If you will permit the archivist to briefly stray from recounting our history, I would share something from one of my favorite commentaries. Consider this a Sabbath-day posting; perhaps in the future I can post sermons from some of the founding fathers of the various conservative Presbyterian denominations. But today, this is what I’ve been reading and what has impressed me with its relevance. I have long thought that the message in the book of Hosea is especially apt for our times. And I don’t think anyone more fully expounds that message than the Rev. Jeremiah Burroughs. However, knowing that many people won’t read at length in such things, here’s a partial summary of his observations on Hosea 4:4.
Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another; For thy people are as they that strive with the priest.
Obs. 1. Sin cannot be got from men without striving. Such is the perverseness of men’s hearts, that they take fast hold of deceit.
Obs. 2. Even private men [i.e., those other than pastors], so long as the there is hope, should strive with their brethren, by way of admonition and reprehension, to bring them from their sin.
Obs. 3. It is a great aggravation of sin, and a forerunner of destruction to a people, not to regard the strivings, admonitions, and reprehensions of others. It is vain to strive (now that is the meaning); indeed, so long as there was hope there might be striving, but now they are past striving. This was the height of wickedness that they were grown unto, and the forerunner of that wrath of God, which was now ready to fall upon them, that they were now past all reprehension and admonition.
Obs. 4. Sin increases where it is let alone. . . Those that once were capable of admonition, going on in sin and hardening their hearts, grow quickly past all reproof.
Obs. 5. There is a time when men may, yea, men should give up striving with, admonishing, and reproving others, when they should let them alone. Read the rest of this entry »