(calvin, minor prophets. part 2) A Sovereign Word Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. (Hos.5:1) THE prophet here preaches against the whole people; but he mainly directs his discourse to the priest and the rulers; for they were the source of the prevailing evils: the priests, intent on gain, neglected the worship of God; and the chief men were become in every way corrupt. ... Even kings are not exempted from the duty of learning what is commonly taught, if they wish to be counted members of the Church; for the Lord would have all, without exception, to be ruled by his word; and he takes this as a proof of men's obedience, their submission to his word. And as kings think themselves separated from the general class at men, the prophet here shows that he was sent to the king and his counsellors. The same reason holds good as to priests, for as the dignity of their order is the highest, so this impiety has prevailed in all ages, that the priests think themselves at liberty to do what they please. Let us know that in the Church the word of God so possesses the highest rank, that neither priests, nor kings, nor their counsellors can claim a privilege to themselves, as though their conduct was not to be subject to God's word. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that since thou continues daily to exhort us, and though thou sees us often turning aside from the right course, thou yet ceases not to stretch forth thy hand to us, and also to rouse us by reproofs that we may repent, - O grant that we may not be permitted to reject thy word with such perverseness as thou condemnest here in thins ancient people by the mouth of thy prophet; but rule us by thy Spirit, that we may meekly and obediently submit to thee, and with such teachableness, that if we have not hitherto been willing to become wise, we may not at least be incurable, but suffer thee to heal our diseases, so that we may truly repent, and be so wholly given to obey thee, as never to attempt anything beyond the rule of thy word, and without that wisdom which thou hast revealed to us, not only by Moses and thy prophets, but also by thine only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Kindness and Faith For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hos.6:6) THIS is a remarkable passage; the Son of God has twice quoted it. The Pharisees reproached him for his intercourse with men of bad and abandoned life, and he said to them in the ninth chapter of Matthew, "Mercy I desire and not sacrifice." He shows by this defense, that God is not worshipped by external ceremonies, but when men forgive and bear with one another and are not above measure rigid. Again, when the Pharisees blamed the disciples for gathering ears of corn, Christ shows that those who make holiness to consist in ceremonies are foolish worshippers of God; and that they also blamed their brethren without a cause, and made a crime of what was not in itself sinful, and what could be easily defended by any wise and calm expounder. These two clauses ought to be read conjointly - that kindness pleases God - and that faith pleases God. Faith by itself cannot please God, since it cannot even exist without love to our neighbour; and then, human kindness is not sufficient; for were any one to abstain from doing any injury, and from hurting his brethren in any thing, he might still be a profane man, and a despiser of God; and certainly his kindness would be then of no avail to him. It is also worthy of being observed, that he calls faith the knowledge of God. Prayer GRANT, Almighty God, that as we are prone to every kind of wickedness and are easily led away to imitate it when there is any excuse for going astray and any opportunity is offered, - O grant, that being strengthened by the help of thy Spirit, we may continue in purity of faith, and that what we have learnt concerning thee, that thou art a Spirit, may so profit us, that we may worship thee in spirit, and with a sincere heart, and never turn aside after the corruptions of the world, nor think we can deceive thee; but may we so devote our souls and our bodies to thee, that our life may in every part of it testify, that we are a pure and holy sacrifice to thee in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. Sin and Punishment They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins. (Hos.9:9) HOSEA declares here, that the people were so sunk in their vices that they could not be drawn out of them. He who has fallen can raise himself up when one extends a hand to him; and he who strives to emerge from the mire, finding a helper to assist him, can plant his foot again on solid ground; but when he is cast into a gulf he has no hope of a recovery. I extend my hand in vain when one sinks in a shipwreck and is fallen into a vast whirlpool. Let us hence also learn to rouse ourselves; and let us, in the first place, notice what the prophet says of the Israelites, that they were deeply engulfed; for men must be filled with contempt to God when they thus descend into the deep. Let, then, each of us stir up himself daily to repentance, and carefully beware lest he should descend into this vast whirlpool. Let us know that they are greatly deceived who indulge themselves as long as the Lord mercifully bears with their sins; for though he may for a time conceal his displeasure, at a time he will remember, and prove that he does so by executing a just punishment. Prayer GRANT, Almighty God, that as thou shinest on us by thy word, we may not be blind at midday, nor wilfully seek darkness, and thus lull minds asleep: but may we be roused daily by thy words, and may we stir up ourselves more and more to fear thy name and thus present ourselves and all our pursuits, as a sacrifice to thee, that thou mayest peaceably rule, and perpetually dwell in us, until thou gatherest us to thy celestial habitation, where there is reserved for us eternal rest and glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The Divinity of Christ Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. (Hos.12:4,5) IT must be noticed that the prophet here testifies that he was the eternal and the only true God, who yet was at the same time an angel. But it may be asked, How was he the eternal God and at the same time an angel? When the Lord appeared by his angels, the name of Jehovah was given to them; not, indeed, to all the angels indiscriminately, but to the chief angel, by whom God manifested himself. It then follows that this angel was truly and essentially God. But this would not strictly apply to God, except there be some distinction of persons. There must then be some person in the Deity to whom this name and title of an angel can apply; for if we take the name, God, without difference or distinction, and regard it as denoting his essence, it would certainly be inconsistent to say that he is God and an angel too; but when we distinguish persons in the Deity, there is no inconsistency. How so? Because Christ, the eternal Wisdom of God, did put on the character of a Mediator before he put on our flesh. He was therefore, then, a Mediator, and in that capacity he was also an angel. He was at the same time Jehovah, who is now God manifested in the flesh. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that inasmuch as thou slowest thyself to us at this day so kindly as a Father, having presented to us a singular and an invaluable pledge of thy favour in thins only begotten Son, - O grant that we may entirely devote ourselves to thee, and truly render thee that free service and obedience which is due to a Father, so that we may have no other object throughout life but to confirm that adoption with which thou hast favoured us once for all, until at length we shall partake of its fruit when thou hast gather us into thins eternal kingdom, together with Jesus Christ thins only Son. Amen. A Gracious Reminder I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. (Hos.13:5) HE says, "I have manifested myself to thee from the land of Egypt, from thy very nativity. Thou didst then begin to live, and to be some sort of people, when I stretched forth my hand to thee." The people were redeemed on this condition that they should devote themselves wholly to God. As we are at this day Christ's, and no one of us ought to live according to his own will, for Christ died and rose again for this end, that he might be the Lord of the living and of the dead: so also then, the Israelites had been redeemed by God, that they might offer themselves wholly to him. If this one God was sufficient for redeeming his people, what do the people now mean, when they wander and seek aid here and there? For they ought to render to God the life received from him, which they now enjoy, and ought to acknowledge it to be sufficiently safe under his sole protection. We learn that the worship of God does not consist in words, but in faith and hope and prayer. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that as thou dost so kindly urge us daily by thy voice, meekly and calmly to offer ourselves to be ruled by thee, and since thou hast exalted us to the highest degree of honour by freeing us from the dread of the devil, and from that tyranny which kept us in miserable fear, and hast also favoured us with the spirit of adoption and of assurance, - O grant that we, being mindful of these benefits, may ever submit ourselves to thee, and desire only to raise our voice for this end, that the whole world may submit itself to thee, and that those who seem now to rage against thee may at length be brought, as well as we, to render thee obedience so that thy Son Christ may be the Lord of all to the end that thou alone mayest be exalted, and that we may be made subject to thee and be at length raised up above and become partakers of that glory which has been obtained for us by Christ alone, our Lord. Amen. The True King I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? (Hos.13:10) GOD repeats what he had before declared, that he would always be the same: "Though the Israelites rail against me, that I do not pursue my usual course of kindness, it is yet most false; for I remain ever the same, and am always ready to show kindness to men; for I do not, as I have elsewhere declared, forsake the work of my hands (Ps. 138: 8). Seeing then that I thus continue my favour towards men, it must be that the way to my favour is closed up by their wickedness. Let them therefore examine themselves, when they cry and I answer not. When in their evils they in a manner pine away, and find no relief, let them acknowledge it to be their own fault; for I would have made myself the same as ever I have been, and they would have found me a deliverer, had not a change taken place in them." Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that as thou hast given us once for all thine only begotten Son to rule us, and hast by thy good pleasure consecrated him a King over us, that we may be perpetually safe and secure under his hand against all the attempts of the devil and of the whole world, - O grant, that we may suffer ourselves to be ruled by his authority, and so conduct ourselves, that he himself may ever continue to watch for our safety: and as thou hast committed us to him, that he may be the guardian of our salvation, so also suffer us neither to turn aside nor fall, but preserve us ever in his service, until we at length be gathered into that blessed and everlasting kingdom, which has been procured for us by the blood of thine only Son. Amen. A Kind Invitation O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. (Hos.14:1) Here the prophet exhorts the Israelites to repentance, and still propounds some hope of mercy. But this may seem inconsistent, as he had already testified that there would be no remedy any ore, because they had extremely provoked God. But the solution is ready at hand, and it is this: In speaking before of the final destruction of the people, he had respect to the whole body of the people; but now he directs his discourse to the few who had as yet remained faithful. And this distinction ought to be carefully noticed, otherwise we shall find ourselves perplexed in many parts of Scripture. God had now, indeed, determined to destroy them, and he wished this to be made known to them by the preaching of Hosea. But yet God had ever some seed remaining among his chosen people; some sound member remained, as in a large heap of chaff some grains may be found concealed. His discourse here ought to be especially applied to the elect of God, who, although they had fallen away for a time, and had become entangled in the common vices of the age, were yet not altogether incurable. The prophet now kindly invites them, for he could not succeed by severe words without mingling a hope of favour, as we know that there can e no hope of repentance without faith. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that as we now carry about us this mortal body, yea, and nourish through sin a thousand deaths within us, - O grant that we may ever by faith direct our eyes toward heaven, and to that incomprehensible power, which is to be manifested at the last day by Jesus Christ our Lord, so that in the midst of death we may hope that thou wilt be our Redeemer, and enjoy that redemption which he completed when he rose from the dead, and not doubt that the fruit which he then brought forth by his Spirit will come also to us when Christ himself shall come to judge the world; and may we thus walk in the fear of thy name, that we may be really gathered among his members, to be made partakers of that glory which by his death he has procured for us. Amen. Worship and Joy Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? (Joel 1:16) THE prophet here chides the madness of the Jews, that they perceived not things set before their eyes. He therefore says that they were blind in the midst of light, and that their sight was such that seeing they saw nothing; they surely ought to have felt distressed, when want reached even to the temple. For since God had commanded the first fruits to be offered to him, certainly the temple ought to have been honoured with its sacrifices; and though mortals perish a hundred times through famine and want, yet God ought not to be defrauded of his right. He afterwards adds that joy and gladness were taken away; for God commanded the Jews to come to the temple to give thanks and to acknowledge themselves blessed, because he had chosen his habitation among them. Hence this expression is so often repeated by Moses, "Thou shalt rejoice before thy God;" for by saying this God intended to encourage the people the more to come cheerfully to the temple; as though he said, "I certainly need not your presence, but I wish by my presence to make you glad." But now when the worship of God ceased, the prophet says that joy had also been abolished; for the Jews could not cheerfully give thanks to God when his curse was before their eyes. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, the as thou sees us to be surrounded with the infirmity of our flesh, and so held by, and as it were, overwhelmed with earthly cares, that we can hardly raise up our hearts and minds to thee, - O grant that being awaked by thy word and daily warnings we may at length feel our evils, and that we may not only learn by the stripes thou inflictest on us, but also of our own accord, summon ourselves to judgment, and examine our hearts and thus come to thy presence, being our own judges; so that we may anticipate thy displeasure and thus obtain that mercy which thou hast promised to all who, turning only to thee, deprecate thy wrath and also hope for thy favour through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Sounding the Alarm Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1) THIS chapter contains serious exhortations, mixed with threatening, but the prophet threatens for the purpose of correcting the indifference of the people, who were very slow to consider God's judgments. The object of the narrative, then, is to make the people sensible that it was now no time for taking rest. The prophet begins with an exhortation. We know, indeed, that he alludes to the usual customs sanctioned by the law, for, as on festivals trumpets were sounded to call the people, so also it was done when anything extraordinary happened. Hence, the prophet addresses not each individually, but, as all had done wickedly, from the least to the greatest, he bids the whole assembly to be called, that they may in common own themselves to be guilty before God, and deprecate his vengeance. This passage shows that when any judgment of God is impending, and tokens of it appear, this remedy ought to be used, namely, that all must publicly assemble and confess themselves worthy of punishment, and at the same time flee to the mercy of God. This, we know, was formerly enjoined upon the people, and this practice has not been abolished by the gospel. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that as thou invites us daily with so much kindness and love, and makes known to us thy paternal goodwill which thou didst once for all show to us in Christ thy Son, - O grant that, being allured by thy goodness, we may surrender ourselves to thee and become so teachable and submissive that wherever thou guides us by thy Spirit thou mayest follow us with every blessing. Let us not, in the meantime, be deaf to thy wantings; and whenever we deviate from the right way, grant that we may immediately awake when thou warnest us, and return to the right path, and deign thou also to embrace us and reconcile us to thyself through Christ our only Lord. Amen. The Outpouring of the Spirit And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (Joel 2:28) THE prophet after having set before them the rudiments as though they were children, now brings before them a more complete doctrine (for thus they were to be led) and affords them a taste of the favour of God in its external signs. "Ascend, then, now," he says, "to spiritual life, for the fountain is one and the same, though when earthly benefits occupy and engross your attention ye no doubt pollute them. But God feeds you, not to fill and pamper you, for he would not have you to be like brute animals. Then know that your bodies are fed, and that God gives support to you, that ye may aspire after spiritual life, for he leads you to this as by the hand; be this, then, your object." He began with temporal benefits, for it was needful that an untutored people should be thus led by degrees, that on account of their infirmity, sluggishness, and dullness, they might thus make better progress until they understood that God would for this end be a Father to them. Prayer GRANT Almighty God, that since we want so many aids while in this frail life, and as it is a shadowy life, we cannot pass a moment except thou does continually and at all times supply through thy bounty what is needful, - O grant, that we may so profit by thy so many benefits, that we may learn to raise our minds upward and ever aspire after celestial life to which by thy gospel thou invites us so kindly and sweetly every day, that being gathered into thy celestial kingdom, we may enjoy that perfect felicity which has been procured for us by the blood of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (continued in part 3...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: calmp-02.txt .