Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

ON HOSEA XIV.- VERSE 1, 2. 27 wine into old bottles. If men would spend their murmurings and reproaches rather upon their sins than upon their physicians, the work would be sooner done. When the temple of God was to be rebuilt, and a public restitution of the face of things .unto glory and splendour . was in agitation, the prophets call upon God's people in special then to repent. Im- penitence puts obstructions to God's mercy, and to all noble enterprises. So long as our lives are as bad as before, how can we expect that our condition should be better ? in that case mercies themselves become no mercies : as in the case of repentance, judgments would 'be no judgments. If we turn from our evil ways, God hath engaged himself by a solemn promise, that " he will do us no harm," Jer. xxv. 6. Other - wise, to busy ourselves in outward ceremonies of re- pentance, bodily fasting, and verbal praying, is indeed but to flatter God, and, if we could, to deceive him. And God will answer such men not according to the prayer of their lips, but according to the " idol of their hearts," Ezek. xiv. 4, 5. Further : this teaches us how to pray against sin. It must be against all, and in all respects. In the Hebrew text there is an unusual kind of transposition of the words. The word " all" is first. Methinks it doth intimate an intentness of the church upon that point, to have, if it were possible, all taken away at the very first. If there be one leak in a ship, one gap in a wall, one gate in a city unprovided for, it is enough to sink a ship, to drown a country, to betray a city. One little boy thrust in at a window, can unlock the door for all the rest of the thieves. It was but one Jonah that raised a tempest, but one Achan; that troubled a camp, and one sin generally unrepented of, were enough to undo a kingdom. Do not say it cZ