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by Thomas Coke
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET HOSEA.
HOSEA entered upon his sacred ministry about eight hundred years before the coming of Christ, above twenty years before the Olympiads, and more than forty years before the foundation of Rome. He is the first who has spoken of the destruction of Samaria; and he saw with his own eyes that melancholy event, which happened seven hundred and twenty years before the coming of the Messiah. Bishop Lowth observes, that Hosea is the most ancient of all the prophets, except perhaps Jonah. His style indicates antiquity; it is nervous, acute, concise, strongly marked with the graces of poetry, and retains the sententious brevity of the more ancient prophets whose writings are handed down to us. Though this doubtless was at first esteemed a peculiar elegance, yet, in the present devastations of the Hebrew language, it is productive of obscurity; and though the general subject of the prophet be plain enough, yet there is scarcely any other prophet so difficult and intricate. There is also another reason why his style may appear to us so involved. He prophesies in the reigns of four kings of Judah; that is to say,—however you calculate,—for a very long space of time. We have but a small volume, containing, as it seems, his principal prophesies; and all these connected together, without any date or argument; insomuch that in the perusal of this prophet we seem sometimes like those who were employed in studying the scattered leaves of the Sybil. See Lowth's 21st Prelection.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29