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 Second Lecture.*

Hosea 1. the middle of the second verse, and so on.

Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredomes and children of whoredomes: for the land hath committed great whoredome, departing from the Lord.

3. So he went and tooke Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, which conceived and bare him a son.

4. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Iezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu, & will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

5. And it shall come to passe in that day that I will break the bow of Isra∣el in the valley of Iesreel.

THE Preface to the work, and to the whole prophesie you heard the last time.* The scope of the prophesie is the very same that the scope of this Chapter is, to declare, first, The evill condition that Israel, the ten Tribes were in, in regard of their sins, and punishment that was to be execu∣ted for their sins. Secondly, Gracious promises of mer∣cy, to a remnant, to Iudah in the 7. ver. and to Judah & Israel both, from the 10. ver. to the end of the Chapter.

First,* God beginneth with conviction, to shew them their sin, and the dreadfulnesse of it.

Conviction should goe before correction. You must not presently fly in the faces of those that are under you when they crosse you: first instruct them, and then correct them, do as God did here, God would first con∣vince them of the greatnesse of their sinnes, not by verball, but by reall ex∣pressions.

Those things that come but to the eare, they doe more slowly stirre and work upon the heart, but things that are presented before the eye are more operative; and therefore Hosea must not tell them onely that they had committed whoredome, but must tell them in this way, he must goe and Page  18 take a wife of whoredomes,* and beget children of whoredomes.

In the very threshold, in the entrance of the prophesie you see we meete with a difficulty, a great difficulty. First, a command from God, from the holy God, unto a Prophet, a holy Prophet, to goe and take a wife of whoredomes; not an ordinary whore, but a most prostitute whore, for so the word signifieth,*of whoredomes, as in the Scripture phrase, a man of bloods, is a man that hath shed much blood; and a man of sorrowes, is a man that hath been exercised with many sorrows; and so a wife of whore∣domes is one that hath committed notorious whoredomes, vile whore∣domes. Yet such a wife must the Prophet take to himselfe, and his chil∣dren must be children of whoredomes too. How can this be?

S. Austin,* who had been a Manichee, having to deale much with Ma∣cichees, met with this object on, from one Faustas a Manichee, against the Old Testament,* for they denyed it: saith Faustas, that Old Testament of yours, Moses and the Prophets, is that of God? doe you not finde there a command to take a wife of whoredomes, and can this be from God?

Austin answereth it thus. Though shee had been a prostitute whore be∣fore, yet she might be reclaymed, and so shee might be called a wife of whoredomes, from that whoredome that heretofore she was guilty of, and now reclaymed. And so he thinketh that it was a reality indeed, that Hosea did take to himselfe a wife of whoredomes, and think to salve it up thus.

Theodoret is somewhat angry with those that thinke it was not really done, but done only in away of vision. I find many of our later men that are of the same minde,* that thinke there was a reality in it, that God did command Hosea to take to himselfe a wife of whoredoms, and that he did take such a wise, one that was a notorious harlot, so Arius Montanus, Pis∣cator, Pareus, Tarnovius, and others, they go that way, and they thinke to salve it only thus, that it is a command of God, and therefore though it had not been lawfull for Hosea to have done it, yet God commanding it, he might do it: As they instance in other cases that seeme to be somewhat of the like nature, as the children of Israels robbing the Egyptians, Abra∣hams killing his sonne, and the like.

If this should be so, (as many Interpreters going that way might make one to thinke it not a thing impossible) wee might learne thus much from it.

First,* that Gods command takes away all matter of offence. It would be a notorious offensive thing for a Prophet, a Minister of God to marry one that is wicked, a wicked whore; yet so farre as the offence is, Gods command is enough to take it away.* For the subject of offence is not du∣ty, but indifferency: any thing that is a duty to be done, we must goe on in it, though it be never so offensive to others, that is no rule at all to hinder us if it be a duty: but if it be a thing of indifferency, then wee must stop. Gods command takes away all plea of offence; I say not that mans com∣mand doth so, for men, even Magistrates themselves are bound not to of∣fend their brethren, as well as others.

Page  19 But then it may be said they should command nothing at all, for some or other would be offended, and shall not they command, because some weak ones may be offended?

It is true,* that which they may take upon their consciences to be their duty, that they are bound to command, and they should sin against God if they did not command it, and require obedience to it; they must doe it though never so many be offended. But in matters that they themselves acknowledge to be neither here nor there, either for Gods service or for the good of a Common-wealth, herein the rule bindeth them as well as others in regard of offences, to forbear.

2. Supposing this to be a reall thing,* we see that the Prophet must suf∣fer much in his credit before men, only to be serviceable to God for a fur∣ther expression of his mind.

All our credits,* all our names, and all we are, or have, must lie down at Gods feet to be serviceable to him in the least thing; if but in a way of ex∣pression of his mind, much more then in bearing witness to his truth.

3. This being so, wee see the way of God in putting the Prophet in the very first service upon a very difficult work:* It could not but be a thing ex∣ceeding tedious and irksome to his spirit to marry such a one, yet God put him upon it.

It is the usuall way of God, when he calleth any to great services, at the beginning, to put them to such difficult works, to try them thereby, that if they goe through them, then they may be confided in, that they will goe through more afterward.

But we shall rather take this in a way of vision, as others do; not that in∣deed Hosea did really marry such a wife, but this did appeare to him in a vision, as if such a thing were really done, onely to declare what the con∣dition of the people of Israel was at this time in respect of God: As if God should say, Hosea, this people of Israel is to mee no other then as if thou shouldest have a wife that were the most notorious whore in the world, and all their children are to me as if thy children were the children of whore∣dome and fornication. And this I conceive to be more directly the minde of God, and I will not give you my meere conception of it neither, but reasons for it why it must be so.

First,* because we find in Scripture that which is historically related, yet was done by way of vision. And it is an usuall way of Scripture to express that which is done in a way of vision, as if it were a history, as if it were re∣ally done. I will shew you two examples for this, one of Ieremy 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 speakes as if hee had been at Jerusalem. It is as fully related as this is here, and both must there∣fore needs be understood as in a way of vision. First for Ieremy, you have it Chap. 30. ver. 4. God requireth there that he should goe to Euphrates and hide his girdle there in the hole of a rocke. But this river was a river Page  20 in Babylon, and Ieremy was not in Babylon at this time, nor in all the time of the siege, nor in the time of the captivity, neither could he goe to Baby∣lon, for the City was now besieged, and when he did but assay but to go a little way to Anathoth his own Towne, he was presently taken hold up∣on as if he had been a Traytor to his Country. Therefore this which is here declared as a history, as if he had really done it, was but only done in a visi∣on. And so Ezekiel the other way, hee was at Babylon (for he was that Prophet that prophesied to the people that were carryed captive to Babylon, God sent a Prophet to them to help them there in their captivity) yet in the 8. Chapter of his Prophecie, Ezekiel seemeth to be brought to Ieremi∣ah, and he is bidden there to dig a hole in the wall to see the wicked abomi∣nations that the ancients of Israel did there. Now Ezekiel was not there, he was at Babylon all this while, but it is declared as if the thing had beene done really. So we are to understand Isaiah his going naked 20. dayes, and Ezekiels lying three hundred and ninety dayes on the one side, and 43. on the other, Ezek. 4.

2. That it was a vision and not really done,* the reason is, it was Gods command, Lev. 21. 7. That the Priest must not marry with a whore; & of all mens wives God is most careful of the wives of those that are in the work of the Ministry, that are Church Officers, therefore 1 Tim. 3. 11. when but a Deacon is described what he should be, there is his wife described too, that she should be grave, no slanderer, sober and faithful in all things. You never read that when God appointed what a Magistrate should be, what his office should be in a Common-wealth, that hee takes such care to set downe what his wife should be: But when he appointeth the lowest officer in a Church, a Deacon, he appointeth what his wife should be too. There∣fore the wives of Ministers should goe away with a lesson from hence, and know that God hath a more speciall eye to them, then to the wives of all the men in the world besides. God is tender of the credite of the offi∣cers of his Church, and so should man be; for their discredit is a hinderance to their work.

Yea further, we read Amos 7. 16. that it was threatned as a curse to A∣maziah the Priest of Bethel, that his wife should be a harlot, for resisting the Prophet: shall then the wife of Hosea be a whore? For Amos & Hosea prophesied both at the same time.

And the Scripture saith (you know the place,* 1 Cor. 11.) that the wo∣man is to be the glory of the man. What a glory should Hosea have had in such a match as this? The woman is the glory of the man, How? (for so I desire not only to open the Scripture that I read here, but as I go along and quote Scripture, so far as may be for your edification, and suteable to our argument to open there too.) In two respects she is so. 1. because it is a glory to a man that he hath such an image, for shee is from the man, and as the man being the image of God, sheweth the glory of God, because he is the image of God, and from him; so the woman being from the man, Page  21 and as it were his image, shee is the glory of the man. 2. Because man hath such an excellent creature brought under subjection to him: so the woman is the glory of the man. Man is not only made glorious by God, in that God hath put all other creatures under him, but especially in this, that God hath put such an excellent creature under him as the woman is, so the woman is the glory of the man. This could not be here in such a match as this.

3. It could not be that it was a reall thing,* but a vision from the prophesie it selfe, for then Hosea must have stayed almost a whole yeare before hee could have gone on in his prophesie: For first he must take to him a wife of whoredomes, and beget a child of whoredomes, then he must have stayed till the child had been born, before he could have come to the people and say, My child is borne, and his name is Iezreel, and it is upon this ground that I have named him thus, and then hee must have stayed almost a yeare more before he could have Locuhamah, and then after that he must stay al∣most another yeare longer before Loammi could be born.

And lastly,* that which is noted by Polanus, the expression that wee have here is, that God spake in Hosea, speaking and appearing to him by an in∣ward vision as it were in an extasie, saith Polanus; therefore we must take it so that this wife of whoredomes that Hosea was to marry, was in a way of vision, it was to signifie that Israel was to God as a wife of whoredoms, and as children of whoredomes should have been to the Prophet if he had been marryed to her.

From all these there is this result, that the people of Israel were gone a whoring from God.*

Idolatry it is as the sin of whoredome,* and I cannot open this Scripture except I shew you wherein idolatry is like the sin of whoredome: The i∣dolatry of the Church, not the idolatry of Heathens is whoredome. One that committeth adultery doth give her selfe to another: The Heathens be∣cause they were never marryed to God, their idolatry is not adultery; but the people of GDO being marryed to the Lord, their idolatry is a∣dultery.

Adultery first,* because it breaks the marriage bond, there is nothing breaks the marriage bond between God and his people but the sin of idola∣try, as not between man and wife. Though a wife may be guilty of many faylings, and be a grievous trouble and burthen to her Husband, yet these doe not breake the marriage knot except she defile the marriage bed:* So though a people may be guilty of notorious and vile sins, yet if they keep the worshp of God pure, they are not guilty of whoredome, but still God is marryed to them.

2. Whoredome is a loath some thing,* though delightsome to men, yet loathsome to God: Idolatry is so, therefore the Scripture calleth the Idols that men set up by a name that signifieth the very excrement that comes from creatures,*Ezek. 22. 3. Idolaters think their way of idol-worship Page  22 to be very delightsome. but that which they call delectable, God calleth detestable, so you shall find it if you compare these two Scriptures, Isa. 44. 9. they call their Idols delectable things; but in Ezek. 5. 11. God calleth them detestable things. Idolatry is a detestable loathsome thing.

3. There is nothing wherein a man is so irreconcileable as in the point of the marriage bed,* the defiling of that by adultery causes an irreconcilea∣ble breach. Jealousie is the rage of a man, and he will take no ransome. There is nothing wherein God is so reconcileable to a people, as in the point of false worship.

4. Adultery is a besotting sinne.*Whoredome and new wine take away the heart,* saith the Prophet: and in that 44. Isa. 19. there, saith God, he hath no understanding to consider and say, What, have I not taken one part and roasted flesh with it, and with another part have baked bread up∣on the coales, and warmed my selfe with another part, and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination, and fall downe to the stock of a tree? Hee hath no understanding to consider this. Idolatry is a besotting sin as well as adultery. And therefore we need not marvail though-men of great parts and abilities continue in their superstitious way of worship, for no∣thing besotteth mens hearts so much as that doth.

Againe 5.* Whoredome is a most dangerous sinne. Wee have a most dreadfull place for that, Prov. 22. 14. The mouth of a strange woman is as a deep pit; heth at is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. Oh most dreadfull place to an Adulterer! if there be any Adulterer in this place this day, when thou goest home turn to that Scripture, and let it be as a dart to to thy heart, the mouth of a strange woman is as a deep pit; he that is ab∣horred of the Lord shall fall therein; A signe of a man abhorred of God, and so is Idolatry, for in 2 Thes. 2. 11, 12. God gave them over to believe a lye that they might be damned. Those that follow the Idolatries of An∣tichrist are given over by God to beleive a lye, That lye of Popery is alto∣gether one lye. Hence it is that the Popish party invent so many such strange lyes, all to uphold that great lye. What is this? that they might be damned. It is a dreadfull dangerous sin the sinne of Idolatry, though they think they please God in and by such wayes of worship, yet they are given over by God that they may be damned. If this prove to be a place that concerns those that follow Antichrist, & if Rome proves to be so as by that place is described, it is a dreadfull place to all Papists.

Again,* Whores use to deck themselves up in pompous attyre, in dainty, glorious rayment. So idolaters use to deck up their Idols in bravery, and lavish gold (as the Scripture speaks) upon their Idols; whereas the Kings daughter is all glorious within, and the simplicity of the Gospel will not permit such things.

And lastly,* as whores, though they goe a whoring from their Husbands, yet still they retain (before the divorce) the name of wives, and their chil∣dren (though bastards) retaine the name of children, and beare the fathers Page  23 name: So Idolaters, they will retain the name of the Church, 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 children of whoredomes?* for suppose his wife were a wife of whoredomes,* yet being marryed to her, wherefore should the children be called children of whoredomes?

To that is answered first,* some think upon this ground, because the chil∣dren when they are grown up would ollow the way of the Mother, as it is an usuall thing for children to doe. Therefore you need to take heed how you enter into the state of marriage for your childrens sake, for they will follow the way of the Mother.

Or rather this, because though they were begotten after marriage, yet they will ye under suspition as those that are illegitimate; the children of one that hath been a whore are always suspected, and so in repute they are the children of whoredome and fornication: so saith God, these people are to me as if their children were accounted the children of fornication.

For the whole land hath gone a whoring from the Lord.

In going a whoring they goe a whoring:* Or as Arius Montanus reads it, In going a whoring they will goe a whoring. They not only Have, but Will, they are set upon it, they are stout-hearted in the way of Idolatry, and it is the land that hath done it, the people of the land.

But why the land?

It is a secret check to them, and upbraiding them for their unthankful∣nesse, that when God gave them so good a land, the land of Canaan, that flowed with milk and honey, the land of promise, that was given to them for that end to nourish up the true worship of God, yet they made this land of God, this land of promise to be a land to nourish up most vile Idolaters.

Gone a whoring from the Lord.

From Jehovah.

The more worthy the Husband is,* the more vile and odious the adultery of the Wife. What, to goe a whoring from God, the blessed God, in whom is all beauty and excellency, and turn to blind Idols? What, change the glory of the invisible God, into the similitude of an Oxe that eateth grasse? with what indignation doth God speak it? Oh you that go a who∣ring after your sinfull lusts, this one day will lye most dreadfully upon your consciences, that it was from the Lord that you departed, from that infi∣nite glorious eternall Deity, the fountain of all good, to cleaye to whoring after base, sinfull, and unclean lusts.

Who is this whore? and what are the children that are begotten to Ho∣sea by her?

So he went, saith the Text, He obeyeth,

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

He tooke Gomer the daughter of Diblaim.

The word Gomer, here, commeth from a word that signifieth perficere,Page  24 and defiere, perfection & defection: and so it may be applyed both ways. Some apply it to perfection, that is, a harlot that was perfect and compleat both in her beauty, and in her fornication and wickednesse. The word likewise signifieth rottennesse, corruption, and consumption: so indeed are all things in the world; as soon as they grow to any perfection, they be∣gin to decline quickly to corruption. All things but spirituall do so, they in∣deed grow still higher and higher.

This Gomer we will take rather in the second acceptation of it, as it signi∣fieth rottennesse and consumption.

Who was this Gomer?

She was the daughter of Diblaim.

The signification of that is (according to so me) one that dwelleth in the desart, in reference to that famous desart Diblath, of which we read Ezek. 6. 14. noting the way of Idolaters, that they were wont to goe into woods and desarts, and there to sacrifice to their Idols.

But rather, according to most, Diblaim signifieth bunches of dryed figs that were the delicacies of those times, so Oecolampadius, from which hee hath this note,

That rottennesse and corruption proceedeth from voluptuous pleasures, from delicacies,* and the like. Though the pleasures of the flesh be very contentfull to you, yet destruction is the fruit of them; destruction is the daughter of sensuall pleasures and delights, of all your delicacies, so saith the Scripture, Rom. 8. 13. If you live after the flesh you shall dye. Phil. 3. ult. whose God is their belly, whose end is destruction.

But to apply it to Israel. Israel was as Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, that is, the people of Israel were now neare to destruction, and were the daughters of sensuall delights, they gave over themselves to sensuall delights and pleasures.

It is the usuall way of Idolaters, those that forsake the true worship of God to give up themselves to the pleasures of the flesh. Sensuality and I∣dolatry doe usually goe together. When the people of Israel sacrificed to the calves, what did they? They eate and dranke, and rose up to play, that was all their worke, and good enough for the worshipping of such a god, a calfe.

You know the more we began to decline in the worship of God, we began to be so much the more sensuall, there must be Proclamation to people to take their sports and delights upon the Lords day; And indeed it is that which doth usually accompany defection in the way of Gods wor∣ship. False worship doth not lay such bonds upon mens consciences for the mortifying the lusts of the flesh, as the worship of God doth. Therefore those men that love most to take liberty to the flesh, they are those that are soonest enticed to ways of superstitious worship.

Jerem. 24. 9. there Jeremy setteth out the state of those naughty Jewes that were in Captivity by that similitude of a basket of rotten figs, sutable Page  25 to this, and the more confirming this interpretation, that Israel was as Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, that is, rottennesse, the daughter of sen∣suality.

Thus for the Mother. But now the son that is begotten of this mother, it is Iezreel.

Call his name Iezreel.

The Prophet must give a name to his son. It is that which belongeth to Parents to give names to their children. Godfathers and Godmothers (as they call them) are of no use for this, or for any thing else that I know; and in such holy things as Sacraments are, we must take heed of bringing in any unusefull, any idle things.

But here we are to enquire, First, the signification of this name, Second∣ly, the reason why the son of Hosea must be callied by this name, Iezreel. You shall find a great deale in this before we have done with it.

For the first,*Iezreel signifies the scattered of the Lord.

For the second, there are five reasons may be given why the sonne of this Prophet must have this name put upon him, Iezreel.

First, that hereby God might shew that he did intend to avenge that blood that was shed in Iezreel.

Secondly, to shew that Israel had lost the honour of his name, and was no more Israel, but Jezreel. There seemeth to be much neernesse be∣tween the name Israel, and Jezreel, but there is a great deale of difference in the signification, for Israel is one that prevaileth with God, the strength of the Lord, Jezreel is one that is scattered by the Lord. Israel hath lost the honour of his name.

Many out-live the honour of their names and reputations.* These tenne Tribes are no more worthy to be called by the name of Israel, their famous Progenitor, but now Jezreel, the scattered of the Lord.

Thirdly,*Jezreel, to shew the way that God intended to bring judge∣ment upon these ten Tribes. And what was it? The way should be by scat∣tering, God would scatter them.

It is a speciall way of Gods bringing judgement upon a Kingdome,* by scattering of them. We read, that when Micaiah saw the destruction of Ahab and his people, he had this vision, I saw (saith he, 1 King. 22. 17.) all Israel scattered one from another as sheep that have no shepheard. There is a two-fold scattering;* A scattering among our selves in wayes of division, and a scattering by the Enemy one from another to flie for our lives. The one part of this judgement (the Lord be mercifull to us) is up∣on us already, and in this sense we may be called Jezreel. Oh how is our Kingdome divided! how is it scatted? The Lord keepe us from the other scattering, that wee be not scattered one from another, by being forced to flye for our lives before the Enemy. It is just with God that if wee scatter our felves sinfully by way of division, that God should scatter us in his wrath to our destruction, by giving us up to our Enemies. If we love scat∣tering, Page  26 if we delight in division, we may soon have scattering enough, there may soon be divisions far enough one from another.

4. Call his name Jezreel,* to note that the Lord would scatter them e∣ven in that very place where they did most glory, as they did in the valley and city of Jezreel, they did much glory in that place (as you shall hear afterward) But God would scatter them even in that place in which they did so much boast.

And lastly,*Jezreel, because the Lord would hereby shew that he would turne these conceits and apprehensions that they might have of themselves, quite the contrary way. As thus, Jezreel, it signifieth indeed scattered of the Lord, but it signifieth also the seed of the Lord, or sowen of the Lord: and so the Jewes were ready to take the name Jezreel, and would be con∣tent to own it, because it signified the seed of God; And hence it commeth to signifie scattered too, because that seed is to be scattered when it is sown: And hence it was that they might glory so much in that name. Oh! they were the seed of the Lord, in an abiding condition, as being sowen by the hand of God himselfe: No, saith God, you are mistaken, I doe not call you Jezreel upon any such tearms, because you are sowen of mee, but quite the other way, because you shall be scattered, and come to be destroy∣ed by me.

It is the usuall way of God to turne those things which men take as argu∣ments for their comfort to their confusion.*Haman who made such an in∣terpretation of the action of Esters inviting him to the banquet alone with the King, the truth is the right interpretation of it had been that it was to his destruction: and so here, whereas they might make such an interpreta∣tion of Iezreel, as that they were the seed, the sowen of the Lord, the true interpretation is, that they are the scattered of the Lord.

All these five reasons you have either in the nearenesse of the name Israel with Iezreel, or otherwise in the words that follow after.

For yet a little while I will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu, and cause to cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

Here now wee come to that which is the maine in this Scripture; And these foure questions are of great use, and will tend much to edification.

1. What is this blood of Iezreel that God will avenge?

2. Why God will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu?

3. Why is it called the house of Iehu, and Iehu alone without the addi∣tion of the name King, as it is usuall in others, as Hezekiah King of Iu∣dah, and such a one King of Israel, but here only the house of Iehu.

4. What is this little while God speaks of? yet a little while.

The words are read I suppose ordinarily, and past over as if there were little in them, but you shall finde that there is much of the minde of God held out to us in them.

For the first then, What was the blood of Jezreel that here God threat∣neth 〈◊〉?

Page  27 You may read the History of it in 2 King. Chap. 9, 10, 11. (for the way of opening the Prophets is to compare them with the Scriptures that went before) read those Chapters and you shall find what this blood was. It was the bloud of the house of Ahab, the bloud of Iezabel, the bloud of the 70. sons of Ahab, whose heads the Elders of Iesreel sent to Iehu in baskets. This was the bloud that was shed here in this place, which God saith he will aveuge.

God will certainly avenge bloud, and if God will avenge the bloud of Ahab,* he will surely avenge the bloud of Abel; if the bloud of Iesabel then surely the bloud of Sarah; if the bloud of Idolaters, then the bloud of his Saints.* Oh what vengeance then doth hang over that Antichrist, for all the bloud of the Saints that hath been spilt by him! the scarlet whore hath dyed her selfe with this bloud, yea and vengeance will come for that bloud that hath been shed of our brethrens in Ireland upon any whosoever have been instrumentals in it great or small: Certainely the righteous God will not suffer that wicked and horrid work to goe unavenged, even here upon the earth. Let us wait a while, and we may live to see that time whrein 〈◊〉 shall not only be said by the voice of faith, but by the voyce of sense itselfe, Verily there is a God that judgeth the earth.

But why will God avenge the blood of Iesreel upon the house of Iehu?*

Indeed this to an outward view at first is one of the strangest things wee have in all the book of God. If you compare this place here in Hosea with other Scriptures, you shall find that it is a strange thing that ever it should be said that the Lord would avenge the blood of Iesreel upon the house of Iehu. For in 2 King. 9. 7. you shall finde that Iehu was anointed by the Lord on purpose for that action, to shedd that bloud, and he had a com∣mand from God, he was bidden to goe and shed it, and the holy oyle was poured upon him, for that end that he might shed that bloud; yet now this bloud must be avenged, and avenged upon the house of Iehu. Yea Chap. 10. v. 30. you shall find that God saith, because he had done such a thing, & shed the bloud of the house of Ahab in Jesreel, that he would reward him for it, and that his children to the fourth generation should sit upon the throne of Israel, and governe that Kingdome. Now that which Jehu was anointed to doe, that which he was commanded to doe, that for which God afterward rewarded him for doing; now God saith he will avenge it, and avenge it upon his house. What should be the rea∣son of this?

There are three reasons why God would avenge this bloud upon the house of Jehu.*

First, Because though Jehu did it, yet he rather looked at himselfe and his owne ends than at God in it, his ayme was to get the Kingdome to himselfe, but he never aymed at God in the work, therefore God saith hee will avenge it upon his house.

2. Because though he did that which God set him about; yet he did it Page  28 but by halves. Indeed he destroyed Ahabs house, but he should have de∣stroyed Ahabs Idolatry too, but he did not doe that, and therefore now God commeth upon him.

Yea 3.* Though he were made Ahabs executioner for his Idolatry, yet he proved Ahabs Successor in his Idolatry. He was Gods rod in punish∣ing Ahab, but he yet continued in the sinnes that Ahab did commit there∣fore now God saith, hee will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.

From hence we have most excellent observations, that doe spring natu∣rally as a fountaine bubleth up fresh and springing water. I will but only shew them to you, and so passe them over.

First,* That a man may doe that which God commandeth, and yet not obey God. He may doe that which God would have done, and yet not please God. He may doe what God requireth, and yet serve him∣selfe therein, and not God.

Secondly,* A carnall heart is contented to goe so farre in Gods com∣mands as will serve his owne turne, but there hee stoppeth. So farre as might serve the bringing up of Iehu to the Crowne of Israel,* to the set∣ting of him on the Throne, so farre hee goeth in the way of Gods com∣mand, but no further. Such a heart is like to the hand of a rusty dyall: Suppose a rusty dyall hath the hand stand (as now) at tenne of the clock, come and looke upon it now, and it seemeth to goe right, but it is not from any inward right frame of the clocke it doth so, but by accident; for stay till after tenne, and come againe at eleven or twelve and it stan∣deth still as before at tenne. So let God command any thing that may hit with a mans owne ends, with his owne way, and be sutable to him, and a man seems to be very obedient to God; but let God goe on further, and require something else, something that will not serve his turn, that will not agree with his owne ends, and here God may seek for a servant, as for him he will goe no further.

Thirdly,* God knoweth how to make use of mens parts and abilities, and yet to punish for their wickednesse notwithstanding.

Jehu was a man of an excellent, brave, valiant, and quicke spirit, full of activity and courage, and God would make use of this for the de∣struction of the house of Ahab, yet Jehu must not scape.

Many men that have excellent parts of learning and state policy, which God may make use of for the pulling downe his proud adversaries, yet God may punish them afterward notwithstanding,

Many that have but weake parts, and can doe but little, shall be accep∣ted of God: and others that have strong parts and can doe much, shall be punished by God. Wee read Revel. 12. 16. The earth helped the wo∣man, yet Chap. 16. 1. The vialls of Gods wrath were poured forth upon the earth; men may be usefull for the publique, and yet not freed from the 〈◊〉 of God.

Page  29 Fourthly, The Lord knowes how to make use of the sins of wicked men for his owne ends, to further his owne counsels, yet no excuse to them,* but his curse will come upon them at last for those sinnes,* God knoweth how to make use of the proud heart and ambitious spirit of Jehu for that end to fulfill his purpose against the house of Ahab, and yet afterward when God hath done with him, hee commeth against Jehu with a Judge∣ment.

There are many whose lusts being strong, yet God over-ruleth them for himselfe, and overpowreth them for the furtherance of his own ends. Ma∣ny a Scholler who through the meere pride of his heart will study hard and preach very often and well, God makes use of that for the good of others, and yet the Minister may be damned himselfe,

A fifth Observation, God may sometimes reward a worke here in this world,* yet may curse a man for the worke afterward.* Many there are that doe some outward service for God, and perhaps rejoyce in it, and thinke that God must needs accept of them: what they? they have been excellent men in the Common-wealth, they have stood for Ministers, they have been forward in a good cause. Well, thou hast done these; hath not God rewarded thee? hast thou not health of body, and strength? looke upon thy estate, art not thou blessed there? looke upon thy table, thy wife and children, art not thou blessed there? Thou hast thy peny for what thou hast done. But yet after thou hast had thy pay here in this world for what thou hast done, God may curse thee hereafter even for the sinfulnes of thy heart in that work which for the matter of it was good. God may reward thee for the matter of thy work, but curse thee for the manner of it.

6. It is a most dangerous thing for men to subject the workes of God to their own base ends,* specially the publique works of God, when a man is called to publique services, if he subject that to his owne base ends, God will be sure to be even with him for that. The more excellent any worke is, the more dangerous it is to subject it to a lust. It is an evill thing to make use of meate, and drink, and cloath, to be serviceable to our lusts; but to make use of the great works of God, suppose he calls us to publique servi∣ces, to make these stoop and be serviceable to your base lusts, must needs be grievous indeed. It is a thing accounted burthen enough for the basest ser∣vant that is, to be serviceable to some base lust of his Master; but if the Mr. should make his wife serviceable to his filthy uncleanenesse, oh what a vi∣lany were that! So I say, the greater the thing is any man makes serviceable to his lust, the more vile and the more dangerous is the sinne. Hearken to this you that are professors o Religion. The drunkard he makes beer ser∣viceable to his lust, and hee shall bee damned for that: but you make the worship of God, Prayer, and hearing, and fasting, &c. serviceable to your lust, oh what shall become of you▪ A base wretch that sitteth tipling in an Alehouse you account vile, but it is but a poore creature that hee subjects to his base lust; but a Minister or a Magistrate subjects things of a higher na∣ture to their lusts, oh this is exceeding vile.

Page  30 We had need (my brethren) all pray earnestly for those whom God employeth in publique works, that they may not only have strength to as∣sist them, and successe in them, but that they may have hearts to give God all the glory of them; for though they may doe never so worthily for God in the Church or in the Common-wealth, yet if they be not carefull to give God all the glory, God will curse them at last notwithstanding.

Further,*Jehu doth somewhat which God commanded him, but not all. We learn from hence, that when but halfe the work is done, God cur∣seth the whole for our neglect of the other halfe.* I remember Master Cal∣vin upon this place, likeneth Jehu unto King Henry the 8. Henry the 8. saith he, cast off some degree of Popery so farre as would serve his owne turne, but there were the five Articles in force still, for which many suffe∣red 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, & therefore all our hearts must make out after God. God must have perect obedience in the desire and endeavour, or else he will have none. Certainly that which must make a∣ny man acceptable, it is not so much that there is somewhat done, but is there that which God calleth for done? or is it done in regard of the en∣deavour? for that indeed will be acceptable: though we cannot doe all at once, but it we bring somewhat to God as a part, and acknowledge the debt as the whole, and so are working for the other, it will be accepted. As suppose a man owes you an hundred pound, and bringeth you but fifty pound in part of payment, yet if he acknowledg the rest, and promise the payment of it., if you know hee will be faithfull in the payment of the o∣ther he will accept of it: But if a man bring you fourscore pound in liewe of all, you will not accept it. So it is here, Hypocrites they say they cannot be perfect in his 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 labourst after the whole, hee would accept of it: But if thou bringest him ten times more then a sincere heart can bring him, it will not be acceptable, no not ninety nine pounds will be accepted if brought in stead of the whole. God must have a man according to his own heart, such an one as David; you know what was said of David,*I have found a man after mine own heart that shall fulfill all my wills, for so the words are in the Originall, not all my will, but all my wills, in the plurall number.

Again,*Jehu did but half, and the worst half too, and therfore God com∣meth upon him. For the great care of Jehu was only to reform things in the State and Kingdom, and theerfore that indeed he did throughly, he alte∣red the way of government from the house of Ahab, and set up another government. But for the matter of the worship of God, hee cared not what became of that, still the calves continued in Dan and Bethel, hee tooke no care that the people of Israel should goe up to Jerusalem, the place that God had appointed to worship him in a right way. This is that for which God thus cursed him and his house.

Page  31 It is a very evill thing in Reformers who have power in their hands, to be more carefull of the State then of the Church; to be more carefull of af∣fairs in civill policy,* than of affairs in Religion, who are affraid to meddle with Religion, for feare of hinderances in their civill policy, to be so time∣rous in fearing disturbances in civill policy, that they will sacrifice Religion for it, and let that goe which way it will: This is an evill thing, and a bitter. Or if they doe reform in the Church, yet to reforme only that which is no∣toriously evil and vile; so far Jehu went, he destroyed the Priests of Baal, but not the Priests of Dan and Bethel: the Idols of Baal were destroyed, but the Idols of Dan and Bethel were kept still. It is the speech of the Phi∣losopher in his Politiques, when he giveth a rule of policie.*

First, the care of Divine things must be, and that is the best policy. Po∣liticians must trust God in the way of policy, & take care of Divine things first. Yea, and goe to a through Reformation too; for Jehu did some∣thing in Religion, but left other things therefore God cursed him.

Men must take heed of betraying, of sacrificing the cause of God for the maintenance of State Policy; let them be never so excellent in their way, yet if they doe thus, God will blast them.

Yet further,*Jehu saw the danger of that wicked and abominable sin of Idolatry in others, but he could not see it in himselfe. What peace (said hee to Ioram) so long as the whoredomes of thy mother Iezebel continue? What peace? Then what peace Iehu, so long as the whoredomes of Isra∣el continue afterwards? This is ordinary (my brethren) for men to see a great deale of evill and danger in the sins of others, but when they should come to themselves, to be blind there; to inveigh against the sinnes of other men, when they seem to be far off from 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 exceeding severe against Witch-craft, all the Witches in Israel must be put to death: but when Saul had use of a Witch for his lust, he himselfe goeth to the Witch of Endor.

In the tenth place, Jehu thought by retaining the calves in Dan and Be∣thel,* to preserve the Kingdome to his posterity, and this proved the ruine of his posterity. Those wayes of sinfull policie by which many think to raise their houses or themselves, are the meanes of the ruine of them. Hee that walks uprightly, walks surely.

Lastly, Iehu doth thus, and God punisheth Iehu because hee continued* in the same sin that Ahab was punished for. This is of excellent use, speci∣ally to Magistiates; and indeed it is a dreadfull place to Magistrates, if con∣sidered of. Let them who are used to punish the sins of others, take heed what they doe,* lest they be found guilty themselves; for if they bee found guilty, God will plague them, as if they did the greatest act of injustice that can be: As for instance, Suppose a Magistrate should take away the life of a man lawfully for that which God would have him take it away: yet if this Magistrate should be guilty of the same sin, or that which amounteth to the Page  32 same sin, God will avenge himselfe upon this Magistrate, as upon a Mur∣therer, as here, God revengeth himselfe upon the house of Iehu as for murther, yet Iehu was a Magistrate, and this was commanded Iehu by God himselfe. So suppose a Magistrate fine a man for any evill, and that justly, yet if he be guilty of the same himselfe, God will deal with this Ma∣gistrate as if he robbed by the high way side, and took away a mans mo∣ney by violence. It is apparent out of the Text. Certainely my brethren, therefore great wrath and vengeance hangeth over the head of wicked Ma∣gistrates. All this you learn from what is here said, that God will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, upon the inquiring into the rea∣son of it.

And he will doe this upon the house of Iehu, (that is the third Question.)

What is the house of Iehu?

That is his Posterity,* his Family that was to succeed. And indeed it was to the fourth generation till God came against him, (as we shall heare by and by) God followeth wicked men to the 3. and 4. generation.

The posterity of the ungodly,* specially Idolaters, shall suffer for their Fathers sin. It is very observable what you have in the second Comman∣dement, that God in no other doth threaten the sinne of the fathers upon the children, but in the second Commandement.

What is thereason of this?

(That Commandement forbiddeth Images) Because your superstitious worshippers of all men are strengthened by the tradition of their Fathers. Oh our Fathers did thus and thus, and shall we be wiser then our Fore-fa∣thers? We have now a company of up-start men, and they will be wiser then their Ancestors. Because superstitious worshippers harden them∣selves so much in that way upon their Fathers, therefore it is, that in that ve∣ry Commandement against making and worshipping of Images, God threatneth to visite the sinne of the fathers upon the children, and in no other.

What, the house of Iehu, after Iehu was dead? how can this be?

Yes,* as a Prince that hath to doe with two Traitors, both of them have deserved death, but the Prince is enclined to shew mercy; and against the one there commeth this Accusation, This mans Father was a Traytor, and his grand-father, and his great grand-father were Traytors: Nay then let him dye, saith the Prince. But now the other that is guilty of as much as this man was, yet it is told the King, Sir, This mans Fathers hath done a great deale of excellent fervice for the Common-wealth, there were never any of his house but were loyal. This man now is spared though hee deser∣veth death, and guilty with the other of the same treason; and the King is just in this. And so the first man may be said to dye for his Fathers sinne, that is, he should not have been executed if his Fore-fathers had not been in the fault. Take heed what you doe in the course of your lives, (if you re∣gard not your selves, yet for your childrens sake) that you may not leave a Page  33 curse behind you upon the off-spring of your loins, and fruit of your wombs; look upon them, pity them. Though you your selves may escape in this world, yet you may leave the inheritance of your sinnes unto your children. Pity your children, that they may not have cause to curse the time that they were borne of such parents, and wish that they had rather been of the off-spring of Dragons, and a generation of Vipers, then to be born of such parents that have left them a curse for an inheritance. It had been better you had left them never a peny, then to leave them to inherite the curse of your wickednesse.

Ʋpon the house of Jehu. The house of Jehu fareth the worse for Jehu.

Those that desire to raise and continue the honour of their houses,* let them take heed of wayes of wickednesse; for wickednesse will bring down any Family whatsoever.

But why is it The house of Jehu,* without any addition of Jehu the King as in others it is usual?

Hereby God would give a check to Jehu, and bid him look back upon the meannesse of his birth,* for Jehu was not of the Kingly race: yet how unthankfull was he who was raised from the dung-hill, thus unworthily to depart from the Lord.

You whom God hath raised up on high to great honours and estates,* look back to the meannesse of your beginning, that God hath raised you from, and labour to give him an answerable return of obedience. Those that will not give God the glory of their honours and estates, it is just their honors and estates should be taken from them.

But what is this,*Yet a little while?

This is to be understood in reference to Jehu,* or in reference to the house of Israel. Yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel. It was a long while before God came upon the house ol Jehu, and yet now he saith, yet but a little while, I will stay but a little longer ere I avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu. It was now the third generation since Iehu committed those sins, nay, it will appeare that it was above an hundred years from the sinnes of Iehu to Gods avenging the blood of Iez∣reel upon his house:* for Iehu raigned 28. years, his sonne Iehoahaz 17. years, and Iehoash his sonne 16. years, and Ieroboam his son 41. yeares, and then in the days of Zachariah the son of this Ieroboam, God came to avenge this blood, which was above a hundred years. Oh the patience of the Lord towards sinners! But though he stayed long, yet he saith, yet a little while. Here is an excellent observation from hence.

That God sometimes commeth upon sinners for their old sins, for sins committed a long time agon:* Sins a long time agone committed, are per∣haps forgotten by you, yet they are remaining, filed up, and recorded in heaven, above a hundred years after the commission. It is like these sinns of Iehu were forgotten, yet God commeth now at last to avenge the sins Page  34 of Iehu upon his house. So he did for the sins of Manasses, and for the sins of Iosephs brethren, it was 22. years before they came to have their consciences troubled, and then say they, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, therefore is this distresse come upon us, and now (saith Reu∣ben) behold also his blood is required.*

Looke to your selves you that are young, take heed of youthfull sinnes, Youthful sins may prove to be ages terrors. Perhaps you think it was a grat while agone that you (when you were a young man) were in fuch a Ta∣verne, or in such a journey, and committed such and such sins: Have you repented for them? Have you made your peace with God for them? Though you were then young, and did not fear the wrath of God to come upon you; yet now you are old, the wrath of God may come upon you for sinnes committed in your Apprentiship.*A sinner of a hundred years old shall be accursed.

Yet a little while. In reference to the house of Israel: Yet a little while and I will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel: This Nation had con∣tinued a pompous successfull Nation (thoughidolatrous) for about 260. years before the wrath of God came upon it that was here threatned.

God may come a long time after the flourishing of a Nation upon it in wayes of judgement.* Which may make us look back to the sins commit∣ted in Henry the 8, his time, and in Queen Maries time. Let us not plead for our fore-fathers for the maintenance of superstitious worship, but let us look to the sins of our fore-fathers, and bewaile them before the Lord, for God may come upon a Nation for former sins after it hath flourish∣ed a long time.

But at length it will prove but a little while.* What, was it but a little while from the beginning of this Prophesie till the ceasing of the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

Yes (my brethren) it was many yeares.* and it is very observable that from the beginning of this Prophesie) which was in the end of the raign of Jeroboam) to the rulfilling of what was here threatned, to the ceasing of the Kingdome of the house of Israel, it was 76. years. For (as I reckoned the last day, to shew the time of Hoseas Prophesie) from the end of Jero∣boam here spoken of, ver. 1. unto the time of Hezekiah was 70. yeares, and in the 6. yeare of Hezekiah Israel was destroyed by the King of As∣syria, and yet God saith here by Hosea (which was in the time of Jerobo∣am, for then was the beginning of Hoseas Prophesie, as ver. 1.) Yet a lit∣tle while.

Seventy six years is but a little while in Gods account.* Sinners thinke either in wayes of judgement or mercy, a little while to be a great while. If God do but defer mercy seven yeares, it is a great while in our account. We think our Parliament hath sate a long time; How long? almost two yeares. A great while! Wee think every day a great while, for that wee would faint have but 76. years, yea a hundred, a thousand years are but as Page  35 one day unto God. So for judgement: a sinner if hee hath committed a sinne seven years agoe, he thinketh it is a great while, and he hath not heard of it, thereforre surely it is forgotten. But what if it be seventy years agoe? you that are sinners of seventy yeares old, all is but a little while in regard of God.

Againe, Yet a little while.

The apprehension of a judgement just at hand is that which will stir the heart, and worke upon it most. Yet a little while, and God will cause the kingdome to cease,* therefore if ever you repent, repent now, for it is but a little while ere God will cause the kingdome to cease. The apprehension of a sinner to be upon the brink of judgment, when a poore soule shall see him selfe ready to lanch into the infinit ocean of eternall destruction, to lie under the scalding drops of the wrath of the Almighty; this works upon the heart indeed.

It is the way of the flesh and the divell to put far from us the evill day, to make us believe the day of death is a great way off. But it is the way of God to present things present and reall; and in this consisteth the efficacy and power of faith to make things that are to come as if present.* Wee say in nature, there must be a contiguity and neernesse between things that must work. So wee must apprehend a neernesse between the evill that is to come upon us and our selves, that so it may work upon our hearts. An excellent place you have to this purpose in 1 King. 14. 14. where the Lord threatneth to stir up a King over Israel who should cut off the house of Ie∣roboam that day;*but what? (saith he, he presently calleth back his word) even now: you may think the day a great way off, but it is even now: and therefore now come in, return, and repent. Oh sinners consider that your danger is now, not only in that day of Christ, but what? even now, it may be at hand.

Lastly, Yet a little while. Jeroboam had continued above forty yeeres in his sin, but now Zachariah his son, upon whom this threatning was ful∣filled, continued but six moneths, perhaps he thought to escape as long as his father. No,

God suffereth some sinners to continue long,* others he cutteth off pre∣sently: 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 Kingdome of Israel.

Kingdomes,* great Kingdomes and Monarchies are subject to change, What is become of all the glorious Monarchies in the world? how hath the Lord tossed them up and downe as a man would tosse a ball? Idolatry is enough to destroy the greatest Monarchy, the greatest Kingdome in the world.

But here is some instruction in the elegancy of the word.* It is in the O∣riginall, I will cause to cease. It is a Metaphor (according to some) ta∣ken from instruments that a man makes use of for a while, and when hee Page  36 hath done with them, either hangs them up against a wall and regards them no more, or else bringeth them to the fire to be burned. So saith God, yet a little while, and I will cause to cease, &c. As if he should say, Indeed there was a time wherein I had some use of this way, of the rent be∣tween Judah and Israel, and of this Kingdome, but I have done with that use, there is an end of it now, the use is over I intended, & now I will cause to cease the Kingdome, I will take them away, they shall be to mee as an instrument not to be used any more, or for the Fire.

When the Lord hath any use of a people,* or of any particular men to do him service, he will preserve them though they be wicked, and when he hath done with them, he either layes them aside, or else brings them to the fire. A Husband-man so long as he hath use of thornes to stop a gap with them, he lets them alone, but when there shall be no further use of them, he then bring them to the fire. so God here, I will cause to cease the King∣dome of the house of Israel.

But how and where will God cause to cease the Kingdome of Israel?

Vers. 5. I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

By breaking the bow, is here meant the blasting and bringing to nothing all the strength of their warlike power, all their Armes and Ammunition, for the bow was a great warlike instrument in these dayes, therefore in Psal. 46. 9. He makes wars to cease, he breaks the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, &c.

But here, by breaking the bow, there is something more, it is not onely mentioned because the bow is a warlike instrument, but there is some par∣ticular reason why the bow is instanced here, and that is this, because whereas Jehu did many memorable things in his warlike affairs, yet none more then that he did by his bow. Mark that place, 2 King. 9. 24. And Iehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jeroboam between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, &c. So that the victory that Jehu got ever the two Kings of Israel and Iudah, was by the Bow especi∣ally. What observe we from hence?

That wherein wicked men have been most prosperous and succesful,* e∣ven in this God will curse them, and let out his wrath upon them.

Againe, Breake the bow, blast all the power of their Ammunition.

Carnal hearts trust much in their warlike weapons,* but they are nothing when God commeth to break a peoples strength. God hath the power of all Ammunition, the Lord is called The Lord of Hosts, (and he delighteth much in this title) First, because God hath not only the power over Am∣munition and all Warlike weapons, so as they cannot be used but by him: But secondly, because when they are used, they can have no successe at all but by him; and so the Lord is the Lord of Hosts in a peculiar sense: Hee is the great Generall of all Armies, more then all other Generalls, for the successe of all dependeth upon him.

My brethren, why then need the Church of God feare the strength of Page  37 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 successe but by this Lord of Hosts. He can break the bow, though of steele, when pleaseth, and can give his people strength to doe so too. For this you have an admirable promise, Esa. 54. 17. Behold (saith God) I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and bringeth forth an instrument for his worke, and I have created the water to de∣stroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. What need the Church fear then? God breaks the bow when he pleaseth: For as God hath a providence over all the things in the world, so there is a specialty of providence of God to order Battels, to give the victory, not to the strong, or to the multitude, but sometimes to the weak and few, even as hee plea∣seth. And therefore hee is the Lord of Hosts, because though his provi∣dence is generall over all creatures, yet there is a specialty of providence of God in warlike affairs.

But what was this valley of Jezreel?

It is worthy our time to enquire after this valley of Jezreel, wherein God will break the bow of Israel. There were two places called Jezreel, the one belonging to Iudah, Iosh. 15. the other belonging to Israel, Iosh. 17. 16. & Chap. 19. 18. Iezreel was a fruitfull valley, ten miles long, and by it there was a famous City built, which was in Ahabs time the princi∣pall seate, the Metropolis of the Kingdom, and there was a glorious tow∣er in it, & from thence they might see over Galilee and over Iordan. Now there were two great Cities that belonged to the tenn Tribes, Samarea and Iezreel, as we in England have two principall Cities, London and Yorke. But this Iezreel was the most fortified, in which they put a great deale of confidence, yet God saith here, He will break the bow of Israel in the val∣ley of Iezreel. That is, there by that City in that place, that they accoun∣ted the great strength of their Kingdom, there he would break the bow of Israel.

Fortified Cities cannot help when God cometh out against a people.* If we can fortifie our Cities against sin, we may soone fortifie them against an Enemie. If sinne once get in, the enemie will quickly follow. Nah. 3. 12. All thy strong holds shall be like fig-trees with the first ripe figs; if they be shaken, they shall fall into the mouth of the eater. You shall with the least wind like the first ripe figs sall off, all your strong holds shall doe so. Yea, ver. 13. Thy people in the midst of thee are women, the gates of thy land shall be set wide open to thine enemies, the fire shall devourthy bars.

You see what the valley of Iezreel is, & the meaning of it. But why will God breake the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel?

There are these two reasons for it. 1. Because God would deale with this people of Israel, as Judges deale with Malefactors; they will hang them up there where the fact was committed, as wee see some hang∣ed up in Chains neer to the City, at or about the place where their villany Page  38 was done. So in Jezreel was shed the blood of Jezebel, and the blood of the 70. sons of Ahab, and the blood of Jehoram, and there will God break the bow.

Hence it is that guilty consciences are many times afraid to goe neere to the places where they have committed wickedness, because their consci∣ences will fly in their faces, for feare God should come upon them in the place where the fact was done.

But further,* He will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel, that is, in that fortified place in which they did so much glory (this is specially observable.)

Even in that place wherein a kingdom shall most glory,* & seem to trust most in, God many times doth come and break the kingdom in that very place, and makes that the breaking of the kingdome most. Nah. 3. 8. Art thou better then populous No, that was scituate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampant was the sea, & her wall was from the sea? Mark, a people just like England in this case: what we o∣vercome by the Enemie? we that have the Seas for our Wall, and such a multitude of people amongst us? These have been & are the two pleas that England hath for her selfe, because our people are many, and we have the seas for a wall: But art thou better then populous No? yet was she carryed away, she went into captivity, &c. vers. 10. Thus the Prophet pleadeth with them.

But further, These trusted in Jezreel, they seemed to scorn the Prophet What, the kingdome of Israel cease, what thinke you of Jezreel, such a strong place as that? just as we should say, what, 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? Are they not able to resist all that can come against it? Have we cause to feare danger? It is true, the kingdom hath cause to bless God for London, and London hath not yet been the valley of Jezreel, but an Israel, the strength of the Lord, & hath prevailed with God, as an instrument: & therefore we blesse God for that we have had. But yet let us not trust in that we have, 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 Ammunition of Lon∣don to be broken in pieces, and turned against themselves: Oh therefore do not trust here. Only let it be your care you of this City of London that you prove not the valley of Jezreel, and then we shall do well enough, our bow shall not be broken. What attempts have there been to have made London by this time the valley of Jezreel, that is a scattered vally, to have brought divisions in this City, that it might be a scattered people; & wo to the kingdom if this had bin effected, better these men had never bin born then that they should have had success in that horrid enterprise. Oh London now the blessing of God is over you! the meanes of grace abund∣antly among you. The eys of the kingdom are upon you; take heed you be Page  39 bee not the valley of Iezreel,* your divisions will cause great thoughts of heart; continue you untyed one to another, and then you are as one Israel of God, the instrument of God for our strength. Pardon me this litle di∣gression, though it be a little from an expository exercise. Thus we have done with the Mother, and with the first sonne.