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enough to die for them, ftill lives and reigns for them, and even glorious in being "the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in "all." To him, with the Father, and quickening Spirit, the one living and true God, be glory and honour, thanksgiving and praise, for

ever and ever.


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HOSEA xiv. 8.

Ephraim fhall fay, What have I to do any more with idols?


IF we compare the reprefentation here given of Ephraim with the account we have of him ch. iv. 17. we fhall difcover fuch a wonderful change, as muft excite in us a defire to be acquainted with the cause of it. There it is said, Ephraim is joined to idols:" Here we behold him throwing them away, with every fymptom of contempt and abhorrence. Like a man awakened from a dream, or rather like one who had loft his reafon, 'and was now restored to the right ufe of it, he faith, What have I to do any more with idols?—It is my difgrace, no less than my crime, that ever I had any thing to do with fuch lying vanities; but now I caft them from me with scorn and deteftation, and with a determined purpose, that I fhall never henceforth return to them any more.

How is this furprising change to be accounted for? When God faid, "Ephraim is joined to "idols," he immediately pronounced that awful decree, "Let him alone." Hereby a restraint was laid upon every outward inftrument. All the creatures were charged by the highest authority, to give him no difturbance in the courfe of VOL. II.



his idolatry, but to leave him intirely to his own conduct, and the unabated influence of the idols he had chofen. By what means then was his recovery brought about?-Had Ephraim the honour to difcover the delufion by his own fagacity, and to break the enchantment by his own ftrength-We find an answer to these queftions, ch. xiii. 9. "O Ifrael, thou haft destroy"ed thyfelf, but IN ME is thy help." Had God faid, I am determined to let Ephraim alone, there would have been an end of him at once, though the whole creation had been left at liberty to exert its utmost activity for his help: but it deferves our notice, that though God laid a reftraint upon the agency of the creatures, yet he laid no reftraint upon his own, but referved to himself the full exercife of his effential and unalienable prerogative, to be the free and fovereign difpofer of his grace.

In this character he is introduced at the ift verfe of this chapter, where he iffues forth his royal command, and clothes it with power: "O "Ifrael, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou "haft fallen by thine iniquity."-In order to encourage their hope of acceptance, he teacheth them in the following verfes how to pray, and even dictates the very form of furrender they were to make: "Take with you words, and "turn to the Lord, fay unto him, Take away

all iniquity, and receive us gracioufly: fo "will we render the calves of our lips. Afhur "fhall not fave us, we will not ride upon horfes, "neither will we fay any more to the works of

our hands, Ye are our Gods: for in thee the "fatherlefs findeth mercy." After which, to remove that diftruft and jealoufy which neceffarily fpring from a confcioufnefs of guilt, he goes on to declare his fovereign purpose, expreffed in the most comprehenfive and abfolute terms, of difpenfing to them, and conferring upon them, his pardoning mercy and fanctifying grace: " I "will heal their backfliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from "him. I will be as the dew unto Ifrael," &c. In confequence whereof, he foretells, in the words of my text, that Ephraim, who till then had been joined to idols, fhould find himself difpofed and enabled to fay, not with his lips only, but from an effectual principle of new life in his heart, What have I to do with idols any more?

From this view of my text, as it stands connected with other paffages in this book that relate to Ephraim, and more efpecially with the verfes immediately preceding, four obfervations obviously arife, which I propofe to illuftrate in the following difcourfe.

1. That a finner, in his natural ftate, is joined to idols.


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2. That to separate a finner from idols, is a work that is altogether peculiar to God.

3. That this feparation is effected by the difcovery and application of pardoning mercy and fanctifying grace. And,

4. That every one who is a partaker of these important benefits, will, and muft, adopt the words of Ephraim in their most extensive meaning, and fay, as he did, What have I to do any more with idols?

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Į. My

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I. My first obfervation is, That a finner, in his natural ftate, is joined to idols.

Herein confifteth the effence of man's apoftafy. Something that is not God is the object of his fupreme love, and poffeffeth that place in his heart which is due only to the living and true God; and that thing, by what name foever it may be diftinguished, is properly an idol. Now this world, and the things of the world, its riches, and pleasures, and honours, which the Apostle John, by a strong and fignificant figure, calls "the luft of the eye, the luft of the flesh, and the pride of life;" thefe are the great rivals of God which ever fince the fatal apoftafy, have ufurped the throne in the human heart.


I am unwilling to mention the profane rites by which fome of thefe idols are worshipped by many they are too fhocking to be named, and at the fame time fo notorious as to render a detail of them fuperfluous. It is by no means neceffary for proving the charge of idolatry, that I fhould lead your imaginations through the various fcenes of injuftice, oppreffion, and cruelty; or into the foul haunts of lewdness and riotous excefs. Many of these vices may be deemed unnatural to man even in his fallen ftate: and though the carnal mind may be enmity against God, yet I am verily perfuaded, that the carnal mind itfelf doth often fuffer a confiderable degree of violence, before it can be fully reconciled to the practice of them. It is fufficient for my purpose to affirm, what daily obfervation puts beyond all doubt, viz. that this prefent world, in one fhape or other, is loved and ferved in preference to God, by

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