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shall hurry like the sparrow from Egypt, and like the dove from Assyria : the converted Israelites shall return from the countries of their dispersion, and particularly from the land of Assyria whither they were originally carried, and in the neighbourhood of which they are now lost. Thus, notwithstanding their former treachery and deceit, God will settle them in their own houses, and establish them with the Holy Ones.
The restoration and conversion of Israel-His rejec
tion of Antichrist.
Hosea xiv. 1. Return, O Israel *, unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2. Take with you words, and return unto the Lord. Say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept good. So will we render thee bullocks, our own lips t. 3. The Assyrian shall not save us; we will mount no cavalry, and no more we will say, Our gods are ye, to the work of our own hands: inasmuch as with thee the fatherless obtaineth fond protection. 4. I will restore their conversion * I will love them gratuitously; for mine anger is departed from me. 5. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and strike his roots like the forest trees of Lebanon. 6. His suckers shall spread farther and farther; and he shall be like the olive tree, for his beauty; and a smell shall be in him like the smell of Lebanon. 7. They shall return. Sitting under his shadow, they shall abound in corn. They shall germinate like the vine, and be famous as the wine of Lebanon. 8. Ephraim! What have I to do any more with idols t? I have answered him. And I will make him flourish like a green fir-tree. From me thy fruit is supplied.
# Return, O Israel.] “ The whole family of Israel, in both “ its branches, is addressed.” Bp. Horsley in loc.
+ Bullocks, our own lips.) “ Lips are here put for praises and “thanksgivings uttered by the lips. This kind of metonyny, “ which puts the cause or instrument for the effect, is very freN 3
quent “ quent with the sacred writers. By calling vocal devotions “ bullocks, the phraseology shews, that this form of supplica. " tion is prepared for those tines, when animal sacrifices will “ be abolished, and prayer and thanksgiving will be the only
offering.” Bp. Horsley in loc.
* Their conversion,] " That is, their converted race. I take “ conversion as a collective noun for converts ; like captivity “ for the captives, and dispersion for the dispersed. The con“ verted nation God promises to restore to his favour, and to
a situation of prosperity and splendour." Bp. Horsley in loc. t. Ephraim-idols.] “An exultation of Jehovah over idols.
Ephraim ! Even he is returned to me. I have no more " contest to carry on with idols. They are completely over" thrown. My sole Godhead is confessed.”. Bp. Horsley in loc.
9. Who is wise *? for he will consider these things; intelligent? for he shall comprehend thein. For 'straight and even are the ways of the Lord, and the justified shall proceed in them, but revolters shall stumble therein *.
• Who is wise ?] This passage exactly tallies with what Daniel says relative to the same awful period. See Dan. xii. 10.
+ Recolters shall stumble therein.} 56 To the incorrigible " enemies of God the very scheme of mercy itself will be a
cause of error, confusion, and ruin. The word D'owo expresses a degree and enormity of disobedience far beyond any thing contained in the notion of transgressors, preturi.
cators, or any other denomination of guilt, by which the “ word is rendered in our English Bible. It denotes rebels, in " the highest sense of the word ; such as rise in opposition “ to the authority of a sovereiga, because he is by right a “ sovereign; and in a religious sense, such as wilfully, with “ premeditation, disobey God from hatred of bis authority“ ywb is a bold avowed rebellion, or revolt, disowning the au" thority of the sovereign, and having for its end the over" throw of his sovereignty. But it will be said; Who ever
was so snad, as to avow or entertain a design or hope of “ overthrowing the sovereignty of God? I say, Numbers in “ all ages of the world. Atheists, Deists, Idolaters, and se“ cular powers that persecute revealed religion. Many of «« these indeed retain the name of a God, or Gods, as signi
fying, in their conceptions, an Animus mundi, or physical
powers in different parts of the material world. But they “ all disown and oppose the God of the Old Testament, and the New; the God of Jews, and of Christians. And they
Hosea concludes his prophecies with declaring in the strongest terms, that God will surely restore the converted race of Israel, Ephraim 110 less than Judah, and bless them in their own land with a
" endeavour what they can to overthrow his authority, by
uniting their efforts (in vain, but much in earnest) for the extirpation of the Christian religion. If those, who, in the
present day, are most forward, and most powerful, in this “ work of impiety, affect a partiality for the Jews; it is, be
cause they hope to draw them in to take a part in the demo" lition of Christianity: and, when that is effected, they ex
pect to find in Judaism an easy conquest. Whether ary
part, or what part, of the Jews may be drawn into this snare “s of hell, we presume not to predict. We hope, that the
great majority of the race will have too much discretion to " be duped. This at least we know, that ultimately the whole
race of Israel, of the natural Israel will return and seek Je, " hovah their Gud, and David their king. They shall return, “ and, sitting under his shadow, they will flourish. The head “ of the faction leagued against us and them, against our " God and theirs, is the devil. If I am not much mistaken, “ he is more than once named in Scripture ywÐ; the parti“ ciple Benoni Kal being used as an appellative in the singular Gc number, to denote The rebel, The apostate. And the same “ participle in the plural, which is the word here, denotes the " followers of that chief, Rebels, Revolters." Bp. Horsley in loc.
Let the reader, keeping in his mind this criticism of Bp. Horsley, compare what I say relative to the recolters here spoken of, with the apocalyptic account of the instigator of
wonderful degree of plenty and prosperity. Since by the mention of Ephruim it is evident that this prediction yet remains to be accomplished, for Ephraim has never yet been restored, we must necessarily conclude, that the Assyrian here mentioned, is the antitypical Assyrian, or Antichrist now become the last head of the mystic Babylon. Here then we have an oblique, but sufficiently
the revived Roman beast, the secret promoters of the Antichristian confederacy, and the avowed object of that confederacy when formed; with St. Paul's description of the man of sin ; with Ezekiel's representation of the mystic prince of Tyre; with Da. niel's relation of the fate which is about to befall the feet of the image and the Roman beast with his little horn, and with his strongly drawn character of the wilful king ; and lastly with St. John's concise, though pointed, definition of Antichrist. He will then, I think, have but little reason to doubt, who are ina tended by these notorious revolters at the era of the restoration of the Jews. See Rev. xii. 3, 9, 17.-xiii. 1, 2, 4, 6.--xvi. 13-16. xix. 11-21.----? Thessal. ii. 3-12.--Ezek. xxviii. 2-10.Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45.---vii. 8-11, 20–27.-xi. 36-45.xii. 1, 7, 10.--and 1 John ii. 22.
I take it that the word vwo answers almost exactly to the word apostasy, atoolcold. In its most intense signification it denotes absolute upostasy, or a wilful rebellious rejection of all the authority of religion ; as R. Kimchi explains it, rebellionem, peccatum quod scienter et contumaciter committetur. Such, as Bp. Horsley observes, is its meaning in the present passage. In its more lax signification, it denotes religious transgression, or a departure to a greater or a less extent from the purity of revelation. In this sense, if I mistake not, it occurs in Dan, viii, 12, 13, 23; the very sense in which St. Paul uses a moglaora and Atocincovico in 2 Thess. ii. 3, and 1 Tim, iv, 1. 5