by Richard Sibbes
The puritan Richard Sibbes' sixteen sermons on the fourteenth chapter of Hosea entitled “The Returning Backslider” were preached in the 1620s were printed in 1639. The aim of this work is to assist the backslider to return. Wherein is shewed the large extent of GOD'S free Mercy, even unto the most miserable forlorne and wretched sinners that may be, upon their Humiliation and Repentance.
This treatise begs the favour of those concerning whom especially it is said Christ came for, poor trembling sinners, 'the blind,' 'the prisoners of hope,'* and such who by the assiduity, iteration, and multitude of Satan's discouragements and temptations, sit, as it were, in darkness, and in the valley of death, to whom every sour thing is sweet. Because these, most of all, relish and stand in need of mercy; for when the least flame of that unsupportable wrath breaks forth in show, which is poured out like fire, and 'kindled by the breath of the Lord of Hosts, like a river of brimstone,'† which can make 'the mountains quake, the hills melt,' 'burn up the earth, and all that is therein,'§ the poor soul for the time thinking on nothing but 'blackness and darkness of tempest,' whilst bypast sins, without sight of the Mediator, stares them in the face, with millions of unconceivable horrors and astonishments: then to see light in darkness, mercy in wrath, the sunshine of righteousness, a gracious God appeased by a Mediator, with some sight and sense of its interest therein, this must needs overjoy the troubled soul, which is the main subject of this book. How gracious God is to encourage miserable sinners to return! What encouragements and helps he gives them, what effects his gracious working hath in them, and how sweetly they close with him again! Wherefore, though this mess comes not unto thee set forth in a 'lordly dish,' not having passed, since the preaching thereof, under the exquisite hand of the most worthy author, yet despise it not. For many times, though things of greater judgment affect the understanding most, yet things of lesser conciseness work more upon the affections in a plain flowing way, which happiness, with all other felicities, he wisheth thee, who is ever
Table of Contents
To the Reader
Sermon 1 - O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God - Hosea 14:1, 2.
Sermon 2 - Take away all iniquity - Hosea 14:2
Sermon 3 - Asshur shall not save us ...In thee the fatherless findeth mercy - Hosea 14:2,3
Sermon 4 - Neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, Ye are our gods - Hosea 14:3
Sermon 5 - I will heal their backsliding - Hos 14:4
Sermon 6- I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away - Hosea 14:4-5
Sermon 7 - I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily - Hosea 14:5,6
Sermon 8 - His branches shall spread, his beauty shall be as the olive-tree - Hosea 14: 6,7
Sermon 9 - They shall grow as the vine - Hosea 14:7
Sermon 10 - What have I any more to do with idols? - Hosea 14:8
Sermon 11 - I am like a green fir-tree- Hosea 14:8
Sermon 12 - from me is thy fruit found - Hosea 14:8
Sermon 13 - I am like a green fir-tree; from me is thy fruit found - Hosea 14:8.
Sermon 14 - Who is wise - Hosea 14:9
Sermon 15 - The ways of the Lord are right, the just shall walk in them - Hosea 14:9
Sermon 16 - The transgressors shall fall therein - Hosea 14:9