Habakkuk 2:1 open_in_new
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Ver. 1. I will stand upon my watch] To see what becomes of my prayer, and what will be the issue of my doubts and temptations about God's providence, ruling the affairs of the world. See the note on Habakkuk 1:17. There are spaces between our prayers and God's answers. God hearkens what Habakkuk speaks; and Habakkuk must hearken another while what God speaks. This he had learned from David, Psalms 85:8. Prayer is a Christian's angel, seed, dove, messenger; and must be looked after. Who shoots an arrow, or casts a bowl, and takes not notice where it lights? They that observe not the answer of their prayers do as scoffing Pilate, who asked in scorn of Christ what is truth? but stayed not for an answer.
And set me upon the tower] Heb. Set me firm and fast (as a champion that will keep his ground) upon the tower or fortress of Divine meditation, upon God's word, which alone hath virtutem pacativam, a settling property to compose the soul when distempered, and to lodge a blessed calm, a sabbath of rest in it, far above all philosophical consolations; whereunto when Cicero had ascribed very much, yet he is forced to conclude, that the disease was too hard for the medicine, Nescio quomodo imbecillior est medicina quam morbus. And this well appeared both in Socrates, who died doubtingly, and Cato, who desperately slew himself, after he had first read Plato's discourse concerning the immortality of the soul. So foolish a thing it is to fly in distress of mind ad consolatiunculas creaturulae, as Luther speaketh; and not to run to the name of the Lord, that strong tower, Proverbs 18:10. R. Kimchi reads the text thus, I have set me in a circle, q.d. I will not quit till I have an answer, why thou deferrest to punish the wicked.
And will watch to see what he will say unto me] Or, in me, viz. by a prophetic spirit, by internal revelation, 2Sa 23:1 Zechariah 1:9; Zechariah 2:2. Preachers must still hearken what the Lord God saith unto them and in them; speaking as the oracles of God, 1 Peter 4:11, and able to say with St Paul, "I have received of the Lord that which also I deliver unto you," 1 Corinthians 11:23. For, ut drachmam auri sine imagine Principis, sic verba Praedicantis sine authoritate Dei, contemnunt homines, saith Lipsius. Bring Scripture, or else you do but throw forth words without wisdom, and to little purpose, because they come not Cum privilegio.
And what I shall answer, when I am reproved] Heb. Upon my reproof or arguing. Increpationis nomine tentationes intelligit, saith Gualther. Under the name of reproof he understandeth those temptations whereby his faith was assaulted, when he saw bad men prosper, good men suffer. Satan and the weed do usually set upon God's servants with this weapon, to unsettle their faith, and to make them fall from their own steadfastness. "Dost thou still retain thine integrity?" said Job's wife to him. Seest thou not how little good there is to be got by God's service? that all things are in a huddle here below, that they run on wheels, and have no certain course? Thus the devil and his imps suggest to the godly, and thereby greatly disquiet them; setting their thoughts all on a hurricane. It was the case of David, Psalms 73:2,3, of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 12:5, of Basil, under the heat of the Arian persecution: An Ecclesias suas prorsus dereliquit Dominus? saith he; What? hath the Lord cast off all care of his Churches? Is it now the last hour? &c. Of many good people in Salvian's time, for whose satisfaction he was forced to write those eight excellent books, De Gubernatione Dei; as likewise Austin (upon a like occasion) did those two-and-twenty elaborate books, De Civitate Dei; and as the prophet Habakkuk here doth the following vision which he had for some time waited for, and now receiveth as a gracious answer to his prayer, Habakkuk 1:2,4, for his own and others' settlement in the doctrine of Divine providence.
Habakkuk 2:2 open_in_new
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Ver. 2. And the Lord answered me, and said] Wisdom he had sought of God, who giveth liberally, James 1:5; and wisdom is granted him without hitting him in the teeth with his bold expostulations and contestations about providence. Faithful prayer never miscarrieth, but is sure of an answer, either before, as the prodigal, see Isaiah 65:24, or in the act, as Daniel 10:12, "I am come for thy words," with an answer thereunto. Or soon after, as here. If it come not all out so soon as we would have it, know that there is water enough in the spring, but the pipes are stopped or broken.
Write the vision] That is, the following admonition; write it for the use of all posterity. Note this against those opinionists, that say that the word of God was not written by his command; or that it was written only for the use of the present ages, and of those particular Churches to whom it was directed or declared.
And make it plain upon tables] Boxen tables (as the Seventy render it), for on box, for the firmness of the matter, were the ancients wont to write.
That he may run that readeth it] That though he be no great clerk, or in never so great haste of business, yet he may read it, being written in great letters and very legible. See Deu 27:8 Isaiah 8:1; Isa 30:8 Galatians 6:11, "you see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand," the Greek signifieth with what good great text letters I have written (πηλικοις γραμμασιν). God hath written for us the great things of his law, Hosea 8:12, and with much perspicuity and plainness in things needful to be known: he hath written them, as it were, with the beams of the sun; that none may plead difficulty or obscurity; see Psalms 19:9; Psa 119:105 Pro 6:23 2 Peter 1:19. Of the Scripture it may be said et latet et lucet; both hidden and clear, the knowledge thereof doth even bow down to us as trees do that are laden with fruits, so that a child may gather them.
Habakkuk 2:3 open_in_new
For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Ver. 3. For the vision is yet for an appointed time] This he is commanded to write, that God's people may learn to wait. He that believeth maketh not haste, he can both wait (as knowing that many of God's promises bear a long date) and also want, go without the good he desireth; being well content that God is glorified, though himself be not gratified. And this is the work of effectual faith, which is herein like unto crystal, of which it is reported that the very touching of it quickens other stones, and puts a lustre and loveliness upon them.
But at the end it shall speak] Effabitur, It shall speak confidently, boldly, and freely, to the great comfort of those that antedate not God's promises, but patiently abide the accomplishment thereof. If any ask when this shall be? it is answered, In the end, that is, in God's good time. Shall he lose his right because he hath it not by the day set down in our calendar? Possibly the calendar of heaven hath a postdate to ours. Sure it is, that as God seldom comes at our time; so he never fails at his own. God's expectants shall shortly clap their hands for joy; and cry out with that holy martyr, He is come, Austin, he is come, he is come (Mr Glover. Act. and Mon.).
And not lie] That is, not disappoint; as the earth is said to lie when it yields not her expected increase. God is faithful, and cannot lie. Christ hath a rainbow on his head, Revelation 10:1, to show that be is faithful and constant in his promises, and that tempests which blow over the sky shall be cleared. He hath hitherto kept promise witb nights and days, that the one shall succeed the other, Jeremiah 33:20; Jeremiah 33:25, and shall he break with his people? How then should he be Amen, the faithful and true witness? Revelation 3:14. Every man is a liar either by imposture, and so in purpose, or by impotence, and so in the event deceiving those that rely upon him, Psalms 62:9. But God is "a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he," Deuteronomy 32:4 .
Though it tarry wait for it] This is the duty, wait; and because it is a very difficult duty (the Hebrews found it easier to bear evil than to wait for the promised good, Heb 10:36), therefore is the promise here not delivered only, but doubled and trebled. It shall speak, it will come, it will surely come; nay, doubled again for more surety; It shall not lie, it will not tarry. It is as if God had said, Do but wait, and you shall be delivered, you shall be delivered, you shall be delivered, you shall, you shall. Oh the rhetoric of God! and oh the certainty of the promises!
It will not tarry] sc. Beyond the time appointed of God.
“ In se non tardat, carni tardare videtur. ”
God's help seems long, because we are short. A short walk is a long journey to feeble knees. But that God tarries not beyond his appointed time, see Exodus 12:40,41; at midnight were the firstborn slain, because then exactly the four hundred and thirty years were up. And Daniel 5:30, "In that night was Belshazzar slain"; because then exactly the seventy years were ended.
Habakkuk 2:4 open_in_new
Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Ver. 4. Behold, his soul which is lifted up] Ebulat, protuberat, which swelleth like a bubble, and reaketh through its own weakness; he that by unbelief or carnal security withdraweth from God, and confideth in the creature; υποστειληται , Heb 10:38 seeking to shift and save himself some other way, as he is a proud and presumptuous person, so let him know that,
His soul is not upright in him] That is, it is very corrupt and crooked, stark naught; and God's soul can take no pleasure in him; but he will punish him as a runaway, as one that hath fled from his colours, forsaken his captain, revolted to the enemy, Hebrews 10:37,38. Transfugas ubicunque inventi fuerint, quasi hostes interficere licet, was the old law of arms. What God will do to such, see Psalms 125:5 .
But the just shall live by his faith] This is an answer to those that would ask what shall we do till the vision speak? how shall we hold out till it come? till the seventy years of captivity be expired? "The just shall live by faith," saith he, and shall make a good living of it too; he shall live and be safe by the same faith whereby he is just. He shall feed upon faith, as some read that Psalms 37:3. And whereas we find in those Apocryphal additions to Daniel, that Habakkuk brought a mess of pottage to that prophet in the lions' den; as it seems to be but a Jewish fable, so the Jew that invented it, grounding his conceit upon this text, would express thus much, that as pottage (that succus benignus, as Keckerman calleth it) preserveth this natural life from perishing, so doth faith's acting upon the promises, and extracting nourishment from the same, maintain life spiritual; and thereby it was that Daniel stopped the mouths of the lions, Hebrews 11:33. How Habakkuk taketh out his own lesson of living by faith, and not by sense. Although the flg tree shall not blossom. Hab 3:17 See here the life of faith, in the fail of outward comforts, so true is that of Solomon, Proverbs 2:7, "The Lord layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous": when he is in greatest straits, then he hath such quietness, soundness, and presence of mind, as bears him up above all troubles; like as blown bladders do the body aloft all waters. Faith furnisheth him with strongest and most satisfying joys; such as the flames cannot dry up, nor rivers of blood drown; faith, actuated upon the promises, maketh the believer walk above the middle region of the air (as it were) in a continual serenity, as Enoch did; and sealeth him a double charter of privative and positive privileges. See it set down 1 Corinthians 3:21,23. Faith makes him live in the mouth of death, by strengthening him against the horrors of it, Psa 23:4 Romans 8:38 Hebrews 11:31 1 Corinthians 15:55,57, and by showing him heaven beyond it, Hebrews 11:13, and therein freedom from all evil, fruition of all good.
Habakkuk 2:5 open_in_new
Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, [he is] a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and [is] as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
Ver. 5. Yea, also because he transgresseth by wine] Or, How much more because he is a wine bibber, perfidious, proud, neither keepeth at home. These four faults the prophet here layeth to the charge of the Babylonian, and therehence inferreth for the comfort of the distressed captives, that his destruction cannot be far off; and therefore the just should meanwhile live by faith, and bear up under affliction. For if those that believe not the promises, but shift and shark for help and comfort elsewhere, shall smart for their unbelief, as Habakkuk 2:4, where shall those appear that are here described? shall these bipedum nequissimi, worst of men, escape by iniquity? Never think it. First, their drunkenness alone would undo them; as it did Amnon, Elah, Nabal, Belshazzar, Bonosus, &c. Aristotle saith, that double punishments are due to drunkards (Tοις μεθυουσι διπλα τα επιτιμια): first for their drunkenness, and then for other sins committed in and by their drunkenness. Nebuchadnezzar (or, as some will have it, Belshazzar) is here called, wine, or (by an ordinary elipsis) a man of wine; not only Meribibulus, but a deep and desperate drunkard, a very tundish a (as Diotimus of Athens was called), a hogshead, as young Cicero. No wonder therefore though he were all the rest that followeth. 1. Perfidious, to those that committed themselves to his trust, or made leagues with him, which he kept no longer than stood with his profit. 2. Proud, or arrogant, Proverbs 21:24. See Daniel 4:30, how he spreads his peacock's tail, and prides himself in it: his great wealth tumoured him up with great swealth.
3. He keepeth not at home] Non habitabit, his own country will not contain him, but he encloseth all nations in his dragnet, Habakkuk 1:15 .
4. He enlargeth his desire as hell] Which hath its name (Sheol) in Hebrew, from its unsatiableness, Proverbs 30:15,16, and in Latin it is called Inferuus ab inferendo, say some, from the devil's continual carrying in souls thither, and yet it is not filled.
And is as death] Which is the end of all men, Ecclesiastes 7:2; the way of all flesh, 1 Kings 2:2; of all the earth, Joshua 23:14; the house appointed for all living, the great congregation house, Job 30:23 .
And cannot be satisfied] Lust is unsatisfiable, and whatsoever it getteth is but as fuel to the fire. Ambition groweth as the crocodile doth, as long as he liveth. It rideth without reins, and there is no ho with it.
But gathereth unto him all nations, &c.] All that he could come at; all Asia, and a great part of Africa; and could never have enough, till his mouth was filled with a spade full of mould. Therefore he shall not keep home (so some read the words above in this verse), Ideo non manebit in habitaculo. His kingdom shall not long continue, but after a few years be overturned by the Persians: this golden head (as Daniel calleth the Babylonish monarchy) held not up over 170 years, if we reckon from Merodach Baladan, the first founder, to Belshazzar, slain by Cyrus, who translated the kingdom to the Persians, Daniel 5:30,31
a A wooden dish or shallow vessel with a tube at the bottom fitting into the bung-hole of a tun or cask, forming a kind of funnel used in brewing. ŒD
Habakkuk 2:6 open_in_new
Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth [that which is] not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!
Ver. 6. Shall not all these take up a parable against him?] Shall not the Babylonian, who is now a terror, be ere long a scorn? shall he not inherit with ignominy, reproach?
And a taunting proverb against him] Heb. An interpretation, and riddles. For example, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his, that is both a proverb (because in many men's mouths) and an interpretation, because it is plain and perspicuous. But that which followeth is a riddle. "That ladeth himself with thick clay!" This nut must be broken up ere the kernel can be come at. See Judges 7:15 .
Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!] Heb. Lo, lo. Some render it he, he that multiplieth not for himself but for another, sc. for the Medes and Persians, not woe, but he, a note of insulting and upbraiding, answerable to the Latin Vah, Vah, tunc ille es, &c. Ah sirrah, are you he that increaseth that which is not yours, &c. Eugo, ευρι θεος τον αλιτρον .
How long?] This is the common complaint of the oppressed nations, groaning out their grievances, and longing for deliverance from those troublers of the world. Neither is this usque quo in vain; for God is gracious, and may better style himself, than the Great Turk, Awlem Penawh, that is, The world's refuge: the poor man's king, as James IV of Scotland was called.
And to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!] With gold and silver, that guts and garbage of the earth, fitly called clay, because of the clogging and polluting property, and said to load people as a sumpter horse laden with treasure all day, but at night turned into a stinking stable, with his back full of galls and bruises. He that first called riches bona, goods, was mistaken; the Scripture calleth them thorns, snares, thick clay, &c., a great burden to the owner, according to the proverb, Magna navis, magna cura, a great ship is a great care, and the lading oft proves no better than that which Captain Frobisher brought back with him after his voyage to discover the Straits, viz. a great quantity of stones, which he thought to be minerals, from which, when there could be drawn neither gold nor silver, nor any other metal, they were cast forth to repair the highways. This was labour in vain, pressure to no purpose; and no less is theirs that heap up riches without right, Jeremiah 17:11, or, if by right means, yet set their hearts upon them, Psalms 62:10, still striving (as they say the toad doth) to die with as much earth in their mouths as may be, till at length their never enough be requited with fire enough in the bottom of hell. Nenessan the lawyer was wont to say, He that will not venture his body shall never be valiant, he that will not venture his soul never rich. O curvae in terras animae, et coelestium inanes. Is it nothing to lose an immortal soul? to purchase an everlasting death? to sink into the bottomless lake under this thick clay?
Habakkuk 2:7 open_in_new
Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?
Ver. 7. Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee?] Rend and tear thee as hunting dogs do the beast they pursue. See Isaiah 13:14; Isa 13:21 Jeremiah 51:58. The interrogation here used importeth both the certainty of the thing and their security, as if no such thing could possibly befall them. Suddenly, therefore, saith the prophet, shalt thou be surprised and spoiled by the Persians, when thy city Babylon is held impregnable, and boasteth of provision enough laid in for twenty years' siege. Security is the certain usher of destruction, as we see in Benhadad's army, and those Midianites, Judges 7:12; Judges 7:20,23, and the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 30:16,17; and Pompey's marching against Caesar; and the French at the battle of Agincourt; so confident they were of a victory, that they sent to our King Henry V, who was then in the field against them, and got the day, to know what ransom he would give.
Habakkuk 2:8 open_in_new
Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men's blood, and [for] the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
Ver. 8. Because thou hast spoiled many nations] God loves to retaliate (as hath before been often observed), to spoil the spoilers by a remnant of the people, by such as were of no note, and much unlikely to do such exploits. Thus he spoiled these Babylonians by Cyrus and his Medes; the Persians, by Alexander and his Macedonians (whom they so slighted, that Darius, in his proud embassy to him, called him his servant, but himself the king of kings, and cousin of the gods). So the Roman empire was miserably rent and torn by the Goths, Vandals, Huns, Lombards, people not before heard of, and the Greek empire by Turks, Tartars, Saracens, Scythians, &c., that it might the better appear, haec non sine numine fieri, these events happen not without divine intervention, that it was the Lord's own doing, who often suffers his enemies, like Adonijah's guests, to feast and frolic in a jocular security and promise of continued prosperity. But at last, when they are at the height of their joys and hopes, he confounds all their devices, and lays them open to the scorn of the world, and the spoil of the remnant of the people whom they vilified.
Because of men's blood] Heb. Bloods, every drop whereof had a tongue to cry to God for vengeance, saying, Give them blood to drink, for they are worthy, Oh let not bloody and deceitful men live out half their days, Revelation 16:6 Psalms 55:23. That soldier can never answer it to God that hath not a good cause, and striketh not rather as a justicer than as a soldier.
And for the violence of the land] Heb. Of the earth, though principally of that land of desires, the promised land, and the inhabitants thereof, whom he that touched, touched the apple of God s eye, that little man in the eye (Ishon) that may not be meddled with, Zechariah 2:8 .
Of the city] Jerusalem, called the city by an excellence, and by a better right than ever Rome was. See Lamentations 1:1, and Jeremiah's elegy there over it, when captivated by these Chaldees.
Habakkuk 2:9 open_in_new
Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!
Ver. 9. Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness] For there is a good covetousness (which few are guilty of), 1 Corinthians 12:31, "Covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." Covet earnestly the best graces, such as are faith, hope, and charity, these are better than gifts. A shop full of barrels enrich not unless they be full of commodities. Gifts (as to heaven) are but the lumber of a Christian; it is grace makes him rich toward God, and of that he cannot be too covetous. But the covetousness of the Chaldeans here threatened and thundered against was of another nature. It is called an evil covetousness and hath its name in the original of piercing or wounding, as Joel 2:8, and fitly, both in respect of a man's self, 1 Timothy 6:10, and others, Pro 1:19 Amos 9:1, and here. Woe to such, and destruction too, as Hosea 7:13. The Lord, to show his just indignation against covetous persons, smiteth his fists at them, as Balak did at Balaam, Numbers 24:10. See Ezekiel 22:13, "Behold, I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee." Now, lest people should object or conceive that those were but great words, and that the Lord would not do so as he said, or that they should deal well enough with him, therefore it followeth Habakkuk 2:14, "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken, and will do it."
To his house] i.e. To his family and posterity, which he intends to advance, but indeed undoes them, by leaving them a cursed hoard of ill-gotten goods, wherein they do them a greater displeasure than Joab and Gehazi did in leaving their children the leprosy for a legacy. Job speaketh, Job 15:34, as though the wicked, when they set up their houses by pilling and polling, by getting riches without right, did but make a stack of wood, and then comes a spark of God's wrath, and makes an end of all. As in another place, "Brimstone," saith he, "shall be scattered upon his habitation," Job 18:15, so that if the fire of God's displeasure do but light upon it, &c. Thus Dioclesian, that cruel persecutor, had his house wholly consumed with lightning and a flame of fire that fell from heaven upon it, as Eusebius tells us (De Vita Constant. lib. 5). Add hereunto that many times there comes a son that is as good with a fork as his father was with a rake; as great a spend-all as his father was a get-all.
That he may set his nest on high] And there feather it at his pleasure, Oba 1:4 and secure his children like as the eagle builds on high, to save her young from the serpent that seeks to destroy them.
That he may be delivered from the power of evil] Which he hath cause to fear from others, to whom he hath been so injurious and oppressive. But how will he be hid or freed from the terrors of his own guilty conscience; well he may build cities with Cain, and set up high towers with Phocas, but what said the oracle to him? Though thou set up thy strongholds as high as heaven, yet sin at the foundation thereof will soon overturn all, and lay it level with the ground.
Habakkuk 2:10 open_in_new
Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned [against] thy soul.
Ver. 10. Thou hast consulted shame to thy house, &c.] Thou hast taken a wrong course both for thy house of the kingdom (so the Persians called the king's palace, Dan 4:27), which shall be blown up; and for thine own private family and posterity; it is not all thy care, pains, plotting, and practising that can preserve it from ignominy and utter ruin. God will turn thy glory into shame, and make thy name to rot and stink as putrified flesh, Proverbs 10:7; Proverbs 10:9, "He that perverteth his ways shall be known." And when such a man is raked up in the dust his evil courses shall be cast as dung in the faces of those whom he leaveth behind him. What fools, then, are extortioners, muckworms, and cormorants, that live miserably and deal unjustly, opening the mouths of all to cry out upon their craftiness, covetousness, and cruelty, and yet think to raise up their houses and advance their names, and adorn their children with glory and estimation?
By cutting off many people] A poor glory it was to Sulla to have made such a merciless massacre at Athens (σφαγη ανηλεης), and after that, to have proscribed and slain 4700 citizens of Rome, as he caused it to be publicly recorded, videlicet ne memoria tam praeclarae rei dilueretur, saith mine author. So for Julius Caesar to have been the death of a million of men, Mahomet, the Great Turk, of 800,000. So for Stokesly, Bishop of London, to boast upon his deathbed that he had in his time brought to the fire 50 heretics, as he called them; or, for the bloody Spaniards, that they have murdered 50,000,000 of Indians in 42 years, as Acosta the Jesuit testifieth.
And hast sinned against thy soul] The worth whereof is incomparable, the loss irreparable, as Christ (who only went to the price of souls) telleth us, Matthew 16:26. It was therefore no ill counsel that Francis Xaverius gave John III, King of Portugal, to meditate every day a quarter of an hour on that Divine sentence, What shall it profit a man to win the world, and lose his soul? Neither was it any evil answer that Maximilian (King of Bohemia, afterwards emperor) gave the Pope, who persuaded him to be a good Catholic with many promises of profits and preferments; the king answered, I thank your Holiness, but my soul's health is dearer to me than all the things in the world. This pleased not the Pope, who said that it was a Lutheran form of speech; and yet that of Lewis, King of France, about the year 1152, pleased him much worse, who cast his bulls (whereby he required the fruits of vacancies of all cathedral churches of France) into the fire, saying, I had rather the Pope's bulls should roast in the fire than that my soul should fry in hell.
Habakkuk 2:11 open_in_new
For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
Ver. 11. For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it] Here are woeful echoes; screech owls of woe cry aloud from the beams of the oppressors' chambers, and make most hideous noises in the ears of their consciences. So that although none other should dare to mute against them, or accuse them of wrong dealing; yet their very houses, built by rapine and blood, shall testify against them; so shall other creatures that groan under their abuses, Romans 8:19,22. They seem all to say unto us those three words, saith Hugo, Accipe, Redde, Fuge; Accipe beneficium, Redde Officium, Fuge Supplicium (Lib. 2, de Ar. cap. 3). Receive, Return, Flee, Receive the favour, Return the honour, Flee Punishment. Now, if we hearken not to them, but do the contrary, they shall be one day as so many swift witnesses against us.
And the beam out of the timber shall answer it] Tignum e ligno respondet ei. An allusion to responsers, as in choirs and music; and perhaps the prophet here tacitly taxeth the Babylonian luxury in keeping choristers and musicians for their sinful delight. God, saith he, will fit you with other songsters shortly, that shall twit you by turns with your murders and ravages; for the stone shall cry out of the wall, Woe to him that buildeth a town with bloods! and the beam out of the timber shall answer it, And woe to him that stablisheth a city by iniquity!
Habakkuk 2:12 open_in_new
Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!
Ver. 12. Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood] This seemeth to be the senseless creatures, black Cantus Song, (as they call it), chanted out against the wrong doer, by God's own appointment, cui obscura clarent, muta respondent, silentium confitetur, saith an ancient (Juvonal),
- “ cui servi ut taceant, iumenta loquentur, ”
The very beasts have a verdict to pass upon oppressors; as the dumb ass did upon Balaam: yea, the lifeless creatures shall ring a doleful knell of woe and alas in their ears, and cry them guilty; as the earth did Cain, and the heaven did Phocas; and as the tignum e ligno logs of wood, doth here Nebuchadnezzar. His town of Babylon was built in blood by Semiramis, who slew her husband, so was Rome by Romulus, so was Alexandria, in Egypt, by Alexander, that great manslayer, the founder of populous No, of whose woe read Nahum 3:8; Nahum 3:10. See Trapp on " Nah 3:8 " See Trapp on " Nah 3:10 " And for Alexander himself, he lay unburied thirty days together, neither did his bloody conquest above ground purchase him any title for a habitation underground. The like befell our conqueror William, who laid his foundation here upon fireworks; and was punished in his posterity for his depopulations at New Forest and elsewhere.
And stablisheth a city by iniquity] That thinketh so to establish it, but it proveth otherwise. Josephus telleth us that Nebuchadnezzar set three different walls of brick about his Babylon, one within another; but all would not do when once God took it to do. Oppression is a bony sin, Amos 5:12,13 .
Habakkuk 2:13 open_in_new
Behold, [is it] not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?
Ver. 13. Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the fire] Labour in vain to quench the fire, wherewith Babylon shall be burnt, Jeremiah 51:58. Or have laboured to no purpose in building that city and enlarging that empire, which now God will have down. Is it not evident, that they have lost oleum et operam, oil and work, yea, hazarded their own lives, as those do that strive against a flame. What profit hath he that laboureth for the wind, Ecclesiastes 5:16, much less he that laboureth in the fire, that devouring element, see Isaiah 33:14. Possibly he may be saved himself, yet so as by fire, but his work shall be burnt, that loss he shall suffer, 1 Corinthians 3:15. As they that seek after the philosopher's stone labour in the very fire to as little purpose as may be; for they must use so much gold, and spend so much gold, and then perhaps they can turn as much into gold by it as they have spent in making of it. Hence one calls alchemy a multiplying of something by nothing; another an Omne, Aliquid, Nihil all things, some things, nothing, another, an art without art, never taught by Moses and Miriam, as some have doted, and delivered, that this was a piece of their Egyptian learning. But it is certain that those holy souls never either learned or taught any such laborious loss of time and money. Demetrius Phalereus complaineth of these alchemists long gone not without indignation, quod certis consumptis incertorum gratis, quae se capturos sperabant, non ceperunt, quod vero habebant abiecerint, that they cast away certainties for uncertainties, that they attained not what they hoped for, but cast away what they had (Athenaeus). Julius Scaliger also, Fornaculas istas odi, saith he, odio plus quam Vatiniano. Sunt enim noctuae ad aucupia crumenarum. I cannot abide those furnaces; indeed, they are pick purses, &c.; know there is a true alchemy called by some the Spagirick art, being in great use in medicine. This I condemn not, so it be warily and wisely dealt in. But this by the way only. It seemed to some an impossible thing that Babylon should so suddenly be destroyed as was foretold, Habakkuk 2:7. It will be done certo, cito, penitus, suddenly, surely, severely, saith the prophet, for the Lord of hosts hath undertaken the doing of it. Annon ecce a Domino exercituum (so the Hebrews hath it by an emphatic aposiopesis a device)? Is it not, look you, of the Lord of hosts? The people shall labour in the very fire.
The nations also shall weary themselves for very vanity] viz. In seeking to save Babylon, which by a Divine decree is to be destroyed without remedy, Psalms 137:8. So is Rome, that other Babylon, Revelation 18:2, cito itidem casura, si vos essetis viri, said Petrarch long since (De rein. ut. fort. dial. 118). It would soon be down would you but stand up as men. Neither shall the Jesuits (that ultimus diaboli crepitus) be able to uphold it; there is a cold sweat upon all the limbs of antichrist already.
a A rhetorical artifice, in which the speaker comes to a sudden halt, as if unable or unwilling to proceed. ŒD
Habakkuk 2:14 open_in_new
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Ver. 14. For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, &c.] He shall make himself a glorious name among the nations of the earth, by executing vengeance upon Babylon, and so pleading the cause of his oppressed people (whom he seemed, during their captivity there, to neglect), that men shall have cause to say, "Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth," Psalms 58:11 .
As the waters cover the sea] The channel of the sea; that is, plentifully and abundantly; see a like promise Isaiah 11:9, but to another purpose. That is a famous promise of the coming and kingdom of Christ; and so some interpreters apply this. Wherein though they seem to be mistaken, considering the context; yet the ancients rightly here hence argued, that Christ would certainly come again to judgment, because many wicked men escape in this world without condign punishment, which then they shall be sure of, 2 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Then all shall be set to rights, though now they may seem less equally carried; and the reason of God's proceedings with men shall be cleared up, which now also we are bound to believe (sometimes secret, but) ever just. At the day of judgment we shall see an excellent harmony in this discord of things; and all obscure passages shall be made as plain to us as if they were written with the most glittering sunbeam upon a wall of crystal. Then shall this sweet promise have its full accomplishment: "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," in greatest abundance, and redundancy.
Habakkuk 2:15 open_in_new
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to [him], and makest [him] drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Ver. 15. Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink] The Babylonians (among other their flagitious practices afore mentioned) were much addicted to drunkenness, as is recorded by Herodotus, Ctesias, and others. Their land was sick of drink, and would therefore spue them out: themselves were men of wine, Habakkuk 2:5 (see the note), and should therefore drink deep of the wine of God's fierce wrath. They drank to their neighbours or companions, not in a way either of courtesy or charity, but purposely to intoxicate them, to make them drunk, that they might either deride them or abuse them to filthy pleasure, or both; they bucked them with drink, and then laid them out to be shunned and scorned, as Noah was by his graceless son. Therefore as he cursed Canaan (though Scaliger excuse him), and it stuck to his posterity for ever, so doth God here denounce a woe to drunkards, and so sets it on, as no creature shall ever be able to take it off.
That puttest thy bottle to him] Not thy bowl only, but thy bottle, that he may drink, and be drunk, and spue, and fall, Jeremiah 25:27. This is ordinarily practised by our roaring boys (as they will needs be called by a woeful prolepsis, here for hereafter), in their Cyclopical, κυκλοποσιαι. Either by persuasions or threats the bottle is set to the mouth, and must be emptied ere it come thence. The civil, sober, and temperate man is urged, and, it may be, forced to swallow down long and needless draughts, as a horse doth a drench, by domineering drunkards, that they may see his nakedness, triumph over him, as laid up, or (as the new term is), satisfied. Their vile courses are here graphically, and in lively colours, described by the Holy Ghost; to set forth the hatefulness thereof, and how woeful will be the issue. There are those who read the words thus, That puttest thine anger to him, thy fervour, and thy fury, viz. if he pledge thee not whole ones, and drink not all the outs, as they call them. Domitius, the father of Nero, slew Liberius, an honest Roman, because he refused to drink so much as he commanded him. Others read it, That puttest thy poison to him; and indeed, Ebrietas eat blandus daemon, dulce venenum, suave peccatum. Drunkenness is a fair spoken devil, a pleasant poison, a sweet sin, which he that hath in him hath not himself, and which he that runs into runs not into a single sin, but is wholly turned into sin. How often (saith a grave divine) have I seen vermin sucking the drunkard's blood, as fast as he that of the grape or malt, yet would he not leave his hold or lose his draught? Gualther reads it, Coniungens fervorem tuum, Joining thine heat, inflaming thyself, that thou mayest drink him under the board. This was great Alexander's sin and ruin; so it was Mark Antony's (who wrote a book of his abilities to drink down others, De sua bibacitate librum conseripsit, seu potius evomuit), and before them both Darius's, as Athenaeus hath left recorded. How much better his successor, Ahasuerus, who made a law at his great feast that every man should drink according to his pleasure, Esther 1:8. So Minos, King of Crete, ordered that his subjects should not drink one to another, εις μεθην, unto drunkenness.
“ Quinetiam Spartae mos est laudabilis ille,
Ut bibat arbitrio pocula quisque sue. ”
Among the old Germans, diem noctemque continuare potando, nulli probrum, saith Tacitus, It was no disgrace to drink night and day together. It is still the sin of that nation, as Gualther upon this text heavily complaineth; and it is grown to a proverb, the drunken Dutchman. Of them the English, much commended for their sobriety, learned, in the Netherland wars, to drown themselves by immoderate drinking; and by drinking to others' healths, to impair their own; so that in our days came forth the first restraint thereof by severity of laws, saith Camden; who yet, being so great an antiquity, could not but know that in the year 959 Edgar, king of this land, made an ordinance for putting pins in cups, that none should quaff whole ones.
And makest him drunk also] Robbest him of himself, and layest a beast in his room. The same Hebrew word, Zolel, signifieth a drunkard and a vile person: filthy venomous creatures breed in those fennish grounds, Job 40:21. Behemoth lieth in them; which Gulielmus Parisiensis applieth to the devil in drunken hearts; whereas in dry places, sober souls, he walketh about seeking rest but findeth none, Matthew 12:43. The very heathen, in hatred of this sin, feigned that Cobali (a harmful and pernicious kind of devils) accompanied Bacchus; and that Acratus, or the intemperate devil, was their captain. Seneca calleth it a voluntary madness, another a noonday devil (daemon meridianus), no more a night walker, as once, 1 Thessalonians 5:7. The Lacedaemonians punished it severely; so do the Turks to this day, pouring ladlefuls of boiling lead down their throats sometimes; and at least thrashing of them on the bare feet, till they are disabled for walking in haste again to their societies of good fellowship. Morat Bassa commanded a pipe to be thrust through the nose of a Turk which was found taking tobacco; and so in derision to be led about Constantinople. Let men shun this shameful sin, and be far from drawing others to it; for have they not sins enough of their own to answer for? Must they needs go to hell in company? Dives desired that his brethren and companions in sin might not come to that place of torment, Luke 16:28. This he did not out of any goodwill to them, but because he knew if they were ever damned, he should be double damned.
That thou mayest look on their nakedness] Those parts that nature would have covered are called nakedness, per Antiphrasin. To look on them with delight is by some held a sin against nature; the ground of their opinion is Genesis 3:7. To make men drunk for that purpose is worse. But if for further abuse of their bodies to uncleanness (as Attalus, the Macedonian, dealt by Pausanias, a young courtier, who afterwards slew King Philip, because he would not punish Attalus for so doing), that is worst of all; and hath a woe, woe, woe, hanging at the heels of it, Pausaniam solutum mero Attalus non suae tantum verum et convivarum libidini, velut scortum vile subiecit, ludibriumque omnium inter aequales reddidit.
Habakkuk 2:16 open_in_new
Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing [shall be] on thy glory.
Ver. 16. Thou art filled with shame for glory] Or, more with shame than with glory. That is, thou shalt be filled shortly with ignominy for that glory wherein thou presently pridest thyself; thy drunkenness shall redound to thine utter disgrace, as it was to Darius, Alexander, Antoninus, Bonosus, Trajan (a good emperor otherwise, but a drunkard, and a sodomite, as Dio Cassius reporteth him). Yea, Cato, that most severe censurer of other men's manners, to whom it was sometime objected (how deservedly I know not), quod nocturnis potationibus induigeret, that by night he would drink soundly. This is a blur to him, if true, and confutes that eulogium given him by Paterculus, that he was omnibus humanis vitiis immunis, free from all vices, and as like virtue herself as might be, Homo virtuti simillimus, et rigidae innocentiae. In Scripture the drunkard's style begins in lawlessness, proceeds in unprofitableness, ends in misery; and all shut up in that denomination of his pedigree, A son of Belial.
Drink thou also] Since thou art so able at it, since thou hast so well deserved that infamous epitaph of a certain drunkard,
“ Heus, hic situs est Offellius Buratius Bibulus,
Qui dum vixit, aut bibit aut minxit, abi praeceps. ”
Drink another while of the cup of shame and sorrow; take thy part of all manner of miseries, Jer 25:26 Obadiah 1:16 . "Snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest, shall one day be the portion of thy cup: For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness," Psalms 11:6,7 . Yea, he loveth to retaliate, and will therefore make these drunkards drink also; and those that made others drunk that they might look on their nakedness, to lie with their foreskins uncovered to their perpetual reproach. Uncircumcision was a shameful spectacle indeed among that people.
The cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned to thee] Heb. Turned about, or shall turn itself, quia rerum omnium vicissitudo; thy turn is now come to take off the dregs of God's cup of calamity, Jeremiah 25:15, that hath eternity to the bottom.
And shameful spewing shall be on thy glory] Kikalon, a compound word, the vomit of ignominy; a fit punishment for filthy drunkards, who break their heads, as swine do their bellies, over charge their stomachs, as dogs do their gorges, and then disgorge themselves in a Shameful sort; as Antonius did at Narbon amidst his guests at a feast; and as Eccius, Luther's great adversary, whom he merrily called Ieccius, from his casting; as Tiberius was nicknamed Biberius.
Shall be on thy glory] The Hebrew word for glory properly signifieth weightiness; as the word twice here used for shame signifieth lightness; an elegant opposition, showing that whatsoever the Babylonians gloried in, and held themselves honourable for, should be lightly accounted of, and lie buried in the sheet of shame, as in a dunghill of filthy vomit.
Habakkuk 2:17 open_in_new
For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, [which] made them afraid, because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
Ver. 17. For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee] Here, for the comfort of God's people (which is the main scope of this prophecy), he repeateth the chief causes of Babylon's calamity; viz. her cruelty to Lebanon, that is, to all Judaea (a part being put for the whole). Or else he speaketh of the violence done to the temple, which was built of the cedars of Lebanon; as was likewise the temple of Diana at Ephesus made of cedar wood. The devil loves to be God's ape. This violence in firing the temple and desolating the country shall cover thee all over as a garment doth the body; yea, it shall be as the shirt, made for the murdering of Agamemnon, where the head had no issue out.
And the spoil of beasts which made them afraid] Men are here called beasts, as the land, Lebanon; these were spoiled and terrified, these were murdered and massacred by the Chaldeans, who shall therefore be severely punished, and this written, as it were, over their heads, to signify for what they suffer,
Because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein] See Trapp on " Hab 2:8 "
Habakkuk 2:18 open_in_new
What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
Ver. 18. What profiteth the graven image] The Chaldees promised themselves much help against their enemies from their idols; and were ready to say, as that Roman emperor, Antoninus, the philosopher, did, when he was to meet his enemy, Non sic deos coluimus, ut ille nos vinceret: We have not so served the gods as that he should overcome us. The prophet here rejecteth their confidence, and layeth open their folly. See the like Jeremiah 10:8; Jer 10:14-15 Zec 10:2 Isaiah 44:16,17, &c. Confer Jeremiah 51:47; Jeremiah 51:52 Ezekiel 20:30; Ezekiel 20:32 .
That the maker thereof hath graven it] And can he hope for help from the work of his own hands? can the image give that to others which it hath not for itself? In Henry VIII's time one Mr Cotismore was accused of heresy, for saying that images were but carpenter's chips; and that when men go to offer to them, they did it to show their new gear. The men of Cockram, not pleased with their new rood, quarrelled with the joiner, and refused to pay him; he complained to the mayor of Doncaster, who gave them this counsel: Pay the poor man his money, and go your ways home, and look on it, and if it will not serve for a god, make no more ado, but clap a pair of horns on his head, and so he will make an excellent devil. This the parishioners took well in worth; the poor man had his money, and various laughed well at itt; but so did not the Babylonish priests, saith Mr Fox. Horace brings in Priapus, that ridiculous garden god, saying thus,
“ Olim truncus cram ficulnus, &c. ”
He thought no otherwise of the images of Jupiter, and the rest; but durst not say so, for fear of the people. So that of him it might be said, as Augustine doth of Seneca, who wrote a book against superstitions, but colebat quod reprehendebat, agebat quod arguebat, quod culpabat, adorabat, he reproved them, but yet used them (De Civ. Dei, lib. 6. c. 10).
The molten image, and a teacher of lies] Pictura falsa veritas est, saith one. It is but a shadow of the person that it representeth. God cannot be pictured or expressed by any image. Images of Christ are not only defects, but also lies, saith the homily against peril of idolatry, set forth in Queen Elizabeth's days. Irenseus reproveth the Gnostics for carrying about the images of Christ, made in Pilate's time, after his own proportion. Lactantius saith that there is no religion where there is an image. Varro had said the same long before him, as Austin reciteth him. Plutarch saith it is sacrilege to worship by images, and telleth us that Numa forbad the Romans the use of images in temples; neither had they any for the first 170 years together; no more had the Persians, saith Strabo, nor the old Germans, saith Tacitus. The old Britons indeed had their idols, Portenta diabolica (so Gildas calleth them), pene numero Aegyptiaca vincentia, ugly for shape, and almost as many as the Egyptians for number. These all fell down together, when Christ was first known here (as they say the Egyptian idols did, when Christ with his parents fled thither, for fear of Herod), but antichrist soon set up others in their stead, and taught the people that they were laymen's books. But if they be lying teachers (as here they are called) they must be lying books too; and therefore not to be read by any that would receive the love of the truth, that they may be saved. Bern, in Switzerland, was the first town that, after the Reformation, was purged of images; making a bonfire of them on an Ash Wednesday. The like was done here in England, in King Edward VI's reign, on that very day wherein the victory was gotten at Mussleborough, in Scotland; and now I hope we are rid of them for ever. The Turks will not endure them, no, not upon their coins; because of the second commandment; for they also do so honour piece of paper wherein anything of his is written, and do exceedingly hate Papists for their abominable idolatry; as do likewise the Jews.
That the maker of his work trusteth therein] Which he would never do, if not bewitched and bereft of his right mind. To trust in a god of a man's own making is a prodigious error, a stupendous stupidity.
To make dumb idols] In the Hebrew there is an elegant alliteration, Elilim illemim, speechless, No-gods, that give no answer to their suitors, and
“ quorum sunt numina nomina tantum. ”
Habakkuk 2:19 open_in_new
Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it.
Ver. 19. Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake] It is wood still, and yet he saith to it, Awake, Arise, &c., as if he would deny his own reason, and unman himself. When Hezekiah saw that such was the venom of the Israelitish idolatry, that the brazen serpent stung worse than the fiery, he pulled it down, and in contempt called it Nehushtan, that is, a piece of brass, 2 Kings 18:4. Pagnine rendereth it, aenusum. Marinus, aeniculum, that is, parum quid aeris, a little piece of sorry brass (Thes. Ling. Sanct.). The Jews to this day say that as long as they see the preacher direct his speech and prayer to that little wooden crucifix, that standeth in the pulpit by him, to call it his Lord and Saviour, to kneel to it, to embrace it, to kiss it, to weep upon it (as is the fashion of Italy), this is preaching sufficient for them; and persuadeth them more with the very sight of it to hate Christian religion, than any reason that the world can allege to love it. Woe, therefore, to those Popish idolaters, because of offences; destruction to them, that thus say to the wood, Awake, and
to the dumb stone, Arise] A prayer, fit to be preferred to God only, as Psa 35:23 who giveth not his glory to any other, nor his honour to graven images, Isaiah 42:8. He that is the right object of men's prayers must be omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, a God also in covenant with us, &c. Is any wood or stone so? Is it not inutile lignum, useless wood, a dead stock? Eben dumam, a dumb stone? Our English seems to come of the Hebrew.
It shall teach] Dumb, and yet teach? Others read it as a question, Ipse doceat? Can it teach? What better lesson can ye learn from it than a lie? as Habakkuk 2:18. Bid adieu to it, therefore, as King Henry VIII did to the Pope (if he had done so to Popery too, it had been better for him) in his protestation against him. England is no more a babe, to be led and fed with lies -. Surely, except God take away our right wits, not only the Pope's authority shall be driven out for ever, but his name also shortly shall be forgotten in England. We will from henceforth ask counsel of him and his when we wish to be deceived, when we covet to be in error, when we desire to offend God, truth, and honesty.
Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver] q.d. Come and see, believe your own eyes at least, behold the matter, form, workmanship of this newly made god, and grow wiser. The rood of grace with all its trinkets, the blood of Hales (that notable impostor) was laid open at Paul's Cross by Cromwell, and there viewed and torn in pieces by the people.
There is no breath at all in the midst of it] No soul, not so much as that of a beast. O pulchrum caput, sed cerebrum non inest, said the ape in the fable, coming once into a carver's shop. The best thing that an image can teach a man is, that itself is dumb and dead; and that the maker thereof cannot give life and breath to it, much less a deity.
Habakkuk 2:20 open_in_new
But the LORD [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Ver. 20. But the Lord is in his holy temple] It is not enough to condemn superstitions; but we must know and serve the true God in a true manner. Cicero wished that he could as easily find out the true religion as disprove the false ones. Cambyses destroyed the Egyptian idols, rather in scorn of all religion than hatred of idolatry. Lucian jeered the heathen gods; and yet was an enemy to Christianity. Erasmus was no Papist, nor yet good Protestant. Henry VIII despised the old religion, and yet envied the new. There are many (said he in parliament) that are too busy with their new Sumpsimus: a and others that dote too much upon their old Mumpsimus. b Hence it is that the prophet here to those dunghill deities of the heathens, those dead idols, opposeth the living and only true God. Jehovah, saith he, "is in his holy temple"; that Essentiator who hath his being of himself, and gives being to all things else, ζωην και πνοην, as St Paul elegantly expresseth it, Acts 17:25. He is in his holy temple, sc. in heaven, by his power and glory, and in his Church on earth, by his grace and goodness. The use of which doctrine followeth.
Let all the earth keep silence before him] Heb. sc. Or be still, all the earth, &c. Reverentiae causa silete, tremble at his judgments, trust in his promises, wait upon him in his ordinances, walk before him in obedience, speak not of him or to him, but as knowing your distance, your infancy. In speaking of God our best eloquence is silence, saith Mr Hooker. In speaking to him, quanta cum reverentia, quanto timore, quanta humilitate, accedere debet e palude sua procedens et repens villa ranuncula, saith Bernard: with what reverence and godly fear, with what humility, should a poor small frog, creeping out of his mud, draw near unto this great God, before whom angels appear with greatest self-abasements! What abhorrence then and self-annihilation can be sufficient to accompany our approaches to this great God of heaven? And how should the enemies of the Church stand in awe, and even quake before him, wriggling into their holes, as worms do when it thundereth, and being all hushed, as sheep are before the wolf, birds before the hawk, all the beasts of the field before the lion when he roareth.
a A correct expression taking the place of an incorrect but popular one (mumpsimus). OED
b One who obstinately adheres to old ways, in spite of the clearest evidence that they are wrong; an ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform. ŒD