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up of eyes towards idols, a declination towards an idolatrous religion; if there be a defiling of one another's wife, and then standing upon the sword, that it must be matter of displeasure, or of quarrel, if one will not betray his wife, or sister, to the lust of the greatest person; shall we possess the land? shall we have a continuance of God's blessing upon us? we shall not. And as he thus represents their over-confident behaviour towards God; God is bound by his promise, and therefore we may be secure : and their over-diffident behaviour; God hath begun to show his anger upon us, and therefore there is no recovery: he reprehends also that distemper, which ordinarily accompanies this behaviour towards God, that is, an expostulation, and a disputing with God, and a censuring of his actions: in the twentieth verse, they come to say, The way of the Lord is not equal; that is, we know not how to deal with him, we know not where to find him; he promises mercies, and lays afflictions upon us; he threatens judgments upon the wicked, and yet the wicked prosper most of all; The ways of the Lord are equal. But, to this also God says by the prophet, I will judge every one of you after his own The ways of the Lord are unsearchable; look ye to your own ways, for according to them, shall God judge you. And then after these several reprehensions, this watchman raises himself to the highest pinnacle of all, to discover the greatest sin of all, treason within doors, contemning of God in his own house, and in his presence; that is, a coming to church to hear the word of God preached, a pretence of cheerfulness and alacrity, in the outward service of God, yea a true sense and feeling of a delight in hearing of the word; and yet for all this, an unprofitable barrenness, and (upon the whole matter) a despiteful and a contumelious neglecting of God's purpose and intention, in his ordinance for our voice is unto them but as a song to an instrument; they hear our words, but they do them not.
Though then some expositors take these words to be an increpation upon the people, that they esteemed God's ablest ministers, endued with the best parts, to be but as music, as a jest, as a song, as an entertainment; that they undervalued and disesteemed the whole service of God in the function of the ministry, and thought it either nothing, or but matter of state and
government, as a civil ordinance for civil order, and no more: yet I take this increpation to reach to a sin of another nature; that the people should attribute reverence enough, attention enough, credit enough to the preacher, and to his preachings, but yet when all that is done, nothing is done: they should hear willingly, but they do nothing of that which they had heard.
First then, God for his own glory promises here, that his prophet, his minister shall be tuba, as is said in the beginning of this chapter, a trumpet, to awaken with terror. But then, he shall become carmen musicum, a musical and harmonious charmer, to settle and compose the soul again in a reposed confidence, and in a delight in God: he shall be musicum carmen, music, harmony to the soul in his matter; he shall preach harmonious peace to the conscience: and he shall be musicum carmen, music and harmony in his manner; he shall not present the messages of God rudely, barbarously, extemporally; but with such meditation and preparation as appertains to so great an employment, from such a king as God, to such a state as his church: so he shall be musicum carmen, music, harmony, in re et modo, in matter and in manner: and then musicum so much farther (as the text adds) as that he shall have a pleasant voice, that is, to preach first sincerely (for a preaching to serve turns and humours, cannot, at least should not please any) but then it is to preach acceptably, seasonably, with a spiritual delight, to a discreet and rectified congregation, that by the way of such a holy delight, they may receive the more profit. And then he shall play well on an instrument; which we do not take here to be the working upon the understanding and affections of the auditory, that the congregation shall be his instrument; but as St. Basil says, Corpus hominis, Organum Dei, when the person acts that which the song says; when the words become works, this is a song to an instrument: for, as St. Augustine pursues the same purpose, Psallere est ex preceptis Dei agere; to sing, and to sing to an instrument, is to perform that holy duty in action, which we speak of in discourse and God shall send his people preachers furnished with all these abilities, to be tuba, trumpets to awaken them; and then to be carmen musicum, to sing God's mercies in their ears, in reverent, but yet in a diligent, and thereby a delightful
manner; and so to be music in their preaching, and music in their example, in a holy conversation; Eris, says God to this prophet, such a one thou shalt be, thou shalt be such a one in thyself; and then eris illis, thou shalt be so to them, to the people: to them thou shalt be tuba, a trumpet, thy preaching shall awaken them, and so bring them to some sense of their sins: to them thou shalt be carmen musicum, music and harmony; both in re, in thy matter, they shall conceive an apprehension or an offer of God's mercy through thee; and in modo, in the manner; they shall confess, that thy labours work upon them, and move them, and affect them, and that that unpremeditated, and drowsy, and cold manner of preaching, agrees not with the dignity of God's service they shall acknowledge (says God to this prophet) thy pleasant voice; confess thy doctrine to be good, and confess thy playing upon an instrument, acknowledge thy life to be good too; for, in testimony of all this, audient (says the text) they shall hear this. Now, every one that might come, does not so; businesses, nay less than businesses, vanities, keep many from hence; less than vanities, nothing; many, that have nothing to do, yet are not here all are not come that might come; nor are all that are here, come hither; penalty of law, observation of absences, invitation of company, affection to a particular preacher, collateral respects, draw men; and they that are drawn so, do not come; neither do all that are come, hear; they sleep, or they talk: but audient, says our text, they shall be here, they shall come, they shall hear; they shall press to hear: every one that would come, if he might sit at ease, will not be troubled for a sermon: but our case is better, audient, they shall rise earlier than their fellows, come hither sooner, endure more pains, hearken more diligently, and conceive more delight than their fellows: audient, they will hear but then, after all (which is the height of the malediction, or increpation) non facient, they will not do it; Non facient quæ dixeris, They will do nothing of that which thou hast said to them; nay, non facient quæ dixerunt, They will do nothing of that, which during the time of the sermons, they had said to their own souls, they would do; so little hold shall God's best means, and by his best instruments, take of them; They shall hear thy words, and shall not do them.
These then are our parts that make up this increpation: first, the prophet shall do his part fully: secondly, the people shall do some of theirs but then lastly, they shall fail in the principal, and so make all ineffectual. First, God will send them prophets that shall be tuba, trumpets; and not only that, but speculatores; not only trumpets which sound according to the measure of breath that is blown into them, but they themselves are the watchmen that are to sound them: not trumpets to sound out what airs the occasion of the present time, or what airs the affections of great persons infuse into them; for so they are only trumpets, and not trumpeters; but God hath made them both: and, as in civil matters, Angusta innocentia est, ad legem bonum esse', That is but a narrow, but a faint honesty, to be no honester than a man must needs be, no honester than the law, or than his bodily sickness constrains him to be; so are these trumpets short-winded trumpets, if they sound no oftener than the canons enjoin them to sound; for, they must preach in season and out of season: if the canonical season be but once a month, the preaching between, is not so unseasonable, but that it is within the apostle's precept too. If that be done, if the watchman sound the trumpet, says the beginning of this chapter (when you see it is the watchman himself that sounds, and not another to sound him; he is neither to be an instrument of others, nor is he to sound always by others, and spare his own breath) but if the watchman do duly sound, then there is an Euge bone serve, belongs to him; Well done good and faithful servant, enter into thy Master's joy: and if he be not heard, or be not followed, then there is a va Bethsaida, a woe belonging to that city, and to that house; for, if those works had been done in Sodom, if all this preaching had been at Rome, Rome would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. I set watchmen over you, says God in another prophet', Et dixi, audite, I said unto you, hearken to them: so far God addresses himself to them, speaks personally to them, super cos, and audite vos; I sent to you, and hear you: but when they would not hear, then he changes the person, Et dixerunt, says that text, And they said, We will not hear after this stubbornness, God does not so much as speak to them: it is not dixistis, you said it; God will have no
more to do with them; but it is dixerunt, they said it; God speaks of them as of strangers. But this is not altogether the case in our text: God shall send prophets, trumpets, and trumpeters, that is, preachers of his word, and not the word of men ; and they shall be heard willingly too; for as they are tubæ, trumpets, so they shall be musicum carmen, acceptable music to them that hear them.
They shall be so, first in re, in their matter, in the doctrine which they preach. The same trumpets that sound the alarm (that is, that awakens us from our security) and that sounds the battle (that is, that puts us into a colluctation with ourselves, with this world, with powers and principalities, yea into a wrestling with God himself and his justice) the same trumpet sounds the parley too, calls us to hearken to God in his word, and to speak to God in our prayers, and so to come to treaties and capitulations for peace; and the same trumpet sounds a retreat too, that is, a safe reposing of our souls in the merit, and in the wounds of our Saviour Christ Jesus. And in this voice they are musicum carmen, a love-song (as the text speaks) in proposing the love of God to man, wherein he loved him so, as that he gave his only begotten Son for him. God made this whole world in such an uniformity, such a correspondency, such a concinnity of parts, as that it was an instrument, perfectly in tune we may say, the trebles, the highest strings were disordered first; the best understandings, angels and men, put this instrument out of tune. God rectified all again, by putting in a new string, semen mulieris, the seed of the woman, the Messiah: and only by sounding that string in your ears, become we musicum carmen, true music, true harmony, true peace to you. If we shall say, that God's first string in this instrument, was reprobation, that God's first intention, was, for his glory to damn man; and that then he put in another string, of creating man, that so he might have somebody to damn; and then another of enforcing him to sin, that so he might have a just cause to damn him; and then another, of disabling him to lay hold upon any means of recovery: there is no music in all this, no harmony, no peace in such preaching. But if we take this instrument, when God's hand tuned it the second time, in the promise of a Messiah, and offer of the love and