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by Robert Hawker
THE BOOK OF HOSEA
THE word of God, in the prophetical part of it, hath been committed for writing by God the Holy Ghost, to various penmen. Hosea is the first, in point of order, as placed in our present Bibles, of what is called the twelve minor Prophets. Not minor Prophets, because the writings of those holy men were less inspired, or less important, than the others which are placed in the word of God before them; but on account of their smallness in point of bulk. Some of the ancients put the whole in one book, and hence, perhaps, in the speech of Stephen before the council, (Acts 7:42 ) he quotes a passage, and calls it as written in the Book of the Prophets.
The name of Hosea, is of the same import as that of Joshua, and signifies a saviour. The Jews were remarkable for calling their children by names very expressive of somewhat great and good. Hosea ministered in the Church about eight hundred years before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; consequently, though placed after the whole four, of what is called the greater Prophets, he lived before all of them; and delivered his prophecy before all of them. Notwithstanding this, several of those prophetic writings, which are placed after Hosea, were written before his: Joel, Amos, and Jonah, were all prior to Hosea. However, it is not of so much moment to know the exact order in which are placed those holy men of God; as it is to know, that they all wrote, as well as spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
It is blessed to observe, in confirmation of the faith, how the servants of the Lord correspond in word and doctrine. If the Reader will compare the writings of Jeremiah, who exercised his ministry long after Hosea, with the writings of Hosea, he will observe in several instances their agreement. Jeremiah 7:34 . with Hosea 2:11 . So again, Ezekiel 16:15-19 . compared with Hosea 2:8-9 . And the New Testament Writers, yea, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, confirms the divine authority of the prophecy of Hosea, by quotations from it. Matthew 11:13 ; Romans 9:25-26 ; Matthew 2:15 ; 1 Peter 2:10 .
The chief scope and tendency of Hosea's writings, seems to be directed towards preparing the minds of the people to b e on the lookout for the coming Saviour. Acting under the mission of the Holy Ghost, the Prophet is reproving the people of God for sin, and at the same time directing their minds to him who came to do away sin by the sacrifice of himself. I do not think it necessary to detain the Reader any further, by general observations on Hosea's prophecy, but immediately to enter upon the book itself, first previously desiring the Lord the Spirit, to lead both Writer and Reader by the hand, through every part of it, that we may discover the mind of the Lord in the same, and know the things which are freely given to us of God.
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