Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

ON HOSEA XIV.- VERSE 1, 2. 25 other burden. And therefore as he in Plutarch said of the Scythians, that though they had no music nor vines amongst them, yet they had gods ; so whatever other things may be wanting to a people, yet if God be their God, they are not destitute of any happiness. Yea, as those roses usually smell sweetest which grow nearest unto stinking weeds, so the comforts of God's Spirit are strongest when a man is otherwise perplexed with the greater difficulties. It was promised unto Josiah that he should die in peace, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 28. and yet we find that he was slain in war, chap. xxxv. 24. His weeping and humiliation altered the very nature of trouble, and macle war to be peace unto him. Now for the use and application of this point. It serves, first to instruct us how to deprecate calamities when God shaketh his rod over u2. There is nothing in all the world that God is angry with but sin : for all other things are his own works, in the goodness of which he rested with singular complacency and delight. Sin is that against which God's arrows are directed ; and as the arrow sticks in the butt unto which the mark is fastened, so the judgments which are shot at sin, must needs light upon us unto whom sin cleaveth. The way then to divert the arrow is to remove the mark. It is true, God doth sometimes bring afflic- tions without respect to the provocations of sin, upon his best servants. As if a man should shape out of a mass of gold some excellent vessel, though the gold be ever so pure, yet it must pass through the fire and under the hammer. But it is certain too, that no affliction comes in anger but with respect to sin ; and the anger of God is the bitterest thing in any calamity. Now for this turning from sin, there is no way but to get sin removed. Take the bark from a tree, and c