on Hosea 14 :1
O Israel, return unto the Lord - These words may be considered as addressed to the people now in captivity; suffering much, but having still much more to suffer if they did not repent. But it seems all these evils might yet be prevented, though so positively predicted, if the people would repent and return; and the very exhortation to this repentance shows that they still had power to repent, and that God was ready to save them and avert all these evils. All this is easily accounted for on the doctrine of the contingency of events, i.e., the poising a multitude of events on the possibility of being and not being, and leaving the will of man to turn the scale; and that God will not foreknow a thing as absolutely certain, which his will has determined to make contingent. A doctrine against which some solemn men have blasphemed, and philosophic infidels declaimed; but without which fate and dire necessity must be the universal governors, prayer be a useless meddling, and Providence nothing but the ineluctable adamantine chain of unchangeable events; all virtue is vice, and vice virtue, or there is no distinction between them, each being eternally determined and unalterably fixed by a sovereign and uncontrollable will and unvarying necessity, from the operation of which no soul of man can escape, and no occurrence in the universe be otherwise than it is. From such blasphemy, and from the monthly publications which avouch it, good Lord, deliver us!
on Hosea 14 :1
O Israel, return - (now, quite) unto the Lord your God The heavy and scarcely interrupted tide of denunciation is now past. Billow upon billow have rolled over Ephraim and the last wave discharged itself in the overwhelming, indiscriminating destruction of the seat of its strength. As a nation, it was to cease to be. its separate existence was a curse, not a blessing; the offspring of rivalry, matured by apostasy; the parent, in its turn, of jealousy, hatred, and mutual vexation.
But while the kingdom was past and gone, the children still remained heirs of the promises made to their fathers. As then, before, Hosea declared that Israel, after having long remained solitary, should in the end "seek the Lord and David their king" Hosea 3:5, so now, after these manifold denunciations of their temporal destruction, God not only invites them to repentance, but foretells that they should be wholly converted.
Every word is full of mercy. God calls them by the name of acceptance, which he had given to their forefather, Jacob; "O Israel." He deigns to beseech them to return; "return now;" and that not "toward" but "quite up to" Himself, the unchangeable God, whose mercies and promises were as immutable as His Being. To Himself, the Unchangeable, God invites them to return; trod that, as being still their God. They had cast off their God; God had "not cast off His people whom He foreknew" Romans 11:2.
: "He entreats them not only to turn back and look toward the Lord with a partial and imperfect repentance, but not to leave off until they were come quite home to Him by a total and sincere repentance and amendment." He bids them "return quite to" Himself, the Unchangeable God, and their God. "Great is repentance," is a Jewish saying , "which maketh men to reach quite up to the Throne of glory."
For thou hast fallen by thine iniquity - "This is the first ray of divine light on the sinner. God begins by discovering to him the abyss into which he has fallen," and the way by which he fell. Their own iniquity it was, on which they had stumbled and so had fallen, powerless to rise, except through "His" call, whose "voice is with power" Psalm 29:4, and "Who giveth what He commandeth." : "Ascribe not thy calamity," He would say, "to thine own weakness, to civil dissension, to the disuse of miltary discipline, to want of wisdom in thy rulers, to the ambition and cruelty of the enemy, to reverse of fortune. These things had not gone against thee, hadst not thou gone to war with the law of thy God. Thou inflictest the deadly wound on thyself; thou destroyedst thyself. Not as fools vaunt, by fate, or fortune of war, but 'by thine iniquity hast thou fallen.' Thy remedy then is in thine own hand. 'Return to thy God. '"
: "In these words, 'by thine iniquity," he briefly conveys, that each is to ascribe to himself the iniquity of all sin, of whatsoever he has been guilty, not defending himself, as Adam did, in whom we all, Jews and Gentiles, have sinned and fallen, as the Apostle says, 'For we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others' Ephesians 2:3. By adding actual, to that original, sin, Israel and every other nation falleth. He would say then, O Israel, be thou first converted, for thou hast need of conversion; 'for thou hast fallen;" and confess this very thing, that 'thou hast fallen by thine iniquity;' for such confession is the beginning of conversion."
But wherewith should he return?
on Hosea 14 :1
14:1 Fallen - Thy sins have involved thee in endless troubles.