Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 14—Hosea 2:19, 20.

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.

The certain and final perseverance of the elect, appears very evident from this passage of scripture. For, if the Lord Jesus Christ does, by an act of his free grace betroth his people to himself; and that in righteousness,in the wedding garment of his own righteousness; and also in judgment,which may intend the powerful protection of them from all insults and injuries; and likewise in loving-kindness,and in mercies,which he has shown in dying for them, in nourishing and cherishing of them, and in sympathizing with them, as well as in faithfulness,which he will never suffer to fail; and all this for ever;so that this marriage relation shall never cease; I say if Christ has thus closely and eternally joined and united his people to himself, it is not possible they should ever be separated from him; or so fall from his grace as to be eternally lost. But to this, the following things are objected.

1. That these words[1] are spoken "of them, who came out of the land of Egypt,who had burnt incense to Balaam,and whose feast days were new moons and sabbaths,and so cannot concern the elect only, or their final perseverance." To which I reply, that it is very evident, that though these words are spoken of the Israelites, yet not of the same individual persons who came out of Egypt, or who had burnt incense to Balaam; but regard other persons and times, even the times when the ceremonial law was to be abolished, and the new moons, sabbaths,and solemn feasts,made to cease (v. 11), when the land of Judea with its vines and fig-trees,shall be destroyed (v. 12), and which are distinguished from the days of the youth of this people, as a body politic, when they came out of the land of Egypt (v. 15), and so concern the elect of God among that people, who being allured into the wilderness of the Gentile world (v. 14), were met with, and converted under the ministry of the apostles, and so openly betrothed unto the Lord Jesus Christ: and was a pledge of what will be more largely done at the time of their general conversion; when it shall be said, the marriage of the Lamb is come.Besides, these words regard not only the elect of God among the Jews, but among the Gentiles also, as appears from Romans 9:23-26.

2. It is objected,[2] that "if these spiritual promises respect the elect, then the temporal ones must do so likewise; and then they must abound with corn, and wins and oil (v.22), which yet were never looked upon as promises made to the elect, much less as things peculiarly belonging to them." But why these should not be looked upon as promises made to the elect, I see not: does not God take care of his own elect in temporal things? which, though not peculiar to them, yet are given to them in a peculiar manner, being blessings indeed to them, whilst they are curses to others. Besides, nothing is more evident than that oftentimes, in the writings of the Old Testament, temporal blessings are spoken of, as figurative of spiritual ones.

3. It is moreover observed,[3] "that the promise here made to Israel, is only made to her returning to her first husband,(v. 7)," and is not an absolute, but a conditional one. But whoever reads it with any care, will easily see that it is expressed in the most absolute and unconditional terms; no less than three times, to express the certainty of the thing, does the Lord say, I will betroth thee unto me,and adds, and thou shall know the Lord; that is, believe in him, own, acknowledge, love, honor, and obey him, as thy lord and husband. He does not say, if thou wilt own and acknowledge me, love, honor and obey me, or return to me, and remain inviolably chaste and faithful to me, then I will betroth thee to myself; nor is there any connection between these words and verse 7. And was there any between them; yet even they are delivered in very absolute terms thus, she shall say under strong convictions of mind, and impressions made by powerful and efficacious grace, I will go and return to husband, for then it was better with me than now.


[1] Whitby, p. 469; ed. 2.449.

[2] Ibid., p. 470; ed. 2.449, 450.

[3] Ibid., p. 472; ed. 2.452.

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