his gi-ief and aggravated his wrong, 
he is upon it again and again, still con\-i)acing, wp- 
braiding, charging Israel for dealing so unfaithfully 
and treacherously with him, all showing the trouble of 
his spii-it. These words depend upon the 5th verse, for 
the 6th and 7th are as a parenthesis : " She that con- 
ceived them hath done shamefully : for she said, I will 
go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my 
water, my wool and my flax," &c. She did thus and 
thus, " for she did not know that I gave her corn, and 
wine," &c. 

AVhat ! was Israel worse than the ox or the ass, that 
knows his owner, and his master's crib ? It is impos- 
sible but Israel, who were the only people of God in 
those times, wliere God was most, nay, we may say, 
only known in the world, should know that God was 
the cause of all the good they had ; certainly, they 
coidd not be ignorant of that, for in their 
creed (as Buxtorf and others mention) ""'i;'^ fT?; ^''■ 
thev had thu-tcen articles, and this was 
the first article, I believe with a true and perfect faith, 
tliat God is the Creator, the Govei-nor, the Sustainer of 
all creatures, that he Awought all things, still works all 
things, and shall for ever work all things. And at their 
feasts they had these expressions. Blessed be thou. O 
Lord our God, King of the world, that dost create the 
fruit of the vine. The master of the feast himself came 
in publicly to bless God for the fruit of the \\ne ; and 
yet the text saith that they did not know that God 
gave them wine. A\'hen they came to take bread they 
had this speech. Blessed be thou, O God, that art the 
King of the world, that bringest forth bread out of the 
earth. And at the end of the feast this. Let us bless 
him who hatli sent us of his own, of whose goodness we 
live. The question answered. And blessed be he of 
whose gooilness we live. Yea, to bless God solemnly 



Ver. S. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



for the sweet and fragrant smell of spices and herbs, 
was their constant way: and yet here God charges 
them that they did not know that he gave them bread, 
and wLnc, and oil ; they did not lay it to heart. 

■\\'e shall see afterward of what great use this is to 
us, to show what profession they made of acknowledg- 
ing that God gave them all, and yet God charges them 
that they did not know that he gave them; what? 
" corn, wine, and oil, and multijjlied her silver and her 
gold." Here God expresses himself more largely than 
they did before, in what they received from their idols : 
they talked in the 5th verse of receiving from their 
idols " bread, and water, and wool, and flax," (Stc. ; but 
here is '• wine, and oil, and silver, and gold," more than 
they had from their idols. God sets out his mercy to 
them, to upbraid them. 

" AVhich they prepared for Baal." 

We must inquire here, first, what this Baal was. 
The word \yi signifies primarily, a lord (and then 
a husband) : because they attiibuted dominion, ac- 
knowledging then- idols to be lords, therefore they 
called them by this name ; and because they chose 
them as their husband, therefore also they gave them 
this name : so with Bel too, for Baal and Bel are the 
same, the letter j? being omitted, and the points being 
altered in the Chaldee. 

Now this Baal either Aias some special idol, or else a 
general name given to all idols : sometimes it is a name 
given generally to all, in the plural number, Baalim ; 
Jer. ix. 14, They '"' have walked after the imagination 
of then- own heart, and after Baalim." But it likewise 
notes a special idol, an idol that was the same with that 
of the Zidonlans, which they called Jujiiter Thalassius, 
or their sea Jupiter ; that idol was called Baal in a 
special manner. In 1 Kings xvi. 31, you may see how 
the worship of Baal came into Israel at that time. It 
is true it had been introduced in Israel a long time 
before, for in Judg. ii. 11, you find that they "served 
Baalim ;" yet the idolatry of Baal was often cast out by 
the people of God : but see how it came in a fresh ; " Ahab 
took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Eth-baal, king of 
the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and wor- 
shipned him ;" that was the occasion, Ahab marr)ing a 
Zidonian ; to the end that he might ingratiate himself 
with his wife's kindi-ed, he would worship his wife's god. 

And this Baal has divers additional names. Some- 
times in Scripture he is called Baal-zebub, or Beelze- 
bub, and that signifies the god of flies ; tlie reason why 
Baal had that name was, because in those countries 
they were extremely peqilexed with flies, and they at- 
tributed the power of driving them away, and of help- 
ing them against their molestation, to their god Baal ; 
hence they called him Baal-zebub. 'We have other man- 
ner of deliverances by the goodness of our God than this, 
yet for this Baal-zebub was one of their principal gods, 
therefore it is said of Christ, that " he cast out devils by 
Beelzebub, the prince of devils," which is, " by the god 
of flies ;" and in Matt. x. 25, he is called B«X^{/3oiX, 
Beelzebul, which is as much as, the dung god, Zebel in 
the Spiao signifying dung. Then there was Baal- 
perazim, that addition was only from the place, the 
mountain where he was worshipped. There was also 
Baal-berith, that signified only the covenant they en- 
tered into with that god. So that it seems the very 
idolaters bound themselves to worship their god by 
solemn covenant, to teach us to be willing to bind our- 
selves in worshipping the true God by all the legal 
bonds we can, to make God to be the God of our cove- 
nant, as their god was. It is needless to name more 
who had this name. I shall afterward show' how God 
hin;i?elf had once the name of Baal, for the word signi- 
fyirg li'.e name of husband, or lord, was as due to God 
a» 10 any other, and God himself took that name. But 
here we are to understand it of their idols. 



They prepared them for Baal, SyaS wy they made 
them for Baal. It imports these two things : 

Fii-st, that they sacrificed these things to then- Baal, 
for so f'acere, to make, is often as much as -wcri/icare, 
to sacrifice. And Bellarmlne, taking advantage of this 
word, when Clirist saith, " Do this," draws an argument 
that the Lord's .supper is a sacrifice, for the word to do 
is used sometimes to sacrifice. 

But, secondly, they prepared them, that is, of their 
gold and silver they made images of this their idol god 
Baal ; they woidd not s])are theu' gold and silver, but 
laid aside and prepared it to make images of Baal, and 
they thought that gold and silver thus laid out as good 
as any in then' purses. 

Obi. 1. It is God that supplies all the outward good of 
liis people. "They did not know tliat I gave them,'' S:c. 
I gave not only mine ordinances, but I gave them com, 
and wine, and oil, and gold, and silver. It is the Lord 
himself that supplies all outward good to his people ; he 
does not only prize the souls of his people, but he takes 
care of their bodies too, and outward estates. " He 
keepeth all his bones," Psal. xxxiv. 20. Yea, he takes 
care of the very hair of their head.s. The bodies of the 
saints are precioiis in the eyes of God, the most precious 
of all corporeal things in the world : the sun, and moon, 
and stars are not so precious as the bodies of the saints ; 
how much more precious are their souls ! 

Austin, upon Psal. Ixiii. 1, " My soul thii-steth for 
thee, my flesh longeth for thee," has this note : If 
the flesh has any need of bread, of wine, xo„,oij a„i„a„ 
of monev, or cattle, seek this of God, for ''""• ne"s t«it, et 
God gives this too ; tor mark, " iMy tlesn feccmnt? qui fecit 
longeth for thee." Those who thirst for S .imbS.'''Aug"in 
God must thirst for him every way ; not _'''■ '^"'• 
only their souls thirst for him, but their flesh must 
thirst for him ; for, saith he, did God make the soul, 
and did the de\ils, or any idols, make the flesh ? No, 
he that made both soul" and flesh feeds them both ; 
therefore all Christians must say, " My soul thirsteth 
for thee, my flesh longeth for thee." If then we can 
trust God for our souls, and our eternal states, that he 
will pro\ide for them, we must trust him for our bodies 
also, for our flesh, for our temporal estates, that he will 
provide for them also. 

Obs. 2. All our supply that we enjoy in this world, 
Ls the free gift of God. " They did not know that I 
gave them corn, and wine," &c. AU of us live upon the 
mere alms of God; the greatest man in the world is 
bound to go to God's gate and beg his bread every 
day ; though he were an emperor over all the world 
he must do it, to show his dejiendence upon him, that 
he lives wholly upon alms. Men think it hard to live 
upon alms, and because they have so much coming in 
by the year, such an estate in land, they think they are 
well provided for many years. But whatever estate 
thou hast, though by "thy trading thou hast gotten 
much, yet God requires this of thee, to go to his gate, 
and beg thy bread of him even' day ; so Christ teaches, 
" Give "us tills day our daily bread : " and certainly, if 
we did but understand oui' dependence upon God for 
all outward comforts, we could not but fear him, and 
seek to make peace with him, and keep peace with 
him. It woidd be a means that our hearts should be 
enlarged to give to others who need oiu- alms, seeing 
eveiy man and woman of us is an alms-man and an 
alms-woman. 

Obs. 3. It is a duty that we owe to God, to know 
and take notice of God as the author of all our good. 
They know not, that implies they ought to have known. 
This" is a special duty of that worship we owe to God : 
it LS the end of God's communication of all good to 
us, that he may have active as well as passive glory 
from his rational creature ; and there is no creature 
else in the world that God has made capable of know- 



98 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



ing any thing of the first cause but the rational crea- 
ture ; therefore it is the excellency of such, that they 
not only enjoy the good which they have, but that they 
are able to rise up to the highest and first cause of all 
theii' good. It is observed of doves, that at cverj' 
gi'ain of corn they take in their bill they cast their 
eyes upward ; and in the Canticles you find the eyes of 
the church are called " doves' eyes," because they look 
so much up to heaven upon every good they receive. 
They have not dogs' eyes ; the men of the world have 
dogs' eyes : dogs, you know, look up to then- masters for 
meat, and when they have it they presently look down 
to the ground ; so the men of the world T\-ill pray to 
God when they want, but when they enjoy what they 
have, they look no more upward, but downward. 

This taking notice of God to be the author of all 
otu' good, and to give him praise, is all the rent we pay 
to God for what we enjoy, therefore it is fit we should 
do that. If we do any thing for God, God takes notice 
of that to the uttermost ; yea, though he enables us to 
do it, yea, though it be but a little good mingled with 
a great deal of e^^l, God takes notice of it, and will 
reward it; surely then we should take notice of the 
good that he gives out to us. This sweetens our 
comforts, to see that they all come from God. Observe 
the difl'erence between the expression of Jacob's bless- 
ing and Esavi's blessing ; when Isaac came to bless 
Jacob, he expresses hunscif thus. Gen. xxvii. 28, " God 
give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the 
earth, and plenty of corn and wine." Now when he 
comes to bless Esau, mark his expression then, ver. 39, 
" Thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of 
the dew of heaven from above ;" but he never mentions 
God in that. It is not Esau's blessing, " God give thee 
of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth," 
though it is true Isaac meant so ; but yet he does not 
mention the name of God in Esau's, as in Jacob's 
blessing. Certainly, my bretlu'en, the seed of Jacob 
count their blessing to be a double, a treble blessing, 
that they can see God in it. Carnal hearts do not 
much regard God, if they can have their flesh satisfied 
in what they desire, from what hand it comes they do 
not much care ; but a gracious heart, a child of Jacob, 
rejoices more in the hand from whence it comes, than 
in any good he can possibly enjoy. 

Obs. 4. God does a great deal of good m the world 
that is little taken notice of, or laid to heart. Many 
of God's dispensations are invisible, the angels, Ezek. 
i. 8, are described with their hands under their wings. 
God does great things sometimes so invisibly that he 
cannot be seen ; and when he does great things that 
we might see, yet, through the neglect, stupitlity, and 
di'ossmess of om- hearts, we do not see them. The 
most observing eye in the world, that takes the cxact- 
est notice of God's mercy, and has the greatest skill to 
set forth the riches of God's goodness to himself and 
others, yet, alas, notices very little. It Ls with the 
quickest-sighted Christians as with a skilful geographer, 
who takes notice of and understands many parts of the 
world, and is able to set out the several parts distinctly 
to you in such a climate, in such a counfi-y, but yet 
leaves a great .space for a terra incognita, for an lui- 
luiown world, and that unknown world, for aught we 
know, may be five times bigger than the known world. 
So they who have the most observant eye of God's 
mercies, and take the most notice of them, who can 
best setiout the mercies he bestows, spiritual mercies, 
temporal mercies, preventing mercies, past mercies, 

E resent mercies, delivering mercies, &c. ; yet when they 
ave done all, they must leave a great space for the 
terra incognita, for the unknown mercies ot God. 

The truth is, those mercies of God which are obvious 
to our knowledge every day, one would think were 
enough to melt our hearts : but besides the mercies we 



notice, there are thousands and thousands of mercies 
that we know not of. As we daily commit many sins 
that we know not, so daily we receive many mercies 
that we know not likewise. And as, in our confession 
of sins, we should pray to God first to pardon the sins 
we know, and so to name them in particular ; and when 
we have done, then. Lord, forgive us our unknown, our 
secret sins. So in om- thanksgiving, first bless God 
for the mercies before us, and when we . . . . ., . 

Till 11 1 Scire tuum nihil est, 

have done. Lord, blessed be thy name m.i te Kir. hoc ki 
for aU thy unknoini mercies, of which I 
have taken little notice. 

We soon grow cold and dead if we do good, and 
men take no notice of us. Neither what we know, nor 
what we do, is any thing to us, except others know it 
too ; but this is the vanity and pride of men's hearts. 
It is God's ])rerogative above his creatures, to do all for 
himself, for his own glory, and yet he doth much good 
in the world that none see. We are bound to deny 
om'selves in what we do, not to seek our own glory. 
The most excellent piece in the most excellent of our 
works, is our self-denial in it ; why should we not then 
do all the good we can cheerfully, though it be not 
known ? Wo should do good out of love to goodness 
itself; and if we would do so, we should be encouraged 
m doing good secretly. 

Obs. 5. In God's account, men know no more than 
they lay to heai-t and make good use of. The schools 
distinguish between nescientia, and ignoralia : nescience 
is of such things as we are not bound to know, it is not 
our sin not to know them; but ignorance is of such 
things as we are botmd to know, and that ignorance is 
twofold. There is an invincible ignorance, let us take 
what pains we can, we can never know all that we are 
bound to know ; and there is an affected ignorance, 
when tlu'ough carelessness we do not mind what is be- 
fore us ; and when we have minded it so far as to con- 
ceive it, yet if we lay it not to heart as we ought, in 
God's accoimt we know it not ; if we digest not what 
we know into practice, God accepts it not. As God is 
said not to know when he does not approve, " I know 
you not ; " so when any man has a ti'uth in notion, and 
it is not embraced by the heart, God accounts that that 
man knows it not. Therefore, in Scripture it is said, 
The seer is blind ; it is a strange expression, and seems 
to be a contradiction ; but it is not so, because God ac- 
counts those that have never so much knowledge, if it 
do not sanctify the heart so as to give him the glory, 
blind. The knowledge of the saints is another kind of 
knowledge than other men have. We have, saith 
C)-])rian, no such notions as many of your phi,osophi smniu 
philosophers, but we are philosophers in J,"''^^^^,',""',!?'. 
om- deeds, we do not speak gi-eat tlungs, mur, .J »irimus. 
but we do great thmgs m om- hves. in ■ 
1 Thess. iv. 9, 10, you have an excellent example of 
this : "Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one an- 
other." What follows? "And indeed ye do it." That 
is an evidence that you are taught of God when it pre- 
vails with yoiu- hearts ; when it may be said, indeed so 
you do. '\ATio is there in the world, but knows that we 
should love one another ? but men are not taught of 
God to love one another, until it may be said of them, 
that indeed so they do. 

There is nothing more obvious to the understanding 
of a man than the notion of a Deity, that there is a 
God : we may, as it were, grope after him, as the Holy 
Ghost .speaks ; but yet, 1 John ii. 4, " He that saith, 1 
know hmi, and kecpcth not his commandments, is a 
liar, and the truth is not in him." Any man, whoever 
he be, though the greatest scholar in the world, if he 
say he knows God, and yet keeps not his command- 
ment.s, he has the lie told him to his teeth, he does not 
know God at all. Though this be the most obvious 
thing to the understanding, yet Christ saith, " No man 



Vek. 8. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSE A. 



99 



knoweth the Father, saye the Son, and he to whomso- 
ever the Son will reveal him," Matt. xi. 27. Hence, 
when a soul is converted, you shall hear the.se expres- 
sions ; I never knew God before, I never knew what an 
infinite Deity meant, I never understood the infinite 
sovereignty and majesty of tlie great God, I never 
knew what sin meant before : yet if you had asked him 
before, he would say, I know God is a Spirit, that he 
is infinite and eternal : I know that sin is the transgres- 
sion of the law. I never knew what Chi-ist was before ; 
yet before he would have told you, that C'hi'ist was the 
Son of Mary, and came into the world to die for sin- 
u 1, jj- ■ ners. A German divine, when upon his 

Hoc morbo didici . , , , • i x i . t t i 

quid sit peccatum, sick bed. Said, In this disease 1 have 
De^^'ca'par'^oievt learned what sin is, and how gi-eat the 
"""■ majesty of God is : tliis man, though a 

preacher, and doubtless he could preach of sm and of 
the majesty of God, yet he professed he knew not these 
things until God came powerfully upon his heart to 
teach him what they were. The Hebrews say, words 
of sense carry with them the aflections, or else they are 
to no purpose : wlien men have notional knowledge, 
that comes not down into the heart, they ai'e like men 
who have weak stomachs and heads, when they (bink 
wine its fumes fly up to the head and make them 
giddy ; but if the vnne went to the heart, it would cheer 
and warm it : so aU this man's knowledge flies up to 
his head and makes him giddy, whereas, if it were di- 
gested and got to the heart, it would warm and refresh, 
yea, it would sanctify it. Eli's sous, 1 Sam. ii. 12, 
" knew not the Lord ;" they were priests of God, yet 
they were " sons of Belial," and " knew not the Lord." 
Be not ofiended at great scholars, who have skill in 
languages, arts, and sciences. Do not say, Would such 
great and knowing men do thus, if tlungs wei-o as you 
say ? They are not knoicing men ; God saith that Eh's 
sons did not know the Lord : the tilings of God are hid 
from them ; " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven 
and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." 

Obs. 6. Affected ignorance coming through distem- 
per of heart, is no excuse, but rather an aggravation. 
" They did not know." It is a high degree of ingrati- 
tude not to prize God's mercy, but not to take notice of 
God's mercies, what a high ingratitude is this ! That 
which shall be part of God's charge against sinners, can 
be no excuse of their sin. God tlu-eatens to cut people 
off, to have no mercy upon them, for want of knowing, 
as well as for not doing : " It is a people of no under- 
standing ; therefore he that made them will not have 
mercy on them, and he that formed them will show 
them no favour," Isa. xxvii. 11. Am- 
peccas, 6i diviiina' brosc salth. Thou dost sin greatly, if thou 
contl!ml?i"™avi'" dost coutcmn the riches of God's long- 
Ambro.'"""""' Suffering, but thou sinnest most of all if 
thou dost not know it. 

Ohs. 1. The not taking notice of and considering 
God's mercies, and laying them to heart, is the cause of 
vUe and shameful evils in men's lives. Therefore they 
" did shamefuDy," therefore they " went after then- 
lovers," because they " did not know :" the cause of 
almost all the evil in the world is from hence. " They 
that know thy name will trust in thee ;" those who know 
the Lord will fear him and his goodness. Isa. i. 4, 
" Ah sinfid nation," saith God: God fetches a sigh 
under the bm-den of it, his spirit is laden and troubled 
with it. Wliat was the matter ? " Tlie ox knoweth 
his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth 
not know, my people doth not consider," they were 
more stupid than the brute creatures. O sinful soul, 
this is the cause of all thy inordinate walking, of all thy 
profaneness, of all the ungodliness in thy ways, because 
thou dost not know, thou dost not consider, thou dost 
not lay to heart the ways of God towards thee. In Jer. 



ii. 5, God charges his people that they were " gone far 
from him ;" and, verse 7, that they had " made his heri- 
tage an abomination." What is the reason given for 
both these ? It is in the 6th verse, " Neither said they. 
Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land 
of Egj-pt ? '' They did not take notice of what the Lord 
had done for them, therefore they were gone far from 
him. If thou hadst but a heart to consider what God 
has done for thee, it is impossible thou shouldst go so 
far off from God as thou clost. For tliese deductions 
are easy and ob\ious to any fi'om such a principle. 

1. Justice, common equity, requires living to God, 
seeing we live by and upon God. 

2. Common ingenuousness calls for requiting good 
with good ; the publicans and heathens will do good to 
those that do good to them. 

3. If all be from God, then aU still depends upon 
God. 

4. How much good is there in God from whence all 
this good and mercy comes ! When God shall show 
another day to men and angels, how he was the Foun- 
tain of all good, it wUl confound those who have not 
laid it to heart. 

Obs. 8. God is more bountifid to his people than the 
idols can be. 

The idols, by their own confession, gave them but 
then- bread, and water, and flax, and oil, &c. ; but God 
gave them wine, and silver, and gold. God gives bet- 
ter pay a great deal than the devil, yet the devil usually 
has more servants to follow him than God has, though 
his wages be less and worse. It is usual for men to get 
soldiers fi-om adversaries, by giving them more pay : 
this is the way God takes, he offers a great deal better 
pay to those that will follow him, than they have that 
follow Satan, yet God can get few to follow him. This 
shows the vileness of man's heart against God. 

Obs. 9. '\\'Tien men get abundance, they soon grow 
wanton. 

"^Tien I gave them corn, and wine, and oil, and mul- 
tiplied theii- silver and then- gold, then they followed 
Baal. This is the reason of so many solemn charges 
of God. Take heed when thou ai't full, that thou dost 
not then forget the Lord. As they that are nearest the 
Sim are the blackest, so those to whom God is nearest 
in regard of outward mercies, are many times blacker 
than others. It is observed, that the fatter men's bodies 
are, the less blood and the fewer spirits they have ; so, 
often, the fatter men's estates are, the less spirit they 
have to any thing that is good; God has less spfrit 
from them ; sin has much more. We read of the sun 
melting the manna that fell down, but the same manna 
was able to bear the fire ; so many a man's heart is able 
to bear afiiictiou, and the affliction does him good, and 
prepares liim for much good, as manna was prepared to 
be eaten by fii'e ; but prosperity melts Mm, makes him 
useless. Many men, when they were poor and in a low 
condition-, were very useful ; but when they grow high 
and rich, they are of very little use in the places where 
they dwell. Trajan, the emperor, w-as wont to liken a 
man who had become rich, to the spleen in the body ; 
for as the spleen grows big, the body gi-ows less : so 
when men's estates gi'ow bigger, they gi-ow less useftd. 
Evagi'ius notes it as a special commendation of Mau- 
ritius the emperor, that, notwithstanding his prosperity, 
he retamed his ancient piety : it is a \evy rare thing to 
see men advanced to high places, who preserve then- 
former devotedness. 

Obs. 10. Even those creatm-es that wicked men abuse 
to then- lusts, God gives them. " "\^^lich they prepai-ed 
for Baal." Though he does not give them for that end, 
yet those creatures which they use for such an end are 
given of God. If thou art a di'unkard, that wine or 
drink which thou dost sacrifice to thy lust, who giveth 
it thee ? does not God ? Thou hast a good estate more 



100 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Ch-U-. n. 



than other men, and all the use thou makest of thy 
estate, is merely that it might be but as fuel for thy 
lusts. Who gave tliee this thy estate ? did not God ? 
God gives thee clothes, and thou sacrificest them to thy 
pride ; thou hast more money than others, and so canst 
vent thy maUcc more than others ; from whence hast 
tliou this? Thou hast more strength of body than 
others, and tliou ventcst it in uncleanness; where hadst - 
thou this ? Consider this, and let this meditation pre- 
vail with thy heart to stop tliee in thy sinful way ; let 
it be seconded with the next ; namely, 

064'. 11. That it is most horrible wickedness and 
abominable ingi-atitude, for any men to take God's 
crcatuies, and abuse them against God. A^Tiat ! " I 
gave them corn and wine, and multiplied their silver 
and tlicir gold," and have tlicy prepared these for 
Baal ? God speaks of tliis as of a monstrous sin, as if 
God should sav. Let all my people lament my condition, 
that I should do so much for them, and they do nothing 
for me, but all against me, sacrifice all to Baal. Some 
of you have been kind to your friends, and have raised 
them, and made tlicm, as we say ; if these men should 
turn your enemies, and that estate wliich they have ob- 
tained by you, thev sliould use to do you a raiscliief, 
would you not call in your neighbours and friends, to 
join w ith you in lamenting your condition ? AMiat ! did 
you ever hear of sucli an example, that I should do so 
much for them, and they turn all against me ? God 
does so here ; he makes this his grievous complaint. 
This is as if a bird should be shot with an arrow whose 
feathers came out of her own body. AVe should even 
pity a bird in that case. ^lany men make no other 
use of their estates, but to turn them against God ; 
they are not as the slothful servant who hid his talent 
in the napkin, that were not such guilt ; but they take 
their talents and employ them against God. "Would it 
not go to your heart if one should sue you in law, and 
bear the charges of the suit out of your own estate ? 
Vi'e complain, buch a man sues me, and it is my own 
money with which lie goes to law. So thou goest 
against God, and he is made as it were to bear all the 
charges. Is it not against the light of natm-e ? The 
very heathens, pubKcans, and sinners will do good to 
those that do good to them. Thou art worse than a 
publican and sinner : wilt thou do hurt to God who 
does thee good ? AMren JuUus Caesar saw Brutus come 
to give him a stab in the senate house, he cried out, 
. . , "WTiat tliou, my son, wilt thou do it ? But 

°' "" """' suppose that Julius Ctesar had given him 
the dagger with which he stabbed him, then, O thou. 
my son, what stab me with tliat dagger I gave thee 1 
If, when Jonathan gave David his sword and bow, 
David had turned against Jonathan and killed him with 
his own sword and bow, would not the unkindness, or 
rather the abominable wickedness, have pierced deeper 
into his heart, than any swords or arrows possibly 
could ? If you can find any creature that is not God's, 
with which to fight against him, you may do it ; but if 
all you have is from him, it is hoiTible wickedness to 
take that, and to sacrifice it to Baal. Certainly, God 
gives it for other ends. To cross God's ends is an evil 
thing : when God aims at such a thing, for us not to 
join with God in the same end at whicli lie aims, is an 
evil ; but for us to aim at a quite contrary end, is hor- 
rible wickedness. 

Obs. 12. A\Ticn once superstition and idolatry have 
entered a place, though there be much done to oppose 
it, it is not easy to drive it out. Hence, God so often 
complains of Baal. In Judg. ii. 11, (I think that is the 
first place in which it is mentioned that tliey served 
Baal,) it appears that they fell off from Baal, yet they 
returned to liim again ; for in Judg. viii. 33, after 
Gideon's death it came to pass " that the children of 
Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, 



and made Baal-berith their god." It speaks as if it 
were a new thing now, that they shoidd worship Baal 
after they had left worshipping liim ; after his death. 
And, 1 Sam. vii. 4, " The children of Israel did put 
away Baalim;" yet, if you read chap. xii. 10, they 
confess that they had sinned, because they had " for- 
saken the Lord and served Baalim ; " though they had 
put him away before, yet he had got up again. So in 

1 Kings xvi., Ahab would serve Baal ; it is introduced 
as a novelty, because Baal had been so much suppressed. 

2 Kings X., Jehu sought to destroy Baal and all his 
priests ; but yet liaal was not so driven out, but he got 
in again, for 2 Kings xxiii. 4, saith, that Josiah, who 
was long after that time, caused the vessels that were 
made for Baal to be taken away and burnt. 

This is seasonable for our times. K superstition be 
opposed, though it be cast out, as we think, in a great 
degree, vet, if there be not a thorough refoi-mation, it 
will wind in one way or other again. If we think it 
enough to cut things short, and to take away their 
strength, and their enormities, we deceive ourselves; 
they will grow up again ; it is but cutting tlie weeds a 
little ; if branch and root be not taken away, Baal 
will rear uj) his head one way or other. 

Cluvei-us, a late liistorian, yet much approved, saith, 
that one gave this counsel concernuig liome, when it 
was much annoyed with wolves ; " There is no way to 
save Home from wolves, but to cut down the woods 
wherein these wohes breed and live, for otherwise you 
may kill, but they will breed again." So certainly, this 
is the way to destroy superstition from amongst us, to 
take away the places and revenues of those men that 
have been maintainers and upholders of supei-stitious 
ways of worsliip. Let us, by cutting down the woods, 
destroy these wolves. 

Ver. 9. Therefore tcill I return, and take aicay v>y 
com in the time thereof, and my icine in the season 
thereof, and tcitl recover my wool and my flax given to 
cover her nakedness. 

In the former verse, Israel is accused for abusing 
her silver and gold in the service of Baal ; now it fol- 
lows, " Therefore I will take away my corn in the time 
thereof:" if there be a "therefore," we must inquire 
wherefore it was ; " because they did prepare their 
corn," &c. for Baal. 

Let us inquire, 1. What is the meaning of return- 
ing. 2. AATiat the meaning of the time and season 
thereof, " and take away my com in the time thereof, 
and my wine in the season thereof." 3. A\niat tliat 
phrase imports, " I will recover my wool," &c. 

1. For the first, " Therefore will I retui-n," that is, I 
will change the way of my administrations toward 
them ; I will go out of my way of mercy, and turn into 
my way of judgment, I will go back again. I was in a 
way of judgment toward them, and they cried to me, 
and I turned into a way of mercy ; but I wiU go back 
again into a way of judgment, " I will return." Monta- 
nus remarks. Whereas God has heretofore bid them not 
to be afraid of all the tokens of the soothsayers : that 
is, when they saw bv astrology some signs of death 
which might follow, ihcy were afraid ; Be not afraid, 
saith the Lord, but know your corn, and wine, and oil 
depend on me, not on second causes ; though second 
causes make against you, yet fear not, for I will give 
you com, and wine, and oil : but now it is quite con- 
trarj% though second causes ])roniise all kind of plenty, 
so tiiat there sliall be abundance of com, and wine, and 
oil, yet I will take a\vay your plenty, tlicre shall be a 
dearth of all tilings amongst you. 

2. " 1 will take away my com in the time thereof;" 
that is, first, irt the time of harvest, just when their com 
is to be gathered ; and m the time of their vintage, I 



Vee. 9. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



101 



will then take it away ; whereas I might take it away 
in the seed, I will let it grow till the harvest, and then 
take it away. 2. In the time when they have most need 
of it, when they are in tlie gi-eatest straits, and know 
not what to do without those creatures. 3. In tempore 
suo, so some, in the time I have appointed, though I 
have let them go on and enjoy the creatm-cs in abund- 
ance, yet my time is come that I will take away all. 

3. " And wUl recover ;" the word 'nSsn signifies, I 
will snatch it away, I will spoil you of it ; and it has 
reference to two things. 

First, I will recover it as out of the hands of usurp- 
ers ; you have my corn, and wool, and flax, as usurpers, 
but I will recover them out of your hands : as a man 
that has his goods usurped by others, by some means 
recovers them ; so, saith God, you have my coi'n and 
wine, and, as you have carried the matter, you are but 
usurpers, I will sue you for them, you shall not enjoy 
them long. 

Secondly, "I will recover:" it has a reference to 
prisoners and bond-slaves ; when the enemy gets any of 
our soldiers into their power, and makes them bond- 
slaves, a greater power goes against the enemy, and re- 
covers them out of his hands ; as Abraham recovered 
Lot and his goods. Gen. xiv. Or, as if mariners should 
recover those gaUey-slaves the Tm-ks have taken. And 
as if God should say. These creatures of corn, and 
wine, &c., are in bondage, and I will recover them out 
of yom' hands. You know the creatures groan under 
their bondage while they are in the possession of wicked 
men. My creatures are in bondage to you, and they 
cry to me, and I wiU recover them out of your hands, 
Rom. viii. 22. There are many precious truths to be 
presented to you out of the words. 

Obs. 1. Though God gives mercy out of free gi'ace 
without cause in ourselves, yet he takes not away mercy 
■without cause ; there is a '• therefore " for taking away 
mercy, but we have many mercies given without a 
" therefore." When God takes away mercy we have 
cause to look into ourselves to find out a " therefore ;" 
but for thousands of mercies which God gives to us, 
you shall find never a '• therefore " for them. It is not 
so gi'eat a wonder that thousands are in misery, as that 
any one enjoys mercy, for misery has a "therefore" in 
ourselves, for mercy there is reason onlv in the breast 
of God. 

Obs. 2. Sin causes God to change the way of his ad- 
ministi'ations towards his people. Though God walk 
in the ways of mercy, yet sin may put him out of those 
ways, and make him return to a way of judgment again. 
How much better were it for sinners to return, than 
that sin should cause God to return ! O sinner, return 
out of thy evil ways ; if God return, it will be a sad re- 
turn. Not long since God was in ways of judgment 
against us, and lately he has come into ways of mercy, 
and now he seems to return again to his former ways 
of judgment. Jer. xiv. 9 asks, " "Why shouldest thou 
be as a man astonied ? " A man astonished stands still ; 
or if he moves, it is up and down, as if he knew not 
which way to go. Though we have sufiered hard 
things, we cannot yet say, God is retm-ned, but he 
seems as a man astonished, that knows not which %vay 
to go. Thus God is pleased to speak of himself after 
the manner of men. Let us ciy to him that he may 
not tm-n out of his way of mercy into those sad ways of 
WTath to which he seems looking. - 

Obs. 3. Abuse of mercy causes the removing of 
mercy. " Woe to the idol shqjherd that leaveth the 
flock ! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his 
right eye : his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right 
eye shall be utterly darkened," Zech. xi. 17. Has 
God given a right hand any abilities ? take heed God 
does not strike that right hand : or right eve, any 
quickness of parts ? take heed that, through abuse, it 



be not put out. How many shepherds, when they were 
young, had many excellent parts, great abilities, but, 
having abused them to their lusts, God has taken them 
away ! So in childi-en, there is no such way to lose 
your childi-cn as to abuse them ; if your hearts be inor- 
dinately set upon them, God takes them away. I will 
relate a remarkable providence concerning this ; and 
the rather, because I was an ej'e and car witness of it, 
living not far from the place. A godly man desu-ed his 
friends to meet and bless God for a plentiful harvest. 
After dinner was over a very lovely little child came in ; 
Ah, said the father, I am afraid I shall make a god of 
this child. By and by the child was missing, and when 
they went to look for him, he was found (kowned in a 
pond. Consider this, ye pai-ents, who have yom" hearts 
inordinately set on your children. 

Obs. 4. God keeps the propriety of all that we have. 
" I will take away my corn, and my wine, and my wool, 
and my flax." Mark, in the former verse, they said 
they were their- o\\'ri ; now, God challenges them for his. 
Here we have " my," " my," " my," r&peated on God's 
side, as often as before it was on theu-s. Though God 
gives all, yet he keeps the propriety of aU in his own hand. 
God has a greater propriety in oiu- estates than any 
prince in the world has. Subjects have propriety in 
their estates, and enjoy them -ndth as ti-ue a right as 
their- sovereigns ; but no creatm-e has any propriety in 
what it has, compared to God. Not only what we have, 
but what we do, and what we are, is all God's : yea, 
says Luther, Even our thanksgiving to 
God for gifts is a gift of God ; it is there- ii.sa '"n™ ;lo "i- 
fore a vei-y vile thing to attribute to our- q'u",to ma^^lpS' 
selves what is his. When God has en- i.'i^"i'„„J',^'l;",„i5. 
riched us, we add tliis odious phrase, I 'Y/ '^"""^ ''""" 
have done it, I have done it. By this .iddiiius,''ego'VKi" 
you may see they are not your goods '''' 
which yoM abuse. It is a great argument to be bounti- 
ful and liberal for good uses, because what we have is 
God's. "For all things come of thee, and of thine 
own have we given thee," 1 Chron. xxix. 14. David 
thought not much of his bounty towards the temple, 
because all was God's. 

06^. 5. The taking away the good things which we 
enjoy, is a means of making us retm-n to God. " There- 
fore I will take away." " Therefore" has not only re- 
ference to the abuse of them, but to the 7th verse, " And 
she shall follow after her lovers, but shall not over- 
take them," &c. : " then shall she say, I will go and re- 
turn to my fii'st husband ; for then was it better with 
me than now." God makes this a means of working 
that frame of spirit in them of retm-ning to theu- fii-st 
husband. It is a special means to convince us of sin, 
when God comes with some special proridence against 
us. Some real expression of God's displeasm-e works 
more upon us than when wo merely hear the threat. 
You tliat are tradesmen, and run into debt, and yom- 
creditors tell you they will come upon you, yet you go 
on, till the bailiff comes into yoiu- house, and takes 
away yom- bed from under you, and all ymir goods. 
AVhen you see all go, then you think of yom- negli- 
gence, and theu the husband and wife wring their 
hands. So, though God threaten you for the abuse of 
the creature, tliat he will take it away, yet you are not 
sensiljle of it till Giod indeed takes away all, and then 
conscience begins to awake and fly in your face. When 
David saw God taking away his people, then his heart 
smote liira for numbering them : he was told of the 
evil of his way before by Joab, but he went on in it. 
When Samuel prayed for rain in wheat harvest, and 
there came thundering and lightJiing, then " the people 
feared exceedingly," and acknowledged their sin in 
asking a king. Those who have abused their estates 
in these times, when the enemy comes, xvhat gratings 
of conscience will they have ! Then these thoughts 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. n. 



will arise, Have I used my estate for God? have I 
done -nhat I might have done ? have I not satisfied my 
lusts witli those things -which God has now taken from 
me ? There is usually a gi'ating of conscience for the 
abuse of any thing when God takes it away. Allien 
God takes away a wife, if the husband has any tender- 
ness of conscience, liis first thoughts are. Have I per- 
fonned the duties of my relation to my wife as I 
ought ? have I not neglected my dut)- towards her ? 
When he takes away a child. Have I done my duty to 
this child ? have I prayed for it, and instructed it, as I 
ought ? This causes sad thoughts. 

Obs. G. There is an uncertaintj- in all things in the 
world ; though they promise fair, yet they are ready to 
fail us when they promise most. ' " I wiU take away 
r'.y corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the 
season thereof." A husbandman who has a good seed- 
time, promises much to himself; it comes up and thrives, 
and yet at harvest it is all blasted. Hab. iii. 1 7, " Though 
the labour- of the olive shaU fail," the phrase is. 
Though the labour of the olive B'ns "shall he ;" that is, 
the oHve promised fair, it grew up, and looked very 
ftiir, and ripened ; but it did lie, that is, it did not per- 
form what it seemed to promise, for in the time thereof 
it vanished and came to nought. I had certain in- 
formation from a reverend minister, of a singular work 
of God this way. In his own town there was a world- 
ling who had a great crop of com ; a good honest 
neighbour walking by his com, said, Neighbour, you 
have a very fine crop of com, if God bless it. Yea, 
saith he, speaking contemptuously, I wiU have a good 
crop ; and before he could get it into the barn, it was 
blasted, so that the whole crop was not worth sixpence. 
Here we see the uncertainty of the creature in the 
time thereof, when it seems to promise never so fair, 
when we are ready to take it mto the barn, it depends 
on God, as well as when it is under the clods. Oh the 
blessedness of God's servants, who ai-e sure of their 
good for time to come ! We may promise ourselves cer- 
tainty, even for the future, in the things of Chi-ist ; but 
temporal things are never sure, no, not when men have 
them in theu- hands. Many things fall out between 
the cup and Up, as we have it in the proverb. 

Obs. 7. God often shows his displeasure to those 
who provoke liim, when they are at the greatest height 
of prosperit)-. When affliction seems to be farthest ofi' 
from them, then it comes heaviest upon them ; when 
they think least of it, when they think all suie, then 
God visits them with his displeasure, when it is most 
bitter to them ; for that is the strength of the point, 
he wiU not only take them away in the time thereof, but 
when the affliction sliaU be most grievous to them. Job 
saith, chap. xx. 22, " In the fulness of his sufficiency he 
shall be in straits." A man may seem to have sufficiency 
of the creatiu-e, and may have his fulness of sirfticiency, 
yet God saith, he shall lie in straits in the fuhiess of his 
sufficiency. I give you another admu-able work of 
providence to illustrate this very thing ; it came from 
that worthy divine. Doctor Preston, and happened in 
the town where he was born. There was a man who 
of a long time had no child, but when God gave him 
one, at the weaning of it he called his friends and 
neighbours to rejoice with him for this great mercy ; 
and while the nurse was dandling the child, the point "of 
a knife which she had placed in her bosom ran hito its 
bowels, when all liis friends were about him to rejoice 
with him. When men think the bitterness of death 
to be past, (as Agag did,) the curse of God comes on 
them. '• While the meat was vet in tlieir mouths, tlie 
%vrath of God came upon them"," Psal. Ixxviii. 30, 31. 

Pope John XXII. said, ho knew by the ])osition 
of the stars that ho should live a long time, and boasted 
that he could cast his nativity; and the same night, bv 
the fall of a chamber which "he had newlv built for his 



solace, he was slain. I have heard credibly reported, 
that a dnuiken fellow in an inn was swearing most 
dreadfully, and one came in and said, Sir, what if you 
should cUe now ? He replied, I shall never die ; and 
going down-stairs from his chamber, he feU down and 
broke his neck. 

"WTien Bibulus, a Roman, was riding in triumph in 
all his glory, a tile fell from a house in the street, and 
killed him. As, on the contrary. God's ways and deal- 
ings with the saints are such, that when their condition 
is most dark and gloomy, he comes with mercy to 
them ; so, when the wicked are in the height of their 
prosperitv', God smites them. AMien " the iron entered 
into " Joseph's " soul," God dehvered him. '\ATien the 
apostle " had the sentence of death " in himself, God 
comforted him, 2 Cor. i. 9. When Abraham was lift- 
ing up his hand to slay Isaac, the angel of the Lord 
stayed his hand. As it is observed in nature, that a 
little before day-break it is darkest, so a little before 
the happiness of God's people, there are some gi-eat 
afflictions. " At evemng-time it shall be light,'' Zech. 
xiv. 7. 

Obs. 8. When men abuse mercies, they forfeit then' 
right in those mercies, they ai'e then only usurpers. '• I 
will recover my wool," &c. They are not usurpers 
merely for the use of mercies, but for then- abuse: they 
are not charged for their right to use them, but for 
their not using them aright : there is great difierence 
between these tvvo. 

It has been taught by many, that all wicked men 
have no right at all to use any creattire, but are to an- 
swer as usurpers before God. But certainly there is a 
mistake. It is certam, man has forfeited all, but God 
has given a right by donation to all that they enjoy in 
a lawful way. They have not such a right as the saints 
have, a right in Christ ; once in Christ, we may chal- 
lenge of God all things that are good for us. Another 
man has right ; but how ? "WTien a malefactor is con- 
demned to die for his offence, he has forfeited aU his 
estate, and all the benefit of a subject. But if the 
king be pleased out of his bountj' to allow him pro- 
vision for a day or two, till the time of execution, he 
xannot be challenged as a usurper, for that which he 
has, he has it by donation: such a right all wicked men 
have ; they are under the sentence of condenmation, 
and have forfeited their right, and all the good of the 
creature, only the Lord is pleased, out of his boimtv, to 
give tliem such and such enjoj-ments, they shall tave 
such houses and such lands for a time, till the day of 
execution comes. 

This might daunt the hearts of wicked men : You 
look upon yourselves as great men, you have yom- 
shops ftdl, you have lai'ge estates ; you are like some 
malefactors, who have a better supper before execution 
than others. But, still, your not using them euight 
may make you usui-pers before God. You command 
yom' servant to buy certain commodities ; suppose yom- 
servant run away with your money, do you not follow 
him as a thief? you trust him with a stock, to keep 
such markets, he has right to use your estate for you, 
but if he rim away mtli your estate, and use it against 
you, if you meet with him again you wiU say, Wiat a 
thief are you to run away with your master's estate, 
and abuse it against liim ! "I will recover my wool," i&rc. 

Obs. 9. All the time the crcatui-e serves wicked men, 
it is in bondage, and God looks upon it with pit)'. God 
has made all things for his own praise. He gives the 
children of men many mercies, but for his own glor>- ; 
when therefore these creatures which were given for 
the glory of God, are abused to thy lust, the creatme 
groans under thee. Thou drinkest wine, but the crea- 
ture groans under thy abuse ; never any galley slave 
groaned more under the bondage of the Turks, than 
tliy wine and thy dishes on thy table groaned under thy 



Vek. 9. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



abuse, Rom. viii. 22. As God hears the ciy of the 
widow and fatherless, so he hears the groans of the 
creature. 

Cornelius a Lapide states, that a famous preacher, 
showing this bondage of the ereatiu-e, brings in the 
creatures complaining thus : Oh that we coidd serve such 
as are godly ! Oh that our substance and oui- flesh 
might be incorporated into godly people, that so we 
might rise into glory ! but if oiu' flesh be incorporated 
into the flesh of sinners, we shall go to hell ; and would 
any creatm-e go to hell ? The very creatui-es shall be 
in hell eternally which wicked men consume on then- 
lusts, being incorporated into then bodies. The crea- 
ture one day wiU have a kind of revenge upon ungodly 
men, and divers thuik that hell will be atm-niug all 
creatui-es into a chaos, into a confusion again, as at the 
first, and the wicked put into that, and so tormented 
there ; there shall not be an annihilation, but God shall 
take away all the beauty, comfort, and glory of the 
creature, and whatever shall be for the torment of un- 
godly men shall abide ; and so they shall be tormented 
eternally by the very creatures which they abuse. 

As in such a building as this, there are stones and 
mortar, and the art of man puts a beauty upon them ; 
but suppose all the art of man were taken away from 
this building in an instant, what would become of us 
then ? it would bury us in its rubbish ; now it is useful 
and delightful, but if the art were taken away, it would 
be om- destruction. So the creatures of God, which 
God suffers wicked men to enjoy, have much of God's 
wisdom, pov.-er, and goodness in them ; but God will 
take away all his -n-isdom, beaut)', and goodness, so 
that nothmg but the confusion and rubbish of the crea- 
tm-e shall be upon the wicked to all eternity. 

Obs. 10. God gives his blessmgs to us, not for luxury, 
but for necessity. " I will recover my wool and my 
flax given to cover her nakedness." 
ApToi' eiiouff.oi.. 'pjigj-efore when om- Saviour- teaches us 
to pray, it is for daily bread, or bread which is for our 
substance ; so much bread as serves for our substance, 
and that but for a day. Most are abusive in then- de- 
sires after and use of the creatm'e, they look at luxm-y 
rather than necessity. As Cj-prian observes. It is not 
the heat of their clothes, 7ion calor, but color, the colour, 
is rather regarded by many. God expects now, espe- 
cially, that we should cut off om- superfluities, when om- 
brethren want necessaries. 

" To cover her nakedness." Om- nakeehiess needs 
a covei-ing. Sin has made nakedness shameful. Hence, 
our bodies are called vile bodies ; those bothes that we 
study so much to pamper and adorn, are bodies of vile- 
ness, as the apostle speaks, Phil. iii. 21 ; 
TaTTti^S/u/. y^^> °^ *'^^t vileness, with an article, or of 
the vileness : to be proud of om- clothes 
that cover om- nakedness is an um-easonable thing. 
Would you have your bodies adorned ? labom- for god- 
liness, and then you shall have bodies like the glorious 
body of Jesus Christ ; you wiU then have bodies that 
shall not finally need a covering. 

Obs. 11. "V^'iien abundance is abused, it is just with 
God that we should want necessaries. " I wiU take away 
my corn," &c. How many are there who have lavish- 
ed out then- estates, upon whom you may see God's 
judgment so gi-ievous that they want a piece of bread ! 
You often tell yom- wasting servants, they will be glad 
of a crust before they die ; it proves ti-ue often of mas- 
ters and mistresses also, who, out of pride and delicacy 
of spii-it, will be so fine and Hve above their rank, that 
God blasts them that they have not to cover their na- 
kedness. Those who had gorgeous and splendid attire, 
are thi-eatened with " baldness," and " a gu-ding with 
sackcloth," Isa. iii. 24 ; and such as come to misery by 
their wasting superfluity have none to pity them. 

Alfonsus, king of Spain, when a knight, fell into 



want, and being arrested for debt, a petition was sent 
to the king to succour him : Yes, replied the khig, if he 
had spent his estate in my service, or in that of the 
commonwealth, it were reasonable he should be pro- 
vided for by me, or by the commonwealth, but seeing 
he has spent all in riotousness, let him sufier. 

Consider this, you who are so loth to part with your 
estates for the public good ; you murmur at every thing 
required of you for that, but you are profuse in ex- 
penses for yom- lust ; God has ways to bring you low 
enough in yom- estates. 

Ver. 10. And now tcill I discover her lewdness in the 
sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of 
mine hand. 

" And now," that is, when I recover my wool and flax, 
" I will discover her lewdness ;" I will take then- cover- 
ings from their ovm eyes, and from the eyes of others. 
Wicked men, and especially idolaters, have divers 
coverings for then- lewdness. These people had three. 

The first was then- outward prosperity : Do you speak 
so bitterly agamst us, as if we were idolaters, as if we 
had forsaken God? are we not in as good a condition as 
Judah, who you say has not forsaken God ? 

Secondly, their external worship, in that they yet re- 
tained something according to God's mind, they yet 
kept the sabbath and some solemn days according to 
the law, in this covering they rested ; as if they should 
say, '^Tiy do you accuse us as if we did not worship the 
true God ? have not we God's service with us, and om- 
solemn assemblies? 

Thh-dly, they had other services wliich were not 
God's, yet they covered them with pompous days of 
solemnity, pretended for God ; but bemg of their own 
invention, they were hateful. Well, saith God, I will 
take away yom- prosperity, and I wiU take away those 
things in which you tlunk to put me off, I will take 
away yom- solemnities, and all the pomp in your ser\'ices. 

" I yyU\ cUscover then- lewdness." The word nnSai 
lewdness, comes from Ssj wliich signifies to fall ; it in- 
timates the falling of the spirit to low, poor, ^-ile, and 
unworthy things. Hence the Hebrews use it for a 
fool ; one that has a vUe spu-it, set upon base, contempt- 
ible things, is Nabal, a fool. Hence that speech of 
Abigail concerning her husband. As is liis name, so is 
he ; he is Nabal, and foUy is with him. The Seventj' 
translate this by another word, wliich , 
signifies uncleanness, the mixtm-e of their """ "i"""''- 
spirits with vUe things that make them unclean. The 
English word lewd, comes from loed, an old Saxon 
word, which signifies one that is of a servDe disposition. 
Some are of servile spu-its naturally, they are born to a 
kind of serviHty ; they are inclined to baseness and 
vileness by their natm-al genius : others are of more 
sublime spu-its naturally,- as if they were born for ^eat 
thmgs : these people are lewd, they have vile spu-its, 
forsaking the blessed God and his glorious ways, tm-n- 
ing to vanities that can do no good. So we say of 
many, they are lewd, base fellows, that is, they are of 
such" sordid dispositions, that they seek only after such 
things as have no worth in them, and satisfy themselves 
with things beneath the excellency of a man, imseemly 
in a rational creatm-e to take content. The Greek word 
in Acts x-sdii. 10, translated lewdness, .p„3,„^p^.„„„, 
elegantly sets forth the disposition of a a iiiiioi. ko. h- 
lewd man, namely, one easUy drawn to ^ '°"-"- 
any wicked way. 

''I -wiU discover her lewdness in the sight of her 
lovers." " In the sight ;" this is a great aggravation of 
then- shame. God wiU discover them, not before those 
who are strangers, but those before whom they would 
be honoured. Calvin's remark seems to reach the 
meaning of the Holy Ghost, alluding to harlots who 



1C4 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



have favovu-ites wiih princes at the court for their 
lovers ; they rest on their power, and confide on their 
greatness, and care not what their husbands can do 
against them. 

I will take away their confidence, tliough their lovers, 
the Ass)Tians and Egj-ptians, be never so great, they 
i^hall have no power to help you, but I will discover 
your lewdness before their face. From hence take 
these obsen'atioiis. 

Obs. 1. All wickedness, and especially idolatr)-, has 
many covers. Except we look veiy nan-owly to those 
who are superstitious and idolatrous, we shall not see 
the evil of that sin. Some covers are subtilly woven, 
but it may be said of them all, as Isa. xxviii. 20, " The 
bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on 
it_, and the_ covering naiTower than that he can wrap 
himself in it." 

Fust, Prosperity in a sinful way is a great cover. 
This glitters in so many men's eyes, that the filth of 
.sin is hid; many a foul hand is under a fab-, perfumed 
glove ; an ill complexion may have a painted face, and 
prosperity is no other to wicked men than a painted 
face to a foul woman. As a painted face is no argument 
of a fan- complexion, so neither is prosperit)', of a good 
condition. Crooked and diseased bodies' may have 
fine clothes. Green leaves on a tree may hide the 
rifts, the mosses, and blackness of the body which ap- 
pears in whiter. Many men are abominably false in 
then- ways, cruel and bloody in their hearts against 
God and good men, their spirits are envenomed, they 
have given up themselves to most horrible sins ; yet so 
long as they have power about them, all is covered : 
were all theu- prosperity taken from them, and aU then- 
gloiT and gi-eatness, and nothing but then- falsehood 
and hatred of the ways of God appeared, what di'eadful 
creatures they would be ! 

Secondly, Retaining some ti-uths in worship is a 
great cover to much falseness. 'NMien some wicked 
persons have to pay a great sum, they shuffle in a coun- 
terfeit sixpence or shilling, or a light piece of gold : so 
some, though they retain many cn-ors, yet because 
they keep some truths, think to cover much supersti- 
tion. False wares will be holpcn off amongst good, 
and a man accustomed to falsehood will sometimes tell 
some truths to put off a lie. A man that is a base self- 
seeker will often deny himself; tlie proudest spirits 
are as crouching and subject to their superiors as any, 
and so by seeming humility cover a gi-eat deal of pride. 
So the evil of ceremonies, and false discipline, pass 
without much contradiction : You must not trouble 
yourself about these things ; have not we as wholesome, 
soul-saving doctrine as any church in the world? Be- 
cause of this tlie corruption of the other is covered. 
Mucli h\-])0crisy is covered under excellent gifts ; the 
gifts are gifts of God's Spii-it, but they often cover much 
vilencss. 

Thirdly, Outward, pompous devotion in God's wor- 
ship is a p-eat coloiu- of notorious idolatry. Gilded 
crosses, painted churches, pompous ceremonies, have 
covered the piost desperate hati-ed to the power of god- 
liness. 

Obs. 2. God has a time to discover wickedness. " I 
will discover thy lewtbicss," it shall ajipear one day in 
its colom-s ! Vile and abominalilc wickethicss shall" not 
always go uncovered. God will not discover her in- 
firmities, neither should we; we sliould do as God 
does, discover the lewdness of men, but not theu- in- 
fii-mitics. Love covers a multitude of faults, if they be 
but infii-mities. And when you discover the lewdness 
of others, take heed you do not iliscover your own 
lewdness at the same time. Many wlio discover the 
lewdness of other men, manifest "such bitterness of 
s])irit, and sucli rejoicing that they have obtained an 
advantage against those who are religious, that, whether 



true or false they care not, they relate it confidently. 
This is for men to discover their own lewdness, when 
they cry out against the lewdness of others. Those 
who are wise and discerning are able easily to see it ; 
but if we would not have God discover our lewdness, 
let us get such a cover as shall never be uncovered. 
You may liave many expecbents to cover your sins that 
are not lai'ge enough, but I will tell you of a cover amply 
sufficient to cover aU. AMiat is that ? The righteous- 
ness of .Tesus Christ. " Blessed is he whose transgres- 
sion is forgiven, whose sin is covered," Psal. xxxii. 1. 
l"hat is a cover which hides from the eyes of God and 
man for ever. 

Obs. 3. When God discovers men's lewdness, they 
shall do little hm-t. " I will discover her lewdnes's 
in the sight of her lovers." I will take such a way to 
manifest her vOe lewdness before her lovers, that she 
shall neither prevail with them, nor be upheld by them. 
" But they shall proceed no fm-ther : for their folly shall 
be manifest unto all men," 2 Tim. iii. 9. There are 
many men who have secretly gained on the spirits of 
others by fair pretences, that they seek nothing but the 
public good, and desh'e only the furtherance of the gos- 
pel ; but when opportunity serves, theii- intentions .are 
tUscovered to go another way than their words seem to 
import, and then they shall proceed no further, for they 
shall be vile and contemptible in tlie eyes of those witii 
whom they prevailed before. 

Oba.i. Wlien God sets himself against his enemies, he 
will go through his work in the face of all those that seek 
the contraiy. " In the sight of her lovers." God needs 
no tricks or de-s-iees to caiTy on his work, but he can 
carry it on in the sight of his adversaries, and shame 
them in the sight of their lo%ers, and bring them down. 
God can make use of the wisdom and policy of men, 
nor less of their indiscretion. The great works of God 
amongst us of late have been earned on with a high 
hand, in the sight of those who have been our adversa- 
ries : what discoveries have there been of the filth of 
men ! how has their nakedness been made naked ! 
what changes in their conditions ! what contempt has 
God east in the face of those who were the great cham- 
pions for lewdness, and that in the very face of their 
lovers ! Their lovers looked on them, there was little 
or no change in then' liearts, wliieh were as eager for 
them as ever, yet their shame has been discovered. 

Obs. 5. Dishonour before those fi'om whom we ex- 
pect honour, is a sad and gi'cat evil. " In the sight of 
her lovers." Oh, said Saul, honour me before the 
people, 1 Sam. xv. 30. Saul cared not much if he were 
dishonoured before strangers, but he would be honoured 
before his own people. It is such a cUsgi-aceful thing 
to be dishonoured before those by whom we would be 
honoured, that the stronger a man's spuit is, the more 
intolerable is the bmden : one of a mean and low 
spu-it cares not much for dishonom- any where, but 
a man of elevated spirit counts it the worst thing 
that can happen, to be (bshonoured before those that 
love him. Many tradesmen who are modest at home 
are lewd among strangers. Those wlio love C»od and 
tlic saints, are most afraid to have then- evil discovered 
before God and tlie saints, for a gracious heart desires 
honour from them most. A godly man can bear any 
contcmpt\ious aliuse from the jirofane, rather than from 
one that is g<idly. ^N'icked men care not for dishonour 
among the saints, because they cai'c not for their love. 
If dishonour before lovers be such a shame, what will 
dishonour before God at the great day be, and before 
the saints, and wicked men too who were your lovers ! 

Obs. 6. Carnal friends esteem men when they arc 
in [irospcrity, but when they are in adversity tlicy 
contemn them. " I will discover her lewdness in the 
sight of her lovers." M'lien I take away their com, 
and wine, and ffax, and tliesc things, their lovers will 



Ver. 10. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



105 



be ashamtd of them. "When huntsmen -would single 
out a deer, they shoot her &-st, and as soon as the 
blood appears, all the rest go out of her company, and 
push her from them. It is' so with carnal friends, if a 
man is in affliction, if they see then- friend shot, they 
look aloof from him. AVe have had woeful experience 
of this formerly ; when many godly ministers were per- 
secuted, those "who before seemed to be their lovers, 
gi-ew strange unto them. "\Mien the sun shines, men 
that pass by look on a dial ; but in a dark, stormy day, 
a hundred may ride by it and never look at it. AVTien 
we are in a sun-shine day of prosperity, men will look 
towards us ; but if the gloomy day of adversity come, 
then they pass by without regard to us. If a man of 
fashion come to a house, the dogs will be quiet ; but 
when a beggar comes m rags, they fly upon him. It is 
apparent, that men in their prosperity are not regarded 
for any thmg in themselves, but for their prosperity's 
sake, for their money's sake, for their clothes' sake. 
Suppose when you go to a friend's house, and your 
servant accompany you, if all the respect and kindness 
shown to you were only for your servant's sake, you 
would take' it iU. This is all the respect that men have 
from false lovers, it is not for any good in them, it is 
for their prosperity, for their servant's sake. Oh how 
vain is respect from the world ! K you be gracious, 
God will not deal with you thus ; ii" you have yom- 
estates taken fi-om you, God will not despise you as 
carnal fi-iends do. " For he hath not despised nor 
abhorred the affliction of the afflicted," Psal. xxii. 24. 
When the saints are afflicted. God does not liide liis 
face fi-om them, but when they cry to him he hears 
them. 

Obs. 1. Carnal hearts have much confidence in many 
things in which they titist ; in time of danger they will 
not believe but they shall escape. " None shall deliver 
her out of my hand." Let us not be troubled at the 
confidence of om- enemies; they expect to prevail ; tliis 
is fi'om the curse of God upon them ; their case is never 
• so desperate, but they have something to shelter them- 
selves in their- own thoughts. Oh what a shame is it 
that any thing is rather trusted in than God! The 
husbandman casts seed-corn, that costs dearer than other 
corn, into the ground. The merchant trusts all his 
estate to the winds and waves of the sea, and if they 
fail, all is gone. You ti-ust servants with matters of 
weight. K you go to "Westminster, you trust your 
lives in a boat half an inch tliick. God is not trusted 
so much ; that blessed God, who is the only true object 
of soid-confidence. 

Obs. 8. Lastly, when God sets himself against a 
generation of men, or any individual, all the means in 
the world shall not help. The prophet Ezekiel (chap, 
ix.) had a ■\-ision of six men with weapons of war in 
their hands : there were six principal gates in Jcmsalem, 
and God woidd set these six men ■nith weapons in their 
hands at each gate, that if they run to this, or the 
other, or any gate, the man with the weapon m liis 
hand should be sm-e to take them, they should not 
escape. " Seek him that maketh the seven stars and 
Orion," Amos v. 8; why are these named, " the seven 
stars and Orion ? " the one is the extreme of cold, and 
the other of heat. The Lord has the power of l)oth : 
if they escape the heat, the cold shall take them ; if 
the cold, the heat shall destroy them ; and I, likewise, 
saith the Lord, can make both these helpful to you as 
I please. Hence there is such blasting of means, for 
the cursing of those whom God opposes ; let us not be 
afraid, though oiu- adversaries have gi'eat assistance, 
they are in God's hand, and none can deliver out of his 
hand ; all their great strength is but as tow or flax 
before the flame of fire. " There is none that can de- 
liver out of my hand : I will work, and who shall let 
it?" Isa. xliii. 13. "V\Tierefore it is a fearful thing to 



fall into the hand of God when he is in a way of wrath, 
and it is a blessed thing to be in his hand when he is 
in a way of mercy. Clu-ist holds the stars, not only 
ministers, but aU "his elect, in his hand, and none can 
take them out. In the time of the massacre at Paris, 
a poor man for his deliverance crept into a hole, and 
when he was there a spider wove a cobweb before the 
hole. "UTien the officers came to search for him, one ob- 
served. Certainly he is got into that hole. No, said 
another, he cannot be there, for there is a cobweb over 
the place ; and by this means the poor man was pre- 
served. The hof>e of the wicked. Job saith, chap. viii. 
14, is as the spider's web ; yet, if God please, he can 
make a cobweb to deliver his people. The least tilings 
shall deliver when he will, and the greatest means of 
deliverance shall not deliver when he pleases. 

Ver. 11. / will also cause all her mirth to cease, her 
feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all 
her solemn feasts. 

In tliis verse we have a sore threat against Israel, for 
it is in part spu-itual. 

" Her mirth," nwitfD i^pocrivaQ, Sept. The word 
signifies the right temper and posture of the mmd ; 
when the mind is in a right frame, then it may be merry ; 
AATiosoever is merry, let him sing, James v. 13 ; the 
word, though not the same, signifies the ^,^_ ^. 
same thing ; whoever has his mind in a 
right frame, let him sing. 

" I will cause all her mii'th." God many times takes 
away from his saints much of the matter of their- mii-th, 
but never takes away all. Tliis is a di-eadful threat, to 
cause all their mii'th to cease. 

" I will cause it to cease." I will turn it away, A;ro- 
■rplil/w, Sept. I can soon have all theii- mfrth do-n-n, 
they shall never be able to rejoice more if I please; it 
is g"one with the turn of a hand. It appears that Israel, 
though an apostatizing people, designed to dreadful 
judgments, yet were a merry, jocund people, they went 
on stLU in then- mu-th and joviality. 

That which is here implied, is more fully expressed 
in Amos, chap. vi. 4 — 6, who was contemporary with 
Hosea, and, like Hosea, he was the prophet of the ten 
tribes : see there how Amos sets forth the mii-th of this 
people ; " That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch 
themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out 
of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the 
stall ; "that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent 
to themselves instruments of music, like Da^id ; that 
drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the 
chief omtments." This was theii- condition when they 
were under such fearful guilt, and in such cfreadful 
danger. Sensual men, while they prosper, look upon 
themselves as above the word, and bless themselves in 
satisf)-ing then- o^^^l carnal desires, as if it were but a 
poor, low, and mean tiling for them to fear sin and 
threatenings. Come, say they, let us sing away all care, 
let us live men-ily, let us take our pleasm-e for the pre- 
sent, and crown ourselves with rose-buds. This is the 
disposition of carnal hearts under all their guilt and 
danger. They swim delightfully in that river of Jor- 
dan, and suddenly fall into the Dead Sea ; they spend 
their days in pleasure, and in a moment go down mto 
hell. This is all the portion of their cup which they 
receive from the Lord. They have a little joy here, 
this is all they are like to have", and therefore they will 
take then- fill of what they have. But tliis will not 
hold, I will cause this mfrth to cease. 

Obs. 1. Sin and mirth can never hold long together ; 
there must be a separation between them. The union 
between sin and mirth at any time is a forced union ; 
God never joins them together ; and if you will join 
those things that God never joined, your joming cannot 



106 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chaf.il 



hold : sin is of such a canker-fretting nature, that it will 
soon fret out all the varnish of mirth and joy upon 
it. If you will not take away sin fiom your mirth, 
God will take away mirth from your sin. It is the hap- 
piness of the saints that tliey shall liave everlasting joy ; 
the " pleasures at God's right hand" ai-e " for evermore," 
but the pleasures of sin must cease. 

Obs. 2. "VMien afflictions come upon the wicked they 
are all dejected, their joy and muth are gone. We say 
of fire, it congi'cgates tilings of the same kind, and 
separates things that are of diverse kinds. So the 
fire of affliction congregates tilings of the same nature, 
as sin, liorror, trouble, anguish, sorrow, ve.xation, ac- 
cusation of conscience, condemnation ; these are of the 
same kind ; sin and these are homogeneal ; now, when 
affliction oomes, it congregates all these : you sin, but 
soiTOw, anguish, and hoiTor of conscience seem now not 
to unite with your sin ; but when the fire of affliction 
comes, it joins all these together. On the other side, 
sin, and joy, prosperit)', and peace, these aie hetero- 
geneous things of another kind; now when the fii-e 
of affliction comes, it separates these heterogeneous 
things ; then the hearts of the wicked sink as lead, they 
lie down in son'ow, the candle of the wicked is blown 
out, all theii- mii-th and joy are but the light of a 
candle, affliction makes all to be but as a snuff. ^AHien 
affliction comes, ungodly men have the poorest spirits of 
any men, they quickly die, they succumb, they fall 
down under the least weight of affliction ; they seem to 
outbrave the word of God, but they have mean and 
low sph-its when they bear God's hand upon them ; 
affliction takes away all that they conceive and under- 
stand good. There is notliing within them to support 
them, but dai-kness and blackness ; notliing but guilt 
and the gnawings of the worm : they look upon every 
suffering they endure but as the beginning of eternal 
suflering ; and the venom and cm'se of God go with 
then- affliction, which ibinks up their sph-its. 

Oh the happy advantage which the saints have in 
their attiictions above the wicked ! They have sphits 
that may well be called brave spirits, which can stand 
under the greatest weight of affliction, and with joy 
in the midst of them. Paul can rejoice in tribula- 
tion, yea, and glory in it too. They have comfort in 
the creatine, but they are not beholden to the creature 
for comfort ; they depend not upon the creature, theh 
joy is a great deal liigher : that is precious hght indeed, 
tliat no storm can blow out. See an example of a brave 
sphit, that in the midst of affliction can have the light 
of joy, Hab. iii. 17, 18: "Although the fig tree shall 
not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ; the 
laboiu' of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield 
no meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and 
there shall be no herd in the stalls :" what then ? '• yet 
I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my 
salvation." Perhaps in times of affliction they may 
abate somewhat of their outward joy, but all their 
mirth shall not cease, there shall be joy witliin, though 
none without. 

Obs. 3. All om- mirth depends upon God, he can 
take it away wlicn he pleases. " I will cause all their 
mhth to cease." God is called in Scripture, " The God 
of all consolation." Joy is God's propriety, he gives it 
when he will, and takes it away when he will. " Give 
them sorrow of heart, thy curse mito them," Lam. iii. 
65. Mark, the word rjjn translated sorrow, comes 
from one wliich signifies a helmet, or a shield to fence 
off any tiling, or to cover a thing, as a thing is covered 
by a shield and helmet ; and it notes to us that disease 
whicli ])liysicians call cardiaca passio, a disease where- 
by the licarl is so oppressed, and there is such a stop- 
ping, that it is, as it were, covered siott sculo, as with 
a sliield, to keep out all things that should comfort the 
spirits : let the most precious cordials in the world be 



given to those who have that disease, they cannot be 
refreshed by any of them ; and so the heart is at last 
suffocated with sorrow. This is the meaning of the 
word here, Lord, " give them son-ow of heart ;" put them 
in such a condition, that thek hearts may be so stopped 
and stifled with son-ow, that whatever means shall be 
used to bring any comfort to them, no creature in the 
world may be able to afford the least refreshment. 
They were wont to sliield and fence off thy word, wliich 
contains the treasm-es of thy mercies, and they lieard 
the sweet promises of the gospel opened, yet they 
fenced off thy word as with a shield ; now, when they 
are in affliction, let there be such a fence put upon 
then- hearts, that though there be never so many 
promises brought to them, they may be fenced off by 
thy secret curse. We find many wretches who have 
hved under the gospel, and resisted the treasures 
of mercies when opened to them, who in affliction 
have been in horrible desperation, and whenever any 
comforts of the gospel have been presented to them, 
tliey have ingeniously fenced them off. Those who 
read the storv' of Spira, will wonder w-hat eimning he 
possessed to fence off all comfort that was brought to 
him. This was from the Lord. Lord, " give them 
sorrow of heart," that is. Lord, put such a sliield upon 
then- lieai-ts, as all comfort may be fenced off from them. 

AVe see, my brethien, how we depend upon God for 
comfort ; we all cry for comfort, let us know oui- de- 
pendence upon God for it ; God can fence om- hearts 
from comfort when he pleases, let us take heed we do 
not fence off his word from our hearts. 

" I will cause aU her mirth to cease, her feast days." 
These two are put together; for the hearts of men, 
when they enjoy a more Uberal use of the creatm-e 
than ordinarj-, and are amongst cheerful company, are 
warmed, raised, and mflamed. If the heart of a man 
be gracious, and he feasts in a gracious way. Ins heai-t 
is warmed and cheered, and enlarged ui things that are 
good ; so the hearts of the wicked, when tliey are at 
then- feasts, their lusts are warmed, and their spirits are . 
raised and strengthened in things that are evjl. You 
have a notable example of cheering and raising the 
hearts of men in good things, in the time of the feast 
that Hezekiah made for the people of Jerusalem in 
that gicat passover, they " kept the feast of unleavened 
bread seven days with gi-eat gladness : the whole as- 
sembly took counsel to keep other seven days : and they 
kept other seven days with gladness," 2 Chron. xxx. 21, 
23. Now mark how their hearts were raised mightily 
by this ; chap. xxxi. 1, " Now when all tliis was fuiished, 
all Israel that were present went out to the cities of 
Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down 
the groves, and tluew down the high places and the 
altars out of aU Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also 
and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed tliem 
all." Theii- feasts being in a gracious way, their hearts 
were so inflamed that now they took upon them a 
mighty courage in doing great things for God. 

It were well if it were always so with us when God 
calls us to feasting, that our hearts were always wai-med 
and eidarged to do much good. That has been the 
honour of this city, that in their companies feasting 
yearly, they were wont when their hearts were up, to 
consult together what good to do for the coiuitries in 
which they were bora, and then to resolve to send the 
preaching of tlie word to one great town, and to an- 
other town. This was a gracious feasting, and for this 
thev were much envied. And though these feasts were 
prohibited upon other ])retences, yet the hindering this 
good done at those times, lay at the bottom of that 
prohibition. 

Feasting also warms the lusts and desperately in- 
flames the wicked resolutions of imgodly men. When 
a company of ungodly men get together in a tavern, 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



107 



and there have drunk and eat liberall)', how desperately 
are they set against the ways of godliness ! then they 
scorn and jeer godly mmLsters, and parliament, and 
Christians : when their lusts are heated by wine and 
good cheer, they are then as if they were above God, 
their tongues are their own, and who shall control 
them? Mark that Scripture, Psal. sxxv. 16, " With 
liypocritieal mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me 
with their teeth." Here is scorning and violence, 
gnashing upon the psalmist with their teeth, and this 
at their feasts. Hos. vu. 5, " Li the day of om- king 
the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine : 
he stretched out his hand with scorners." They brought 
bottles of wine, and when his lusts were heated with 
the wine and good cheer, he joined with them in scorn- 
ing the w-ays and worship of God ; they scorned at all 
those that would go up to Jerusalem to worsliip accord- 
ing to the institution. These must be so precise that they 
will not join with us, as if we had not the worship of 
God among us ; they tell tales to Jeroboam, and the 
other princes, of the godly who would not yield to 
their idolatrous ways of worship : now, saith tlie text, 
the king " stretched out his hand with scorners ;" takes 
them by the hand, and encourages them, and tells them 
he win take a course with them, not one of them shall 
be suffered to Hve in his dominions. 

But God has a time to take away feasting times from 
a people, a time when those who have delighted them- 
selves so in the use of the creatiu-es, shall have all those 
merry meetings cease, never feast more, never meet 
with such merry company more. As 
^i^Mao"!ra,'quo Pope Adrian said, when he was dj-ing, O 
JocSdabS.'S!''"" my soul, whither art thou going? thou 
shalt never be merry any more. 

For kingdoms also, though there be times for feast- 
ing, yet there is a time of mourning ; and God seems 
this day to be coming to us to take away our feasts, to 
call upon us to spend om- time in another way. It 
were good for us to do what we can to prevent God by 
voluntarily humbling om-selves, to take away our own 
feasts, and to change our festivities into humiliations. 
The times call for fasting now, rather than feasting ; 
and it is a most di-eadful sin for men to give liberty to 
themselves for feasting, when God calls for mourning and 
fasting. You are not at liberty to feast when you will. 

Isa. xxii. 12 — 14, might make the hearts of those 
who are guilty of this tremble : " And in that day did 
the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mom-n- 
ing, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth : 
and behold joy and gladness, slaj-ing oxen, and killing 
sheep, eating flesh, and drinking Avine : let us eat and 
drink ; for to-moiTow we shall die. Siu-ely this ini- 
quity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the 
Lord God of hosts." "\\Tiile the bread is taken away 
from oui' brethren, and the land is miserably spoiled, 
and when such a black cloud hangs over our heads, 
there is no time for festivities. "S^liatever your- cus- 
toms have been, at the time now approaching, (I mean 
that which you call your Christmas festivity,) you are 
certainly bound to turn it mto a time of mourning. 
For if we should grant it lawful for men to appoint 
holy days for feasting, yet certainly it cannot but be 
sinful, so to set those days apart, that whatever provi- 
dence of God happens they must be observed. You 
will all grant this, that if it be la^-ful to keep this time 
of festivity, yet that God has not set it apart and en- 
joined it. AYe never have it requii-ed by Christ or by 
his apostles, that at the beginning of the year we should 
have days of festi\-iti,-. Well then, at the most, if we 
suppose it law-ful, it is but the institution of man ; if it 
be man's institution, then it must give way to God's 
work, to providence. For man to put so rnuch upon 
his institution, because he has appointed such a day at 
the commencement of the year for rejoicing, that v.-hat- 



ever providence happens that calls for humiliation and 
fasting, yet he wiU hold to his own institution ; what is 
this, my brethren, but to make the commandments of 
God to be of none effect thi'ough man's traditions ? It 
is the commandment of God now, that you should 
mom-n and fast ; if then, because of man's institution, 
you put by the command of God, and spend time in 
feasting and rejoicing, which ought to be only when 
God shines upon a kingdom in ways of mercy, know 
this is sin unto you. If you can say that God shines 
upon us now in present extraordinary mercies, then we 
may feast. I confess they are extraordinary mercies in 
regard of what we may hope to be the event and effect 
of them ; but for the present administrations of God 
towards us, they are such as, if ever they called for fast- 
ing, they call for it at this day. Therefore, by God's 
works amongst us, we know we have God's wUl reveal- 
ed to us, namely, to fast; the other, at most, is but 
man's institution and tradition. Now the traditions of 
men must yield to the commandments of God. 

AYith what conscience now can you take such a plen- 
tifid use of the creature, and suffer your brethi'en to 
want clothes and bread? If God have granted you 
such a comfortable estate that you have so much to 
npaie as to feast, know you are bound in conscience to 
lay that out in relieving yom- brethren who have been 
so cruelly used ; therefore God brings them to you to 
be objects of your compassion. It would be very ac- 
ceptalale to God, if so much as any of you have usually 
spent in feastings, or intended to spend in these twelve 
days, you would set it apart for the relief of those who 
want bread, and set the time apart also for mourning 
in your families, that God woidd pardon the sin of these 
times. And now, not only feasts in private families 
should cease, but the feasts of companies in your public 
halls likewise. 

AAliat abundance of poor plundered people might be 
relieved, if all that were spent in one year in the feasts 
of your companies were laid aside for their use ! These 
are times for mercy, not for festivity ; if we wiU not 
cease our feastings, let us know, God has thousands of 
ways to take away feasts from a kingdom, and to bring 
" cleanness of teeth " among us : I will take away their 
feasts, saith the Lord. 

The main thing in this verse to be opened to you is, 
what these feasts of the Jews were. 

The words here are n-j.n feasts, and myic, solemn 
feasts ; they are both in yom- Enghsh translated feasts, 
but the words in the Hebrew differ much, the fir-st 
comes from a word that signifies to rejoice and leap, the 
second from a word that signifies a stated, a settled 
time ; om' English word feast is derived fi'om tlie Greek 
iarla, the goddess which the Latins call Vesta, the god- 
dess both of the earth and of fii'e. 

The Jews had their ci\il feasts, and their holy feasts. 
Amongst their holy feasts, some were of God's appoint- 
ment, and some of their ov\ti. Of God's appointment, 
some were more solemn, some less. 

Their civil feasts were times wherein they took a 
more Hberal use of the creatiu'e, in rejoicing one with 
another upon some special occasion, this they called a 
good day, not a holy day ; Esth. viii. 17, " The Jews 
had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day." It wUl 
appear by examining that text, that though the day 
was appointed to be kept every year, yet it was but as 
a good day to them, and could not be said to be a holy- 
day ; we do not read of any religious solemn exercise 
that they had for the day." Such a day I take to be 
our fifth of November, a good day, not a holy-day, 
wherem we have a more liberal use of the creature 
than at other times, and remember the mercies of God 
with thanksgi-iiiig. But we know the day is not set 
apart for this end, so that it is milawful to be exercised 
in anv other thing. 



108 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



Their religious feasts, which they presumed them- 
selves to make holy, were their feasts, rather than 
God's ; for that, you have the example of Jeroboam, he 
appointed a feast of his own head, which the prophet 
speaks of, 1 Kings xii. 32, 33, " And Jeroboam ordained 
a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the 
month, like unto the feast that is in Judah. So he of- 
fered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the 
fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month 
which he had devised of his own heart ; and ordained 
a feast unto the chikhen of Israel." Mark here, Jero- 
boam is rebuked for appointing a feast of his own 
heart, like the feast God had appointed ; this is no ex- 
cuse, that he would be an imitator of God. This reason, 
many think, will justify theu- superstitious way, they do 
but imitate what God did; as thus, God had an ephod 
for the priests, therefore they will have a holy garment ; 
God had a temple consecrated, they will have one so 
too ; God had his feast days and holy-days, they will 
have theh's too in imitation of God. This veiT thing 
that Jeroboam did, he is rebuked for, that he would 
set up something as God did. 

"Where God has set his .stamp upon any thing, we 
must take heed we presume not to set our own stamp. 
Su])pose any one should take a piece of silver, and 
stamp it as nesr as he can like the king's coin. The 
silver is his own ; well, but if he be examined. Why 
did you thus ? "WTiat hurt, saith he, is there in it ? I 
have done no more than the king did ; why, may we 
not follow bis example ? Will this answer, think you, 
serve his turn ? It is as much as his life is worth. Just 
such a plea is this, they will do such and such things 
in God's worship; why? God has done so before, and 
they do but imitate God ; there is as much strength in 
the one as in the other. Therefore that word '-devised" 
in the Hebrew comes from a word that 
C"i3 signifies to lie. Jeroboam did lie. So in 

Mmjjcct. -^^^ ^jj^_ 25, " That ftiistrateth the tokens 
of the liars." Jeroboam, in setting this day apart, did it 
under a pretence to honoiu' and worship God ; but 
though it might seem to make God's honour and wor- 
ship better than before, yet the Scripture puts the lie 
upon it. I think this was the reason he set it apart in 
the eighth month; the feast of tabernacles was (lie 
fifteenth day of the seventh month ; now he would not 
alter the day, but have it the same day that God ap- 
pointed, but in the eighth month. The feast of taber- 
nacles was appointed to praise God for the in-gathering 
of the fruits of tlie earth. It was as upon our Sc])- 
tember ; now, upon the fifteenth of September, per- 
haps, all the produce was not gathered in, therefore 
Jeroboam might have this device, he would stay till 
every thing was gathered into theii' bams and their 
vessels, and was fit to eat and to cbink; then saith 
Jeroboam, Now is the time to praise God ; you praised 
God before when you were taking in the fruits, you 
could not use them, but now having them all in, and 
being able to make use of them, now is the time to 
praise God. This was Jeroboam's wisdom, by which 
he thought to make a feast to please the people, rather 
than God's feast. There are no s\iperstitious men but 
will have some pica to induce the hearts of people to 
embrace their ways, rather than God's simple, plain, 
and pure ordinances. But though Jeroboam did it 
under this pretence, yet he lied ; so, those men wlio 
will take upon them to sanctify days, or places, or gar- 
ments, or any vesture, that God never dia, thougli they 
say thev do it for God's honour, to make God's worship 
more glorious and decent, yet it is a lie. Just as those 
who will make images, brave, golden images of God, 
(), say they, it is for the honour of God : but mark what 
is said, Hab. ii. 18, " AVhat profiteth the graven image 
that the maker thereof hath graven it ; the molten 
image and a teacher of lies?" If images be laj-men's 



books, they are books that have abtudance of errata 
in them, they are full of lies. 

Now arises the question, whether there may be holy 
feasts (taken so in a proper sense) by man's appoint- 
ment ? Jeroboam is accused of it plainly : and in Gal. 
iv. 10, 11, there is a very severe charge upon the Ga- 
latians, " Ye observe days, and months, and times, and 
years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed ujion 
you labour in vain." It appears by tliis, that people's 
hearts were mightily set upon their feasts, their days, 
and months, and years, they were loth to be taken off 
from them ; so that the apostle speaks with bitterness of 
spirit, " I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon 
you labour in vain." And indeed when godly ministers 
take pains amongst people whose hearts are set upon 
such things as these, for the most part they lose their 
labour, httle good is done. 

Yes, some will say, to observe the Jewish days after 
they were aboUshed by God, was sinful and dangerous, 
but we do not keep Jewish days. But mark what these 
men sav, God abolishes his own, and yet they think he 
gives liberty to man to set up others. If upon God's 
abolishing his o\m, men have liberty to set up theirs, 
then C'lvristians are under a more heavy bondage, ami 
gi-ievous pedagogy, than ever the Jews were, for it i.4 
better to have a hundred days of God's appointing, 
than one of man's, and more honourable. Further, if 
God appoint, there needs no scruple, as if man appoint: 
yea, if God appoint, we may expect a special blessing, 
and efficacy, and presence of God ; we cannot expect 
such things in man's appointment. Now, if when God 
has taken away Jewish ceremonies and days, man 
might lawfully appoint others as he pleases, we may 
jiray to God with good reason to bring us under the 
bondage of the law again, rather than to be thus under 
man's power. 

Thus far we grant, that upon any special work of j 
God, the revolution of the year naturally reminds d 
it ; and so far as it is natural, it is good, I may make 
use of it. Therefore, I dare not say that it is altogether 
unlawful at such times to have some outward rejoicing, 
when God does not call for mourning some other way 
(except the argument from the extraordinary abuse there 
has been of it may be of force). Nay, that there may 
be advantage taken of the people's leisure, to preach 
the word and to hear sermons upon such days, we deny 
not. We know that Christ was in the porch of the 
temple at the feast of dedication, wliich was one of the 
davs of their own appointing, not that he was there to 
countenance or honour the feast, but because he had 
been there before, at another feast of God's a])])oint- 
ment. Now there being a multitude of people at that 
time also gathered together, he took advantage of the 
concourse, to come to the outer porch to preach to 
them. So much therefore as we may grant, we will 
not deny. 

For the right imdcrstanding of setting apart days, I 
sup])Ose these two things will be questioned. 

First, ANHiy may not governors of the church set 
apart days, as well as appoint times for preaching ; or 
as well as others who appoint such times, as once a 
week so nuich time set apart for a lecture ? 

Secondly, AA'e may ai)point fast days, and days of 
thanksgiving, these are set ajiart by man : how hap- 
pens it that a man may a]ipoint a time for ])rcaching 
constantly once a week, and he may appoint times of 
fasting, and days of thanksgiving, and yet not have 
this hbcrty, to make a day that may properly be called 
a holy-day ? 

AVe must clear that point from this objection, or else 
we do nothing ; and for the clearing this we must know 
there is a gre.it deal of ditf'ercncc in these tnree things, 
the right understanding of which will clear all the 
matter : 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



109 



Between the deputation, and the dedication, or sanc- 
tification of a thing. 

I may depute a creatiwe to be used to help me in 
holy things, and yet this creature is not sanctified by its 
deputation ; and so for a lecture, such an hour in such 
a day is deputed, but the time is not made holy by it ; 
the place is deputed, but is not made holy by it. Yea, 
I will appoint such a garment when I am in such a 
service such a day to wear, but yet the garment is not 
made holy by it. A creatiu-e is not made holy merely 
by being used at a holy exercise, or in a holy thing. 
As thus, suppose I read the holy Scripture, I make use 
of a candle to read it by, I do not make the candle holy 
by this. K the using of a creature in a holy duty did 
niake the creature holy, then it woidd be the same in 
all creatures. I use the very light of the air when I am 
reading and speaking holy things in public assemblies, 
but I do not make the light and aii' holy because I use 
them in holy things ; so I use this hour to preach in, 
though I use it in a holy duty, I make it no fm-ther 
holy than a man does his spectacles that he reads the 
Scripture by. A de])utation is this, when such a crea- 
ture as I shall think most commodious for such a 
service, shall be set apart for such a service ; or when 
such a creature as I use for such a service, wiU be a 
natural and usefid help to me, to appoint it for that 
service upon that ground. 

The second is dedication, that is, when I give a 
thing out of my own power for a pious use, so that I 
cannot use it for any thing again. As when a man has 
given so much of his estate to build a school or an hos- 
pital, it may be said to be a kind of dedication ; he has 
devoted, given away, so much of his estate to that end, 
so that he cannot make use of it for another purpose. 
Now we do not so set apart the time of jjreaching, as 
that we cannot use this time for any other end, we may, 
as we see cause, alter it, where it is from nine to eleven 
we make it from two to foiu' ; whereas, if it were a thing 
that we had dedicated, that is, given out of om- own 
power, then it cannot be changed by us. That is a 
second degree. 

Now sanctification is beyond dedication, that is, 
when any creature or time is so set apart for holy 
things, as it must not be used in any thing but that 
which is holy ; and though the same holy actions be 
done at another time, and with the use of another 
creatm'e, they shall not be accounted so holy as at this 
time, and when this creature was used. Sanctification 
is the setting apart of any day which God gives me to 
use for my ordinary avocations, and so to devote it for 
such a business that it may not, without sm to me, 
whatever happens, be used for any other occasion. 
And, secondly, when I have set it apart, if I so exalt it, 
as if the same holy actions performed at another time, 
shall not be accounted as holy as at this time, although 
that time has as much natural fitness in it, then I sanc- 
tify a time to myself; but this I cannot do without sin. 
There are two things in all holy feasts, and, indeed, in 
all things which are accounted holy. First, it was a 
sin for them to use that time for any other thing, or m 
any other way, than God had appointed. Secondly, the 
actions they did at that time were such as were more 
acceptable to God than if they had done the same thmgs 
at another time. Yea, it was so in their very days of 
humiliation. The day of expiation must not be used for 
any thing else ; if they humbled themselves or fasted 
upon another day, that would not have been so accept- 
able to God as upon this day. So in all superstitions of 
men, when they set apart either days, or places, or things, 
they put these two upon them. As for places, they say 
we_ may appoint a place for people to meet in a re- 
ligious_ w^ay. Yes, but it becomes superstitious, fu-st, 
when it is so set apart, as I shall make conscience of 
using it for no other purpose. Secondly, when I am per- 



suaded in my conscience, that God accepts the service 
in this place better than in any other, though as decent 
as this. So for superstitious garments. You say, May 
not ministers be decent ? I have heard a great doctor 
give this argument for a surplice : Sometimes I ride 
abroad to preach, and my cloak is dirty, is it fit for me 
to come into a pulpit with a diity garment ? and there- 
fore there is always appointed somewhat to cover it ; it 
is decent. Suppose it be so, but if this garment must be 
used only for such a holy exercise ; and, secontUy, if I 
think the wearing of it honours the service, and that 
God accepts the service performed in such a garment 
rather than in another ; this is supei-stition : as in one 
place in Suffollc, when that garment was lost, there was 
a strict injunction to the poor countrjTnen that there 
might not be any service or seimon till they had got 
another ; for which they were appointed ten days, and 
this being upon a Friday, there were two sabbaths 
without any service ; therefore it is apparent they put 
the acceptance of the duty upon it. So for days, if 
any man set apart a day, so that his conscience con- 
demn him before God as sinning against him if he do 
any thing upon that day but such holy duties ; second- 
ly, that though the same holy duties be done upon 
another day, they shall not be accounted so acceptable 
to God as done upon that day ; tliis is superstitious. 
Yet, certainly, of this nature have many of om' days 
been, for if you opened your shops what distm-bance 
was there m the city ! it was profaning the day, every 
proctor had power given him to molest you. Did not 
they also account it a greater honour to God to have 
service read that day than to have it read upon an or- 
dinary Tuesday or Thursday ? yea, preaching upon a 
lectm'e day that was not one of their holy-days, they 
accounted not so acceptable to God as upon one of 
them. Here comes then- institution, which puts more 
upon it than God does, and thus it becomes smful. So 
if you set apart the time you call Christmas, so as to 
make conscience of not doing any other senice or work 
on that day, and think that to remember Christ, and 
to bless God for Clrrist, upon another day, is not so ac- 
coptable to God as to do it upon this day, here is the 
evil of man's instituting days. 

Well, but this is not cleared except we answer an- 
other objection : Do not the king and parliament com- 
mand days of fasting and of thanksgiving, and are not 
they of the same nature ? WiU not you say it is sin 
for us to open shops upon these days ? I answer, om' 
days for fasting and thanksgivmg have not those two 
ingredients in them, for, fu-st, if God by his providence 
call any individual to special business in his family, 
then he need not have his conscience condemn him 
though he spend all that day in that business. They 
may set apart a day to be spent publicly, yet with this 
Hmitation, not to enjoin every individual, that to what- 
ever God's providence specially calls him, he must 
leave off all, and make as much conscience of doing 
this as upon the Lord's day. 

You will say. Upon the Lord's day, if any thing ex- 
traordinary happen, we may go a journey, or transact 
business, as a physician may ride up and down, works 
of mercy may be done, therefore this makes no differ- 
ence between God's day and these of man's appoint- 
ment. I answer, though a physician do a work of 
mercy upon the sabbath day, yet he is bound to do it 
with a sabbath day's heart ; whatever calls him_ fi-om 
those services that are God's immediate worship, he 
sins against God if he follow it as the business of his 
calling, as upon another day ; but if he do it with a sab- 
bath day's fi-ame of heart, as a work of mercy, he keeps 
the sabbath in that. But if there were a necessity to 
ride upon a fast day, a man's conscience need not to 
condemn him before God, if he went about that work 
as the work of his calling. It is not therefore so dedi- 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. H. 



eated, but God's providence may oblige us to do otlier 
civil actions, and that as the works of our calling. 
Secondly, neither is it so sanctified, as if the same 
works done on another day were not so acceptable to 
God as when done upon this day- Our fast days are 
fixed for the last Wednesday of the month, but to think 
that the work done upon another day were not so ac- 
ceptable to God as done upon that day, is to sanctify 
the day, and such a sanctification is sin. The same 
answer may be given for days of thanksgiving. 

Besides, there is another thing to be considered, that 
is, in stating the time. Though men may thus depute 
and appoint days to worship God, yet they cannot state 
any such days, but as God's providence permits, accord- 
ing to the present occasion. Therefore it would be a 
sin for a state to appoint nominally a day for religious 
fasting : God did so, but men have no power to do so, 
because they do not know but God may call them to 
rejoicing upon that day, they have not knowledge of 
the times. All that we can do is this, when God calls 
us to fasting, we must appoint days of fasting ; when 
God calls us to rejoicing, we must appoint days of re- 
joicing. Therefore to appoint tlie time of Lent as a 
religious fast is suiful, and the statute itself threatens a 
mulct upon that man who shall call it a religious fast : 
stated fasts, which arc not limited by Pro\idence, are 
certainly evU. The monthly fasts now enjoined, if we 
should say we will have them once a month till this day 
twelvemonths, or two years, I persuade myself the state 
should sin ; but to have it as long as God's hand is 
upon us, as long as the occasion lasts, and God's provi- 
dence calls us to it, is justifiable. 

Our brethi-en in Scotland wholly deny the appoint- 
ment, both of stated fasts and feasts : nay, they will 
scarce agree to the monthly fasting we have, because 
they are so loth to yield to any xtala jejunia. King 
James once made a speech in Scotland, in which he 
blessed God that he was bom in such a time, and was 
a member of such a church ; the reason he gave was 
this : The chui-ch of Scotland exceeds in this all other 
chiu'chcs. England, though it has pm-o doctrine, has 
not pure discipline ; other reformed chuixhes have pm-e 
doctrine and discipline, but they retain the observation 
of many holy-days; but the church of Scotland has 
])in'e doctrine and discipline, and keeps no holy-days, 
and therefore it is a purer cluu'ch than any in the world. 

Thus I have endeavoiu-cd to show you how far things 
may be set apart, and how far not, when it becomes a 
sin for any one to sanctify a day. By this we may see 
what a mercy it is to be delivered from those men who 
have robbed the kingdom of many days, and put many 
superstitious respects upon them, and so have involved 
us in much guilt; bless God for delivering us from 
them, and for those days in which God gives us liberty 
to exercise ourselves in his worship. Thus much for 
those feasts called their feasts, that were of their own 
appointment. 

" Her new moons." The ordinance of God in the 
new moons, is in Numb, xxviii. 11, " And in the be- 
ginning of your" new moons, or " months, ye shall offer 
a Inirnt ofiering unto the Lord," kc. It was God's 
ordinance, that the Jews at the beginning of every 
month, when they had a new moon, should keep that 
day holy to God. That which the Latins call the 
calends, were their new moons. 

The holy solemnity of these days consisted in tlu-ee 
things. 

First, The offerings that were there appointed by 
God particularly for that time, were many and charge- 
able ; two young bullocks and one ram, seven lambs of 

• Benedictiis csto ConJitor tuns, luna, bcncdictus esto 
Dominus tuus. 

t Tcr siibsiliunt coeliim versus quod, qiianto sublimius pos- 
sjnt tanto mehus est, lunamque sdloqucntes, quemadmodiitn, 



the fii-st year without spot ; besides their flour and oil 
for their drink-offerings, and one kid of the goats for a 
sin-offering. 

Secondly, At these times they were wont to repair 
to the prophets for instruction, to know the mind of 
God. The nusband of the Shunammite said to liis wife, 
" Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day ? it is neither 
new moon, nor sabbath," 2 Kings iv. 23 : if it were new 
moon or sabbath, you might go, but since it is neither, 
why will you go ? That implies, that to repair to the 
prophets for instruction, and to hear God's word from 
them, upon those days was common among the Jews. 

Thirdly, It was unlawful to buy and sell upon those 
days. Ajnos viii. 5, " '\ATien will the new moon be 
gone that we may sell com ? " they were weary of it, it 
seems, because they might not buy and sell in it. 

Buxtorf, who describes the Jewish customs, relates 
three other things they were wont to do in their new 
moons. 

1. Those who ^vere most devout among them, set the 
day apart for fasting and prayer, to entreat God to bless 
the new moon to them. 

2. As soon as there was an appearance of the new 
moon, one steps up, and cries, thou Creator of the 
moon, be ever blessed,* and so he goes on in blessing 
God for this creature. 

3. They used to leap and to reach toward the moon 
as soon as they saw it, speaking after this manner : AVe, 
stretching to the moon, cannot reach it; so all our 
enemies that aim at us, are as unable to reach us to our 
hurt, as we that-t 

But why did God appoint this feast of the new moon ? 
It was appointed for these fom- ends. 

(1.) Because God would be acknowledged to have 
the govcmment of all inferior things in the world, and 
especially of aU the changes of times. As the sabbath 
was to put us in mind of God's creating the world, so 
the new moons were appointed for them to bless God 
for the government of the world. Many nations have 
attributed much of the government of the world to the 
moon ; the tides, you know, ebb and flow according to 
the moon, the great works of God in the seas seem to 
be governed by God in the use of that creature ; yea, 
things seem to be governed more sensibly by this crea- 
ture than by others : that they miijht not rest there- 
fore in the creature, but give God the glor)-, he ap- 
pointed the feasts of the new moon ; if they had any 
clianges of times and seasons, God caused it, rather 
than lliis creature. As the heathens called the moon 
" the queen of heaven," so did Israel ; and would not be 
hindered from offering cakes to her, because they attri- 
buted aU their prosperity to her, Jer. xliv. 17 — 19. 
Now from this God would take them off, therefore he 
a])pointed this solemn feast of the new moon. 

(2.) God would hereby teach, that the bringing of 
any light unto us after darkness is merely from him- 
self, and he must be acknowledged in it. The moon is 
a glorious creature, and causes much light ; but soon 
after there is darkness, and after this darkness light 
springs up again : this is the work of God. We are 
taught a moral lesson from this feast ; that is, has God 
at any time brought darkness upon a kingdom, or upon 
a family, or an individual ? docs he begin to bring light? 
he must be acknowledged and praised for it. 

(3.) God would teach them, also, that the beginnings 
of all mercies arc to be dedicated to him. When God 
renews a mercy, at the very first, before it comes to 
]ierfection, it is to be given up unto God ; they were to 
celebrate this feast upon the beginning of the light of 
the moon. 

inquiunt, nos to versus subsilientes attingere te non possumus, 
sic hostes nostri omncsnus ad malum uttmgerc nobisquc nocere 
lion potcrunt. Buxtorf. Synag. Judaic, c. 17. 






Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



(4.) This aimed at Chxist, as all other ceremonies of 
the law (lid. It pointed out our condition in our de- 
pending upon Christ ; for our light must be renewed by 
om- conjunction with Jesus Christ, who is the Sun of 
righteousness ; as the light of the moon is renewed by 
her conjunction with the sun, that gives the great light 
to the world. And as the hght of the moon increases 
as it takes it from the sun, so our light increases as we 
take it fi-om the Sun of righteousness. Thus this feast 
was typical, and thus we see these feasts were of spe- 
cial use. 

But when they abused these feasts, God said, I -will 
take them away, you shall have no more; and therefore 
God professes a loathing of their feasts, and, amongst 
others, of their new moons, Isa. i. 14. Not but that 
they were holy in themselves, but when they abused 
them, by adding then- own superstitious vanities, or by 
not obser\-ing the due end for which God appointed 
them, then God is oftended. Now, saith God, you ac- 
knowledge darkness and light to be from me, and 
change of time to be fi'om me, but what use do you 
make of your time ? You seem to give up the mercies 
you receive to me, but you do not honour me with 
them, nor for them. 

You seem to think of the Messias in these tilings, 
but your hearts are not with him, all your ways are 
after your lusts. I loathe your feasts. Just as when a 
man comes to God, and prays devoutly, Lord, lead me 
not into temptation ; and as soon as he has done, imme- 
diately goes into wicked company. God loathes you 
for going quite cross to yom- prayers. You pray, Lord, 
give us this day our daily bread ; as if you said, Lord, 
I depend upon thee every day for my bread, and for a 
blessing upon all my outward estate ; and as soon as 
you have done, you overreach, and cheat, and go to 
Satan for your bread : God loathes these prayers of 
yours, as God loathed then- new moons, because when 
he appomted such worship for those ends, yet they went 
quite contraiy. 

Yet there are two things very observable about these 
new moons. We often read these things, but pass 
them over and but little mind them. 

1. God will have the glory of his creature, of the 
new moon, and that solemnly, yet it must be at that 
time when the moon is very httle. God does not ask 
to be glorified in that creatm-e when it is fullest of 
glory ; but when it is, as we may say, in the meanest 
condition, when it exhibits but little light, scarce any 
at all, then God will be glorified. This is the instruc- 
tion and moral lesson from hence, which is no strained 
one, but I think intended by God himself, in appoint- 
ing this feast ; in that God will have the glory due to 
him fi-om this creature in the beginning of its light, 
rather than at any other time. We are taught in 
this, 

Obs. That there is much danger when we are giving 
God the gloi-}' of the creatm-e, of resting in the crea- 
ture, and not passing through the creature speedily to 
God. God is very jealous of his glory this way. God 
has made many glorious creatm-es, and he would have 
us give due esteem to them all ; but when we esteem 
them for any excellency, God is jealous lest any of his 
glory should rest in the creatm-e, therefore he calls for 
it at the time when the creatm-e is most mean. That 
is the reason why God's ordinances are so plain, we 
have but plain bread, and plain wine, and a plain table, 
and no pompous attire, because God "saw that when we 
are to deal with him spiritually, if we had pompous 
things we should rest in them. We see men so at- 
tracted with pompous things, that they give not God 
that glory which is due to him, but honom- the creatm-e 
rather than God. It seems that the heathens who 
made the moon to be their goddess, looked at it when 
it was most light, as appears, Job xxxi. ; therefore Job, 



to clear himself from that idolatry, saith, ver. 26, " If 
I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon -n-alking 
in brightness." They used to worship the moon when 
they saw it " walking in brightness ; " because they 
could not reach the moon, they kissed then- hand, and 
bowed to it in acknowledgment of a deity ; therefore. 
Job would free himself from worshipping this creatm-e. 
When the creature is most glorious, there is danger of 
giving God the less. It is thus with us ; God has often 
more glory fi-om us when om- estates are small, than 
when they are very great : many a man, when he has 
been in full light of prosperity, never minded God, but 
when God brought him into darkness, he gave God 
glory ; and then it has been most acceptable, because 
then he sees God's hand helping him without the crea- 
tm-e. God had most glory from the moon when it had 
the least light, so God may have glory fi-om us though 
our light be extinguished. 

2. There is yet another remai-kable thing concerning 
this feast. You observe what difference there is be- 
tween the feasts of the new moons by God's appoint- 
ment under the law, and the feasts of the new moons 
as they are set forth to us in Ezekiel. Those chapters 
in Ezekiel fi-om the fortieth and so on, though they 
seem to speak of the Jews' ceremonies, and temple, 
and feasts ; yet then- scope is to describe the glorious 
condition of the chm-ch of God in the time of the gos- 
pel ; as in Isa. Ixvi. 23, " And it shall come to pass, 
that fi-om one new moon to another, and fi-om one sab- 
bath to another, shall all flesh come to worship me, 
saith the Lord ; " that is, their constant worship shall 
be in comparison as a sabbath, and they shall not only 
worship me at the beginning of the moon, but at all 
times, it shall be full and constant : therefore, though 
Ezekiel there speaks of new moons and other feasts, 
yet it is to set out the condition and blessed state of 
the times of the gospel under those shadows and tj-jjes, 
according to the phraseolog)- of the Jews. Tliis being 
granted, let us compare the institution of the feast of 
the new moon, in Numb, xxviii., with what is said in 
Ezek. xlvi. In Numb, xxviii. they were to off'er for a 
burnt-offering, two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs; 
but ui Ezek. xlvi. 6, in the days of the new moon, 
there should be but one bullock and six lambs. God 
liimself had said, that m their new moons they shoidd 
offer tn-o bullocks and seven lambs : yet when the pro- 
phet sets out a more glorious condition of the church, 
they must not offer so much as they did before, but one 
bullock and six lambs. What are we taught fi-om 
this ? Two excellent lessons, which are the reason of 
the difference. 

First, that there is a blessed state of the gospel 
coming, which shall not be subject to such changes as 
heretofore, but a more settled condition of peace and 
rest ; so that they shall not have the same occasion to 
bless God for his providence in the changes of times 
as before they had. Their solemnity of the new moon, 
was to do that spiritual thing in a ceremonial way, that 
is, to give God the glory for the change of times : but 
in the times of the gospel, they shall not have so many 
sacrifices, to make it such a solemn business. Why ? 
Because the church shall be in a condition of more 
rest and safety, and more constancy in then- ways, not 
hurried up and down by men's humom-s, and lusts, and 
wUl, as before. 

Secondly, as the state of the gospel shall not be so 
subject to danger as it was before, there shall not be 
that occasion to bless God for bringing light immedi- 
ately after darkness. After it had been dark a long 
time, and they could not see the moon, as if that erea- 
tm-e had been lost out of heaven, when they saw it 
again they were to bless God for it : but in the time 
of the gospel that is coming, there shall be no such 
darkness ; this time, however, is not yet come, we have 



112 



AX EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



need of our seven lambs and two bullocks, for we have 
much darkness. 

"And her sabbaths." Plutarch thought that the 

sabbath of the Jews was from Sabbos, a name of 

Bacchus, that signifies, to live jovially 

ioriSita^vi'Tie. ^"'1 merrily. Indeed, the sabbaths which 

many keep may have such a derivation : 

tlieir sabbaths are sabbaths of Bacchus, to be mcrrv, 

and to eat, and drink, and i)lay, is the end of them ail. 

But the word has a better root. God would have us 
upon the sabbath rest from all other works, that we 
may be free to converse with him ; therefore it is so 
much the more inexcusable if, when we have nothing 
else to do, we shall refuse to converse with God as he 
requh-es of us. If a friend came to your house to 
converse with you, and he should know you have no 
bujiness to take up your time, yet you will scarce sec 
him, or spend a little time with him, will he not take it 
ill ? If, indeed, you had an excuse that your business 
was extraordinary, it would not l)e so ill taken ; but 
w hen he knows you have nothing to do, and yet you 
refuse time to converse with him, will not this be taken 
for slighting liim ? Thus you deal with God : had you 
indeed great business to transact u))on that day, though 
you did not converse with God in lioly duties, God 
might accept of mercy rather than sacrifice. But when 
he appoints you a day to rest, wherein you have nothing 
to do but to converse with him, yet then to deny it, is 
a slighting the majesty of God. 

Now the Jews had iivers sabbaths ; amongst others, 
these were principal ones, the sabbaths of days, and 
the sabbaths of years. 

The sahbatlis of days. Every seventh day they had 
a sabbath, and it was kept unto the Lord. Now this 
feast of theii's had somewhat in it memorative, some- 
what significative, and somewhat figui'ative. It was a 
memorial, a sign, and a figiu'e. 

First, it was memorative ; a memorial of two things : 

1. Of the work of God's creation. After God had 
finished his works of creation, then he rested, and sanc- 
tified the seventh day. Psal. xcii. is appointed for the 
sabbath, the argument of it is, the celebrating the me- 
morial of God's great works. 

2. Of their deliverance out of Egypt, in remembrance 
of the rest that God gave them from theii" bondage. 
'■ Kemember that thou wast a servant in the land of 
Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out 
thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out 
arm : therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to 
keep the sabbath day," Deut. v. 1<5. 

Secondly, it was significative, a sign. Exod. xxxi. 
17, " It is a sign between me and the children of Israel 
for ever :" and ver. 13, " It is a sign between me and 
you, that I am the Lord that doth sanctifv you." God 
made it a sign, that as this day was by liis command 
to be sanctified, set apart from other days, so God had 
set apart this nation of the Jews from other nations. 

Thirdly, it was figurative, it prefigured or ty])ified 
the rest that remained for the jjeople of God. Heb. 
iv. 9, " There remaineth therefore a rest to the people 
of God," both here, in the time of tire gospel, and in 
heaven eternally. 

Now there was some specialty in this day of rest, 
in this sabbath of the Jews, more than in any other 
sabbath. As, 

(1.) In the antiquity of it. It was the most ancient 
of all the days set apart for any holy use, being from 
the time of the creation. 

(2.) It was WTittcn with God's owni finger in the 
tables. 

(3.) God rained no manna upon thi's day. and that 
even before the law was given in Mount Sinai for the 
honour of this day. 

(4.) The whole week takes denomination from the 



sabbath. Luke xviii. 12, '■ I fast twice in the week," 
cif -oS (ra/3/3drou, twice a sabbath. So Mark xvi. 2, 
'• The fii-st day of the week," the first of sabbaths, rqi; 
/iiaf oafifiuTuv. 

(5.) This sabbath is called an everlasting covenant 
by way of eminency, as if nothing of God's covenant 
were kept if this were not. Exod. xxxi. 16, "Ye shall 
keep the sabbath for a peii)etual covenant." 

(G.) Yea, God puts a remembrance upon this day, 
and not upon any other sabbath. If a friend who 
would fain converse with you, send to you a week be- 
forehand, saying, I pray think of that day, I will come 
to you then and converse with you, we will enjoy com- 
munion together ; now, if when he comes he find you 
employed in xranecessary businesses, will he take it well ? 
God does so with you : I desire to converse with your 
souls, and I ajipoint you a day, think of it, remember 
that day, that you and I may be together, and converse 
sweetly one with another : if God find you then occu- 
pied in unnecessary busmesses, he will not fake it well. 

This sabbath the Jews rejoiced much in, and blessed 
God for it, Neh. ix. 14, as a great mercy. Philo Juda-us, 
speaking of the fourth commandment, Q,„rt<,m vvkt^. 
saiih, It is a famous precept, and profit- '""> 'gnjBium pw 
able to excite all kind oi virtue and piety, ntm nnuirm n- 
TIic Hebrews say we must sanctify the pltut'miero'prr- 
sabljath at its coming in and going out, "'""' 
and bless God who gave it to us. Yea, it is called by 
some of the Hebrews, the very desire of days. Drusius 
ttUs of a Jew, who, when the sabbath day ajHiroached, 
was wont to put on his best clothes, sajing. Come, my 
spouse, &c., as being glad of that day, as a bridegroom 
of his spouse. It is not my work to handle the point 
of the sabbath day, or Lord's day now, but to o])en it 
as we have it here in the text, to show what kind of 
sabbath the Jews had. Only observe this one thing 
about this sabbath ; if you compare Numb, xxviii. 9, 
with Ezek. xh-i. 4, you find that the ofi'erings in the i 
time of the gospel, were more than those in the time 
of the law. In Numbers, you find but two lambs ; but 
in Ezekiel, six lambs and a ram, for the sabbath. This 
by way of type shows, that iu the settled times of the 
gospel, God's worship u])on the Christian sabbath should 
be solemnized more fully than it was in the time of 
the law. 

The next is, the sabhallis of years, and they were of 
two sorts. There was one to be kept evei-y seven years, 
and another every -seven times seven, every fiftieth 
year. Every seventh year there was a rest of the land; 
as every seventh day there was a rest of the labour of 
then- bodies: Exod. xxiii. 10, 11, " Six yeai-s thou shall 
sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 
but the' seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still ; " 
tlicy must not prune theii- \-incs, nor gather their vint- 
age'. The sabbath of days signified that tliey themselves 
were the Lord's, therefore they ceased from then- own 
labours. But the sabbath of years, the resting of the 
land signified that the land was the Lord's, at his dis- 
posal, and that they were to depend upon the provi- 
dence of God for their food in the land. When they 
])loughed, and when they sowed, and gathered in the 
fruits, God would dispose the land as he pleased. 

And we must acknowledge, for that is the moral of 
it to ourselves, that all lands are the Lord's, and the 
fruit that we enjoy from the land is at his disposing. 
If any man ask, A\'hat should we eat that seventh year? 
seeing they might not plough, nor sow, nor reap, nei- 
ther have vintage, nor harvest; the Lord answers 
thom. Lev. xxv. 21, "I will command my blessing 
upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit 
for three years." God, vou see, will not have any to be 
losers by his service. Let us trust God then, though 
perhaps you have now one year in which you have no 
trading. People cry out. Oil this twelvemonth we have 



Vee. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



113 



had no ti'iiding in the city ! we can get no rent out of 
the country ! Do not murmur, trust God ; it may be 
God has been before-hand with many of you, j'ou have 
liad full ti'ading formerly which may preserve you com- 
fortably now. K not before, trust God for the next : 
the Jews were to trust God eveiy seventh year, they 
had nothing coming in for one year in seven. If once 
in aU youi- lifetime God takes away yom' trading upon 
an extraordinary occasion, do not murmur, do not give 
less to the poor : I speak to those whom God has 
blessed in former years, so as that they are not only 
able to subsist, but to give too : " Beware that there be 
not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, Tlie seventh 
year, the year of release, is at hand ; and thine eye be evil 
against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought ; 
and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto 
thee," Deut. xv. 9. If a poor company of distressed 
and plundered people come to you and desire your 
help, because you have not such a full income as you 
were wont to have in your ti-ading, you refuse to relieve 
them, if they cry unto God against you, it will be sin 
unto you. 

This rest of the land was also to put them in mind 
that there was a time coming when God will free them 
from labom'. Now they were fain to eat their bread in 
the sweat of their brows, but God would supply them 
once in seven years, without the sweat of their brows in 
tilling the land, showing, that there was a time wherein 
God would bring his people to such a rest, that they 
should have fidl supply of all things without labour. 

The second thing in this seventh year was, all debts 
that their brethren owed to them were to be released. 
Deut. XV. 2, it is called there, " the Lord's release ;" the 
Lord is merciful to those that are in debt. God knows 
what a gi-ievous burden it is for his people to be in 
debt ; rich men, who are full-handed, do not understand 
what a bm-den it is to be in debt to every man they deal 
with ; they cannot sleep quietly, they can have but little 
joy and comfort in theu' lives, the burden is so grievous. 
Now God, in mercy to liis people, that they might not all 
their days go under such a burden, and so have little joy 
of then- lives, granted this favour to them, that once in 
seven years then- debts were to be released. But it was 
the debt of a Hebrew, Deut. xv. 12 ; foreigners' debts 
they were not bound to release. By that we are to learn, 
that there should be more pity and commiseration 
shown to those who are om' brethi'en in the ilesh, or in 
the Lord, with respect to their- debts, than others. There 
is a complaint that many of the gocUy have httle care 
and conscience in paying theu- d'ebts ; the justness of 
that complaint I know not, but there may be slothful- 
ness, if not unfaithfulness, and if there be cai-elessness 
and unfaithfulness in some, it is enough to cast an 
aspersion upon all. Though those who are godly 
should be more careful to pay their debts than others, 
yet Lf you see them godly and laborious in their calling, 
and the providence of God only prevent, and not any neg- 
ligence of theirs, it must be a vile and wicked heart that 
would take advantage of then- being godly, to ojipress 
them ; no, you are bound to show them much commi- 
seration. Beware there be not an evil heart in thee, to 
be less mercifid to thy poor brother because of the 
seventh year's rest of the ground, or because the debt 
w-as to be released that seventh year : but " thou shalt 
sm-ely give him, and thy heart shall not be gi-icvedwhen 
thou givest unto him ; "because for this thing the Lord 
thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all 
tliat thou puttest thy hand unto," Deut. xv. 10. Not- 
withstanding there must be a cessation of ploughing, and 
sowing, and vintage, in the seventh year, yea, notwith- 
stancUng they were bound to release theii- debt in the 
seventh year, yet they must do this, and not do it 
grudgingly; they must not mm-mur and say. Docs God 
require of us that we must neither plough nor sow, and 



that we must release our debts, and give too, nay, and 
give, and not have oui- hearts grieved too, that we must 
not complain of tliis ? O my brethren, God loves 
exceedingly cheerful givers, and hearts enlarged with 
bowels of compassion, not hearts grumbling and olj- 
jecting against giving. ISIany men have no quickness 
of understanding in any thing else but against works of 
mercy ; how quick are they in theii- objections, and find 
such subtle ways to save their pui-ses, that we are 
astonished ! Against this there is a solemn charge, 
Deut. XV. 11, "Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto 
thy brother, to thy poor, and to the needy, in thy land." 

The thhd thing to be done once ru seven years was the 
release of servants, they too must go free, and they must 
not be sent away empty neither; "It shall not seem 
hard unto thee, -n-hen tnou sendest him away free from 
thee," Deut. xv. 18; you must give them liberty, as 
ver. 14. It is true, we are not bound to the letter, every 
seven years to do thus, but there is a moral equity in 
it ; when servants have done you faithful service, you 
must not think that it is enough that you give them 
meat, and di-ink, and clothes, but you must be cai-eful 
of youi- servants how they should live after they are 
gone from you. This was the fb-st sabbath of years. 

But the second was the most famous, and that was 
the rest that was every seven times seven years, the 
fiftieth year, w-hich was called the year of jubilee, from 
the trumpet by which they were wont to proclaim that 
year, which, as the Jews tell us, was of a ram's horn. 
In this year clivers of the same things were done as in 
the seventh year, as the release of debts, the release of 
servants. But there are some things observable that 
were done at this time beyond what was done every 
seventh year. 

As for servants, the release of them was not only of 
such as had then served seven years, yea, if they had 
served any time, they were then to be released ; but 
there were some that would not be released, and there 
was a command given by God respecting it, Exod. xxi. 
6, if there were a servant that loved his master and 
would not go free, then his master should bring him to 
the post of the door, and with a nail bore his ear, and 
then the text saith, " he shall serve him for ever." 
Now, that " for ever" is by interpreters interpreted but 
for the time of jubilee, and then he should have rest. 
Here it is to be understood of the fiftieth year, the year 
of jubilee. 

There are some kind of spirits so slavish, that when 
they may have liberty they wiU not ; they deserve to have 
their ears bored, to be slaves to the filtieth year, if not 
for ever. Many amongst us at this day have such spu-its. 
God ofli'ers us a release from bondage ; how many of us 
love servitude stiU ! It is just with God that we should 
have our ears bored, and that we should be slaves even 
for ever ; but we hope there w-iU be a jubilee come at 
length for our deliverance. God would have a jubilee 
even to deliver those that were of the most servile 
spii-its. AMien God began with us at the commence- 
ment of oiu- parliament, Kke the seventh year he ofl'ered 
to us a release, and we refused it then, and we deserve 
that om- ears should be bored ; but God is infinitely 
merciful, though we be of servile spirits, and know not 
how to pity ourselves, we hope the Lord w ill pity us, 
and grant us, out of free and rich grace, a jubilee, even 
to deliver those who have a mind to be bond-slaves. I 
am sure God does so sphitually ; if God did not de- 
liver those who at-e wiUuig to be slaves, he -ffould de- 
liver none. 

It was a great mercy so to provide for servants, that 
they might thus be delivered. The greater, because 
servants endm-ed a great deal of hardship then, more 
than now ; they were bought and sold, not only other 
nations, but the Hebrews were bought for servants 
also, as you find it, Exod. xxi. 2. Besides, servants 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



were in such bondage then, that if the masters beat 
tliem -w-ith a rod until they had killed them, yet they 
mast only be punished, they must not have blood shed 
for their blood ; yea, though the servant died under hk 
ma-ster's hand, yet the master was only to be punished ; 
and if the servant lived but two or three days after, the 
master was not to be punished at all : " And if a man 
smite his ser\ant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die 
under his hand ; he shall be surely punished. Notwitli- 
standing, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be 
punished: for he is his money," Exod. xxi. 20, 21. 

Oh that servants woidd consider this, and bless God 
for the liberty they have now, more than servants had 
in former times I It was so likewise with the Romans, 
t'ue word " servant " comes from senando, because the 
Komans used to have such for servants as were pre- 
served in time of war, who would otherwise have been 
put to death ; whether they were those or others, yet 
the condition of all was very servile both amongst Jews 
and Komans. This may justly rebuke the pride of 
senants now ; if they be but crossed in the least thing, 
they make such a complaint as if they were exceedingly 
WTonged. Let servants rather bless God for tlieir con- 
dition, than murmur at a Utile liardship ; the hardsliip 
of servants in former times was more severe than any 
vou can endure now, who liave the hardest masters, 
hence, in the time of jubilee the servants so rejoiced. 
Jewish antiquities tell us, that nine days 
*'bq"Li).''rJMa" before their release, the servants feasted 
and made merry, and wore garlands, be- 
cause of their freedom approaching. 

Tlie second thing extraordinary in the day of jubilee 
was, that not only debts, but lands were released : Lev. 
XXV. 23, " The land shall not lie sold for ever." And 
there were divers reasons, why the land must not be 
sold for ever, but must return to the first possessors in 
the year of jubilee. 

1. One reason is in Lev. xxv. 23, " For the land is 
mine," saith God, " for ye are strangers and sojourners 
witli me." God would herebv teach them that thoy 
must not account themselves aljsolute lords of the land ; 
" the land is mine," and you that are the greatest land- 
lords of all, are but as strangers and sojourners with 
God, the land is still God's. Ver. 28, " But if he be 
not able to restore it to liim," nor his kinsman for him, 
it shall remain unto the year of jubilee, and m the ju- 
bilee it shall go out, and lie shall return unto his pos- 
session. If he could redeem his land himself, or a 
kinsman for him, he was to redeem it before ; but if a 
man was so poor that he -could not give any thing to 
redeem it, yet in the year of jubilee it should return to 
him. 

2. God would not have his people too greedy to 
bring the possession of the country in to tliemselves, to 
have a perpetual inheritance to themselves and theu- 
posterity. This is the greediness of many covetous and 
ambitious men, they lay land to land, and house to 
house, to get a perpetual inheritance for themselves and 
posterity. God would not have his people be of so 
greedy dispositions, for a few of them to get the whole 

»country into their own possession ; therefore no man 
gained a possession for ever, but once in fifty years 
that possession must return to the original owner 
again. 

3. The land was to return to the first owner, that the 
distinction of tribes might be continued, which was 
knovvn much by continuance of the possessions that 
belonged to every tribe and family. God liad great 
care before Christ's time to keep the distinction of tribes, 
that it might be clear out of which tribe Christ came. 

But further, this year of jubilee aimed at something 
higher, it was a t)-])e of Christ, to set out the blessed 
redem|>tion we have by him. The trumpet of the gos- 
uel whicli ministers blow is a triunpct of jubilee. Isa. 



Ixi. 1, 2, seems to have reference to a jubilee. Christ 
was appointed to proclaim Uberty to the captives, and 
the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to 
proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord ; now that 
acceptable year was the year of jubilee, there was the 
opening of the prison, and the releasing of them that 
were bound. " Blessed is the people that know the 
jovful sound," Psal. Ixxxix. 15 ; that hear and know the 
jubilee. Oh blessed are our ears who live at such times, 
to hear the trumpet of jubilee blowing in one congre- 
gation or other ahnost every day ! Now, first, we have 
a release of our debts and bondage, this is the joyful 
sound. We are all by nature in debt, (sins, you know, 
are called debts in the Lord's prayer,) every soul is 
bound over to God's eternal justice to answer to the 
law, for not obeying it ; now comes this jubilee and re- 
leases all debts. And, secondly, we are all bond-slaves, 
in bondage to sin, to the law, and to the devil ; now 
comes the gospel, this jubilee, and releases our bond- 
age, sets us at liberty. And, thirdly, we have forfeited 
our right to the creature, yea, to heaven itself; the 
gospel comes and restores all, we have right now to the 
comforts of this world, and to heaven. Canaan was a 
t)i)e of heaven, and the loss of their inheritance was a 
tvpe of the loss of heaven, and the bringing of them 
again to the possession of it, a type of the restoring of 
right to heaven. Oh happy are they who hear this joy- 
ful sound, not only with the ears of their body, but who 
have it sounding in their hearts, by the work of the 
Spirit of God in them ! 

In this vear of jubilee, there is one thing further very 
remarkable, and that is, the time when this trumpet was 
to blow that proclaimed this year. Lev. xxv. 9, the 
trumpet was " to sound on the tenth day of the seventh 
month." "VMiat remarkable thing is there in this that 
the trumpet must be blown the tenth day of the seventh 
month ? The tenth day of the seventh month was their 
day of expiation, (the' day of atonement, their public 
fast,) this day was appointed every year for all Israel 
to afflict their souls before God, to humble themselves 
for their sins, and so to seek mercy from God. It is a 
strange tiling, that upon the day in which they were to 
afflict their souls before God, and to mourn for their 
sins, the trumpet of jubilee was to sound, that was to 
proclaim joy and mirth, things of a contrary nature to 
humbling and mourning. Yea, but this afibrds us 
chvers excellent instructions. As, 

1. God would have his people so to mourn, as to 
know there is joy coming. In the darkest day they 
had, wherein they were bound to afllict their souls 
most, yet they were so to mourn, as to know there was 
a jubilee at hand. We are not to moiun as those with- 
out hope ; in our most grievous mournings, we must 
not have our hearts sink in desperation, we must so 
mourn as to expect a jubilee. 

2. The saints' mourning is a preparation for a jubilee. 
Joy then is near at hand, when the saints most mourn 
in a godly manner. Did not the Lord deal graciously 
with us the last fast day, when we were mourning he- 
fore him ? There was, amongst our brethren in other 
parts, a kind of trumpet of jubilee blown ; the Lord 
was then working for us ; what great dchvcrance did 
God grant tliat very day at Chichester ! God shows 
that the mournings of his people make way for joy. 

3. The sound of the trumpet of jubilee is sweetest, 
when we are most afflicted for our sins. When we are 
most apprehensive and sensible of the evil of sin, then 
the joy of God, the comforts of the gospel, are sweetest 
to the" soul. When the trumpet of jubilee is blown in 
congregations, if it meets not with hearts sensible of 
sin, they are not delighted with its sweet sound, it is 
not melody in their ears, it rejoices not their hearts : 
but let a poor soul be brought down, and made sensible 
of the evil of sin and God's vtTath, then let but one 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



113 



promise of the gospel be sovmded forth, how sweet, how 
joyful is it ! 

4. Pardon of sin is the only foundation of every ju- 
bilee. For this tenth day of the seventh month, wherein 
the trumpet of jubilee was to be sounded, was a day of 
atonement. ^Tiat is that ? A day of covering, (as the 
word means,) of pardon of sin to the people of God. 
Many men keep a continual jubilee, live merrily, do 
nothing but eat, and drink, and play, and dance, and 
laugh, and cannot endure these sad melancholy people. 
■\Vhat is the foundation of this thy jubilee ? Art thou 
sure there is an atonement made between God and thy 
soul ? Art thou sure thy sin is pardoned ? Is this the 
foundation of thy rejoicmg ? Know it will not last, it 
i3 not God's, but the devil's jubilee, except there be an 
atonement made between God and thee, as the found- 
ation of it. 

5. When God has pardoned us, then our hearts are 
in a fit frame to pardon others. Now, now comes the 
jubilee ; and now you must release your debts, and 
your lands, and forgive those that owe you any thing. 
This is the day wherein God testifies his mercy in par- 
doning your sins. They might well say, Now, Lord, 
command us what thou wilt, in showing mercy to our 
brethren ; we are ready to pardon, to release them, to 
extend the bowels of our compassion towards them, for 
thou hast pardoned our sins. The reason of the rigid- 
ness, cruelty, and hardness of the hearts of men, and 
straitness ot their spirits to their brethren, is, because 
God has not witnessed to their souls the pardon of their 
own sins ; an atonement between God and them. 

Their -solemn feasts." Among their feasts, they 
had three that were especially more solemn than others : 
and they were the feast of passover, pentecost, and 
tabernacles. 

These three were imited in one thing ; that is, upon 
these three feasts all the males were to ascend up to 
Jerusalem to worship in the place which God chose. 
" Three times in a year shall all thy males appear be- 
fore the Lord thy God in the place which he shall 
choose ; in the feast of unleavened bread, (that was 
the passover.) and in the feast of weeks, (that was pen- 
tecost,) and in the feast of tabernacles," Deut. xvi. 16. 

But how could the ten tribes then keep these feasts, 

for they went not to the temple ? You may as well say, 

. How had they an ephod ? Jeroboam was 

° ''■ "^ wise enough to keep the feasts, though 

not in the way God appointed ; he could tell them that 

going to the temple was but a circumstance of place. 

From the cormexion of these three together in their 
solemn feasts, there are divers things to be noted. 

First, We may see a reason why there were some- 
times so many believers at Jerusalem. An argument 
is brought by some from Acts xxi. 20, to prove that 
there may be in one church more than can possibly 
assemble together in one congregation ; " Thou seest, 
brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which 
believe," Trdaat iivpiah^. how many myriads. Now, 
say they, so many could not join in one congregation. 
The answer to this is clear, that the time of which the 
passage speaks, was when the people of the Jews were 
all assembled together at Jerusalem to keep the feast 
of pentecost; for chap. xs. 16, states, that the apostle 
" hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem 
the day of pentecost." Now, reading the story on, it 
plainly appears that, by hastening his journey, he ar- 
rived at Jerusalem at the day of pentecost, aiid being 
there at that time, no marvel they said imto him, " Thou 
seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are 
which believe ; " for all the males of the people of the 
Jews were together at Jerusalem, according to that law 
to which as yet they submitted. They were not in a 
church state at Jerusalem, therefore there is no strength 
in that objection against congregational churches. 



Secondly, AMiere there is a national church there 
must be a uniting of the nation in some way of 
national worship. The Jews, by institution from God, 
were united in national worship thi-ee times in a year 
at the temple. And there should be some kind of in- 
dividual worship not in the same species ; that is, as 
others are praying, so are we, and as others are hear- 
ing, so are we ; for so all the churches in the world 
may be joined ; but to join in one act of worship to- 
gether, as that was of going up to the temple, that 
made the Jews a national church. But we have no 
such institution now ; no nation in the world can, in 
a proper sense, be said to be a national church as 
theirs was ; in some figurative sense we may so call it, 
but not in that proper sense as it was among the Jews. 

Thirdly, There are some ordinances that caimot be 
enjoyed but in the way of church fellowship. The 
Jews could not enjoy these feasts as they ought, unless 
they went together to Jerusalem in the way that God 
appointed. As among the Jews there were some ordi- 
nances they might enjoy in their synagogues and pri- 
vate houses, but some which they could not enjoy but 
m the temple ; so there are some ordinances we may 
enjoy in our families, but others that we cannot enjoy 
but in church communion, of which Jerusalem is a 
tyjie. 

Fourthly, These three times, wherein they were to 
go up together to Jerusalem, were all in summer. The 
first, which was the feast of the passover, was in the 
latter end of our March, and the beginning of April : 
the feast of pentecost was fifty days after ; the feast of 
tabernacles was about the middle of our September. 
It was very laborious for them to go up to Jerusalem 
to worship ; but God so commiserated them, that they 
were not to go in winter time. That is the reason 
of that phrase in Acts xx\-ii. 9, "Sailing was now 
dangerous, because the feast was now already past ; " 
that is, the feast of tabernacles was past, which was 
about the fifteenth of September, and so it began to be 
winter. It would be an afiliction to go up to Jerusa- 
lem in the winter, and therefore God would be so in- 
dulgent to his people, that they should go in summer 
time. Oh what an affliction is it, then, to fly from Je- 
rusalem before our enemies in the winter time I We 
had need pray the more hard now for those that are in 
danger of the enemy, that God would be merciful to 
them in this. 

Fifthly, When they went up to these three feasts 
they must not go empty, but fuU-handed : " They 
shall not appear before the Lord empty," Deut. xvi. 15 ; 
noting thus much, that whenever we come to acknow- 
ledge God's mercy for any thing, we must come witli 
full hands and liberal hearts, with hearts ready to dis- 
tribute, or otherwise we only take God's name in vain. 

Sixthly, The wonderful providence of God toward 
them, that though all the males in the whole countr\' 
were to come up to Jerusalem three times in the year, 
yet their country should not be in danger of the ene- 
mies. The Jews had not such walls of seas about their 
country as we have, but they lived in the very midst of 
their enemies, who surrounded them ; on the east, the 
Ammonites and Moabites : the west, the Philistines : 
the south, the Egyptians, Idumeans ; the north, the 
Assyrians, to whom the prophet seems to have refer- 
ence, Zech. L 18. Now they might say, If all our 
males go up to Jerusalem three times a year, then our 
enemies that lie close in our borders, (for they lay as 
near them as Y'ork is to us.) may come upon us and 
destroy us : therefore God made provision for their en- 
couragement ; " Neither shall any man desire thy land, 
when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy 
God thrice in the year," Exod. xxxiv. 24. God took 
care that none should desire their land. Let us go on 
in God's service, and he will take care to deliver us 



116 



.\X EXPOSITION OF 



CiiAP. II. 



from our enemies. Oflcn out of slavish fear of ene- 
mies, and the disturbance they are able to make among 
us, we are ready to betray the cause of God, and neg- 
lect his worship. Let us learn from hence to go on in 
God's ways, and not fear anv injury which our enemies 
can do us. God saith he will take care, when they are 
all at Jerusalem in the exercise of liis worship, that 
none should desire tlieir land. 

Now, by opening these several feasts, vou may be 
helped to read the Old Testament profitably, for much 
of it is spent in things that concern some of these. 

The first was the passover. You have the history of 
it Xunib. xxviii. 16, 17, and in divers other scriptures. 
That feast was in the beginning of the year. It is true, 
our September was the beginning of their ciWl year, 
but the month Abib, which was the middle of >farch 
and part of April, was the ecclesiastical year ; and upon 
their deliverance out of EgJTit, when God commanded 
them to celebrate their passover, he apppointed that 
that month should be unto them the beginning of 
months, the first month of the year. lielivcrance 
from great evils are mercies that we are highly to prize ; 
the Jews were to begin their year in memorial of the 
mercy they received in that month. 

The name " passover " arose from God's sending forth 
a destroying angel that " passed over " tlie houses of 
the Israelites that night ; he went through the land and 
destroyed all the firstborn of the Egyptians, but saved 
the Israelites. This feast was also called " the feast of 
unleavened bread," Luke xxii. 1, because they were to 
go out of EgjiJt in haste, and could not have time to 
leaven their bread. Josephus tells us that they took only 
a little flour mingled with water, that might sers-e them 
with great economy for tliirty days. God taught them 
thus to depend upon him. We are ready to murmui- 
if we see not enough to serve us for many years, if our 
annies have not enough for so long a time ; but many 
hundreds of thousands had but a little meal and water 
to serve them for tliii-ty days, and they knew not where 
to have more when that was spent : no marvel that it is 
said of Moses, Ileb. xi. 27, " by faith he forsook Egy])t." 
This bread is called " the bread of affliction," Deut. 
xvi. 3 ; and it was unleavened bread, not only to tyjrify 
that we must not have om- hearts leavened with malice, 
but to put them in mind of the sore affliction they en- 
dured both when they were in Egj-jit, and when they 
went out of Egv'jit. 

Now this passover was partly memorative, and partly 
figurative. 

Memorative. First, To remember the deliverance of 
their first-born. 

SeconiUy, To remember their deliverance from the 
bondage of Egjnit. 

06.V. 1. "NA'lien others are smitten and we are "passed 
over," it is a ifieat mercy. 

Obs. 2. Deliverance from the bondage of the out- 
^7ard man, and from bondage in respect of religion and 
conscience, is a mercy for ever to be celebrated. God 
is pleased now to offer us this mercy of deliverance 
from both these kinds of bondage ; certainly we are a 
people devoted to misery if we take not God's offer of 
mercy. We have been in bondage in our estates and 
liberties, God offers us freedom, and freedom also from 
antichristian bondage, whicli is worse than F.gv-])tian 
Iwndage. The text saith, when they were delivered 
from the bondage of Egypt, " Moses sang ;" and in the 
Revelation, when they were delivered from antichristian 
bondage, " they sing the song of Moses," Rev. xv. 3. 
We were long since delivered fiom a great part of this 
bondage, now the Lord offers to deliver us altogether. 

• 'Tcmplum tuurn brevi, valde cito, vatdc cito, in dicbiis 
nostrls, eiti^siinc. nunc sdifica tcmplum luum brevi. Miseri- 
cors Dcus, magnc Ueus. beiiignc iJeiis, pulchcr Dcus, Uultis 
Deus, virtuc&e Deus, JuUaicc Deus, uunc xdifica tcmpliiin 



Obs. 3. AMien God offers us mercy of deliverance we 
should not go forth slowly. They were to eat this 
passover with then- staves m their hands, this was to 
note their hasty going out of Egj'jrt. Our misery at 
this day is, that the Lord offers deliverance, and we lie 
slugging on our beds, and are like that foolish child the 
prophet speaks of, that sticks in the birth : we have 
stuck these two years in the birth, whereas we might 
have been delivered long before this. It concenis us 
all to consider what the cause is, and to lament it before 
the Lord, that we may make our peace with him. 

06.V. 4. In thank.sgiving for a mercy, we are ever to 
remember what we were before that mercy. They must 
eat unleavened bread at this feast, the bread of afflic- 
tion, to remind them of the afflictions they were in be- 
fore they had this mercy. AMien we bless God for a 
deliverance, we must really present before our souls the 
sad condition we were in before we were delivered. 

But tlie special thing aimed at in the passover was, 
that it should be a t\pe of Christ, who was the ])aschal 
Lamb that was to take away the sins of the world ; he 
that was roasted in the fire of God's wrath for our sins, 
as that lamb that was to be eaten in the passover was 
roasted in the fire. And if ever the angel of God'a 
vengeance jiass over us, it is thi'ough the blood of that 
Lamb sprinkled upon our hearts, which was signified 
by sprinkling the blood of the lamb upon the posts of 
then' houses. In the Lord's supper we celebrate, in 
effect, the same feast of the passover they did ; and by 
this we may learn, 

Obs. 5. There is little comfort in the remembrance of 
our outward deliverances, except we can see them all 
in Chiist. They were in this feast to remember their 
deUverance out of Egjiit, but they were in it to have a 
figure and tii-pe of Christ. That sweetened their re- 
membrance, that made the feast a joyful feast, when 
they could see it as a fruit of Christ's sufferings ; when 
this lamb that put them in mind of it, put them in mind 
hkewise of Christ the paschal Lamb. If you would 
have the remembrance of deliverances from any kind of 
affliction sweet unto you, you must look upon them all 
ui the blood of Clirist, and then yom- hearts will be 
enlarged to bless God. 

This was the ortlinanee of God in the passover ; but 
besides God's ordinance, the Jews added divers other 
things. 

The first thing they added, was earnest prayer to God 
for the building of the temple, which many of them 
observe to this day. Buxtorf tells us, tliat because the 
temple is destroyed where they were to go up thrice in 
the year to solemnize these feasts, therefore they pray 
earnestly and mightily for the temple in this manner : 
they cry all together to God,* Lord, build thy temple 
shortly, very quickly, veiy quickly, most quickly in our 
days. And then they go over it again, Merciful God, 
great God, kind God, high God, sweet God, with divers 
other epithets, now build thy temple quickly, vei-y 
quickly, &c. Now, now, now, five times together. They 
teach us how much the temple concerns us. Their mis- 
take was, they rested in the material temple, and did 
not consider that this temple was a type of Christ; 
therefore as earnestly as they prayed for the building 
of their material temple, let us ))ray for the building up 
of the mystical body of Christ ; Now, Lord, build quickly, 
do not defer it, even in our days do it ! 

A second thing they added was the manner of casting 
out unleavened bread. In this they obseiTed tliree 
things, their inquisition, their extermination, their ex- 
ecration. First, witli a candle they would narrowly 
search every corner of the house to see if they had the 

tuum brevi, vaUle cito, in <1icbus nostris, vaMo cito, vaUle cito^ 
nunc o^dtfica. nunc (cdifica, nunc aulttica, nunc ODilitica, nunc 
a-dilica tcmplum tuum cito. robustc Dcus, furtis, potciis Dcus, 
SiC. Baatoti. dc Synag. Jud. c. 13. 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



m 



least crumb of leaven ; if any were found they cast it 
out with solemnit}' : and then they used to wish a curse 
upon themselves if there were any left in their houses 
that was not cast out. 

This moral observation may be taught from it ; it 
should be our care when we are to receive the sacra- 
ment, to make narrow inquisition, to get the candle of 
the word, and to search every corner of our hearts, 
every facidty of the soul, to see if there be no leaven in 
it. 2. 'WTiatcvcr we see, to cast it out of doors. And, 
3. To be so much set against sin, as to be willing to 
take a curse upon oui'selves, if we should willingly let 
any knoi^-n sin be in our hearts, and to acknowledge 
that God might justly curse us in his ordinance if we 
be false in this. 

Thii-dly, they used to display all their treasures ; if 
they had any splendid clothes, or furniture, or curiosity, 
they woidd show all at this feast. By their superstition 
we may learn, that in the time of our coming before 
God, it is fit for us to exercise and manifest all those 
beautiful graces with wliich the Lord has endowed us 
by the work of his Spirit ; for in them the riches of a 
Christian, liis splendid clothing, his jewels, and all his 
excellences, consist. 

Fourthly, after the passover was at an end, they 
fasted three days, to humble themselves for their fail- 
ings in keeping that feast. This was not God's institu- 
tion, but it was then- custom; and we may learn from it, 
(though we do not bind om'selves to do as they did,) to 
look back to our receiving the sacrament, and to be- 
wail all our miscarriages : I believe, if things were ex- 
amined to the quick, in our receiving the sacrament, we 
should find matter enough lo fast and pray, and to 
humble om- souls for oiu' miscaniages. 

Lastly, in the passorer they used to read the book 
of the Canticles, because that book ti'eats especially of 
the conjunction of the soul with the ^Messiah, which is 
sealed up specially in the passover. And that, indeed, 
is a special meditation for us when we come to the 
Lord's supper, to meditate upon our conjunction with 
Christ. 

The next is the feast of pentecost. This feast is 
called also the feast of weeks, because there were seven 
weeks to be reckoned, and at the end of them it was 
solemnly to be kept, Lev. xxiii. 15. In the feast of the 
passover, the first day of seven, and the last day of 
seven, were solemnly kept ; now they were to count 
from the morrow after the first sabbath, seven sabbaths, 
that is, seven weeks complete ; the fii'st sabbath of the 
passover was the fifteenth day of the month Abib, and 
the next day from that they were to count seven weeks, 
and at the end of seven weeks the feast of pentecost 
was to be kept. Now in this fir'st day, wherein they 
began to count their weeks, you find the fij'st-fi-uits 
were to be offered up to God ; it was a kind of distinct 
feast, called the feast of the fii-st-fruits, in which they 
were to bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of their harvest 
to the priest, to be offered to God ; and the reason was, 
because now then- harvest began : as soon as the pass- 
over was killed, and they had kept the first sabbath of 
the passover, (for they were to keep it seven davs,) they 
began theii' harvest ; they must not put a sickle into 
the corn, nor reap any thing of their ground, until they 
had kept the passover. 

Now their harvest began in the month Abib, that is, 
jiart of our March and part of April, and thence it has 
its name, for Abib signifies, an ear of corn. Hars'est 
began so soon in the land of Canaan, not only because 
it was a hot country, for it is observed that Africa was 
a hotter country than theirs, and yet their harvest be- 
gan later, but because of the blessing of God upon 

'3S n'jn: *''"* ^^'^^> therefore, Jer. iii. 19, it is call- 

Htreditj'ipm eie- ed, " a goodly heritage," because of the 

^"''"'- timely bringing forth the fruit ; the words 



translated " goodly heritage," signify an heritage of come- 
liness ; the same word translated "goodly," signifies " a 
roebuck," to which this land was compared, and so it 
may be said to be a land of a roebuck, because of the 
speedy and swift ripening of the corn. 

06s. 1. It is the blessing of the church to have their 
fruit ripe betimes, for Canaan was a tj-pe of the church. 
You young ones, consider this, the Lord loves to have 
the fruits of Canaan ripe betimes : if you grew in the 
wUdemess, though you did not bring forth fruit in your 
youthful days, God would not so much regard it ; but 
if you live in his church, in Canaan, the Lord expects 
you should begin betimes, in the very spring of yovu' 
years, to bring forth fruit unto God. Men rejoice much 
in early fruits, they are lovely ; yea, and God rejoices 
in them too, Micah vii. 1, " My sold desired the first- 
ripe fruit ;" this is true of God himself. Y'our parents 
and godly friends may say. Our soul desfres that grace 
may spring up betimes in these young ones : so it may 
be said of God, his very soul desires to see the first- 
fruits ; fruit in young ones is that which is pleasing to 
God's soul. 

Obs. 2. "We cannot enjoy any sweetness or blessing" 
from any fruits of the earth, but through the blood of 
Jesus Christ. After they had solemnized the memorial 
of the blood of Christ, then they might put a sickle in 
the corn and reap it, not before ; and as soon as they 
had solemnized the remembrance of Christ in the pass- 
over, they might go with comfort and take the fruits of 
the earth and rejoice in them, but not before. 

Obs. 3. '\ATien we have had communion with God in 
holy things, then we may have a holy and more com- 
fortable use of the creatures. As when we have solem- 
nized the blood of Christ, then we may enjoy sweetness 
from the comforts of the earth ; so when we have en- 
joyed communion with God in his ordinances, it is a fit 
time to have a holy use of the creatures, yea, then you 
must be careful to have a holy use of the creatures ; as 
soon as ever they came from the passover, the first day 
they were to celebrate the first-fruits unto God. 

Obs. 4. After the blood of Christ is sprinkled upon 
the conscience, men will be ready to dedicate things 
unto God. Then, as Zaccheus said, '• Half of my goods 
I give to the poor," Luke xix. 8 ; here ai-e my goods, 
here is my estate : does the church, do my brethren, 
stand in lieed of help ? lo, we are ready to ofier them 
up to God. 

06.$. 5. The first of blessings arc to be offered up to 
God. God gives them charge, that the fu-st of the first 
of all the fruits of their land should be otl'ei-ed to him, 
all that come afterward should be the more blessed. 
Learn this, you young ones, dedicate the first of your 
years unto God, the verj' first of your first, the dawning 
of your years, Exod. xxiii. 19. 

06y. 6. If you dedicate your young days to God, 
when the consummation of your years comes, how may 
you keep a feast of pentecost ! The Jews dedicated 
the first-fruits fifty days before, and at the fifty days' 
end kept their joj-ful feast of pentecost : so might you 
if vou dedicated yom- young years unto God. On the 
otlier side, what a sad thing" will it be for old men that 
but now begin to think of God and Christ ! it is well 
you do so, but you cannot do it so comfortably as you 
might have done, if you had begun in your younger 
years. If the Jews, when their harvest was done, had 
brought two loaves to God, might God say, A\Tiy did 
you not bring the fii-st-fruits unto me ? God might so 
upbraid you ; but, however, come in to God, and he will 
not upbraid you, he upbraids no man; but the comfort 
will not be s'o much, because your consciences will up- 
braid you. 

06s-! 7. Happy is that man, who, when he comes to 
reap the fruit of his actions, shall have a feast of joy. 
Thus it was with the Jews, the very begimiing of their 



118 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



han-est -was with a feast, and the conclusion with a feast 
too. All the actions of our lives are a sowing of seed, 
if you sow sparingly, you shall reap sparingly ; and 
happy those men when they come to reap, who find both 
the beginning and conclusion of then- reaping a joyful 
feasting. Many sow merrily, but they reap honor and 
anguish ; but when the saints come to reap, they shall 
have a feast of joy. " At thy right hand are pleasures 
for evermore." 

04s. 8. Much praise is due to God for the fruits of 
the earth, for outward comforts. On the fiftieth day 
they were to solemnize the mercy of God in giving 
them the fruits of the earth for their harvest. How 
much praise then is due for Jesus Christ, and all spi- 
ritual mercies in him ! Though we ought to bless God 
for the things of the earth, yet we should be so swal- 
lowed tip in blessing God for'his word and ordinances, 
and spiritual mercies, that in comparison om- hearts 
should be above the fruits of the earth. Therefore, 
observe that when Ezekiel prophesies of the blessed 
state ^ of the church, by the Jewish feasts, though he 
mentions the passover, and new moons, and sabbaths, 
and the feast of tabernacles, yet not the feast of pcnte- 
cost ; there is no mention of keeping a feast for bless- 
ing God for these things. Not but" that they should 
do so, but that thcu- hearts should be so carried \\\i with 
abundance of spiritual mercies, that then they should 
be all for Christ, and for heaven, and for etcmitv. 

Obn. 9. It was a gi-cat engagement to them rightly 
to use the creatures, when they had fu-st dedicated 
them to God, and in the conclusion of harvest had 
solemnized his mercy in giving them. For God thereby 
taught tliem that they might be fui-ther engaged to use 
all creatures for his service. If God give a heart to 
dedicate the beginning of a mercy to himself, and when 
the mercy is fvdfilled, in a solemn manner to bless God 
for it, it is a mighty engagement to make use of this 
mercy for God's honour. The reason why many are 
so loose in their conversations, and do not employ the 
creatures of God to his glory, is, because they do not 
in a solemn manner bless God for that they enjoy. As 
in yom- trading, if you have comfortable incomes, and 
you take these comforts, and thank God in a slight 
manner for them, how do you use them afterwards ? 
only for yourselves and for" the flesh. But when you 
hear of riches flowing in upon you, if you can imme- 
diately take the first-fruits and give some part to God's 
service as a testimony of thankfulness, and in your 
families and closets in a solemn manner give God the 
glorj- for the good success you have had in your estate, 
this will be a mighty engagement to you to use your 
estates for his ser\ice. 

Mark tliat at the first, in their preparation, thev were 
to bring but a sheaf, but afterward. Lev. xxiii. H, they 
were to bring " tvo wave loaves;" in the first they were 
to offer "one he lamb without blemish," but afterward 
" seven lambs, and one young bullock, and two rams," 
&c., both burnt-offerings, and sin-offerings, and peaee- 
offerings, when they had received the full harvest. 

Obx. 10. Though you arc forward to give God glorj' 
when you are young, the first-fruit of your years, yet 
when you come to be old, you should "still flourish" in 
the courts of God's house. " First they offered but a 
little unto God, afterward abundance. " Do you so ? I 
appeal to all old men who arc here this day, if God 
gave you heart to give up your young years to him, 
bless him for it; but now when you are old, are you as 
forward as ever you were ? You ought to be not only 
so, but much more abundant in the work of the Lord. 
Nay, cannot others witness against you, that there was 
a time wherein you were more forward, and that now 
you begin rather to temporize ? The Lord forbid this 
should be spoken of any old men. God expects more 
aften^ard than at the first-fruits ; and though nature 



may decay, yet there is a promise that in theii- old age 
they shall flourish in the courts of God's house, and 
shall manifest the graces of liis Spirit much more. We 
are ready at the first-fruits to offer unto God somewhat, 
when his mercy comes first ; but when mercy comes 
afterward more fully, we should be more full in our 
offerings. 

You will say, 'What is the meaning of this, that there 
is a burnt-offering, a sin-offering, and a peace-offering 
in the feast of pentecost ? what is the difl'ereuce of these 
three offerings ? 

The difference is this ; the bumt-offering was in tes- 
timony of their high respect to God, that is, they ten- 
dered up something to God as a testimony of the high 
and honoui'able esteem they had of his majesty, it was 
wholly to be given up to him. Now in the other they 
had respect to themselves, the sin-offering was not to 
offer a sacrifice merely to testify respect to God, but to 
be a typical signification of Christ's sacrifice for sins ; 
they were to look through their sacrifice to Christ, and 
their sin-offering was to be an atonement for their sin. 
The peace-offering was in thanksgiving for a mercy, 
or when they would petition to God for a further mercy. 
All this must be done in the day of pentecost. 

But, beside solemnizing the mercies of God in their 
harvest, there is another object that is constantly af- 
fkmed by the Jews, and I find many divines making no 
question of it ; but it is not so clearly laid domi in the 
word. They say, God in this feast solemnized the giv- 
ing of the law, and this is their gi-ound ; because fifty 
days after their coming out of EgJ^pt, God gave the 
law, and so they say pentecost was appointed to bless 
God for giving the law. The Jews say that God dealt 
with them as a king might deal with a poor man in 
prison, first he releases him of his bondage, and then 
tells him, that after such a time he -nill marry him to 
his daughter ; now. say they, will not this man count 
cvei-y day till tliis time come ? so, when God delivered 
us out of Eg5-])t, he told us, that after such a time he 
would give us his law, and many us to his daughter, 
which is the law ; and this is the reason why we count 
so diligently the very weeks, nay, the days, as longing 
for that time when we are to be married to the law. 

04*. From whence we may note, that wc are not 
only to keep God's law, but to rejoice in it : not only 
to look at what is commanded as a duty, but as a high 
privilege, and so bless God for the law. It is a higher 
thing to love God's law and rejoice in it, than to obey 
it : Great peace shall they have that love thy law. 
David professed that he loved the law of God more 
than silver and gold, that it was sweeter to him than 
the honey, and the honeycomb. The Jews at this day 
rejoice when the law of God is read, and in their syna- 
gogues, when the law of God is brought out, they lift 
up their bodies in a kind of exultation, rejoicing that 
God gave this law to them. 

Further, the time of their pentecost was the time of 
the descending of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles : 
as God at that time gave the law by Moses, so the 
Spirit at that time came by Christ, to show that we are 
in the gospel to receive the Spirit of God, to enable us 
to fulfil the law. They had tlie letter of the law, but, 
in compai-ison of what we have, they had not the Spirit, 
but now the Holy Ghost is come in a full measure ; as 
he then came upon the disciples, so he comes now in 
the time of the gospel in a fuller way than formerly, 
there is a continual pentecost. 

But the works of God do not of themselves sanctify 
any time ; hence observe, that we may nin into a 
thousand absurdities if we argue, because the Jews 
had such a time, we may have such a time, or because 
tliere were such blessings at that time, therefore we 
may sanctify that day. No, the works of God do not 
sanctify any time, of themselves ; it must be either the 



VKE. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



119 



word written, or some immediate dictate of the Spii'it, 
that must sanctify any day. Certainly, the work of our 
redemption itself is not enough to change the sabbath, 
if we had not some footing for a new institution. We 
usually give this gi'oimd for the change of the day, 
because of the greatness of the work ; but though the 
works of God be never so great, we sin in sanctifnng 
any .set and stated time for such work ; except there 
come an institution, it will be but will-worship in us, 
and God will not be put off with this. AVhat ! is not 
this as gi-eat a work as the Jews had, and may not we 
celebrate the memory of it as they did ? But God will 
say, " WTio required these things at yom- hands ? " 
Thus far you may do, that is, bloss God for those works 
aU the days of yom- lives ; but to sanctify any particular 
day for them, certainly that cannot be done without 
sin : we have oiu' waiTant for the Lord's day, as well 
as the greatness of the work, because of the prac- 
tice of the apostles, who were inspired by the Holy 
Ghost. 

The next is the feast of trumpets : oidy one particidar 
about it at this time, because Providence makes it so 
seasonable. In the seventh month (which was the 
first month of their annus civilis) there were tliree 
feasts ; of trumpets, of expiation, and of tabernacles. 

The first was THE feast of trumpets. There was 
a tlu'ccfold use of trumpets among the Jews : 1. For 
the calling of the congregation together, as we do with 
bells. 2. The calling of them to war. .3. For the 
solemnizing of their feasts. 

There are fom- ends given by divines for the feast of 
trumpets ; some I confess are very improbable, but there 
are two very probable. The one is, this feast was to 
celebrate the new year with them ; as every new month 
they had the feast of the new moon, to celebrate the 
beginning of the month, so in the beginning of the 
year they had a feast to celebrate its commencement ; 
that was this feast, for it was on the first day of their 
ci^'il year : so that it is very probable this feast was ap- 
pointed to bless God for the new )"ear, as well as one to 
celebrate the new month. Yet this can be no gromid for 
us now to consecrate the beginning of every new year 
to God : that was Jewish, and it ceased : if we will have 
any consecration of a new year, it must be by virtue of 
some institution or other ; let who can, show the insti- 
tution : we must not think because it has a show of 
wisdom, and seems reasonable, therefore it may be ; 
this is not enough in matter of worship, you must 
strictly tie yourselves to an institution. As it is Jewish, 
so it is heathenish ; the heathens consecrated their new 
year to the honour of their god Janus ; and we read in 
C'oncilimn Antisiodorense, in France, m 
obserTatio'Saycre the year six himdred and fourteen, it 
vacTre'ocntUibm"' was "the judgment of that council, that 
Sla&wL it is not lawfid to observe the_ festivities 
cingere domos. of the Geutilcs, to keep thou- worsTiip 

Omnls enim hfPC ,, ,'. , \ , . i 

observatio paganis- and oDservo their calends, (that is, the 
mies. anon. . j5go.if,jj;j[g gf thej). months.) to adom 
houses with lam-els and green bays, for all these prac- 
tices (saith the council) savom- of paganism. And like- 
mse an ancient -rn-iter saith, that the calends of Januarv 
are ratlier to be taken heed of, than to be accounted 
calends, and so to be sanctified. And further, he saith, 
stat-jit imivereaiis ^^^ chuTch has appointed a solemn feast 
ecciesiijci'mium to bc upou that vcrv day, because of the 

publicum in isto die . . *^ i i ' -^ , 

fieri. Air.iinus notOHOus abuscs there w-ere wont to be 
deDiviiii. Office. 4. ^pon ^^^^ ^g^y_ ^^ Polydore Virgil 

saith, that these solemnities of laurel, and bays, and 
ma.sks, and mummings, and such vanities, come from 
the heathens' BacchanaUa and Saturnalia, that were 
wont to be at that time of the year. However, there- 
fore, we think we honour Christ, and call it the cu-cum- 
cision day of Chi'ist, yet by those customs we dishonour 
him, for they are rather heathenish than Christian. 



Though there may be some natural reason of rejoicing, 
yet no ground for consecration. 

Let no man object and say, These solemnities have 
been a long time in the church. It is true these ai-e 
ancient, but from whence comes the antiquity ? From 
hence, because Christians, being newly converted from 
paganism, kept as much as possible of the pagan cus- 
toms, only they gave them a tm-n to Christian solemni- 
ties ; therefore all the argument of antiquity, either for 
these days, or ceremonies, or prelatical government, 
comes from their pagan customs. They lived among 
pagans, and having been lately pagans, they savoured 
and smelt of heathenism still. So now, many plead 
that such things were in the tu'St reformation : no mar- 
vel they retained them, for they w'ere newly come out 
of popery, and they savoured and smelt of popery. la- 
deed to plead the antiqiuty of these things, which men 
must show when they are put to it, is one of the great- 
est arguments against them. Thus the feast of All- 
saints was tm-ned from the heathens' feast Pantheon ; 
and on the feast of the pm'ification of the yu-gm Mary, 
which they call Candlemas, the heathens had the fes- 
tivity of their goddess Februa, (who was the mother of 
^lars,) from whence comes the name of om- month 
February, and they celebrated that time with candles, 
and such tilings as papists do now. 

The like may be said for the argument of antiquity 
for the prelates. O, say some, such government has been 
ever since the Chi-istian religion has been in England. 
Grant that there has been some kind of bishops ever 
since, but from whence came they ? AYe find in histo- 
ries, that when the pagans were in England they had 
their flamins, and then- archflainins, London was one, 
and Y'ork was another : and when they were converted 
to the Christian religion, stiU keeping some of their 
heathenish customs, instead of theii- archflamins they 
made archbishops, and of their flamins, bishops, and 
that in their very places, as London and York, and 
some say Chester. This is the very ground of the an- 
tiquity of them ; therefore, my brethren, let not us be 
put off with such arguments as these ; men delude you, 
and baffle you by these arguments. 

The second reason of that feast, the Hebrews think, 
was a remembrance of Isaac's deliverance, when he 
should have been sacrificed, and the ram was caught 
by the horns to be sacrificed in his stead ; they draw it 
from this argument, because that feast is called a me- 
morial, (say they,) to remember the deliverance of Isaac, 
and it must be by the trumpets of rams' horns, to call 
this to remembrance ; but it seems to be far- from the 
meaning of the Holy Cihost. A thfrd reason of the 
feast of trumpets, some say. (Cajetan among others,) 
was instituted for a memorial of God's giving the law 
by sound of the trumpet. But that is not likely, be- 
cause tliis feast was not kept at the time of God's 
giving the law ; if there were any time for the celebra- 
tion of giving the law, it must be at the feast of pcnte- 
cost. A fom-th, it was for a celebration of a memorial 
of all the mercies of God to them in their wars, which 
was declared by the blowing of the ti-umpcts. But I 
rather take another reason, to be a main and principal 
reason of God's institution of this feast ; to be a prepara- 
tion to the feast of atonement and expiation. It is 
called " a memorial," saith Calvin, Lev. xxiii. 24. for 
this reason, to put them in mind to humble themselves 
before God, "to afflict their souls" in the day of atone- 
ment; and, secondly, "a memorial" before God, that 
God may remember them for mercy ; so the Jews ob- 
serve, that from the fii-st day of the seventh month to 
the tenth day, there were more than ordmary exercises 
in giving of alms, in prapng, in going to their syna- 
gogues ; they were very devout for those ten days in 
preparation for the day of atonement. From whence 

Obs. Ministers should blow their trumpets to the 



120 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



people to prepare them for the day of fasting. God has 
accepted those poor fasts that we have kept, abundance 
of mercies we have received on them ; scarcely one, but we 
hear good news after it ; if we had kept fast days as we 
ought, if we had been prepared as we should, oh what 
might we have obtained of God by this time ! If God 
accepts such poor things as we do, (as God knows they 
are ])Oor and mean,) if we had every time a trumpet 
blown before us to prepare us for the day of atone- 
ment, what atonements might England have made 
with God before this time ! 

The n(»ct feast was, the FE.\ST OF EXPIATION, in the 
tenth day. I tliought not to have spoken of that, be- 
cause the feast of expiation is a fast rather than a feast ; 
but tliat is meant here as well as any of the other, for 
this reason, though it were a fast, yet the Hebrew word 
translated solemn feasts, signifies only a settled, stated, 
solemn time. And, secondly, it was a great mercy to 
them to have such a fast day ; though the day of atone- 
ment was a day for afflicting themselves, yet it is the 
cause of rejoicing to a nation that God grants them 
such a day of atonement ; it is a special means to make 
way to the joy of a nation, and therefore is included 
amongst the other : now the histor)- of that you have in 
those two famous scriptures. Lev. xvi. and xxiii. In this 
day of atonement, there are divers things very observ- 
able and useful. 

1. The solemn charge that God gave for afflicting 
men's souls upon that day. In a few verses, tlu'ee 
several times God charges them to afflict their souls, to 
humble theh- souls. Lev. xxiii. 27, 29, 32. God ap- 
pointed one day in the year for all the Jews to afflict 
their souls, to make an atonement between God and 
them in a day of fast, and they were charged to afUict 
their souls ; and that soul that did not, God tiu-eatcned 
to cut it ofl'. 

2. The priest was to go into the holy of holies, where 
he went but once a year ; Lev. xvi., the beginning and 
the latter end compared together, you shall find it. 
This may teach us, that if ever we are to look upon 
Jesus Christ in the presence of God, in the holy of 
hoUes, making intercession for us, it is in tlie day of 
atonement. In the day of a public fast of tlic kingdom, 
we are to exercise our faith upon Christ, as entering 
before God into the holy of hohes for us. After we 
have charged upon our soids our sins, and afflicted 
them, we must likewise cast up an eye of faith, behold- 
ing Jesus Christ our High Priest at that day before the 
Father, making intercession for us. 

3. On that day the priest was to make an atonement 
for all the holy things ; in Lev. xvi. 20, " AVlien he hath 
made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the taber- 
nacle of the congregation, and the altar," Sec, the priest 
Avas not only to seek to make reconciliation between God 
and the ])eople, but to reconcile the holy places ; even the 
holy of holies, and the tabernacle, and the altar had a 
kind of pollution in them, and must be reconciled : so 
infectious is the sin of man. This teaclies us, that in a 
day of atonement, of fasting, we are to ha\e a special care 
to seek mercy from CJod, to be reconciled to us, in res])ect 
of all oiu' holy duties and offerings ; we are to seek then 
to get the best services that ever we ])erformed in all our 
lives cleansed, that God may be ])acified in regard of 
tlie filth and uncleanncss that cleaved even to them. 
In the day of a fast, you are not only to confess your 
notorious sins to God, those which in their own nature 
are sinful : but ■\ovi arc to examine all your holy duties, 
and seek to make ))eaec with God in regard of the un- 
cleanncss that has been in them. This few think of; 
in the day of a fast, they confess such sins as are vile 
in themselves ; but to be sensible of the uncleanness of 
holy duties is as necessary. 

4. In their day of atonement the priest was to lay 
the sins of the congregation upon the scape-goat. The 



stor^- of the scape-goat was this, the priest must come 
and confess the sins of the congregation, lajing his 
hand upon the head of the goat, and then he must send 
this goat into the wilderness. The meaning is of great 
use to us ; Jesus Clu-ist is the scape-goat, and in the 
days of our humiliations we are to come and lay our 
hands upon Jesus Christ, and confess all our sins over 
him, and look upon all our sins as laid upon him. 
Now the scape-goat was to be sent into the wilderness. 
MTiat is that ? That is, sent into a land of forgetfulness, 
so as the Jews should never see that goat again upon 
which their sins were laid ; it signified to them, that 
their sins were now so forgiven, that they should never 
hear of them again. Thus are our sins upon Christ, as 
we shall never see nor hear more of them. In the day 
of our fasts we should thus exercise our faith upon 
Christ. 

5. A fifth thing that was to be done, was to sprinkle the 
blood of the slain goat U])on the mercy-seat, and before 
it. It is the blood of Christ that is upon and before 
God's mercy-seat, that procures mercy from thence 
for us. 

6. The priest must " take a censer full of burning 
coals of fii-e from off the altar before the Lord, and his 
hands fidl of sweet incense beaten small," Lev. x\\. 12; 
to teach us, that in the day of our solemn fasts we 
must be sui'e to get our hearts full of burning coals 
from the altar, full of afi'ection and zeal, fuU of mighty 
workings of spirit to God. Although you that are 
godly, and so are priests to God, at other times come 
with few coals from the altar, yom' affections scarce 
heated; but in a day of atonement you must come with 
your hearts full of coals, and be sure it be fu'e from the 
altar, do not satisfy yom-selves in natural afiections 
then, but be sm'e you be fuU of s])iritual afiections. 
And then, " full of sweet incense." A\'hat was that ? It 
tjijically represented om- prayer ; you must be sm"e to 
have your hearts full of ])rayer, to send up abundance 
of incense before God. The incense must be of .S2)ices 
" beaten small." What is that ? The prayers that we are 
to send up to God in the day of atonement, must come 
from much contrition of sjjirit, our hearts must as it 
were be beaten small to powder, then they are able to 
send forth such incense as is a sweet savour to God. 
Many of you in the day of a fast seem to be full of 
prayer, but is this ])rayer a sweet incense to God or no? 
How shall I know that ? By this; God has appointed the 
incense upon the day of atonement to be such as must 
come from spices beaten ; if thy heart be beaten to pow- 
der, and thy prayers be the savom- and odour of thy 
graces, which are as spices, and heated by the fu'e of 
God's Spirit, then there will be incense that pleases 
God : fii-st, graces, which are the spices ; secondly, the 
contrition, that is the beating small ; then the fire of 
God's Spii'it, to cause the incense to rise up before 
God as a sweet savour. 

7. In the day of atonement, the cloud of the in- 
cense must cover the mercy-seat, ver. 13 ; and then the 
blood both of the bullock and the goat must be " sprin- 
kled upon the mercy-seat," and that "seven times;" and, 
ver. 15, the blood of the goat must be sprinkled, not 
only " upon the mercy-seat," but " before the mercy- 
scat." AVhat is the meaning of this ? must our mercj- 
seat be clouded in the day of atonement ? we had need 
have it appeal- to us, and not be clouded. Yes, in the 
day of atonement it must be clouded, but with incense; 
the incense that was sent up was a ty])C of the sweet 
perfume of the merit of Jesus Christ. Now, in days of 
atonement, we must look uj) to the mercy-seat, and see 
the merit of Jesus Christ round about it as a cloud 
covering it ; to teach us, that no man must dare to look 
upon the mercy-seat of God as it is in itself, but must 
have the incense of the merit of Christ round about it. 
The reason was given why the Lord must have the in- 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



121 



cense as a cloud, " lest he die ;" if he had entered into 
the holy place and there looked upon the mercy-scat, 
not clouded by incense, he must have died for it. 
Those who think to come into God's presence, and to 
receive mercy from God out of Christ, they die for it. 
This is the damnation of men's souls. Mercy is an at- 
ti-ibute of God, but if we, who are sinfvd creatures, dare 
to look upon this attribute of mercy, and not have the 
incense of Christ's merit, it is the way to destroy our 
souls. Oh how many thousands are in hell for this ! 
Many who are afflicted for their sins, and cry to God to 
forgive them, and think to exercise their faith upon 
God as merciful, yet not looking upon the mercy-seat 
as clouded with the merit of Christ, it proves the destruc- 
tion of their souls. In a fast, you must not look upon 
God as the Creator of heaven and earth, or as merciful 
in himself barely, but upon God's mercy in his Son, 
and so exercise your faith ; or else vou can 
S,", wdttiS"" never make an atonement, but rather will 
chrisuun" "iute. pMCure God's wrath. It is not only dan- 
Luti.er in rfai. gerous, but horriblc, once to think of 
'^"'"' God without Christ, says I,uther. 

Again, the blood of the bullock and the goat must 
be sprinkled " seven times " upon the mere v-seat. AVhen 
we come to make our atonement with God, we must 
exercise faith in the blood of Christ, and sprinkle it 
seven times, that is, again and again, upon the mercy- 
seat. "We look upon God, when we pray to him, as a 
God of mercy, and we ])resent ourselves in humiliation 
before the mercy-scat ; but know this, that the mercy- 
scat will do us no good without the blood of Christ ; 
faith must take this blood of Christ, and sprinkle it, 
tender it up to God the Father for the atonement of 
our souls, and procuring our mercy. Not only so, the 
blood of the bullock and the goat must be sprinkled 
upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat ; we 
must not only think there can be no mercy obtained 
from God but by the blood of Christ, but we cannot 
so much as have access to God's mercy-seat. AVe must 
know, that all sinners are banished from the presence 
of God, and cannot have access to God's presence as 
they are in themselves. 

8. Lastly, this day divers times is called " a sabbath 
of rest," that is, a sabbath of sabbaths ; so it is in the 
original, as one of the principal sabbaths they had. 
I did not handle it amongst the sabbaths, because it 
comes in now more fuUy amongst these solemn feasts. 
There must be more rest in the day of atonement, than 
in thcli- other solemn days. That was ])ermitted in 
others that was not permitted in this, to teach us, that 
in the day of fasting, above any day, we must get our 
souls separated from the world, there must be a rest in 
our hearts, a rest from sin, a rest from the world ; it 
must be a sabbath of sabbaths unto us. 

Now, notwithstanding God had given this .solemn 
charge for this day of atonement, yet, Theodoret tells 
us, that in his time they had so degenerated, that they 
spent it in sports, and made it a day of mii-th. God 
grant, that fi'om the ordinariness of our days of atone- 
ment this abuse may not spring, as in some places it 
docs ; by the wickedness of men's natures, the most 
solemn things that ever God gave us in charge in time 
degenerate. 

One note more from this feast of expiation. We 
find in Grecian history, that yearly the Grecians were 
wont to have a kind of expiation for their cities, in 
imitation of the custom of the Jews. Certain con- 
demned persons w°re brought forth, with garlands in 
manner of sacrifices, and were cast down from some 
steep place into the midst of the sea, and offered to 
suijaj Neptune the god of the sea, with these 

words. Be thou a Trtpiiluifta for us. In 
times of public infection in their cities, to make an 
atonement between them and their gods, certain men 



were brought to be sacrificed to their gods, for an ex- 
piation for the whole city ; and they were called KaSap- 
fiara : this word was used to signify, that that man 
who was to expiate for all the sins of their cities to 
then- gods, having all their sins upon him, was ac- 
counted as filth and ofi'scouring. The apostle, in 
1 Cor. iv. 13, uses the same expression, by which we 
may understand the meaning of those two words he 
employs ; " AVe are (saith he) made as the filth of the 
world, and are the ofi'scouring of all things ;" Tripi^l/tj/ia, 
Kai nipiicaOapfiaTa, alluding to the custom of the Gre- 
cians. AVe, for our parts, (saith he,) are made as de- 
spicable and odious in the sight of the people, and are 
as much loaded with curses, as those condemned per- 
sons who had all the sins and curses of the people laid 
upon them, and were offered to theu- gods for expiation. 

The feast of tabeexacles. The history of this 
feast is in Lev. xxiii. 34. The Jews were to take 
houghs off the trees, and make booths of them ; and 
those that WTite the history of their manners tell us, 
because they could not make booths and tabernacles 
for all the people, some of them thought it sufficient 
to carry boughs in their hands, and those boughs they 
used to call hosanna ; Do thou fold, or 
jirepare, the hosanna. Therefore, when 
Christ came to Jerusalem, they cried, " Hosanna to the 
Son of David ;" the meaning was not a prayer, Save us, 
O thou Son of David, as some would have it ; but, 
Hosanna to the Son of David ; that is, AVe hold forth 
these boughs to the honour of the Messiah, the Son 
of David. Now for those boughs, vcr. 40, there was 
a command of God, that they should be of goodly 
trees, palm trees, or willows of the brook; but why so? 
It denoted, that whereas they had lived forty years in 
the \\ilderness, in a dry place, they were now brought 
to a fruitful land, that had much water, which was a 
great advantage in those hot countries; and therefore 
they were to bring boughs of the willows of the brook, 
and of goodly trees, that might most testify the good- 
ness of God in delivering them from the wilderness, 
and ui bringing them to a land filled with sweet and 
pleasant brooks. Observe the reasons why God would 
have this feast kept. He aims at these three things 
chiefly. 

I. God would have them bless his name for his 
mercies to them in the wilderness, when they dwelt in 
booths. He appointed, that once a year they should 
call to mind the great mercies of God in his dispensation 
towards them, who for forty years were in the wilder- 
ness, and had not a house all that time, but dwelt in 
tabernacles. This was a mighty work of God! That 
so many hunched thousands should live forty years 
without a certain dwelling, manifested his exceeding 
protection over them, and his movidence every way to 
supplv necessaries for them, even as well as if they had 
had the strongest houses. God would declare thereby, 
that the church in this world is not to expect any settled 
condition, but to be as men that dwell in tents, remov- 
ing up and down, and so seek after a city that hath 
foundations, as is said of Abraham. At this feast, the 
Jews were wont to read the Book of Ecclesiastes, prin- 
cipally because it speaks so much of the works of God's 
providence. All the while God's people dwelt in booths 
and tabernacles, God himself would dwell in a taber- 
nacle. God would not have a house built unto him, 
till he had brought his own people to be settled in 
houses of theu- own ; and therefore when David began 
to think that he had a house of cedar, and sm-ely God 
must have one too, God tells him. Did I ever speak, 
saying, " AA^hy build ye not me an house of cedar?" 
as" if he had said, As long as my people went up and 
down in booths and tabernacles, I was content to have 
a tabernacle for my dwelling. Thus God is willing to 
suit himself to the condition of his people : saith God, 



.\N EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



If your conditions be afflicted and unsettled, I will be 
so too. In all their afflictions, God was afflicted ; in all 
their unsettledness, God seemed to be so too. After- 
wards, wlten God's people were settled in Jerusalem, 
then God would have a house built him. God would 
hereby teach us, that if he be content to be in a con- 
dition like us, then we must be content to be in a con- 
dition like him ; as thus, when we are afflicted, will 
God be afflicted with us ? when we are unsettled, will 
God be (as it were) unsettled with us? then let us not 
think it much, if God's truth and gospel suffer, to suffer 
with God. AVhen God is magnified and praised, oiu" 
hearts sliould be enlarged too, and rejoice in his ijraise. 
We should consider the condition that God is in in the 
world, and suit ourselves with that. 

Obs. 1. It is good to have a real remembrance of 
our former low and mean condition. Does God now 
bring us into a more settled condition than heretofore ? 
Let us not forget our former afflicted and unsettled 
condition, how ready we were to fleet up and down. 
If God should grant liis people to think themselves 
settled in their own kingdoms, yet let them never forget 
the time when they were imsettled in this and other 
countries. !Many of the people of God have thought, 
what shaU become of them, and whither shall they go, 
unless there be some special mercies of God to prevent 
their scattering ; and yet that may be the condition of 
thousands in the land, before a year has closed. If 
God should prevent you, ever remember your fleeting 
condition. It was God's great care of the people of 
Israel, that they should never forget theu' dwelling in 
tabernacles. 

Obs. 2. After our humiliations for our sins, and 
making up our peace with God, it is good to keep our 
hearts low with meditation of the uncertainty of all 
tilings in the v.-orld. Note, the time of their feast of 
tabernacles, they were to dwell in booths upon the 
fifteenth day of their month, which was but five days 
after theu- day of atonement ; as if God had said. You 
have been humbling yourselves, and making your peace 
with God, yet, when your hearts are comforted with 
the hope of atonement made, keep them low, take 
heed of^ pride ; the feast of tabernacles must be kept. 
And one special means to keep our hearts low, is to 
remember the uncertainties of the comforts of this 
world. If your hearts are lifted up, and conceive some 
excellences in things here, go into your booths, and 
work your hearts down, keep your feast of tabernacles. 

Obs. 3. To keep those humbled who are raised from 
a low condition to a high one, it is good actually to go 
into the houses of the poor, and look into their cup- 
boards, and see what provision they have. This will 
be a means to humble your hearts, Avhen you consider. 
This was once, or might be now, my condition. God 
woidd have Israel's hearts kept low by actually going 
into booths and tabernacles. Though they had fair 
and sumptuous houses in the city, yet they were to go 
out, and live in their booths a while. You might think, 
Was it not enough for the jiricst to bid them remember 
their dwelling in tabernacles, but they must go forth 
from their houses, and abide in booths ? 

II. A second end of this feast was, to bless God for 
all the fruits of the earth they had received, when they 
had gathered in their vintapfe. The feast of pentecost 
was to bless God for their first-fruits, and their harvest ; 
but now they were to join all together, and to bless 
God for all the fruits ot the earth. That this is God's 
end, is clear in Deut. x^•i. 13 — 15, "Thou shalt ob- 
serve the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that 
thou hast gathered in thy com and thy wine: and thou 
shalt rejoice," &c. ; " because the Lord thy God shall 
bless thee in all thine increase, and in all tiie works of 
thy hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice." 

From hence there is this lesson. 



It is useful to remember what a poor condition we 
were once in, and tlie uncertainty of all things we have, 
even when we have got om- riches into our houses. We 
think them uncertain when they are growing in the 
field, but after the vintage was gotten in, then they 
were to keej) the feast of tabernacles, to remember the 
uncertain condition of all tilings in the world : this we 
are very loth to do, it is unsuitable to our natures, and 
therefore this feast of tabernacles was much neglected 
among the Jews. AMicn God carried them into Baby- 
lon, and brought them back again into their own coun- 
try, they kept the feast of tabernacles more solemnly 
than ever they had done; Neh. viii. 17, "Since the days 
of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the 
childi-cn of Israel done so ; " they never kept the feast 
of tabernacles so solemnly from tlieir first coming into 
Canaan, as then they did. Now, having come out of 
prison, they could remember the uncertainty of things 
in the world ; men forget this, but if they be driven 
from house and home, and lose all, then they remem- 
ber what they have heard and confessed of the uncer- 
tainty of all worldly things. Some of oiu- brethren 
who are plundered and driven from their habitations, 
if God should ever restore them to their habitations 
again, their hearts would be enlarged in blessing God, 
they would be more sensible of the uncertainty of the 
comforts of the creature than before. 

III. The feast of tabernacles had an aim at Christ 
and the state of a Christian. It was to tj-pify- Jesus 
Christ coming into the world, and pitching his tent 
amongst us; as John i. 14, he "dwelt amongst us ;" he 
came and pitched his tabernacle amongst us, i(TKi)vioaiv 
h itn'iv. 'The state of a Christian, likewise, is a taber- 
nacle; 2 Cor. V. 1, "If om- earthly house of this t.iber- 
nacle be dissolved : " till we go where Jesus Christ is 
gone before us, to prepare mansions for us, our dwelling 
is in tabernacles. 

In the ofleriiigs that God appointed to offer in this 
feast. Numb. xxix. 12, there are some things very ob- 
servable, but it is difficult to understand their precise 
meaning. The feast was to be kept seven days ; the first 
day was a great day, and the last day a gre.at day; the first 
day thirteen bullocks were to be ofiered, and fourteen 
lambs ; the second day but twelve bullocks, the third 
day but eleven, the fourth day but ten, every day ore 
decreased, and the last day there was but one ottered. 
Now, divers expositors have sought to find out the 
meaning of this. Calvin confesses that he does not 
understand its meaning, and rather than guess, I will, 
saith he, be silent in it ; and yet he ventures upon a ■ 
very unlikely conjecture, therefore I shall not name it. I 
That which is most likely seems to be in two things : \ 
the fiist is, they must offer even,' day less and less, that 
is, (saith another interpreter.) to show their increase in 
sanctification, tliat they should gi-ow to more and more 
perfection every day of their feast, and so have less 
need of sacrifices than they had before. Thus, it will ] 
afford a good note to us, that when we keep days to 
God, eveiT day we should grow more and more in 
sanctification, and have less and less sin to answer for, 
than we had before. 

Another intei-pretation is, that it was to show the cc-- 
sation of tlic sacrifices of the Jews, that they were to de- 
crease day by day ; and this I take rather to be the meaii- 
ing, because the last day but one bullock was offered, 
and yet that was the great day of the feast. " In the la-' 
day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, 
saying. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and j 
drink," John vii. 37. There is somewhat to be noted i 
about Clirist there : though it is true it was the feast of 
dedication, which was their own feast, from when( 
many would prove the lawfulness of holy-days, yet thi 
truth is, upon examination you shall find there is scarci- 
strength enough from that place to prove it, though it 



Vek. 11. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



123 



be lawful to take the advantage of such times ; but it 
will appear there, that it was the feast of tabernacles, 
as in 2 Clu-on. viii. 9. Theia- feast of the dedication of 
the temple was at the same time as the feast of taber- 
nacles. One thing is to be observed fi-om Christ's being 
at the feast. Why did Christ upon the great day of 
the feast crv out thus, " If any man thirst, let him come 
unto me, and di-inlv ? " One reason may be, because 
when men are most strongly possessed with the uncer- 
tainties of all outward things in the world, they are fit 
to entertain the gospel, fit to hear of Jesus Clu-ist. 
"When their hearts are taken off from the world, and 
they look upon all things here as unsettled, the conclu- 
sion of that feast is a special preparation to the gospel. 
Isa. xl. 6, 7, &c., the preparation to the good tidings 
of the gospel, is the proclamation that " All flesh is 
grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of 
the field;" yea, the withering of the grass and the 
fading of the flower must be proclaimed again and 
again. And then seasonably and acceptably it follows, 
ver. 9, " O Zion, that bringest good tidings," &c., " say 
unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God ! " 

Tremelius thinks, that the expression of Chi-ist at this 
time had reference to the custom of the Jews at this 
feast. At the feast of tabernacles the Jews were wont 
with great joy to bring water out of the river of Shiloh 
to the temple, where, being delivered to the priest, he 
poured it out upon the altar, together with wine, and 
all the people sung that song of Isaiah, " With joy shall 
ye di'aw water out of the wells of salvation." Isa. xii. 3. 
Though it was their own invention, Clu-ist improves it, 
as if he said, AVhat do you expect fi'om this ceremony of 
yours ? your custom will die and perish in the use of it, 
but come to me, and there you shall have water ; I am 
the well of salvation ; a spring of grace shall be con- 
tinually in the heart of that man that believeth in me. 

One note more is observable in this feast. We have a 
prophecy, that the feast of tabernacles should be kept in 
the times of the gospel, that is, in the truth of it, not in 
the ceremony. In Zech. xiv. 16, there is a prophecy, 
that when Christ comes, then all people shall " worship 
the King, the Lord of hosts, and keep the feast of 
tabernacles." Wliy is it there prophesied that all 
people shall come and keep that feast ? The reason this 
feast is named may be this ; because in the times of the 
gospel, men shall acknowledge their outward comforts 
to be fi'om God, and the uncertainty of aU things here, 
and that they are strangers and pUgrims on earth. In 
the times of the gospel this shall be made more evident 
to the hearts of people than ever before. The more 
Jesus Christ is known in the world, the more shall the 
hearts of men be taken up with this knowledge, and of 
the imcertainty of every creature, and have them taken 
off from the comforts of the world, and never expect 
any settled condition here, but account themselves 
pilgrims and strangers. It is a sign that the gospel 
has pi'evailed with yoiu- spirits, if you have your hearts 
taken off from the crcatm-e, and you look upon your- 
selves as sti-angers in the world, and expect an abiding 
city ; then do you keep, in an evangelical sense, this 
feast of tabernacles. 

Thus yoti have had a view of the chief of the Jewish 
feasts, which God threatens here shall cease. 

There are only these three observations to be di-a-mi 
from all together. 

Obs. 1. Even those things which are appointed by 
God himself, if once abused, God will not own theni, 
they are then accounted ours rather than God's. " Her 
sabbaths ;" why not my sabbaths ? why not God's sab- 
baths ? God appointed them, but because thev were 
abused, God would not own them : " her sabbaths, and 
her solemn feasts." The ordinances of God, though 
never so good in themselves, if you pollute them, God 
rejects them, they are your onlinances then, and not 



God's. See then that all ordinances are as God would 
have them. 

Obs. 2. It is a grievous and lamentable aiHiction 
upon any people, for God to deprive them of his sab- 
baths and ordinances. His ordinances are included in 
their solemn feasts. Nay, (saith God,) you will go on 
in your wickedness, and would put me off with your 
sabbaths and solemn meetings, which were once my 
ordinances, and attempt to satisfy me with them, though 
you continue in yoiu- %vickedness ; no, you shall be de- 
prived of them, you shall have no more sabbaths, no 
more solemn feast days. It is a sad affliction for a 
people to have no more sabbaths. How many of you 
neglect solemn meetings of God's people ! Time liiav 
come, when God wiU rend these privileges from vou, 
and then your consciences will grate upon you : Oh 
the sabbaths that once wc had! oh the solemn meet- 
ings that once we enjoyed ! but om- hearts were vain 
and light ; we did not make use of them, and now they 
are gone. Perhaps thou mayst be cast into a jail, or a 
dungeon, and there thou shalt keep thy sabbaths, and 
think upon thy solemn meetings. Oh how unworthy is 
this land of sabbaths ! how did many persecute those 
that kept sabbaths! never any such thing occurred 
in any Christian nation : other places, though they arc 
somewhat loose upon their sabbaths, yet they never 
persecute them that wiU keep sabbaths. How justly 
might God have taken away our sabbaths I let us ao- 
knov.iedge God's free grace. What reproach has it been 
in England to assemble to hear sermons ! how justly 
might God have taken away these solemn assemblies 
from us long before this ! Let us pray, that whatever 
judgment God sends upon us, he will not take away 
our sabbaths, nor our solemn assemblies ; but that we 
may still enjoy those we have, and enjoy them to bet- 
ter purpose than ever we have done. 

Obs. 3. God has no need of oirr services. If God call 
upon us to worsliip him, it is for our good, not for any 
need he has of what we do. What do I care, saith 
God, whether I have any sabbath kept or no ? I can 
provide for my glory, whatever becomes of your duties ; 
I need them not, I can be glorious without you. 

But these threats are but to take away spiritual things ; 
carnal hearts think, if they may live and prosper in tlie 
world, what care they for sabbaths, and for solemn 
meetings ? Tell them of taking away ordinances, or 
removing the truth of God's worship, what is that to 
them ? Let us have our peace, oui- trading, and om- 
outward blessings, and truth will follow. O no, a 
gi'acious heart will rather reason thus ; O Lord, let us 
have thy ordinances, let us have thy gospel, and then 
for our vines and fig trees, our tradings and om' out- 
ward blessings, we will leave them to thy disposal ; if 
thou wilt give us thy sabbaths and thy ordinances, we 
will trust thee for om- vines and for our fig trees. But 
if the Lord be so angi-y as to deny us his ordinances, how 
can we think that he will be so merciful to us, as to 
continue our peace, or oiu' civil liberties ? No, be sm-e, 
if truth be gone, vines and fig trees wiU not stay long : 
the next words therefore are, " I will destroy her vines 
and her fig ti'ees." The Lord may suffer those places 
that never had sabbaths and ordinances to prosper in 
theii- civil peace a long time ; but where they had these, 
and the ■OTath of God is so incensed as to take them 
away, it cannot be expected that outward peace and 
plenty can hold long there. " Seek ye first the king- 
dom of God and his righteousness," saith Christ, " and 
all these things shall be added unto you." No, (say 
they.) let us m-st seek the kingdom of earth, and the 
things of heaven will be added to us ; wliich shows the 
slightness of thefr account of heaveirly things. As the 
paper and the tlu-ead in a shop is given in with the 
commodity, if a man bargain for the paper ,and thread, 
and think the commodity will be given in, what a folly 



121 



AX EXrOSITION OF 



Chap. H. 



were it? Many men have their thouglits altogcflicr 
upon the things' of this life, ami they think the gospel 
vill be given into the bargain ; as, if they have i)eace, 
they shall, no question, have truth ; as if the gosi)cl 
vere the paper and the thread, and the things of the 
vorld were the commochties. It is your wisdom, if you 
would enjoy outward peace, to fix youi- hearts on ordi- 
nances, to crj' to God for ordinances, and tlien God will 
take care you shall sit under your vines and under 
yoiu- fig trees in peace. 

Ver. 12, 13. Jiid I iri/l destroi/ her vines and her Jig 
trees, uhereof she hath said, These are mi/ reuards that 
vti/ lovers have given me: and I will male litem a forest, 
and the beasts of thejield shall eat them. And I trill 
lisit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned 
incense to them, and she decked herself tcith her earrings 
and hcrjeuels, and she went after her lovers, andforgat 
vie, saith the Lord. 

In the former verse God threatens Israel to take 
away spiritual mercies, their sabbaths, and ordinances, 
and solemn feasts ; but because such a judgment would 
not be so gi'icvous to many as the desti'oying of the 
fiuit of the ground, the spoiling of theu' land, and the 
loss of those things wherein then- riches and outward 
comforts lay, therefore God joins this threat with the 
former, " And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees." 
In vines and fig trees there is n sviiecdochc, by these 
are meant all her outward prosperity ; I will not lop 
their vines, I will not cut down some branches of their 
fig trees only, but destroy them. 

04*. If God stays long before a judgment comes, he 
comes fearfully indeed, he comes with destroying judg- 
ments ; then he strikes at the verj- root of a peoi)le's 
l)rosperity, and leaves them hopeless of ever recovering 
themselves. It concerns us to hural)lc oui-selves under 
God's hand, when he only cuts off some branches of our 
vines and fig trees, of our outward comforts, lest ere 
long there follows a destroying judgment, cutting to 
the very root. Does God come into your families, and 
cut off a branch or two, a child or two ? Humble your 
souls before him, he may cut downi the tree, stub up 
the root ere long, come to the mother or the father, and 
so root out the family. So in a nation : that is a very 
remarkable passage in F.zek. xxi. 27, '• I will overturn, 
overturn, overturn." This was spoken to Israel, and 
to Israel when they were in cajitivitv, and yet God 
threatens them thus even there, " I will overturn, over- 
turn, overturn." 

" Whereof she hath said. These are my rewards that 
my lovers have given me :" the word n:n translated 
'• rewards," signifies merces meretricia. It comes from 
n:n which signifies to hiie with wages, but such wages as 
arc given to harlots ; and yet idolatry makes her so 
impudent, tliat she uses that verj' word, " These are my 
rewards." 

Obs. 1. Wioredom is a costly sin to many a man. 
Many men secretly waste and consume their estates, 
and their neighbours wonder how they come to be so 
low. Uncleanness is as a gangrene, as it will consume 
the body, so the purse ; it beggars many men, when the 
world little thinks the cause. 

Obs. 2. God may suffer men in wickedness to pros- 
per, to gain their hearts' desires. " These are my re- 
wards ;" (hesc, that vou call idols, give me liberal re- 
wards, I have what 1 served them for. 

Obs. 3. It is a dangerous thing for sinners to look 
back to the sins which they have committed, and then 
to liless themselves, as if they had gained by them. 
Before a sin is committed, the sinner by temptation 
may be persuaded there is much gain to be had ; and 
in th(» very act of commission, he may find some tlash 
of false couteiUraent and delight ; but usually after tlie 



act is over, when he looks back, he sees nothing but 
shame, guilt, and horror. Sinners dare scarcely look 
back to their sins, after they are committed, except 
such as are most desperately hardened ; but here you 
see, they look at w hat they have done, and bless them- 
selves, as if they had obtained a goodly reward by it. 
As the sight of the evil consequences of sin is a means 
to humble, so the apprehending of gain by sin is a 
special means to harden in sin. Judas thought it a 
brave thing to get the thirty pieces of silver, yet when 
he saw the evil fruit his sin had produced, he looked 
with horror upon his sin, and his soul sunk under the 
burden of it. If Judas, looking back upon his sin, has 
his spirit filled with horror, what hojie is there then of 
any one, who, looking back upon it, blesseth himself as 
a gainer by it ? If a man prospers, either at the time he 
sins, or more a httle after he has committed it than he 
did before, or so prospers as that he conceives his sin 
to be some way instrumental to bring in the gain that 
he obtained ; tliis hardens exceedingly. 

Obs. 4. It is a provoking sin to attribute the blessings 
of God to our own wicked, sinful ways, and thereby to 
harden our hearts in those ways. " These are tny re- 
wards that my lovers have given me." It is too much 
to attribute any of God's blessings to second causes, 
even to our lawful endeavours, to our industry, to oiur 
care, to any instruments ; but to attribute them to our 
wickedness is abominable. God ex])ccts glory in the 
acknowledgment of eveiy mercy, and im])rovement of 
it to him : where then there is not only a denial of this 
to him. but a giving it to his enemy, to wickedness, to 
the devil, whom he hates ; this goes exceeding near to 
the heart of God. It is a great part of our sanctifying 
of God's name in the use of all the creatures, to ac- 
knowledge liim in all, that all depends upon him, and 
thereby to be quickened in his service : but to think all 
de])en(ls upon that which is contraiy to God, and there- 
fore, if we want what we would have, to begin to tliink 
we have not served our lusts enough, and to be urged 
to serve them more ; this exceedinf;ly ])rovokes him. I 
will give you a notable example oi this WTctchedness of 
man's heart. There was a consultation of many of the 
Lutheran ministers of Germany, in Hamburgh, to find 
out the cause why the hand of God was so heavy in 
those parts of Germany where they lived, that so they 
might reform what was amiss, and make their peace 
witli God. The issue of their consultations came to 
this, that the reason of all their calamities and troubles 
was. because the images of their churches were not 
adorned enough ; and therefore, for jiieventing the con- 
tinuance of those calamities, they unanimously con- 
sented to improve all the strength they had. to beautify 
and adorn the images in their churches more. It was 
a sad thing for ministers who profess against popery, as 
the Lutherans do, to keep images in churches. But 
could it be thought that they should be thus vain, yea 
wicked, a.s to attiibute the unfruitfulncss of their vines 
and fig trces to the want of their superstitious vanities, 
and to bring their consultations to this conclusion, that 
if they were more zealous in the one, they should be 
more prosperous in the other ? was not this a sore and 
a grievous evil, going near the heart of God? 

^lany attribute the increase of their estates to their 
lying, tlieir overreaching, and their swearing, and re- 
joice. This I have gained by these ways. Zeph. i. 0, God 
threatens to " punish all those lliat leap on the thresh- 
old, which fill their masters' houses with violence and 
deceit ;" that is, the servants of great men, who by oi>- 
iirtBsion and fraud bring in gain to their masters* 
nouses, and then they leap upon the threshold for joy. 
apjilauding themselves in the success they have haa in 
their wicked ways. It is usual if men meet with pros- 
]H'rous success, to bless themselves, as if this success 
came because of their ways, let them be never so 



V£K. 12, 13. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA. 



125 



wicked. Of late, have not some made the world be- 
lieve they have had great success, and ha^■e argued that 
their ways were good, and that God had blessed them 
on account of tliem, though we know their ways are 
such as bring most fearful guilt u])on themselves and 
their families ; we have all cause to tremble for them, 
and to pray, " O Lord, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do :" and as for the success of which they 
boast, who would not, if he might, wish such success to 
his enemy ? 

Obs. 5. Idolaters encourage themselves in their ways 
from the good they suppose they derive by them ; how 
much more should the saints encourage themselves in 
the rewards they have from their lover, from the Lord 
Christ ! Psal. cxix. 56, " This I had," (saith David,) 
" because I kept thy i)recepts ;" this is the reward I 
have had from my lover ; I bless God, I have in some 
measure got my heart to break before the I^ord, and to 
melt after him, and the Lord has come mercifully to 
me. Though there is no wortliiness in what I have 
done, yet the Lord has been gracious, he has encou- 
raged his poor servant in his way : these and these 
mercies the Lord has given me as a fruit of seeking 
him ; he has not said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me 
in vain ; I have sought for comfort, for peace, and at 
last it is come ; I will call upon the name of the Lord 
as long as I live. We should consider what mercies 
fi'om God we have, and rejoice in them ; these are the 
rewards, these are the love-tokens, that come from our 
deai'ly beloved. Hereafter, when the saints come to 
heaven, how will they bless God, and bless themselves 
in theii' God, for those glorious things, those blessed 
rewai'ds, that they shall then receive from their beloved, 
and enjoy for ever with him ! Tlien they shall triumph- 
antly say, The world said heretofore, "WHiat profit is 
there in serving of the Lord ? But blessed be God 
that I went on, notwithstanding, in the ways of God, 
and now I see there is profit to purpose : O these joys ! 
this gloiy ! O this cronNii ! O this happiness ! these 
ai'e the rewards that I have from my beloved. 

Obs. 6. Whatever any man gets by sin, or looks upon 
as gotten by sin, or uses as a means to harden himself 
in sin, the curse of God is in it, and it will rend him 
from it, or he shall never enjoy it. " I will destroy her 
vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said. These 
are my rewards that my lovers have given me." Ahab 
blessed himself in getting Naboth's vineyard by the 
device of Jezebel; 1 Kings xxi. 16, he "rose up to go 
down to take the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to 
take possession of it;" but, ver. 19, "Thus saith the 
Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession ? In 
the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall 
dogs lick thy blood, even thine." What ! you have got 
the vineyard, you have obtained possession ; how ? by 
wickedness. Though you bless yourselves in it now, as 
a reward of your vile ways, certainly the Lord will 
either force you, in the anguish and terror of your soids, 
to vomit up those sweet morsels again, or some fearful 
judgment of God upon you will rend them from you. 
That which many have obtained by unjust and sinful 
ways, they have rejoiced in for a while ; but after a 
while that estate has been in their consciences, as drops 
of scalding lead in the very apple of a man's eye : so 
terriljle has it been unto them. I will give you a late 
example, that came to my own hands, in restoring that 
that was wrongfully obtained many' years ago, from 
one near myself. I name it because the party desired 
that the thing might be made known to the gloi-y of 
God. He sent that which he had \\Tongfully obtained, 
many years after, with a letter, with these expressions ; 
" Many a throb of conscience had I about it, many an 
aching heart, and many promises have I made of restitu- 
tion, and thousands of times have I wished unto you vour 
sUver again, '^^■hat shall I do ? to keep it, it is to con- 



tinue in sin ; to give it to the poor, alas, it is not mine 
own, or at least the evil purchase of gain hoarded up 
in the stuff of my iniquity ; to send it home, the owner 
is dead : I would to God I had sent it before, that it 
might not have lain so hard upon me ; but seeing that 
is past, and cannot be recalled, here I send it you ; I 
ask God forgiveness, and I ask you forgiveness, and 
pray you fail not to pray for me. Sweet Jesus, forgive 
me." It was kept divers years, but was biting all the 
while in the conscience of the poor man, and at length 
it must break forth in such expressions as these. Con- 
sider this, every one who has obtained any thmg dis- 
honestly, and has blest himself in it ; This is the reward 
I have got by such a cunning device, by such an unjust 
and deceitful way : you got it cleverly, and have enjoyed 
it, and been merry with it ; well, one day it may thus 
lie grating in your consciences. Oh then how terrible 
will it be to you ! The best way to be rid of the re- 
wards of sin, when they begin to cause aching in your 
consciences, is to cast them out yourselves ; all your 
praying to God for forgiveness will never ease you with- 
out, if you be able to restore ; but if you will not do so, 
God may come by some hideous judgment, and force 
them from you in spite of your heart.s ; and then how- 
terrible will it be to you when you look upon them as 
being rent by God from you ! Oh, now I must part with 
all that gain and sweetness, that such ways of sin have 
brought me ! the gain, the sweet is gone ; but the 
guilt, the curse, the th-egs, the filth remain upon my 
spirit, and, for aught I know, must stick by me to all 
eternity. God's judgments will come upon you one 
day, as strainers, to let out whatever is sweet and de- 
lightful to you, and to keep in the filth and th-egs. Re- 
member this, you that have got rewards by sinful ways, 
jour rewards of sin may now delight you, but there is 
a time you shall have rewards for your sins that will 
not ])lease you. 

" I will make thei)i as a forest." God threatens his 
people to make them as a forest; the Seventy read, 
6/;ffo/i«t avrd f7i; ^unpTvpiov, tliat is, fiia9ui^ara, I will 
put those things (the rewards) as a witness. You will 
say, Here is a great difference ; " I will make them as a 
forest," and, I will put those things as a witness : those 
things, that is, those rew-ards ; they rejoice in the re- 
wards of their iniquity, but I wUl make them as a wit- 
ness against them. Certainly there is a truth in this ; 
those things in which you rejoice, as obtained by sin, 
the Lord wUl make rise up and witness against you. 
Be sure now you cast them out, they wiU else be wit- 
nesses against you another day. A guilty man w-ould 
be glad, when he knows one that woidd witness against 
him was dead, or out of the w-ay : have you gamed any 
thing by a sinful course ? put it out of the way, for 
otherwise it will be a witness against you, cither u])on 
your sick bed, or at the great day of judgment. i5ut 
how- can these two readings be reconciled, I will make 
them as a witness against you, and " I will make them as 
a forest." It is true the English words seem to be very 
wide from the Septuagint, but there is an easy mistake 
that might cause the Seventy to render them thus, I 
will ]nit them as a witness, for ij?' signifies a forest in 
the lleljrew, and iy to witness, so it is used Zech. iii. 
6. IMontanus reads those words, conlestabalur angelus : 
now those that are skilful in the Hebrew know that, 
there being no more cUft'erence in the words than in 
those letters i and l which are so like one another, 
there might easily be a mistake. But we take it as it is 
here, " I will make them as a forest." The church is 
God's garden, hedged in with God's protection, but God 
threatens to take away the hedge, and let in the wild 
beasts. The wild beasts are one of God's sore judg- 
ments often threatened ; those who will not be subject 
to the blessed holy God, shall be subject unto the 
ravening and rage of beasts; and it is probable the 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. U. 



Seventy understood it literally of the judgment of 
noisome beasts to be let in upon them ; for I find that 
they add to the words, " the beasts of the field shall 
eat them," icai ra Triruva roii ovpavov Kai to. fprerd rijf 
yi)C, and the fowls of the heaven and the creeping things 
of the earth shall devour ; but they are not in the He- 
brew text, and therefore we must let them pass, and 
only speak of what wo have here, of the beasts' eating. 
Now, according to most interpreters, I am persuaded 
that it is the intention of the Holy Ghost, to express 
a judgment beyond the interpretation, of letting in 
noisome beasts, namely, the Assyrians, the adversaries 
of Israel, who should come upon them as ravening 
beasts to devour them. 

Obs. 1. Sin makes men lilie beasts, the beasts of the 
earth. He means the Assyrians, great ones, and yet he 
calls them the beasts of the earth. To be like a beast 
is worse than to be a beast ; for to be a beast is but to 
be as God made the creature, it is no dishonour to it ; 
but to be like a beast is the con-uption of a creatuie, 
and the deformity of it, the worst deformity that pos- 
sibly can be. Chrj'sostom shows it thus. Beasts (saith 
he) have but some particular evil, take the worst of aU, 
as the swine, sensuality ; the tiger and the bear, cruel- 
ty ; the fox, subtlety, &c. ; but wicked men have all 
evils that all beasts of the w^orld have in them. One 
wicked man has the sensuality of a swme, and cruelty 
of a tiger, of a bear, the subtlety of a fox ; and what- 
ever is set out emblematically by any beast, a wicked 
man has it all in his heart ; yea, and further, wicked 
men ai'e worse than beasts in this, that they corrupt 
themselves in those things wliich they have in common 
with beasts, more than beasts do. As the di'unkard 
corrupts himself in his di'ink, which a beast will not 
do ; a glutton corrupts himself in his meat, more than 
ordinarily a beast will do : and that I think is the 
meaning of that text in the Epistle of Jude, ver. 10, 
" These speak evil of those things which they know 
not : but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in 
those tilings they con'upt themselves." As for their 
intellectual parts, they will take upon them as if they 
knew much ; but the truth is, they understand little, 
and yet will speak evil of that they know not. It is a 
(b-eadfid text against such, as ciy out against men and 
then- ways, when in truth the)- know not what they 
are. But, further, " what they know naturally, as brute 
beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves ;" that 
is, in things they know merelj' by sense, as they know 
by tasting, and by smelling, as brute beasts do, in those 
very things they corrupt themselves more than brute 
beasts, that is, by excess in meats and di'inks. 

"Would not any account it to be one of the greatest 
judgments that could befall him, if God should turn him 
into the fashion of a beast while he lives in this world, 
though he should still retain the mind of a man ? Su])- 
pose God should inflict this judgment upon a ckunkard, 
he would still have his intellectual parts as he now 
has, but his body shoidd be turned into the form of a 
swine, or a railer into the foi-m of a dog, as they say 
Hecuba the wife of Priam was, for her railing : would 
not this be a fearful judgment ? Lactan- 
fm"ri"mn"io"am tius, from Ciccro, obscrvcs, If it would 
conTcrtiuiriiquam jjg jucli a judgment as a man woidd be 

nguram bestia!, .,,, , • • i , i 

qu«mTi» homims Willing to cndure any misery in the world, 
t!l^"<|u»"" frt '. rather than to have his body turned into 
n'liu'ii'anlmi'SSe"'^ the fashion of a beast ; is it not as great 
rflirato. Laciimt. 1. ^ miscry to keep the fashion of llic body, 
and to have tlie mind become like a beast, 
to keep a human shape with the soul of a beast ? surely 
it is worse than to have the shape of a beast with the 
soul of man. 

Obs. 2. God looks upon wicked men, who do great 
things in the world, with a contemptible eye. " The 
beasts shall devoiu';" that is, the great king of Assyria, 



and all his corn-tiers above him, and cavaliers with 
him, shall come \o devour them ; they are but beasts. 
God speaks in a contemptible manner, as he does 
against Sennacherib king of AssjTia ; in Isa. xxxvii. 29. 
God threatens to " put a hook in his nose, and a bridle 
in his lips," because of his rage and of his tumult ; that 
is, he would use him as a beast, to hook liis nose, and 
to put a bridle into his jaws. Mark, likewise, how con- 
temptibly God speaks of the great king of Babylon, 
and his whole army, Joel ii. 20, " His stink shall come 
up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath 
done great things." And so in Psal. lix. 7, "They belch 
out with their mouth," (saith David,) " they make a 
noise like a dog, and go round about the city." David 
means his adversaries that were about Saul in his court. 
And in Ezek. xxxvLii. 3, 4, God says to -'the chief prince 
of Meshech and Tubal, I will put hooks in thy jaws." 
In Dan. vii. the four great monarchies, Babylonian, 
Persian, Grecian, Roman, are described by four beasts, 
and the fourth monarchy, which is by most interpreted 
the Roman empire, Dan. vii. 7, is described to be 
" dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly ; and it 
had great u-on teeth : it devoured and brake in pieces, 
and stamped the residue with the feet of it : and it was 
diverse fi'om all the beasts that were before it." Now, 
tills beast raged first in the heathen empii'e, and after 
it gave its power to the beast antichi'ist, as you may 
read in Rev. xiii., and that beast was like a leopard, 
spotted, fuU of uncleanness and filth ; or, as some trans- 
late it, a panther, who by his scent draws other beasts 
to him, but devours them; and his feet like a bear, and 
his head like a Hon. Thus, you see how God describes 
the great ones of the world as beasts, and looks with 
contempt upon them. 

Obs. 3. It is a sore and heavy judgment for a people 
to be delivered up to the rage of cruel adversaries. " ITie 
beasts shall devour them." I will give you up to cniel, 
wicked men, who will bring you under ; you wiU not 
be obedient to me, but to them you shall. Hence 
David prayed, •' Let me not fall into the hand of man;" 
when God put him to choose what judgment he would 
have, he was quickly resolved to refuse to be given up 
to the hands of men ; that he knew was dreadful : and, 
Psal. Iv. 6, 7, he prays, " Oh that I had wings like a 
dove ! for then would I flee away and be at rest. Lo, 
then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilder- 
ness." In the wilderness ! why he would be among 
the wild beasts in the wilderness, and yet he cries. Oh 
that I had the wings of a dove ! AAHiat is the rea.son ? 
It was because of the cruelty of Saul and liis corn-tiers : 
David apprehended that he had better fall into the 
hands of tigers and wild beasts in tlie wilderness, than 
mto theirs, ^^^len Scipio came against Numantia in 
Sjiain, and the inhabitants were afi-aid it would be taken, 
all the )oimg men fii-st took all the old people in the 
city, and killed them with as easy a death as they could; 
then they brought all the riches and treasure of the 
city to the market-place, and set all on fii-e ; and after 
that they all took poison ; and thus, in one day, old and 
young, and all in the city, were quite destroyed, rather 
than they woidd fall into the hands of their enemies. 
'■ Deliver my soul," saith David, " from the sword ; my 
darling from the power of the dog,* Psal. xxii. 20. 
The jiower of the dog, and the sword, is but one the 
inteqiretation of the other. Paul declares, 1 Cor. xv. 
32, " If after the manner of men I have fought with 
beasts at Ephesus : " some interpret this literally, that 
he did indeed really fight with beasts, as being one way 
of torment to which they subjected the Oiristians; but 
most interjireters think that the meaning is, with men 
that were beastlv, with cruel men ; and Estius thinks 
the men to be those who are mentioned in Acts xix. 9, 
"Divers were hardened, and spake evil of that way 
before the multitude." Paul then " departed from them, 



Vek. 12. 13. 



THE PROPHECY OF HOSE A. 



127 



and separated the disciples." Paul saw that it was a 
most devilish design, to get the multitude together, 
and there to speak against hini and his doctrine, and 
against Christ ; upon which the spiiit of Paid was so 
provoked, that " he departed from them, and separated 
the disciples." Thus with many, the more sedition is 
raised, the better are their designs furthered. Chi-ist 
tells his disciples, Mark xvi. 17, 18, that serpents shall 
do them no hurt, poison shall not injure them, and 
they shall have power over devils ; but in ]SIatt. x. 17, 
'•Beware of men:" they might say, Wiy, blessed 
Master, serpents shall do us no hurt, we shall have 
power over devils, what need we be afraid of men ? 
But Chi'ist bids them take heed of men ; as if there 
were more danger from wicked men, than fi-om devils, 
or from serpents. Therefore St. Paid, in 2 Thess. iii. 
2, prays that they may be delivered from aTon-uiv, absui-d 
men ; those that had lost the very principle of reason, 
and were even as beasts. There is a generation risen 
up amongst us, who have sucked the poison of the old 
serpent, who are set on fhe of hell, and the poison of 
asps is vmder thefr lips. As Romulus and Remus, the 
founders of Rome, were, as reported, suckled by wolves ; 
so these, who desfre to bmld up Rome again, are Kke 
the first founders of that Rome, they seem to be men 
suckled by wolves ; or as the poets feign of Lycaon, 
tui-ned into wolves for their cruelty ; or as it is said of 
then- St. Dominic, who was the father of the Domini- 
cans, that before he was bom, his mother cbeamed that 
she brought forth a wolf, with a fh-ebrand in his mouth ; 
and according to that representation in her dream, so 
he proved afterwards. K we look at the cruelty and 
rage of these men, we may think, that then- mothers 
have indeed brought forth wolves with fii-ebrands in 
their mouths : Satan rages in them, and we hope there- 
fore his time is but very short. Had they prevailed, to 
bring every thing under their power, no chi'onicle of 
any nation under heaven, would afford similar stories of 
horrid cruelties, as the chronicles of these times. ^Vliere 
they have prevailed, in Ireland, such barbarisms have 
commenced, as here woidd have risen to the perfection 
of cruelty. The Lord deliver us fi-om being scourged 
with these scorpions. Let us humble our souls before 
God, that God may not humble us before such beasts ; 
that he may not say that England shall be as a forest, 
and these beasts shall devom- them. In the mean time, 
let us not be offended at their prevailing in some places, 
for then we should be as beasts om-selves. " So foolish 
was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee," 
saith David. God saith. He will requii'e of the 
beasts the blood of his people. Gen. ix. 5. Certainly, 
God wUl require of these beasts the precious blood 
they have daimk : had it been coiTupt blood, God 
woidd not so much have cared for it, but it is the blood 
of his saints. Let us believe that God wUl turn the 
rage of man, the rage of beasts, to his praise, Psal. 
Ixxvi. 10. Surely the Lord cannot possibly behold 
without indignation his lambs, who are so precious in 
his eyes, torn and won'ied by such beasts as these. 
We may well say with the prophet, Hab. i. 2 — i, " O 
Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wUt not hear ! 
even ciy out imto thee of violence, and thou wilt not 
save ! Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me 
to behold grievance ? for .spoiling and violence are be- 
fore me : and there are that raise up strife and conten- 
tion. Therefore the law is slacked^, and judgment 
doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass 
about the righteous ; therefore wrong judgment pro- 
ceedeth." When the Jews made use of Philo to apolo- 
gize for them to Caius the emperor, Cains used him 
very ruggedly ; when he came out of his jjresence, to 
encourage the Jews he said, Smely Caius will arm God 
against himself for us. 
But, some may say, surely these men are not beasts. 



for they are skilful wai'riors : mai'k that text of Ezek. 
xxi. 31, '• I will deliver thee into tlie hand of brutish 
men, and sldlful to destroy;" they ar-e skilful to de- 
stroy, and yet brutish men. We have a promise fi-om 
God, and om- prayers shoidd hasten its fulfilment; "I 
will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land ; — the 
beast of the land shall no more devom- them," Ezek. 
xxxiv. 25, 28. Oh that that time were come ! Oh that 
the Lord would so work for us as to cause om- beasts to 
cease out of om- land, that they might no more devom:! 
Such a time is coming ; '■ No lion shall be there, nor 
ravenous beast shall be found there ; but the redeemed 
shaU walk there," Isa. xxxv. 9. In the mean time, 
though om- brethi-en endm-e hard things by these cruel 
beasts, and though God may perhaps bring some of us 
under the rage of them, let us be patient, and comfort 
ourselves in these promises. 

Ver. 13. And I will visit upon her the days of Baal- 
im, tcherein she bunted incense to them, and she decked 
herself uilli her earrings and her jewels, and she went 
after her lovers, andforgat me, saith the Lord. 

This is the conclusion of the tlu-eatenings in this 
chapter ; now God wUl punish them for aU their sins 
together. If a generation succeed in wickedness, God 
may justly come upon that generation, for all the sins 
of former generations ; all the blood from Abel to Za- 
chariah shall be requu-ed of tliis generation. " I wiU 
visit upon her aU the days of Baalim ;" ever since they 
served Baal. Let men take heed of continuing in the 
ways of sin : who can tell what sin may put a period to 
God's patience with a nation, a famUy, or an individual? 
Though God has spared heretofore, upon the next sin 
committed he may put such a period to forbeai-ance as 
to come upon the famUy, not oiUy for that sin, but for 
all the sins it has committed since it was a famUy ; and 
so for all the sins of a nation, since it was a nation ; 
and for all thy sins, ever since thou wast a simier ! Men 
go on awhUe in the ways of sm prosperously, but when 
God visits, what will become of them ? " "V^Tiat will 
ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation 
which shall come fi-om far ? to whom wUl ye flee for 
help ? and where wiU ye leave yom- glory ? " Isa. x. 3. 
Now you are men-y, now you fear nothing, but " what 
will je do in the day of visitation ? " what wiU become 
of you then ? -whither wUl you flee then ? " and where 
wUl you leave your glory ? " 

'• i -wUl visit upon her the days of BaaKm ;" m the 
plm-al number, Baalim ; by which some thiiJi, and not 
improbably, that their inferior gods are meant, which 
they caUeil Baalim; for the heathen had theii- chief 
gods, and then- Dii minores, then- lesser gods, who were 
as mediators to then- chief gods ; and so om- papists have 
their Dii minores, lesser gods, who are tutelar gods, 
either over nations, or over families, or over particular 
diseases, &c. As they say, for England, St. George ; 
for France, St. Dennis ; for L-eland, St. Patrick ; for 
AVales, St. David ; for Scotland, St. An(b-ew, &c. These 
saints are in imitation of the heathens. Baal, or, in the 
Clialdee dialect, Bel, was the fii-st king of Babylon after 
Nimrod, the fii-st that was deified, and reputed as a 
god after death ; whence those men who were deified 
after then- death, and worshipped as gods, as the papists 
worship their saints, they caUed Baalim ; as from Julius 
Ca-sar, those kings who foUowed after were caUed 
Casars. This intei-iiretation tlu-ows light upon 1 Cor. 
\-iu. 5, 6, "Though there be that are caUed gods, 
whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, 
and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the 
Father, of whom are all things, and we m him ; and one 
Lord Jesus Christ." If the "apostle had spoken in He- 
brew, it -n-ould have been, " Though there be many 
Baalim, there is to us but one God, and one Baal ;" for 



128 



AN EXPOSITION OF 



Chap. II. 



in Hebrew, Baal is Lord ; there are many gods, (say 
they,) i. e. divers gi-eater gods, and many lords, i. e. 
many Baalim, wliicli are mediators to their- chief gods ; 
but to us (saith he) there is but one God, and but one 
Lord, but one Baal ; we have not Baalim, not many 
meiliators between us and God; but as we have but one 
God, so we have but one Lord, but one Mediator, who 
in regard of his human nature is inferior to the Father, 
but vet such a Lord, " by whom are all things, and we 
by him :" the papists acknowledge but one God, but 
thev have many lords, many mediators, many that must 
stand between God and them. This is a heathenish 
opinion. 

Again, Baalim, in the plm-al number. Another reason 
not improbable, given by some, is, that it intimates the 
several images they had of their Baal, in various places, 
even in their private houses; for idolaters did not 
satisfy themselves with worshipping their gods in pub- 
lic, but worshipped them in their private houses also. 
Now, though the Jews had only tw'o idols set up, one 
in Dan, and another in Bethel ; yet they had some re- 
presentations of those images in their private houses, 
which may be grounded upon Hos. x. 5, " Because of 
the calves of Beth-aven," that is, of Bethel, calves of 
Bethel. ^VTiy, how many calves were there there? 
there was but one calf set up there, and yet here it is 
plural : now the reason of that is given, that though 
there was but one calf set up for ])ublic worship, )'ct 
they had in tlieir private families the picture of that 
calf, and so brought the worship of Baal into their 
families. A good lesson for Christians, not to satisfy 
themselves with public worship, but to bring as much 
of the worship of God as they can into their families. 

" 'WHierein she burned incense to them." Incense was 
a tj-jjical signification of prayer, in two respects. First, 
in the sweet savour of it. And secondly, in its ascend- 
ing by fu'e : so all our prayers should be as incense, 
sweet before the Lord, and ascend up with the fervency 
of zeal and faith : it is proper to God alone to have 
such incense bui'nt to him : the heathens bunit incense 
to their idols, imitating the worship of God. 

" She decked herself with her earrings and her jew- 
els." They worshipped their idols in a sumptuous man- 
ner, adorning themselves with costly apparel, especi- 
ally in front : the word ncu translated jewels, signifies 
the nose jewel; and in Isa. iii. 21, is translated "nose 
jewels : " they hanged upon their faces jewels to make 
themselves beautiful before their idols. Harlots adorn 
themselves more pomjiously than grave matrons. By 
this many simple peojilc are dra\m to the love of idol- 
atry, which is spiritual whoredom. They thought that 
God would accejit of their service the rather, because 
of the costly jewels, that hung about their ears and 
nostrils. From whence 

Obs. To think that God will accept our service the 
rather because of any apparel, or any thing of our 
own devising, is to deal with God as the heathens with 
their idols. AVe must take heed of that. The hea- 
thens instituted garments that they might be accepted. 
A council in the year of Christ 3:S.'J, by 
r°"n«ihcrm.uLnt'"" OHB of its canous, anathcmatizcs all those 
i™1di'«TOnciiorrin '^'^'^ shuW judgc One vcstm'e more holy 
aui pim faccrc a<i than another. AVe are to learn from 
' '" ' idolaters to beautify and adorn our souls 

when we come into the presence of God; did they 
deck their bodies and hang jewels about ears and noses, 
when they came before their idols for acceptance ? let 
us beautify our soids every time we come before tlie 
living God. And would you know wliat fine clothes 
you should wear wlien you come into God's ])rescnce ? 
I will tell you, and especially those women wlio delight 
so much in fine clothes, 1 I'et. v. o, " Be clothed with 
humility : '' tlie word iyKoiijiwaaoBi, means, to clothe 
■nith a dress that gentlewomen used to wear in those 



times, of ribands about their heads : "Well, (saith the 
apostle,) would you have a fine dress, ye women ? " be 
clothed with humility," the finest di-ess you can pos- 
sibly have. I will tell you of another gannent, 1 Pet. 
iii. 4, adorned with " a meek and quiet spirit, which is 
in the sight of God of great price," TrokvnKig, much 
set by of God, so translated in some of yoiu- books. 
If you come into God's presence with quiet and meek 
spu-its, and clothed with humility, you wiU be beautiful 
in the verj' eyes of God; but withal remember, both 
men and women, except you come clothed and decked 
with the robe of Chi'ist's righteousness, you can never 
find acceptance. 

"She went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith 
the Lord." Their lovers were remembered, but I was 
forgotten, saith God. God here speaks as a man be- 
moaning his sad condition ; as if he had said. How am 
I slighted by my people ! the idols can be followed, 
they can be remembered ; but I am neglected, I am 
forgotten ; they have activity for their idols, but none 
for me ; memory for them, but n