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COMMENTARY,

OR

EXPOSITION

UPON

HABAKKUK.

HABAK. 3. I.

A Prayer of Habakkuk the Prophet upon Sigionoth.

Hefe wordes are the title of this Chapter, fhewing the contents thereof.

It is called a prayer, and it is a Pfalme or Hymne,fuch as Davids Pfalms;the Heathen Poets call them Odes, or Songs..

It is called the prayer or fong of Habak kuk, both as compofed by him,and used by himself; and addressed to the use of the people of God in their captivity in Babylon.

It is a fong upon Sigionoth.

The Hebrews affirm this fong to be one of the hardest places to interpret in all the old Teftament, because it is full of dark Parables, fuch as could not be well understood till he came, Who hath the key of David, who openeth and no man shutteth.

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Our former Translation readeth a Prayer of Habakkuk the Prophet for the ignorances,and it is expounded diverfly. Some understanding it a prayer to God for the pardon of all thofe fins which the people of God have committed ignorantly.

Others conceive thus, that feeing the Prophet in the behalf of the Church in the firft Chapter had taxed God, of too much remifness toward his people,in bearing with their fins,and forbearing to punish them and then again, fore-feeing how God in time would awake and punish them by the furious Chaldaans, hee doth as much tax the feverity of God towards his Church.

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Now, that God in the fecond Chapter hath declared his justice in punishing his people, and reveiled the decree of his vengeance against his and their enemies; now the Prophet maketh this recantation and prayer for the ignorances, because they not knowing the fecret purposes of God, have been so forward to judg his ways.

But we must admit this confirmation,and the learned tranflators of the Kings Bible, finding this to have been an errour in the former tranflations, have followed the Originall more faithfully, and call it, The Prayer of Habakkuk the Prophet upon Sigionoth. Some fay, this Sigionoth was fome fpeciall inftrument of Mufick, upon which this fong was fung in the Church of God, and the laft verfe of this Chapter faith.

To the chief finger on my stringed instruments. For as Titleman faith in this Pfal. the Prophet, Canendo orat, orando canit. By finging prayed, and by praying fung.

So the 7o read προσευχὴ Αβακΐμ τῆς προφητῶ μετ' ώδης. But Tremelius and Junius read, Oratio Habac. Propheta fe

cundum odas mixtas.

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That is not accommodated to any fet kind of verse, but mixt of fundry kinds,

And fo they do not understand the word Sigionoth to be the the name of the inftrument, upon which it was fung; but the name of the verse into which their prayer is digefted..

As

As the Greeks and Latines had their feverall kinds of verses. ·Heroick, Iambick, Afclepediake, Phaluciake, and fuch like. I cannot better expreffe this to the understanding of the weakeft judgment, then by referring you to the varieties of verfe in our English Pfalmes, that we fing in the Church, for if they were all compofed in one kind of verfe, they might all be fung to one tune.

Some have their fet tunes and admit no other, because they are of a feverall kind of verfe. So I take it that this Sigionoth was the name of that kind of verse, in which this Pfalme was written.

Thus much of the words of the title.

The things which we may make profit of in this title are thefe.

1. That the Prophet compofeth a prayer for his own use,
and for the use of the people in captivity.

2 That he putteth this prayer into a fong or pfalme.

Concerning the first.

The contemplation of the Juftice of God in punishing the Doct. fins of his Church; of the vengeance of God revenging the quarrels of his Church, and of the mercy of God in healing the wounds of his Church, and reftoring it again to health; doth give the Faithfull occafion to refort to God by prayer.

The reafon is, because these things well confidered that God is juft and mercifull, do breed in us Fear and Faith, which being well mingled in us, cannot chufe but break forth into

prayer.

Fear difcerning the danger of his power wifely, and Faith laying hold on the hand of his mercy ftrongly.

For howfoever Fear be an effect of weakneffe, yet doth it 'ferve to good ufe in the fitting of us to prayer; because,

I Fear breedeth humility, which is neceffary in prayer, as St. James adreffeth.

Caft down your felves before the Lord: and St. Peter, Humble Jam.4.10. your felves under the mighty hand of God.

1 Pet.5.6.

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And howsoever the proud defpife humility, as too bafe a vertue for heroick and generous spirits, St. Peter commendeth it for a speciall ornament.

Deck your felves inwardly in lowlineffe of mind. That feare which is in the reprobate, doth drive them quite away from God, but the fear of the elect brings them to his hand, and cafteth them at his feet, the Publican full of fear, yet it had not power to keep him from the Temple, nor from prayer,rather because he feared, he came to Church to pray.

2 Fear breedeth in us a defire to approve our felves to God, and keepeth us in awe, fetting both our fins always in our own fight, and our felves in the fight of God, which fheweth,what need we have to fly to him.

3 Fear doth serve for a fpur, to put us on, and to mend our pace, that we may loader, run the way of Gods Comandements; For men run for fear.

With this fear is joyned faith, which layeth hold on the comfortable promises of God, and fo filleth us with the love. of him, that we refolve under the fhadow of his wings, we fhall be safe.

This alfo doth break forth into prayer, as the Prophet faith, I believed, therefore did 1 fpeake.

Fear directed by Faith, will foon finde the face of God. For fear humbleth us, faith directeth this humiliation to the mighty hand of God..

Fear makes us ful of defire,faith directeth our defire to God.

Fear makes us runne, faith fheweth us the face of God, and biddeth us runne thither; and thus the contemplation of Gods juftice and mercy doth fill the heart with zeale, and the fpirit of fupplications, as in this prefent example.

The Church feeth God remiffe in forbearing them, it feeleth God fharp in punishing them, it discerneth him just in avenging them, and it is promised mercy and favour in delivering them, therefore the Prophet teacheth them to pray.

We are taught to think on these things, which may move us to feek the face of our God, and that is a work for the foul,

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As the Greeks and Latines had their feverall kinds of verfes. Heroick, Iambick, Afclepediake, Phaluciake, and fuch like. I cannot better expreffe this to the understanding of the weakeft judgment, then by referring you to the varieties of verfe in our English Pfalmes, that we fing in the Church, for if they were all composed in one kind of verse, they might all be lung to one tune.

Some have their fet tunes and admit no other, because they are of a feverall kind of verfe. So I take it that this Sigionoth was the name of that kind of verse, in which this Pfalme was

written.

Thus much of the words of the title.

The things which we may make profit of in this title are thefe.

1. That the Prophet compofeth a prayer for his own ufe,
and for the use of the people in captivity.

2 That he putteth this prayer into a fong or pfalme.

Concerning the first.

The contemplation of the Justice of God in punishing the Doct. fins of his Church; of the vengeance of God revenging the quarrels of his Church, and of the mercy of God in healing the wounds of his Church, and restoring it again to health; doth give the Faithfull occafion to refort to God by prayer.

The reason is, because these things well confidered that God is juft and mercifull, do breed in us Fear and Faith, which being well mingled in us, cannot chufe but break forth into prayer.

Fear difcerning the danger of his power wifely, and Faith laying hold on the hand of his mercy ftrongly.

For howfoever Fear be an effect of weakneffe, yet doth it ⚫ferve to good ufe in the fitting of us to prayer; because,

1 Fear breedeth humility, which is neceffary in prayer, as St. James adreffeth.

1

Caft down your felves before the Lord and St. Peter, Humble Jam.4.10. your felves under the mighty hand of God. 1 Pet.5.6.

Aaa 2

And

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