An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.

The First LECTVRE.*

Chap. 1. Vers. 1, 2. &c.

1. The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea the son of Beeri, in the dayes of Vzziah, Iotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, Kings of Iudah, and in the days of Ieroboam son of Ioash King of Israel.

2. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea: and the Lord said to Hosea, &c.

The Preface To The Work.

THis day beginneth a Scripture Exposition Exercise, which hath lost much of the honour of it, by the disuse of it: The best Apology for it is to set presently upon it. It is ancient in the Church of God, old enough to speak for itself. Ne∣hem. 8. 8. we read, that Ezra, Ieshua, Bani, and the rest read in the book of the Law, and gave the sense, and cau∣sed the people to understand the reading. You love brevity; in this Exer∣cise you shall have it, in all that shall be delivered unto you.

I have pitched upon the Books of the small Prophets, to open them un∣to you, of whom Ierome hath this expression:aYou cannot tell which to wonder at most, either the brevty of speech, or the greatness and abun∣dance of sense. And this Prophet Hosea in speciall is excellent this way, of whom the same Author speaking, calls himbexceeding concise, & spea∣king by sentences.

Being the Propheticall books is the work that falls to me, why I chose rather to begin with Hosea then Isaiah, I shall afterward give you an ac∣count. If God continue this Exerciseand life, we may goe through them all, both small and great.

In these Prophets we have most admirable divine Truths revealed to us, and pity it is, that the minde of God contained in them should be so little Page  2 known, even unto his children, that such treasures of heavenly truths that are there should lie hid from so many so long a time as they have done.

We might preface this our work (because this is the first dayes entrance into it) vvith labouring to raise and sweeten your hearts with the considera∣tion of the excellency of the Scriptures in generall. Luther hath an high expression about them; he calls themcthe highest genus that containes in it all good whatsoever. Take away the Scripture, and you even take a∣way the Sun from the world. What is the world without the Scriptures, but hell it self?

We have had indeed the word of God to be as the Sun in the world, but oh hovv many mists have been before this Sun! We have seldome the Sun shine clearly to us. It is pity, seeing there is such a glorious Sun risen, that there should be such a misty day. Now this is the work we are called unto, to dispell the mists and fogs from before this Sun, that it may shine more brightly before your eyes, and into your hearts.

Chrysost. in his 29. Sermon upon Genesisd exhorting his Auditors to get the Scriptures into their houses, and to a diligent exercise of himselfe in them, tells them that by them the soul is raised and elevated, and bright∣ned, as with the beame of the Sun of righteousnesse, and delivered from the snares of unclean thoughts.

The Scripture is that wherin the great God of heaven hath sent his mind to the children of men, wherein he hath made known the counsel of his wil, & opened even his very heart unto Man-kind. It is the Epistle that God hath sent into the world. And did wee but heare of such a Book that were dictated imediatly by God himself, to the end to shew the children of men what the eternall counsels of his will were for the ordering of them to their eternall estate, and to open his thoughts and intentions concerning their everlasting condition what it shall be: Did wee I say but heare that there were such a book in the farthest part of the Indies, would we not rejoyce that the world was blest with such a mercie? what strong and vehement desires should we have to enjoy but one sight of it before we dye! Wee would be willing to venture upon any hazard, to passe through any diffi∣culty, to be at any charges, that we might have but a sight of such a booke as this. My brethren, you need not say, Who shall goe to the farthest part of the Indies to setch this book? Who shall descend into the depth, or goe to the uttermost part of the earth to help us to a sight of this booke of Scripture? For behold, the word is nigh unto you, it is in your houses, and we hope in your hearts,* and in this exercise is to be in our mouths, not only to tell you what it saith, but open unto you the mind of God in it.

The exercising our selves in this book is sweet indeed; Luther professes himselfe out of love with his own books, and wished them burnt, lest men spending time in them, should be hindered from reading the Scriptures; which saies he are the only fountain of all wisdome: and I tremble saies he at the former age, that was so much busied in reading of Aristotle and A∣verroes.

Page  3 Wee read in that 8.* of Nehem. vers. 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 people answered, Amen, Amen. And now blessed be the Lord, the great and gracious God, for stirring your hearts up to such a work as this is,* and blessed be his name for those liberties we have thus freely to ex∣ercise our selves in this service;* O praised be the name of the great God for this dayes entrance into so good a work as this is.

Yea they did not only blesse God, but the Text saith, They lifted up their hands, and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Why? because the book of the Law was read to them and expounded. How comes it to passe that their hearts were so taken with it now to hear the book of the Law expounded to them? Sure∣ly it was because they were newly returned out of their Captivity; and now they came into their owne Land, and heard the Law of God opened to them, they blessed his great Name, & bowed their faces to the ground, worshipping him. This day (my brethren) witnesseth to us our great de∣liverance and returne from our bondage. It was not long since that wee could have either Ordinances, or Truths, or Religious exercises, but onely according to the humors of vile men: But now through Gods mercy a great deliverance is granted to us (as this day witnesseth) that wee may come and have free liberty to exercise our selves in the Law of our God: O doe you blesse the Lord, and bow your faces to the ground, worship∣ping of him.

In the 12. vers. of that Chap. we read, that after they had heard the Law read and expounded to them, they went their way to eate and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth: Why? Because (saith the Text) they had understood the words that were declared unto them. I hope if God shall please to give in assistance unto this work, many of you shall goe away hereafter from this Assembly rejoycing, because you will come to know more of Gods mind revealed in his word then formerly: And this will be the comfort of your meat and drink, and of your trading, and the very spirits of all the joyes of your lives.

As the sweetnesse of the fruit comes from the graft, rather then from the stock, so your comforts, and the blessings of grace in you, must come from the word ingrafted in your soules, rather then from any thing you have in your selves.

In the first vers. the Text saith, that all the people gathered themselves

together as one man, into the street 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 are a great com∣pany met together, perhaps some to know what the businesse will be, some for novelty, and some for other ends; howsoever, come unto us you are, and we hope many for this end, that you might have the booke of the Law read & opened unto you. Now we expect that from you, which is said of Page  4 them, ver. 3. And the ears of all the people were attentie unto the book of the law, when it was read & opened to them. And truly that attention that you now begin withal, doth promise unto us that we shall have an at∣tentive auditory. But that is not all; let us have further a reverential demea∣nor and carriage in the hearing of the Law, as it becomes those that have to deale with God in it. The Text saith, vers. 5. that when Ezra opened the book of the Law, all the people stood up. We doe not expect the same gesture from you, but by way of Analogie we expect a reverentiall demea nour in the carriage of he whole worke, as knowing we are to sanctifie Gods Name in it. And as those people after the first dayes exercise were so encouraged, that they came again the second day, (for so the Text saith, vers. 13. On the second day were gathered together the cheife of the fa∣thers of all the people, the Priests and the Levies, unto Ezra, to under∣stand the words of the Law) so (I hope) God will so carry on this worke, 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 not be only profitable to the younger and weaker sort, but to the Fathers, to the Priests and Levites too.

Let it be with you as it was with them, according as you have any truth made known unto you, submit to it, yeeld to it, obey it presently, and then you shall know more of Gods mind: He that will doe my will, shall know my doctrine to be of God:* Thus did they, for vers. 14. when they found it vvritten in the book of the Law, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh moneth, (This was one passage of the Law that was expounded, how they should keep the feast of Taber∣nacles, and what booths they should make) the people went forth present∣ly unto the mount, and fetched Olive branches, and Palm branches, and branches of thick trees, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roofe of his house. In this Prophesie of Hosea you shall find many sutable truths 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 large prefacing to it, only somewhat have been said about the rules for interpre∣tation of Scripture; I will say no more of that but this, to interpretation of Scripture, a Scripture frame of heart is necessary, a heart holy & heavenly, sutable to the holinesse & heavenlinesse that is in the word: as it was said of Tullies eloquence, that nothing but the eloquence of Tully could set out the excellency of it: So it may be said of the Scriptures spiritualness, nothing but a heart filled with Scripture spiritualness can set forth the excellencies of it: and because the authority of Scripture is dreadfull, wee desire the prayers of you all to God for us, that his feare might fall upon our hearts that seeing we are menfull of errour, and full of evill, yet howsoever wee may not bring any Scripture to the maintenance of any erroneous conceit of our own heads, nor any evill of our own hearts: This wee know to be a Page  5 dreadfull evill. It was a fearfull evill for Lucifer to say, I will goe and as∣cend up, & be like the Highest, it is as great an evill for any to seek to make the Highest to become like Lucifer; for so do they that make the Scripture come down to justifie any erroneous opinion, or any way of evill they goe about to make the blessed God and the holy Ghost to be the fathers of lies. It is counted a great evill in a Common-wealth to put the Kings stamp upon false coine; and to put the stamp of the Spirit of God upon an error, upon a conceit of a mans owne, is certainly a great evill before the Lord: and it was for this that God did make the Priests vile and contemptible before the people, because they were patiall in the Law, Mal. 2. 9. And for you (my brethren) our prayer shall be, that the feare of God may fall upon you likewise, that you may come to these Exercises with Scripture-frames of heart.

What frame of heart is a Scripture-frame?

The holy Ghost tells you, Isa. 66. 1. God looks at him that trembleth at his word: come with hearts trembling at the word of God; come not to be Iudges of the Law, but doers of it.

You may judge of your profiting in grace by the delight you finde in Scripture, as Quintilian was wont to say of profiting in eloquence, a man may know that, saies hee, by the delight hee findes in reading Cicero; much more may this be said of the Scriptures, it is a true signe of profiting in Reli∣gion, to whom the Scriptures are sweeter then the honey, and the honey∣combe.

And now I shall onely tell you what the work is we have to doe,* and then we shall fall upon it, and that is to open Scripture unto you, not onely difficulties, but to shew unto you what divine truths are contained in them what may come fresh, and spring up from the fountain it selfe, to present them unto you with adding some quickness. This is our worke not to en∣large any thing with long Explication, Probation, or Application.

There are these five things to be enquired concerning this our Prophet, whose Prophesie I have now pitched upon to open.

  • 1 Who he was.
  • 2 To whom he was sent.
  • 3 What his errant was.
  • 4 His Commission.
  • 5 The time of his prophesie

All these you have either in the first verse, (where most of them are) or you shall find them in the Chapter.

For the first then, who this Prophet was. I will tell you no more of him then what you have in the first verse,*Hosea the son of Beeri. His name sig∣nifieth a Saviour, one that brings salvation. It is the same root that Ioshua had his name from; and many saving and savory truths wee shall finde this Prophet bringing to us.

Page  6 He was the sonne of Beeri. This Beeri we doe not find who hee was in Scripture,* only in that he is here named as the father of the Prophet in the entrance into this Prophesie, Surely it is honor is gratia to the Prophet, and from it we may note thus much.

That so should parents live and walke,* as it may be an honour to their children to be called by their names, that their children may neither be a∣fraid nor ashamed to be named by them.

The Iews have a tradition that is generally received among them, that whensoever a Prophets Father is named, that Father was likewise a Prophet as well as the Son. If that were so, then surely it is no dishonor for any man to be the Son of a Prophet.

Let those that are the children of godly, gracious Ministers, be no disho∣nour to their Parents, their Parents are an honour unto them: But we find it by experience, that many of their children are farr from being honours to their godly parents. How many ancient godly Ministers, who heretofore hated superstitious vanities, whose sonns of late have been the greatest zea∣lots for such things. It puts me in mind of what the Scripture notes concer∣ning Iehoiakim the sonne of Iosiah,* the difference betweene his father and him. Iosiah when he heard the Law read, his heart melted, and he humbled himselfe before the Lord. But now Iehoiakim his sonne, when hee came to heare the Law of God read, he tooke a pen-knife, and cut the roll in which it was written,*in peices, and threw it into the fire that was on the hearth, untill all the roll was consumed. A great deale of difference there was be∣tween the Son and the Father, and thus it is between the sons of many anci∣ent godly Ministers and them: their Fathers indeed might be an honour unto them, but they are dishonour to their Fathers.

The sonne of Beeri. This word Beeri hath its signification from a Wel that hath springing water in it,* freely and cleerly running: So Ministers should be the children of Beeri, That that they have should be springing wa∣ter, and not the mud and dirt, and filth of their own conceits mingled with the word. This only by way of allusion.

To whom was this Prophet Hosea sent.

He was sent especially to the Ten Tribes. I suppose you all know the di∣vision that there was of the people of Israel in Rehoboams time, tenn of the Tribes went from the house of David, only Iudah and Benjamine remai∣ned with it. Now these tenne Tribes renting themselves from the house of David, did rent themselves likewise from the true worship of God, & there grew up horrible wickednesses, and all manner of abominations amongst them. To these ten Tribes God sent this Prophet. He sent Isaiah & Micah to Iudah, Amos and Hosea he sent to Israel, all these were contemporary.

If you would know what state Israel was in, in Hoseas time, read but 2 K. 15. 19. & you shall find what their condition was, Ieroboam did that which was eill but he fight of the Lord, he departed not from all the sins of Ieroboam the sonne of Nebat which made Israel to sinne.

Page  7 But notwithstanding Israel was thus notoriously wicked, and given up to all Idolatry, yet the Lord sendeth his Prophets, Hosea and Amos, to Prophesie to them even at this time. O the goodnesse of the Lord to fol∣low an apostatizing people, an apostatizing soule! It was mercy yet while God was speaking; but woe to that people, to that soul to whom the Lord shall give in charge to his Prophets, prophesie no more to them.

But what was Hosea his errand to Israel?

His errand was to convince them clearly o this their abominable Ido∣latry, and those other abominable wickednesses that they lived in, and se∣verely to denounce threatnings, yea most fearfull destruction. (This was not done before by the other Prophets, as wee shall afterward make it ap∣peare, but it was Hosea his errand to threaten an utter desolation to Israel more than ever was before) and yet withall to promise mercy to a rem∣nant to draw them to repentance, and to Prophesie of the great things that God intended to doe for his Church and children in the latter dayes.

What was his Commission?

The words tells us plainly, The word of the Lord came to Hosea. It was the word of Iehovah. It is a great argument to obedience to know it is the word of the Lord that is spoken. When men set reason against reason, and judgment against judgment, and opinion against opinion, it prevails not: but vvhen they see the authority of God in the Word, then the heart and conscience yeeldeth. Therefore hovvever you may look up∣on the instruments that bring it, or open it to you, as your equalls or infe∣riours, yet knovv there is an authority in the Word that is above you al: It is the word of the Lord.

And this word of the Lord, it came to Hosea. Mark the phrase, Hosea did not goe for the word of the Lord, but the word of the Lord came to him:* he sought it not, but it came to him, factum fuit verbum, so are the words, the word of the Lord came, or was made into him, was put into him. Such a kind of phrase you have in the new Testament, Iohn 10. 35. If hee called them Gods unto whom the word of God came;* that is, to whom the commission came, to put them in the place wherein they were. So the word of the Lord came to Hosea. The knowledg of a call to a work, will help a man through the difficulties of the work. One of the notablest Texts of Scripture to encourage a man to that work to which he sees he is clearly called,* is that which is spoken of Christ himselfe, Isa. 42. 6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousnesse: what 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 wee know Gods call to a work (as for the present this of ours is exceeding clear unto us) though the worke will be difficult and liable to much censure, Yet the Lord will hold our hands, and will be with us, and with our minds, and our tongues, and our hearts, and will keep us in this work, and make us instruments to give some light un∣to you.

Page  8 But the principall businesse is to enquire of the time when Hosea pro∣phesied. You have it in the Text, In the dayes of Ʋzziah, Iotham, A∣haz, and Hezekiah Kings, of Iudah, and in the dayes of Ieroboam the son of Ioash King of Israel. It is computed by Chronologers, that Hosea lived about 814. years before Christ: In his time was the City of Rome built. It was the beginning of the Olympiads. Eusebius tells us that there was no Grecian History (and if no Greek learning, then not any that was of any authority) extant before this time of Hosea.

He prophesied in these Kings reigns,*Vzziah, Iotham, &c. You shall find that we shall have much of Gods mind revealed in this, more then at first view we can comprehend. We shall find by this that Hosea prophe∣sied a very long time, it is very probable fourscore years, but it is certaine he was in the work of his Ministry above seventy yeares, and I make that clear thus, He prophesied in the dayes of Ierobam (who though he be here named last, yet he was the first of these Kings, and we shall shew you the reason by and by, why he was named last) that then took up some of his time: But suppose you reckon from the end of Ieroboams reign, yet from that to the beginning of Hezekiah, here were 70. years, and yet the Text saith he prophesied both in Ieroboams time, and in Hezekiahs time too: after the death of Ieroboam, Vzziah lived 38. years (he reigned 52. in all) He began his reign in the 27. of Ieroboam, 2 King. 15. 1. Now Ieroboam lived after that 14. years, for he reigned 41. in all, take 14. out of 52. and there remains 38. and after him Iotham reigned 16. years; and then Ahaz. succeeded him, and reigned sixteene yeares more: so that between these two Kings, Ieroboam and Hezekiah, there was 70. yeers, in which Hosea prophesied, besides the 41. yeers of Ieroboam, and 29. yeers of Hezekiah, in both whose reigns too you see he lived, and there∣fore it is probable it was 80. yeares at least that Hosea continued in the work of his prophesie. See what of Gods minde we have that will spring fresh from this.

Hosea continued so long,* and yet you see there is not much of his pro∣phesie extant, only 14 short Chapters. It pleaseth God sometimes that some mens labours shall abide more full to posterity than others, though the labours of those others more large, and as excellent as theirs: this is ac∣cording to the diversity of Gods administrations. Let the Ministers of God learn to be faithfull in their worke, and let God alone for to make them e∣minent by having their labours extant.

2. It appears from hence that Hosea must needs begin to prophesie ve∣ry young.* If hee were a Prophet 80. years, certainly hee was but young when he began first to prophesie, and yet he was set upon as great an em∣ployment as any of the Prophets were (as we shall see hereafter.) It plea∣seth God sometimes to stir up the hearts of young ones to doe him great service, he sends such sometimes about great works and employments, so he did Samuel, and Ieremiah, and Timothy, therefore let no man despise their youth.

Page  9 3. Hosea prophesying thus long,* it appeares hee lived to be old in his work. When God hath any work for men to doe, he doth lengthen out their days. So he did the days of John the Disciple, he lived near upon an hundred years, if not more, for the time of the writing of his Gospel (as it is noted) was in the 99. yeare of Christ, 66. after the Ascension. Let not us be too solicitously carefull about our lives, to maintain our healths and strengths, let us be carefull to doe our worke; for according as the Lord hath work for us to doe, so he will continue to us our health and strength, and life: when you come to dye, you may dye comfortably, having this thought in you; well, the work that the Lord sent me to doe, is done, and why should I seeke to live longer in the world? God hath others e∣nough to do his work. It was a sweet expression of Iacob, Gen. 48. 21. Behold I dye (saith he) but God shall be with you, and bring you againe unto the land of your fathers. So may the Prophets of God say that have been faithfull in their work: Behold I dye, but the Lord shall be with you, my work is finished, but God hath others that are young, to goe on in his work, that is the third Observation.

4. You may soe by Hoseas continuance in so many Kings reigns,* that hee went through variety of conditions; sometimes he lived under wicked Kings, sometimes under moderate Kings, sometimes hee had encourage∣ment from godly and gracious Kings, although they were of Iudah. Not only the people of God, but specially Gods Ministers must expect variety of conditions in the world, they must not promise to themselves always the same state.

Yet further. Hosea prophesied in all these Kings reigns. Here appears the constancy of his spirit, notwithstanding the many difficulties hee met withall in his work: for he prophesying in Jeroboams, Iotham, and A∣haz his time who were wicked Princes, surely he must meet with many discouragements; And though he continued 80. years, yet he saw but lit∣tle successe of his labour, for the truth is, the people were never converted to God by his Ministry.

Nay it is apparent that they grew worse and worse, for it is said of that Ieroboams time in which Hosea began his Prophesie, only that hee did e∣vill in the sight of the Lord, and continued in the wayes of Ieroboam the son of Nebat, 2 King. 15. 15. But after wee read most horrible things that Israel was guilty of, 2 King. 17. 17. It is said, they caused their sonnes and their daughters to passe through the fire, and used divinations, and in∣chantments, and sold themselves to doe evill in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger, besides many dreadfull things, you may read in that Chapter, Israel was grown guilty of. This vvas in King Hoshea his time, which was many years after Hosea began to prophesie, towards the end of his Prophesie.

God may continue a Prophet a long time amongst a people,* and yet they may never bee converted. It is a distemper in Ministers hearts Page  10 to think to give over their work because they see not desired successe. I re∣member Latimer in one of his Sermons, speaking of a Minister, who gave this answer, why he left off Preaching, because he saw he did no good, this says Latimer is a naughty, a very naughty answer. That we have here may be a great stay to these who have lived many years in the work of the Ministry, and yet have done little or no good. Hosea was fourscore yeers a Prophet to Israel, and yet did not convert them. Yet notwithstanding all these discouragements, he continued constant, and that with abundance of freshnesse and livelinesse when he comes to the end of his prophecying.

It is an honour to the Ministers of God,* that meet with many difficulties in their way, and with many discouragements, yet to continue fresh and lively to the very end; not to be fresh and lively only at first, as many yong Ministers are when they begin first. O how fresh are they, 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, then they grow cold, and that former vigour, freshnesse, and zeale, which appeared to be in them, comes to be a great deale flatter. Like souldiers, that at the first were forward, and active in service, but afterward come to live upon their pay, and can doe no service at all; or rather as vessels of wine, that when they are first tapped are very smart, and quick, and nimble, but at last grow exceeding flat: as we commend that vessel of wine that draws quick to the very last of all: so it is an excellent thing indeed for a Minister of God to continue fresh, and quick, and lively, to the last end. It is true, nature and naturall abilities may decay, but a spirituall freshnesse may appear, when naturall abilities are decayed. To see an old Prophet of God, that hath gone through many difficulties, and sufferings, and yet to continue fresh & lively in the work of the Ministry, and to have spirituall excellencies spar∣kle in him then, this is a most honourable sight, and calls for abundance of reverence.

Lastly, Hosea prophecyed so long that he came to see the fulfilling of his Prophesie, for he continued prophesying till Hezekiahs time, and in the sixth year of Hezekiahs reign came the destruction of Israel. Hosea had threatned an utter taking of them away, but all this while it was not done till then, and then it is most likely he saw the fulfilling of his Pro∣phesie.

It pleaseth God many times to let his Prophets see the fulfilling of their threatnings upon the people against whom they have denounced them.* Perhaps they goe away, and scorn, and contemn the Prophets, and their words are but winde with them, but God many times lets his Ministers live to see their words fulfilled upon them. For particular persons, when they are cast upon their beds of sicknesse or death, it is then ordinary for them to say, Oh 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 Jeremies time, they laughed and contemned him, but Jeremy lives to see the fulfilling of Page  11 those threatnings at last. And if they live not to see the fulfilling of their words, yet presently after their death they are fulfilled, as it was at Hippo, where Austin threatned judgements against them, they were not execu∣ted in his time, but presently after he was taken away, they came.

Yea but he did not only prophesie in these Kings dayes, but in the dayes of Jeroboam King of Israel. Here are three Questions:

1. What is the reason that Jeroboam, who in truth was the first of these Kings, that he is named last?

2. Why only one King of Israel is named, and three Kings of Judah? for besides him in the time of Hosea's prophesie there were 6. other Kings of Israel, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Peka, Hoshea.

3. Why Jeroboam is named at all?

One answer will be sufficient for the two first Questions, why Jerobo∣am is named last, and why there is but one King of Israel named. The an∣swer is this, God took no great delight in the Kings of Israel, for they had forsaken the true worship of God. Though there was much corruption in Judah, yet because they kept to the true worship of God, God took more delight in Judah then in srael. Therefore hee nameth Jeroboam in the last place, though he was first, and only him.

But why was Jeroboam named at all?

This is of great use. You shall finde that it was for this end, that you might understand what estate the people of Israel were in at this time of Hosea's Prophesie. Much you shall see is to be learned from hence. The state of the people of Israel in the time of Jeroboams reign was very prospe∣rous, though their wickednesse was very great. For if you look into 2 K. 14. you shall find there, that a little before this they had been in very great distresse, and under sore afflictions: Now in Jeroboams time they were in the greatest prosperity that ever they had been in: for this Jeroboam was not the first Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that caused Israel to sin, and was a means of the rent of these Ten Tribes from the house of David, that was 140. years and more before this; but this Jeroboam, in whose time God sent Hosea to prophesie this greatwrath against the house of Israel, was the sonne of Joash. Now in all this time this Kingdome was never in a more prosperous condition then in the dayes of this Jeroboam.

Two things are to be observed concerning the condition of this people at this time.

First, That they were a little before this in great adversity, and then af∣ter they grew upto great prosperity. For if you read that 14. Chap. of 2 Kings, you shall find that they were under sore affliction, for the Text saith, vers. 26. There was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. It is a comparison taken from Shepheards, that use to shut up their flocks when they would keep them safe from danger; but now here was such a generall desolation and wofull affliction upon Israel, that there was none shut up, nor no helper left. But then comes this Jeroboam, and it is Page  12 said, ver. 25. That he restored the coast of Israel from the entring of Ha∣math unto the Sea of the plain. And ver. 28. He recovered Damascus and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel. This Hamath that he speaks of was of great use, it was the in-let of the Assyrians, and for Je∣roboam to conquer that place, land to recover Damascus, and to add that to the Crown of Israel, which belonged to Judah, it shews that after their bitter affliction, God granted a great mercy by Jeroboams means, and that now Israel flourished greatly, and grew exceeding prosperous. There is much of Gods mind held out to us in this: As, in that the people of Isra∣el had been under sore affliction, and delivered, yet God sent Hosea to them, to shew them their horrible wickednesse, and to threaten destru∣ction.

Hence see the perversenesse of the children of men,* that after great deli∣verances granted them from bitter and sore afflictions, yet they will con∣tinue still in their wickednesse and rebellion. The Lord grant this may not be true concerning us. God hath delivered us in great measure from those sore and bitter afflictions, and heavy oppressions, under which wee lately vvere, and many gracious liberties are restored to us; Now have we not need of an Hosea to be sent unto us to rebuke us, and to threaten judg∣ment for the evill of our wayes? This is a sad thing.

Further,* God may let a sinner continue a long time in the way of his sin, and when he hath flourished many years, and thinks surely the bitter∣nesse of death is past, then God may come and threaten judgment. Jero∣boam reigned 4. years, and it cannot be but that Hosea prophesying so long after Jeroboams death, came in the latter end of Jeroboams time. Je∣roboam might think, what doth he come to contest with me, and to tell me of my sin and wickednesse, and to threaten judgment? have not I con∣tinued these 40, years King, and have prospered? and surely God hath been with me. Well, a sinner may hold out long, and yet afterward judg∣ment may come.

Thirdly,* A people in a flourishing condition, when they prosper most, and overcome their Enemies, and have all according to their hearts desire, even that may be the time for God to come out in his wrath against them. So it was here, therefore we must not judg our Enemies to be happy, nor feare them because of their flourishing estate for the present, neither let us be secure our selves because of the mercies wee enjoy. God doth not alwayes so, but sometimes he is pleased thus to deale with sinners, to stay till they be at the height of their prosperity, and then to come upon them, as here he did.

Sometimes God is more sudden, it is like Zechariah the son of this Je∣roboam thought he might venture as well as his Father, his Father prospe∣red in such wayes 41 years, and why may not I? No, God came upon him in six moneths, 2 King. 15. 8.

Fifthly, Hosea when he came to prophesie against Israel, he saw them Page  13 in their prosperity, and yet continueth to threaten judgment against them. It was a further argument of the Spirit of God that taught him, and of a speciall insight he had into the mind of God, that he should thus prophesie destruction to them when they were in the height of their prosperity. It is true, if Hosea had come afterward in Zachariah his dayes, when the Kingdome was declining; or if Hosea had pophesied in Shallums time, and others after him, then he might have seene by the working of second causes, that the kingdome was going downe indeed. No, but he comes in Jeroboams time, when there was no appearance of second causes at all of their destruction, and then prophesieth destruction unto them.

It is a sign of speciall insight the soule hath in the wayes of God,* that can see misery under the greatest prosperity. The Prophet did not think Israel in a better condition, because of their outward prosperity. A signe his prophesie was from God.

Yet further, this being in the reign of Jeroboam, when they were in great prosperity, surely their hearts were exceedingly hardned against the Prophet; and it cannot be imagined, but that they entertayned his prophe∣sie with scorn and contempt: for it is an usuall thing, when men are in the height of their pride, and in their ruffe, then like the wild asses colt, to scorn and contemn all that comes against them.

It is nothing for a Minister of God to deale plainly with people in the time of adversity, when they are down the wind, but when men are in the ruffe of their pride, and in all their jollity, to deale faithfully with them then, this is something, and thus the Prophet Hosea did.

That their great prosperity did raise up & harden their hearts with pride against the Prophet,* it appears plainly, if you will but read Amos 7. 10. (for we must finde Gods minde by comparing one place with another) there you shall find what the fruit of Jeroboams prosperity was, for Amos and Hosea were contemporary. When Amos was prophesying, Ama∣ziah the Priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam King of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee, the land is not able to beare his words. This was said of Amos, it is like that Hosea did not meet with better measure then this. Amaziah the Priest of Bethel did this. If there be any enemies against the faithfull Ministers in a place, they are the Priests of Bethel, i∣dolatrous and superstitious Ministers. And what course doe they take? They send to the King, to the Governours, O they have conspired against the King, they are seditious persons, factious men, that keep a stirre in the kingdome, and break the peace of the Church, the Land cannot bear their words. Such a message as this you see did Amaziah send concerning A∣mos; 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 12. ver. of that Chap. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, goe, flee away into the land of Judea, and prophesie there. We are not holy enough for you forsooth, we are Idolaters, we doe not worship God Page  14 aright, we are no true Church, get you to Judah among your brethren, and prophesie not any more here at Bethel, why? Because it is the Kings Chap∣pell, & it is the Kings Court. It seems then in those times, that the Kings Chappell, the Kings Court could not beare with a faithfull Prophet. And what was the ground of it, but because at this time Jeroboam prospered in his way, and the kingdome was in such a flourishing condition as it never was before? Here then was the tryall of the faithfulnesse of Hosea's spirit, yet to goe on in the work of his Prophesie.

Yet further.* In that Hosea did prophesie in the time of Jeroboam, by that it will apppear that he was the first Prophet that ever brought these hard tidings to them, of the utter destruction of Israel, It will appeare by that which is said, 2 King. 14. 27. that before this time God had not so threatned Israel; for the Text saith: The Lord said not before this time that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but hee sa∣ved them by the hand of Jeroboam the sonne of Joash. Mark, there is gi∣ven the reason why the Lord saved them by the hand of Jeroboam, because he had not yet said he would blot out the name of Israel from under hea∣ven, that is, the Lord never before sent any of his Prophets thus plainly and fully to declare his intention to them for the utter blotting out th name of Israel, upon their going on in their sins. So that it is clear, that Hosea was the first that was sent about this message. And certainly it was so much the harder, he being the first of all. For they might have said, why do you come with these new things, and in so great severity, who did ever so be∣fore you? It was a hard task: For we know if a Minister come with any thing that seems to be new, if he presents any truth to you that hath but a shew of Novelty, that you heard not before, though it be never so good aud comfortable, he shall find little encouragement. Nay if hee doe but come in a new way, as this very exercise, because it is like to goe on in a way that yet hath been disused, it will meet with many discouragements. What then will the threatnings of hard things, of judgments, and destru∣ction do when they come with novelty? Surely Hosea had a hard taske of this, and yet he went on faithfully with it.

Thus much for the time wherein Hosea prophesied.

Now to make a little entrance into the prophesie.

The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea.

Some from these words doe gather that Hosea was the first Prophet that ever was, Though it is true, we cannot gather it directly from hence, yet it is apparent, that notwithstanding Isaiah be set first, yet Hosea was before him; for if you look into the 1 Isa. you shall find that his beginning was in the dayes of Ʋzziah. Now Hosea was in the dayes of Jeroboam, and Jeroboam was before Vzziah. And this may be one reason why though I intend the whole propheticall books, yet I rather pitch upon Ho∣sea first, because indeed he was the first Prophet: it is cleare you see from the Scripture, though we cannot gather it from these words in this second verse.

Page  15 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 prophe∣sie. And what was this beginning? what did God set him about first? Mark presently the next words, he must take him a wife of whoredomes, and children of whoredomos, and so declare to the people of Israel that they had committed great whoredome departing from the Lord. The most grievous charge, and most severe and terrible expression of Gods wrath against that people that you meet with in all the book of God. This is the work Hosea must doe, and Hosea was very young when first he went a∣bout it. Now as I told you before, God sometimes calls young ones to great services; but to call a young man to this service, to goe to this peo∣ple with such a message, now in the midst of all their pride and flourish to contest with them thus, & to tel them that they are children of whore∣domes, and no longer the people of God, for what? for a young man to do this? Why, they might have said, if this came from the mouth of some old ancient Prophet, reverent for his years, and experience, it had been somewhat; but to come from a green head, for an upstart to up∣baid us with such vile things. Thus men grown old, and sodden in their sins,* are ready to reason. But let us know (my brethren) if God send any message unto us, though by young ones, he expects your entertainment of it. When God would destroy Elies house, he sends the message by young Samuel; but Eli did not reason thus, what this young boy come to speak thus malapartly to me! No, he stoops to it, Good is the word of the Lord, saith he.

Againe,*Hosea must tell them that they are children of whoredomes, and not the people of God. What for a Minister when he comes first among a people, to begin so harshly, and severely, and ruggedly, is it not bet∣ter to comply with the people, to come with gentle and aire means, to seek to win them with love? if you begin with harsh truths, surely you will make them fly off presently. Thus many do reason. Now I beseech you take heed to your own hearts in reasoning thus, Many have done so, and have sought to comply with people so long till they have complyed away all their faithfulnesse, and conscience, and vigour that before they had: When they come to great men, rich men, men in place and emmen∣cy, they will comply with such; but let them have any of Gods people in their Parish that are of a mean rank, and poor, they comply little e∣nough with them, but are harsh and bitter to them, and regard not the tendernesse of their consciences at all.

It is true. If Ministers have the testimony of their own consciences that they would take no other way but what shall be for the greatest pro∣fit of their people, maintaining such a disposition as to be willing to un∣dergoe any sufferings that God shall call them unto: they may say first when they come to a house, Peace be to this house, especially when they come to a place that hath not had the means before. But if it be to a peo∣ple Page  16 that goe directly against the light of their consciences, a super∣stitious people that cannot but be convinced, and have had many evi∣dences that it is against the mind of God, and yet only for their owne base ends will goe on and not amend; in such a case as this wee may come with harshnesse at the very first. So Paul gives a charge to Titus in dealing with the Cretians who were evill beasts and slow bellies, that he should re∣buke them sharpely,* (so wee translate it) the word in the Originall is, cuttingly.

The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. The particle which is translated [by] signifyeth [in] as well as by, it is not El, but Beth, and so it is read by some, The word of the Lord came in Hosea. This expressi∣on notes the inward and intimate converse that the Lord had with the spirit of Hosea in the work of the Ministry. The Lord spake first in Hosea, and then he speaks out unto the people. Some such expression we have concer∣ning Paul, Gal. 1. 16. That Christ may be revealed in me, not onely to me, but in me. The more inwardly God speaks, and converseth with the hearts of his Ministers, the more inwardly and efficaciously they are able to speak to the people. This is the deep preaching, when it is from the heart. And so Augustine sayes of Hosea,* because that which he spake was so deep it wrought more strongly. Hoseas Prophesie must needs be deep, for God spake in him before he spake out to the people. We say, that which com∣meth from the heart will go to the heart: Surely that which commeth from the voyce of God in the heart, will goe beyond the ears to the hearts of peo∣ple. And blessed are the people that have such Ministers that shal speak nothing to them,* but what hath first been spoken by God in them.

Againe in this second verse he comes twice with the same expression, The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, and againe, The Lord said to Hosea; and yet in the beginning of the first verse, The word of the Lord came to Hosea. Why all this, three times? All this upon good rea∣son; for Hosea was to come with a terrible message to the people, and to reprehend them with much sharpnesse, to tell them that they were the children of whoredomes, and that they had departed from the Lord, and he would have no more mercy upon them, but would utterly take them a∣way. He had need therefore have an expresse command for what he did, and to have much evidence of the Spirit, that what he said was from God, and not any thing of his owne spirit. When a Minister of God shall come and reprehend a people severely for their sins, and threaten Gods judge∣ment, let him then if ever look to it, that he hath a good ground for what he saith, that what he shall deliver may be nothing but the word of God in him, the sheer word of God, without any mixture of his owne. It is an ordinary thing in Ministers in reprehending of sinne, and denouncing of threatnings, to mingle much of their own spirit and wrath: But if at any time Ministers should take heed of mixing their own wrath, then especial∣ly when they are to denounce Gods wrath, then they should bring no∣thing Page  17 but the word of the Lord; for it being a hard message, the spirits of men will rise up against it, if they once see the spirit of the Minister in it, they will be ready to say as the devill in the possessed man, Iesus I know, & Paul I know, but who are you? So they, the word of the Lord I know, but what are you? here is your own passion, your own humour, &c. O let not any think to oppose sin with sin,*the wrath of man doth not accom∣plish the righteousnesse of God. You that are Ministers, would you have a sentence? I wil give you one; and I have done: When you are called to re∣veale Gods wrath, conceals your owne.