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ness, its holding itself consecrated to the best that can be educed from the being whose welfare is perfectly desired? And if this love be frustrated by the other's evil will, shall it not, stung with the pain of its frustration, cling to the desire, yea, when it is God who loves, to the purpose, of reclaiming the froward one to righteousness, wherein he shall also subserve the righteousness of God?
Among the prophets, Hosea first expressed the tender, clinging love of Jehovah for his people, which the prophet symbolizes by telling how he had himself received back and redeemed his own erring, scarcely repentant wife. So shall Jehovah draw Israel back to him, and lead her out again into the wilderness of trouble, and then speak home to her heart as a divine forgiving wooer, till she turn and say, My husband!' Jehovah's love for Israel also holds the love of father to a son, and such a father's love, so tender, kind, and all-compassing in its offices as to include such fostering as on earth falls to a mother. "When Israel was young, then I loved him, and out of Egypt called my son hither. So much the further have they gone astray; to Baal they sacrifice, and burn incense to the graven images. And yet I taught Ephraim to walk, held him by his arms." For Ephraim's iniquity must the sword consume; yet Jehovah's love yearns and clings, has all the mother-love which will never abandon. "Oh, how should I make thee, Ephraim, surrender thee Israel, Oh, how should I make thee like Adma, treat thee as Seboim. I will not execute the heat of my anger, will not destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, in thy midst an Holy One, and I come not with heat. They will follow Jehovah as a father-lion which roareth; for he will roar that the sons tremble from the sea hither, tremble like birds from Egypt, like the dove from Assyria."
It is Jehovah's will that his people trust in him alto? Ib., xi, 1, etc., Ewald's translation.
I Hosea i-iii.
3 Ib., xi, 8-11, Ewald's translation.
gether. In the last chapter of his prophecy Hosea declares the quickness of Jehovah's love, its glad readiness to fasten itself anew to Israel's repentance: "Return, O Israel, unto Jehovah, thy God! For thou hast stumbled by thy guilt. Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah; say to him: 'All guilt, O forgive, and accept good things. Let us pay as bullocks our lips!' The Assyrians shall not help us, upon horses we will not ride,' nor any more call the work of our hands our God, thou by whom the orphan findeth favor.' 'I will heal their falling away, gladly love them; for my anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom like lilies, and his roots strike like Lebanon.'
Hosea's prophecies wail and sob over the evil which sin must bring. With all the prophets, the thought of Jehovah's love is strong. The stern shepherd Amos expressed it; like the shadowing desert-rock it stands above the grief of Jeremiah. Even when the walls of Jerusalem are falling, still calls the sorrow-stricken voice: "For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.' But a great prophet of the Exile voices most beautifully Jehovah's purposeful love of his people: "And Zion said, Jehovah hath forsaken me and the Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her suckling, so as not yearn upon the son of her womb? Should even these forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have portrayed thee upon the palms of the hands, thy walls are continually before me. And Jehovah's love rejoices at thought of Israel's restoration: Ring out, O barren! Thy husband is thy maker, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. Jehovah hath recalled thee as a wife of youth. In a gush of wrath I hid my face from thee, but with everlasting loving-kindness will I have com
1 I. e., in the place of sacrifice, offer sincere words of repentance. Allusion to the Egyptian alliance.
3 Hosea xiv, 2-5, Ewald's translation. 4 Am. vii, I, etc.
'Jer. xxxi, 3.
6 Lam. iii, 33.
"Isaiah xlix, 14-16, Cheyne.
passion on thee, thou afflicted, storm-tossed, comfortless one. I will set thy stones in antimony, and will found thee with sapphires; and I will make thy battlements rubies; and all thy children shall be disciples of Jehovah, and great shall be the peace of thy children. Through righteousness shalt thou be established.'
Such was Jehovah; so he revealed himself to Israel. Conversely, Israel's ideal of righteousness for herself was a reflex of her thoughts of God. As she had not sought formally to know the divine esJehovah a Law of sence, so thoughts of this most comprehensive Righteous- human reflection of divine quality did not seek to analyze the essence of righteousness, but Israel. were taken up with its relations and workings. Jehovah, a God of graciousness and mercy, which cannot save the guilty, but only the repentant; Jehovah, a righteously loving God, whose love cannot but wring from his people qualities like his own, to which it may attach itself Jehovah's righteousness—his covenant-keeping, his graciousness, his mercy, and his love-must be a retribution-bringing righteousness to a sinful people. In fine, divine righteousness was a law of righteousness, a moral law of cause and effect, which for man ran thus: Sin must bring retribution, yea, and destruction, unless the sinner turn again with repentance felt and living. Woe unto those who draw punishment (iniquity) near with cords of ungodliness and sin, as with cart-ropes.' There is no peace, saith Jehovah, for the wicked.' Israel had begun to learn of retribution in the wilderness; Deborah's song had implied it;' more fully had Amos seen the scope of its unavoidableness, had seen it to be part of the law of Jehovah's righteousness that men should not escape the fruits of their acts. It is only within the range of the possible that things occur: "Do
' Is. liv.
2 lb., v, 18.
3 Ib., xlviii, 22.
horses run upon a rock, or doth one plow it with oxen, that ye turn justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood?" And Hosea, who knows Jehovah's love, knows too the law of righteousness: “Ye plowed wickedness, wrong ye reap, eat the fruit of deception, therefore thou didst trust in chariots, and thy fortresses shall be laid low." Sure the sequence,— wickedness, infatuation, ruin.
But further still, this retributive law of righteousness is righteousness restoring itself; for "if the wicked be treated favorably, he learneth not righteousness; but as soon as Jehovah's judgments come upon the earth, men learn. To guide back the erring is part of the law of Jehovah's righteousness, that a repentant people be re-established in salvation. This forms a large part of the message of "second Isaiah." Had Israel not sinned, there had been no need of all the punishment; had she always listened to Jehovah's commandments, then had her peace been as a river and her righteousness as the waves of the sea.' Even now it is not too late for repentant Israel: "Speak to the heart of Jerusalem that her warfare is accomplished, that her guilt is atoned for, that she has received of the hand of Jehovah double for all her sins." Through retribution from Jehovah, through repentance and lifting up her eyes to him, Israel is restored to righteousness, is again vindicated; and so the thought of human righteousness includes the thought of vindication and establishment by the arm of the righteous Redeemer. And in general, as the thought of Jehovah's righteousness carries the thought of its necessary action upon men as retributive and rewarding law, so man's righteousness or unrighteousness carries the thought of the results which follow necessarily, because of the righteous workings of Jehovah's will.
1 Amos vi, 12, Ewald.
Hos. x, 13. 3 Is. xxvi, 10.
5 Is. xlviii, 18. Cf. Deut. vi, 25.
Israel's thoughts of righteousness were not given once for all, never to develop and expand. Jehovah's demands always accorded with his character; but his character was revealed through the centuries in ways enlarging Israel's thoughts of righteousDemanded. ness and her mission in the world. It was all a learning to know Jehovah. His treatment of Israel was absolute graciousness and love towards her, and through her, in its far purposes, to all mankind. It was absolute righteousness, beneficence universal. Israel's doing of his will, her human reflection of it, must also have the quality of righteousness absolute and universal, and could not lie in return of human favors for divine favoritism.
In the times of Israel's childhood, Jehovah might be satisfied with the hearty return of gratitude, showing itself in sacrifice and worship offered to him alone. Even then he had commanded his children to act uprightly and humanely with each other. Now Israel had come to man's estate, and many of her people were thinking to satisfy Jehovah by sacrifice while they neglected the weightier matters of the law. Jehovah answered through his prophets that all this hand and lip service, praises, feasts, and sacrifices, were an abomination when coming from evil doers: "I hate, I despise your feasts, I delight not in your solemn assemblies. Yea, though ye offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them. Take them away from me, and the noise of thy songs. For I will not hear the melody of thy harps. But let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."' So speaks Jehovah through Amos; so again through Hosea: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
To think to appease Jehovah's wrath with burnt offerings was fatally to mistake his nature, fatally to fail in 'Hos. vi, 6; see also Micah vi, 6–8.
1 Amos v, 21-24.