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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.

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,

TO THE EXPOSITION

EIGHTH, NINTH, AND TENTH CHAPTERS.

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,

TO THE EXPOSITION

OM TUB

ELEVENTH, TWELFTH, AND THIRTEENTH CHAPTERS.

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,

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.

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

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

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 " 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
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.

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;"
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 ?

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
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
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
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
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-
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

" 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
them a penny, than to leave them to inherit the cur.sc

" 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
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.

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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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

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
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 !

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
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
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

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
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

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

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-
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
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
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
ficient ai-gument of truth. A multitude coming under
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-
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

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

(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
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
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

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

(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

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
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-
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

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
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

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
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
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
IS the excellency of grace in the saints.

And to conclude this point of the headsliip of Christ.
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
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 :
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
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
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
Cmist was tlie Head to the fathers under the law, how

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
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
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

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,

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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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,
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 ;
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
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

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
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
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,

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

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';
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
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
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
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

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
mercy is so sweet, it so inttames them, that they must
plead for God against any in the world.

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-
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-
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-
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.

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.
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
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,
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
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-

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
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

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,
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
naked," that is, Aaron, by consenting to the people to
destitute now of God's gracious protection, deprived
of those favours fi-om God, which formerly they had.
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
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
])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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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

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
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,
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
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
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-
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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

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,
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-
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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 ;
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
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.

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
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
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
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
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
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

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-
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.
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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,
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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."
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
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

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
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
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-

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
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

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
know, that all sinners are banished from the presence
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

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
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,

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
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
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
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

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