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the abhorrence of God against the sin, in that bis acting thus was intended to be known as an action contrary to all natural feeling.
“Since Hosea prophesied some eighty years," says Dr. Pusey," he must now have been in early youth, holy, pure, as became a Prophet of God. Being called thus early, he had doubtless been formed by God as a chosen instrument of His will, and had like Samuel from his first childhood been trained in true piety and holiness. Yet he was to unite unto him so long as she lived, one greatly defiled, in order to win her thereby to purity and holiness ; berein, a little likeness of our Blessed LORD, Who in the Virgin's womb, to save us, espoused our flesh, in us sinful, in Him all-holy, without motion to sin; and further espoused the Church, formed of us who, whether Jews or Gentiles, were all under sin, aliens from God and gone away from Him, serving divers lusts and passions, to make it a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle."
Three children were born from this union. Each was to be symbolical. Dr. Pusey takes the interpretation by which they represent successive stages in Israel's rejection. Jezreel is a name of doubtful signification : “God shall scatter.” It may be for destruction, or it may be as seed full of hope. According to this interpretation both meanings are combined. First, the child indicates the scattering of Israel. Then the mission which the scattered tribes should bear in all places whither they were driven, becoming the seed of a new and spiritual harvest when they should be converted to God.
“ The name of Jezreel blends the sins with the punishment. It resembles, in form and in sound, the name of Israel-[the two names would either be pronounced Yisrael, Yidsreel, or both Israel, Idsreel]— and contains a reversal of the promise contained in the name of Israel in which they trusted. Yisrael (as their name was originally pronounced) signifies, He is a prince with God; Yidsreel, God shall scatter. They who while they followed the faith, for which their forefather Jacob received from God the name of Israel, had been truly Israel, i.e., 'princes with God,' should now be Yidsreel,' scattered by God.'”
The next child was a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, “ Uppitied.” “The punishment foretold under the name of the daughter, Unpitied, is a great enlargement of that conveyed under the name of the first son, God shall scatter. Judah, too, was carried captive, and scattered; but after the seventy years, she was restored. The ten tribes it is now foretold, when scattered, should, as a whole, be cut off from the tender mercy of God, scattered by Him, and as a whole, never be restored.” · In Lo-Ammi, “Not My people,” the prophet's family was made complete.
“ The name of this third child expresses the last final degree of chastisement. As the scattering of God did not involve the being wholly unpitied, so neither did the being wholly unpitied for the time involve the being wholly rejected so as to be no more His people. There were corresponding degrees in the actual history of the kingdom of Israel. God withdrew His protection by degrees under Jeroboam, in whose reign was this beginning of Hosea's prophecy, the people was yet outwardly strong. This strength has been thought to be expressed by the sex of the eldest child, that he was a son. On this followed extreme weakness, full of mutual massacre, and horrible cruelty, first in a long anarchy, then under Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiab, Pekah, Hoshea, within ; and through the invasions of Pul, Tiglath-Pilezer, Shalmanezer, kings of Assyria, from without. The sex of the daughter Lo-Ruhama, Ūnpitied, corresponds with this increasing weakness, and breaking of the spirit. 3. When she was weaned, i.e., when the people were deprived of all consolation, and all the spiritual food whereby they had hitherto been supported, prophecy, teaching, promises, sacrifices, grace, favour, consolation, it became Lo-Ammi, Not My people. As a distinct part of God's people, it was cast off for ever; and yet it became outwardly strong, as the Jews became powerful and often were the persecutors of the Christians. The game is seen in individuals. God often first chastens them lightly, then more heavily, and brings them down in their iniquities; but if they still harden themselves, He withdraws both His chastisements and His grace, so that the sinner even prospers in this world, but remaining finally impenitent, is cast off for ever."
We are surprised that Dr. Pusey should not have alluded to that other interpretation of these children, which, from the days of S. Jerome, has been widely recognized in the Church. According to that interpretation the names indicate tbree different classes of persons. Jezreel would be interpreted as the seed of God, and represents therefore the true Israel. That he does so in the end is acknowledged by all, for the pame is developed eventually as a name of promise. But even at the first there is no denunciation uttered against him. He is simply put forward as the representative of those who called for vengeance; as in the end he is undoubtedly the advocate for the whole nation winning God's favour. In Jezreel Jehu had arrayed the true people of God against Ahab. The blood of Jezreel, however, cried out now against Jehu himself. “ Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jebu departed not from after them.” It would seem also as if Jezreel were addressed in the second chapter, to give warning to bis brethren, and his sisters, calling them back by names of endearment, Ammi, and Rnbamah. The mother of the true seed was an harlot, and represented mankind straying far from God, as also more closely the twelve tribes in their unfaithfulness, and yet from among those twelve tribes the true seed of God was. being continually begotten by God's mysterious Providence. Jezreel living on alongside of the other children and gaining pre-emi. nence again in the end, although the others are more immediately addressed for the time, would thus be analogous to that bright but slender streak of light which twines through the darkness of the Prophet's vision, to expand at last in the bright blaze of the spiritual restoration of the outcasts.
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It does not seem certain that the two other children were the Prophet's children. The Prophet took to wife a mother of a base offspring, and made her to be the mother of Jezreel, the predestined race. It may be that after this she was content to turn again, and bring forth children in the way of sin. “ They are not all Israel that are of Israel.” The Jews said, “ We are not born of fornication, we be Abraham's seed,” ignoring the type which the Prophet's wife here set before them. If Lo-Ruhamah were a bastard daughter, she would thus represent the ten tribes in their idolatry, no longer objects of pity, and Lo-Ammi will represent the two tribes in their sin, no longer recognized as God's people. The ten tribes collectively bad ceased to be God's people long ago, by casting off His temple-worship. The time was coming when this would be equally true of Judah also. Judah would cease to be God's people casting themselves off from Him who was greater than the temple. The ten tribes collectively ceased to have a name amongst the Gentiles whither they were scattered. The Jews, although cast off, are to have a name of their own, and not be lost amongst the nations. This may be signified by the difference of sex. This representative is a son, not a daughter. Both children, thus disavowed, are in the same predicament as the Gentiles. If they are to be gathered in, they are not to be gathered in alone. They are not to be recognized as God's children by virtue of any inherited claim. A new name shall be given them on their conversion, showing that their adoption is of grace. Their rejection, however, does not exclude them from the wide mercy of God's covenant. Rather it marks them out the more specially as the objects of mercy. “I will call them My people which were not My people, and her beloved which was not beloved : and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there shall they be called the children of the Living God.” So does S. Paul quote the words of Hosea, and surely it is the true seed which are to invite them back to their privileges. The true seed call on God for vengeance against the world by whom their blood has been shed. The true seed plead with their fallen mother that the whole family may be sanctified. The true seed cry aloud to God to have mercy, and at length God shall hear. Then shall Israel and Judah be united together again, and it shall be called the day of Jezreel. “The year of My redeemed is come.” Pity is shown to the unpitied, and they who were not God's people become, by the adoption of grace, the children of God in CHRIST.
Dr. Pusey considers the words of Hosea as addressed throughout almost exclusively to Israel. This of course makes it natural to apply the names of the children simply to that branch of God's ancient people. It is true that the references to Judab are only incidental. Brief, however, as they are, they do perhaps supply the key-note of the whole. Israel is warned, but mainly for Judah’s sake. Dr. Pusey considers that Hosea belonged to the ten tribes. “He calls the wretched king of Israel our king,' and God calls the rebellious people thy people.' » When there is no evidence the other way this affords a slight presumption, but it is scarcely conclusive. At any rate, the Jews preserved his prophecies, and their imagination that prophets belonged to Jerusalem, if no other locality were assigned them, frivolous as it may be, showed the existence of an impression in favour of his Jewish origin.
In the fourth chapter the idolatry of Israel is exposed as a warning to Judah. It begins in the forgetfulness of God. The decline of Israel recorded in this chapter is thus an analogous warning to that which S. Paul deduces from the history of heathen idolatry. “ The LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." The absence of a regard for God's presence as a witness of truth and mercy, the loss of knowledge of Him in Himself, the outburst of violent passions and strife,—these are the beginning of all the evils which ensue. The land which should have served them with special blessings from God would cease from serving those who served not the Creator. The voice of the Prophet in warning should cease to warn those who had rejected the Priest in mediation. They who were a priestly nation had rejected God, and now God would reject them. They encouraged themselves in sin by their success. The priests they chose for themselves should perish along with them. Profaneness and superstition occupying the place which the love and worship of God should have secured, there should no longer be any safeguard to their own domestic peace.
From the contemplation of this picture of Israel in sin and punishment, the Prophet turns to Judah with earnest warning. Henceforth she may know that, whatever happened, Israel is left alone. Israel slid back from the yoke of God, and shall be left to her own devices.
“ The punishment of Israel was close at hand, now. It would not have the straitness of God's Commandments; it should have the wideness of the desert. God would withdraw His protecting Providence from them : He would rule them although unfelt in His mercy. At large they wished to be; at large they should be; but it should be the largeness of a wilderness where is no way. There, like a lamb, they should go astray, wandering up and down, unprotected, a prey to wild beasts. Woe is it to that man, whom, when he withdraws from Christ's easy yoke, God permits to take unhindered the broad road which leadeth to destruction. To Israel this wide place was the wide realms of the Medes, where they were withdrawn from God's worship, and deprived of His protection.”
The next three chapters may be taken together. The controversy with Israel is exchanged for judgment proceeding against her. Judah, warned in the last chapter to keep clear of the idolaters of
Gilgal and Bethaven, shall partake in the fall of the proud nation from whose sin she would not keep herself clear.
Their pride would fail them at length. They would “seek the LORD, but should not find Him." This is what our LORD afterwards said to the Jews. The fruitless reformation here alluded to was that under Josiah. Equally vain was the help of the Assyrian. God left them alone to learn their wretchedness. He foresaw that in their captivity they would seek Him more truly. This prophecy of hope must mainly refer to Judab. As, however, some of Judah were involved in Ephraim's sin, so some of Israel in Judah's return. Wbat, then, is the bright light to which they will turn at length ? In penitence they will turn to God their SAVIOUR, and see their own restoration to God's love identified with the resurrection of MESSIAH. The third day on which they should be raised up can only point to that. Then should be a knowledge of God such as had never been before.
The prophet turns back, however, from the bopes of the future in store for them to consider their past use of what God had done for them. The gifts of God should be to them “as the latter and the former rain." Their efforts of goodness towards Him had been only “as the morning cloud.” The prophets had warned them that God “ desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.” The law had been misread by them. Its purposes, its teaching had been set aside. Now that the voice of prophets would not be listened to, what more could God do? Israel was utterly defiled. The showers of blessing should indeed fall upon the earth. Judah in that day should find the harvest set for her by God. But Israel could not be healed. Chastening only revealed her deeper sin. Hither and thither they would turn in their pride. “Instead of calling to God Who could and would help them, they called to Egypt who could not, and went to Assyria who would not.” They should be ensnared as a silly dove. So should they perish.
“ The dove soaring aloft, with speed like the storm wind, is a picture of freedom, independence, impetuous, unhindered, following in its own course; weak and timid, it trusts in the skilfulness with which it guides its flight to escape pursuit; the net, with its thin, slight meshes, betokens how weak instruments become all-sufficient in the hands of the ALMIGHTY ; the same dove, brought down from its almost viewless height, fluttering weakly, helplessly, and hopelessly under those same meshes, is a picture of that same self-dependent spirit humiliated, overwhelmed by inevitable evils, against which it impotently struggles, from which it seems to see its escape, but by which it is held fast, as if it lay motionless in iron.”
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The trumpet sounds in the eighth chapter a fresh note of warning. “He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD."